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AfriGeneas Caribbean Research Forum

Re: Connecting African-American music culture with the

Dear Rossana:

After reading your post, it's unfortunate but obvious that your words are shaped by an annoyance/frustration at what you perceive (in my earlier post) as being untrue. I can understand your frustration. Like you, I'm dedicated to the memory of my ancestors' contribution to jazz, America's original art form. My Wyer grandfather, his sister and his two brothers were members of the "early messengers of jazz." Their father, a Spanish Creole of Color from Florida was a music teacher and leader of a brass marching band.

So for more than twenty years, I've researched their lives and welcomed the support of jazz historians from all over the world. At the same time, I began to study the history of the black military. My inspiration was my Wyer ancestor who served in the Union Army's 78th Corps D'Afrique. Subsequently, I've done several pro-bono projects for the 369th and am the (Proud) publicist for the NY Chapter of the 761st Tank Battalion.

Like our Afrigeneas family, I strive for the truth about our African American history and rely only on documented records when I write about our legacy.

I mention the above so that you when your read my response to your posting, you will remember my spirit and dedication to the people of color who were gifted musicians and who fought for our country.

Please carefully re-read my post about Rafael Duchesne. Nowhere does it state that he was part of the SSO. I certainly know who was in the Southern Syncopated Orchestra since my great uncle, John Paul Wyer was a member. Arthur Briggs was also in the SSO and was a family friend to three Wyer generations. Arthur was interviewed about his music and life in Europe. He stated that Ralph Duchesne was in his band in France. He mentions that Lartigue and Fisher as a booking agent.

I'm also aware that there were two Rafael Duchesne's. An early reference to the Duchesne family was author Ruth Glasser's book, "My Music is My Flag" and conversations I had with author Reid Badger ("A Life in Ragtime"). Reid by the way wrote an article on the Puerto Rican musicians in the Nine.

Recently, I discovered a complete roster of the 369th Regiment. You can find my post on the Afrigeneas Military Forum.

Rossana, again, I can understand your frustration. But my posting about Raphael "Ralph" Duchesne is based on Arthur Briggs' memory of his band members. I've read a lot of "stuff" on the web about my relatives and frankly about people of color, which is absolutely untrue. I usually ignore glaring mistakes on websites that are marginal or questionable.

Therefore I appreciate the time you've taken to visit Afrigeneas and its Caribbean Research Forum, to post your concerns. is "The Internet's beacon to the history and genealogy of Africans in the Americas."

K Wyer Lane

P.S. I've been corresponding with a professor at the University of Puerto Rico whose interest is in jazz musicians from Puerto Rico. He would welcome your research.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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