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T H U R S D A Y

In songs and chants emanating from contemporary churches, protest marches, and radios worldwide, the resonant strains of the 19th-century folk hymns of Southern blacks live on, even if modern technology obscures their origins and occasionally their meaning. In a lecture titled “Spirituals, Rhythm and Blues, and American Culture,” Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, best-known as the vocalist/founder of the sociopolitical a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock, will explore the African and European derivation of these soulful cries and explain how their structure and purpose has been transformed. Johnson, who recently brought passion, knowledge, and amiability to her duties as producer and host of the National Public Radio series “Wade in the Water: African-American Sacred Music Traditions,” can be expected to impart those same qualities tonight. At 8 p.m. at George Washington University’s Funger Hall, Room 103, 2201 G St. NW. FREE. (202) 994-6816. (Steve Kiviat)