Highlight denotes Black author or source | Highly recommended ︎


Origins: Late 18th century to 19th century.


  • Blacks in Classical Music: A Personal History by Raoul Abdul, 1977.

  • Black Women Composers: A Genesis by Mildred Denby Green, 1983.

  • In One Lifetime by Verna Arvey (William Grant Still’s widow), 1984.

  • Hard Trials: The Life and Music of Harry T. Burleigh by Anne Key Simpson, 1990.

  • The R. Nathaniel Dett Reader: Essays on Black Sacred Music ed. Jon Michael Spencer, original essays by Robert Nathaniel Dett, 1991.

  • Follow Me: The Life and Music of R. Nathaniel Dett by Anne Key Simpson, 1993.

  • The Music of Black Americans: A History by Eileen Southern, 1997. ︎
    • Also includes chapters on gospel,  jazz, blues, and Broadway, among others. Included here for important observations on Black composers who used spirituals and folk roots as the inspiration for their compositions.

  • Dialogues on Opera and the African-American Experience by Wallace Cheatham, 1997.

  • Listening to the Artifacts: Music Culture in Ancient Palestine by Theodore W. Burgh, 2006.

  • From spirituals to symphonies : African-American women composers and their music by Helen Walker-Hill, 2007.

  • Blackness in Opera, ed. by Naomi André, Eric Saylor, Karen M. Bryan, 2012.

  • Stand Up Straight and Sing! by Jessye Norman, 2014.

  • Gay Guerrilla: Julius Eastman and His Music by Mary Jane Leach, Renee Levine Packer, 2015.

  • It's Our Music Too: The Black Experience in Classical Music by Earl Ofari Hutchinson, 2016.︎

  • The Exile's Song: Edmond Dédé and the Unfinished Revolutions of the Atlantic World by Sally McKee, 2017. ︎

  • Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement by Naomi André, 2018.

  • The Heart of a Woman: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price by Rae Linda Brown, June 2020. ︎


  • The Caged Bird: The Life And Music Of Florence B. Price, dir. James Greeson, 2015. 57 mins.



  • Opera singer Luranah Aldridge in “Othello's Daughter” by Alex Ross, The New Yorker, July 2013.

  • Nora Holt” by Matthew Guerrieri, RBMA Daily, June 2017.