*Dr. Jerry Ward, Professor of Literature, Toogaloo University, (MS), had lectured in a previous presentation at the same Spelman Institution.


1.   In the Prologue to Sinful Tunes and Spirituals: Black Folk Music to 

the Civil War (Chicago: University of Illinois, 1977), Dena Epstein quotes passages from several journals and letters which describe West African instrumental performance, singing, and dancing aboard ships on the middle passage. Since there is no evidence to indicate the level of musical training of the writers of these documents, it is impossible to know what kind of music the captives were performing, or indeed, if they were performing at all. In some instances, they might have been yelling and skipping about in scornful obedience to the captain's commands. Epstein's concluding statement omits any reference to the process through which the music of diverse West African cultures merged into a monolithic body of "West African" music performed by slaves in the United States.


2.   Dvorak's Symphony from the New World , Debussy's Golliwog's 

Cakewalk, and Stravinsky's Ragtime for Eleven Instruments are among the best known examples of European concert works which are built upon Afro-American idioms.


3.   Harold Courlander. Negro Folk Music U.S.A. (New York: 

Columbia University Press,1970), p. 179.


<back to previous page


go to next page>


cologo3.gif (6014 bytes)

February 2001