‘How Sweet the Sound: Gospel Music in Los Angeles’ highlights beloved genre

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The California African American Museum currently displays “How Sweet the Sound: Gospel Music in Los Angeles,” an exhibit focused on the history of African American influence on gospel music and its effects during various politically divisive moments in America’s history.

Also exploring its influence on culture and contemporary politics, the exhibit elaborates on gospel music as seen as a global phenomenon.

“Diversity is a real big point that we really are proud of at the CAAM,” Tyree Boyd-Pates said, history curator and program manager of the exhibit. “Although we are an African American museum, we are a museum that provides communities of all colors to see how the black experience mirrors their own and how they too can piece together history told from another side and ultimately inform the ways in which they see the entire society that they live in.”

Even detailing the history of gospel’s impact dating back to 1910, the exhibit is about how a considerable contingent of African Americans overcame hardship and struggle by embedding themselves within the religious centers of their communities.

“So many of the songs that are being played here not only provided solace and peace,” Boyd-Pates said. “They also provided marching orders for those who wanted to hit the streets, to rally the cry for freedom and equality to the same tune that Dr. Martin Luther King said during 1963’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.”

The “How Sweet the Sound: Gospel Music in Los Angeles” exhibit will be displayed at the California African American Museum until late August.

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