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The Product of Our SoulsRagtime, Race, and the Birth of the Manhattan Musical Marketplace$
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David Gilbert

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469622699

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469622699.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

Do All we could to Get What we Felt Belonged to us by the Laws of Nature

Do All we could to Get What we Felt Belonged to us by the Laws of Nature

Selling Real Negro Melodies and Marketing Authentic Black Rhythms

(p.47) Chapter Two Do All we could to Get What we Felt Belonged to us by the Laws of Nature
The Product of Our Souls

David Gilbert

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explores how, by embracing and selling racial difference, black musicians were able to become leading cultural innovators, symbols of modern black representation, and central players in the formation of modern American culture. This emerging racial formation was essentially strengthened by its diversity within the Manhattan marketplace. The popularity of ragtime empowered African American musicians to intervene in the city's local—but nationalizing—commercial culture industries with new and inventive musical commodities that, in turn, further propelled black innovators to the top of Manhattan markets. This reflexive, mutually propelling circuit promoted the increase of black artistry alongside the expansion of New York culture industries such as song publishing, musical theater, and vaudeville. It reinforced the idea that African American entertainers were some of the best in New York City and, increasingly, throughout America.

Keywords:   African American entertainers, African American musicians, modern American culture, black artistry, commercial culture industries, racial difference

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