African-American Sheet Music contains 1,305 pieces of music. The collection includes minstrel songs and songs about the abolitionist movement as well as music about the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, African-American soldiers in the Civil War, emancipated slaves, Reconstruction, and the northern migration of African Americans. The sheet music lyrics, illustrations, and photographs show changing racial attitudes in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Popular composers in the collection include James Bland, Ernest Hogan, Bob Cole, James Reese Europe, and Will Marion Cook.
These online exhibits provide context and additional information about this collection.
These historical era(s) are best represented in the collection, although they may not be all-encompassing.
- The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1850-1877
- Development of the Industrial United States, 1876-1915
- Emergence of Modern America, 1890-1930
Related Collections and Exhibits
These collections and exhibits contain thematically-related primary and secondary sources. Browse the Collection Finder for more related material on the American Memory Web site.
- African American Odyssey
- African American Perspectives, 1818-1907
- The American Variety Stage, 1870-1920
- Historic American Sheet Music, 1850 - 1920
- Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, 1870-1885
- The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana
Recommended additional sources of information.
Specific guidance for searching this collection.
For help with general search strategies, see Finding Items in American Memory.