Chicago’s Center for Black Music Research eliminates positions, raising concerns

Posted on: July 23, 2019

“Some fear staffing changes at the college may represent a threat to the prominence of the Center for Black Music Research and one of the most expansive collections of black music in the world,” writes Blasie Mesa in Monday’s (7/22) Columbia Chronicle, the student publication of Columbia College Chicago, where the center is located. “Two employees … were terminated on May 22 when their positions were eliminated, and a research fellow and reference librarian who spent about half of her work time at the Center resigned on June 12…. The Center has an expansive collection with music ranging from hip-hop to classical…. The college will keep the Center staffed with library archivists…. ‘It’s absolutely tragic … to not have a dedicated staff member with the knowledge of the field … working in the world’s most important black music research library,’ said Rachel Barton Pine, a concert violinist…. Pine began researching at the Center … while … compiling an album … titled ‘Violin Concertos by Black Composers of the 18th and 19th Centuries.’ … Afa Dworkin, president and artistic director for The Sphinx Organization … spent hours researching classical music at the Center … and attributes the ‘vast majority’ of what she learned to that experience.”

Posted July 23, 2019