Archive for the ‘The Colour Line’ Category

Author: Alain Locke

Source: The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 140 (November 1928): 234–247.


Alain Leroy Locke (1885 – 1954) was an American writer, philosopher, educator, and patron of the arts. In a popular publication, The Black 100, Alain Locke ranks as the 36th most influential African American ever, past or present.


Author: James Weldon Johnson

Source: Harper’s, November 1928. The Annals of America:  1928  •  Vol. 14

(reprinted from:


“In the atmosphere of nativism and xenophobia that followed the war, it was perhaps not surprising that the American Negro continued to be victimized by the social, political, and economic exclusion that had increasingly been his lot since the end of Reconstruction.  The Negro was savagely persecuted in the 1920s and the prosperity of the period passed him by.  Nonetheless, Negroes, began to make their presence felt in the cultural life of the nation:  in literature, drama, and the concert stage.  James Weldon Johnson, poet, professor, and secretary from 1916 to 1930 of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, argued, in an article that is reprinted here in part, that this renaissance had softened the prejudicethat many Americans felt toward Negroes.”


Author: Thomas Wentworth Higginson



Thomas Wentworth Higginson was a fervent member of New England’s abolitionist movement, and an active participant in the Underground Railroad.

When the Civil War broke out, he was the perfect candidate to head the first regiment of emancipated slaves, and in 1862, he was commissioned as a colonel for the troops training in the Sea Islands off the coast of the Carolinas.

“Army Life in a Black Regiment”  is Higginson’s amazing and invaluable account of his wartime experiences. The narrative ranges from reports on daily life to a detailed description of the author’s near escape from cannon fire to sketches that conjure up the beauty and mystery of the Sea Islands.

For all those eager on learning the history of black cultural life, the book, originally published 1869, is precious as a first hand account of the life of former slaves. It also provides a separate chapter on Negro Spirituals.



Author: David Suisman


“In London in 1923, W. E. B. Du Bois addressed the third Pan-African Congress on the topic of “The American Negro.” In his talk he jumped from familiar themes such as voting rights and lynching to one topic that stood out: attempts by a large American phonograph record corporation to bankrupt Black Swan Records, a small, black-owned company that produced records for African American consumers. Why would a large phonograph corporation launch such a campaign? And why would it merit Du Bois’s attention in that heady forum?

By way of answering those questions, this article investigates the rise and fall of the small record company and explores the complex political economy in which it operated. Black Swan was established by a former protégé of Du Bois, Harry H. Pace, who saw the company as a powerful means to respond to the hostile conditions African Americans faced, both in the entertainment business and in American society at large. At stake was not merely entertainment but access to, and control of, material resources that could cultivate and boost African Americans’ creative spirits, support and encourage African American business development and economic self-sufficiency, and, it was believed, help shape popular opinion to produce tangible social, political, and economic benefits for African Americans.”



Author: Charles Whitaker
Source: Ebony, Oktober 1990


Some reflections, at the start of the 1990’s, on the relation between black and blue eyed blues.



Authors: Lynn Abbott and Jack Stewart
Source: The Jazz Archivist, Vol. IX, 2, December 1994


A most detailed description of the activities in the New Orleans black Iroquois vaudeville theater, which lets us have a very good idea of the creativity involved in the general black vaudeville theater life in the 1910’s.



Author: Luqman Muhammad Abdullah

Source: Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Cornell University in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Professional Studies, 2009


The study illustrates how progressive traditions for social justice in Black music have acted as a source of agency and a tool for resistance against oppression. It also explains how the music of African Americans has served as a primary mechanism for disseminating their cultural legacy.

The thesis focuses on four black artists to make its point: 

Bernice Johnson Reagon, John Coltrane, Curtis Mayfield and Gil Scott-Heron

These artists comprise the talented cadre of musicians that exemplify the progressive Black musical tradition for social justice in their respective genres of gospel, jazz, soul and spoken word. The methods utilized for the study include a socio-historical account of the origins of Black music, an overview of the artists’ careers, and a lyrical analysis of selected songs created by each of the artists.