Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Dr. Connie Zeanah Atkinson

Second Advisor

Dr. Molly Mitchell

Third Advisor

Dr. Albert Kennedy


This essay will use the views of two African American newspaper columnists, E. Belfield Spriggins of the Louisiana Weekly and Dave Peyton of the Chicago Defender, to argue that though New Orleans and Chicago both occupied a primary place in the history of jazz, in many ways jazz was initially met with ambivalence and suspicion. The struggle between the desire to highlight black achievement in music and the effort to adhere to tenets of middle class respectability play out in their columns. Despite historiographical writings to the contrary, these issues of the influence of jazz music on society were not limited to the white community. Tracing these columnists through the years of 1925-1929, a critical point in the popularity of jazz, reveals how considerations of black innovation and economic autonomy helped alter their opinions from criticism to ownership.


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