Pray for the lights to go out: the portrayal of Blacks in Kansas City published sheet music
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This study examines sixteen pieces of sheet music published in Kansas City, Missouri, dating from the 1880s through the 1930s. The pieces are located in the LaBudde Special Collections at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and also the Kansas City public library Missouri Valley Special Collections and include lullabies, minstrel caricatures, and a series on deacons. The lyrics and musical demarcation are analyzed for the demonstrated perception in each piece. Analysis includes genre along with associations and connotations with the songs' intended audience and venue. Dialect implications, positive or negative, are used to identify composer intention and intended audience. Local historical context, particularly race relations, is integrated into the study as well as the history of the Black image and that image's ties to the minstrel tradition. The portrayal of the Black community as exotic and yet native is explored along with the political reasons behind music propaganda. Special attention is given to the portrayal of Black women as it relates to societal domestic roles. The study also compares Kansas City's portrayal to the national one, with a focus on what is missing from the collection.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Kansas City and National race relations 1870-1930 -- Ragtime and Society -- Portrayals of Black women -- Dialect -- Analysis -- What's missing from the collections and conclusions -- Appendix A. Sheet music lyrics