Nancy Wilson

“Sweet Nancy” : The Story of the American Jazz Singer Nancy Sue Wilson, born February 20th, 1937, was destined for a life in music from a young age. Her mother Lillian Ryan and her father Olden Wilson would play records of singers such as Nat King Cole, Billy Eckstine, and many others which influenced and […]

Record Row – Soul Power

Record Row, Soul Music and Black Power Soul music as we know it today has/had a direct correlation to the start of the Civil Rights Movement. The music of gospel and Negro Spirituals shifted to freedom music for various protest styles such as sit-ins, marches and bus rides. Music that was once deemed as solely […]

Jubilee Quartet Post

Elvis Presley: King of Rock and Roll or King of Stealing? Jubilee was a unique African American tradition that originated in the mid- 1880s where it evolved in three major cycles; the jubilee period, the transitional period, and the gospel period. In the beginning, the jubilee period highlighted slow hymns, no backing music and no […]

Blues: The Musical Coping Mechanism

The phrase “I have the blues” is synonymous for feeling sad, down in the dumps, or upset. Black music is often reflective of the time period and the black experience at the time. The blues period coincided with Jim Crow Laws, so the name makes sense. A time of segregation, discrimination, and hate, would likely […]

Ragtime, “Coon Songs”, and Cake Walks

The history of Ragtime music in the black community is a very complicated one. While it was a important aspect of black culture and music, it is also deeply rooted in a very derogatory and hurtful history as well. Even though Ragtime music formally got it’s name in the 1890’s, it was around and known […]

Jubilee Quartet Post

The Impact of HBCU’s on Jubilee Quartets Jubilee quartets were an important part of 20th century African American music and held significant cultural and religious importance. The name “Jubilee Quartet” itself derives from the early Fisk Jubilee Singers who sang negro spirituals. We previously studied negro spirituals in our last unit and we all know […]

Negro Spirituals and Hymns

Negro Spirituals and Hymns        In the early 1740’s, the period of spiritual awakening, also known as the great awakening, gave birth to the genre of Negro Spirituals and Hymns.         These songs and hymns were used as a way for black people to embrace, celebrate and practice their form of […]