Scholars often fail to see that music played an important role in the preservation of African culture in the United States. They correctly note that slavery stripped some cultural elements from Black people-their political and economic systems-but they underestimate the significance of music in sustaining other African cultural values. African music, unlike the music of some other cultures, was based on a total vision of life ill which music was not an isolated social domain. In African culture music was pervasive, serving not only religion, but all phases of life, including birth, death, work, and play. The methods that a community devises to perpetuate itself come into being to preserve aspects of the cultural legacy that that community perceives as essential. Music, like art in general, was so inextricably a part of African culture that it became a crucial means of preserving the culture during and after the dislocations of slavery.