This course explores the lives and works of great black musical artists. Through a view into the music and the lives of these artists and of certain meanings, themes, artists' intent, and experiences, we gain insight into some very specific historical, cultural, and social windows. We will view black musicians' work that cuts across the entire musical/artistic spectrum, giving us perspective into the development of the various musical genres, styles, and movements that make up American music, from blues to rock 'n' roll and song classics to American art/classical music. Studying the lives of these greats allows an insider's look into extraordinary career development and industry business practices. In an artistry shaped and forged by racial and social outcasting comes a very unique kind of narrative, sound, perspective, and insight, which is inextricably bound to hearing, understanding, and appreciating this unique American artistry.