In Search of the Blues: A Journey to the Soul of Black Texas

In Search of the Blues: A Journey to the Soul of Black Texas

by Bill Minutaglio

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The rich, complex lives of African Americans in Texas were often neglected by the mainstream media, which historically seldom ventured into Houston's Fourth Ward, San Antonio's East Side, South Dallas, or the black neighborhoods in smaller cities. When Bill Minutaglio began writing for Texas newspapers in the 1970s, few large publications had more than a token number of African American journalists, and they barely acknowledged the things of lasting importance to the African American community. Though hardly the most likely reporter—as a white, Italian American transplant from New York City—for the black Texas beat, Minutaglio was drawn to the African American heritage, seeking its soul in churches, on front porches, at juke joints, and anywhere else that people would allow him into their lives. His nationally award-winning writing offered many Americans their first deeper understanding of Texas's singular, complicated African American history.

This eclectic collection gathers the best of Minutaglio's writing about the soul of black Texas. He profiles individuals both unknown and famous, including blues legends Lightnin' Hopkins, Amos Milburn, Robert Shaw, and Dr. Hepcat. He looks at neglected, even intentionally hidden, communities. And he wades into the musical undercurrent that touches on African Americans' joys, longings, and frustrations, and the passing of generations. Minutaglio's stories offer an understanding of the sweeping evolution of music, race, and justice in Texas. Moved forward by the musical heartbeat of the blues and defined by the long shadow of racism, the stories measure how far Texas has come . . . or still has to go.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780292778566
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication date: 07/15/2011
Series: Southwestern Writers Collection Series, Wittliff Collections at Texas State University-San Marcos
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

BILL MINUTAGLIO is a Clinical Professor of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. His books include First Son: George W. Bush & The Bush Family Dynasty; City on Fire: The Forgotten Disaster That Devastated a Town and Ignited a Landmark Legal Battle; and The President’s Counselor: The Rise to Power of Alberto Gonzales. He has also written for the New York Times, Outside, Encarta, TALK, the Los Angeles Times, Blues & Rhythm, High Fidelity, and many other publications.

Table of Contents

Foreword Linda Jones ix

Acknowledgments xii

Introduction 1

Part 1 Three Generations

Hanging Tree Blues 17

Black Panther Blues 26

Texas Harlem Blues 38

Part 2 Community

Congo Street Blues 49

Free Man Blues 58

Sand Branch Blues 70

Fire in the Hole Blues 86

South Dallas Blues 97

Part 3 The Music

Photochemical Blues 109

Searchin' Blues 115

Last Man Blues 129

Lightnin' Blues 141

Chicken Shack Blues 147

Fourth Ward Blues 153

Zydeco Blues 157

Credits 166

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