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Columbia College Chicago
Our Mission
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Our Mission

The Center for Black Music Research (CBMR) at Columbia College Chicago documents, collects, preserves, and disseminates information about black music in all parts of the world and promotes understanding of the common roots of the music, musicians, and composers of the global African diaspora.

The CBMR was founded in 1983 by Samuel A. Floyd Jr. in recognition of a need for an integrated approach to the study of black music that encompasses the arts and humanities as well as social, political, and historical approaches to scholarship. The CBMR is a research unit of Columbia College Chicago, and its programs have been funded by a number of major foundations and giving agencies. (For a more extensive history of the Center, click here.) The Center for Black Music Research is a member of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutions.

The CBMR supports and originates study in the areas of black secular and sacred folk music, blues, black rock, samba, ragtime, jazz, gospel music, rhythm and blues, musical theater and dance, opera and concert music, reggae, son, merengue/méringue, bomba y plena, salsa, calypso and other genres from the Caribbean, traditional and contemporary music from Africa, and hip-hop and other contemporary musics.

The Center for Black Music Research 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. Black music, on the other hand, is music in any style or genre composed by people of African descent—including European and European-derived concert-hall music by black composers—as well as vernacular musics created and performed by African-descended people the world over, including African-American music, African music, and Afro-Latin American or Afro-Caribbean music.