1865 – 1914
"The Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 freed African Americans in rebel states, and after the Civil War, the Thirteenth Amendment emancipated all U.S. slaves wherever they were. As a result, the mass of Southern blacks now faced the difficulty Northern blacks had confronted—that of a free people surrounded by many hostile whites. One freedman, Houston Hartsfield Holloway, wrote, “For we colored people did not know how to be free and the white people did not know how to have a free colored person about them.”
"Even after the Emancipation Proclamation, two more years of war, service by African American troops, and the defeat of the Confederacy, the nation was still unprepared to deal with the question of full citizenship for its newly freed black population. The Reconstruction implemented by Congress, which lasted from 1866 to 1877, was aimed at reorganizing the Southern states after the Civil War, providing the means for readmitting them into the Union, and defining the means by which whites and blacks could live together in a nonslave society. The South, however, saw Reconstruction as a humiliating, even vengeful imposition and did not welcome it."
From the Library of Congress
Religious folksong born from African enslavement in America.
A uniquely American syncopated music and precursor to jazz.
July 8, 1868
The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is adopted granting all persons born or naturalized in the United States due process protection.
The Fisk University Jubilee Singers introduced slave songs, or Negro spirituals, to the wider world, thus preserving this important musical tradition.
Emile Berliner invents the lateral-cut flat disc record, which becomes the primary medium for music reproduction for most of the 20th-century.
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” was written by James Weldon Johnson for the anniversary of Lincoln’s birthday and set to music by his brother J. Rosamond Johnson.
June 2, 1896
In Great Britain, Guglielmo Marconi applies for the first patent for a radio wave-based communication system.