Mark Allan Jackson
In 1933, John Lomax and his young son Alan traveled by car to a number of prisons scattered throughout Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. In the nation’s most restricted spaces, they recorded African-American convicts, who Lomax thought would be some of the last singers of traditional folk material due to the isolation of the institutions that held them. As a result of this fieldwork, we now have access to a multitude of powerful songs, both well and little known, which provide some understanding of this folk group during the era of Jim Crow in America’s South.
John Lomax (1867-1948) was an American teacher, a pioneering musicologist and folklorist who did much for the preservation of American folk songs.
Mark Allan Jackson is Associate Professor of Folklore and English at Middle Tennessee State University who specializes in political expression in American music. He has published essays, reviews, and commentaries in such journals as American Music, The Journal of American History, Popular Music and Society, The Journal of American Folklore, Journal of Folklore Research, and The Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin.