Below are writings that provide introductory information about the composers featured on African American Composer Initiative programs.
Arvey, Verna, In One Lifetime, Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1984
A biography of William Grant Still written by his wife and musical collaborator, pianist Verna Arvey
Brooks, Christopher A. and Robert Sims, Roland Hayes, The Legacy of an American Tenor, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015.
Brown, Rae Linda, The Heart of a Woman, The Life and Music of Florence B. Price, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2020
Caldwell, Hansonia L., African American Music 1619 – 1995, Los Angeles: Ikuro Communications, Inc., 1995
A compendium of information, musical and historical, presented in a chronological format
Gray, John, Blacks in Classical Music, A Bibliographical Guide to Composers, Performers, and Ensembles, New York: Greenwood Press, 1988
A well-organized, comprehensive bibliography; useful reference work for students, scholars, and performers
Guenther, Eileen, In Their Own Words, Slave Life and the Power of Spirituals, Saint Louis: Morning Star Music Publishers, 2016
An important publication for students, performers, church musicians (a concordance is included) and the general reading public.
Harris, Philip, Songs and Spirituals, The Life and Music of Jacqueline Hairston, Lewis Newell Productions, 2020.
Jones, Randye, So You Want to Sing Spirituals, Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2019
An excellent resource for students, teachers, and performers on the art of the concert spiritual
Pool, Jeannie Gayle, American Composer Zenobia Powell Perry, Race and Gender in the 20th Century, Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2009.
A thorough discussion of the life and works of Perry, with attention to the political and sociological climate of her time.
Snyder, Jean E., Harry T. Burleigh, From the Spiritual to the Harlem Renaissance, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2016
The definitive biography of Burleigh, his life – including important historical context and family history – and his music
Soll, Beverly, I Dream A World, The Operas of William Grant Still, Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas Press, 2005.
Historical background and musical discussion of William Grant Still’s nine operas. Recommended for musicians and the general reading public
Southern, Eileen, The Music of Black Americans, A History, 3rd edition, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997.
A comprehensive survey of all genres of music by African American musicians.
Still, William Grant, My Life, My Words, Flagstaff, Arizona: The Master Player Library, 2011
A recent publication by writer Judith Anne Still, daughter of William Grant Still and Verna Arvey, based upon writings by her father.
Walker-Hill, Helen, From Spirituals to Symphonies: African-American Women Composers and Their Music, Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2007
Begins with an historical overview of the music of African American men and women from the early 17th to the early twenty-first century and presents in-depth biographical and compositional information about several of the women composers performed by aacinitiative: Florence Price, Margaret Bonds, Undine Smith Moore, Valerie Capers, Dolores White, and Regina Baiocchi.