So I presented a paper entitled "The Blues Body of Memphis Minnie in the Traveling South" two weeks ago at the Chesapeake regional chapter of the American Studies Association at Georgetown University. People were quite excited, so was I since I wasn't sure what the reaction would be. I talked about the guitar has an instrument of artistry, escape and access for her as a working class, early 20th century black woman who recognized her talent with the instrument and its possibilities for changing her life. That instrument gave Minnie the means to cross the borders and thresholds of all kinds of racialized and gendered spaces and places.
Advisor told me to step my game up by looking for black women who played the guitar in gospel music. Needless to say, blues, rock and gospel? I am swamped in books! He also suggested I consider how my research can be organized into a sortable database!
I swear though this never gets old, stumbling across names, names and more names. What is frustrating is when these names are just briefly referenced in passing in books, as in "Oh, Patton had a wife who played guitar." Yeah, and then that's it. So frustrated that folks were focused so much on interviewing the men that they ignored the women. So many bluesmen mention that their mothers and/or sisters played and/or taught them how to play the guitar!!!
Thinking that I will need to better organize the blog to be more consistent about the RIPs and who plays what instrument. May need to start adding some symbols with a legend to distinguish folk a bit more, otherwise it could be overwhelming.