Originally started a Black Music Month by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, it was renamed as African American Music Appreciation Month by President Barack Obama in 2009. It is a month to appreciate the contributions of African American singers, musicians, and composers.
Some of these contributions include:
Negro Spirituals: Some famous ones include "The Drinking Gourd", "Steal Away", "Wade in the Water", "I'm Troubled in Mind", and "Go Down, Moses".
The Fisk Jubilee Singers were a popular group that toured the United States and Europe beginning in 1871 until the early 1900's. They performed Negro spirituals fro white audiences.
Ragtime: Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag"
Blues: Noted performers include W.C. Handy and Orchestra, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Alberta Smith, Ethel Waters, Papa Charlie Jackson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Huddle Ledbetter "Leadbelly".
Jazz: Ragtime and blues combining with European harmonies. New Orleans is considered the "birthplace of jazz". Noted performers include Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, and Fletcher Henderson. The 1920's are considered "The Jazz Age".
Big Band Jazz (aka Swing): Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Ink Spots
Hard Bop: Max Roach, Horace Siler, Louis Jordan
Gospel & Classical: Marian Anderson, the first African American to sing at the Metropolitan Opera.
The contributions have continued into the 1950's and beyond. Noted performers of various decades include the following:
1950s: Nat King Cole, Big Joe Turner, Ruth Brown, Chuck Berry, Orioles, Little Richard, Coasters, Platters, Jacky Wilson, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino
1960s-1970s: Ray Charles, Supremes (Diana Ross & the Supremes), Miracles (Smokey Robinson & the Miracles), Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Donna Summer, Sugarhill Gang, James Brown, Roberta Flack, DJ Kool Herc (development of "rap" music).
1980's-1990's: Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Run DMC, Lionel Richie, Tina Turner, Prince, TLC, Boyz II Men, SWV, Mariah Carey, Puff Daddy, Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G.
2000s: Mary J. Blige, Destiny's Child, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Usher, R.Kelly, Jay-Z, 50-Cent, Nelly, Kanye West, Rihanna, Pharrell among others.
Text: NF, TG
Marian Anderson, contralto, was denied the right to perfom at Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) because of her color. Instead, and at the urging of Eleanor Roosevelt, Harold Ickes permitted her to perform at the Lincoln Memorial on April 9, 1939.
Text: NF, TG
These are a few of the books and e-books related to African American music accessible to LWLC patrons
The African American Music Reference database contains text reference, biographies, chronologies, sheet music, images, lyrics, liner notes, and discographies illustrating the musical heritage of African Americans. Musical selections can be found in American Song database.
(text & selections: NF, TG):