War Heroes, Jazz, and Existentialists: Black Americans in Paris with Samuél Lopez-Barrantes

War Heroes, Jazz, and Existentialists: Black Americans in Paris with Samuél Lopez-Barrantes


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The City of Lights was home to the most important black American artists of the twentieth century. From the early jazz men and women that invented a new kind of melody for a Lost Generation to Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and the artists that inspired them, the history of Paris cannot be told without the story of the American artists whose skin color forever defined them back home.

Beginning with the story of the 'Harlem Hell Fighters', one of the greatest military outfits in American history, we will learn about the soldiers in James Reese Europe’s jazz band that brought a new kind of sound to the roaring twenties. From the famous jazz clubs in Montmartre to black Americans’ indubitable influence on the Roaring Twenties, this story will also cover American legends Josephine Baker and Sidney Bechet, whose artistic flare defined a generation.

Migrating to the Latin Quarter, the second part of this seminar will cover the story of Richard Wright and James Baldwin’s famous feud on the Boulevard St. Germain, including the historic books and ideas for which both men became literary celebrities. Ending in the jazz clubs of the 1950s that saw the likes of Miles Davis and Duke Ellington, this is the story of Americans in Paris that far too few of us have been told.

Led by Samuél Lopez-Barrantes, a jazz musician and expert in literary and intellectual history, this interactive seminar will cover the story of Americans in Paris whose skin color was their only defining feature back home. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with a better understanding of the vibrant jazz scene in Paris after World War One, the unsung heroes of the roaring twenties, and a better understanding of the works of Richard Wright and James Baldwin, two of the most important writers in American history.

Samuél is a novelist and musician who has lived in Paris since 2010. He holds an M.A. in European Society from University College London and an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Samuél teaches literature and creative writing at Paris’ Sorbonne. He is also in an American folk-rock trio, Slim & The Beast, whose self-titled EP has already caught the attention of Rolling Stone France.

This conversation is not suitable for children under age 16

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
100%
(6)
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A
A.L.
A timely perspective on a fascinating time

I knew most of the main players discussed but I learned about them in a much more nuanced way in this conversation. I found Samuel to be a lively instructor - and I really appreciated how he tied the content to questions of race that we are exploring more fully today. I would definitely do other classes with Samuel. In person or online.

B
B.B.
Fun and Enlightening

This course is a good introduction to the history of African American entertainers choosing to go to Paris after World War I. The course helps you consider the broad ranging social conditions that made Paris a welcoming refuge.

J
J.L.
Filled with facts, context, and insights.

Terrific overview of key individuals, placed in historical, social context, and philosophical context. Excellent.

A
A.

Guest did not leave comment

A
A.

Guest did not leave comment

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
100%
(6)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
A
A.L.
A timely perspective on a fascinating time

I knew most of the main players discussed but I learned about them in a much more nuanced way in this conversation. I found Samuel to be a lively instructor - and I really appreciated how he tied the content to questions of race that we are exploring more fully today. I would definitely do other classes with Samuel. In person or online.

B
B.B.
Fun and Enlightening

This course is a good introduction to the history of African American entertainers choosing to go to Paris after World War I. The course helps you consider the broad ranging social conditions that made Paris a welcoming refuge.

J
J.L.
Filled with facts, context, and insights.

Terrific overview of key individuals, placed in historical, social context, and philosophical context. Excellent.

A
A.

Guest did not leave comment

A
A.

Guest did not leave comment