Slave laws in the US made it illegal for slaves to play drums, because they could use them to communicate in ways their masters could not understand.
Slaves sang work songs to make hard labor easier. The songs often were full of hope for freedom.
Jazz includes a range of musical styles and is uniquely African American in origin
The Blues evolved from slave songs and spirituals and often talk about hard times and personal troubles.
Sacred religious music of African American Christians, Gospel has its roots in spirituals sung by slaves.
R&B evolved from jazz, blues, and gospel. In the 1960s it became known as Soul.
Rock and Roll started with Chuck Berry and Little Richard. It quickly became popular with young Americans of all races.
The rhythm of Rap brings us back to the African beat and Hip Hop creates new sounds while incorporating African musical forms.
Self taught painter
Painter and graphic artist, depicted the struggles of African American life in the1920s and 30s
Author, painter, civil and women's rights activist - still living
Novelist and Playwright, leading voice in the Civil Rights movement
Author and poet - still living
Ballet dancer who formed an all Black ballet companyin 1940
Choreographer, multi-racial modern dance ensemble