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FAQs

What is the African Diaspora?
The term African Diaspora refers to geographical locations in which people of African descent reside, or resided at one time, and are considered to constitute communities.

How does the Center define "black music"? Is it the same thing as "African-American music?
The Center distinguishes operationally between "African-American music" and "black music." In the CBMR's lexicon, African-American music emanates directly from the black experience in the United States, descended from the calls, cries, hollers, spirituals, ragtime, and blues of the slavery and post-slavery periods; it includes jazz, R&B, black gospel, and all the forms to which these genres have given birth, as well as concert music composed by African-American composers. Black music, on the other hand, is any music composed or performed by people of African descent, including African-American music, African music, Latin American and Caribbean music, and European and European-derived concert-hall music by black composers.

Does Black Music Research Journal accept unsolicited manuscripts?
No, BMRJ publishes themed issues assembled from articles solicited by the journal's editor.

Does the Center sell anything?
The Center sells its own publications. Details and ordering information can be found here. The CBMR also offers memberships to support our various inititiatives.

Where is the Center located?
The Center is on the sixth floor at 618 South Michigan Avenue (between Harrison Street and Balbo Drive) in Chicago. Our mailing and delivery address is 600 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605.

Where can I park?
There are numerous all-day parking facilities. For more information about parking in Chicago's South Loop, see here.

Is the Center a museum?
No. But small exhibits of materials from the CBMR Library and Archives are displayed in hallway display cases, in the library, and occasionally in Columbia College galleries.

May I bring a group to tour the Center?
The Center is primarily office space not suitable for touring groups. The CBMR Library and Archives hosts visits by groups of up to 25 people. Librarians are available for presentations about the Center and its collections; however, for security reasons, the library cannot schedule tours of the stacks where collections are kept. Visits can be arranged by calling the library at (312) 369-7586.

May I bring my class to visit the CBMR Library and Archives?
The CBMR Library and Archives staff can make presentations on research methods, music archives, or specific black music topics for classes from Columbia College Chicago and other Chicago-area colleges and universities. The staff can also bring presentations to classes of more than 25 students. All class visits should be scheduled in advance by calling the CBMR Library at (312) 369-7586. The Library staff appreciates as much advance notice as possible to prepare for class visits.

May I visit the CBMR Library and Archives?
Yes. The CBMR Library is open to the public. Its hours of operation are 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Anyone with an interest in black music is welcome to come to the CBMR Library to conduct research or just to look through the books or listen to music.

Do I need to make appointment?
No. However, since the librarians sometimes host groups of students in the CBMR Library, it is always a good idea to call ahead if you know in advance when you'll be arriving. If your research time is limited, the librarians can help you plan your research to make the best use of your time.

What materials are housed in the CBMR Library and Archives?
The CBMR Library and Archives is a comprehensive research collection covering all idioms in black music of the United States and the African diaspora. Its collections include books, dissertations, periodicals, sound and video recordings, photographs, printed music, manuscripts, and archival materials. Many of these materials are indexed in the CBMR Library Database.

May I check out library materials?
No. The library's collection is noncirculating. All materials must be used within the CBMR Library and Archives. However, for a fee, photocopies of print materials may be made, as long as the copying meets the criteria of "fair use" under copyright law.

May I contact a librarian for reference assistance?
Yes. Please feel free to contact the CBMR Library's reference desk by telephone at (312) 369-7586 or by e-mail.

Does the Center accept material donations?
Yes. If you have black-music-related materials (for example, sound recordings, printed music, archival materials) that you wish to donate to the CBMR Library and Archives, please contact the CBMR Library's reference desk by telephone at 369-7586 or by e-mail. If you wish to donate money to the Center, please click here.

Can the Center's performance ensemble be engaged for non-CBMR events?
Normally this is not possible unless you have sufficient funding to support all expenses associated with the event. For additional information about locating musicians and other ensembles in the Chicago area, please contact Morris Phibbs.

How can my institution host a tour performance by the CBMR's performance ensemble?
The CBMR's ensembles occasionally tour. Please contact Morris Phibbs if you would like to pursue a tour performance at your institution.

Are recordings of the Center's performance ensembles available for purchase?
Unfortunately, no recordings are available for purchase.

Can anyone attend CBMR events?
Most CBMR events are open to the public. Many are free of charge, whereas some require tickets or registration fees.

How can I be notified of the Center's performances and other public events?
To join our mailing list, please e-mail cbmr.contact@colum.edu.

How can I contribute to the CBMR?
You can support the CBMR's mission by becoming a CBMR Associate, donating materials, or making monetary gifts.