Jookin': The Rise of Social Dance Formations in African-American Culture

By Katrina Hazzard-Gordon | Go to book overview

2
SHODDY CONFINIES: THE JOOK CONTINUUM

Singing and playing in the true Negro style is called jooking.

-- Zom Neal Hurston, 1934


The Great Transition

THERE was no autonomous social life under slavery. Whether slave owners did or did not control specific activities, they had the power to do so. Generally they granted or withdrew social privileges as a means of controlling work productivity. Living in plantation slave quarters, however, fostered the sense of a community, distinctly African in flavor. This sense of community existed in a dynamic tension with white control and allowed for the creation of distinctly African-American cultural activities.

Under bondage slaves danced whenever they could, both openly and surreptitiously; often any space or shelter would do--barns, sugar refineries, jails, praise houses. In the Reconstruction era, some African- Americans, now responsible for their own upkeep and cultural activities, regarded mobility as an expression

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Jookin': The Rise of Social Dance Formations in African-American Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS xiii
  • 1 - Dancing Under the Lash 3
  • 2 - Shoddy Confinies: The Jook Continuum 63
  • 3 - Upper Shades and Urban Politics 121
  • POSTSCRIPT 173
  • Notes 177
  • Index 213
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