“I THINK WE SOUNDED BLACK!”
SPACE AND COMMUNITY IN BLACK DRUM AND BUGLE CORPS
By Jamil Jorge
Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Music in Music with a concentration in Musicology in the Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2017, Urbana, Illinois
(Download Thesis here.)
This thesis examines three Black drum and bugle corps from the Civil Rights era of the nineteen-fifties and sixties: the Carter Cadets and the CMCC Warriors Drum and Bugle Corps from New York City, NY and the Washington VIPs from Washington, D.C.
It uses historical and ethnographic methods to present a history of Black corps, mainly based on interviews with alumni. By using theories of space and community, the goal is to analyze how urban planning made way for the formation of Black corps in inner cities.
These marching ensembles served two purposes within their communities: to teach youth valuable life skills to benefit their socioeconomic advancement, and to protect them from likely life-threatening situations, including drugs and violence, by showing them how to embrace their Black identities and create awareness of different opportunities.
The significance of this study is to present a little- researched performing ensemble within the United States, and base it historically during the Civil rights era to show one way Black communities coped with urban planning and the lack of socioeconomic opportunities in their neighborhoods.
Carter Cadets: https://youtu.be/dHFjBoCaAVs
CMCC Warriors: https://youtu.be/D_G_37ELM7M
Washington VIPs: https://youtu.be/_c47Vi1W6AM