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formerly enslaved musicians

Church pays ‘royalties’ for use of African American spirituals

A Boston news station recently shared a story about a Massachusetts church that came up with a unique reparation idea to undo the injustices to those men and women who authored the great African American spirituals in many a hymn book. Each time the choir sings such a spiritual, the church will pay a royalty. It is common practice for churches to pay royalties to publishers for the use of hymns, but according to the news report, Susan DeSelms, minister of music of the United Parish in Brookline, which came up with the idea, “the enslaved people who created this music were never rewarded for their art.”