This Day in Black History: Dec. 14, 1959

Motown Record Company, the first large Black-owned music company in America, was founded on Dec. 14, 1959.

With the creation of the Motown Record Company, the first large Black-owned music company in America, founder Berry Gordy was able to introduce Black popular music to the country and garnered wide acclaim for his artists in the 1960s. The record company was founded on Dec. 14, 1959.
Soulful tunes flowed from the label's top artists including Diana Ross and the Supremes, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Lionel Richie and the Commodores. Motown's artists had the crossover power to break through racial divides of the era.

Gordy started in the industry as a Detroit-based songwriter who later took on production and publishing to keep more of the revenues from the label's chart toppers. After forming his first label, Tamla, he was encouraged to create Motown Records to promote Black pop sounds to the mainstream audience. 
Smokey and the Miracles' "Shop Around" was the label's first hit song.

Click here to win a trip to the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration in Phoenix, AZ, plus 4 tickets to the Big Game. 

BET National News - Keep up to date with breaking news stories from around the nation, including headlines from the hip hop and entertainment world. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

(Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.