West Long Branch — “Memory in African American Music and Culture: An Extravaganza,” a Monmouth University Race Conference Event featuring poetry, negro spirituals, contemporary gospel music and freedom songs will be held Thur., Nov. 14, 6-8:30 p.m. at Wilson Hall Auditorium.
The evening features performances by Daryl L. Stewart, Leah Joy Hilliard, Solomon Cobbs, Donna J. Gore, and The Rushing Singers.
This event is an evening that includes poetry and the singing of some classic Negro spirituals, as well as contemporary gospel music.
Culture has been the primary location of black identity formation in U.S. history. As a response to oppression, and the denial of opportunity, African Americans turned to poetry and music to record their grievances, triumphs, and sorrows.
African Americans have recorded and memorialized the black experience in poetry and music from the first arrival of Africans in North America to the present.
Songs such as “Steal Away” and “Wade in the Water,” later performed by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, guided enslaved blacks on the underground railroad to freedom in the North; and, songs such as “The Buses Are A Coming” or “Ella’s Song,” composed during the height of the Civil Rights era, were performed by the Freedom Singers to lift morale in the struggle for black equality during the 1960s. Memories of suffering and jubilation exist in black cultural productions from Negro Spirituals to the present.