Robert Darden ('78 M.J.) became fascinated with black gospel music as an Air Force brat. His interest led him to co-found the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, the largest initiative in the world to identify, acquire, digitize, catalogue and make accessible rare gospel vinyl, which will be part of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.
He also is the author of 2005's People Get Ready: A New History of Black Gospel Music (Continuum) and this fall's Nothing But Love in God's Water I: Black Sacred Music from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement (Penn State University Press).
Darden, who teaches journalism at Baylor University, says, "I love the passion in the words and performance. Gospel artists believe they are called to sing, so they sing just as hard whether there are five or 500 present."