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African American Music


African-American Sheet Music from Brown University
This digital collection consists of 1,305 pieces of African American sheet music dating from 1850 through 1920. Searchable by keyword, and browsable by title, subject,  or its creator or contributor. Maintained by the Library of Congress as part of the American Memory Project.
Afrocentric Voices in Classical Music
Focuses on performers and composers of opera, art songs, and spirituals produced for concerts. Includes biographies, chronology, bibliography, suggested web resources, and a list of research centers and special collections.
Honor!: A celebration of African American cultural legacy
Features an interactive timeline of African American music genres spanning 1600 to 2000. Each genre entry includes digitized archival material, musical samples, and an about page (with definition, context and history, musical feature/performance style, lyrics, and notable performers sections). Webpage includes a tab titled "Artists" that features biographical profiles.
Official Site of Negro Spirituals, Antique Gospel Music
This site includes pages on the history, singers, songs, and composers of traditional black spirituals.
Performing Arts Encyclopedia - Library of Congress (LOC)
A partial guide that highlights scores, sheet music, audio recordings, films, photographs and other items--some of which are online. Searchable by keyword, or browsable by format. Includes content such as articles, essays, and web presentations (e.g. African-American Band Music & Recordings, 1883-1923, Now What a Time: Blues, Gospel, and the Fort Valley Music Festivals, 1938-1943). 
Sweet Chariot: the story of the spirituals
Offers "various [essays about the] cultural and historical influences of the spirituals ... and includes selected samples of interviews conducted with performing artists, community workers and composers around the country..."  From the Spirituals Project and University of Denver.
The History Makers: the nation's largest African American video oral history collection
Musicmakers section features profiles of persons who have composed, performed, and promoted music ranging from country to classical to doo wop and including lyricists, music executives, pianists, and orchestra conductors, among others. Paid members gain access to full length video clips among other benefits.
The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America
Highlights the relationship of song to historical events from the nation's founding to the present, offering more than 80,000 online items (e.g. digitized recordings, sheet music, manuscripts). Also includes biographies, essays (e.g. African American Song, African American Spirituals , Blues as Protest) and curated content, interactive maps, a timeline and teaching resources offering context and expert analysis of the source material.


African-American History and Culture
This electronic encyclopedia includes thousand of entries covering the entire breadth of African-American history - from African beginnings through the slave trade and the Civil Rights Movement to the present. Entries are organized into five sections: Biographies, Encyclopedia, Historical Documents, Gallery and Maps and Charts. Each entry is cross-referenced through hyperlinks and searchable by topic, by historical era, and by keyword.
African American Biographical Database

The African American Biographical Database (AABD) brings together in one resource the biographies of thousands of African Americans, many not to be found in any other reference source. These biographical sketches have been carefully assembled from biographical dictionaries and other sources.

This extraordinary collection contains extended narratives of African American activists, business people, former slaves, performing artists, educators, lawyers, physicians, writers, church leaders, homemakers, religious workers, government workers, athletes, farmers, scientists, factory workers, and more--both the famous and the everyday person. Their stories are pivotal to an understanding of the Black American experience over the last two centuries.

Baltimore Afro-American - Historical Newspaper (1893-1988)

The Baltimore Afro-American was one of the most widely circulated African American newspapers. The paper's contributors have included writer Langston Hughes, intellectual J. Sunders Redding, artist Romare Beardon, and sports editor Sam Lacy.  To see Baltimore history unfold, start here.


Provided by ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

Black Newspapers

Black Newspapers is a collection of current newspapers providing access to news from 1989-present.

The Black Newspapers collection includes:

  • Afro-American Red Star
  • Call & Post (A&I)
  • Chicago Defender
  • Houston Post (A&I)
  • Michigan Chronicle
  • Milwaukee Courier
  • Muslim Journal (A&I)
  • New Journal & Guide (A&I)
  • New York Amsterdam News
  • Los Angeles Sentinel
  • Washington Informer


Maintained by the staff of the African American Department, State Library Resource Center, Enoch Pratt Free Library