Black Music on Record: The Dijkstra Black Music Collection at Green Library, Bing Wing


Date and Time 
February 13, 2023

A major collection of over 8,000 vinyl records has been donated to Stanford’s Music Library & Archive of Recorded Sound, documenting the sweep of jazz history and Jamaican popular music with additional selections in soul, blues, R&B, hip hop, and other genres. What can recorded music reveal about Black history, creativity, and culture? What new avenues of thinking does this collection open up? Join us for a lively conversation about Black music research and pedagogy at Stanford.

Our panel will feature the donor, Bram Dijkstra, Prof. Ato Quayson, Prof. A. Van Jordan, and Prof. Stephen Hinton. A reception will follow to celebrate Bram and Sandra Dijkstra’s generous donation of the Dijkstra Black Music Collection.

Register here to attend the event.


Bram Dijkstra, Professor Emeritus of American and Comparative Literature at UC San Diego, was born on a small Indonesian island and raised in Holland. He devoted countless hours over his lifetime developing the Dijkstra Black Music Collection, which includes deep runs and exceptional rarities, including a full run of the Blue Note 1500 series of the late 1950s; virtually all John Coltrane commercial releases; a strong representation of avant-garde artists on small label releases from the U.S., Europe, and Japan; Bob Marley’s original 12-inch 45 r.p.m. single of “Buffalo Soldiers;” Sun Ra’s original Saturn issues with blank or hand-made covers; and a significant complement of artists’ private-issue and limited-edition releases. He traces his passion for jazz to hearing John Coltrane’s playing in the mid-1950s, a transformative experience that inspired a relocation to the United States, an immersion in African American music, and a commitment to creative work. His books include American Expressionism: Art and Social Change, 1920–1950 (2010) and Cubism, Stieglitz, and the Early Poetry of William Carlos Williams (2020).

Ato Quayson is the Jean G. and Morris M. Doyle Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies and Professor of English at Stanford. He is chair of the English Department and chairs the Framework Task Force subcommittee focused on the departmentalization of African and African American Studies. His monograph, Accra: City Life and the Itineraries of Transnationalism (2014), was co-winner of the Urban History Association's 2015 Best Book Prize (non-North America) and was named in The Guardian as one of the 10 Best Books on Cities in 2014. His most recent book is Tragedy and Postcolonial Literature (2021); works-in-progress include Accra Chic: A Locational History of Fashion in Accra (with Grace Tolequé) and Decolonizing English Literary Studies (with Ankhi Mukherjee).

A. Van Jordan is a professor in the Creative Writing Program. His classes focus not only on Creative Writing but also on the ways in which engaging with film and using historical research can influence the writing. Jordan is the author of four collections: Rise, which won the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award (Tia Chucha Press, 2001); M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A, (2005), which was listed as one the Best Books of 2005 by The London Times; Quantum Lyrics, (2007); and The Cineaste, (2013), W.W. Norton & Co. Jordan has been awarded a Whiting Writers Award, an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and a Pushcart Prize. He is also a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (2007), a United States Artists Fellowship (2009), and a Lannan Literary Award in Poetry (2015). He has taught at a number of institutions including University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of Texas at Austin, where he was tenured as an Associate Professor, Rutgers University-Newark where he served as the Henry Rutgers Presidential Professor, and at University of Michigan, where he served as the Robert Hayden Collegiate Professor of English Language & Literature, and as Director of the Helen Zell Writers MFA Program.

Stephen Hinton, the chair of the Music Department at Stanford, is the Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University, Professor of Music and, by courtesy, of German. From 2011-15 he served as the Denning Family Director of the Stanford Arts Institute. From 2006–2010 he was Senior Associate Dean for Humanities & Arts, and from 1997–2004 chair of the Department of Music. His publications include The Idea of Gebrauchsmusik; Kurt Weill: The Threepenny Opera for the series Cambridge Opera Handbooks; the critical edition of Die Dreigroschenoper for the Kurt Weill Edition (edited with Edward Harsh); Kurt Weill, Gesammelte Schriften (Collected Writings, edited with Jürgen Schebera, and issued in 2000 in an expanded second edition); and the edition of the Symphony Mathis der Maler for Paul Hindemith’s Collected Works.