[dropcap letter=”T”]he Festival of Spirituals dates back to the 1970s when Dr. Richard Arrington served as Director of the Alabama Center for Higher Education (ACHE). Each year, HBCU choral ensembles gathered from across the state to celebrate Black History Month. Oakwood University hosted this event in 1996 and has done so biannually since 2002.
Music is a part of our cultural experience and a way for the human family to share its highest praise to God. The 10th Festival of Spirituals was an inspiring gathering of choirs from Alabama A&M University, Central State University, Claflin University, and Oakwood University.
Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase!” Appropriately, the Negro Spiritual reflects on the faith of a generation of enslaved Americans who experienced forced servitude—truly, people who took that first step, without seeing the whole staircase!
The biannual Festival of Spirituals is one way that we continue to keep those emotions alive. This event brings us together, to celebrate the triumph of a people and their spirit, symbolizing the finest of the African American musical tradition and heritage.