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Education @ the Schomburg: Conversations in Black Freedom Studies: The Blues People 50 Years Later


"Inspired by Amiri Baraka’s Blues People: Negro Music in White America (1963), a generation of scholars in the field of Jazz and Blues music history and criticism was born, creating a legitimate space in the academy for the serious study of African American music. Joining Amiri Baraka in this conversation-- reflecting on the years between Baraka’s Blues People and his Digging: The Afro-American Soul of American Music -- will be two major scholars in this field: Ingrid Monson is the Quincy Jones Professor of Jazz at Harvard and the author of Freedom Sounds: Civil Rights Call out to Jazz and Africa; and John Szwed is the Director of Jazz Studies at Columbia where he is also Professor of Music and Jazz Studies and the author of Jazz 101.
Fifty years ago Blues People was the first book-length history written by an African American that addressed the social, musical, economic, and cultural influences of the blues and jazz on American history. His approach to music criticism was different from anything else that existed when he first began writing in the 1950s and 60s, partly because he was the only black writer in a field of white critics. Furthermore, he was not simply describing the music, but he was also fashioning a type of prose writing that was itself an artistic performance about music." -- Komozi Woodard


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This dynamic adult education series is back with a full line up of provocative scholars and community members committed to engaging in dialogue about black freedom studies.  The fall 2013 semester is curated by professors Jeanne Theoharis (Brooklyn College) and Komozi Woodard (Sarah Lawrence College). Books from Conversations in Black Freedom Studies will be available in The Shop at the Schomburg.

Coming Up:

November 7: The War on Poverty and the Struggle for Welfare Rights with Annelise Orleck and Joshua Guild

December 5: Black Power TV with Devorah Heitner and special guests