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Exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I

Noble Sissle. "Memoirs of 'Jim' Europe," ca. 1942. Typescript manuscript. NAACP Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (191.00.00)
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Noble Sissle. "Memoirs of 'Jim' Europe," ca. 1942. Typescript manuscript. NAACP Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (191.00.00)
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Noble Sissle. "Memoirs of 'Jim' Europe," ca. 1942. Typescript manuscript. NAACP Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (191.00.00)
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Noble Sissle. "Memoirs of 'Jim' Europe," ca. 1942. Typescript manuscript. NAACP Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (191.00.00)
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Noble Sissle. "Memoirs of 'Jim' Europe," ca. 1942. Typescript manuscript. NAACP Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (191.00.00)
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"All of No Man's Land Is Ours, Lieutenant Jim Europe and his Famous 369th U.S. Infantry 'Hell Fighters' Band" (cameo portrait of Nobel Sissle). New York: M. Witmark & Sons 1918. Music Division, Library of Congress (188.00.00)
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U.S. Army Signal Corps. Lieutenant James Reese Europe Conducting in Paris [Hotel Tunis]—"Genuine Jazz for the Yankee Wounded," ca. 1919. Reproduction from John J. Pershing's photograph album, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (190.00.00)
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Charles Hamilton Houston. Diary entry, January 16, 1919. William L. Houston Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (189.00.00)
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Charles Hamilton Houston. Diary entry, January 16, 1919. William L. Houston Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (189.00.00)
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James Reese Europe and Jazz

Transported to Europe by African American regimental bands and troops, jazz took France by storm. Few individuals could claim more credit for this result than Washington, D.C., native and noted composer-arranger-conductor James Reese Europe, who led the 369th Infantry Regimental Band. Europe's band, which consisted of Puerto Rican and African American musicians, including famed singer-songwriter Nobel Sissle, helped to spread one of America's unique cultural contributions to the world. Simultaneously these bands worked to undo racial segregation by bringing Europeans and white and black Americans into common appreciation of the new musical form. The French, in particular, warmed to jazz. As Charles Hamilton Houston wrote in his diary: "Paris is taken away with [Jazz] and our style of dancing. The girls come after the boys in taxis and beg them to go to the dance. Colored boys are all the go."

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