Part One of a series on tropes of Black composers’ lives: How it impacts who is considered “forgotten,” and who is included in mainstream classical music narratives.
Oak Bluffs became a major summer vacation spot for black Americans, and in Dorothy West’s memory there was one vacationer who precipitated that development: Harry T. Burleigh.
Whether with friends, colleagues, or family members, the image presented to us 21st century viewers, is one of a black man who is not only successful, but comfortable. We might forget, then, that Burleigh was two generations removed from being born into slavery
"Lineage and Heritage," a concert produced by the Harry T. Burleigh Society and the Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra, presented works by Harry T. Burleigh (1866-1949) and S. Coleridge Taylor (1875-1912) to foreground the friendship of these African American and African English men.
The Harry T. Burleigh Society proudly presented a musical tribute to Burleigh. Speakers provided background and context for the Negro spiritual, Burleigh's arrangements and compositions were performed, and oral history and archival material illuminated the significance of Burleigh at St. George’s Church and his influence on American musical culture.