Discover Auburn conference explores race in sheet music artwork

Body of the review

In the upcoming Discover Auburn Lecture Series, guest scholar Theresa Leininger-Miller, professor of art history at the University of Cincinnati, examines the persuasive power of widely publicized music cover art and design at the turn of the 20th century in a program titled “Print: Racial Perceptions in Illustrated Sheet Music, 1880s-1930s.” The program will be held at the Caroline Marshall Draughon Auditorium on the ground floor of the Ralph Brown Draughon Library at 3 p.m. a.m. on October 13, 2022.

In the first part of the program, “Are They Equal in the Eyes of the Law?: African-American Soldiers in Illustrated Sheet Music of World War I,” Leininger-Miller analyzes music covers promoting racial upliftment. by white illustrators and compositions by the two songwriters in black and white. With their bold graphics, bright, contrasting colors and emotional appeal, they were designed to attract buyers, provide comfort and hope, improve race relations and make the Great War for Democracy a legal reality. The second part of the program explores works from the Piano Bench collection of UA Libraries. As the first visiting scholar in the Department of Art and Art History, Leininger-Miller will study how illustrators imagined and marketed the compositions of two highly influential people of color, Lili’uokalani (1838-1917), the only queen of the Hawaiian kingdom, and WC Handy (1873-1958), the “father of the blues”.

The public is welcome. Those unable to attend in person can attend on Zoom at