New Book Examines the African American Art Form of Gospel Music


This book is designed for the general reader of gospel music, as well as those who incorporate gospel into their lesson plans on the academic level. “Gospel Music: An African American Art Form” provides music information on the heritage of gospel from its African roots, Negro spirituals, traditional and contemporary gospel music trends.

The mission and purpose of this book is to provide a framework of study of gospel music, which is in the mainstream of other music genres. There are 8 detailed sections, appendices and resources on gospel music which include African Roots and Characteristics and history, Negro Spirituals, Black Congregational Singing, Gospel history and Movement, Gripping effects: Cross Over Artists, Youth in Gospel, and Gospel Music in the Academic Curriculum with lesson plans. There is a wealth of knowledge on the cultural heritage of “Gospel Music As An Art Form.”

Joan Rucker-Hillsman, a native of Anderson, South Carolina, received a Bachelor of Music Education and Masters of Music Education degrees from Howard University, matriculated at Catholic University of America in the Doctor of Music Arts program, and received a Ph.D in Musicology from The Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, Ohio. Her Doctoral Dissertation was on “Sequential Instructions for Administering Gospel Music in an Academic Setting”. Dr. Hillsman is a lecturer, performer, composer and a well-known Church Music Consultant with international recognition. She is also an author of several books, including the second edition of this revised compilation, “Gospel Music: An African American Art Form”, McGraw Hill Publisher. She is on the National Board of Directors of the James Cleveland Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA), served in the Academic Division as S Scholarship Chairperson, and currently chairs the National Collegiate Night: “Gospel Goes to College”, a program which was proposed and established by her. She has worked on the college/university level serving on Doctoral committees for several institutions of higher education. She worked on a project, “African American Music Concepts” at Harvard University with the late renowned professor, Eileen Southern.

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Dr. Joan Hillsman