Blues People: Negro Music in White America

Blues People: Negro Music in White America

Blues People: Negro Music in White America

Blues People: Negro Music in White America

Excerpt

I am trying in this book, by means of analogy and some attention to historical example, to establish certain general conclusions about a particular segment of American society.

This book should be taken as a strictly theoretical endeavor. Theoretical, in that none of the questions it poses can be said to have been answered definitively or for all time, etc. In fact, the book proposes more questions than it will answer. The only questions it will properly move to answer have, I think, been answered already within the patterns of American life. We need only give these patterns serious scrutiny and draw certain permissible conclusions.

The Negro as slave is one thing. The Negro as American is quite another. But the path the slave took to "citizenship" is what I want to look at. And I make my analogy through the slave citizen's music -- through the music that is most closely associated with him: blues and a later, but parallel development, jazz. And it seems to me that if the Negro represents, or is symbolic of, something in and about the nature of American culture, this certainly should be revealed by his characteristic music.

In other words, I am saying that if the music of the Negro . . .

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