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Type of Item
Interview with Fountain Hughes, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 1949
Approximately 4 million slaves were freed at the conclusion of the American Civil War. The stories of a few thousand have been passed on to future generations through word of mouth, diaries, letters, records, or written transcripts of interviews. Only 26 audio-recorded interviews of ex-slaves have been found, 23 of which are in the collections of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. In this interview, 101-year-old Fountain Hughes recalls his boyhood as a slave, the Civil War, and life in the United States as an African American ...
Fragment from Major Alfred Dreyfus's Memoirs
Alfred Dreyfus (1859−1935) was a French artillery officer of Jewish background who was wrongly accused and convicted of treason and espionage in 1894. As such, he became the main protagonist in one of the most famous political scandals of the beginning of the 20th century. In this voice recording of a fragment of his memoirs, made in 1912 at the Sorbonne by the Archives de la parole (Voice archives), Dreyfus recounts the events of July 20, 1906. Eight days after he was exonerated by the Cour de cassation (Court ...
Pow-Wow Princess Song
This song in the Omaha language was performed at the 1983 Omaha Tribal Pow-Wow in Macy, Nebraska, and was recorded by Carl Fleischhauer, an American folklife specialist at the Library of Congress. It was sung in honor of the 1983 Omaha Pow-Wow Princess, Melanie Parker. The song can be translated as, "I'm coming, I'm coming to you. Stand up when you see me coming, bringing something good to you." Each year a young woman is chosen as princess to serve the powwow committee and the Omaha community as ...
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, agricultural workers fled the Dust Bowl conditions on the Great Plains in search of employment in the American West. Many of these people eventually found their way to the migrant work camps in central California that had been established, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, by the Farm Security Administration (FSA). In this song, Mrs. Mary Sullivan tells how she left Texas, traveled across New Mexico and Arizona in search of work, and after surviving the catastrophic March 1938 Colton, California ...
Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle (1760-1836), a French army engineer, wrote the words and music to the “Marseillaise,” the national anthem of France, in the course of a single night in April 1792. He intended the song to be used as a marching song by the French Army as it entered the Rhineland, following the outbreak of war between France and Austria and Russia. This recording, made circa 1898-1900, is one of the earliest recordings made of the song. In 1893, Henri Lioret (1848-1938), a watchmaker by trade, developed a conical ...
Traditional Seminole Song - Rev. Josie Billie
Josie Billie was a member of the Florida Seminole people who lived his entire life on the Big Cypress Indian Reservation in Hendry County, Florida. Born December 12, 1887, Josie Billie was the son of Connie Pajo, also known to Floridians as Billie Cornpatch, the first Indian to receive a Western education in Florida. A Seminole medicine man and long-time public spokesman for the Florida Seminoles, Billie later continued his medical work as an herbalist and became a Baptist minister. He was a frequent participant in the Florida Folk Festival ...
Welcome to Rainbow Springs
“Welcome to Rainbow Springs” is an example of the traditional tour guide performances delivered by guides at Florida’s natural springs, which were the first tourist attractions widely promoted in the state’s long history as a tourist destination. The speech is part welcome message, part folk song, and part tall tale, and demonstrates how African Americans were integral to the early tourist trade in Florida. The performance style is evocative of the minstrel songs and theatricals of earlier years. Rainbow Springs boat captain Skipper Lockett gives his recitation while ...
“Amazing Grace” is arguably the best-known Christian hymn. John Newton (1725-1807), a former British slave trader who became an Anglican clergyman and joined the campaign for abolition of the slave trade, wrote the hymn, most likely around Christmas of 1772. Its words express Newton’s personal journey from despair to peace and joy through the gift of grace. Newton believed that in the course of his life at sea and on the African coast he had been miraculously spared on many occasions from death and spiritual ruin. About 60 years ...