The significance of gospel music to social activism in North Carolina

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Libra N. Boyd (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Kathryn Hytten

Abstract: Using qualitative research methods and social movement theory, I explored the significance of gospel music to the Forward Together Moral Movement in North Carolina and the meanings the singers who perform the music apply to their roles and contributions. Five themes emerged from interviews with three gospel singers, field observations, and document/media analyses concerning the role of gospel music in the moral movement: intentionality, collective identity, music as hope, music as strength, and music as education. The study makes several contributions to the field of cultural studies. First, the singers provide a firsthand perspective to the literature on social movements. First-person narratives of gospel singers are far less common in the literature than the first-person narratives of their secular musical counterparts. Second, this study gives music scholars additional insights into the importance of gospel music and social movements through the eyes of the people who perform it. Third, the music of the moral movement and the study of its singers can serve as a teaching tool, adding culturally relevant perspectives to lessons in history, tolerance, and culture that are presently taught in American education.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Collective identity, Forward Together Moral Movement, Gospel music and civil rights movements, Popular education, Social activism, Social movement theory
Gospel music $x Social aspects $z North Carolina
African Americans $x Civil rights $x Songs and music
Civil rights movements $z North Carolina
Social movements $z North Carolina
Social action $z North Carolina
North Carolina $x Social conditions

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