Mapping African American Entertainment Venues in Rutherford County, Tennessee from the 1860s to the 1960s: the History of Black Musical Geography and the Road to Popular Music

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Minton, Tiffany Michele
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Middle Tennessee State University
This thesis is a case study of African American entertainment venues and vernacular music culture in Rutherford County, Tennessee from the 1860s to the 1960s. The study utilizes spatial analysis of geolocated maps to understand the social, cultural, and historical contexts of this musical geography locally, regionally, statewide and nationally. These maps are imagined as an ethnic geography, suggesting unique relationships to the history of early road building systems and African American travel during the first half of the twentieth century. Put into a sociohistorical context, the venue maps suggest relationships to the cultivation, development and spread of African American vernacular music forms across a racialized, musical landscape that emerged during the twentieth century called The Chitlin’ Circuit.
African American music, Chitlin' Circuit, Musical geography, Racialized geography, Rutherford County, Tennessee, History