Analysis Of The Article ' African American Music And Muskets On Civil War New Orleans '

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The thesis in the article titled “African-American Music and Muskets in Civil War New Orleans” by Mary Ellison is that the many different styles of African-American music has always given an accurate and complex aural image of their life during slavery and the civil war in New Orleans. Looking at the many different backgrounds of people and their different styles of music really helped set the mood and tell the story of what slavery was like and what the people endured before, during, and after the civil war. The different types of musical instruments and the styles of music is how slaves represented themselves in harsh times. When brought from Africa to slavery, the African-Americans brought with them their own instruments and style of music. They had several different types of drums and even improvised using gourds, calabashes, and also animal jaw bones. When the drums were added with different instruments like a banjo, it gave a true, authentic African style mood. Having the ability to play these instruments and sing gave them a sense of being home and having freedom while being enslaved. They felt as if they were able to break free from their reality and have moments of happiness and hope. Before the war, black saloons began appearing serving the free and enslaved African-Americans with alcohol and African style music despite the fear from the white community that something terrible would ensue. The music contained hidden and powerful lyrics of rebellion against the masters of the slaves and the white people. These songs were also sung in churches where slaves were allowed to congregate in large numbers. Preachers were often arrested as being abolitionists and giving the slaves the idea of free... ... middle of paper ... saying but as the Union took over New Orleans, these encoded lyrics were now disappearing as they demanded for full freedom. After emancipation, songs were now being sung in many different styles. Songs that were once sad and filled with anger were now joyful. The many different styles came from people of different areas and lifestyles from African American minstrels and white minstrels, plantation slaves, and rivermen. All these different styles joined together in barrel houses and saloons that provided a new home for professional Creole musicians. Mary Ellison thoroughly explains her thesis in her article “African-American Music and Muskets in Civil War New Orleans”. She never left her audience feeling lost or confused. Ellison goes in chronologically order with how the events happened and never leaves a gap of missing pieces or important information.

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