Statement of Purpose

This project attempts to prove the following. Bessie Smith is a model of women blues artists appearring in the early 1920's. Bessie Smith's life as well as her music are representations of working class identities in this blues subculture. She is a published and visible intellectual of her racial and class situation. Bessie Smith's life and music offer insight into the myriad identities of black in the early twentieth century and challenge the assumed linear history of blackness.

Photo, 1923, by Edward Elcha, courtesy of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.

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