The Philly roots of Black Music Month

June 7 marks the 45th Anniversary of Black Music Month. First officially recognized by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, the month honors the significant contributions of Black musicians in numerous genres and how that influence  is one of the country’s greatest creations and exports. 

The first celebration was held on the South Lawn of the White House and featured performances by Chuck Berry and Billy Eckstine.

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The month has had several names including National Black Music Month. It was renamed African American Music Appreciation Month in 2009 by President Barack Obama. He noted that Black artists have created music “to dance, to express our faith through song, to march against injustice, and to defend our country’s endearing promise of freedom and opportunity for all.”

In 2023, President Biden, signed a new proclamation and returned the month to its original name.

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