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Lord Has Led Me, and He Will Lead You

Title: "The Lord Has Led Me, and He Will Lead You: " The Role of Gospel Music in the Formation of Early Twentieth Century Chicago Culture.
Name(s): Reed, Monica C., author
Porterfield, Amanda, professor directing thesis
Corrigan, John, committee member
Koehlinger, Amy, committee member
Department of Religion, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2008
Publisher: Florida State University
Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This thesis considers the role that gospel music played in the culture of early to mid-twentieth century Chicago. In order to better understand why the popularity of gospel music increased dramatically in the first half of the century, this paper looks at a number of Thomas Andrew Dorsey's songs. Dorsey's lyrics discussed life's difficulties and acknowledged pain and suffering, while at the same time offering hope for a better future through God. By understanding the social conditions of Chicago at this time, it becomes clear why these themes were appealing to Chicagoans of all backgrounds. In addition to impacting individuals' lives, gospel also affected Chicago's culture by uniting disparate groups by fostering compassion and negotiating racial tension through its performance at outdoor music festivals. The widespread appeal of these songs also worked to humanize the suffering and hope of African Americans. By relating to these songs, people of all backgrounds were also relating to the experience of African Americans, which fostered a compassionate understanding among whites and blacks. Furthermore, performances of gospel music at festivals brought migrants, old settlers, and whites together, literally and figuratively, by opening the events to people of all races and by emphasizing the similarities of attendees' American and Protestant identities. Catherine Bell's theory of ritual in her work Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice also helps make sense of how these festivals united Chicagoans by explaining how the performance of gospel music allowed people of various backgrounds to become involved in the formation of a new, more interracial Chicago culture.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-1912 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Religion in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2008.
Date of Defense: December 18, 2007.
Keywords: Gospel Music, Great Migration, Chicago, Thomas Andrew Dorsey
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory committee: Amanda Porterfield, Professor Directing Thesis; John Corrigan, Committee Member; Amy Koehlinger, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Religion
Persistent Link to This Record:
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Host Institution: FSU

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Reed, M. C. (2008). "The Lord Has Led Me, and He Will Lead You: " The Role of Gospel Music in the Formation of Early Twentieth Century Chicago Culture. Retrieved from