The Black Music History Library is a living collection of books, articles, documentaries, series, podcasts and more about the Black origins of traditional and popular music dating from the 18th century to present day. Resources are organized chronologically and by genre for ease of browsing.
This digital library was born out of a need to make resources about Black music history as comprehensive and accessible as possible. It contains well over one thousand entries (and counting) in the form of books, articles, documentaries, series, radio segments, and podcasts about the Black origins of popular and traditional music, dating from the 18th century to the present day. These materials range from informal to scholarly, meaning there is something in the library for everyone.
There are many notable archives doing similar work, yet it isn’t uncommon for some to have a limited view of Black music—one which fuels US-centrism and a preference for vernacular music traditions. This collection considers the term “Black music” more widely, as it aims to address any instances in which Black participation led to the creation or innovation of music across the diaspora. Plainly speaking, that means just about every genre will be included here.
Black artists have often been minimized or omitted entirely when it comes to the discussion, practice, and research of many forms of music. This library seeks to correct that. It is time to reframe Black music history as foundational to American music history, Latinx music history, and popular music history at large.