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NMAAHC Sound Bytes: James Reese Europe

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Cultures +3 Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

In celebration of Smithsonian's Year of Music, let us look back a century to an early jazz classic that detailed the experience of African American soldiers on the front lines in Europe during the First World War.

Amid the First World War (1914 - 1918), a new musical genre called jazz would take the world by storm. Jazz was the product of the African American experience, history, and culture. James Reese Europe contributed to the music form by bringing jazz overseas while fighting with the 369th Infantry Regiment (also known as the Harlem Hellfighters) during the war. Furthermore, James Reese Europe composed tunes that reflected the African American experience on the front lines of the war in Europe. In this Learning Lab, you will explore the life and contributions of James Reese Europe, and consider what influenced him when he composed his 1919 classic, On Patrol In No Man's Land.

The Smithsonian Year of Music is an Institution-wide initiative to increase public engagement, advance understanding, and connect communities in Washington, D.C., across the nation, and around the globe. The Smithsonian Year of Music highlights and shares our vast musical holdings, bringing together our resources in history, art, culture, science, and education.

James Reese Europe

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The Overture

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NMAAHC YoM: Who?

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World War I Croix de Guerre medal awarded to the 369th Infantry Regiment

National Museum of African American History and Culture

NMAAHC YoM: What?

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NMAAHC YoM: Where?

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No man's land

Library of Congress

At Brieulles-sur-Meuse, Argonne Sector

National Museum of American History

In the Argonne Forest

National Museum of American History

NMAAHC YoM: When?

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The Final Note

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