6 - The Song
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 03 November 2022
“The Song” takes as its subject the material, visual, and sonic circulations of a ballad written about the Kizer and Johnson lynching. The chapter focuses in particular on its first recording, a 1960s single by the folk musician J. E. Mainer. By looking at its circulation first as a performed and then recorded song, the chapter examines the sonic and visual circulations of the ballad as a signifer of southern authenticity. By delving into discourses on authenticity and folk culture, “The Song” points to an evolution in the meaning of racial violence as a constitutive part of a white southern identity. Further, the study examines how this emblem of white southernness came to represent a particular form of personal authenticity for a new generation immersed in the folk revival movement of the 1960s. In this way the chapter serves as a study of both the racist ideology of some countercultural movements as well as the evolution of lynching's meaning in the late twentieth century.
- Gruesome Looking ObjectsA New History of Lynching and Everyday Things, pp. 179 - 208Publisher: Cambridge University PressPrint publication year: 2022