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Washington, D.C./ Gospel Music City, U.S.A.: State of the Art

For more than a half century, Washington has been an important city in the development, presentation, and preservation of gospel music. The music in many ways reflects the diversity of the city's population, and its development in Washington parallels changes in the community that supports it.

Gospel is an urban Black religious music of rural origin. Its roots reach back to the plantation spiritual of more than two centuries ago. As Black people migrated into northern urban communities such as Washington, they brought along a love for sacred song but needed musical expression that did not bear reminders of the slave past.

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