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Composition in Black and White

Kathryn Talalay

Published in print May 1998 | ISBN: 9780195113938
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853816 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195113938.001.0001
Composition in Black and White

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George Schuyler, a black journalist, and Josephine Cogdell, a blond, blue-eyed Texas heiress, believed that intermarriage would “invigorate” the races. Their daughter, Philippa Duke Schuyler, became the embodiment of this theory. Able to read and write at the age of two and a half, a pianist at four, and a composer by five, Philippa was often compared to Mozart. During the 1930s and 1940s she graced the pages of Time magazine and The New Yorker. Philippa soon became the inspiration for a generation of African-American children. But as an adult she dropped out of sight. Philippa had been rejected by the American classical music elite and was forced to find an audience abroad, where she flourished as a performer and composer. She traveled widely, performing for kings, queens, and presidents and took on a second career as an author and foreign correspondent. But behind the glamour Philippa was an outcast, “I am a beauty—but I'm half colored … so I'm always destined to be an outsider,” she wrote in her diary. In a last attempt to reclaim an identity, she began to “pass” as Caucasian. At the age of thirty five Philippa finally began to embark on a racial catharsis but, on 9 May 1967, while on an unauthorized mission of mercy, she died in a helicopter crash over the waters of war-torn Vietnam. This book is the first authorized biography of Philippa Schuyler and it draws on previously unpublished letters and diaries.

Keywords: George Schuyler; Josephine Cogdell; Philippa Duke Schuyler; Time magazine; The New Yorker; African-American; performer; composer; author; foreign correspondent

Book.  334 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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Table of Contents

Prelude in Composition in Black and White

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Beginning in Composition in Black and White

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Taboo in Composition in Black and White

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Interlude in Composition in Black and White

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Miscegenation in Composition in Black and White

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All-American Newsreel in Composition in Black and White

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Psychological Care of Infant and Child in Composition in Black and White

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Sergeant Jackson in Composition in Black and White

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George Schuyler, Investigative Reporter in Composition in Black and White

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The Prodigy Puppet in Composition in Black and White

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