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Yankee TwangCountry and Western Music in New England$
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Clifford R. Murphy

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038679

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038679.001.0001

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A History of New England Country and Western Music, 1925–1975

A History of New England Country and Western Music, 1925–1975

Beginnings: Mellie Dunham and the Pageant of Progress

(p.37) 2 A History of New England Country and Western Music, 1925–1975
Yankee Twang
Clifford R. Murphy
University of Illinois Press

This chapter explores how various languages pervaded industrial centers, which led to New England undergoing an ethnic transformation from a mostly white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant (WASP) population to a mostly Irish, Franco, Italian, and Roman Catholic one. Emerging technologies such as the phonograph, motion pictures, and radio accelerated the spread into New England of African American jazz, which was heartily embraced by many in a region where blackface minstrelsy was enormously popular. There was a palpable tension throughout the region as newcomers and old Yankees alike struggled to retain traditional customs and languages. During this same period of pandemic crisis, New England was wracked by the stresses of interethnic and political conflict, as represented in the trial of anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti in 1921.

Keywords:   New England, ethnic transformation, WASP population, African American jazz, blackface minstrelsy, Yankees, Nicola Sacco, Bartolomeo Vanzetti

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