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African American Sheet Music, 1820-1920

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, sheet music was produced in enormous quantities in the United States. To historians and other interested parties, much of this material serves as a way to look at social and cultural mores of the times. This digital collection from Brown University takes a look at the sheet music that reflected attitudes towards African-Americans. Containing several hundred pieces of sheet music, this collection includes songs from the period of antebellum blackface and the abolitionist period. The wide range of material offered here also allows visitors the ability to trace the evolution of certain archetypes in African-American culture, including the appearances of Uncle Tom and Jim Crow. Also included here are a number of insightful essays, such as "Minstrelsy and the Construction of Race in America".
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