This website and the companion guidebook, African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina, introduce visitors to a region alive with a musical heritage that enriches our state and region. African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina builds on the North Carolina Arts Council’s nationally recognized cultural tourism guides to traditional Appalachian music, Cherokee heritage, and literary heritage across the state.
The North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, partnered with regional musicians, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, local regional arts councils, tourism agencies, and arts and folklife organizations to plan and implement this special initiative. Visit the Plan Your Trip pages for additional information.
Thornton Canady, a Kinston musician and retired band director, advocated for recognition of the long and rich heritage of African American music in the area. Staff of the North Carolina Arts Council began the process of identifying the musicians and venues important to this legacy. Interviews with more than 90 musicians opened doors to a world of jazz, rhythm and blues, funk, gospel, hymns, blues, rap, marching bands, and beach music. The interviews revealed long and deep connections between music and community and shaped the creation of a cultural tourism trail. As a companion project to Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina this initiative shares the state’s African American music heritage in ways that benefit residents and visitors alike and that encourage the continuation and recognition of African American music across the state.
African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina is the first publication designed to help travelers explore African American music in eastern North Carolina. In an area that includes Edgecombe, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Wayne, Wilson, Nash, and Pitt counties, researchers, writers, and photographers have worked with local residents and arts organizations to provide in-depth insiders’ views of music and musicians. In addition to musicians’ personal stories, you will find musician portraits and dynamic photographic documentation of music events by Titus Brooks Heagins and by Cedric N. Chatterley, as well as historic photographs contributed by the musicians themselves from their personal collections.
The book is available from UNC Press for $19.95 (plus shipping) for paper or $18.99 as an e-book.
Use promo code 01ARTCOUN to receive a 40% discount.
Order by phone at 800-848-6224
Book discounts are available for quantities of 10 or more.