Published on September 20th, 2018 | by The Hezekiah Walker Show with Neicy Tribbett
September is Gospel Music Heritage Month
Within the history of the United States of America, there is an entangled complex of migration paths, land masses made of earth, bone and blood, people and their multitude of experiences, languages and emotions. Navigating the country’s layered, fractured and broken story is not an easy one, yet there is a medium that can ubiquitously narrate it – song. If music is the vehicle by which the terrain is orally traveled, then Gospel music is its most honest and trusted brand.
This may be one of the reasons why the genre garnered support from the political field int the last decade. September is officially recognized as Gospel Music Heritage Month and has been championed since 2007. Legislation for the resolution and support of it was spearheaded by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, former Congresswoman Mary Bono, Senator Blanch Lincoln, Senator Hutchinson and Gospel Music Channel founder Charles Humbard. Together, they championed, organized and co-sponsored legislation to make Gospel Heritage month a reality.
The legislation is summarized as “honoring gospel music for its valuable and longstanding contributions to the culture of the United States”. As the Gospel Music Heritage Month Foundation recognizes that “Gospel music roots run deep into the foundation of America. Its sound, soul and spirit have inspired some of the biggest names within secular music like Al Green, Alan Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Buddy Holly, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Mariah Carey, Marvin Gaye, Randy Travis, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, and Whitney Houston, among many others.”
For the past several years, the Gospel Music Heritage Month Foundation creates events and promotes literacy and education around the understanding and appreciation of Gospel music. Various celebrations that commemorate the achievements of living stakeholders of the music have honored Andrea Crouch, Shirley Caesar, Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, Dr. Bobby Jones, Cathy Hughes, Bill Hearn, Richard Smallwood, Don Jackson, Congressman John Lewis and Rev. Jesse Jackson.
As the genre transforms, may it be recognized as a medium to both express and move through the human experience. As the music may take on whatever form the conditions mold it to be, may we honor the tradition as it has been.