Pruit Memorial Symposium Explores Heritage of Black Gospel Music

Feb. 22, 2016
The Rev. Dr. Emmett G. Price IIIThe Rev. Dr. Emmett G. Price III, courtesy photo.

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Contact: Terry Goodrich,(254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (Feb. 22, 2016) – In recognition of Black History Month, the 2016 Pruit Memorial Symposium will begin this week with a panel discussion at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, and close with a presentation at 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 26. Both events will be held in the Paul W. Powell Chapel of the George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

The 2016 symposium will focus on the heritage of Black Gospel Music. The events, which date back to 1998, are meant to bring the perspective of Christian intellectual tradition to contemporary issues.

"If you're interested in popular music, religious music, history, culture, the entire world of African-American expression and/or the Civil Rights Movement, you'll get something out of the symposium's major two events," said Robert Darden, professor of journalism, public relations and new media in the college of arts and sciences.

The panel "Music and Worship: From Hallelujah to Hip-Hop" will include three panelists: The Rev. Dr. Emmett G. Price III, Ph.D., Coretta Pittman, Ph.D., associate professor of English and the director of freshman composition, and Horace Maxile, Ph.D., assistant professor of music theory. The panel will be moderated by Darden.

"Gospel music, coupled with the spirituals, is the foundation of all American popular music – jazz, rock 'n' roll, rap, hip-hop, the blues," Darden said. "It is an extraordinary combination of the sacred with the profane, of the beat of Saturday night coupled with the faith of Sunday morning. This is America's first true musical art form and it continues to influence art and culture today."

Price, professor of music at Northeastern University, is a leading expert in African American music, culture and worship. He will give the presentation "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

"'Lift Every Voice and Sing' is considered the African-American 'national anthem' and it has a power and influence far beyond a simple performance piece," Darden said. "It is part of black culture and contains a unique place in American history. Dr. Emmett R. Price is considered one of America's best communicators, a gifted speaker, choral director, musician and writer. His sermons and lectures have made him one of the most in-demand speakers in the country. Spend an hour with him, and your life will be changed!"

A complimentary lunch and discussion will follow the presentation. These events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

The symposium is sponsored by the Pruit Memorial Symposium Endowment and is co-sponsored by the Baylor University Libraries, American Studies, Journalism, Public Relations and New Media and Truett Seminary.

Truett Seminary is located at 1100 S. Third St., Waco, TX 76706.

by Jenna Press, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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