NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The February edition of the free Lunch & Learn series will focus on Tennessee’s African American Music Heritage 12:15 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Tennessee State Museum in the Polk Cultural Center.
Historians Graham Perry, curator of social history, and Mike Bell, curator of popular music, together with Lorenzo Washington, CEO and founder of Jefferson Street Sound, will speak about and perform some of the music of black Tennesseans that transformed American music including spirituals, blues, ragtime, jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, rock n’ roll, and soul music.
These musicians have influenced and enriched music around the world, from the early blues legends of W. C. Handy and Bessie Smith to the soul hits of STAX Records in Memphis. Perry and Bell are the curators of the award-winning exhibition, “I Have a Voice: Tennessee’s African American Musical Heritage,” which opened at the Tennessee State Museum in 2016 and is now traveling across the state. It is currently on display at The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, Tennessee.
Washington, through Jefferson Street Sound, is committed to carrying on the legacy of musicians and artists like Marion James, DeFord Bailey, James Brown, Little Richard, Johnny Jones, Jimmy Church, Jimmy Hendrix and more who performed in the clubs on Jefferson Street from the 1940s-1970s. He is also featured in an oral history portion of the “I Have a Voice” exhibit.
The Tennessee State Museum is located at Fifth Avenue and Deaderick Street in downtown Nashville, and metered and lot parking is available nearby. While the event is free, attendees should plan on paying for parking in downtown Nashville. The main branch of the Nashville Public Library, at 615 Church Street, has a public parking lot and is a convenient walk to the museum.
For those unable to attend the Lunch and Learn, the event will be Livestreamed on the Tennessee State Museum’s Facebook page beginning at 12:15 p.m.
Image: B. B. King (1925-2015) the “King of the Blues,” courtesy of Tennessee State Photographic Services.
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