Samuel Z. Hamilton

Student Historian

Samuel Z. Hamilton is a graduate student in the University of Florida’s English program in Gainesville, Florida. Prior to his education at Florida, Sam taught high school English in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, after having received a Master’s to teach from the University of Pittsburgh. He has presented at a number of conferences focusing on African-American literature and music, including “True Blue Blues People: Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston’s Anticipation of Amiri Baraka at the College Language Association annual conference. The native of Pittsburgh specializes in 20th century African-American radical aesthetics and rhetoric.

Sam “Lightnin’” Hopkins (1912-1982)

Image Ownership: Public Domain Sam “Lightnin’” Hopkins, blues singer, guitarist, and songwriter, was born in Centerville, Texas in 1912 to sharecropping parents whose exact identities are unknown. At eight, Hopkins met legendary bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson at a social function in Buffalo, Texas. An accomplished … Read MoreSam “Lightnin’” Hopkins (1912-1982)

Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton (1926-1984)

Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton was a blues singer and songwriter whose recordings of “Hound Dog” and “Ball ‘n’ Chain” later were transformed into huge hits by Elvis Presley and Janis Joplin. Willie Mae Thornton was born on December 11, 1926 outside of Montgomery in … Read MoreWillie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton (1926-1984)