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Art of the Negro Spiritual (1987)




Genre: Newsmagazine

Place Covered: Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana

Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority

Date Issued: 1987-04-19

Duration: 00:25:29

Subjects: Arts | Music | Spirituals (Songs) | African Americans | Slavery


  • Masingale, Sonya Host
  • Marsh-Ellis, Frances Performer
  • White, Frank Performer


This episode of the series “Folks” from April 19, 1987, focuses on the art of the Negro Spiritual. Sonya Masingale first interviews Frances Ellis-Marsh, a dramatic soprano and the chairwoman of vocal music at Southern University in Baton Rouge. She discusses: the differences between spirituals and gospel music; the reasons why spirituals are so special to her; and her work to reestablish their importance. Ellis-Marsh then performs several spirituals accompanied by pianist Frank White: “His Name So Sweet”; “Fix Me Jesus”; “Oh Freedom”; “Wade in De Water”; “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”; “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me”; and “Roll Jerd’n Roll!”