3.9k voters

The Most Beautiful Negro Spiritual Songs

Updated December 21, 2019 8.8k votes 3.9k voters 153.7k views37 items

The best negro spiritual songs are those that move the spirit. Many of these spiritual songs were created in the 19th century, when African-American slave communities sang them to tell their own stories. Many of the top negro spiritual songs on this list have recurring themes of yearning for freedom, the hope to be lifted out of suffering, and the belief that a higher power will help a person persevere in tough times.

Some of the most famous negro spiritual songs purportedly sent more than an uplifting spiritual musical message. According to legend, the messages in some lyrics were quite literal, offering slaves specific instructions on how to travel north to freedom. One such song is “Follow the Drinking Gourd.” Fugitive slaves would follow The Drinking Gourd - another name for the Big Dipper - northward. Some historians also believe there are Underground Railroad clues to follow in the negro spiritual songs “Wade in the Water” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” among others.

These are just some of the truly good negro spiritual songs out there. Be sure to vote up your top choices.