profile image for Sandra Graham

Sandra Graham

  • Professor
Academic Division: Arts & Humanities
Professor Graham (she/her/hers) is an ethnomusicologist who teaches "Memory and Forgetting" (AHS foundation), art music appreciation, African American music, global pop, and music traditions from around the world. She served as President of the Society for American Music 2017–2019 and is now Past President (2019–20). Her book Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry was published by University of Illinois Press in March 2018, and was named a Choice top academic title for that year. It also was honored with the American Musicological Society's American in Music Culture Award (2019), which recognizes the best writing on music in American culture. Her articles on spirituals and blackface minstrelsy have been published in journals, books, the Grove Dictionary of American Music (2nd ed.), and The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology (revised 2013). With vocalist Chad Runyon she produced and recorded twelve songs by black entertainer Sam Lucas. Before joining the Babson faculty in 2011, she founded the graduate program in ethnomusicology at the University of California, Davis, and had visiting appointments at Davidson College, the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), the Music Academy of the University of Zagreb (Croatia), and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Academic Degrees

  • Ph D, New York University
  • MA, New York University
  • BA, Moravian College

Academic Interest / Expertise

Ethnomusicology; African American Sacred and Popular Music; Black Theater; Musical Theater

Awards & Honors

  • 2020 — Faculty Scholarship Award for Interdisciplinary Research, Babson College
  • 2019 — Music in American Culture Award (book), American Musicological Society
  • 2019 — Competitive Stipend to attend workshop, Editing of Historical Documents, Association for Documentary Editing
  • 2018 — Choice Outstanding Academic Title, Choice (journal)
  • 2014 — Ted Grossman Beaver Believer Award , Student Government Association


  • Degree Courses 2024

    • MUS 4620 GLOBAL POP
  • Degree Courses 2023

    • MUS 4620 GLOBAL POP


Journal Articles

  • Graham, S.J. (2006). On the Road to Freedom: The Contracts of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. American Music. Vol: 24, Issue: 1, Page: 1-29. University of Illinois Press.


  • Graham, S.J. (2018). Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry. Page: 350 pp.. Univ. of Illinois Press. link

Book Chapters

  • Graham, S.J. (2022). Introduction : Music in Black American Life, 1600-1945. University of Illinois Press.
  • Graham, S.J. (2018). Composing in Black and White: Code-Switching in the Songs of Sam Lucas: Oxford Handbook of Music Censorship . Page: pp. 559–592. Oxford University Press. link
  • Graham, S.J. (2013). Brower, Frank: Grove Dictionary of American Music. Issue: 2nd. Oxford University Press.
  • Graham, S.J. (2013). Fisk Jubilee Singers: The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology. Canterbury Press. link
  • Graham, S.J. (2013). Hyers Sisters: Grove Dictionary of American Music. Issue: 2nd. Oxford University Press.
  • Graham, S.J. (2013). Johnson, J. Rosamond: Grove Dictionary of American Music. Issue: 2nd. Oxford University Press.
  • Graham, S.J. (2011). Reframing Negro Spirituals in the Late Nineteenth Century: Music, American Made: Essays in Honor of John Graziano. Harmonie Park Press.
  • Graham, S.J. (2009). Performances as Research (PAR) in Northern American Ethnomusicology: Landscapes for Performances as research: Scholarly Acts and Creative Cartographies. Page: 99-106. Palgrave Macmillan.

Book Reviews

  • Graham, S.J. (2022). Review of "Vaughan A. Booker: Lift Every Voice and Swing: Black Musicians and Religious Culture in the Jazz Century": Journal of African American History. Vol: 107, Issue: 3, Page: 467–68.
  • Graham, S.J. (2022). Book review of "Issues in African American Music: Power, Gender, Race, Representation" ed. Portia K. Maultsby and Mellonee V. Burnim: Ethnomusicology (journal). Vol: 6, Issue: 1, Page: 193–96.


  • Graham, S.J. (2022). "They Look Like Men of War" by the Deep River Boys: Library of Congress, National Recording Preservation Registry. Library of Congress. link
  • Graham, S.J. (2020). The Career of Sam Lucas: American Music (series). American Music Educational Project and KRCB Public TV (Northern California). link
  • Graham, S.J. (2018). "How African American Spirituals Moved from Cotton Fields to Concert Halls". Zócalo Public Square. link
  • Graham, S.J. (2018). Companion Website: Spirituals and the Birth of the Black Entertainment Industry: Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry. University of Illinois Press. link
  • Graham, S.J. (2013). The Songs of Sam Lucas. Center for Popular Music. link

Book Reviews - newspapers or magazines

  • Graham, S.J. (2014). Review of Elijah Wald's "The Dozens: A History of Rap's Mama": Bulletin of the Society for American Music. Vol: 40, Issue: 2, Page: 15–18. Society for American Music. link


  • Black Folk Culture in the Blackface Minstrel Show Graham, S. BFRF Presentation, WebEx (Babson) (2021)
  • (author talk on my research) Graham, S. Classroom visit via WebEx, Case Western Reserve University (2021)
  • Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry Graham, S. Podcast interview, (2018)
  • Beyond Fisk: Jubilee Imitators, Innovators, and the Concert Spiritual Graham, S. American Musicological Association annual conference, Rochester, NY (2017)
  • Opening Doors: A Roundtable of Past Music Theater/Dance Debut Panelists - Sam Lucas Graham, S. Annual conference, Scottsdale, AZ (2014)
  • "Jilted:" Reframing Negro Spirituals as College Songs Graham, S. Society for American Music Annual meeting, Denver, CO (2009)
  • Negro Spirituals in the Post-Civil Rights Era in the U.S.: The Traditional in the Present and the Present in the Traditional Graham, S. What to Do with Folklore, Scientific Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Arts and Sciences, Ljublijana (2009)
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Additional Links

Professional Services

  • Editorial Review Board Member Journal of the Society for American Music (2022 - Present)