1849-Stephen Foster writes “Suzanna.” Legend claims that Foster was introduced to African-American church music by a household slave who took him to church with her. While Foster wrote a lot of music for minstrel entertainment, W.E.B. Du Bois cited Foster’s songs as separate from the truely racist songs associated with the genre.
1935– George Gershwin’s folk opera, Porgy and Bess opens on Broadway.
1945-An ancient African instrument, the banjo, is redefined by Earl Scruggs’ three finger style in Bill Monroe’s band The Bluegrass Boys.
1947– Dizzy Gillespie hires cuban percussionist Chano Pozo to play in his band and effectivley invents Afro-Cuban jazz.
1954-St. Louis guitarist, Chuck Barry, finds a sucessful blend of blues and hillbilly music in Johnny Johnson’s band and invents Rock ‘n’ Roll.
1986-Paul Simon introduces African music into American pop music when he releases his Grammy winning album Graceland featuring South African musicians including the male vcoal group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
*all the info from this post comes from www.allmusic.com