With the death of B.B. King, “the blues has lost its king, and America has lost a legend,” President Barack Obama said in a letter read at the famed guitarist’s funeral on Saturday, May 30, in his hometown of Indianola, Mississippi. King, the son of sharecroppers, died on May 14 at the age of 89, leaving a rich legacy as an innovator and hard-working performer.
His history and the history of the blues are part of the great American music tradition we celebrate in June known as African-American Music Appreciation Month.
President Jimmy Carter first designated June as Black Music Month in a proclamation signed June 7, 1979, and Obama renamed it in 2009. On May 29, he proclaimed June 2015 as African-American Music Appreciation Month.
“When the tides of injustice and hardship have seemed too great, melodies of hope have given us strength, and in moments of joy, powerful songs speak to the audacity that fuels our dreams…,” the proclamation said. “This month, let us remember the essential role music plays in breaking the barriers of our time and guiding us toward a more inclusive and more equal tomorrow.”
The president said he was calling upon “public officials, educators, and all the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate activities and programs that raise awareness and foster appreciation of music that is composed, arranged, or performed by African Americans.”
For educators in search of materials to teach the history of black music or for people who just want to read more about it, DiverseBooks.net has many titles about the history of black music throughout the world, all available at significant discounts from their list price.
Here are our selections from our publishers:
Crossroads: The Multicultural Roots of America’s Popular Music with Audio CD, by Elizabeth F. Barkley, $81 (List price: $108), Pearson Higher Education, (second edition, February 2006), ISBN: 978013E+12, pp. 304.
This is a textbook intended primarily for courses in American music, popular music, rock music or ethnic studies. The author developed this book to serve diverse student populations after realizing that traditional approaches to teaching the subject bored students in her music survey course. She created a course called The Musics of Multicultural America, that traced the history of various popular American music forms, including rock ’n roll, salsa, gospel, blues, jazz, Cajun, zydeco, and Tejano. Her course, which averaged 40 to 60 students a year, was soon enrolling 1,250. The book draws from materials she developed for that course.
78 Blues: Folksongs and Phonographs in the American South by John Minton, $45 (List Price: $50) University of Mississippi Press, (January 2011), ISBN: 9781934110195, pp. 304.
This is a study of hundreds of “race” and “hillbilly” records released during the period roughly between World Wars I and II after music recording studios began putting the sounds of the South on 78-rpm phonograph records. Up to that time, music was exclusively something heard live, usually in an intimate setting. Suddenly, the sounds of artists like Jimmie Rodgers, Robert Johnson, Charlie Poole, Blind Lemon Jefferson and others were available to play on demand by a device in one’s living room or to be heard over the radio. In this book, John Minton, a professor of folklore, as well as a musician, songwriter and author, examines the cultural implications of that shift.
A Trumpet around the Corner: The Story of New Orleans Jazz, by Samuel Charters, $36 (List Price: $40)
University of Mississippi Press, (March 2008), ISBN: 9781578068982, pp. 400.
This book documents a century of jazz history in New Orleans, tracing its African-American, Creole and Caucasian roots. The study is based on interviews that Samuel Charters began in the 1950s. It also draws from the Oral History Project in New Orleans, contemporary studies of jazz and newspaper files. Charters discusses some of the earliest New Orleans recordings, the resurgence of jazz in mid-century and the latest concerns for the future of jazz in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
This is just a sampling of books about black music available on DiverseBooks.net. Through its partnerships with leading publishers – representing university and independent presses large and small – DiverseBooks.net brings you scholarly and academic titles about diversity, education, history and many other topics. Visit www.DiverseBooks.net to purchase books at significant discounts for classroom use, research or pleasure reading.