Feb. 2, 2009 Lucille Clifton “I am accused of tending to the past” What histories are told by Baraka’s Blues People? History of blues, of Africans forcibly ‘migrated’ to the US, of slavery in the US, of Africans/negroes in the US. Recurring patterns in Blues People -the reiteration of the extent to which: “Each phase of the negro’s music is issued directly from the dictates from the dictates of his social and psychological environment.” (65). The music was explaining the history as the history was explaining... (x) The black man who began after slavery to eliminate as much of the negro culture from his life as possible became by this very act a certain kind of negro. And if this certain kind of negro still endeavored to make music, albeit with the strict provisions that this music not be a Negro music, he could still not escape the final insult of this music… being evaluated as a king of Negro music. The movement of the negro into a position where he would be able to escape even this separation from the white mainstream of America is a central theme of this book (65). **you are always your race… no matter what you do, in a racist society you will always be black Recurring concepts in Blues People: Freedmen or citizen: 127, 130, 140, 160, 162, 174 Adaptation or assimilation: 79-80, 124, 142 Whiteness and Blackness: 73 A genealogy of musical forms in Blues People Primitive blues and jazz: 61 Classic blues: 66, 86, 94 Minstrely: 82-86 Jazz: 70 b, 71t, 78b, 93b Ragtime: 81 Rhythm and Blues: 168, 169, 171, 172 Adaptation or assimilation? (79, 124) …perhaps the basic conflict to arise regarding the way the ex-slave was to make his way in America. Adaptation or assimilation? It was not much of a problem for most Negroes in the 19th century… (79) Adaptation as def of blues people: As always, the masses of black men adapted rather than completely assimilated; appropriated rather than traded one god or culture for another (124) (131) Only negro music… has been able to survive the constant and willful dilutions of the black middle-class and the persistent calls to oblivion made by the mainstream… it was the one vector out of African culture impossible to eradicate… and in the evolution of form in negro music it is possible to see not only the evolution of the negro as a cultural and social element of American culture but also the evolution of that culture itself. Notes for a speech… Baraka African Blues does not know me. Their steps, in sands of their own….. Strength In the dream, and oblique suckling of nerve, the wind throws up sand, eyes are something locked in hate…..