Timeline of African American Music
1600—Present

Cultural Resources

The immense contribution of African American musicians to the global music scene is undeniable. This list of resources offers additional information to expand awareness, appreciation, and knowledge.

The American Jazz Museum is dedicated to public service and collaborative efforts to expand the influence, awareness, and appreciation of jazz among the widest demographic of people across the Kansas City region, as well as among those based in various locations worldwide.

americanjazzmuseum.org

The Delta Blues Museum is dedicated to creating a welcoming place where visitors find meaning, value, and perspective by exploring the history and heritage of the unique American musical art form of the blues.

deltabluesmuseum.org

The DuSable Museum is proud of its diverse holdings that number more than 15,000 pieces and include paintings, sculpture, print works, and historical memorabilia. Special exhibitions, workshops, and lectures are featured to highlight works by particular artists, historical events, or collections on loan from individuals or institutions.

dusablemuseum.org

Founded in 1985 by Esther Gordy Edwards—former Motown Records executive and sister to Motown founder, Berry Gordy—Motown Museum is home to iconic Hitsville USA, Studio A, and an extensive array of Motown artifacts, photographs, apparel, and memorabilia.

motownmuseum.org

Noted as one of the nation's premier heritage and cultural museums, the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, is steadfast in its mission to share the culture and lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement and explore how this significant era continues to shape equality and freedom globally.

civilrightsmuseum.org

The mission of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem is to preserve, promote, and present jazz by inspiring knowledge, appreciation, and the celebration of jazz locally, nationally, and internationally. We tell the truth about jazz and fuel our mission through four core programs: Education; Jazz &… (Community Engagement and Performance); Exhibits and Collections; and Partnerships and Collaborations.

jmih.org

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by an Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 40,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th museum of the Smithsonian Institution.

nmaahc.si.edu

The National Museum of African American Music is the only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the many music genres created, influenced, and inspired by African Americans. The museum’s expertly curated collections share the story of the American soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology to bring the musical heroes of the past into the present. 

nmaam.org

The New Orleans Jazz Museum celebrates jazz in the city where it was born. Through dynamic interactive exhibits, multigenerational educational programming, research facilities, and engaging musical performances, the music New Orleans made famous is explored in all its forms. Through partnerships with local, national, and international educational institutions, the New Orleans Jazz Museum promotes the global understanding of jazz as one of the most innovative, historically pivotal musical art forms in world history. 

nolajazzmuseum.org

The Northwest African American Museum is an anti-racist, pro-equity, affirming gathering place of hope, help, and healing for the entire Northwest region that is building intergenerational cultural wealth. At the heart of the African American experience in the Northwest is the story of our journey to this region, the establishment of our vibrant community, and the ways in which we have survived. To tell this ever-unfolding story, the Museum’s exhibitions and programs feature the visual arts, music, crafts, literature, and history of African Americans in the Northwest.

naamnw.org

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of Stax Records and American soul music. Located on the original site of the Stax Records studio in Memphis, Tennessee, the Stax Museum pays special tribute to the artists who recorded there, as well as other American soul legends, with interactive exhibits, films, stage costumes, musical instruments, vintage recording equipment used at Stax, records, photographs, permanent and changing galleries, and a rare and amazing collection of more than 2,000 items of memorabilia and artifacts.

staxmuseum.com

The Universal Hip Hop Museum in the Bronx celebrates and preserves the history of local and global hip hop music and culture to inspire, empower, and promote understanding. Anchored in the birthplace of the culture, the Universal Hip Hop Museum in the Bronx will provide a space for audiences, artists, and technology to converge, creating unparalleled educational and entertainment experiences around the hip hop culture of the past, present, and future. 

uhhm.org

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The Timeline of African American Music by Portia K. Maultsby, Ph.D. presents the remarkable diversity of African American music, revealing the unique characteristics of each genre and style, from the earliest folk traditions to present-day popular music.

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Jessye Norman

Carnegie Hall’s interactive Timeline of African American Music is dedicated to the loving memory of the late soprano and recitalist Jessye Norman.

© 2008 Richard Termine

Special thanks to Dr. Portia K. Maultsby and to the Advisory Scholars for their commitment and thought-provoking contributions to this resource.

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The Timeline of African American Music has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom. The project is also supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

© 2023 Carnegie Hall