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In 2009, PBS aired an episode of their “History Detectives” series that celebrated the contributions of African-Americans to music.

In one segment of the show, the president of the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum in Culver City, California, discovered a book of Negro spirituals in his late mother’s collection of African-American artifacts.  The book, Slave Songs Of The United States, was published in 1867 and contains 136 songs.  This led to the question of whether or not it was the very first collection of Negro spirituals.

RELATED: The Slavery Years: 1619 – 1864

RELATED: Africa: The Genesis Of Black Music

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