Baylor’s Black Gospel project to become a Smithsonian permanent feature
What began with one Baylor professor’s efforts to save black gospel music recordings before they disappeared is now going to be a part of the Smithsonian Institution.
The Black Gospel Music Restoration Project — officially launched in 2008 by Baylor professor Robert Darden, and managed and maintained by the Baylor Libraries’ Digital Projects Group — will become a permanent feature of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture when it opens on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in 2015.
As Darden discovered during research for his book People Get Ready! A New History of Black Gospel Music, some historic black gospel recordings have made their way to CD, but many more — particularly those by lesser known performers — remain solely on old 45- and 78-rpm albums. Baylor’s Black Gospel project seeks to find and digitize such recordings, to preserve both their spiritual and cultural contributions for posterity.
At the Smithsonian, the collection will be part of the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Musical Crossroads exhibition, helping tell the story of African-American music from the arrival of the first Africans in America through the present. If you can’t wait until 2015, a sampling of Baylor’s collection is available now for free streaming and download on iTunes.
Sic ’em, Baylor preservationists!
You might also like:
* Black Gospel Music Restoration Project prof recognized for teaching, research and service (May 2011)
* Baylor’s Black Gospel Music Restoration Project featured on iTunes U front page (Feb. 2010)
* Ashley Cleveland earns Grammy nomination for album inspired by Baylor gospel music project (Dec. 2009)