Need help finding lyrics to a spiritual?

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Check out these sources!

Herder, Nicole Beaulieu, and Ronald Herder. Best-Loved Negro Spirituals: Complete Lyrics to 178 Songs of Faith. Foreword by Paul T. Kwami. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2001.

Contains the lyrics of 178 spirituals. Due to complexities in working with songs that originate in an oral tradition, the author indicates when there are several songs with the same title or the same first line. Excellent for sing-alongs, community programs, church functions, and other events.

Hickman, Cynthia. Spirituals: A Folk Anthology. New York: Dunbar, 2002.

Discusses the origins, preservation, and performance of spirituals, relying heavily on historic documents. An anthology of lyrics from 225 spirituals, which Hickman calls “folk poetry.” The collection is designed to serve as a reference to the core of the spirituals omnibus, making it useful to literary and cultural historians, general historians, and theologians. Includes an extensive bibliography and discography.

Newman, Richard. Go Down, Moses: A Celebration of the African-American Spiritual. Illustrated by Terrance Cummings. Foreword by Cornel West. New York: Clarkson Potter, 1998.

Collects the lyrics to two hundred spirituals, along with the music to twenty-five of the most popular. Texts are divided into four subject categories: songs of faith, songs of freedom, songs of hope, and songs of the spirit.

Peters, Erskine. Lyrics of the Afro-American Spiritual: A Documentary Collection. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1993.

An anthology of lyrics from 978 spirituals, divided into nine thematic categories and indexed by first line and title. Designed to serve as a thematic reference for use by literary and cultural historians, general historians, and theologians. Discusses the historical background, poetics, and significance of the African American spiritual, and includes references to song and text sources. Numbers in parenthesis following the titles or first lines in the indexes indicate how many songs bear the same title or first line.

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