OnAfrican American Music explores African American music traditions and cultural values reflected in its multiple genres, plus the unique contributions of many notable figures throughout its history.

The goal of the course is to expand students’ awareness, appreciation, and knowledge of the glory and variety of African American music and the far-reaching contributions of its most salient exponents.

Note: In order to receive credit for completion, please click the “Mark Complete” button at the end of each lesson page.


Getting Started

Unit 1: African American Roots (1600-1770)

Lesson 1: General Characteristics of African American Music

Lesson 2: General Characteristics of African American Music (Continued)

Lesson 3: Music, Rhythm, and Dance

Lesson 4: Plantation Songs 

Unit 1 Summary

Unit 2: American Revolution – Emancipation (1770-1870)

Lesson 5: Folk Spirituals

Lesson 6: Source Materials

Lesson 7: Precursor to Blues

Unit 2 Summary

Unit 3: Post-Slavery America (1865-1900)

Lesson 8: Concertized Spirituals

Lesson 9: Blues

Lesson 10: Ragtime and Brass Bands

Lesson 11: African American Contributions to Classical Traditions

Unit 3 Summary

Unit 4: Early 20th Century (1900-1930s)

Lesson 12: Early Gospel

Lesson 13: 40 Acres and the Blues

Lesson 14: New Orleans Jazz

Lesson 15: Big Bands

Unit 4 Summary 

Unit 5: WWII – Civil Rights Movement (1940s-1960s)

Lesson 16: Freedom Songs

Lesson 17: Golden Age of Gospel

Lesson 18: Black Music and the Media

Lesson 19: Rhythm and Blues

Lesson 20: Soul Music

Lesson 21: Jazz (Post WWII)

Unit 5 Summary

Unit 6: Post-Civil Rights to the New Millennium (1970s-2000)

Lesson 22: Contemporary Gospel

Lesson 23: Dance Styles

Lesson 24: Hip Hop

Lesson 25: Urban Contemporary

Lesson 26: Jazz (Post Civil Rights Act)

Unit 6 Summary

Unit 7: New Millennium to Present (2001-Present)

Lesson 27: Sacred Traditions of the New Millennium

Lesson 28: Out of the Past

Unit 7 Summary