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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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

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 writer and musician who has lived in Paris since 2008. 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 creative writing at the Sorbonne, and is also a pianist and singer in the American indie-rock trio, Slim & The Beast.

Not suitable for children under age 13 (sensitive content).

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 12 reviews
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(12)
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C
C.F. (Santa Monica, US)
A wonderful conversation…..

This was a wonderful conversation. It is so interesting to go back now, with the events going on in the United States and around the world, and see literary perspectives on race and other unfortunate issues and how they were reflected so long ago, and in many ways, seem just as bad, if not worse, now. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in understanding how we are indoctrinated into certain patterns of viewing other people by language, and other medium. I particularly found the entire interview with Cavett to be fascinating.

E
E. (Santa Fe, US)
Great lecturer

Samuel’s lecture was extremely well organized and presented and was very interesting

J
Julia Matheson (Hickory, US)
Fascinating and Important Look at Paris's history!

Once again, Samuel knocked it out of the park. This was an excellent explanation of the who/what/when/why/how of the Parisian jazz age and how that morphed & joined up with the existentialists after WWII. I learned a lot and have new spots to visit & appreciate on my next trip to Paris!

S
Sally Powell (Sacramento, US)

Guest did not leave comment

E
Elissa Chandler (Nosara, CR)
Amazing stories

This session was full of fascinating stories about what life was like for Black Americans living in Paris during the 1920s and what drove them to cross the Atlantic to find more freedom to express themselves. Samuel is super knowledgable and knew lots of details about the personal relationships between the different characters who were hanging around Paris in that era.

Customer Reviews

Based on 12 reviews
100%
(12)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
C
C.F. (Santa Monica, US)
A wonderful conversation…..

This was a wonderful conversation. It is so interesting to go back now, with the events going on in the United States and around the world, and see literary perspectives on race and other unfortunate issues and how they were reflected so long ago, and in many ways, seem just as bad, if not worse, now. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in understanding how we are indoctrinated into certain patterns of viewing other people by language, and other medium. I particularly found the entire interview with Cavett to be fascinating.

E
E. (Santa Fe, US)
Great lecturer

Samuel’s lecture was extremely well organized and presented and was very interesting

J
Julia Matheson (Hickory, US)
Fascinating and Important Look at Paris's history!

Once again, Samuel knocked it out of the park. This was an excellent explanation of the who/what/when/why/how of the Parisian jazz age and how that morphed & joined up with the existentialists after WWII. I learned a lot and have new spots to visit & appreciate on my next trip to Paris!

S
Sally Powell (Sacramento, US)

Guest did not leave comment

E
Elissa Chandler (Nosara, CR)
Amazing stories

This session was full of fascinating stories about what life was like for Black Americans living in Paris during the 1920s and what drove them to cross the Atlantic to find more freedom to express themselves. Samuel is super knowledgable and knew lots of details about the personal relationships between the different characters who were hanging around Paris in that era.