Square Dance History Project
The rich story of North American square dance finally has a home in the digital age.

Browse Items (20 total)

  • Tags: African-American
Still Image

Bennie "Cuje" Bertram

from the website of the Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historical Park "I was born August 24, 1894, in Fentress County on the Three Forks of the Wolf. Alvin York was our next door neighbor. His daddy was a… View item
Document

Quadrilles in Harlem - 1946

Rod LaFarge was a caller, publisher, and dance historian, interested in all manner of dances. In this account, he describes visiting Harlem on several occasions-- LaFarge lived in New Jersey--to… View item
Still Image

John Putnam, Black fiddler and caller

John Putnam (c. 1817–1895) was born into slavery and by the 1850s was living in Greenfield, MA, where he worked as a barber. He played left-handed fiddle and Putnam's Orchestra played for dances… View item
Website

Interview with Saundra Bryant

Short interview with Saundra Bryant, African-American square dance caller from Chicago."At one point, there were 25 or 30 African-American square-dance callers. Now there are probably 12 or 14 of us… View item
Still Image

Young African Americans Square Dancing - 1952

This photo shows a square dance at the Hallie Q. Brown Center, St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1952. View item
Document

The Saturday Square Dance and Fish Fry in Dogtown

Cultural historian and old-time fiddler Linda L. Henry has done extensive research into the history of black string band music and dance in Warren County, Tennessee, halfway between Nashville and… View item
Document

Square Dance Calling: The African-American Connection

In an early and abbreviated form, this paper outlines the thesis that Jamison put forward at length in his later book,Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics, which looks at the pivotal role played by… View item
Moving Image

African-American quadrille, 1914 (#2)

This comes from the Prelinger Archives and the footage appears to be from the same reel as another itemin our collection. The first part of the footage shows common quadrille figures: opposite couples… View item
Website

The Life and Times of Joe Thompson

This 27 minute documentary about North Carolina fiddler Joe Thompson is a look at music and dance in African-American communities, not just in the 20th century but reaching back in time. Thompson and… View item
Moving Image

African-American quadrille, 1914 (#1)

SIlent movie footage from 1914 showing African-American dancers in square formation. Referring to the couple dance later in the footage, a comment on a YouTube posting of the same clip says, "They are… View item
Website

The Slave Roots of Square Dancing

This is an easily-read summary of a scholarly article by Phil Jamison on the African-American roots of southern Appalachian dance and, in particular, the pivotal role played by African-American… View item
Document

"Social Dancing in America" - Rod LaFarge

This lengthy history of social dance was written by Rod LaFarge and appeared over three years in American Squares magazine. LaFarge begins with a short look at English country dance, moves to dancing… View item