American Spirituals

What are American Spirituals?

American spirituals are worship songs, hymns, and music written to honor and praise God. Many of these pieces of music are historical and cherished today for not only their message but also their musical brilliance.

Most Popular American Spirituals

Here’s a list of some of the most well-known American Spirituals and songs through history.

  • Ain’ Go’n’ to Study War No Mo’
  • Don’t Be Weary, Traveller
  • Heave Away
  • Go Down Moses
  • God’s a-gwine ter move all de troubles away [1918]
  • Great Day
  • Lord, Remember Me [1867]
  • Poor Rosy [1867]
  • Rise, Shine, for Thy Light is A-Comin’
  • Roll Jordan Roll [1867]
  • Some of These Mornings [1892]
  • Steal Away to Jesus
  • Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Sacred Harp Music

The Sacred Harp is a book written by Benjamin Franklin White in 1844 that lists some of the most important hymns and songs of worship throughout history. This 572 page book has been revised several times, but is still a wealth of knowledge on the subject of worship music and spirituals.

Here’s a list of several songs from The Sacred Harp.

Song TitleSongwriter: WordsSongwriter: MusicYear Written
Rose of Sharon William BillingsWilliam Billings1778
Easter Anthem Edward YoungWilliam Billings1787
Green Fields John NewtonThe Missouri Hymnal1808
Wondrous Love Mead's General SelectionJames Christopher1840
The Prodigal Son John NewtonJohn Newton1844
Happy Land Andrew YoungL. P. Breedlove1850



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