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Bill McAdoo

GUEST,Suzy T. 01 Apr 13 - 01:10 PM
Continuity Jones 01 Apr 13 - 01:17 PM
GUEST 01 Apr 13 - 01:19 PM
Continuity Jones 01 Apr 13 - 05:42 PM
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Subject: Bill McAdoo
From: GUEST,Suzy T.
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 01:10 PM

Does anyone know what became of Bill McAdoo? I was looking through an old Little Sandy Review yesterday and came across a review of a Folkways record by Bill McAdoo, an African American, young (in the early 60s) folksinger and political activist from Detroit who was living in New York. He recorded several records for Folkways including at least one with Pete Seeger. How come I never heard of this guy? What became of him? There was a Bill McAdoo in the 1800s who helped fight Jim Crow, I don't know whether the 1960s folksinger Bill McAdoo was a descendant or maybe just took that name as a stage name.

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Subject: RE: Bill McAdoo
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 01:17 PM

I have his two Folkways records, they're pretty good. Did he not go on to become a university professor? I think his albums are available on the Folkways site - Vol 1 is the stronger.

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Subject: RE: Bill McAdoo
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 01:19 PM

I just dug a little deeper, and found that Bill McAdoo died in 2003. He must have been an amazing person. Here is the obit I found.

Backing Black Studies

The abolitionist Frederick Douglass's words, ''without struggle there is no progress,'' were at the core of William McAdoo's beliefs, said his wife, Joy Mahabir, of South Setauket. Dr. McAdoo was chairman of the Africana Studies department at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

When he came to Stony Brook in 1978, Africana studies were a program, not a department. When black studies were being phased out at universities across the country in the 1990's, Dr. McAdoo mobilized faculty and students and bucked a trend.

''He transformed it from a marginal program to a really good department,'' said Aaron W. Godfrey, a senior lecturer in the department of European languages at the university. ''He was a guy who was in your face but always about the right thing. It wasn't about him. It was about racial justice. It was about people getting along with each other. It was about equity.'' Africana studies became a department in 1998.

The son of a Jewish mother and an African-American father who were labor organizers in Michigan, Dr. McAdoo was also a civil rights activist, writer and musician. In his quest for social justice, he was a bit of a curmudgeon, skilled at pricking peoples' consciences and saying exactly what he thought, regardless of whom he offended. In 2002, when Candace De Russy, a SUNY trustee, unsuccessfully tried to have African-American studies phased out, saying they had been incorporated into history departments and were ''flabby, feel-good programs that carry an anti-American bias,'' Dr. McAdoo fought back. In letters to the editor and an article in Black Issues in Higher Education, Dr. McAdoo contended that to call such programs irrelevant was to disregard the history of the United States and the history of slavery and racism.

''Her statements are racist,'' Dr. McAdoo wrote at the time. ''To say that most black studies programs are un-American smacks of McCarthyism, smacks of the whole fascist kinds of repression that took place in the 1950's in the U.S.''

During the civil rights movement, Dr. McAdoo composed and recorded an album of protest songs, ''Bill McAdoo Sings,'' with Pete Seeger on the banjo.

After six years together, Dr. McAdoo married Dr. Mahabir last August. He died on Nov. 6, 2003 of leukemia at age 67.

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Subject: RE: Bill McAdoo
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 05:42 PM

That's a shame he's dead and not a nice death, either. Glad he went on to something good after those albums. His version of John Henry is quite something.

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