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Epilogue - The Veil and Margaret Bonds’s Syncretic Dual Perspective

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 November 2023

John Michael Cooper
Affiliation:
Southwestern University, Texas
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Summary

The Montgomery Variations and Credo were not just timely musical masterpieces; they were also large-scale compositions dealing with racial justice and global equality that were penned by an African American woman, an individual to whom the doors of the classical music performance and publishing establishments were closed because of race and sex. Both works may thus be understood as compositions tendered from within a double application of the “veil” or “double-consciousness” that Du Bois had seminally discussed in his 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk – one application is that of race; the other, that of sex. Keenly aware of both of her doubly veiled existence and of the near-total absence of Black folk and women in orchestras, as well as their disproportionately small presence in choruses and audiences, Margaret Bonds undertook a gambit of dual perspective. She used the rhetoric of White Euro-American classical music to valorize contemporary African Americans and others who bravely fought against the system with which most performers and audiences of that music normally identified. The chapter closes with a reflection on the crucial role played by Bonds’s personal and professional affinities with Langston Hughes in inspiring her to this gambit.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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