"Then the depression came, and white people suffered the pinch along with their darker brothers. With us, of course, being broke and low-down is an old story. With us there has never been anything else but depression. We have known for years how to laugh under trying circumstances, how to go on living with nothing but song to sustain us. But it took a woeful depression to teach this trick to white America.
Now there seems to be a much greater appreciation for the little things of life, including music. Indeed, according to one university man, only steel and oil were larger industries than music during the worst of the depression. Proof again, if more were needed, that in times of suffering and uncertainty America must sing." [Photo of Handy in 1941 by Hansel Mieth for Life]
--W.C. Handy in Father of the Blues: An Autobiography (1941)
This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved.