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Celebrating Black History through gospel songs

Celebrating Black History through gospel songs
February 08
04:00 2018

Last weekend the city’s Human Relations Commission kicked off Black History Month by showcasing the talents of local gospel choirs, soloist, and other performers during their annual Showcase of Songs. 

For the past six years, the event which is free of charge, has brought people together from all parts of the city to celebrate black culture and the gospel music that has been passed down for generations. This year’s celebration was no different as more than 50 people gathered inside the Old Salem Visitor’s Center last Saturday afternoon, Feb. 3.

When Africans traveled through the Middle Passage during the first half of the 20th century, many brought with them their culture of using songs and dances to worship. 

While a lot has changed since that time, dozens of songs are still a part of African- American culture and are sung regularly at church and other gatherings.

Wanda Allen-Abraha, Human Relations director and coordinator for the showcase, said it is important that we remember the sacrifices our ancestors made and the role gospel music played in their lives during slavery and beyond. 

“Gospel is the soul of African-Americans; there’s nothing like it,” Allen-Abraha said. “We took gospel music and made it our own thing.”

Performers during the Showcase of Song included soloist Abigail Dowd, Carmen Redmond and Tamara Bradshaw. The Extraordinary Worshippers, F.O.C.U.S Professional Gospel Group, mime Evelyn Dixon and the Kidane Mehret Ethiopian Orthodox Church Children’s Choir performed as well. 

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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