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Celtic Radio Community > The Celts > Scottish, African Americans

Posted by: CelticRadio 03-Mar-2010, 09:41 PM
This was a very interesting article I was reading tonight over at Wikipedia and made me think how we all have more in common than not:


There has been a long tradition of influences between Scottish American and African American communities. The great influx of Scots Presbyterians into the Carolinas introduced the African slaves to Christianity and their way of worship and singing. Even today, psalm singing and gospel music are the backbone of African American churchgoers. It has been long thought by the wider African American community that American Gospel music originated in Africa and was brought to the Americas by slaves. However recent studies by Professor Willie Ruff, a Black American ethno-musicologist at Yale University, concludes that African American Gospel singing was in fact was introduced and encouraged by Scottish Gaelic speaking settlers from North Uist. His study also concludes that the first foreign tongue spoken by slaves in America was not English but Scottish Gaelic taught to them by Gaelic speakers who left the Western Isles because of religious persecution. Traditional Scottish Gaelic psalm singing, or "precenting the line" as it is correctly known, in which the psalms are called out and the congregation sings a response, was the earliest form of congregational singing adopted by Africans in America. Professor Ruff focuses on Scottish settler influences that pre-date all other congregational singing by African Americans in America and found, in a North Carolina newspaper dated about 1740, an advertisement offering a generous reward for the capture and return of a runaway African slave who is described as being easy to identify because he only spoke Gaelic. Such cultural influences have remained until modern times, even a church in Alabama where the African American congregation worshipped in Gaelic as late as 1918, giving a clue to the extent to which the Gaels spread their culture - from North Carolina to Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.

Posted by: Antwn 06-Mar-2010, 05:38 PM
QUOTE (CelticRadio @ 03-Mar-2010, 10:41 PM)
This was a very interesting article I was reading tonight over at Wikipedia and made me think how we all have more in common than not:

Fascinating article, I agree. Thanks for posting!!

Posted by: TheCarolinaScotsman 06-Mar-2010, 06:27 PM
The story is told of a Scottish lady arriving on a ship in Wilmington. There were some slaves on the dock speaking in Gaelic. The lady was heard to exclaim, "If I'd known the Carolina sun would do that to our complexions I never would have come."

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