The purpose of the Black Gospel Music Preservation Program (BGMPP) is to identify, acquire, preserve, record and catalogue the most at-risk music from the black gospel music tradition. This collection will primarily contain 78s, 45s, LPs, and the various tape formats issued in the United States and abroad between the 1940s and the 1980s. Additionally, any ephemera that may be of use to scholars – including PR photos and press packets, taped interviews, informal photographs, tour books and programs, newspaper and magazine clippings, and sheet music – will also be acquired as it becomes available. The ultimate goal is to have a copy of every song released by every black gospel artist or group during the target time period.
Robert F. Darden
Professor Darden founded the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project (now, The Black Gospel Music Preservation Program) in partnership with the Baylor Libraries back in 2006 following a New York Times op-ed piece he wrote in 2005 Gospel's Got the Blues. Professor Darden raised the initial funds to launch this ambitious project. Years later, the program continues to grow, and is now a well supported program of Baylor University.
A close collaborator and early supporter of this project is Chicago-based collector and scholar Robert Marovich. Baylor University Libraries is deeply appreciative and thankful for Mr. Marovich's invaluable assistance by granting access to his extensive collection of American black gospel music recordings for use in the BGMPP.
Please visit our Wall of Honor to see the full list of supporters.
We are proud to be partners with the NMAAHC, the newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Materials from the BGMPP are featured in the museum's Musical Crossroads permanent exhibit.
Learn more about the BGMPP and the NMAAHC by reading our blog post here.
Voices & Vinyl is an annual concert hosted by the Baylor Libraries and featuring performances by student groups giving their unique, updated interpretations of recorded Black gospel songs. Since 2015, Voices & Vinyl has showcased the talents of the Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir, an a capella choir whose modern takes on classic gospel songs have entertained V&V audiences on campus, in the Waco community, and via a virtual concert experience in 2021.
As a result of the preservation work of the Black Gospel Music Preservation Program, these recordings are presented here free for personal, non-commercial use as a contribution to education and scholarship. Baylor University does not own the rights in this collection and therefore cannot grant or deny permission to distribute material in this collection. It is the user's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing music from the BGMPP.
If you have any more information about the music available from the Black Gospel Music Preservation Program, or if you are the copyright owner and believe this collection has not properly attributed your work to you or has used it without permission, we want to hear from you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in contact with the project staff, including your contact information and a link to the relevant content.
To learn more about the BGMPP, please visit the project homepage. You'll find information on the project's history, how to loan/donate materials, and how to support the project financially.
Using This Resource In Your Research?
If you're a researcher or scholar and you've found a use for our materials in your work, email us at
email@example.com and tell us about it! We may feature your work on our Digital Collections blog or work with you to promote your work via our other social media outlets.
This collection is considered an active collection. Items will be added periodically as they are acquired by Baylor University and processed through the Digitization and Digital Preservation Group.