Dubois Concerning Black Music

Overwhelmingly the mass of writings on African American music have been written about music produced in the 20th century owing to the importance of the invention of recorded sound as a reliable object of study.   However most studies which include discussion of early African American music and its religious inflections will include some speculation on its relationship to slavery, Reconstruction and the semi-freedom of the Jim Crow Period.

In the further pursuit of materials related to Du Bois discussion of the development of the music of the slaves in Chapter 10 "Faith of Our Fathers" and in his final chapter on the Sorrow Songs in The Souls of Black Folk, the following crucial texts come highly recommended by me:

Dena J. Epstein, Sinful Tunes and Spirituals: Black Folk Music to the Civil War. University of Illinois Press 1977.
Shane White and Graham White, The Sounds of Slavery: Discovering African American History through Songs, Sermons and Speech. Beacon Press 1992.
Robert Darden, People Get Ready! A New History of Black Gospel Music. Continuum 2004.
Michael W. Harris, The Rise of the Gospel Blues: The Music of Thomas Andrew Dorsey in the Urban Church. Oxford University Press 1992.
Bernice Johnson Reagon, If You Don't Go, Don't Hinder Me: The African American Sacred Song Tradition. University of Nebraska Press 2001.
Eileen Southern, Readings in Black American Music. Second Edition, Norton Press 1983.

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