Category: Will Marion Cook

  • The Happy Heaven of Harlem

    Many artists moved to Harlem, where they were free to cultivate the inner life. Langston Hughes, the most famous poet of the Harlem Renaissance, reading his poem “I, Too”: The Harlem Renaissance was the artistic flowering of the Great Migration. As Duke Ellington wrote in “Drop Me Off in Harlem”: I don’t want your Dixie,You […]

  • The DNA of American Folk Music

    Engraving of Pocahontas (1595-1617). In 2018, in response to pushback against her longtime claims of Native American ancestry (including from President Trump, who refers to her mockingly as “Pocahontas”), Democratic Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren had her DNA tested, and made the results public. The test indicated that Warren had a Native American ancestor […]

  • Origins of Jazz

    Content/Trigger warning: Racist imagery and lyrics. Among the origins of jazz are several overlapping musical genres that were popular at the end of the nineteenth century. Black musical theater, which, around the turn of the twentieth century, crossed color lines to become popular with white as well as black audiences. Marti Newland singing “Swing Along,” […]