According to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, is branching out to find and preserve recorded sermons by Black preachers.
The Restoration Project was originally established to identify, acquire, preserve, record, and catalogue the most at-risk music from the Black gospel music tradition from the 1940s to the 1980s. In addition to preserving in digital format these gospel recordings, the archive includes press photos and press packets, taped interviews, informal photographs, tour books and programs, newspaper and magazine clippings, and sheet music.
Now the project is looking to digitize sermons that were recorded on vinyl. Some records were just a Black preacher preaching for two and a half minutes on each side and they sold half a million copies – even during the Great Depression.
“All Black preachers sing, and all Black singers preach,” notes Robert Darden, a professor of journalism, public relations and new media at Baylor and the director of the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project.
“That got me thinking – nobody has been collecting the Black preaching from the Civil Rights movement, other than Dr. King. All these incredible heroes who were preaching around the rest of the country, there’s not a collection of their work. So, I met with the other folks in the Black Gospel project, and we agreed that in addition to the music, we ought to be trying to collect preaching.”
Support The Project
The Black Gospel Music Restoration Project is made possible by men and women with a zeal for preserving history. Support will help the project continue its important work. All donations are used solely to support the work of the project. Two funds have been established to support the project:
- The Black Gospel Music Restoration Fund, which is dedicated to the operational support of the project.
- The Lev H. Prichard III Traditional Black Music Restoration Endowment Fund, which was formed to build a long-term endowment for the project.