Blues People: Negro Music in White America | Leroi Jones

Harper Perennial

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“Blues People (Negro Music in White America) is a seminal study of Afro-American music (and culture generally) by Amiri Baraka, who published it as LeRoi Jones in 1963.

In Blues People Baraka explores the possibility that the history of black Americans can be traced through the evolution of their music. It is considered a classic work on jazz and blues music in American culture. This book documents the effects jazz and blues had on America on an economic, musical, and social level. It chronicles the types of music dating back to the slaves up until the 1960s.

Blues People argues that "negro music"—as Amiri Baraka calls it—appealed to and influenced new America. According to Baraka, music and melody is not the only way the gap between American culture and African-American culture was bridged. Music also helped spread values and customs through its media exposure. Blues People demonstrates the influence of African Americans and their culture on American culture and history.

The book examines blues music as performance, as cultural expression, even in the face of its commodification. To Baraka, Blues People represented "everything [he] had carried for years, what [he] had to say, and [himself]". The book is deeply personal and chronicles what brought him to believe that blues was a personal history of his people in the United States. The resonance and desperation within this type of music is what compelled Baraka to learn about the history of blues music. He learned through his studies that the "Africanisms" is directly related to American culture, rather than being solely related to Black people.

Baraka dedicates the book "to my parents ... the first Negroes I ever met.” – Wiki

""Blues People "is not only a fresh, incisively instructive reinterpretation of Negro music in America, but it is also curcially relevant to Negro-White relationships today."--Nat Hentoff

"Blues People "is American musical history; it is also American cultural, economic, and even emotional history. It traces not only the development of the Negro music which affected white America, but also the Negro values which affected white America."--"Library Journal

Product details:

Book title:

Blues People: Negro Music in White America


Leroi Jones / Amiri Baraka


Harper Perennial



Number of pages:


Product Dimensions:

5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches

Release Date:

Reprinted: 2002 / Original: 1963




Music History / Criticism / Jazz / Blues / Ethnomusicology

Catalog No:

068818474X / 978-0688184742