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Samuel Floyd

Accomplished musical educator Samuel A. Floyd, Jr., was born in Tallahassee, Florida, on February 1, 1937. Floyd received his B.S. degree from Florida A&M University in 1957 before attending Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where he received his M.M.E. degree in 1965, and his Ph.D. in 1969.

From 1957 to 1962, Floyd worked as band director for Smith-Brown High School in Arcadia, Florida; he later moved on to his alma mater, Florida A&M University, where he worked as a music instructor and the assistant director of bands until 1964 under the legendary William Foster. Between 1964 and 1978, Floyd taught as an associate professor in the Music Department at SIU, after which he became director of the Institute for Research in Black American Music for Fisk University, where he worked until 1983. After leaving Fisk, Floyd worked at Chicago's Columbia College, where he directed the Center for Black Music Research from 1983 to 1990, and from 1993 to 2002; he also served as academic dean from 1990 to 1993, and as interim vice president of academic affairs and provost from 1999 to 2001. In 2002, Floyd became director emeritus and consultant for the Center for Black Music Research.

Floyd lectured at numerous colleges and universities throughout the United States; served on various committees for Southern Illinois University, Fisk University, and Columbia College; received a multitude of research grants and awards; and participated in many professional and civic organizations. Floyd wrote a variety of articles published in professional journals, and authored and edited books on musical theory and research.

Floyd and his wife, Barbara, lived in Chicago, Illinois. They raised three children: Wanda, Cecilia, and Samuel III.

Floyed passed away on July 11, 2016.

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St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

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Academic administrator and music museum director Samuel Floyd (1937 - 2016 ) was Director Emeritus and consultant to the Center for Black Music at Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois.


Smith-Brown High School

Florida A&M University

Southern Illinois University

Institute for Research in Black American Music

Center for Black Music Research

Columbia College

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<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Samuel Floyd interview</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Samuel Floyd's favorites</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Samuel Floyd remembers his ancestors</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Samuel Floyd talks about his father's life</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Samuel Floyd talks about his mother's background and interests</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Samuel Floyd recalls growing up in Lakeland, Florida</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Samuel Floyd discusses his education and interest in studying music</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Samuel Floyd talks about his musical experiences at Florida A&M University</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Samuel Floyd discusses various musical influences during his youth</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Samuel Floyd recalls a Harlem Renaissance philosophy in Lakeland, Florida</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Samuel Floyd describes the prestige of playing in the Florida A&M University band</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Samuel Floyd remembers the encouraging atmosphere at Florida A&M University</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Samuel Floyd talks about his experiences as a high school band director</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Samuel Floyd discusses the Florida A&M Marching Band's grueling tour schedule</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Samuel Floyd talks about attending graduate school at Southern Illinois University</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Samuel Floyd discusses musical aesthetics</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Samuel Floyd explains the need for an institute for black music research</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Samuel Floyd talks about relocating to Fisk University and his experience there</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Samuel Floyd recalls coming to Columbia College, Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Samuel Floyd discusses the growth of the Center for Black Music Research</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Samuel Floyd states the Center for Black Music Research's mission</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Samuel Floyd talks about translating research findings into public performance</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Samuel Floyd discusses black musicians from the nineteenth century</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Samuel Floyd remembers African American composers</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Samuel Floyd talks about African American involvement in opera music</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Samuel Floyd discusses the career of Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Samuel Floyd details the overshadowing power of racism on black composers of the 18th century</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Samuel Floyd discusses Scott Joplin's 'Treemonisha'</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Samuel Floyd remembers his research on U.S. Navy Bandmaster Alton Augustus Adams, part 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Samuel Floyd remembers his research on U.S. Navy Bandmaster Alton Augustus Adams, part 2</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Samuel Floyd briefly discusses his research into the first black Navy band</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Samuel Floyd recalls his involvement with the Great Lakes Naval Training Center Band reunion</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Samuel Floyd shares his concerns about losing rare works of music</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Samuel Floyd talks about Columbia College's Center for Black Music Research's collection</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Samuel Floyd places the moral protests over hip-hop music in a historical perspective</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Samuel Floyd discusses the effects of desegregation on the black community</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Samuel Floyd discusses fundraising for the Center for Black Music Research</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Samuel Floyd considers his legacy</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Samuel Floyd talks about his topical interests in writing</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Samuel Floyd talks about the advancement in black music scholarship</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - How Samuel Floyd would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Photo - Samuel Floyd's mother Theora Floyd, 1965</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Photo - Samuel Floyd's high school graduating class, 1953</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Photo - Samuel Floyd's wife Barbara Jean at work, ca. 1966</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Photo - Samuel Floyd's father with the Fisk University Jubilee Singers, ca. 1940s</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Photo - Samuel Floyd's father with the Fisk University Jubilee Singers, Mexico, ca. 1940s</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Photo - Samuel Floyd, 1963</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Photo - Samuel Floyd with his wife, 1966</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Photo - Samuel Floyd playing a drum, ca. 1951</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Photo - Samuel Floyd, 1994-1995</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 15 - Photo - Samuel Floyd's mother, not dated</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 16 - Photo - Samuel Floyd's father, not dated</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 17 - Photo - Samuel Floyd, 1966</a>







Samuel Floyd discusses musical aesthetics
Samuel Floyd talks about translating research findings into public performance
I want to backtrack a little bit and have you explain what musical aesthetics are.$$Yeah.$$It might be self evident I mean, you know, explicit in the naming--,$$(simultaneously) Yeah.$$--but just to be exact.$$(simultaneously) Yeah, well, it's, it's about, beliefs about music, about what music is, what moves people about music. It's about music valuation, you know, how do you determine what is music of quality and music of not quality. Why does some music move some and some others and the literature for that whole field goes all the way back to Plato and Plato's beliefs about what music is and how it affects the state, and all of that. And you can come on through history and there are tomes written on this. Another book that I liked very much was a book by Edward Hanslick called 'The Beautiful in Music'. That's, that was written in the nineteenth century. Then there's a book by Edmund Gurney called 'The Power of Sound', where I stole the title for my, my book, 'The Power of Black Music'. John Dewey's work called 'Art Is Experience' [sic, 'Art as Experience'] coming on up to the 1930s. I think that was written in 1934. That's the kind of stuff I was delving into. And, as you know, that's graduate-level stuff. And I--it was, it was wonderful to do. And I've, I've always made use of it since that time. Whatever I write, I make use of that kind of material. But when, when that book came out, I read that book, and I wanted to teach. I wanted to develop courses in black music. So I started looking for material like scores, sheet music, things that she had mentioned in her book were not available.$You said that you [Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College, Chicago, Illinois] take performances based on the research out into the community.$$(Nods for yes).$$Can you give an example of, of some research in the performances that were taken out?$$Well, for example, we find information by well-known composers from the past going all the way back to the sixteenth century in Rome [Italy]. And there was a composer in the Vatican [City] at that time by the name of Vicente Lusitano. Lusitano had been born of slave parents in Portugal and raised in the church in Portugal, composed music for the, for the church. They brought him to Rome to teach, and he taught in the Vatican. He wrote a textbook. We have a copy of it here it now. He wrote books of motets and nobody ever heard of this person. We performed music in two churches in Chicago [Illinois] by him. There was a composer from the nineteenth century that I wrote an article about. Nobody knew this guy. His name was J. W. Postlewaite from St. Louis [Missouri]. I finally tracked this guy down, and the only reason I knew that he was black was because I--in the process of the research, I found his manumission papers. This guy had published music when he was a slave. And I wrote two articles on this guy eventually. It's this kind of thing that we, we play this music, take it out, write program notes for it so people will know about these figures, some important, some not so important. But this certainly involved--important to African Americans who need to know about their heritage. And we, we've been doing this constantly. We, weve taken this music to New York to perform at Alice Tully Hall [Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, New York], Orchestra Hall [Chicago, Illinois]. For the last two years, weve been in residence at the South Shore Cultural Center [Chicago, Illinois] where we perform this music on a, on a regular basis. So that's what I mean by--it's our public face. Its where we can meet people, face-to-face so they can see what we do.