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Black Slaves Culture in America

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The Black slaves of colonial America brought their own culture from Africa to the new land. Despite their persecution, the "slave culture" has contributed greatly to the development of America’s own music, dance, art, and clothing. Music It is understandable that when Africans were torn from their homes and families, lashed into submission, and forced into lifelong slave labor, they would be, on the most part, resentful and angry. Various forms of expression, clandestine yet lucent, developed out of these feelings. One such form of this was music. Native African music consisted mainly of wind and string melodies punctuated by hand clapping, xylophones, and drumbeats. Along those lines, an early type of slave music was the spiritual, which has its roots in Protestant hymns taught to the slaves. Spirituals were long thought to be the spontaneous creation of African-American slaves and the only original folk music of the U.S. Spirituals told tales of suffering and struggle, but these true meanings were often hidden. An example is in the song "Gospel Train" with the lyrics, "Get on board, little children/There’s room for many a-more/The gospel train’s a-leavin’..." The "gospel train" of the song likely represented an escape method, such as the Underground Railroad. Another type of music distinct to African slaves was gospel. These songs originated in plantation fields as work songs, and were later sung in churches of Black congregations. They were intended to enliven a crowd, and employed bright music and joyful lyrics. Gospel music contributed to the development of musical genres historically considered "white", such as rock’n’roll and country and western. Religion Before Blacks came to America, they had their own highly developed religious beliefs. Most cultures believed in one almighty God, and the ideas of good and evil. They also practiced "ancestor worship", believing that dead family members could influence aspects of their lives. A main difference between African and Christian religions, however, is that Africans did not find it necessary to convert all other cultures to their religion. Thus Africans were rather resistant to the preaching of Christian ministers when they came to America. The Christian ideas they did absorb, however, were indoctrinated into their lives with the addition of culture such as gospel music. Later, a minister of mainly of African-American congregations would use distinctly "Black" preaching methods, as when the minister begins to employ numerous stock phrases and ideas, Midway in the message the preacher begins to chant his words rhythmically.
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