The purpose of this dissertation is to provide a conductor's analysis of a specific set of repertoire by African-American composer Lena McLin. The selected works share three common traits: (1) they are all scored for mixed chorus; (2) they are all cantatas; and (3) they explore sacred themes. The author seeks to facilitate informed performance of these specific works and provide a general resource for conductors who are interested in performing music composed by Lena McLin. The study includes a discussion of Black women composers in Chicago, Illinois. It identifies contemporaries of Lena McLin before and during the height of her professional activity in Chicago and the United States. Exploration of these figures features biographical information that includes professional activities and choral music output. Additionally, it provides an examination of Black women composers in Chicago whose lives, professional activities, and contributions to choral music were concurrent with that of Lena McLin. This historical narrative concludes with an examination of McLin's relationship with her contemporaries and her impact on their lives and careers. Significant events regarding the life of Lena McLin, from her birth until the present, are highlighted. The narrative identifies experiences in his life that influenced her as a composer, including childhood encounters with church music and piano lessons, composing at a young age, engaging with the musical and spiritual heritage of her family, formal studies at Spelman College, and serving in Chicago's Hyde Park community through teaching and pastoring. This chapter documents how McLin's experiences ultimately resulted in a practice of incorporating folk and gospel in her compositions. This inquiry also examines historical trends in the cantata genre from the early Baroque, Romantic, and twentieth-century periods, including examples of instrumentation, form, texts, relative length, and issues of performance practice in select cantatas. Further investigation includes McLin's use of these musical characteristics in her own cantatas, and a comparative analysis of church music influences in this repertoire. The study concludes with an analysis of three pieces by Lena McLin. These pieces are: The Church Cantata, The Christmas Cantata, and Free at Last: A Portrait of Martin Luther King. For each piece, a general overview of significant compositional information is provided, including instrumentation, vocal ranges, publication facts, and available recordings. Finally, each piece is analyzed for its musical content, including tables and musical excerpts.