About the Foundation

The nonprofit “Negro Spiritual” Scholarship Foundation is preserving a heritage within America’s musical legacy – the Negro spiritual song – and supporting a future for deserving young people as they transition from high school to college. Along the way our GRADY-RAYAM PRIZE vocal programs develop and showcase talent that is suited to classical singing.

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Why “Negro Spiritual” …

The term “Negro Spiritual” chosen as part of our name usually modifes the word ‘song’. When taken together the three words ‘Negro spiritual song’ identify a particular body of work deriving from the slave era. (‘Negro spiritual’ is the shorthand version.) African slaves brought with them tunes and rhythms that they matched with new words to create songs telling about their plight. This historic group of uniquely American songs is now recognized universally as a distinct genre of music literature. We have adopted the Negro spiritual as the focus and centerpiece of our agency’s mission.

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Now Playing

The soprano Luctrician Hamilton sang Diane L. White’s arrangement of the American negro spiritual ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ at our 2007 World-Premiere Gala. The work was commissioned to honor the late Virgina Ford, who was present on that occasion for its live debut. We hope that hearing this amazing piece of song literature will delight you as much as it did Miss Ford! —————–>

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