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Proof through the NightMusic and the Great War$
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Glenn Watkins

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520231580

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520231580.001.0001

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“On Patrol in No Man's Land”

“On Patrol in No Man's Land”

Chapter:
(p.312) 18 “On Patrol in No Man's Land”
Source:
Proof through the Night
Author(s):

Glenn Watkins

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520231580.003.0019

All-black units served in the historically segregated armed forces of the United States as late as the Korean War. No fewer than 3,000 black soldiers, freed from slavery, had fought in the army of the American Revolution. Others figured in the War of 1812 and the Battle of New Orleans of 1814, and as many as 200,000 served in the Union army and navy during the Civil War. During the Great War, there were four black regiments in the regular army. The role of black service musicians in maintaining high levels of morale was soon a matter of record among the Allies and Central Powers alike, and their musical contributions were destined to reverberate long after the Armistice. This chapter focuses on the so-called “hellfighters” of the 369th regiment, including John Philip Sousa and James Reese Europe; the continuous production of “coon songs,” some written by black musicians themselves; bandmasters and the birth of an American conservatory in Fontainebleau, France; and the idea of a readily identifiable “American Music.”.

Keywords:   United States, Great War, black soldiers, hellfighters, John Philip Sousa, James Reese Europe, coon songs, black musicians, bandmasters, American Music

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