Discover rich musical history at MIM’s galleries during Black History Month

PHOENIX – African American artists have influenced the American musical landscape in many ways and helped shape a multitude of genres, including blues, jazz, gospel, rock and roll, funk and hip hop.

Guests can explore this rich history throughout Musical Instrument Museum’s (MIM) galleries at displays such as “African Arrivals,” “Jazz, Memphis,” and more.

Objects such as gourd-bodied “banjars” that help illustrate the African roots of the American banjo, which is a beautiful keyed bugle like the one played by Francis Johnson; the first African American professional bandleader and composer.

Guests can check out an electric Hammond organ from the collection of the Stax studio where Booker T. Jones recorded his influential Southern soul music.

These are just a few of many historic instruments on display that show African American musicians’ contributions to music from the earliest years of American settlement through today.

Recently, the CW Network’s show “Positively Arizona” visited MIM to share some of these stories from our collection in honor of Black History Month.