Hidden History: Raising a hymn

Black History Month

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – For more than 100 years, hymns have provided messages and music.

As music has evolved, so have the traditional sounds inside churches. But one group has found a way to keep history alive through their music.

Inside Greater Mount Canaan Missionary Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga., an old art form has taken on new life.

A musical group called the Disciples of Praise do what’s called “raising hymns.” It’s a form of song known as “call and response” that dates back to slavery.

“Back in slavery time quite naturally they didn’t want them to know how to read, so they couldn’t read,” said Deacon Wesley Johnson of Disciples of Praise. “As they went older and older you may have the preacher or some designated one that read it, or they may not didn’t have but one book.”

The hymns fall into three categories: standard, common metered, and long. They vary by the length of the notes. As instruments have increased in popularity during services, this form of music has seen a significant decrease in many churches – but it’s been just the right beat to keep the Disciples of Praise in harmony.

“What’s so unique about it is a bunch of men from different backgrounds and different churches come together and be able to co-exist. That’s one of the things that’s so unique about our group,” Johnson said.

The Disciples of Praise aren’t just using their voices to sing: They’re also raising money for a scholarship while keeping a dying art – and history – alive.

“If it dies then they will never know about their history,” Wesley said. “If you don’t know where you came from then you don’t know pretty much where you’re going. So everybody needs to know about their history.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Recent Videos

Wind tapers and leaves colder temperatures

FURRY FRIDAY JAN 15

NDC JAN 15

WDA Wrestling

Class B Basketball

WDA Boy's Basketball

BPS School Boundary Lines

SYSK Becky Roesler

Full video: President-elect Biden announces coronavirus stimulus plan

Thursday, January 14th, 2021 - KX Storm Team Evening Forecast - Dave Holder

KX Convo: Dr. Hornbacher

Wind Damage

Rapid City Pup

KX Storm Team Full Evening Forecast w/Tom Schrader 1/14

ROSA at Trinity

Vehicle Thefts

Wellington Vaccines

Road Trains

Abortion Bill

Transition to Vaccines

More Video

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss

KX News Trending Stories

Latest Stories

More Local News