The Mission of the Arkansas Center for Black Music is to advance the research, development, and dissemination of Black Music, to develop leaders and scholars, and to center Black music in academic, professional, and community music spaces thereby dismantling systemic racism and cultural hegemony in American Music Culture.


Our Purpose

Most forms of authentic American music are rooted in Black music of some kind. Black Gospel music – a result of the merging of American Christianity and the music brought to America by Black Africans of the Diaspora – is particularly linked to many of the social and cultural movements in the state of Arkansas. Because of the historical racial tension in the Delta region, Gospel music has served to influence the lives of Black Arkansans for centuries. Historically, however, the performance of most music of African origin has traditionally been deemed ineligible for quality academic study. In modern music programs, there is a growing trend among educators to work toward effectively including all genres of music in the educational setting. The National Standards of Music Education and the National Core Arts Standards mandate that music educators teach music relative to history and culture, and that singing and playing instruments—whether alone or with others—encompasses a varied repertoire of music. The University of Arkansas Center for Black Music is a collaboration between the Department of Music and the African and African American Studies Program.



Graduate Degree in Black Sacred Music

The Master of Music in Black Sacred Music is a three-year, summers-only program housed within the Department of Music. The program offers a unique opportunity for advanced study in Black Sacred Music and its derivatives.

Graduate Certificate in Black Sacred Music

This 16-hour graduate-level program prepares students for top music positions in Black Sacred Music specifically, and sacred music in general. The program gives students the interdisciplinary training that they will need to thrive in industries that value traditional and non-traditional music literacy, creativity, communication, collaboration, technology, worship planning, and other skills.

Research & Publications

As the study and practice of Gospel Music has become more prevalent in Europe, Asia, and South America, we believe that a specialty in Black Sacred Music, specifically Gospel Music, will allow us to create opportunities for academic study in the field and fill a significant deficit in music programs the world over.

Support the Center

Learn more about how to support the Arkansas Center for Black Music by contacting the Fulbright College Office of Development.



Apply Now!!

Applications are now open for new cohorts for both the Graduate Certificate in Black Sacred Music and the Master of Music in Black Sacred Music.

Black Music Symposium

The University of Arkansas Black Music Symposium is the University of Arkansas' Annual conference dedicated to educating and exposing the community to the music contributions of Black Americans.