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Sandra J. Graham
Regents of the University of California, Davis (Davis, CA 95618-6153)
From Slave Songs to America's Music? The Popularization of Black Spirituals, 1870-1910

My book traces the dissemination and popularization of black spirituals after the Civil War through the first decade of the twentieth century. Until now there has been no exhaustive study of the specific routes by which spirituals emerged into public consciousness. I identify and analyze the social processes through which a genre originally confined to the private sphere of the plantation was transmuted into popular music, until it was widely embraced by the general population. In analyzing the various and complex reasons for the popularization of spirituals, my study contributes a more nuanced understanding of cultural processes that has implications for issues of ownership, identity, race, ethnicity, and nationalism.

Project fields:
Music History and Criticism

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2005 – 9/30/2005