Senators Booker, Harris, Rep. Meeks Introduce Resolution Honoring Contributions of African Americans to America’s Musical Heritage
Lawmakers call for more music education for black students
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), along with Representative Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY-05), introduced a resolution designating June as African American Music Appreciation Month, to recognize the contributions of African Americans to America’s music heritage and to raise awareness of the need for greater access to music education for African American students.
Also sponsoring the resolution in the Senate are Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Doug Jones (D-AL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Chris Coons (D-DE).
According to the National Assessment for Educational Progress Arts Assessment, African American students scored the lowest of all ethnicities. Another study found that only 15 percent of all students in music ensembles and only 7 percent of all licensed music teachers were black. A recent Department of Education study found that only 28 percent of African American students receive any kind of arts education.
An excerpt of the resolution follows:
“The Senate recognizes the contributions of African Americans to the musical heritage of the United States; the wide array of talented and popular African-American musical artists, composers, song- writers, and musicians who are underrecognized for contributions to music; the achievements, talent, and hard work of African-American pioneer artists, and the obstacles that those artists overcame to gain recognition; the need for African-American students to have greater access to and participation in music education in schools across the United States; and Black History Month and African-American Music Appreciation Month as an important time to celebrate the impact of the African- American musical heritage on the musical heritage of the United States; and to encourage greater access to music education so that the next generation may continue to greatly contribute to the musical heritage of the United States,”
The resolution is supported by 35 organizations advocating for increased access to music education in our nation’s schools:
American Orff-Schulwerk Association American School Band Directors Association
American String Teachers Association
Barbershop Harmony Society
College Band Directors National Association
Drum Corps International
Education Through Music
El Sistema USA
Gordon Institute for Music Learning
Jazz at Lincoln Center
J. W. Pepper & Son
League of American Orchestras
Little Kids Rock
Music and the Brain
Music for All
Music Teachers National Association
National Association for Music Education
National Association of Music Merchants
National Federation of State High School Associations
National Music Council
New Jersey Music Educators Association
New York State School Music Association
Organization of American Kodály Educators
Percussive Arts Society
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia
Quadrant Arts Education Research
Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music
The Recording Academy
Strathmore Hall Foundation
VH1 Save the Music Foundation
Winter Guard International
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At the beginning of the 21st-century, a vanguard of young, affluent black leadership has emerged, often clashing with older generations of black leadership for power. The 2002 Newark mayoral race, which featured a contentious battle between the young black challenger Cory Booker and the more established black incumbent Sharpe James, was one of a series of contests in which young, well-educated, moderate black politicians challenged civil rights veterans for power. In The New Black Politician, Andra Gillespie uses Newark as a case study to explain the breakdown of racial unity in black politics, describing how black political entrepreneurs build the political alliances that allow them to be more diversely established with the electorate.Based on rich ethnographic data from six years of intense and ongoing research, Gillespie shows that while both poor and affluent blacks pay lip service to racial cohesion and to continuing the goals of the Civil Rights Movement, the reality is that both groups harbor different visions of how to achieve those goals and what those goals will look like once achieved. This, she argues, leads to class conflict and a very public breakdown in black political unity, providing further evidence of the futility of identifying a single cadre of leadership for black communities. Full of provocative interviews with many of the key players in Newark, including Cory Booker himself, this book provides an on the ground understanding of contemporary Black and mayoral politics.