William Henry/Master Juba Lane (1825-ca. 1852)

William Henry Lane is credited as one of the most influential figures in the creation of American tap dance. Lane developed a unique style of using his body as a musical instrument, blending African-derived syncopated rhythms with movements of the Irish jig and reel. Lane’s … Read MoreWilliam Henry/Master Juba Lane (1825-ca. 1852)

“Mississippi” John Smith Hurt (c. 1892-1966)

Born in Teoc, Mississippi in 1892 but raised in Avalon, Mississippi, “Mississippi” John Hurt spent the majority of his life employed as a farm hand. Though he briefly recorded in the 1920s, it was not until the 1960s that his music was widely distributed and … Read More“Mississippi” John Smith Hurt (c. 1892-1966)

Samuel Harrison (1818-1900)

Samuel Harrison, a minister, political activist, and former slave, became one of Berkshire County, Massachusetts’s most ardent abolitionists. Harrison was born enslaved in Philadelphia in 1818 but he and his mother were freed in 1821.  Shortly afterwards the widowed mother and her son moved to … Read MoreSamuel Harrison (1818-1900)