Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Samuel Alexander Floyd  

Pen Name: Samuel A. Floyd, Jr., Samuel A. Floyd, Jr., Samuel A. Floyd


Audience: Adult;

Born: 1937 in Tallahassee, Florida

-- Samuel A Floyd on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Floyd attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where he received his M. M. E. degree and his Ph. D. He taught as an associate professor in the Music Department at Southern Illinois University. He also worked at Chicago's Columbia College, where he directed the Center for Black Music Research and served as academic dean, interim vice president of academic affairs, provost and director emeritus and consultant for the Center for Black Music Research.

Biographical and Professional Information

Samuel A. Floyd, Jr., is an accomplished musical educator. He received his B.S. degree from Florida A&M University in 1957 before attending Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where he received his M.M.E. degree in 1965, and his Ph.D. in 1969.Floyd worked as band director for Smith-Brown High School in Arcadia, Florida and later moved on to Florida A&M University, where he worked as a music instructor and the assistant director of bands until 1964 under the legendary William Foster. Between 1964 and 1978, Floyd taught as an associate professor in the Music Department at Southern Illinois University. From there, he went on to be the director of the Institute for Research in Black American Music for Fisk University, where he worked until 1983. Floyd then worked at Chicago's Columbia College, where he directed the Center for Black Music Research from 1983 to 1990, and from 1993 to 2002. He also served as academic dean from 1990 to 1993, as interim vice president of academic affairs and provost from 1999 to 2001. In 2002, Floyd became director emeritus and consultant for the Center for Black Music Research.Floyd has lectured at numerous colleges and universities throughout the United States. He has served on various committees for Southern Illinois University, Fisk University, and Columbia College. Floyd has written a number of articles for professional journals, and has written and edited books on musical theory and research.His edited works include: ''Blacks in Music History,'' and ''Black Music in the Harlem Renaissance: A Collection of Essays.''

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Black Music in the United States: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Reference and Research Materials
ISBN: 0527301647

Kraus Intl Pubns. 1983

An extensive black music reference book. Wonderful for your collection. See the Table of Contents in photos 3 and 4.

Black Music: Harlem Renaissance
ISBN: 0870498002

Univ Tennessee Press. 1993

This work provides an in-depth look at the role of black music within the Harlem Renaissance movement, suggesting its primacy to Renaissance philosophy and practice. Floyd holds that the music of this period was also the source of certain ambivalent attitudes on the part of the black leadership. The book features essays on various subjects including musical theatre, Duke Ellington, black music and musicians in England, concert singers and the interrelationships between black painters and music. It also includes a music bibliography of works composed during the period.

The Power of Black Music: Interpreting Its History from Africa to the United States
ISBN: 0195109759

Oxford University Press. 1996

When Jimi Hendrix transfixed the crowds of Woodstock with his gripping version of "The Star Spangled Banner," he was building on a foundation reaching back, in part, to the revolutionary guitar playing of Howlin' Wolf and the other great Chicago bluesmen, and to the Delta blues tradition before him. But in its unforgettable introduction, followed by his unaccompanied "talking" guitar passage and inserted calls and responses at key points in the musical narrative, Hendrix's performance of the national anthem also hearkened back to a tradition even older than the blues, a tradition rooted in the rings of dance, drum, and song shared by peoples across Africa.

Bold and original, The Power of Black Music offers a new way of listening to the music of black America, and appreciating its profound contribution to all American music. Striving to break down the barriers that remain between high art and low art, it brilliantly illuminates the centuries-old linkage between the music, myths and rituals of Africa and the continuing evolution and enduring vitality of African-American music. Inspired by the pioneering work of Sterling Stuckey and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., author Samuel A. Floyd, Jr, advocates a new critical approach grounded in the forms and traditions of the music itself. He accompanies readers on a fascinating journey from the African ring, through the ring shout's powerful merging of music and dance in the slave culture, to the funeral parade practices of the early new Orleans jazzmen, the bluesmen in the twenties, the beboppers in the forties, and the free jazz, rock, Motown, and concert hall composers of the sixties and beyond. Floyd dismisses the assumption that Africans brought to the United States as slaves took the music of whites in the New World and transformed it through their own performance practices. Instead, he recognizes European influences, while demonstrating how much black music has continued to share with its African counterparts. Floyd maintains that while African Americans may not have direct knowledge of African traditions and myths, they can intuitively recognize links to an authentic African cultural memory. For example, in speaking of his grandfather Omar, who died a slave as a young man, the jazz clarinetist Sidney Bechet said, "Inside him he'd got the memory of all the wrong that's been done to my people. That's what the memory is....When a blues is good, that kind of memory just grows up inside it."
Grounding his scholarship and meticulous research in his childhood memories of black folk culture and his own experiences as a musician and listener, Floyd maintains that the memory of Omar and all those who came before and after him remains a driving force in the black music of America, a force with the power to enrich cultures the world over.



Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

Contact Information

Publisher University Press Oxford 198 Madison Avenue New York, New York 10016