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Check Availability Lawrence Library / Main Collection: ML3477 .M45 2001Library Info

Author LinkMelnick, Jeffrey Paul.
Title LinkA right to sing the blues : African Americans, Jews, and American popular song / Jeffrey Melnick.
Edition 1st Harvard University Press paperback ed.
Imprint Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2001, c1999.
Description ix, 277 p. ;  24 cm.
Type of Material Monograph
Bibliography Note Includes bibliographical references (p. 209-266) and index.
Contents Contents: Introduction: The languages of Black-Jewish relations -- "Yiddle on your fiddle": the culture of Black-Jewish relations -- "I used to be color blind": the racialness of Jewish men -- "Swanee ripples": from blackface to white Negro -- "Lift ev’ry voice": African American music and the nation -- "Melancholy blues": making Jews sacred in African American music -- Epilogue: The lasting power of Black-Jewish relations.
Summary "Black-Jewish relations," Jeffrey Melnick argues, has mostly been a way for American Jews to talk about their ambivalent racial status, a narrative collectively constructed at critical moments, when particular conflicts demand an explanation. Remarkably flexible, this narrative can organize diffuse materials into a coherent story that has a powerful hold on our imagination. Melnick elaborates this idea through an in-depth look at Jewish song-writers, composers, and performers who made "Black" music in the first few decades of this century. He shows how Jews such as George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Al Jolson, and others were able to portray their "natural" affinity for producing "Black" music as a product of their Jewishness while simultaneously depicting Jewishness as a stable white identity. Moving beyond the narrow focus of advocacy group politics, this book complicates and enriches our understanding of the cultural terrain shared by African Americans and Jews.
Subject LinkPopular music -- United States -- History and criticism.
LinkAfrican Americans -- Music -- History and criticism.
LinkJews -- United States -- Music -- History and criticism.
Subject LinkBlues (Music)
LinkJews -- United States -- Identity.
LinkAfrican Americans -- Race identity.
LinkAfrican Americans -- Relations with Jews.

System Number 000662242
ISBN Link0674769767 (alk. paper)
Link9780674769762 (alk. paper)
Link067400566X (pbk)
Link9780674005662 (pbk)

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