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Sun Ra's ChicagoAfrofuturism and the City$
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William Sites

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226732077

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226732244.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022

Industrial School to Territory Band

Industrial School to Territory Band

(p.27) 2 Industrial School to Territory Band
Sun Ra's Chicago

William Sites

University of Chicago Press

Herman (Sonny) Blount entered Industrial High School in Birmingham, Alabama in 1929. The largest all-black secondary school in the country, Industrial provided the musical training that would not only launch his professional career but also shape his understanding of African American cultural history and sense of community leadership. John T. (‘Fess) Whatley, Industrial teacher and bandleader, both embodied and pursued a long-emerging black aspiration: a racially autonomous pathway out of dead-end Jim Crow labor conditions.Preparing his students for a regional African American musical economy, Whatley ushered Sonny Blount and many others into territory-band careers centered on touring the urban South, including Atlanta. Despite his success as a young bandleader, however, Blount resisted the swing band life and masculine leadership style of the era.

Keywords:   African American, Industrial High School, territory band, Sonny Blount, urban South, swing band, ‘Fess Whatley, Atlanta, black

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