Nothing but Love in God's Water

Volume 1: Black Sacred Music from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement

By (author) Robert Darden

Hardback - £27.95

Publication date:

21 October 2014

Length of book:

224 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271050843

The first of two volumes chronicling the history and role of music in the African American experience, Nothing but Love in God’s Water explores how songs and singers helped African Americans challenge and overcome slavery, subjugation, and suppression. From the spirituals of southern fields and the ringing chords of black gospel to the protest songs that changed the landscape of labor and the cadences sung before dogs and water cannons in Birmingham, sacred song has stood center stage in the African American drama. Myriad interviews, one-of-a-kind sources, and rare or lost recordings are used to examine this enormously persuasive facet of the movement. Nothing but Love in God’s Water explains the historical significance of song and helps us understand how music enabled the civil rights movement to challenge the most powerful nation on the planet.

Nothing but Love in God’s Water, volume 1, fills a significant niche in the already-voluminous library of the civil rights movement. While previous Pulitzer Prize–winning books have definitively covered the movement’s leaders, politics, strategies, philosophy, and impact, the literature related to the influence—actually, the importance—of the music to the movement has barely been addressed in meaningful, systematic fashion. Nothing but Love in God's Water does that and more.”

—James Abbington, Journal of American History