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The Green Book and African American Travel with Candacy Taylor on the Folklife Today Podcast

Season 3, Episode 4 of the Folklife Today Podcast is ready for listening! In this episode, John Fenn and I interview Candacy Taylor, whose latest project is documenting sites associated with the Negro Motorist Green Book, a travel guide for African Americans during the Jim Crow era. Taylor discusses the dangers inherent in travel for Black people during an era where racial discrimination was legal and open racism was common. She fills us in on the origins of the Green Book. We discuss sites such as Dooky Chase’s restaurant in New Orleans, where owner Leah Chase slapped the hand of President Barack Obama for adding hot sauce to her famous gumbo, and where she fed a young Michael Jackson her signature sweet potato pie. We also discuss the historic Hampton House, a Jewish-owned hotel in Miami, where a young boxer named Cassius Clay met Malcolm X and changed his name to Muhammad Ali, and where Martin Luther King, Jr. practiced his most famous speech.

American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress Launches Podcast ‘America Works’

The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress is delighted to announce a new podcast:  “America Works.” It is based on our Occupational Folklife Project collection, and tells fascinating stories of American workers. You can listen to a trailer for this exciting new series in the player below: Listen and Subscribe to “America Works” […]

Homegrown at Home and Home Archive Challenge on the Folklife Today Podcast

Episode 19 of the Folklife Today Podcast (or Season 2, Episode 7) is ready for listening! Find it at this page on the Library’s website, or on Stitcher, iTunes, or your usual podcatcher.  As usual, I’ll use this blog post to direct you to fuller audio and video of the items we mentioned in the podcast, […]

Getting Inspired from Home on the Folklife Today Podcast!

Episode eighteen of the Folklife Today Podcast (or Season 2, Episode 6) is ready for listening! Find it at this page on the Library’s website, or on Stitcher, iTunes, or your usual podcatcher. It’s the first episode of the podcast that we’ve created from our homes, while unable to return to our offices or studio in the Library of Congress due to the social distancing measures imposed by Covid-19.  In the episode, John Fenn and I talk to three AFC staff members, Allina Migoni, Michelle Stefano, and Maya Lerman, about folklife collections and items that have been inspiring to them in this strange and difficult time.  We also talk about some of the materials that have been inspiring us. As usual, there are lots of audio excerpts from tunes, songs, and interviews in AFC collections.

Podcast: Episode 17, on Transcribing Lomax with By the People, is Ready for Listening!

Episode seventeen of the Folklife Today Podcast (or Season 2, Episode 5) is ready for listening! In the episode, John Fenn and Stephen Winick talk about a campaign called “The Man Who Recorded the World: On The Road with Alan Lomax.” It’s an effort to crowdsource transcriptions Alan Lomax’s fascinating field notes. Through this campaign, you can help out the Library of Congress and music fans worldwide by increasing access to Lomax’s field notes through transcribing and reviewing pages. Anyone can get involved at the link provided in the blog. The podcast and blog feature music from throughout Lomax’s career as well as descriptions of his notes.

Podcast: Part 2 of Winter Songs!

Episode 16 of the Folklife Today Podcast (or Season 2, Episode 4) is ready for listening! Find it at this page on the Library’s website, or on itunes, or with your usual podcatcher. Get Your Podcast Here! We’re also happy to announce that we’re now available on Stitcher as well–use this link here! In the episode, […]

Podcast: Episode 14, on “The Dodger,” is Ready for Listening

Episode Fourteen of the Folklife Today Podcast (or Season 2, Episode 2) is ready for listening! The episode presents a deep dive into a single song, known either as “The Candidate’s a Dodger” or simply as “The Dodger.” In the episode, Thea Austen, Jennifer Cutting, and I look at the classic folksong , discussing the song’s meanings in oral tradition, its use by Aaron Copland as an art song, and its involvement in political controversy in the 1930s, when Charles Seeger first published it. We examine the song’s history and lay out new evidence about its relationships to other folksongs and to a musical theater song from 1840s England. We also discuss the possibility that Charles Seeger, a founder of ethnomusicology and a pioneering federal folklorist, was himself a “dodger!” The episode includes performances by folksingers Pete Seeger, Mike Seeger, and Peggy Seeger, as well as baritone Thomas Hampson, and five field recordings from the Library of Congress.