National Museum of American History, Division of Cultural History Search this
1 cu. ft. (1 record storage box)
This accession consists of records created and maintained by Howard Bass while producing public programs at the National Museum of American History (NMAH). The majority
of the records pertain to the "American Sampler" series of programs which presented traditional music, dance, and storytelling from communities and cultural groups throughout
the United States. Also documented are the "Communities in Concert" series which presented outdoor concerts featuring a variety of musical styles including jazz, folk, gospel,
Latin American, and American popular songs; the "Word of Mouth" series which featured performances celebrating African American, Native American, and Anglo American oral traditions
in storytelling, oratory, and ballad singing; the "Music of New Mexico Festival" which explored traditional Hispanic and Native American music and dance; and the "Smithsonian's
America" exhibition in Chiba (Chiba-shi), Japan in 1994. This accession contains materials from when Bass was contractor and later a program producer for the Dept. of Public
Programs and then the Office of Cultural History prior to the Division of Cultural History. Materials include correspondence, brochures, programs, images, reviews, teacher's
guides, student learning guides, advertisements, and clippings.
The Paredon Records audiorecordings consist of all 50 of the recordings released by Paredon, along with the master audiotapes. Many of the recordings have a file containing business records relating to their production. These business records include artist contracts, recording reports, various notes on records produced, photographs of artists, news articles both about and by Barbara Dane, Irwin Silber, and Paredon Records, correspondence by Barbara Dane, Irwin Silber and Paredon Records, and other miscellany. Many contracts are signed by both Paredon Records and the artist. Correspondence is primarily between business associates. A complete inventory of the business records is available.
Scope and Contents:
There are two main components of the Paredon Records audiorecordings: the master recordings and corresponding commercial records themselves and the paper files relating to these recordings.
Series 1: Papers is primarily made up of "production files"--files containing materials related to specific albums. These production files can include artist contracts, recording reports, photographs of artists, clippings, royalty statements, licenses, album cover proofs, and correspondence between Paredon Records and the recording artists. news articles both about and by Barbara Dane, Irwin Silber, and Paredon Records. Many contracts are signed by both Paredon Records and the artist. Also included in this series are articles by Barbara Dane and Irwin Silber, a transcript of Daniel Sheehy's oral history interview with Barbara Dane, as well as miscellaneous ephemera.
Series 2: Master Audiorecordings includes all Paredon master tapes. Their corresponding commercial recordings are not described in this finding aid.
Series 1: Papers (1970-2007, bulk 1970-1980)
Series 2: Master Audiorecordings (1969-1985, bulk 1970-1980)
Biographical / Historical:
Paredon Records was founded in 1969 in New York by Barbara Dane and Irwin Silber, and its first recordings were released in 1970. Paredon released four records at a time. Barbara Dane, a singer/songwriter herself, produced the albums and recruited the musicians, artists who worked on the covers, and volunteers who translated foreign language material and contributed stories for the record booklets. Irwin Silber, a writer and editor for The Guardian newspaper, assisted Dane in all aspects of production. Irwin worked on business aspects of the label, such as distribution, orders, and editing and printing the record supplemental materials. Dane and Silber traveled to almost all of the countries mentioned in these records, as part of their work as activists and personally knew the musicians and artists.
According to the interview with Barbara Dane, "Paredon" means "a big wall" in Spanish. Paredon represents "a wall of culture defending us [listeners] against this 'sleazy' culture that's out there on the other side of the wall." The mission of Paredon Records was to use music as a tool to spread culture: the stories and experiences of those involved in protest and revolution movements all over the world, in order to increase dialogue among similar movements and peoples. Dane and Silber hoped these records would promote social and political activism, and that the uplifting power of music would inspire people to be agents of social change. The records reflect the most important socialist or liberation movements in world politics as well as domestic issues in the United States of the late twentieth century.
The 50 Paredon record albums constitute a unique historical documentation of the political protest and revolutionary currents in the world over the course of three decades. 31 of the 50 albums come from national liberation movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America. These include music, song, poetry and speech from Angola, Argentina, Chile, China, Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Palestine, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Uruguay, and Vietnam. Another five albums come out of the European oppositional political movements from; Greece, Italy, North Ireland and the United Kingdom. In all cases, the materials are performed and/or presented by the participants in these movements. A number of world renowned artists are among the performers, including Mikis Theodorakis (Greece), Marcel Khalife (Lebanon), Quilapayún (Chile) and Silvio Rodriguez (Cuba). Several important world political figures — Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Don Albizu Campos and Che Guevara — also appear on these records delivering seminal speeches. Not all of the political figures deliver their speeches, such as the Ho Chi Minh album, but were read by someone else. The other 14 record albums document political and social protest movements in the U.S. during this same period. The songs reflect currents in the civil rights, women's, and labor movements. Two albums document GI opposition to the Vietnam War. These recordings include a broad array of singers and songs associated with the political protest of the times. Albums by the band "The Men of No Property" and others were obtained clandestinely, as the movements often became dangerous. Smithsonian Folkways Director Daniel Sheehy interviewed Barbara Dane in 2007, the transcript of which is contained in the Supporting Materials folder in Series 1: Papers.
The Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections acquired the Paredon Records audiorecordings in December, 1991, when Barbara Dane and Irwin Silber donated their record company papers to the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage agreed to keep the record titles available for purchase, and to accession and store the Paredon Records Collection in the archives.
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at (202) 633-7322 or email@example.com for additional information.
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Recorded by Moses Moon (known at the time as Alan Ribback) and assisted by Norris McNamara during 1963 and 1964, the collection includes audio recordings of interviews with civil rights leaders and participants as well as free-style recordings of mass meetings, voter registration events, and other gatherings organized by Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). This collection provides a mostly unfiltered documentation of significant moments in the civil rights movement.
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists of 115 reel to reel audio recordings containing interviews, mass meetings, demonstrations, and conversations concerning the civil rights movement, and in particular the voter registration drives organized by SNCC in Alabama and Mississippi in 1963 and 1964. Mass meetings were recorded in Greenwood, Mississippi; Americus, Georgia; Selma, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; Danville, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Hattiesburg, Mississippi; and Indianola, Mississippi. Major demonstrations recorded include the March on Washington in August of 1963, Freedom Day in Selma, Alabama in October of 1963, and Freedom Day in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in January of 1964. Interviews with SNCC workers include Julian Bond, John Lewis, James Forman, Bruce Gordon, Prathia Hall, Ivanhoe Donaldson, Bob Moses, Avery Williams, Willie Peacock, Bruce Boynton and his mother, as well as dozens of others involved in the movement, who are named in the collection inventory. Many of those interviewed were actively involved in strategizing and carrying out SNCC demonstrations and political actions, and many were victims of death threats, beatings, unlawful arrest, police brutality, and torture and abuse in prison. These interviews contain detailed eyewitness accounts and personal testimony regarding these experiences, as well as personal history and thoughts about the movement, the South, and the future.
It is clear from what we know of the dates and locations of these recordings, as well as from documentation of these events in other sources, that many of these recordings are unique documents of important events in American history, which may also contain the commentary of important political and cultural figures who were involved in the movement. For example, an article by Howard Zinn recounts how an unidentified man recorded James Baldwin on October 7, 1963, Freedom Day in Selma, on the steps of the courthouse. Baldwin was furious at the lack of support from nearby federal agents as state troopers advanced on peaceful demonstrators. One of the tapes dated October 7, 1963, originally labeled "courthouse interviews," appears to be this recoding, although Baldwin is not named. The same article (available in The Howard Zinn Reader) recounts the mass meetings which led up to that demonstration, at which actor Dick Gregory gave a rousing sermon as his wife sat in jail for demonstrating in Selma. The Moses Moon Collection may be the only existing audio recording of that sermon as well as many other sermons and speeches.
Moses Moon changed his name after these recordings were made. He is referred to in the finding aid as Alan Ribback because that name is used on the recordings.
The collection is arranged in two series.Series 1 is in chronological order to the degree recording dates can be determined, and is based on the locations and dates provided by Moon in his description or gleaned from the recordings themselves and other secondary sources. Series 1 contains 17 groups of recordings.
Moon's original numbers are recorded in the column next to the descriptions. Following the first four Greenwood tapes, which are numbered sequentially, Moon's numbering system took the first two letters of the town in which the recordings were made, a one (1), a decimal, and then a tape number. Numbers preceding the town code refer to the recording day. "N" numbers were later assigned by Moon to the 7" reels only, after the original recordings were made, possibly during editing or when the tapes were made available to the Program in African American Culture.
Series 1, Original Tapes
1. Greenwood, Mississippi; Spring 1963; 4 7" reels
2. Chicago, Illinois; August 9, 12, 1963; 2 5" reels
16. Monroe County, Mississippi; August 1, 1964; 4 5" reels
17. Milton, Mississippi; August 16, 1964; 3 5" reels
Series 2, Preservation Masters consists of data DVDs for a portion of the collection.
Biographical / Historical:
Moses Moon was born Alan Ribback in 1928. During the 1950s until 1962, Ribback was the proprietor of the Gate of Horn, Chicago's premier folk music club, which featured performers including Bob Gibson, Odetta, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Jo Mapes, Peter, Paul and Mary, Lenny Bruce, and Shelley Berman. On December 5, 1962, Lenny Bruce was arrested during a performance at the Gate of Horn along with Ribback, George Carlin, and others. As a result of the arrest and Bruce's subsequent conviction for obscenity, the club was closed by the City of Chicago, and Ribback left Chicago with Norris McNamara, an audio technician, to record folk concerts taking place in the South as part of the growing civil rights movement. From the spring of 1963 until the summer of 1964, Ribback and McNamara recorded demonstrations and mass meetings and interviewed civil rights activists, primarily those involved in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Later, Ribback moved to New York and edited his recordings into an album called Movement Soul. Ribback married Delia Moon in 1971, took her last name and changed his first name to Moses. In 1979, Bernice Reagon Johnson, working with the Program on African American Culture at the Smithsonian, contacted Moon and borrowed the recordings of mass meetings for a 1980 program on the voices of the civil rights movement. In the late 1980s, Moon was stricken with a severe case of Guillain-Barre syndrome, which left him paralyzed. Moon donated the entire collection of original recordings shortly before his death in 1993.
Materials at Other Organizations
The papers of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee are held by the King Library and Archives in Atlanta, Georgia; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donated by Moses and Delia Moon in 1995.
Collection is open for research. Reference copies must be used. Tapes noted in the container list have digital reference copies in the Smithsonian Institution Digital Asset Management System (DAMS).
Collection items available for reproduction, but copyright status unknown. Contact Archives Center staff for additional information. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.