By: Kenneth Jordan, Historic Westville Intern
Coming to terms with the Blues is impossible without addressing the anvil on which it was forged. After 200 plus years of enslavement, most of the enslaved in America were liberated thanks to the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. Two years later, the 13th amendment freed the remaining enslaved. However, white hegemony and black oppression still marked the South in the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th century. Jim Crow Laws perpetuated the oppression and disenfranchisement of Southern blacks, limiting their opportunities for social and economic mobility. Some of the most virulent racists attempted to maintain control through terror via lynchings and other brutal murders. Under this new form of persecution Southern Blacks created a new music which allowed them to express their plight.
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