Page 78 - Jack Foley | The true litterateur
P. 78

IF MY SONG...



               Let me sing of Dixie's charms

               Cotton fields and Mammy's arms,
               And if my song can make you homesick,
               I'm happy, I'm happy

               --Irving Berlin (1930)



               What was there about the invented South
               The South of the minstrel shows
               That made it function

               As a stand-in for home?
               How many songs

               About the longing
               For the "old folks at home"?

               Was it Dan Emmett or Stephen Foster
               Who began it?

               The man who wrote
               "Way down upon the Swanee River"
               Had never been to the Sewanee River

               Or seen Florida
               Though he had certainly been

               To minstrel shows.
               The songs say
               We have been away

               But now we're going
               Home.

               In the myth of the African American
               Generated by anyone but African Americans

               The singer has left the South
               To go to the Northern cities

               Where, though no longer a slave,






                                                         78
                                                                                          Litterateur
   73   74   75   76   77   78   79   80   81   82   83