History Now 48 (Summer 2017)

Jazz, the Blues, and American Identity

From the Editor

Our Summer 2017 issue looks at the two great musical traditions that come out of the African American culture of the South: jazz and the blues. These uniquely American genres are known throughout the world and, although they began within the black communities of our country, they have come to belong to people of all races and regions. They are part of the American identity. These two musical forms have been creatively interwoven and reimagined, and they are at the root of the best of rock and roll, hip hop, and rap. American writers like Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Albert Murray and musicians like Charles Mingus and Gregg Allman have recognized the importance of these musical traditions in shaping our national identity, and historians know that the history of jazz and the blues provides a critical window into our collective past.More »

Digital Features

Jazz and the Blues: A Mini-Anthology from the Library of America of Selected Writings by Wallace Thurman, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Miles Davis, and Albert Murray

Fifty Jazz and Blues Greats, 1923–2017: An Audio Timeline


“Supreme City: How Jazz Age Manhattan Gave Birth to Modern America” by Donald L. Miller, John Henry MacCracken Professor of History, Lafayette College

From the Archives

Past Issues of History Now

“The Music and History of Our Times,” History Now 32 (Summer 2012)


“New Orleans and the History of Jazz” by Loren Schoenberg (“American Cities,” History Now 11 [Spring 2007])

“‘I, Too’: Langston Hughes’s Afro-Whitmanian Affirmation” by Steven Tracy (“American Poets, American History,” History Now 39 [Spring 2014])

“The Roaring Twenties” by Joshua Zeitz, History by Era


In May 2017 the Library of America published a new paperback, The Essential Hamilton: Letters and Other Writings. Edited by Joanne Freeman, who contributed an essay to the Winter 2016 issue of History Now on Hamilton in the American imagination, The Essential Hamilton is an invaluable resource for teachers and students of the Founding Era. To purchase copies for your classroom, please visit https://www.loa.org/books/546-the-essential-hamilton-letters-other-writings-paperback.