Jan. 21, 2008
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It's the birthday of singer and songwriter Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter, (music by this artist) born in Mooringsport, Louisiana (c. 1888). He is known for his versions of "Goodnight Irene" and "Rock Island Line." He was an inmate at Angola Prison in Louisiana when a white man named John Lomax arrived with his 18-year-old son, Alan, asking to record any songs the prisoners knew. Lomax was traveling across the South making field recordings for the Library of Congress. Lomax helped Leadbelly obtain a pardon and took him to New York where he was a big hit.
It was on this day, in 1952, that William Shawn succeeded Harold Ross as the editor of The New Yorker magazine.
It's the birthday of Richard P. Blackmur, (books by this author) reclusive literary critic, born in Springfield, Massachusetts (1904). He was expelled from high school in 1918 after a dispute with the headmaster, and he never completed a formal education. He read the classics at the local library, but always felt uneasy about his homemade education and did his best to conceal its shortcomings. He went on to become a leading American literary critic and taught at Princeton.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®