A White Face With A Forgotten African Family

Posted in Africa, Articles, Audio, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2013-04-08 02:33Z by Steven

A White Face With A Forgotten African Family

All Things Considered
National Public Radio

Jacki Lyden, Host

Growing up blond-haired and blue-eyed in Southern California, Joe Mozingo always thought his family name was Italian.

But as an adult, Mozingo became skeptical of that theory when friends and co-workers began to ask him about his unusual-sounding last name.

The journey to discover the truth about the Mozingo name took him from the libraries of Los Angeles to the courthouses and plantations of Virginia and, finally, to Africa.

Mozingo spoke with weekends on All Thing Considered guest host Jacki Lyden about his first book, The Fiddler on Pantico Run: An African Warrior, His White Descendants, A Search for Family, which chronicles that journey…

Listen to the interview here. Download the interview here. Read the transcript here.

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Jazz, Race Collide With War In 1930s Europe

Posted in Articles, Audio, Canada, Europe, History, Media Archive, United States on 2012-10-10 03:55Z by Steven

Jazz, Race Collide With War In 1930s Europe

Tell Me More
National Public Radio

Jacki Lyden, Host

The novel Half Blood Blues explores an often overlooked slice of history: black jazz musicians in Germany on the eve of World War II. The book moves from 1992 to 1939, from Baltimore to Berlin to Paris. It’s told by an elderly black jazz musician and his friend who survived the war. Guest host Jacki Lyden speaks with author Esi Edugyan.


This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I’m Jacki Lyden. Michel Martin is away this week. Now we’re going to take a trip back in time with the help of a prize-winning novelist.

The novel, “Half Blood Blues,” considers a slice of history that often gets overlooked: black jazz musicians and their fate in Germany just before World War II. The novel moves back and forth from 1992 to 1939, from Baltimore to Berlin, Berlin to Paris and it’s told through the eyes of an elderly Baltimore black jazz musician, Sid Griffiths, and his lifelong friend, Chippewa Jones, all in invented period slang.

The novel was short-listed for the Booker Prize this year and won the Giller Prize in Canada and its author, Esi Edugyan, joins us now from member station KUOW in Seattle. Welcome.

ESI EDUGYAN: Thank you.

LYDEN: Esi, just to establish, you are a Canadian author.


LYDEN: And you live in…

EDUGYAN: I was born and raised in Calgary.

LYDEN: Born and raised in Calgary, of Ghanaian parents and you live in Victoria?


LYDEN: Well, please tell us about this novel, which has had so much success. Tell us about the men at the center of your story. They’re jazz musicians from a group called the Hot Time Swingers. We meet them in Paris. They already have escaped from Berlin. They’ve met Duke Ellington and at the center of the group is this really intriguing character you’ve invented called Hieronymus Falk. And he is eventually picked up by the Gestapo in June of 1940. Tell us about these fellows and Hieronymus.

EDUGYAN: Well, essentially, the novel is told in two parts and the first part centers around the Hot Time Swingers who, you know, are a jazz band who’s had quite a bit of success playing in Berlin. And, you know, now the Third Reich has been ushered in and they’re trying to decide exactly how to proceed now that they’ve been prohibited from playing in public.

And so the band consists of two African-American players, Sid and Chip from Baltimore, as well as the German players, Paul, who’s a pianist who has a Jewish background, and Ernst. And then Hieronymus Falk, who is an Afro-German, the child of a French colonial soldier and a German mother, and he’s the trumpet prodigy.

LYDEN: Hieronymus Falk really intrigued me, Esi Edugyan. He is, you say in the novel, the German word was mischling. He is of mixed race and there really were such Afro-Germans prior to the Nazis taking power…

Read the entire transcript here. Listen to the interview here. Download the interview here.

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