Baylor Black Gospel Music Expert Pens Dallas Morning News Column Remembering MLKApril 4, 20182 min read
Robert Darden, professor of journalism, PR and new media at Baylor University, is a gospel music expert. He penned this column to commemorate the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. and to remember the music that carried people through the grief of the time.
He writes: "In the days of rage and grief that followed the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis on April 4, 1968, many Americans found, at least for a time, relief in music.
Rosa Parks, whose brave stand on a Montgomery, Ala., bus just 13 years earlier was the inciting incident in the slow build of the civil rights movement after World War II, watched as Detroit erupted in violence. She sat in her room playing Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come" over and over. She said the song 'saved her sanity.'"
Darden is the author of two dozen books, most recently: Nothing But Love in God’s Water, Volume II: Black Sacred Music from Sit-In to Resurrection City (Penn State University Press, 2016); Nothing But Love in God’s Water, Volume I: Black Sacred Music from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement (Penn State University Press, 2014); Jesus Laughed: The Redemptive Power of Humor (Abingdon Press, 2008); Reluctant Prophets and Clueless Disciples: Understanding the Bible by Telling Its Stories (Abingdon Press, 2006); and People Get Ready! A New History of Black Gospel Music (Continuum/Bloomsbury, 2004).
He founded the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, the world’s largest initiative to identify, acquire, digitize, categorize and make accessible gospel music from gospel’s Golden Age (1945-1970). The BGMRP provides the gospel music for the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History & Culture.
Robert Darden, M.A. Professor, Journalism, Public Relations and New Media
Darden is a professor in the department of journalism, PR & new media. He directs Baylor's Black Gospel Music Restoration Project.