The purpose of this article is to present findings from my study of Elma Lewis and her philosophy that illuminate key relationships between effective arts education for Black students and contemporary music education practice. Critical race theory provides the defining lens through which I examine Elma Lewis, her work, and prominent turn-of-the-21st-century music education philosophy and practice. Of import are resonances and dissonances between Lewis’s views, the music education as aesthetic education perspective, and the music education as activity paradigm. I assert that Lewis advanced a philosophy of arts education as cultural emancipation (AECE) and contextualize her views within present-day education models of culturally oriented teaching and African-centered pedagogy. Scenarios envisioning 21st-century applications of AECE philosophy for music teaching and learning in diverse and dominant culture populations conclude this article.

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