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The Color of Preaching

The benefits of preaching with aesthetic value.

The Color of Preaching

“They that walked in darkness sang songs in the olden days—Sorrow Songs—for they were weary at heart … a haunting echo of these weird old songs in which the soul of the black slave spoke to men. Ever since I was a child these songs have stirred me strangely. They came out of the South unknown to me, one by one, and yet at once I knew them as of me and of mine. Then in after years when I came to Nashville I saw the great temple builded of these songs towering over the pale city. To me Jubilee Hall seemed ever made of the songs themselves, and its bricks were red with the blood and dust of toil.”

These are the words of black sociologist, W. E. B. DuBois, from his enduring work The Souls of Black Folk. In them he describes the ability of the African American spiritual to both captivate and comfort its hearer. The music of black Americans from this bygone era almost photographs the intersection between despair and hope. In these lyrics the truth of God’s ...

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