Without doubt, the history of American popular music is the history of black experience in the United States. From the banjo (one of America’s earliest popular instruments) to Hip Hop, popular music has been continually informed by the cultural resilience, ingenuity, and genius of the African American community in the face of enormous injustice.

The lessons below highlight the intersections of music and black experience in America, from slavery to abolition to sharecropping to the Great Migration to Southern integration. The lesson collection also focuses on the various social movements initiated by the black community, from  Civil Rights to Black Power to Black Lives Matter.