© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Blues Music History

Blues Music History

 Table of Contents

Blues Music History Terms

Sharecropper

A person who engages in a form of tenant farming that developed in the South after the Civil War. Sharecroppers farm a plot of land in exchange for supplies and a share of the crop.

Radical Reconstruction

Also referred to as Congressional Reconstruction, this phase of post-Civil War Reconstruction began in 1867 when the U.S. Congress, dominated by Radical Republicans, passed a number of laws called the Reconstruction Acts. These acts mandated several major reforms to southern state governments, including the enfranchisement of all black men and the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, which secured equal protection rights for former slaves. Radical Reconstruction officially ended with the Compromise of 1877, in which the white South agreed to accept the Republican candidate for president in return for the withdrawal of all federal troops from the South.

Jim Crow

Jim Crow laws restricted blacks from entering many public and private facilities designated for whites, including parks, libraries, schools, restaurants, bathrooms, markets, bars, pools, and even brothels. After the 1870s, Jim Crow restrictions were most prevalent in the South, where nearly 90% of the nation's black population lived. However, before the American Civil War, Jim Crow laws had existed outside the South in cities such as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.

The term "Jim Crow" was first coined in the 1830s by American audiences who watched Thomas "Daddy" Rice, a white man performing in blackface, portray a comic black slave who danced and sang with glee. By the early 1900s, the term had come to describe the institutionalized system of segregation that kept blacks and whites separate in schools, restaurants, theaters, bathrooms, pools, buses, bars, markets, libraries and all other public facilities in the American South.

The term "Jim Crow" was first coined in the 1830s by American audiences who watched Thomas "Daddy" Rice, a white man performing in black face, portray a comic black slave who danced and sang with glee. By the early 1900s, the term had come to describe the institutionalized system of segregation that kept blacks and whites separate in schools, restaurants, theaters, bathrooms, pools, buses, bars, markets, libraries and all other public facilities in the American South.

A minstrel-show character first introduced by white actor Thomas "Daddy" Rice in the 1830s. The name of this buffoonish, black caricature became synonymous with racial segregation in the post-Civil War era.

The term "Jim Crow" was first coined in the 1830s by American audiences who watched Thomas "Daddy" Rice, a white man performing in blackface, portray a comic black slave who danced and sang with glee. By the early 1900s, the term had come to describe the institutionalized system of segregation that kept blacks and whites separate in schools, restaurants, theaters, bathrooms, pools, buses, bars, markets, libraries and all other public facilities in the American South.

Bones

A folk music instrument fashioned from the rib bones or lower leg bones of an animal, though also commonly made of wood. The clicking sound characteristic of the instrument is produced by clapping a pair of bones in one hand.

Race Records

Records produced for and by African Americans, particularly in the genres of the blues, jazz, and gospel, in the early twentieth century. The term "race records" was replaced by the title "rhythm and blues records" in the late 1940s.

"songster"

This term is sometimes used to denote a performer with a wide repertoire, which might include traditional songs, originals, and popular music of the time.

Brown V. Board Of Education

In this 1954 case, the Supreme Court ordered the integration of segregated American public schools. The Court's decision, which held that separate facilities for blacks and whites were inherently unequal, effectively overturned the legal doctrine established in the ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).

Special Field Order 15

This order, issued in 1865 by General William T. Sherman, set aside confiscated plantation land in the Sea Islands and along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia for black families to settle in 40-acre plots. In addition, Field Order 15 allotted one mule per family. President Andrew Johnson rescinded that order a few months later, but the legend of "40 acres and a mule" survived long after in the betrayed hopes and long memories of African Americans.

Plessy V. Ferguson

In this 1896 case, the Supreme Court upheld Louisiana's Jim Crow railroad act, rejecting the argument that racial segregation was inherently demeaning and establishing the doctrine of "separate but equal." The ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson guaranteed that Jim Crow laws designed to enforce divisions among the races would be protected. The decision would not be successfully challenged until 1954, when the Supreme Court reversed Plessy in Brown v. Board of Education.

Parchman Farm

Built in 1901, Parchman is the oldest maximum security prison in the state. Notorious for the brutal conditions endured by its predominantly black inmate population——for instance, prisoners in the early twentieth century worked long hot days on the prison's farm land——Parchman has been the subject of many a blues lyric.

Mississippi Delta

This refers to the northwest region of Mississippi that lies between the Mississippi River and the Yazoo River. This section of the South, heavily populated by black sharecroppers and tenant farmers in the early twentieth century, is commonly associated with the birth of the blues.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement