In honor of Black Music Month, Gulf Coast artists such as B.B. King, Irvin Mayfield and Patti Austin, visited the White House to cast a spotlight on some of the better-known classics.
New Orleans trumpeter Mayfield performed "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" and Austin performed a selection of her own and Ella Fitzgerald's numbers.
President George W. Bush issued a proclamation declaring June "Black History Month" and recognizing African American artists throughout history who have enhanced and shaped the national conscience.
The proclamation encourages all Americans to learn more about the history of Black music. From gospel and blues, jazz, reggae to rock and roll, Black musicians, singers and composers have guided the evolution of music in other countries as well.
Mayfield lost his father when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and has been raising cash for hurricane victims and the area's rebuilding effort ever since.
Several online resources exist to further knowledge of Black music:
• The Library of Congress features a collection of 1,305 pieces of African American sheet music dating from 1850 through 1920. Learn about music from the abolitionist movement, civil war period, reconstruction period and the 20th century by visiting www.memory.loc.gov/ammem.
• Jazz Roots offer an overview of jazz and its origins, along with information about early jazz musicians from 1895 through 1920. Visit www.jass.com.
• The Center for Black Music Research includes research services, bibliographies and music lists, discography of music by Black composers, many musical styles and genres and selected archival material. Check out www.cbmr.com.
• Red Hot Jazz Archive tells the history of jazz before 1930 and features multimedia technology and combining books and audio recordings. See www.redhotjazz.com.
• The Archives of African American Music and Culture is devoted to the collection, preservation and dissemination of materials for the purpose of research and study of African American music and culture.Visit www.indiana.edu/aamc.