Justin Holland: The guitar’s black pioneer

This topic examines the life of Justin Holland (1819-1887), the first American black man to devote his life to the development of the classical guitar. Raised in rural Virginia, he later became a nationally known educator of the guitar. Though he wrote two guitar tutors and a few compositions, the bulk of his works are guitar arrangements. Holland’s works are cataloged in an appendix consisting of over three hundred pieces. Modern library holdings are cited at the end of each entry. Aside from music, Holland’s early work in civil rights brought him worldwide acclaim. His knowledge of three languages brought him into contact with abolitionist sympathizers in South America and Europe.