By Erich Nunn
Sounding the colour Line explores how competing understandings of the U.S. South within the first many years of the 20 th century have led us to adventure musical types, sounds, and genres in racialized contexts. but, even though we may perhaps communicate of white or black song, rock or rap, sounds regularly leak via such obstacles. A serious disjuncture exists, then, among real interracial musical and cultural kinds at the one hand and racialized constructions of feeling at the different. this can be nowhere extra obvious than within the South.
Like Jim Crow segregation, the separation of musical types alongside racial strains has required huge, immense strength to keep up. How, asks Nunn, did the protocols structuring listeners’ racial institutions come up? How have they advanced and been maintained within the face of repeated transgressions of the musical colour line? contemplating the South because the imagined flooring the place conflicts of racial and nationwide identities are staged, this ebook seems at constructing rules referring to people track and racial and cultural nationalism along the competing and infrequently contradictory workings of an rising tradition undefined. Drawing on a various archive of musical recordings, serious artifacts, and literary texts, Nunn unearths how the musical colour line has not just been demonstrated and maintained but additionally time and again crossed, fractured, and reformed. This push and pull―between segregationist cultural logics and music’s disrespect of racially outlined boundaries―is an animating strength in twentieth-century American well known culture.
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Extra resources for Sounding the Color Line: Music and Race in the Southern Imagination
6. J. Haygood Armstrong, “It’s Hard to Be a Nigger,” 1883. Original in the Music Division, Library of Congress. as the song declares, against former slaves and their descendants. ” That, beneath its conventional stage negro dialect, “It’s Hard to Be a Nigger” conveys such a clear critique of the exploitation of blacks under Jim Crow suggests that perhaps Armstrong’s song derives in whole or in part from songs that he heard from African American singers, much as fellow Georgian Joel Chandler Harris claimed to have adapted his Uncle Remus stories from those told by slaves on Turnwold Plantation in Putnam County, Georgia.
Photo courtesy of Michael Wright. transatlantic route—from West Africa to the United States—that complicates the one which connects Kincaid with the British Isles. In other words, this Africanist presence in Kincaid’s story is not merely incidental to it. Instead, the racial difference highlighted by the repeated invocation of “the negro” facilitates the transhistorical, transatlantic ethnic identification that undergirds Kincaid’s self-presentation. The story of ancestry Kincaid tells proposes a “Scotch” identity that comprises both genealogy and cultural inheritance.
And [on] one of these occasions a negro friend of my father’s who used to come and fox hunt with them once in a while had this old—this hound dog guitar here. And my father traded him one of his foxhounds for that guitar. ” This social relationship is elided in the previous accounts. It is possible that Kincaid’s acknowledgment that his father and “the negro” were friends in this account is simply a response to the changed circumstances of the late 1960s during which his interview with Gable took place, a liberal gesture.