“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.”
-Psalms 98:4-6, KJV
In the midst of some challenging times in our country, several elected officials, dignitaries and gospel greats, recently gathered together in the nation’s capital to celebrate the foundation and cultural significance of Gospel music in this country.
U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee hosted the Celebration of Gospel Music Heritage Month, and was joined by a bipartisan group of Members of Congress, including House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina; Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Karen Bass of the 37th Congressional District of California; Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee Nita Lowey; Chair of the Democratic Caucus Hakeem Jeffries; and Civil Rights Icon and Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus Congressman John Lewis of the 5th Congressional District in Georgia.
The event took place on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, in a room reserved by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.
“Gospel music can trace its roots to African American spirituals, and spirituals can trace their roots back to the ‘corn ditties’, sung by early slaves,” said Congresswoman Jackson Lee. “It is the soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement and one of the most influential cornerstones of music history and culture in the United States, which has grown beyond its roots and impacting every genre of music. It is a beautiful art form that must be celebrated and preserved.”
In tandem, with this gallant effort, Congresswoman Jackson Lee introduced H.J.Res.3, which is The Gospel Music Heritage Month Resolution,which expresses support for the designation of September as “Gospel Music Heritage Month” and honors gospel music for its valuable and longstanding contributions to the culture of the United States.
“In 2008, I introduced legislation designating September as Gospel Music Heritage,” said Congresswoman Jackson Lee. “This enabled the establishment of the Gospel Music Heritage Month Foundation, which celebrates gospel music in the month of September as a touchstone of American culture, and the foundation for many differing forms of music in America.”
The illustrious heritage of Gospel music celebration was honored with the presence of Gospel music greats Kathy Taylor, V. Michael McKay, Grammy Nominated artist Anthony Brown, Recording Academy artist Jason Nelson, C. Ashley Brown-Lawrence, and Patrick Lundy and the Ministers of Music. This year’s honorees were the Honorable Jim Clyburn, who received the 2019 Gospel Music Medal of Honor; the Honorable Bobby Rush; Anthony Brown; and Jason Nelson, who each received the 2019 Gospel Music Icon Award.
“I would like to thank all the wonderful artists for sharing their gift of music at the United States Capitol, the Recording Academy for their continued support of music professionals, Members of Congress, and everyone who joined us in making this celebration of Gospel music possible, including Houston’s own Kathy Taylor and V. Michael McKay,” said Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
Other elected officials who joined Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee as hosts included: Congressman Sanford Bishop of the 2nd Congressional District of Georgia; Congressman Bobby Rush of the 1st Congressional District of Illinois; Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II of the 5th Congressional District of Missouri; Congressman G. K. Butterfield of the 1st Congressional District of North Carolina; Congresswoman Joyce Beatty of the 3rd Congressional District of Ohio; Congresswoman Frederica Wilson of the 24th Congressional District Florida; Susan Davis, Doug Lamborn, Juan Vargas, Lisa Blunt Rochester and Robin Kelly.