From the congregations of small African churches in Memphis, Philadelphia, and Chicago to the nationwide fans of the Golden Gate Quartet, Mahalia Jackson, Sam Cooke, Edwin Hawkins and others, gospel music has profoundly influenced Americans. This book brings together some of the best pioneering composers and shows the impact of their work on music and culture in America and abroad.
Bernice Johnson Reagon is Distinguished Professor of History at American University. The author of many works, including Black People and Their Culture, she selected and annotated the landmark three-record album collection Voices of the Civil Rights Movement and was narrator and conceptual producer of Wade in the Water: African American Sacred Music Traditions, a joint project of the Smithsonian Institution and National Public Radio. A 1989 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, Reagon is the founder and artistic director of the a cappella quintet Sweet Honey in the Rock.