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Jean Snyder

Female | Scholars


Ethnomusicologist Jean E. Snyder has taught in Kenya and Zambia and has done ethnographic research in Jamaica as well as in communities involved in the steel industry in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Her biography, Harry T. Burleigh: From the Spiritual to the Harlem Renaissance, was published by the University of Illinois Press in February 2016, the Sesquicentennial of Burleigh’s birth. While teaching at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, twenty miles south of his birthplace in Erie, Pennsylvania, she was artistic director for five weekends honoring Burleigh, including a national conference in 2003, “The Heritage and Legacy of Harry T. Burleigh.” These events featured singers bass-baritone Oral Moses, contralto Bessie Sewell Hudson, soprano Louise Toppin, the late tenor William A. Brown, the Morehouse Glee Club, tenor Darryl Taylor, pianists Ann Sears and Joseph Joubert, and composer-in-residence Nkeiru Okoye, as well as the choirs of local African American congregations and the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul, where Burleigh and his family were taken in as members several years after the Civil War. Oral Moses, Bill Brown, and Roland Carter conducted choral workshops, and the late Horace C. Boyer and the late Rev. Charles Kennedy, founder of the Burleigh Society in Erie, made presentations in local public schools. The family of Dr. Harry T. Burleigh II, Burleigh’s grandson, were very supportive of all of these events. Dr. Snyder was invited to speak and hold a book signing at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, on Thursday, February 23, 2017.  

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