35 min

S01E10 | Tena, Too, Sings America: Listening to an Enslaved Woman's Musical Memories of Africa C19: America in the 19th Century

    • Society & Culture

How does an enslaved woman's song from 1830s in Georgia end up on a 1950s radio program in South Africa and in a modern singing class? This is the surprising story of an African-born woman named Tena, whose music has echoed for generations across continents, airwaves, and even college classrooms. Mary Caton Lingold (Virginia Commonwealth University) first encountered Tena’s song in a book of sheet music by Carl Sandburg but a series of events led her to uncover details about Tena’s life in living memories of her enslavers’ descendants and in archival recordings and documents. This episode is about Tena's life and legacy, the challenges of researching enslaved women’s lives, and how sound and performance can open up new ways of engaging with the past.

This episode was created and produced by Mary Caton Lingold (Virginia Commonwealth University) with post-production help from Kristie Schlauraff. Episode transcript available here: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/ca9039_a108805b1f8442d0817c58ca47b7c1ed.pdf

How does an enslaved woman's song from 1830s in Georgia end up on a 1950s radio program in South Africa and in a modern singing class? This is the surprising story of an African-born woman named Tena, whose music has echoed for generations across continents, airwaves, and even college classrooms. Mary Caton Lingold (Virginia Commonwealth University) first encountered Tena’s song in a book of sheet music by Carl Sandburg but a series of events led her to uncover details about Tena’s life in living memories of her enslavers’ descendants and in archival recordings and documents. This episode is about Tena's life and legacy, the challenges of researching enslaved women’s lives, and how sound and performance can open up new ways of engaging with the past.

This episode was created and produced by Mary Caton Lingold (Virginia Commonwealth University) with post-production help from Kristie Schlauraff. Episode transcript available here: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/ca9039_a108805b1f8442d0817c58ca47b7c1ed.pdf

35 min

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