Listen to this short podcast clip to learn about the “Red Summer” of 1919

Photogallery of the World War I Gold Star Mother Tours & Harlem’s Hellfighters


All of no man’s land is ours. Europe, James Reese. 1881-1919. M. Witmark & Sons,, New York [1919].

Wed. May 23: World War I and the Beginning of Paris Noir’s Jazz Age

Meet at 9 A.M. outside jazz club TBD. Lecture topics will include James Reese Europe, the 369th Infantry Regiment, Buddy Gilmore, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Frank De Bronte, Eugene Bullard, and Ada “Bricktop” Smith, Bessie Coleman, the Pan African Conference and Marcus Garvey, and the African American Gold Star Mothers in Paris.


  • Catel & Bocquet, Josephine Baker (2017)
  • *Du Bois, W.E.B. “Returning Soldiers,” Crisis (No. 17, May 1919), 13-14.
  • *Excerpt, Tyler Stovall, African Americans in the City of Light, Chapter 1
  • *Class Jazz Set List

Blog Post Assignment

Select a song recorded in Paris by an African American between 1910 and 1940 and see where you can find traces of its historical life. Can you find a newspaper review of the song written at the time? Sheet music? A concert poster from that specific era? An interview about it?

Post your song in a blog post along with its archival trail, and provide an analysis of both 1) its lyrical and/or musical content and 2) its historical context. Things to possibly investigate include the significance of the record label it’s on, how the song was distributed, how it was received, if it was meant for a segregated or integrated audience, if it was distributed in Europe or also the United States, the technology used to record the song, what instruments are used, etc. Write about it and be prepared to share in class.

Rhae Lynn Barnes is an Assistant Professor of American Cultural History at Princeton University (2018-) and President of the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography. She is the co-founder and C.E.O. of U.S. History Scene and an Executive Advisor to the documentary series "Reconstruction: America After the Civil War" (now streaming PBS, 2019).

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