Between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s, about three and a half million people migrated from Appalachia to the urban manufacturing centers of the Midwest. Over 40,000 came to the Dayton area from West Virginia, Tennessee, and especially Eastern Kentucky, seeking work at companies like National Cash Register, Frigidaire, and General Motors. They brought their culture and their music along with them. Archives Fellow Jocelyn Robinson brings us the rich mountain heritage in the WYSO audio collection, preserved through the efforts of three local brothers.
WYSO has aired lots of different kinds of music in its 56-year history, but folk music, the soundtrack of the 1960s, is particularly well represented in our audio archives. Students and volunteers recorded many folk concerts and festivals at Antioch College and elsewhere over the decades. Various members of the Seeger family - perhaps the most prominent family in American folk music in the late 20th century - are found frequently in our collection.
Fifty years ago, in November 1964, President Lyndon Johnson won reelection in a landslide victory, and Congress, too, was overwhelmingly Democratic. During the Johnson presidency, a number of landmark social programs were passed into law: Medicare, Head Start, the federal food stamp program, the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act, too.
Americans are grappling again with issues of social justice and racial equality, in light of the shooting of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. And here in the Miami Valley the same issues are in the headlines, since John Crawford III was shot by police in a Beavercreek Walmart store on August 5.
We see the work of Dayton artist Willis “Bing” Davis hanging in banks, boardrooms, libraries, and concert halls throughout the Miami Valley. His art is full of color and movement, and is based on themes he’s been exploring for decades.
Archives Fellow Jocelyn Robinson found a 1981 interview with Bing Davis in the archives here at WYSO. And to celebrate the artist’s 76th birthday she some of the original recording and brings us up to date with the artist’s signature series.