Search-icon

The Sounds of Slavery

Discovering African American History through Songs, Sermons, and Speech

By , (Author)

Paperback published by Beacon Press (Beacon Press)

have you read it? rate it!
Histogram_reset_icon
ADD TO MY SHELF
About This Book
This exploration of African American slavery through sound is a groundbreaking way of understanding both slave culture and American history

"A work of great originality and insight."
-Ira Berlin 

"Shane White and Graham White's book is a joy."
-Branford Marsalis

"A fascinating book . . . that brings to life the historical soundscape of 18th- and 19th-century African Americans at work, play, rest, and prayer . . . This remarkable achievement demands a place in every collection on African American and U.S. history and folklife. Highly recommended."
-Library Journal

"The authors have undertaken the difficult task of bringing to contemporary readers the sounds of American slave culture . . . [giving] vibrancy and texture to a complex history that has been long neglected."
-Booklist

"The book's strongest point is its attention to detail . . . [it] will not only be valuable to young scholars, but . . . to young performers and composers, especially with the explosion of interest in 'roots music,' looking for new sources of original and searing music."
-Ran Blake, Christian Science Monitor

"A lyrical and original treatment of the musical and spoken culture of American slaves. This book is moving testimony to how scholarship can penetrate the transcendent spirit once considered exotic or unknowable, how historians can trace social survival to the human voice in slavery's heart of darkness."
-David W. Blight, professor of history, Yale University, and author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory

"A seminal study of a neglected aspect of Southern and African-American culture . . . and the approach to the topic is both creative and resourceful. The book is highly recommended."
-Michael Russert, The Multicultural Review

Shane White and Graham White, who are not related, are professor and honorary associate, respectively, in the history department at the University of Sydney, Australia. They are the coauthors of Stylin': African American Expressive Culture, from Its Beginning to the Zoot Suit.
Show less
This exploration of African American slavery through sound is a groundbreaking way of understanding both slave culture and American history

"A work of great originality and insight."
-Ira Berlin 

"Shane White and Graham White's book is a joy."
-Branford Marsalis

"A fascinating book . . . that brings to life the historical soundscape of 18th- and 19th-century African Americans at work, play, rest, and prayer . . . This remarkable achievement demands a place in every collection on African American and U.S. history and folklife. Highly recommended."
-Library Journal

"The authors have undertaken the difficult task of bringing to contemporary readers the sounds of American slave culture . . . [giving] vibrancy and texture to a complex history that has been long neglected."
-Booklist

"The book's strongest point is its attention to detail . . . [it] will not only be valuable to young scholars, but . . . to young performers and composers, especially with the explosion of interest in 'roots music,' looking for new sources of original and searing music."
-Ran Blake, Christian Science Monitor

"A lyrical and original treatment of the musical and spoken culture of American slaves. This book is moving testimony to how scholarship can penetrate the transcendent spirit once considered exotic or unknowable, how historians can trace social survival to the human voice in slavery's heart of darkness."
-David W. Blight, professor of history, Yale University, and author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory

"A seminal study of a neglected aspect of Southern and African-American culture . . . and the approach to the topic is both creative and resourceful. The book is highly recommended."
-Michael Russert, The Multicultural Review

Shane White and Graham White, who are not related, are professor and honorary associate, respectively, in the history department at the University of Sydney, Australia. They are the coauthors of Stylin': African American Expressive Culture, from Its Beginning to the Zoot Suit.
Product Details
Paperback (264 pages)
Published: April 1, 2006
Publisher: Beacon Press
Imprint: Beacon Press
ISBN: 9780807050279
Other books byShane White
  • Stories of Freedom in Black New York

    Stories of Freedom in Black New York
    Stories of Freedom in Black New York recreates the experience of black New Yorkers as they moved from slavery to freedom. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, New York City's black community strove to realize what freedom meant, to find a new sense of itself, and, in the process, created a vibrant urban culture. Through exhaustive research, Shane White imaginatively recovers the raucous world of the street, the elegance of the city's African American balls, and the grubbiness of the Police Office. It allows us to observe the style of black men and women, to watch their public behavior, and to hear the cries of black hawkers, the strident music of black parades, and the sly stories of black conmen. Taking center stage in this story is the African Company, a black theater troupe that exemplified the new spirit of experimentation that accompanied slavery's demise. For a few short years in the 1820s, a group of black New Yorkers, many of them ex-slaves, challenged pervasive prejudice and performed plays, including Shakespearean productions, before mixed race audiences. Their audacity provoked feelings of excitement and hope among blacks, but often of disgust by many whites for whom the theater's existence epitomized the horrors of emancipation. Stories of Freedom in Black New York brilliantly intertwines black theater and urban life into a powerful interpretation of what the end of slavery meant for blacks, whites, and New York City itself. White's story of the emergence of free black culture offers a unique understanding of emancipation's impact on everyday life, and on the many forms freedom can take.

    Somewhat More Independent

    Somewhat More Independent
    The End of Slavery in New York City, 1770-1810
    Shane White creatively uses a remarkable array of primary sources--census data, tax lists, city directories, diaries, newspapers and magazines, and courtroom testimony--to reconstruct the content and context of the slave's world in New York and its environs during the revolutionary and early republic periods. White explores, among many things, the demography of slavery, the decline of the institution during and after the Revolution, racial attitudes, acculturation, and free blacks' "creative adaptation to an often hostile world."

    Playing the Numbers

    Playing the Numbers
    Gambling in Harlem Between the Wars
    The phrase “Harlem in the 1920s” evokes images of the Harlem Renaissance, or of Marcus Garvey and soapbox orators haranguing crowds about politics and race. Yet the most ubiquitous feature of Harlem life between the world wars was the game of “numbers.” Thousands of wagers, usually of a dime or less, would be placed on a daily number derived from U.S. bank statistics. The rewards of “hitting the number,” a 600-to-1 payoff, tempted the ordinary men and women of the Black Metropolis with the chimera of the good life. Playing the Numbers tells the story of this illegal form of gambling and the central role it played in the lives of African Americans who flooded into Harlem in the wake of World War I. For a dozen years the “numbers game” was one of America’s rare black-owned businesses, turning over tens of millions of dollars every year. The most successful “bankers” were known as Black Kings and Queens, and they lived royally. Yet the very success of “bankers” like Stephanie St. Clair and Casper Holstein attracted Dutch Schultz, Lucky Luciano, and organized crime to the game. By the late 1930s, most of the profits were being siphoned out of Harlem. Playing the Numbers reveals a unique dimension of African American culture that made not only Harlem but New York City itself the vibrant and energizing metropolis it was. An interactive website allows readers to locate actors and events on Harlem’s streets.

    Things Undone

    Things Undone
    Despite Rick Watt’s best efforts to keep it together, he feels his life is falling apart, turning him into a zombie. After a cross-country move with girlfriend in tow, his fresh start turns into a festering mess. As a video game artist, Rick is subjected to the incompetence of three bosses and a kinky art director. His overactive imagination helps him cope until… his seven-year relationship tailspins and his ex takes flight with the guy across the parking lot. Other jobs and a new GF don’t look any better. Caught between his fantasy world and reality, Rick decides to pull the trigger. With a foreword by Robert Kirkman, creator of the Walking Dead.

Favorite QuotesFROM THIS BOOK
Quote Cannot be Empty

Submitted quotes are usually posted within 48 hours

ThanksYour Quote Will be posted Shortly
Bookish