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1 African-American Blues and Literature in the Jim Crow Era Gardner Oleson, Mike Cusher, Sahar Taksokhan, Kevin Donnelly Mr. Gallagher – Period 3.

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Presentation on theme: "1 African-American Blues and Literature in the Jim Crow Era Gardner Oleson, Mike Cusher, Sahar Taksokhan, Kevin Donnelly Mr. Gallagher – Period 3."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 African-American Blues and Literature in the Jim Crow Era Gardner Oleson, Mike Cusher, Sahar Taksokhan, Kevin Donnelly Mr. Gallagher – Period 3

2 2 Table of Contents History Of Blues Music-Mike Cusher Affect of Blues Music in the Jim Crow Era- Kevin Donnelly History Of African-American Literature- Gardner Oleson Affect of African-American Literature in the Jim Crow Era-Sahar

3 3 Introduction The topic that we are presenting is African-American Blues and Literature in the Jim Crow Era. There are 4 topics in this presentation and each group member gets one topic. Mike Cusher wrote The History Of Blues which is slides 4 through 11. Kevin Donnelly wrote the Affect of Blues Music in the Jim Crow Era, which is slides 12 through 19. Gardner Oleson wrote the History Of African-American Literature in the Jim Crow Era, which is slides 20 through 27. Sahar wrote The Affect of Literature in the Jim Crow Era, which is slides 28 through 35.

4 4 History of Blues Historians believe blues first originated in the Mississippi delta in the early 1900s. Blues was created out of black society and music, but white music was also a component to blues music. Robert Johnson

5 5 History of Blues Blues had roots in other forms of black music which include field hollers, jump-ups, church music, and African rhythms. Blues became a distinct form of music by the turn of the century.

6 6 History of Blues Blues was the secular side and African Music often sung by slaves, prisoners, road crews, and work gangs. “The blues, like spirituals, were prayers. One was praying to God and the other was praying to man.” Sidney Bechet Sidney Bechet

7 7 History of Blues Blues lyrics were about sex and lust, broken hearts and new love, driving mules and riding horses, going away and coming home, and working on the levees.

8 8 History of Blues By the time the first world war started, Blues had become part of American music. Blues was made popular by people like W.C. Handy, and Bessie Smith. Bessie Smith

9 9 History of Blues In the 1930s and 1940s the blues migrated north with the spread of African-Americans and their culture. Blues converged in to other types of music, such as big band jazz. Big Band Jazz Group

10 10 History of Blues In the 1940s and early 1950s artists like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, and B.B. King helped define blues music, especially blues originating from Chicago, Illinois. Elmore James

11 11 History of Blues In the 1960s white American And European artists played Blues music. Some of these artists are the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, the Yardbirds. Blues evolved in to rock music and the rock we know today is still a derivative of the blues. The Rolling Stones

12 12 Affect of the Blues on the Jim Crow Era Blues music allowed poor blacks to rise up out of the ghetto into a life they never would have had otherwise. The music explored the feelings of frustration, poverty, and depression that many African-Americans in these places were experiencing. The Ghetto

13 13 Affect of the Blues on the Jim Crow Era Blues Music helped African- Americans to criticize the oppressive white culture. Blues Music represented the new free status of African Americans. Blues music was more an emphasis on the individual.

14 14 Affect of the Blues on the Jim Crow Era Blues was a major form of entertainment in the Jim Crow Era. Musicians who formerly played for the community and the church switched and played for theaters and clubs. Blues Club

15 15 Affect of the Blues on the Jim Crow Era Blues music represented the feelings of the black community, which were of sadness. African-Americans were upset with how they were being treated in this country, and this often came out in the lyrics of blues music.

16 16 Affect of the Blues on the Jim Crow Era With the help of the blues, black artists attacked white policies through artistic expression. The music of these poverty stricken sons of sharecroppers and former slaves informed people about the severe problems in the south. Sharecropping Family

17 17 Affect of the Blues on the Jim Crow Era Elmore James was a very influential blues artist in the 50s. His songs about African-American life in the south were usually slow blues, or exciting rave ups in the style of Chicago Blues. Elmore James

18 18 Affect of the Blues on the Jim Crow Era The popularization of blues positively affected race relations in America. Anyone could like the blues, so people from different races had something to bond over. Blues Musician

19 19 Affect of the Blues on the Jim Crow Era Blues Shows were a place were race relations were left at the door. At many Blues shows, there would be a cord separating the two races. By the end of the concert the cord would be on the floor and blacks and whites would be dancing together. Concert Crowd

20 20 History of African American Literature Books by African-Americans and about the African- American experience have been some of the most popular and influential in the last century. Especially ones written in the Jim Crow Era.

21 21 History of African American Literature One of the Greatest African-American writers was Richard Wright. He was born in Roxie, Mississippi. His Grandparents were former slaves and his father abandoned the family when he was six. Richard Wright

22 22 History of African American Literature Richard Wright wrote many great pieces of literature. Native Son was a piece that made him famous. It was about a black man who accidentally kills a white woman. Native Son By Richard Wright

23 23 History of African American Literature Richard Wrights books made him the voice of a generation. He addressed topics like racism and white violence. Wrights last book was about his experience with the American Communist Party when he moved North.

24 24 History of African American Literature Langston Hughes was one of the great poets of the Jim Crow Generation. “Mother to Son” was a poem he wrote in 1926 about a mother who keeps encouraging her son to try harder, no matter what the obstacles are. Langston Hughes

25 25 History of African American Literature In the 30s, Langston Hughes wrote a series of Short Stories called “The Ways of White Folks”. They described the relation between white and black people from the black point of view.

26 26 History of African American Literature In the Fifties, there was a flourish of black culture. Authors wrote about love, prison, sexuality, and Harlem. This was also a time of increased white violence. Blacks protested in response and this showed in many works of literature. Harlem, New York

27 27 History of African American Literature A very well known piece of literature from the 50s is called Maud Martha and it is by Gwendolyn Brooks. It is about a very dark skinned woman receiving discrimination from both whites and blacks. Gwendolyn Brooks

28 28 The Affect of Literature During the Jim Crow Era Some of Americas greatest writers have been African-American, for example Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, James Weldon Johnson, Countee Cullen, Claude McKay and many more. Claude McKay

29 29 The Affect of Literature During the Jim Crow Era The environment of the Jim Crow Era helped inspire these writers and poets, and many of their best works were about the Jim Crow Era. The history of the Jim Crow Era also helped to bring these great writers into the spotlight where they belong. Countee Cullen

30 30 The Affect of Literature During the Jim Crow Era Many of Americas greatest Jim Crow Era African- American writers were not praised and accepted by America until the 1970s even though they wrote the majority of their works in the 40s.

31 31 The Affect of Literature During the Jim Crow Era Literature was a major part of the Harlem Renaissance which happened during the Jim Crow Era. Harlem authors wrote about racial pride, political respect, and the values of being a socially conscience African- American. African-American authors

32 32 The Affect of Literature During the Jim Crow Era Some authors wrote about their experience with passing for white. Passing for white is when a black person has unusually light skin and a Caucasian facial structure, so they can go through life as a white person, in the oppressive Jim Crow Era. James Weldon Johnson

33 33 The Affect of Literature During the Jim Crow Era Passing for white gave African-Americans many opportunities, but many had to deal with the shame of turning down their own race at a time when it was being attacked and discriminated against.

34 34 The Affect of Literature During the Jim Crow Era Literature by African- Americans helped them gain equal rights. This is because white people read and liked these books and it helped them understand the African-American struggle.

35 35 The Affect of Literature During the Jim Crow Era African-American literature helped bring attention to the plight of African-Americans. In turn this brought attention to the injustices of the Jim Crow Era, which eventually collapsed.

36 36 Outro African-American Blues and Literature helped to bring African-Americans out of the poverty and repression of the Jim Crow Era. Many artists from many different fields thrived in this time. African-Americans created the most influential and most copied style of music and they also wrote some of Americas greatest works of literature during the Jim Crow Era, which are still being read and listened to today.


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