BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – Members of Baltimore’s Native American Community, with strong roots in Eastern North Carolina, presented a public program showcasing their unique, living tradition of Eastern Carolina Native American style Southern Gospel music. Their hope was to increase awareness and recognition not only of the art form but also of the Native American community of Southeast Baltimore.
Native American people from Eastern North Carolina migrated to Baltimore City post World War II, seeking employment in industry with hopes of improving their quality of life. Eventually, thousands of Natives settled in Southeast Baltimore concentrating in a 64-block area from Broadway to Patterson Park. With them, they brought their unique form of worship, which has been maintained, passed down and is practiced to this day.
Local Singer Linda Cox, a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, says “Gospel music is a joy to me. It’s soothing to my heart and I hope people will enjoy our type of Southern Gospel music. We are country singers; we’re from the South, from Carolina, from Indian Country. We keep singing. We’re carrying the tradition of what we were raised on.”
That Same Spirit included an intergenerational Gospel Singing featuring members of Baltimore’s Native American community and a panel discussion on the history and contemporary practice of the art form, followed by a reception with traditional Native American refreshments.
This was a free event funded by Maryland Traditions, the Folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council.