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happy? – Jan 4 (No more 'Negro songs')

Abby Sale 04 Jan 06 - 08:03 AM
GUEST,Uncle Jaque 04 Jan 06 - 07:45 PM
Azizi 05 Jan 06 - 09:33 AM
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Subject: happy? – Jan 4 (No more 'Negro songs')
From: Abby Sale
Date: 04 Jan 06 - 08:03 AM

The organizational meeting of the American Folklore Society was at Harvard on 1/4/1888. The wish was expressed "that thorough studies. . .[be] made of Negro music and songs." It was felt that these should be made soon or else the songs would be forever gone. The society's success is partly attributed to its endorsement by Professors Child, Boas & Kittredge. It's really from that point that 'Negro songs' were termed "folk music." Journal of American Folk-Lore, April, 1888 (quoted in Negro Slave Songs by Miles Mark Fisher)

Copyright © 2005, Abby Sale - all rights reserved
What are Happy's all about? See Clicky


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Subject: RE: happy? – Jan 4 (No more 'Negro songs')
From: GUEST,Uncle Jaque
Date: 04 Jan 06 - 07:45 PM

Although by today's PC standards it might strike some as a bit "racist" to make such a distinction, I too recognize this as a crucial element of American Folk Music and culture.

Kudos for your efforts to preserve and disseminate understanding for this unique and historical art form.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Jan 4 (No more 'Negro songs')
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Jan 06 - 09:33 AM

Somehow, I missed this thread yesterday. With its title I would have thought I would have immediately noticed it, but better late than never.

I join GUEST,Uncle Jaque in giving "Kudos [to you Abby and the 1888 American Folklore Society]for your efforts to preserve and disseminate understanding for this unique and historical art form." However, it seems to me that the title is a bit misleading and even shocking since African American folk songs {to purposely use the updated group referent and the plural form of the word "song"} are still being created and adapted.

That said, I'm grateful that the American Folklore Society at Harvard noted the importance of preserving "Negro folk songs" on 1/4/1888. I'm certain that much fewer examples of these songs would have been collected if the American Folklore Society not given their stamp of recognition and approval. However, efforts had been underway prior to that date to collect examples of these songs as shown by William Francis Allen, Charles Pickard Ware, and Lucy McKim Garrison's 1867 book "Slave Songs in the United States". But I wouldn't be surprised to learn that these authors were members of the American Folklore Society.

And I also wouldn't be surprised if the American Folklore Society's recognition of the historical and aesthetic value of these songs might have given impetus to the 1913 publication of Henry Edward Krehbiel's book "Afro-American Folksongs: A Study In Racial and National Music". I would imagine that that origanization's official recognition of the importance of these songs also helped garner support for Fisk University professor Thomas W. Talley's 1922 collection of secular African American secular songs "Negro Folk Songs: Wise and Other Wise". Furthermore, I note that Dorothy Scarborough's book "On The Trail Of Negro Slave Songs" was first published in 1925 by Harvard University Press. Without these and other collectors, far fewer examples of African American religious and secular folk songs from those times would have been preserved.
I lament the songs that weren't collected while I recognize that it would have been as impossible then to collect all the folk songs created and adapted by African Americans then as it is impossible to collect all the folk songs created and adapted by this group and other groups now.

However, while I applaud the American Folklore Society's declaration that "Negro" songs should be termed folk songs, I remain concerned that so many African American folk songs {secular, more than religious} and have been lumped into the generic category of "American folk songs" or "traditional songs" without any acknowledgement and recognition of their African American origin.
For more about this, see the thread I started on African American Secular Folk Songs.

That said, I again want to give thanks to Professors Child, Boas & Kittredge and other members of the American Folklore Society for their efforts on behalf of the collection, dissemination, and study of African American folk songs. Thank you also Abby for pointing out this date, and while I have the opportunity, I want to give a special thank you "shout out" {in the hip-hop meaning of that term to WYSIWYG and Q and others who worked on and continue to work on Mudcat's African-American Spirtituals Permathread.


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