Category Archives: History

The African roots of blues music (the blues scale)

The Banjo Lesson by Henry Ossawa Tanner (1893)

I’ve played drums in an all-nonwhite rock band called Sunata for seven years (2013-2020, before the pandemic) and djembe for about five years. Music, especially Black and African-American music, runs in my family and culture. My uncle, a freelance musician who toured throughout the 1970s, told me to study blues and jazz music because, as he put it, blues and jazz are the mother and the father, while R&B and rock-and-roll are the son and the daughter. Without blues and jazz music, American popular music wouldn’t exist. Blues and jazz come from the same parent — Africa.

For this blog post, I will be focusing on the African retention in blues music, specific scales and notes. By looking at the scales and notes, it’s obvious, African-American blues music is African in origin and those scales and notes were retained despite the violence of slavery. Blues is considered an “American” genre of music but it’s still a historical and cultural continuation of African folk music adapted to a new environment. Therefore, African-American blues is both a foundation of American popular music and, stylistically, part of the larger African cultural family because it is fundamentally an African style of music.

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Wall Street was founded on slavery

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Wall Street is a highly influential financial district but its history is rarely talked about. In order to understand the largesse of Wall Street and the system of global capitalism, it is crucial to know Wall Street’s history. Wall Street was founded on slavery and, to this day, it remains a key pillar in upholding racial inequality and economic oppression.

New York City was a Dutch settlement known as New Amsterdam in the Dutch colonial province called New Netherland during much of the 17th century. Through the Dutch West India Company, the Dutch utilized labor of enslaved Africans who were first brought to the colony around 1627. The African slaves built the wall that gives Wall Street its name, forming the northern boundary of the colony and warded off resisting natives who wanted their land back. In addition, the slaves cleared the forests, built roads and buildings, and turned up the soil for farming. Slavery was not a phenomenon limited to the southern American colonies. Northern colonies, such as Boston and New York, participated in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Read the rest of this entry »


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“War is a Lie” – The Real News Network interviews David Swanson about his new book

David Swanson argues that all wars are based on lies in order to get people to support them. I highly recommend watching this interview.

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U.S./NATO War in Afghanistan: Articles

I decided to post some articles about the U.S.’s war in Afghanistan.

“US eyes private guards for bases in Afghanistan” by Richard Lardner (The Associated Press, July 26, 2009). An AP news article about the U.S. considering the use of private military contractors at dozens of bases and to protect vehicle convoys in Afghanistan. Read the rest of this entry »


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