April 24, 2023

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From Minstrelsy to George Wallace:Country Music, Political Campaigns, and the Use and Misuse of BlacCulturePeter La Chapelle, Nevada State CollegeIn spring 1922, Gov. Alf Taylor of Tennessee was in atight spot. One of the fewRepublican chief executives in a largely hostile and Democratic South, Taylor was gearing up to face a tough race that fallfor a second twoyear term. His anxiety derived not just frompartisan alignmentsbut because Tennessee had acquired mounting state debt and constituents were angry about an outdated real estate tax code.Racial tensionswere high too, following astreak of white mob violence that began with the Red Summer attacks of 1919that left as many as 50, mostly Black, Knoxville residentsdeadViolencecontinuedduring Taylors term, culminatingwith renewed gunfire on the streets of Knoxville in 1921 and, of course, the murder of some 300 people a states lengthaway during the race massacre in Tulsa.Taylor was forced to call out the national guardfor the 1921 summer flare up inKnoxville, which remarkably appears to have resulted only in bullet woundsGiven the tensions and his political chances,Taylorwho had been elected partly on voters nostalgiafor his familys history of entertainingpolitical speeches and fiddling on campaign stops, did what came natural.He organized a tour of his friendly, largely Republican home region of East Tennessee, giving what the newspapers variously called lectures or concerts because they featured lots of music followed by an entertaining speech, usually

From Minstrelsy to George Wallace Country Music Political Campaigns and the Use and Misuse of Blac k Culture Peter La Chapelle Nevada State College In spring 1922 Gov Alf Taylor of Tennessee was…