The Society for the Preservation of Spirituals

Testimonial, 1984

I should like to express our admiration and respect for the anonymous black men and women who created these spirituals. The songs, which they composed have become part of the great folk music of America and have aptly earned them a place in the musical history of this nation.

Not only is the music of these spirituals beautiful but more importantly they carry a message of faith and hope, which has a universal appeal. For many of these songs concern the common enemy of mankind, death. And in their spirituals our black brethren face death with a boundless hope founded on an unshakable faith. Their faith and hope stand as an inspiration to us all.

They say in these songs ‘I’m leanin on my Lawd. I ain’ gwine dead; jus’ gwine sleep away. I gwine tuh res’ from all muh labuh when I’m dead. One ob dese mawnin’ bright en fair I gwina put on my wing en try duh air. Dere’s a golden haap een duh hebben fuh me; you can tech one string en duh whole hebben ring. I look een duh grabe en duh grabe so watry; Lawd I gotta lay een dat watry grabe. En all I wanna know is muh sins forgib’n; En all I wanna know is my soul set free.’

I should add a word of appreciation to our immediate forefathers who had the good sense and taste to recognize the value of these spirituals and founded this society in order to preserve them.