Dr. Sam Floyd, Jr. began the Black Music Research Newsletter in 1977 while at Southern Illinois University - Carbondale, Illinois, where it was published until spring 1978. Newsletters from fall 1978 through spring 1982 were published by Dr. Floyd at Fisk University, then at Columbia College Chicago, where Dr. Fisk established the Center for Black Music Research in 1983. Issues of this newsletter, later, bulletin, were published by the CBMR from fall 1982 through 1990.
The newsletter, published semi-annually, promoted and encouraged scholarship and culture in black American music and black music worldwide. The primary audience and contributors were from the United States, although several pieces were submitted from around the world.
The publication held four sections: research news; foundation news; questions and answers; and announcement. Research news reported about recent scholarship and projects based in universities and research centers nationwide. Foundation news provided information about funding sources related to black music research. Questions and answers replied to short research inquiries. Announcements publicized concerts, festivals, conferences, and events.
In 1988, the newsletter changed its name to the Black Music Research Bulletin and was published until 1990.