From Spirituals to Blues and Gospel: The History of a Multi-Century Musical Evolution is an anchor event in commemoration of International Underground Railroad month in September and culmination of the “Year of Harriet Tubman” proclaimed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, from March through September 2022. The National Park Service and community stakeholders/partners have come together to present this event based on their joint connection to the legacy of Harriet Tubman and each other, and to highlight their community partnership. This program will provide attendees and viewers with the historical origins of spirituals and their association with free and enslaved Blacks spanning the 17th through 19th centuries. Harriet Tubman relied on her faith, religious values, and spirituals as a source of comfort and this program will bring to light that aspect of her life. Please enjoy content from the various of singers, musicians, interpreters, and living history performers, all communicating how spirituals evolved over time into what we know today as blues and gospel music.
Event Video Series
“Harriet Tubman was a heroic conductor on the Underground Railroad, a fierce abolitionist and early leader for women’s rights." said President and CEO Joel Dunn of the Chesapeake Conservancy. "We are proud to have helped establish a park in Tubman’s name in 2013 and we will continue to share, protect and advance Tubman’s legacy both within the Chesapeake Bay region and beyond.”
Trustee Midge Ingersoll of the Nanticoke Historic Preservation Aliiance said, "As stewards of the Handsell Historic Site, which has its own tragic history of slavery over 3 centuries, our Board of Trustee is proud to sponsor this National Parks Service event which uses music to highlight the life of Harriet Tubman and wraps up the 200th year celebration of her life".
Executive Director Lora Bottinelli of the National Council for the Traditional Arts said, "For almost 90 years, the NCTA has been dedicated to presenting and documenting folk and traditional arts in the United States, and to amplifying the voices and cultures of its many citizens. We applaud HATU’s critical work preserving the legacy of Harriet Tubman within the landscapes she traversed along Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and are proud to have partnered together on wide-ranging interpretive programs since 2018. It is a great honor to count among our collaborations From Spirituals to Blues and Gospel: The History of a Multi-Century Musical Evolution, an event celebrating music traditions that have sustained and inspired the African American community across generations and contributed profoundly to the fabric of American music."
“There is no better way to sing the praises of the life of Harriet Tubman and commemorate the 200th anniversary of her birth, than by gathering such an incredible group of gospel musicians from across the country." said Regional Director Edward Stierli of the National Parks Conservation Association. "We are thankful for the National Park Service and the many community partners surrounding Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park for making this possible.”
*** We will continue to update this page as more information becomes available. ***
Last updated: January 8, 2023