“The Golden Age of Black Radio” online with the Google Cultural Institute


IU Archives of African American Music and Culture partners with Google Cultural Institute to Celebrate Black History Month
February 1, 2016

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Archives of African American Music and Culture at Indiana University brings “The Golden Age of Black Radio” online with the Google Cultural Institute.
In recognition of Black History Month, the Google Cultural Institute is providing a unique virtual experience to better explore and pay tribute to Black history.

The new Black History and Culture section of GCI brings together unique collections from archives for anyone to access, not only during Black History Month, but throughout the year. Indiana University’s Archives of African American Music and Culture (AAAMC) joins 50 other partner organizations in this endeavor, offering new online exhibits that explore Black history and culture using interactive and innovative methods.

Starting today, the AAAMC’s four-part exhibition celebrating “The Golden Age of Black Radio” can be viewed online by people around the world. The story of Black radio is told through over 100 historic photographs from the AAAMC’s collections, as well as audio and video clips of interviews with Black radio pioneers. Many of these materials are available to the public for the first time.
IU Professor Emeritus Dr. Portia K. Maultsby, who initiated the Black radio collections at the AAAMC, said of the importance of this exhibit: “Black radio deejays changed the sound of radio in America.

They introduced the public to a distinct Black style of on-air talk that was a combination of the Black oral tradition of storytelling, speaking in rhythm and rhyme, and speaking in an improvised style with an animated delivery. They were also instrumental in exposing Black music and recording artists to a mainstream audience, and advocating for civil rights.”

Virtual exhibit details
The four-part exhibition traces the birth of Black-oriented radio programs in Chicago through the transition to all-Black programming by stations around the country. Along the way, users will learn about the role of radio during the Civil Rights Movement, pioneering African American women in radio, personality deejays who rapped and rhymed, and the role of deejays in “breaking the hits” and promoting Black music and artists.

Some of the most significant items in the online exhibition are:
● Video clips from an in-depth interview with legendary deejay, Jack “The Rapper” Gibson, recorded at Indiana University in 1981.
● Audio clips from interviews with nearly two dozen Black radio personality deejays and producers, recorded in the early 1990s.
● Historic photographs documenting Black radio stations and deejays in cities including Houston, Atlanta, Louisville, Cincinnati, Detroit, Philadelphia and New York, as well as the important relationship between Black radio personalities and African American communities.
To access the exhibit, go to: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/collection/archives-of-african-american-music-and-culture?projectId=black-history-and-culture.

About Archives of African American Music and Culture – aaamc.indiana.edu
Established in 1991, the Archives of African American Music and Culture (AAAMC) is a repository of materials covering a range of African American musical idioms and cultural expressions from the post-World War II era.

The AAAMC’s collections highlight popular, religious, and classical music, with genres ranging from blues and gospel to R&B and contemporary hip-hop music. The AAAMC also houses extensive materials related to the documentation of black radio, which inspired the digital exhibition “The Golden Age of Black Radio.”

About Google Cultural Institute
The Google Cultural Institute and its partners are putting the world’s cultural treasures at the fingertips of Internet users and are building tools that allow the cultural sector to share more of its diverse heritage online.

The Google Cultural Institute has partnered with more than 1,000 institutions giving a platform to over 250,000 thousand artworks and a total of 6 million photos, videos, manuscripts and other documents of art, culture and history. Newly added Black Music and Culture exhibits range from the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra to the historical records of Frederick Douglass and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

For additional information contact:
Brenda Nelson-Strauss
Head of Collections
Archives of African American Music and Culture
[email protected]

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  1. Yes, I saw this early today. What a great way to recognize some of Black Radios outstanding deejays. Herb Kent speaks about Al Benson. Very nice!!!!


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