Tag Archives: Bill Broonzy

How ‘Race Records’ Turned Black Music Into Big Business

In 1926, a self-taught musician named Big Bill Broonzy found his way to Chicago. A sharecropper turned soldier, he had left Mississippi and headed north to escape the pervasive racism of the Jim Crow South along with thousands of others of African-Americans in the Great Migration. Like many other black men, he worked as a janitor and a Pullman porter and a cook. But when he found himself in front of a microphone in a recording studio, the blues musician knew he had found his niche. Continue reading How ‘Race Records’ Turned Black Music Into Big Business