This project represents the first scholarly attempt to give meaning to the commonly held belief that the African drum was banned during slavery. It is a clich� in the study of American history that throughout the slave epoch the drum was feared by slave owners because of its potential use as an instrument of communication for revolts. The drum as well as “other loud instruments” were prohibited due to their perceived connection with violence. My interest has been to assemble documentary evidence and consider the myth and reality of the African drum in America from colonial times to the turn of the twentieth century. My intent is to take the idea of the African hand drum and trace it—pull it—through time to our day.