African American sacred music: An Afrocentric historical narrative
C. Wilbert McCabe traces significant factors in the development of African American sacred music from the perspective of a person of African descent. This study not only discusses outstanding musicians as performers, composers, arrangers and other participants, but also draws attention to individuals who, for the most part are anonymous in American history. The accomplishments and achievements of these individuals continue to be virtually unrecorded even to this day, and sadly they are basically unknown to most of society and this includes the vast majority of African American musicians as well as the highly educated.
This dissertation sheds some light on many of the traditional musical practices of African people going back many centuries, and demonstrates the ways in which many of these practices are still affecting the way sacred music in particular is done everywhere, but especially here in the United States. Much emphasis is put on the extremely important aspect of agency in the development of African and Black American music, and how so many of the purely ancient characteristics are still very much in existence today in modern and contemporary as well as older music.
The bravery, determination and tenacity of the "New World" Africans and how they survived the most cruel and inhumane treatment in the history of humankind, and yet produced this country's greatest music, the only truly American folk music, the Spiritual, are also highlighted in this dissertation.
0591: American literature