Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Returned to this find after we hosted the Joel Sweeney and the Banjo Festival at Appomattox Court House NHP this weekend & wanted to share it.

Here is the only known attempt to IDENTIFY by NAME any BLACK banjo player that taught Joel SWEENEY the instrument.

Although this undated (1880s-1900?) piece out of an unidentified photostat (there was no masthead on the inverted photostat of the piece) theater trade paper contains the typical language of the day when speaking of blacks in the South, it is an invaluable link between the banjo played by Sweeney and the black musicians of the area that he learned from.

This clipping in the George Collins papers at the Library of Virginia helps us to name the heretofore unnamed black banjo players of the region around Appomattox while also solidifying the importance of the region in the history of the banjo.

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Comment by Rob Mohr on September 11, 2018 at 11:00pm

Very interesting...brings to mind Ephraim's Lament. Though it doesn't seem like much of a dancing tune...great find, just a shame things like this have been lost, especially in the effort of trying to give credit where credit is due, though a century plus after.


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