As I mentioned in previous post most African American spirituals were code for escaping slavery.
Yes RAPP did not originate in the 20th century and not in LA. Instead was in the 1840s and it was lower Mississippi.
The slaves would sing their African American spirituals as they worked the cotton fields. What they were really doing was sending code across the fields for when the Underground Railroad was going to meet that night!
Here is another interesting historical event concerning these spirituals. In 1862 a group of slaves in South Carolina were jailed for singing We’ll Soon Be Free.
These spirituals were hard to put into print because they really relied on vocal delivery; communal singing, which needed closely knit group with lots of interaction; a choral leader and were greatly improvised with each performance. Also they relied on NO musical instruments!
Next post how BLUES developed from the spirituals.