The Music of Black Americans

By Eileen Southern,

Book cover of The Music of Black Americans: A History

Book description

Beginning with the arrival of the first Africans in the English colonies, Eileen Southern weaves a fascinating narrative of intense musical activity. As singers, players, and composers, black American musicians are fully chronicled in this landmark book. Now in the third edition, the author has brought the entire text up…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Music of Black Americans as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

The Music of Black Americans is the unmatched study of AA music. 

I love this book. I frequently reference it in my writing and teaching. There are many other studies of African American literature, but Southern’s is the classic, the key source out of which the other studies grew.

From Daryl's list on African American folklore.

One day Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln presented me with a thick, intense book saying: ”Here Lil, it’s one of the most important books ever written on our music. You might say it’s our bible! You’re going to love it!” They were right, I opened the heavy book, set it on my lap, and was smoothly led away into a magic world of slave ships, English colonies; then music, artists, and composers, all the way to the black liberation movement. As Dr. Southern makes clear: Despite the burden of social injustice, to the people, music has always played a central…

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