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AfriGeneas Genealogy and History Forum

Re: Charleston's Jenkins Orphanage Band Video

Hello George:

Thanks for your enthusiasm and post. I can't identify the members of the band in the video. There are certainly stills of the Jenkins Orphanage Band. I will forward your message to Dr. Karen Chandler who created this exciting Jazz Initiative at the College of Charleston.

I only knew two musicians who were taught by the Jenkins Orphanage staff, drummer Tommy Benford and trumpeter Arthur Briggs. By the time the film was produced (1928) Tommy was playing with Jelly Roll Morton and Arthur Briggs was well into his life as an expatriate in Europe.

The Avery Research Center for African American Culture and History in Charleston probably has the names of all of the students at Jenkins. Its superb staff of researchers headed by Executive Director, Dr. Marvin Dulaney found records of my great aunt who was a teacher and fundraiser at the Orphanage.

It's interesting to note that the Jenkins Orphanage students (not all orphans) were taught more than the fundamentals of music. Arthur Briggs told me that (one of the reasons) he survived in a Nazi concentration camp was because he could play classical music.

Hold on to that photo from Clafin University. Keep it in the family or donate it to the University or a cultural institution like Avery. Lord knows that in some markets, early photos of African Americans are selling like hotcakes. Is your grandmother the gorgeous lady in that fabulous hat?

There could be a connection to Avery or the Jenkins Band too. Avery in particular since it began as a teachers college (Normal School). I always have to remind myself when researching, that the world of African Americans was much smaller than it is now. Black communities beginning with the Colonial Americas, Antebellum etc. through last century's segregation period interacted with each other. They knew of events and people in neighboring communities as well as those throughout the nation and even outside the country.

I have a question. Do you know of any Black Colleges that taught the study of jazz in the 30's or 40's? A similar query was recently posted on a jazz research forum, but it was about ALL colleges.

Thanks for your "boost" regarding my article.

The link below will take you to Charleston Jazz and a photo of Arthur Briggs at his apartment in Paris. It was taken a few years before his death. I still miss him terribly.

K Wyer Lane

Messages In This Thread

Charleston's Jenkins Orphanage Band Video
Re: Charleston's Jenkins Orphanage Band Video
Re: Charleston's Jenkins Orphanage Band Video

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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