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Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor

In conjunction with the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s exhibition “Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor,” this playlist is inspired by the life of artist Bill Traylor. Born into slavery in Alabama, Traylor was an eyewitness to history: the Civil War, Emancipation, Reconstruction, Jim Crow segregation, the Great Migration, and the steady rise of African American urban culture in the South. Featuring songs from legendary performers Lead Belly, Josh White, Big Mama Thornton, Johnie Lewis, and others, this playlist explores more than three decades of material from Southern artists whose work speaks to the struggles and hopes of African Americans of the mid-twentieth century. Listen to the playlist on its own or while visiting the Bill Traylor exhibition, which is on view Sept. 28, 2018 – April 7, 2019 in Washington, D.C.