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Category: African Americans

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Turkey in the Straw

Posted by: Stephen Winick

It’s not often a fiddle tune becomes controversial, but that’s happening this week, thanks to a blog post by Theodore R. Johnson, III over at National Public Radio. Johnson discusses a well-known tune, with many versions in Library of Congress collections, and raises interesting and important issues, so I thought we might feature the piece …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

The Animals Marched In Two By Two: More Songs About Noah’s Ark

Posted by: Stephen Winick

In my last post, I discussed the more serious side of songs about Noah’s ark. As I mentioned, though, there are other songs too, often with more celebratory messages–or even silly ones.  We’ll look at some of those Noah songs in this post. Celebratory songs tend to focus on the joy felt by Noah when …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Narratives of Women and Girls: the Center for Applied Linguistics Collection

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

For Women’s History Month, I thought it would be interesting to highlight some examples of interviews with women and girls in American English Dialects: The Center for Applied Linguistics Collection. This online collection is one of several dialect collections in the American Folklife Center archive. With a little digging, such collections can yield exciting examples of …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

John Wesley Work III: Documenting Musical Change

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

Folklorist John Wesley Work III lived in an extraordinary time in the development of African American music. He was in college as the Harlem Renaissance began. African American composers were developing traditional blues into elite compositions and the piano became an instrument for new styles such as jazz and boogie-woogie. Work, like his brother Julian, …