Arthur Kempton, the author of Boogaloo: The Quintessence of American Popular Music, is a fellow at the Institute for African-American Research at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. (March 2006)

IN THE REVIEW

‘Hey, It’s Me’

Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke

by Peter Guralnick
During the small hours of December 11, 1964, the Negro singing star Sam Cooke met his abrupt end in a cheap Los Angeles motel. In enraged pursuit of a woman he’d just checked in with, Cooke broke down the motel’s office door. He was wearing only his shoes, undershorts, and …

Street Diva

With Billie

by Julia Blackburn
In the spring of 1947, Jimmy Fletcher heard from his bosses at the Federal Bureau of Narcotics that it might be a convenient time to visit Billie Holiday at home. Her manager, a former fight-fixer, whoremonger, and running dog in Al Capone’s pack, had offered up the celebrated Negro “torchchanteuse” …

The Fall of The Black Empires

To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown: An Autobiography

by Berry Gordy

Berry, Me, and Motown

by Raynoma Gordy Singleton
By the time the “equal opportunity” generation of black Americans started going to college in the Sixties, Booker T. Washington’s reputation had washed up on the wrong side of history, beached and moldering like the carcass of a whale. For these newest “new Negroes” he was as old-fashioned as the …

The Lost Tycoons

To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown: An Autobiography

by Berry Gordy

Berry, Me, and Motown

by Raynoma Gordy Singleton
Before Berry Gordy Jr. became the most conspicuously successful black entrepreneur of the twentieth century by selling black music to white people, American Negro fortunes were made in the self-service industries of a people whose intimate concerns others were indisposed to serve—like hair-care products, cosmetics, burial insurance, and ghetto publishing.

How Far from Canaan?

The Rise of Gospel Blues: The Music of Thomas Andrew Dorsey in the Urban Church

by Michael W. Harris

Got to Tell it: Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel

by Jules Schwerin
Moments before he was shot in Memphis, Martin Luther King, Jr:, leaned over the balcony outside his room at the Lorraine Motel and spoke to a group of men standing in the courtyard below. He asked one of them, the saxophonist Ben Branch, to have his band play “Take My …

Native Sons

The Cocaine Kids: The Inside Story of a Teenage Drug Ring

by Terry Williams

Raw Recruits

by Alexander Wolff and Armen Keteyian
“The apartment is crowded with teenagers, all wearing half-laced sneakers and necklace ropes of gold. Doorbells ring every few minutes, white powder dusts the table tops; jagged-edge matchbook covers and dollar bills seem to flow from hand to hand. The talk is frenetic, filled with masterful plans and false promises.