Thursday, March 02, 2006
R2C2H2'S RESPONSE TO THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTER ARTICLE AND THE AMERICAN LEGACY EDITOR'S REPLY TO R2C2H2'S RESPONSE
THIS IS A LETTER I WROTE WEDNESDAY MORNING (9/7/05) CONCERNING AN ARTICLE THE AMERICAN LEGACY MAGAZINE JUST DID ABOUT JAMES REESE EUROPE...THIS IS WHAT THE EDITOR OF THE MAGAZINE HAD TO SAY ABOUT IT, NORMALLY SHE ISN'T GOOD AT RESPONDING TO MY E-MAIL, BUT SHE RESPONDED TO ME THIS MORNING!!!
P.S. YOU CAN ALSO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF R2C2H2'S BOOK, JAMES REESE EUROPE: JAZZ LIEUTENANT BY SENDING A $20 CHECK OR MONEY ORDER TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:R2C2H2/ RONALD HERD IIP.O. BOX 751341MEMPHIS,TN 38175TO PURCHASE A COPY ONLINE PLEASE CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING LINKS:
Amazon Book Purchase
James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant
Note: forwarded message attached.
website address: http://www.ther2c2h2.com/r2c2h2.html
Subject: RE: MY RESPONSE TO THE JAMES REESE EUROPE PATHFINDERS ARTICLE
Date: Wed, 7 Sep 2005 10:46:52 -0400
From: "Peterson, Audrey"
To: "ronald herd ii" email@example.com
Thanks for your letter. Unfortunately, the Pathfinder articles are typically pretty short,else we could have fit much more about Mr.Europe,but thank you for filling us
Audrey Peterson, Editor
From:ronald herd ii
Sent:Wednesday, September 7, 2005 3:06 AM
Subject:MY RESPONSE TO THE JAMES REESE EUROPE PATHFINDERS ARTICLE
DEAR AMERICAN LEGACY MAGAZINE,
THANKS FOR THE ARTICLE...I WISHED THAT THE ARTICLE HAD MORE,HIS ACHIEVEMENTS DESERVED MORE RECOGNITION THAN CAN BE PUT IN JUST TWO PAGES...MR.LANDER DID NOT EVEN
MENTIONED THAT JAMES REESE EUROPE WAS GIVEN THE FIRST PUBLIC FUNERAL FOR A BLACK PERSON IN NEW YORK CITY HISTORY,HAS A LEGION POST (JAMES REESE EUROPE LEGION
POST 5)NAMED IN HIS HONOR IN HIS HOMETOWN OF WASHINGTON,D.C....RECRUITED REED PLAYERS FROM PUERTO RICO FOR HIS HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS MILITARY BAND,OR THAT
HIS GROUP WAS THE FIRST BLACK MUSIC GROUP TO RECORD A MUSIC RECORD...HE DID NOT EVEN TALKED ABOUT HOW EUROPE WAS AN INSPIRATION FOR THE GREAT GEORGE GERSHWIN WHO
WHEN HE WAS 7 YEARS OLD USED TO LISTEN TO A YOUNG EUROPE PLAY PIANO AT BARON WILKINS NIGHTCLUB IN HARLEM WHILE SITTING OUTSIDE ON A CURB,OR HIS INFLUENCE ON THE GREAT BLACK MUSICIANS WILL MARION COOK(ANOTHER D.C. NATIVE) AND WILLIE 'THE LION' SMITH
(A MEMBER OF THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS) WHO WOULD LATER BECOME IMPORTANT MENTORS TO THE INCOMPARABLE DUKE ELLINGTON (A D.C. NATIVE)...I HAVE JUST WRITTEN,
ILLUSTRATED AND PUBLISHED A BOOK ABOUT EUROPE ENTITLED JAMES REESE EUROPE: JAZZ LIEUTENANT BY R2C2H2 WHICH WAS RECENTLY NAMED TO THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE'S JAZZ
BOOKS FOR KIDS AND YOUNG ADULTS LIST...PEOPLE CAN PURCHASE A COPY FROM HTTP://WWW.AMAZON.COM ...YOU CAN ALSO VISIT MY WEBSITE AT HTTP://WWW.THER2C2H2.COM TO FIND OUT MORE INFO ON THE BOOK AND OTHER BLACK HISTORY
RELATED PROJECTS I AM WORKING ON!!!
R2C2H2 a.k.a. Ron Herd II
Tisha St. Clair of Sister Nineties Literary Magazine Believes Jazz Lieutenant Is An Important Tool In Teaching Our Youth About Our Rich Heritage!!!
TISHA ST. CLAIR REVIEWS
James Reese Europe Jazz Lieutenant
BookSurge, LLC, © 2005
ISBN: 1-4196-0245-4 (paper)
75 pages, $ US paperback
R2C2H2’s book about the life of James Reese Europe was an informative and delightful read. Not only was he the author, but also the brilliant illustrator. R2C2H2 used his drawings to punctuate the story of Europe’s life. Especially haunting was the picture entitled “Welcome to Spartanburg, South Carolina!!!” R2C2H2’s words told of the harsh treatment of Europe and his band, but the picture truly shows the ugliness of racism, prejudice and segregation. R2C2H2 captures the loathing and hate in the eyes of the white southerners.
R2C2H2 includes many of the ground-breaking achievements of James Reese Europe, and the composers and musicians that benefited from his hard work. One of Europe’s crowning achievements, prior to World War I, was creation The Clef Club, the first black musician’s union and booking agency. This agency was responsible for getting black musicians the same or sometimes better pay than their white counter-parts, and ensuring they would be treated as professionals rather than traveling minstrels. During WWI Europe served as the commanding officer of the 15th Regiment Band. The band was well received in France. Europe and his men also became fierce soldiers, despite a lack of training from the United States Army.
They were awarded numerous medals from the French government during the war.
Some of Europe’s other achievements included working with Eubie Blake, Vernon and Irene Castle; performing at Carnegie Hall; establishing a music school for aspiring black musicians; and re-establishing the black musical theater art form. I really don’t want to tell you much more, because you really need to read all about it yourself.
Through this book, R2C2H2 introduced me to James Reese Europe, a visionary and pioneer. Any primary school aged child could benefit from reading this book. It shows how a person can overcome obstacles to achieve his goals. Any lover of jazz would find this book enlightening and may prompt them to search for some new (old) music for their collection. Any admirer of R2C2H2’s work would be please to have a gallery of his drawings at their fingertips.
This exemplary combination of biography, chronicle and illustrations of one of "our" great forgotten heroes is perhaps one of the most innovative publications in recent years. The product of meticulous research, strategic assembly and an obvious intimate connection to the life, deeds and legacy of James Reese Europe, R2C2H2 has taken art and scholarship to a place not visited since the days of Duke Ellington, Mary Lou Williams, John Coltrane and most recently Tupac Shakur. I am humble enough to say I learned a great deal from the wealth of research and the rich perspective that [R2C2H2] offers. I really enjoyed learning about sister Mary Europe, I had no idea of that connection nor of her greatness!!! R2C2H2, through his unique aesthetic and independent voice has given us a history lesson in a fashion that no historian could do. Through this book we feel, experience and see the struggles that Lieutenant Europe faced, reveling in his victories while lamenting in his untimely and unfortunate demise. Yet, because of R2C2H2's ability to tell the story that needs to be told, Lieutenant Europe lives. The art adds another dimension as it personalizes [R2C2H2’s] intimate connection with "the jazz lieutenant" offering more than just a book, more than just a pictorial biography, but a magnus opus!!! This is a monumental achievement that is only surpassed by its ability to captivate the reader from cover to cover in a mysterious yet historically correct realm of the past. The book is wonderful, my only regret is that I was unable to unpack it and dive into it when it first arrived... but I was greatly pleased!!!
Emmett G. Price III, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Music and African-American Studies
351 Ryder Hall
Boston, MA 02115-5000
(617) 373-7700 office
(617) 373-4129 fax