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Orchestral Compositions

  • Autograph score for “A Negro Work Song”
  • Dvořák’s use of folk music in classical composition influenced Dawson.
  • Hear Dawson in 1982 relay how he was inspired to title his symphony the
                Negro Folk Symphony (11:44 min.).
  • S. L. Roxy Rothafel, who selected Dawson’s Tuskegee Choir for the Radio City
                Music Hall opening, also introduced Dawson’s work to infamous conductor Leopold
                Stokowski.
  • Portrait of Leopold Stokowski
  • Copy of the program of Philadelphia Orchestra performance at Carnegie Hall,
                November 20, 1934
  • Autographed score for “Oh, m’ Lit’l’ Soul Gwin-A Shine” around which Dawson
                based the second theme of the first movement of the Negro Folk
                Symphony.
  • A page from Dawson’s manuscript score for the Negro Folk
                Symphony, displaying part of its second movement.
  • A page from Dawson’s manuscript score for the Negro Folk
                Symphony, displaying part of its third movement.
  • A Tuskegee Sunday procession--possibly Homecoming--filmed by Dawson.
  • Dawson with his field recording equipment in West Africa, 1952.
  • Listen to Dawson talk about his travels in West Africa (2:34 min.).
  • Video footage from Dawson’s trip to Africa (watch video 1 of 16).
  • Video footage from Dawson’s trip to Africa (watch video 2 of 16).
  • Video footage from Dawson’s trip to Africa (watch video 3 of 16).
  • Video footage from Dawson’s trip to Africa (watch video 4 of 16).
  • Video footage from Dawson’s trip to Africa (watch video 5 of 16).
  • Video footage from Dawson’s trip to Africa (watch video 6 of 16).
  • Video footage from Dawson’s trip to Africa (watch video 7 of 16).
  • Video footage from Dawson’s trip to Africa (watch video 8 of 16).
  • Video footage from Dawson’s trip to Africa (watch video 9 of 16).
  • Video footage from Dawson’s trip to Africa (watch video 10 of 16).
  • Video footage from Dawson’s trip to Africa (watch video 11 of 16).
  • Video footage from Dawson’s trip to Africa (watch video 12 of 16).
  • Video footage from Dawson’s trip to Africa (watch video 13 of 16).
  • Video footage from Dawson’s trip to Africa (watch video 14 of 16).
  • Video footage from Dawson’s trip to Africa (watch video 15 of 16).
  • Video footage from Dawson’s trip to Africa (watch video 16 of 16).
  • Music recorded in Freetown and Port Loco, Sierra Leone, 12 December 1952 (reel 1, recording 1)
  • Music recorded in Freetown and Port Loco, Sierra Leone, 12 December 1952 (reel 2, recording 1)
  • Music recorded at Fourah Bay College and Suehn Mission, 12 December 1952 (reel 3, recording 1)
  • Music recorded at Suehn Industrial Academy, 20 December 1952 (reel 4, recording 1)
  • Music recorded in Suehn, 22 December 1952 (reel 5, recording 1)
  • Music recorded in Gbarnga and Sanequelle, Liberia, 24 December 1952 (reel 6, recording 1)
  • Music recorded in Gbangitown and Kakata, Liberia, 2 January 1953 (reel 8, recording 1)
  • Music recorded in Liberia and Accra, Ghana, 13 January 1953 (reel 9, recording 1)
  • Music recorded in Accra, Ghana, 15 January 1953 (reel 10, recording 1)
  • Music recorded in Accra, Ghana, 21 January 1953 (reel 11, recording 1)
  • Music recorded in Ghana, 24 January 1953 (reel 12, recording 1)
  • Music recorded in Dahomey, 27 January 1953 (reel 13, recording 1)
  • Music recorded in Dahomey, 2 February 1953 (reel 14, recording 1)
  • Music recorded in Dahomey, 4 February 1953 (reel 15, recording 1)
  • Music recorded in Dahomey, 9 February 1953 (reel 16, recording 1)
  • Photograph of Dawson and Leopold Stokowski, October 29, 1963
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Music recorded at Suehn Industrial Academy, 20 December 1952 (reel 4, recording 1)

The video and audio footage that Dawson took while in Africa features the variety of sights and sounds he encountered on his journey. Provocative contrasts emerge from the footage when viewed as one stream. Dawson records dancers and musicians (primarily drummers, but also a singing group) in several regions, as well as shots of daily life and work in several villages and cities. The footage also includes glimpses of Dawson’s travel companions and hosts. The recordings he made capture only short examples of what he saw and heard. In one letter home, he recalls a performance that lasted seven hours. "The records I have at home with African music," he marveled, "are child's play when compared with what I heard at Port Loco [Sierra Leone]." (archival materials)