Celebratory Expressions

Combinations and recombinations of flavors, stories, visual art, and rhythms express the extraordinarily rich results that have developed through African-Native American lives. Out of their struggles and triumphs, African-Native American people have created cultural innovations by bringing together sensibilities from two ancient and beloved continents. By “eating out of the same pot,” delicious cultural fusions arise, such as gumbo and the blues.

Today, cultures continue to influence each other with increasing variety and dynamism. African-Native American hip-hop artists declare that their too-long-silenced voices must be heard. Painters and sculptors draw from ancestral roots to visualize African-Native American truths. Writers break racial boundaries and bonds. Creativity generates acknowledgment and acceptance.

Adolphus Doc Cheatham

Adolphus “Doc” Cheatham (1905–97)

Of Cherokee and Choctaw heritage, this journeyman trumpeter and vocalist received many awards in recognition of his remarkably long career. He toured Europe with Sam Wooding and played with Cab Calloway, Teddy Wilson, Claude Hopkins, Sam Price, and Machito and other Latin bandleaders.

Courtesy Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University