Throughout classical music history, one can find examples of Black composers who have had a significant number of their works lost, such as George Bridgetower and Estelle D. Ricketts. Scores of other Black composers are handwritten and in dire need of engraving and editing (including works by Harry Lawrence Freeman, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, and Shirley Graham DuBois). Another example of the former is the solemn, surprising salon-style piano solo by L. Viola Kinney, entitled Mother's Sacrifice - a piece appropriate to feature this Women's History Month 2019.
The competition - the Inter-State Literary Society Original Music Contest - was held in 1908. Mother's Sacrifice was Ms. Kinney's entry, and it won second place. The first place winner was Claude Minor of Lawrence, Kansas, who was also a student in the harmony class at Western University in Quindaro, Kansas. A year after the competition, Mother's Sacrifice was published by the Twentieth Century Commercial Society of Western University. This work was published when Ms. Kinney was still a student, and this publishing company released works by Black composers. The company asked some of the students why people should purchase these published works. Ms. Kinney was among the students to answer, and you can read her answer below:
To hear Ms. Kinney's only surviving work, check out this amazing recording by the incredible Maria Corley, who is also a composer, mainly of art song!