Exhibits Pay Tribute To Early Black Experience at St. Francisville Museum
By Anne Butler
A couple of recently staged complementary exhibits in the West Feliciana Historical Society Museum pay tribute to the early black experience—and endurance—in the area. Conceived by society president Susie Tully and created by museum curator Cliff Deal, the exhibits may be viewed free of charge daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the museum on Ferdinand Street in St. Francisville.
One presentation focuses on the birth of the blues in the rural South and their ongoing influence on modern music. Originating on rural southern plantations of the 19th century, the blues evolved from spirituals and African chants, work songs and field hollers. Originally sung by slaves and later sharecroppers working in cotton and cane fields as well as by chain-gang prisoners tilling penitentiary fields, blues music “told the rural story of oppression, hard work, broken hearts, misfortune and struggle...From unbridled joy to deep sadness, no form of music communicates more genuine emotion.”