Part of what is uniquely accessible by way of manuscripts and archives is early versions of work, and a window into the editorial process that led to the final product that is (more) widely available in the world beyond the processing table. In processing the papers of Amiri Baraka (1934-2014) – renowned and prolific poet, playwright, professor and leader of the Black Arts movement and the Black Nationalist Marxist-Leninist Movement – at the Moorland-Springarn Research Center, I was very interested to find holograph and marked-up early typescript papers of the manuscript that eventually became Blues People: Negro Music in White America (1963) as it is known today. In the manuscript’s early stages, Jones/Baraka (he still went by his given name of Leroi Jones in the 1960s) had proposed to title the work “Negroes as Cymbals.” In this first image, we see editorial notes from “JG”, who is not a fan of Jones’ materialist approach of “examining the ‘underside of the cymbal’” (Image 1). In the second image, a later draft, we see Jones/Baraka had crossed out “Negroes as Cymbals” and replaced it with “Blues, Black and White America” (Image 2). In this third image from a draft of the final chapter of the book “The Modern Scene,” we see an edit where Jones/Baraka changed “poor Negroes” to “Blues People,” in a sentence that reads “Swing held no meaning for Blues people, nor was it expressive of the emotional life of most young Negroes after the war” (Image 3). Finally, inside a small notebook, there are notes where Jones/Baraka is thinking through the Blues, which may clue the curious into the thought progression from one title to the other (Images 4-6).
Hey guys! I created a server on Discord called Digital Inkstains for those who are passionate about their crafts and for those who appreciate various art forms. It’s a safe haven for people to hang out, play with the bots, chat with each other, and build on the reference channels. I also promote art/writing streams for members of this community.
Basically, I really just want a place to talk to other artists, share stories, and help each other in a supportive environment.
Something to consider before you join:
I have zero tolerance for negative behavior. Beggers will also be banned/kicked in a heartbeat.
I don’t like negative attitudes and toxic environments, either. I take harassment seriously.