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Downhome Gospel : African American Spiritual Activism in Wiregrass Country - Jerrilyn McGregory

Downhome Gospel

African American Spiritual Activism in Wiregrass Country

Hardcover

Published: 5th October 2010
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Jerrilyn McGregory explores sacred music and spiritual activism in a little-known region of the South, the Wiregrass Country of Georgia, Alabama, and North Florida. She examines African American sacred music outside of Sunday church-related activities, showing that singing conventions and anniversary programs fortify spiritual as well as social needs. In this region African Americans maintain a social world of their own creation. Their cultural performances embrace some of the most pervasive forms of African American sacred music--spirituals, common meter, Sacred Harp, shape-note, traditional, and contemporary gospel. Moreover, the contexts in which they sing include present-day observations such as the Twentieth of May (Emancipation Day), Burial League Turnouts, and Fifth Sunday.

Rather than tracing the evolution of African American sacred music, this ethnographic study focuses on contemporary cultural performances, almost all by women, which embrace all forms. These women promote a female-centered theology to ensure the survival of their communities and personal networks. They function in leadership roles that withstand the test of time. Their spiritual activism presents itself as a way of life.

In Wiregrass Country, "You don't have to sing like an angel" is a frequently expressed sentiment. To these women, "good" music is God's music regardless of the manner delivered. Therefore, Downhome Gospel presents gospel music as being more than a transcendent sound. It is local spiritual activism that is writ large. Gospel means joy, hope, expectation, and the good news that makes the soul glad.

Prologuep. ix
Introductionp. xv
"Come Go with Me": Liberation Songsp. 3
"Ev'ry Day'll Be Sunday": Burial Sodalitiesp. 26
"There's a Meeting Here Tonight": Baptist Modalitiesp. 51
"On the Way to Glory": The Shape-Note Traditionp. 74
"God Has Smiled on Me": Traditional Gospelp. 100
"The Gospel Train Is Coming": Wiregrass Contemporary Gospelp. 126
"I Feel No Ways Tired": Sarah's Daughtersp. 154
Epiloguep. 177
Notesp. 183
Bibliographyp. 199
Acknowledgmentsp. 209
Indexp. 212
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781604737820
ISBN-10: 1604737824
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 5th October 2010
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 1.75
Weight (kg): 0.52