European Studies SMLC HKU School of Modern Languages and Cultures HKU

News & Events

23 February 2017

Rising Above - African American History and Culture Lecture Series:
“Damn that Jim Crow”: Blues Songs Confront American Apartheid

Prof. Steven C. Tracy
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Location: Fung Ping Shan Building, University Museum and Art Gallery, HKU
Date: 23 Feb 2016 (Thu)
Time: 6:30 pm

click to see poster

During the era of segregation, African Americans suffered being "jim-crowed" in every facet of their lives, primarily in the South, where the enmity between empowered whites and subjected blacks died an extremely slow and painful death after slavery and Reconstruction. But African Americans did not suffer in silence, or even just in private. A number of blues recordings from the 1920s to the 1940s discuss various issues, including the travel restrictions, providing keen insight into the inconvenience, insult and danger posed by these Jim Crow conditions. Whether recordings produced for African Americans in the so-called "Race" series of records, songs associated with the folk music movement in post-Depression America, or songs connected to contemporaneous literary figures, the condemnation of the Jim Crow system was clear and compelling.

Steven C. Tracy is Distinguished University Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He served as Fulbright Senior Specialist at the University of Konstanz in Germany and also as ChuTian Scholar at Central China Normal University. He has authored, edited, coedited, or introduced nearly thirty books. A singer-harmonica player, he has opened for B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and others.

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