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African American Music History

  • City of New Orleans established as a French colony

    City of New Orleans established as a French colony
    New Orleans builds wealth as a major seaport for slave trade, Significance:
    The abundent port brings in French, Spanish and African cultural influences that shape the stylings of New Orleans Jazz. Source:
    Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • South Carolina passes slave code that prohibits "loud instruments" by enslaved Africans

    South Carolina passes slave code that prohibits "loud instruments" by enslaved Africans
    South Carolina passes slave code that prohibits the use of "drums, horns or other loud instruments" by enslaved Africans. This was done in order to ease fear of communication and camouflaging insurrections by African slaves through music. Significance:
    This was a continuation of laws restricting the enslaved Africans from using instruments. This tradition carried on through the 20th century with the legal attacks on rap. Source:
    Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology
  • First black Baptist church founded at Silver Bluff, Aiken County, South Carolina

    First black Baptist church founded at Silver Bluff, Aiken County, South Carolina
    The Silver Bluff Baptist Church was founded by George Leisle and WaitePalmer on the plantation of George Galphin. Significance: Although historically debatable whether this was the first African American Baptist church, this establishment demonstrated the beginning of a strong religious ideology that has been closely tied with African American music tradition.
    Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • Negro Philharmonic Society Established

    Negro Philharmonic Society Established
    The Negro Philharmonic Society was established in New Oreleans by both Creole composers and musicians of color. The symphony orchestra included more than 100 performers, including some White members. Due to racial hostility the society ended prior to the Civil War.
    Significance: Although this orchestra included some White musicians, it was predominately African American; this opened the doors for African American classical musicians to perform publically, until it was met with racial violence.
  • Negro Philharmonic Society (cont.)

    Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • George Washington Johnson records on tinfoil disks

    George Washington Johnson records on tinfoil disks
    Ex-slave George Washington Johnson becomes one of the first performers to recond on tinfoil disks singing "The Laughing Song" and "The Whistling Coon." Significance: Although these songs did not show African Americans in a flattering manner, the fact that George Washington Johnson was recorded on tinfoil disks opened the possibility for other African Americans to do the same. Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. P
  • Sissieretta Jones peforms in the lower-level Recital Hall

    Sissieretta Jones peforms in the lower-level Recital Hall
    History of the Hall-Timeline Sissieretta Jones has been thought to be the first African American artist to perform in Carnegie Hall (now known to be W.T. Talbert).
  • The Harp of Zion is published

    The Harp of Zion was the first book to be published by Sherwood Orphan School, Petersburg, VA.
    Significance: This was the first publication to include gospel music written by an African American composer.
    Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • Scott Joplin tours with the Texas Medley Quartette

    Scott Joplin toured in the United States with the Texas Medley Quartette throughout 1895. Significance:Scott Joplin and the Texas Medley Quartette open multiple doors for African American musicians of the era and further pushed African American music into the mainstream. Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • Tom Turpin's "Harlem Rag" published

    Tom Trupin's "Harlem Rag" becomes first published rag. Significance: This publication opened more doors for the publication of African American music, and demonstrated how African American music was becoming demanded by the open public. Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • Charles Tindley composes "I'll Overcome Some Day"

    Charles Tindley composes "I'll Overcome Some Day" Significance: This work was the textual precusor of the freedom song "We Shall Overcome" which was used as a source of strength during the Civil Rights movement. Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" is published

    Ragtime composer Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" is published. It becomes a hit once again in 1974 as aprt of the movie soundtrack for "The Sting." Significance: Scott Joplin furthered African American music strivings toward become household/mainstream; this song is one of the commonly thought of tunes in association with the ragtime era. Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • Duke Ellington composes "Soda Fountain Rag"

    Jazz composer and band director Duke Ellington composes his first piece, "Soda Fountain Rag," and he goes on to compose 1,012 copyrighted songs. Significance: Duke Ellington is commonly thought of as one of the most influential jazz musicians in the early 1900's, and was commonly associated with working with numerous artists of all calibers (243 of those pieces were written in collaboration with others).
    Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro C
  • "Shuffle Along" opens

    "Shuffle Along" opens
    The Harlem RenaissanceTimeline: Building Democracy (1866-1953)
    "Shuffle Along" with an all black cast (music by Eubie Blake, lyrics by Noble Sissle) opens on Broadway; it goes on to do 500 shows. The show also incorporates jazz dancing choreography. It has tremendous success, and it directly contributes to the national popularity of black music and dance
  • "Shuffle Along" cont.

    Significance:This production was one of the first of its kind being that it was written, produced and performed by African Americans.The song titled "I'm Just Wild About Harry" later becomes the campaign theme song for Harry Truman's presidential election.
  • Mills Brothers quartet begins to perform in Ohio

    Mills Brothers quartet begins to perform in Ohio
    The Mills Brothers quartet begins to perform in Ohio. Significance:Over a span of forty-plus years they become the most successful American male singing group. Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • Trumpeter Louis Armstrong returns to Chicago.

    Trumpeter Louis Armstrong returns to Chicago.
    Trumpeter Louis Armstrong returnes to Chicago to play with Erskine Tate. He also organizes the band, The Hot Five, to record for Okey Records. Significance: The Hot Five was another strong contributor to the stylings of modern jazz, especially in the Chicago region. Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • Deford Bailey appears at teh Grand Old Opry

    Deford Bailey appears at teh Grand Old Opry
    Country music singer/harmonica player Deford Bailey appears at the Grand Ole Opry. Significance: Deford Bailey became the first African American to perform at this venue. Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • "Afro-American Symphony" is performed by the Rochester Philharmonic

    Composer William Grant Still's "Afro-American Symphony, al classical symphony that blends European musical practice with the blues musical practice, is performed by the Rochester Philharmonic. Significance: It is the first symphony by an Afircna American composer to be performed by a major orchestra. Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • The Apollo Theatre opens in New York City

    The Apollo Theatre opens in New York City
    The Apollo Theatre opens in New York City, becoming the prime venue for African American entertainers. Significance: Its establishment of amateur night Wednesdays is later won by such leading entertainers as Ella Fitzgerald, Sam Cooke, King Curtis, Marvin Gaye, Lena Horne, and Sarah Vaughan. Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • Gibson instrument company produces the ES-150 guitar with matching EH-150 amp

    Gibson instrument company produces the ES-150 guitar with matching EH-150 amp
    Gibson instrument company starts producing the ES-150 guitar with matchin EH-150 amp. This instrument imitates the double bass, keeping the beat int eh ensembles that accompany blues singers. Signficance: Gibson therefore begins the electric guitar revolution. Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton records "Hound Dog"

    Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton records "Hound Dog"
    Blues shouter Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton records the R&B No.1 hit, "Hound Dog" Significance: Thronton is one of the rare women blues singers of the 1950's. Her No. 1 single later goes on to be covered by Elvis Presely.
  • James Brown records "Please, Please, Please!"

    James Brown records "Please, Please, Please!"
    R&B singer James Brown records his first hit, "Please, Please,Please!" The song is built on one word and his electrifying screams. Significance: It become popular with both black and white audiences. He continues building a career that encompasses over one 114 hits. Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • James Brown releases hit album "Live at the Apollo Vol.1"

    James Brown release "Live at the Apollo Vol. 1" which remains on the charts for 66 weeks. Significance: His style and showmanship causes him to be known as the "Hardest-Working Man in Show Business," as style which goes on to influence Michael Jackson along with numerous others. Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • Sam Cooke records "A Change is Gonna Come"

    R&B singer Sam Cooke records the R&B civil rights theme song - "A Change is Gonna Come" Significance: One of the better known songs of the Civil Rights movement, this song demonstrated the ties between pop culture and the political culture of the movement. Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • The Edwin Hawkins Singers record "Oh Happy Day"

    The Edwin Hawkins Singers record "Oh Happy Day"
    The Edwin Hawkins Singers recor "Oh Happy Day," the first commerically successful, crossover gospel piece. Significance: This is the song that opened up the modern era of contemporary gospel music.
  • Aretha Franklin sings the national anthem at the Democratic National Convention.

    Aretha Franklin sings the national anthem at the Democratic National Convention.
    Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, sings the national anthem at the Democratic National Convention. Her album, "Lady Soul," includes the hit single "Chain of Fools." She is also ffeatured in a "Time" magaazine cover store, "Lady Soul: Singing It Like It Is."
    Significance: Further demonstrates the integrating of African American culture and the mainstream. Also when she sings for the National Convention it shows the improving political status of Africna Americans.
    Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia
  • The Smithsonian Institution establishes a permanent black music concert series.

    The Smithsonian Institution establishes a permanent black music concert series. Significance: This demonstrated the recognition of African American history as valuable United States history. Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • Michael Jackson's album "Off the Wall" makes history

    Michael Jackson's album "Off the Wall" makes history
    Michael Jackson's album "Off the Wall," produced by Quincy Jones, becomes the first solo record album to produce four top 10 hits. It is nominated for a Grammy in the R&B category. Significance: It is reported that Michael Jackson felt that because his music is not "black music," this album should have been nominated in the pop category. In protest, he refuses to sing at futrue Grammy Awards shows. Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communi
  • Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five release "Wheels of Steel"

    Grandmaster  Flash  and the Furious Five release "Wheels of Steel"
    Grandmaster Flash (Joseph Saddler) and the Furious Five releases "Wheels of Steel." Significance:It is the first Rap record to use sampling and scratching techniques. Grandmaster Flash later known as the godfather of hip-hop DJing. Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.
  • Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five releases "Wheels of Steel."

    Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five releases "Wheels of Steel."
    Grandmaster Flash (Joseph Saddler) and the Furious Five releases "Wheels of Steel." Significance:It is the first Rap record to use sampling and scratching techniques. Grandmaster Flash later known as the godfather of hip-hop DJing. Source: Caldwell, Dr. Hansonia L. African American Music - A Chronology 1619-1995. Ikoro Communications, 1996. Print.