The history of Jazz music is one that is tied to enslavement, and prejudices, and it is impossible to separate the development of Jazz music from the racial oppression that occurred in the United States as they are inextricably connected. Slavery was a part of our country’s development that is shameful and yet, lead to some of the greatest musical advances of the twentieth century.
Slavery in the United States first began in 1619 when Dutch traders seized a Spanish slave ship and brought those aboard to the North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia. When the North American continent was first colonized by Europeans, the vast land proved to be more work than they had anticipated and there was a severe shortage of labor. Land owners needed a solution for cheap and plentiful labor to help with the production of profitable crops such as tobacco and rice. Although many land owners already made use of indentured servants- poor youth from Britain and Germany who sought passage to America and would be contracted to work a given number of years before they were granted freedom- they soon realized that in order to continue expansion they would need to employ more labor. This meant bringing more people over from Africa against their own will, almost depleting the African continent of its healthiest and most capable men and women (Slavery in America, 2009). Individuals with African origins were not English by birth, instead they were considered foreigners and outside English Common Law and were not granted equal rights. Many slave owners intended to make their slaves completely dependent on them and prohibited them from learning to read or write. The oppression of black slaves was on the rise and many sources estimate that nearly twelv...
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...ca | (2006, August) Scholastic.com.
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6) Peretti, B. W. (1992). White Jazz Musicians of the 1920's. The creation of jazz: music, race, and culture in urban America. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
7) Scaruffi, P. (2005, January 1). A History of Jazz Music. A History of Jazz Music. Retrieved April 26, 2014, from
8) Slavery in America. (2009, January 1). History.com.
Retrieved April 17, 2014, from
9) Stearns, M. W., & Stearns, J. (1968). Jazz dance; the story of American vernacular dance. New York: Macmillan.
10) White, S., & White, G. J. (2005). The sounds of slavery: discovering African American history through songs, sermons, and speech. Boston: Beacon Press.
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