Black History: Musicians & Singers

Black History: Musicians & Singers

Sweethearts of Rhythm

Featured Musicians: The Sweethearts of Rhythm The Sweethearts of Rhythm were a real all girl band that traveled around the country in the 1930s and 1940s. The band was unusual because it was all girls and because it was integrated.

One reason the girls got this chance is World War II. A lot of men were fighting in the war so it was easier for a girl band to get gigs. Once they did, they became popular because they were so good.

Sometimes the band had trouble because it was integrated. When the band played in the South they had to sleep on their tour bus because it was illegal there for black and white people to be in the same restaurant or hotel. Sometimes the girls had to wear disguises to hide the fact that their skin color was not all the same.

The author tells the story of the Sweethearts in poems and she uses the rhythms of jazz music in her poetry. It’s not like reading a book of facts. Read the poems, look at the great pictures and then don’t forget to read the author’s note in the back.



Here are some more books that highlight African American music, composers, singers & musicians from slave work songs to spirituals to songs of the civil rights movement::
ABZ JazzMusicians Rock Band
Nothing Last Sweet Hollow
Voice Nobody Saturday Flo
Blackbird Josephine Dream Billie
Marion Louis Duke Bessie
like-a-bird jazz-day-the-making-of-a-famous-photograph


African American Music in Indiana

From the 1870s to the 1950s, Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis served as the focal point of Indianapolis’s black community. Originally called Indiana Street, the Avenue begins at the intersection of Illinois and Ohio Streets and extends northwest. While the Avenue was originally settled by German and Irish immigrants, by 1870 one-third of Indianapolis’s black population lived near Indiana Avenue. The black population in Indianapolis surged in the early 1900s as blacks migrated to the city from the South.

FocusOnIndianaSmallThe Indiana Avenue businesses included restaurants, saloons, grocery stores, clothing stores, hair stylists, barber shops, a hotel, and more. Some of the most famous businesses on the Avenue were the Indianapolis Recorder (a black newspaper) and the Walker Building (which housed a casino and theatre, offices, a beauty college, drugstore, and restaurant.) In the 1930s, the Avenue’s businesses were focused on food and entertainment. By 1940 there were more than twenty-five jazz clubs on the Avenue where both national talent and local legends played. I wonder if the Sweethearts of Rhythm ever played there?

(from The Indiana Historical Society 2011 Indiana Black History Challenge)

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One Response »

  1. this really hepled my daughter ambriel for her dress up as your favorite person i am glad this is here to help

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