In 1971, Eileen Southern published The Music of Black Americans: A History. This exhibition celebrates the golden anniversary of her achievement, which changed musicology in this country and beyond.

Professor Southern was a scholar of Renaissance and Black American music, and the first African American woman tenured in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • the first edition of her landmark book
  • over fifty letters from an admiring (and international) public
  • three never-before-displayed portraits of Professor Southern

Eileen Southern's Story was curated by Harvard University students, faculty and staff. The exhibition is held in conjunction with the virtual symposium Black Music in the American University: Eileen Southern's Story on April 7th and a live, in-person performance of works inspired by Professor Southern's writings on April 8th.


Eileen Southern's Story is on view February 7 – April 11, 2022. The Music Library's exhibitions are open to current Harvard University students, faculty, and staff, and to all visitors with proof of vaccination and booster.