So I told Hayden White, “I’m going to need this, I’m going to need that. Smiling, laughing, not in a hurry. And I know that was an artist that he really enjoyed, but to April's point, I agree. That’s pretty good.” These are all white guys and there they are in these political science seminars because they’ve known since they were five years old the names of all the generals and all the battles and they’d read all the history books, knew all the “master class” aesthetics. “Memphis Minnie, Genocide, and Identity Politics,” an interview with Lorna Dee Cervantes, appeared in the Fall 2003 issue of MQR. Here is my opportunity. Give me the strength to bear my own stupidity. Every year I think this is the year he finally runs out of great images from old blues ads and every year he still manages to amaze me. Your email address will not be published. In The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Milan Kundera talks about the laugh of the angel and the laugh of the devil. Before she turned ten, she and her family had relocated to Wall, Mississippi, just south of Memphis. Black, Indian women were sent to San Francisco. . Injustice. Minnie, Tampa Red, and Big Bill helped popularize the country blues style in an urban setting. Suddenly there is all this unsifted documentation from estates and stuff like that. And it wasn’t done in anger, and it wasn’t a fight, and it wasn’t revenge. That’s where the poet dwells: in conditions and relations. Illness Forced Retirement. “Can I get you something? In 1980, Memphis Minnie was one of the first 20 artists inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. She worked with a whole host of excellent blues performers, which bears testament to her talent, she is even supposed to have beaten Big Bill Broonzy in a musical cutting contest. . She used to tell me, as she’d be making me clean the toilet twelve or fourteen times until it was spotless, that no one is ever going to pay me to read books. How she survived, there was this car—these people were middle class, they had cars—she climbed underneath and hugged onto the chassis. She’s an enchanting monologist. In true blues fashion, she was buried in an unmarked grave at the New Hope Cemetery in Memphis. What could you do? He is trying to define a Czech word that has no translation, litost. 0. What were the conditions in 1917? Minnie started playing banjo at age seven and got her first guitar a couple years later. Full of feints and thrusts, half-stops and mad dashes. Name. Poets can dwell in irony. The word triad, yes. Yes. Free coach class. Memphis Minnie spent most of her childhood in Mississippi, where she was known as “Kid” Douglas. A fine but quiet boy. This was my first impression of academia: that it just made people crazy. These things are not a surprise to me. Who wants to hear about all the people ground up in the Holocaust? 1. Outside the cyclone fence, sitting there waiting for my mom who wasn’t going to come back for hours. I didn’t think I could compete with that. Only 18,000 dollars? Like folk instruments. In my field, in the humanities, in this goods and services economy, we are working in this legitimization factory. Or, as Kunitz called it, “the tyranny of the single idea.”. Memphis Minnie’s legacy is not just that she recorded across four decades, she was practically the lone female voice in the increasingly male dominated 1930’s urban Blues scene. He said he had struck her because she had laughed at him. Acoustic Blues Acoustic Chicago Blues Acoustic Memphis Blues Classic Female Blues Pre-War Country Blues Regional Blues Pre-War Blues. Let’s look at this buried history. Multiculturalism. “Oh, we got tired of swimming.” We didn’t tell her. Phew! Your email address will not be published. You could do it—if you wanted to. . Lorna Dee Cervantes was born in San Francisco, in 1954. She’d ride in on a hog’s back. It was in the 90s. Hot day. What I wanted to do, I didn’t have the background for. You can toot your whistle, you can ring your bell, but I know you’ve been wanting it, by the way you smell. I wanted to talk to her about death. to Frisco town. these correspondences. So, this is a case where the substance of the subject matter is not truth and beauty. Ask me again and I’ll tell you the same!” She refused to participate. Listen to the words of the songs. Minnie was an early convert to the electric guitar which she used to good effect in her biggest hit, ‘Me and My Chauffeur Blues’, recorded in 1941 with Little Son. These are taxonomies. She was playing guitar and banjo on nearby Memphis streetcorners in her early teens and soon she joined Ringling Brothers circus. So they made us sit outside. What is irrefutable is the fact that Casey Bill recorded with Minnie. . “Freedom is expensive, but the price is not impossible to pay,” as Don Juan says. Yet that is the chief project of these institutions of higher education. Memphis Minnie was one of the greatest fingerpicking guitarists of the Twentieth Century, part of the backbone of African American blues history. But, these are crucial documents left by eyewitnesses. I was not interested in analyzing literature, you know? You couldn’t complain. If somebody has got their boot on your throat it doesn’t matter if you are black or if you are brown, or if you are an Indian, or if you just stole a hundred bucks. He was the kind of person who from the time he was born, he could pick up this pumpkin and turn it into an instrument. Because that is the project: legitimization. With taking babies by their legs and smashing their heads against boulders in front of their mothers. The musical question of “what’s the matter with the Mill?” was first posed by singer-songwriter-guitarist Memphis Minnie (1987-1973) on Oct. 11, 1930, when she recorded the song with her husband, Kansas Joe McCoy (1905-1950), at the Vocalion Race Records label in Chicago. Most of it has not. Where am I going to fit in? The deficient. Oh, boy. More. It just happened. Began performing on the streets of Memphis, Tennessee, 1910; signed recording contract with Columbia Records, 1929; released more than 180 songs on various labels until her retirement in 1953, including Columbia Records, Vocalion, Decca, Bluebird, Okeh, and Checker. If you can’t get a grant to haunt the Library of Congress. Weeder of Wreckage, Historian of the Native / Who says: It happened. At least it seemed so. I’m on my way . Not only that, but you were forbidden to talk about it. There is a line in one of her songs: Nineteen and seventeen. Mira, / she said, This is where you come from. That’s what this song was about. 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