Synopses & Reviews
The Black Ulysses Trilogy presents a compendium of African American folklore collected by pioneer sociologist/folklorist Howard W. Odum. The trilogy collects stories, songs, and folktales, which Odum uses to weave the narrative of his chief informant John Wesley Gordon (Black Ulysses) as he travels the country, fights in World War I, and returns to the South. Odum's character demonstrates the extent to which folklore subjects and folklore style were part of his daily life. The book partially anticipates Zora Neale Hurston's Mules and Men (1935), which placed folk materials in a narrative connected to Hurston. Odum, however, steps back from the narrative and allows his character to speak in a rich and energetic dialect. Rainbow Round My Shoulder presents a feisty, inventive, marginalized folk hero with a zest for life.
About the Author
Howard W. Odum (1884-1954) was a sociologist, known in academic circles for his studies of the South. Others knew him for his collections of black folksongs--The Negro and His Songs (1925) and Negro Workaday Songs (1926) prepared in collaboration with Guy B. Johnson--and for three "novels" based on the life of a black laborer and known collectively as the Black Ulysses Trilogy.
Steven C. Tracy is Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Table of Contents
1. A Twelve-String Laura in the Rough
2. Remembering First Things
3. Changing Scenes and Broken Homes
4. Since I Laid My Burden Down
5. Beginning His Own Odyssey
6. Breaking Up This Jamboree
7. Reason I Stay on Job So Long
8. Billy Bob Russell and Outlaw Camps
9. Gambling for My Honey
10. One High Yellow an' Two Teasin' Browns
11. Don't You Two-Time Me
12. Don't Write Me No Letter Don't Send Me No Word
13. Outlaw Boys and Finish Fights
14. Tall Tales and Joree Jaw
15. Blue Jim and Black Buzzard
16. Freezin' Ground Was My Foldin' Bed
17. A Travelin' Man
18. Blues on My Mind
19. I'm Gonna Buy Me Magnified Lantern
20. Never Look Back Bloodhound on My Track
21. Oh, Lord, White Man, What Have I Done?
22. I Got Rainbow Tied Round My Shoulder