final[1]

final[1] - Greg Bishop Don Wayne LTEN 159 30 July 2008...

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Greg Bishop Don Wayne LTEN 159 30 July 2008 Black Music Breaking Mainstream America The relation between the blues, the people who created them and the larger American culture” _ LeRoi Jones The beginnings of African-American history can be found throughout the beginning years of slavery in America in the 17 th century. At this time the New World had been discovered by Europeans who envisioned in cultivating it into a land of prosperity. Instead of allocating robust wages to working men to fulfill their desires, they transported African slaves to their new homelands at their economic expense. There was a form of alienation that developed between the African and the European in the New World. To the European, “the Africans sole purpose in America was, for the most part, to provide the cheapest agricultural labor possible to procure” (Jones, 3). The Europeans were never interested in the story of the African. The Africans cultural mores and values were eradicated immediately once they had stepped foot onto the ships of their slave masters. “Africans were forced into an alien world where none of the references or cultural shapes of any familiar human attitudes were available. Their customs, attitudes, desires were shaped to a different place, a radically different life” (Jones, 7). According to Jones, “the use of African drums was soon prevented by the Europeans,” which had not only taken a majority away from their culture, but had also deprived a form of communication. Along with
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their cultural customs, all forms of their political and economic thought were suppressed immediately as well. They were compelled to forget their languages, religious beliefs and any other entities that they had brought with them from their indigenous homelands because the European believed that his values, language, and religion were better. This had transformed the African slave in America into a slave who was African-American. “The African cultures, the retention of some parts of these cultures in America, and the weight of the step-culture produced the American Negro” (Jones, 7). Not all of the African slave’s values had been exterminated. Arts of expression like music, dance, and singing had been passed from the first African slaves to their American ancestors who were never exposed to the natural lifestyles of their African heritage. African slaves used these customs to retain a sense of identity in where they had came from. Though their artifacts, tools, and instruments from their homeland had been confiscated and destroyed, Africans passed their customs on to the next generation by creating their music through the tools on the plantation, dancing to the music from their homelands, and singing the African spirituals that kept them from becoming melancholy over the strenuous conditions they were held under. The arts in music passed down from the African slave to the African-American slave were not only the values of their people, but they were also beneficial while enduring the
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This note was uploaded on 10/17/2008 for the course HIST 106 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '04 term at UCSD.

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final[1] - Greg Bishop Don Wayne LTEN 159 30 July 2008...

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