“I Just Got On My Travelin' Shoes” (1929–1938)

Jerry Zolten

in Great God Aʼmighty! The Dixie Hummingbirds

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780195152722
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849536 | DOI:
                   “I Just Got On My Travelin' Shoes” (1929–1938)

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The 1930s—with the Depression, migrants from the Oklahoma dust bowl, and the mass exodus of black Americans from the Deep South to the urban North and West—were difficult for many Americans, but the decade ultimately brought success to James Davis, Barney Parks, and a revolving lineup of the Sterling High School Quartet. They benefited from the old formula—when times are hard, the entertainment business thrives—as well as from the increasing popularity of African American performance style among Anglo-Americans. The mass migration of African Americans from the South created a nationwide market for black entertainers of all kinds. In a short time, the whole face of American pop culture would come under the sway of what Langston Hughes called “black magic,” the alluring mass appeal of African American performance style.

Keywords: James Davies; Barney Parks; African American music; Sterling High School Quartet; pop culture

Chapter.  12074 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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