evangelizing musical

Late in 1814, chilled by raw Atlantic westerlies blowing across the desolate Devonshire moor, nearly one thousand African American seamen and five thousand white shipmates slung their hammocks in the British Admiralty’s Dartmoor Prison. As prisoners of war, they craved peace and liberty.

Racial dynamics worked differently among seamen in Dartmoor Prison than at sea. If the forecastle of deep-water ships was sometimes a shared middle ground where emphasis on role and opposition to authority mitigated racial distinctions, the climate at Dartmoor encouraged blackness and whiteness to flourish.

Head and shoulders above the other prisoners, even without his bearskin grenadier’s cap, towered a “stout black” privateersman named Richard Crafus—known in Dartmoor as King Dick. In a world where most sailors were under 5'9 (and the average height was 5'6), Richard Crafus stood an imposing 6'3, with “a frame well proportioned” and “strength far greater than both height and proportions together.”

Invincible as Stagolee and imperious as Haiti’s Emperor Henri Christophe, King Dick was the best-known man in the prison, where he played to white sailors’ stereotypes for his own purposes. Crafus, who also called himself Richard Seaver, quickly dominated the blacks’ barracks after arriving in October 1814. Under his rule, African Americans organized, disciplined, and entertained themselves, but did nothing to discourage white inmates from visiting the black enclave as customers.

“In No 4 the Black’s Prison,” wrote a white sailor, “I have spent considerable of my time, for in the 3rd story or Cock loft they have reading whiting Fenceing, Boxing Danceing & many other schoolswhich is very diverting to a young Person, indeed their is more amusement in this Prisson than in all the rest of them.”

Despite extensive interracial interactions and a prison-camp moment as pregnant with possibilities as it was burdened with despair, black and white sailors at Dartmoor organized themselves almost reflexively by race. Separation of the black men in their own yard and barracks nurtured distinctly black styles, though racial boundaries did not conform exactly to boundaries of stone and mortar. Men often passed freely from one yard to another. Yet most whites did not gravitate to black “amusement” or recognize black accomplishments without considerable denigration. Confronted by a vibrant black culture that contradicted what they had been taught about racial inferiority, most white sailors denied blacks’ distinctive accomplishments. Blacks, meanwhile, capitalized on white sailors’ uneasy fear of black political organization and their ambivalent attraction to black music, evangelism, and pugilistic skill. They collectively leveraged prison Number Four to prominence.
—  W. Jeffrey Bolster, Black Jacks: African American Seamen in the Age of Sail, Ch. 4: The Boundaries of Race in Maritime Culture, pg 102-103 (Harvard University Press, 1997). 

machinewithoutfeelings  asked:

music asks: 11, 12

11: A song that you never get tired of

Muse - Starlight - I heard this for the first time when I was 16, saw Muse in concert for the first time a few months later, and twelve years later this is still my favorite song by my favorite band. <3 It has also been on my skating playlist for almost that long!

12: A song from your preteen years

P!nk - Get the Party Started - True story: This is the first song I ever heard that was not Christian music. (Evangelical parents, long story.) I was 12 and had just gotten my VERY OWN RADIO. It had a TOP-LOADING CD DECK AND A CASSETTE PLAYER/ RECORDER. Anyway, I also had headphones, and one night I decided I was gonna find the local rock station. What a scandal, I know. And this was the song that was playing. MIND = BLOWN. “I can go for miles if you know what I mean”? WHAT DID SHE MEAN??? (Yes, I eventually figured it out.)

I met David Bowie when I was twenty-two, and like a baby goose imprinting on some fantastical winged creature, I took him as the model of what I ought to grow up to be. He is my ideal adult human artist.
He wore beautiful cologne. He read all world literature. He took time for everyone in the room. He remembered people’s names. He wore a plain T-shirt to a nice dinner . He sought out new music and evangelized when he liked something.
Arcade Fire played two songs with him for TV — his song “Five Years” and our song “Wake Up.” Earlier on the show, he sang “Life on Mars,” wearing a wrist bandage and a fake black eye. I saw him build a character and modulate that character with his voice and with small movements. I saw the distance between the artist off stage and on, and that the distance was an artistic creation, too — something to be played with.
I hear him playing with that distance on Blackstar, and it’s stunning and my God it’s heartbreaking. I wanted to see the next twenty years of David Bowie making art
—  Will Butler on David Bowie

The story behind the McDowell House Museum in Danville, KY, originally recounted to @plinytheyounger and rebloggable by her request.


Dr. McDowell was a Dr. He lived in Danville, KY, in the house that is currently the tumor museum. He was a goooood Dr.

Like, two counties away,* there was this Mrs. Crawford lady. The Mrs. Crawford lady had grown steadily but surprisingly very heavy, leading people to suspect she was going to deliver twins. Eventually, she started having terrible abdominal pain, but still her water didn’t break.

Because she didn’t have twins… she had an OVARIAN TUMOR *bum bum bum*

At which point the local Drs. began to sort of figure this out and said:

“Welp, Mrs. Crawford, I guess you’re a goner.”


"Why don’t we ask that McDowell guy from Danville???”

So somebody goes and fetches Dr. McDowell, and Dr. McDowell comes to Mrs. Crawford’s homestead (two-day riding trip either way) and examines her and says,

“Welp, it looks like you’ve got a giant ovarian tumor and are A Goner.”

To which Mrs. Crawford says,

“Well, couldn’t you, like, try and cut it out or something???”

To which Dr. McDowell says,

“Ma'am, it’s 1809 and we live in the Appalachian wilderness, and literally nobody has tried to cut an ovarian tumor out of anybody else, ever.”

To which Mrs. Crawford says (pointedly)

“Well, couldn’t you, like, TRY. To cut it out. Or something.”


So Dr. McDowell says,

“I could TRY but you will DIE and I am unwilling to try except in my surgery in Danville.”

So he goes back to Danville. Then SHE goes back to Danville… which is, again, a two-day ride through the mountains, in terrible pain and with nobody (at least recorded) accompanying her??? nbd. Like, you are one tough cookie, Mrs. Crawford

At which point she arrives at Dr. McDowell’s house, AKA the tumor museum, where he is afraid to give her any laudanum, etc. on the principle that it might thin her blood and make her exsanguinate more quickly.

So Mrs. Crawford says:


(I liked this part of the story, as you can imagine)

(hymnody is a PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR ANESTHESIA when it isn’t going to be introduced for another thirty years)

(antisepsis: also not a thing in 1809)

So Mrs. Crawford sings hymns, whilst Dr. McDowell writes up a prayer and sends it around to all the churches–

(I forgot to mention that it’s Christmas Day in this story)

–and, over the course of, like, seven minutes or some similar ungodly fast amount of time, manages to remove a twenty-two and a half pound

(10.2 kg)


And the best part of this story is that Mrs. Crawford, Tough Cookie™ stays with the McDowells for a few days and then, ya know, rides back to her homestead and lives to see the introduction of anesthesia to surgical practice

Whereas Dr. McDowell, The Father of Abdominal Surgery, dies in 1830 of… a ruptured appendix…


*I have since looked this up: “In 1805 they [the Crawfords] moved with their four children to Kentucky. The Crawfords built a log cabin on the Blue Spring Branch of Caney Fork, nine miles south of Greensburg and sixty miles from Danville.“ Danville is in Boyle Co. and Greensburg is in Greene Co., so I was right in my reckoning.


Yesterday was filled with happiness and excitement. Resonate was such a different experience. Performing for RESONATE was such a dream come true and a great honor.  I know I don’t deserve this, but I’m very thankful for all the blessings he’s been giving me throughout this year. Performing in so many events made me realize that we shouldn’t take things for granted, especially if God gave you that gift. I’m very thankful for everyone. It was AMAZING that I can’t even put it in words, I’m just speechless. Everything went VERY well, and I’m glad that a lot of people came. The Evangelizing Musical and the Panel Discussions were just awesome. I’m going to miss everyone that was part of the RESONATE cast, I will miss you all!! I hope that this is not the end! This was an event we’ve been waiting for, and I never thought that I would be a part of something this BIG.. I’m very thankful for everything. I’m happy that when the years past by, I’m able to look back at this and be happy that we were able to make an impact to many of the members and especially the guests.