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The Birth of Gospel | Chicago Stories

The Birth of Gospel

For generations, Black music has been one of the foundational sources for liberation, survival, salvation, and entertainment. Gospel music has been one of the most integral and sacred forms of that music. It birthed a generation of storytellers, influential musicians, and agents of social change, such as Mahalia Jackson, Shirley Caesar, Kirk Franklin, and many others. The origins of gospel music lie in the transatlantic slave trade, as African musical traditions blended with new forms born out of the horrors of slavery. The rich lineage of gospel music began in earnest as a young man named Thomas Dorsey came to Chicago during the Great Migration. His own spiritual rebirth at Pilgrim Baptist Church in Chicago created a form of music that married blues influences with religious themes. Dorsey’s legacy ushered in a generation of Black artists who broke new ground by turning their voices of joy and pain into something powerful. Read more...

The Story of The Birth of Gospel

Lead support for Chicago Stories is provided by The Negaunee Foundation and the Jim and Kay Mabie Family.

Additional support is provided by an anonymous donor, TAWANI Property Management, the Walter E. Heller Foundation, Northern Trust, and The Bossert Family Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation.

Support for Chicago Stories: The Birth of Gospel is provided by Brenda and James Grusecki, The Joseph & Bessie Feinberg Foundation, Strategic Growth and Transformation Partners, LLC, and Shure.