Racial Violence, "Primitive" Music, and the Blues Entrepreneur: W. C. Handy's Mississippi Problem

  title={Racial Violence, "Primitive" Music, and the Blues Entrepreneur: W. C. Handy's Mississippi Problem},
  author={Adam Gussow},
  journal={Southern Cultures},
  pages={56 - 77}
  • Adam Gussow
  • Published 1 August 2002
  • History
  • Southern Cultures
Composer of the best-selling "Memphis Blues" and "St. Louis Blues," author of an autobiography titled Father of the Blues (1941), W. C. Handy (1873-1958) has a curious place in the history of American blues music. He was not, after all, a bluesman; he was a pre-jazz cornetist and bandleader, a skilled sight-reader and arranger who plied his trade on the black minstrel-show circuit of the 1890s. Educated to be a schoolteacher, a member of Florence, Alabama's, black elite, Handy scandalized his… 



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