Voices from the Days of Slavery

The most depressing thing about the current economic crisis is that governments are tackling the crisis through austerity measures and cutbacks. When you see websites like this one, you’re reminded of what was accomplished when the WPA assigned the country odd jobs (in a literal sense) and gifted its results upon later generations.

The ethnomusicology work performed by the Federal Music Project has fascinated me since my University days; I was a history student working at a late, lamented, legendary record store to pay my tuition. Unlike my much cooler coworkers I was more than happy to cover shifts in the Folk section, where I had access to all the Smithsonian Folkways CDs and very few customers to complain if I played them.

The CDs I listened to were preserved music, but I knew of the interviews’ existence. Thank goodness for the Internet; an easily-accessed repository for these chronicles out of time. I’ve listened to Fountain Hughes’ interview already – it was excerpted in the Ken Burns series – and I can’t wait to get at some of the others. I mean, how’s this for a teaser?

I got my name from President Jeff Davis. He was president of the Southern Confederacy. He owned my grandfather and my father. Brought them from Richmond, Virginia.

Voices from the Days of Slavery – Library of Congress http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/voices/

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