Center for Black Music Research May Be on the Chopping Block

The Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College in Chicago was founded in 1983 by Samuel A. Floyd Jr. Dr. Floyd established the Black Music Research Journal, assembled a major archive of books, recordings, sheet music, manuscripts, and other documents relating to Black music, and put together several major conferences for scholars in the field. The stated mission of the center is to “document, collect, preserve, and disseminate information about Black music in all parts of the world and promote understanding of the common roots of the music, musicians, and composers of the global African diaspora.” The current executive director of the center is Monica Hairston O’Connell who holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from New York University.

Now the Center for Black Music Research is faced with the prospect of budget cuts that may force it to close or severely curtail its operations. Since 2006 the budget of the center has been slashed by 70 percent. Two permanent staff positions were eliminated last year, including the director of research.

Now the interim provost of the college has recommended that funding for the center be eliminated as part of the Columbia College Prioritization Initiative. A decision is expected to be made by the end of June.

The center is organized as a nonprofit organization. Donations can be made here.


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