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01 Feb

Black History Month

History of Hymns: “We’ll Understand It Better By and By”

Article

"We’ll Understand It Better By and By"
Charles A. Tindley
The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 525

History of Hymns: “We’ll Understand It Better By and By” »

Raising Gabriel

Article

Gabriel Addison is my only child, born in my latter childbearing years. He is precious to me for many reasons. . . As much as I love, cherish, and respect Gabriel, one thing becomes increasingly clear as he grows into a young man. ... He will be discriminated against, harassed, marginalized, feared, and rarely given an opportunity based on his outstanding merit. He will be treated with disdain and disrespect solely because of the color of his skin. How do I deal with this frightening probability for my amazing son?

Raising Gabriel »

History of Hymns: “Lift Every Voice and Sing”

Article

"Lift Every Voice and Sing"
James Weldon Johnson
The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 519

History of Hymns: “Lift Every Voice and Sing” »

Truth By Heart

Article

While Black History Month becomes an opportunity to celebrate African-American Heritage, it risks becoming nothing more than tokenism if the stories and struggles of people of this heritage are not part of the common story. Using stories, hymns, quotes, and so on from the Black Experience throughout the year gives the congregation a fuller appreciation for a people with a rich heritage and helps to break down racial barriers.

Truth By Heart »

Plenty Good Room! A Black History Month Sermon Series Based on Negro Spirituals

Article

"Plenty Good Room! A Sermon Series Based on Negro Spirituals" is written by the Rev. Dr. Larry D. Pickens for Black History Month (February).

Plenty Good Room! A Black History Month Sermon Series Based on Negro Spirituals »

“Plenty Good Room” Tells of the Inclusiveness of God

Article

It is good that you or I are not God because we would be too limited in our ability to include folks whom we don’t like.  We would be like the man who walks out of church with his wife following the service saying this about the sermon: “He wants me to love my enemies; I have trouble even liking my friends."

“Plenty Good Room” Tells of the Inclusiveness of God »

“Fix Me, Jesus”: O Lord, Fix Me

Article

To forgive is not just to be altruistic; it is actually the best form of self-interest. What dehumanizes you inexorably dehumanizes me.

“Fix Me, Jesus”: O Lord, Fix Me »

“There is a Balm in Gilead”: Heal the World

Article

Let us create a world where gay, lesbian and transgendered persons can walk the streets without fear of being attacked. Let us create a world where we do not judge by the color of one’s skin but by the content of character. Let us create a world where we accept one another as brothers and sisters.

“There is a Balm in Gilead”: Heal the World »

“I’ve Been ‘Buked and I’ve Been Scorned”: What Is Your Story?

Article

What is the story that you tell yourself about why you did not achieve a goal or objective in life?
What is the story that you have been telling yourself about why you are still at the same level? How do you explain why you have not progressed?

“I’ve Been ‘Buked and I’ve Been Scorned”: What Is Your Story? »

Music Downloads for Black History Month

Music Download

Here are music scores that will help your congregation observe Black History Month.

Music Downloads for Black History Month »

21st Century Africana Worship Resources

Article

Celebrate the joyful spiritual spark found in Africana worship! Worship is the lifeblood of the church. 

21st Century Africana Worship Resources »

A Collection of Africana Worship Resources

Article

Celebrate the joyful spiritual spark found in Africana worship. 

A Collection of Africana Worship Resources »

Black History Month: Come Sunday

Article

There are a number of songs and hymns in our hymnal that are difficult to sing or that have troublesome lyrics, theologically or otherwise. "Come Sunday" is both. 

Black History Month: Come Sunday »

Black History Month: Andraé Crouch

Article

Andraé Crouch, pastor, performer, composer, and church musician extraordinaire, has been an important presence in contemporary and gospel music for 50 years and a contributor to United Methodist songbooks for 30 years.  

Black History Month: Andraé Crouch »

Benediction for Black History Month

Article

This benediction makes use of the dream imagery that was so much a part of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.  

Benediction for Black History Month »

Black History Month: Songs of Protest

Article

February 13, 2010, is the 50th anniversary of the start of non-violent sit-ins designed to desegregate Nashville, Tennessee, department store lunch counters. There had been earlier protests in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and on February 1, 1960, in Greensboro, North Carolina, which encouraged Nashville college students to pick up the cause.  

Black History Month: Songs of Protest »

Black History Month: “There Is a Balm in Gilead”

Article

A balm is something that heals, soothes, or comforts. My mother used to place a homemade medicine plaster on my chest overnight when I was sick with the flu. She called it a balm, and I always felt better in the morning. Perhaps it was similar for the African American songwriter who first sang "There is a balm in Gilead," suffering through the miseries and indignities of slavery.  

Black History Month: “There Is a Balm in Gilead” »

Black History Month: Two Women

Article

Two of the most successful and prolific contributors to the modern body of African American worship song are women: Doris Akers and Margaret Douroux.  

Black History Month: Two Women »

Black History Month: Freedom Songs

Article

There is a sense in which most music that comes from the African American and Africana experience might be regarded as freedom songs. The African diaspora and the enslavement and persecution that followed made it inevitable that a central theme of Africana music would be hope, liberation, and freedom.  

Black History Month: Freedom Songs »

Celebrating Black History Month #17

Article

There is a specific genre of music known as  Freedom Songs  or  Liberation Songs.This is music that specifically came out of the struggle for equality and civil rights in the U.S.A., South Africa, and other parts of the world. This is the music that was born from the battle against segregation, apartheid, discrimination, inequality, and persecution. 

Celebrating Black History Month #17 »

Celebrating Black History Month #20

Article

In whatever setting or arrangement, and whether it is sung by soloist, choir, or congregation, the message of "There Is a Balm in Gilead" is that regardless of circumstances, in Jesus there is a promise of healing, hope, and liberation. 

Celebrating Black History Month #20 »

Celebrating Black History Month #13

Article

The landmark book Slave Songs of the United States, edited by William Francis Allen, Charles Pickard Ware, and Lucy McKim Garrison, was published in 1867, just two years after the Civil War ended.  

Celebrating Black History Month #13 »

Celebrating Black History Month #6

Article

Several reasons account for the strong support given by  African Americans to Methodism . . . 

Celebrating Black History Month #6 »

Celebrating Black History Month #3

Article

Our hymnals and songbooks have recognized the importance of the music of African Americans in our worship and formation. It's interesting to note the increase in African American songs included in our hymnals and songbooks over the years. 

Celebrating Black History Month #3 »

Celebrating Black History Month #7

Article

February 13 is the anniversary of the start of non-violent sit-ins designed to desegregate Nashville department store lunch counters. There had been earlier protests in Oklahoma City; and on February 1, 1960, in Greensboro, North Carolina, which encouraged Nashville college students to pick up the cause.  

Celebrating Black History Month #7 »

Celebrating Black History Month #16

Article

Margaret Douroux wrote her first song, "Give Me a Clean Heart," in 1970; and it caught on after it was introduced at a national gospel convention. 

Celebrating Black History Month #16 »

Celebrating Black History Month #4

Article

Cleavant Derricks (1910-1977), African American and father of twin actor sons,   established a solid reputation and career as pastor, choir director, poet, musician, and composer with over 300 songs to his credit and several song collections. "Just a Little Talk with Jesus" (Worship & Song, no. 3107) is his best-known and most-performed song, but others include "When God Dipped His Love in My Heart," "We’ll Soon Be Done with Troubles and Trials," "When He Blessed My Soul" and "I Want the Light from the Lighthouse to Shine on Me." In 1984, Derricks was inducted posthumously into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.  

Celebrating Black History Month #4 »

Celebrating Black History Month #5

Article

Noted pastor, Civil Rights leader, theologian, and cultural historian Wyatt Tee Walker has identified five major genres of "Black Sacred Music" developed since 1619. 

Celebrating Black History Month #5 »

Celebrating Black History Month #15

Article

"We Shall Overcome" (The United Methodist Hymnal, no. 533) is the anthem of the Civil Rights movement in the USA; but in a larger global context, it is a freedom, liberation, and political protest song that has carried the hopes of many different people and many different causes. 

Celebrating Black History Month #15 »

Celebrating Black History Month #10

Article

Richard Allen (1760-1831) was born a slave, ordained the first African American Methodist deacon, and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1787.  

Celebrating Black History Month #10 »

Celebrating Black History Month #19

Article

Andraé Crouch, pastor, performer, composer, and church musician extraordinaire, has been an important presence in contemporary and gospel music for fifty years and a contributor to United Methodist songbooks for thirty years.   

Celebrating Black History Month #19 »

Celebrating Black History Month #11

Article

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (1899-1974) was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader with more than 1,000 compositions to his credit. 

Celebrating Black History Month #11 »

Celebrating Black History Month #9

Article

Richard Allen was one of two African Americans present at the Baltimore Christmas Conference of the American Methodists in 1784, and he became the first African American Methodist deacon.  

Celebrating Black History Month #9 »

Celebrating Black History Month #21

Article

Composer  Doris Mae Akers wrote her first song at age ten. Even though she lacked formal music training, she went on to a successful career conducting choirs throughout the U.S.A. and composing gospel songs. 

Celebrating Black History Month #21 »

Celebrating Black History Month #12

Article

A Russian traveler, accustomed to the more restrained worship and song of the Greek Orthodox Church, visited the Mother Bethel AME congregation in 1811. He wrote  this about the reading from the Psalms . . . 

Celebrating Black History Month #12 »

Celebrating Black History Month #18

Article

There are a number of characteristics of the spiritual "O Mary, Don't You Weep" that some will find confusing....what does the weeping New Testament Mary have to do with the drowning of Pharaoh's army in the Red Sea 1,400 years earlier (Exodus 14:26-31)? The answer lies in the secret or coded messages found in many of the spirituals, including this one. 

Celebrating Black History Month #18 »

Celebrating Black History Month #8

Article

Edward V. Bonnemere (1921-1996), African American and Roman Catholic, enjoyed a rich and varied musical career. He is the composer of the music for "Rule of Life," musical setting of the well-known Wesley aphorism,  Worship & Song, no. 3117.  

Celebrating Black History Month #8 »

Celebrating Black History Month #2

Article

The Spiritual "Let Us Break Bread Together" probably began as a gathering song ("Let Us Praise God Together on Our Knees") among Virginia slaves.   

Celebrating Black History Month #2 »

Four Great Arrangers of Spirituals

Article

Spirituals as a musical form came into being in the late eighteenth century, originally written and sung as part of African American worship during slavery. Spirituals were influenced by African cultural and musical practices, the Christian and biblical faith that became such an important part of African American culture, and the terrible influences of slavery. They were usually sung in unison, often in call-and-response pattern, making use of stories from the Bible and the hymns of Isaac Watts. Many contained secret coded language that allowed the slaves to express their longing for freedom and contempt for their masters and the institutions that enslaved them. 

Four Great Arrangers of Spirituals »

Lift Every Voice and Sing

Article

February is Black History Month and an opportunity to consider one of the most important hymns to the Black and African American church, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," no. 519 in The United Methodist Hymnal.

Lift Every Voice and Sing »

Liturgy Resources for Black History Month Worship

Article

Activities, worship services and songs to celebrate Black History Month. 

Liturgy Resources for Black History Month Worship »

Resources for Black History Month: A Brief Bibliography

Article

This brief bibliography was compiled by Upper Room and Discipleship Ministries staff. It is by no means exhaustive, but it does represent a sampling of materials that are available. 

Resources for Black History Month: A Brief Bibliography »

Sources of Service Music for African American Worship

Article

Compiled by Anthony T. Leach, associate professor of choral music education at Penn State University.  

Sources of Service Music for African American Worship »

The Great Thanksgiving for Black History Month

Liturgy

You formed us in your image
and breathed into us the breath of life.
When human cruelty reared its ugly head,
you sustained your people
and made it possible for us to survive
the middle passage,
auction blocks,
whipping posts
and forced labor.

The Great Thanksgiving for Black History Month »

United Methodist Hymnal Resources for Black History Month (February)

Article

February of each year is observed and celebrated as Black History Month. The United Methodist Hymnal (1989) contains many hymns, songs, spirituals, choruses, prayers, litanies, Psalm settings, and other worship resources by African Americans and many resources from Africa. The two tables below index these hymnal resources by numerical and alphabetical sequence, in the hope that churches will draw from them during this special month, as well as through the entire year. 

United Methodist Hymnal Resources for Black History Month (February) »

View of Black History

Website

February is Black History Month. And a Texas church has found a unique way to teach kids about African-American history and the civil rights movement. The lessons shine through 53 stained-glass windows. 

View of Black History »