Thirty-five years ago on June 7, 1979 President Jimmy Carter designated June as Black Music Month. During this time the nation recognizes and celebrates the music generated by those of African descent, as the some of the most influential music in the world. Since that time presidents continued to follow the tradition with a special proclamation until June 2, 2009 when President Barack Obama gave the observance a new title, African-American Music Appreciation Month.
In this year’s Presidential Proclamation, Obama stated,
“Our country is home to a proud legacy of African-American musicians whose songs transcend genre. They make us move, make us think, and make us feel the full range of emotion -- from the pain of isolation to the power of human connection. During African-American Music Appreciation Month, we celebrate artists whose works both tell and shape our Nation's story.”
Click here to view the Presidential Proclamation for 2014 in its entirety:
In celebration of African American Music Month, readers can partake of a sampling of five popular Black musical genres from a smorgasbord of delectable sounds spread for the world to enjoy. This sumptuous feast is presented with a list with brief introductions to spirituals and gospel music, ragtime, jazz and the blues.
The accompanying slide show spotlights a number of musical artists from these varied African American musical categories.