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African American Rural Hymnody & The Sacred Harp

Documentation of the four-shape-note singing tradition in the "Wiregrass" region of Alabama from the William H. Tallmadge Baptist Hymnody Collection 1968-1980, SAA 33 and Rural Hymnody Symposium Collection, RG 11.02. by John H. Bondurant

Timeline of Wiregrass African American Sacred Harp Recordings

William H. Tallmadge was not the first outside scholar to document and record the African American Sacred Harp singing tradition in southeast Alabama, but he was among the earliest. The Tallmadge documentation falls into a line of work by other noted scholars.

Interview Excerpts

 

Dewey Williams talks about singing Sacred Harp music in southeast Alabama, and his association with Judge Jackson, author of The Colored Sacred Harp.
Recorded by William H. Tallmadge in Williams' Ozark, AL home.
 
WT-OR-155-003-01.1

Dewey Williams talks about getting white community sponsorship for his African American Sacred Harp radio and TV programs.
Recorded by William H. Tallmadge in Williams' Ozark, AL home.
 
WT-OR-155-003-01.2

 

Brother J.J. Humphrey talks about members of the white community attending annual African American Sacred Harp sings.
Recorded by William H. Tallmadge in Humphrey's Dothan, AL home.
 
WT-OR-155-005-02

Interview excerpts from the William H. Tallmadge Baptist Hymnody Collection, SAA 33. Click HERE for more interview material.

Williams Family singing from The Sacred Harp, Cooper Revision

The Dewey Williams family singing hymns from The Sacred Harp, Cooper Revision in their Ozark, Alabama home. Recorded May 31, 1968. WT-OR-155-003 in the William H. Tallmadge Baptist Hymnody Collection, SAA 33.

 


Jesus Is Willing (Cooper Book 81) - WT-OR-155-003-03

 

 


Praise The Lord (Cooper Book 537) - WT-OR-155-007-13

 

 


Pray, Brethren, Pray (Cooper Book 467) - WT-OR-155-003-09

 

Singing from The Colored Sacred Harp, WOZK AM 900, Ozark AL

In 1955 a regular radio broadcast of Sacred Harp singing was started on WOZK (900 AM) in Ozark, Alabama by Judge Jackson, his son Japeth, and Dewey Williams. At least part of each broadcast was dedicated to Judge Jackson and his musical legacy. These recordings were made by William Tallmadge in the WOZK studio during a June 2, 1968 broadcast. WT-OR-155-003 in the William H. Tallmadge Baptist Hymnody Collection, SAA 33.

 


Rejoice And Sing (CSH 9) - WT-OR-155-008-08

 

 


He Leads Me (CSH 20) - WT-OR-155-008-04

 

 


My Mother's Gone (CSH 19) - WT-OR-155-008-05

 

Wiregrass Sacred Harp Singers at 1979 Berea College Rural Hymnody Symposium

The Wiregrass Sacred Harp Singers, led by Dewey Williams, performed at the Berea College Rural Hymnody Symposium in April 1979. Doris Dyen also presented a paper on African American Sacred Harp singing at the symposium. AC-OR-066-003 in the Rural Hymnody Symposium Collection, RG 11.02.

 


Ninety-Fifth Psalm (Cooper Book 36b) - AC-OR-066-003-02

 

 


Lord, Revive Us (Cooper Book 59) - AC-OR-066-003-03

 

 


How Long, Dear Saviour (Cooper Book 155) - AC-OR-066-003-05