Black gospel musicians tackled civil rights issues on "B" sides - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Black gospel musicians tackled civil rights issues on "B" sides of vintage records

Because of the nation's division over civil rights, artists might have recorded under different names to escape harassment or harm (iStockphoto.com/Baris Simsek) Because of the nation's division over civil rights, artists might have recorded under different names to escape harassment or harm (iStockphoto.com/Baris Simsek)

Source: Baylor University via Newswise

A surprisingly large number of "B" sides on old 45s of gospel songs deal with civil rights, despite the fact that the musicians' involvement might have been risky for them, says a Baylor University researcher.

The recent discovery "tells us that the gospel community was much more involved in the civil rights movement than we previously thought," said Robert Darden, an associate professor of journalism at Baylor and a former gospel editor for Billboard magazine, who is leading a Baylor project to collect and preserve little-known gospel records from the 1940s to the 1970s.

Lyrics from some years speak of civil rights marches and demonstrations in Atlanta, Tennessee, Birmingham and Chicago, of snapping police dogs, of integration. Some pay tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

"The reason we haven't realized this before is that when we've known about a song, it is almost always the hit or ‘A' side," Darden said.

Because of the nation's division over civil rights, artists might have recorded under different names to escape harassment or harm.

In 2005, Darden began a search-and-rescue mission for gospel music on old 78s, 45s and LPs and in various taped formats to be preserved digitally for posterity and cataloged at Baylor. He began the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project because he was concerned that while contemporary gospel was thriving, early gospel by lesser known artists might be lost forever.

The songs related to civil rights may have escaped notice because few scholars are studying gospel music's impact on that issue, as well as the fact many of the artists are lesser known, he said.

Baylor has obtained for preservation more than 2,000 loaned or donated LPs, 78s, 45s and tapes. For more information, visit www.baylor.edu/lib/gospel

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • Special CoverageBus Boycott 60th AnniversaryMore>>

  • Special Report

    Bus Boycott: Before Rosa Parks there was Claudette Colvin

    Bus Boycott: Before Rosa Parks there was Claudette Colvin

    Monday, November 23 2015 11:03 PM EST2015-11-24 04:03:24 GMT
    Wednesday, December 2 2015 2:20 PM EST2015-12-02 19:20:59 GMT
    (Source: WSFA 12 News)(Source: WSFA 12 News)
    Claudette Colvin was 15 years old when she was heading home from school on a Montgomery city bus and was arrested after refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger. Nine months later Rosa Parks did the same thing and became the face of a movement that led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.More >>

    Claudette Colvin was 15 years old when she was heading home from school on a Montgomery city bus and was arrested after refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger. Nine months later Rosa Parks did the same thing and became the face of a movement that led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

    More >>
  • Column

    Ken Hare in Depth: 4 things to help you better appreciate the Montgomery Bus Boycott

    Ken Hare in Depth: 4 things to help you better appreciate the Montgomery Bus Boycott

    Tuesday, December 1 2015 3:35 PM EST2015-12-01 20:35:25 GMT
    Tuesday, December 1 2015 3:44 PM EST2015-12-01 20:44:52 GMT
    This week marks the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, one of the seminal events in the Civil Rights Movement. Here are four points to help you better understand and appreciate the importance of that event.More >>

    This week marks the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, one of the seminal events in the Civil Rights Movement. Here are four points to help you better understand and appreciate the importance of that event.

    More >>
  • New historical marker honors Rosa Parks, civil rights pioneers

    New historical marker honors Rosa Parks, civil rights pioneers

    Wednesday, December 2 2015 12:40 AM EST2015-12-02 05:40:45 GMT
    Wednesday, December 2 2015 2:25 PM EST2015-12-02 19:25:17 GMT
    (Source: WSFA 12 News)(Source: WSFA 12 News)
    The City of Montgomery and the entire nation remembered a pivotal moment in American history during the 60th anniversary commemoration of Rosa Parks’ arrest.More >>

    The City of Montgomery and the entire nation remembered a pivotal moment in American history during the 60th anniversary commemoration of Rosa Parks’ arrest.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly