African American Methodist hymns reflect the evangelical beliefs and traditions of the Methodists.
As shown above, “Jesus,” “God,” “Lord,” and “glory” are recurring words within black Methodist hymns. These display how Methodists lived their daily lives by worshipping Jesus. Another important theme that can be seen from this visualization is the concern for salvation among Methodist beliefs. “Sinner,” “soul,” and “heaven” all depict this concern for the afterlife.
This chart displays phrases that repeat within the corpus of hymns. This visualization is slightly skewed due to the fact that there are many repeated phrases within the hymns due to those phrases being part of the chorus. However, it is still useful to use this to study the visualizations if we assume that the chorus is the most essential section of the song. “On to Canada where all the slaves are free” shows that African American Methodists considered moving to Canada to escape slavery. The theme of movement manifests itself in this visualization, as well, with phrases such as “I’m going to travel” and “boun to go my brudder.”