Hey, Charleston!: The True Story of the Jenkins Orphanage Band

by Anne Rockwell and Colin Bootman

Think about doing the Charleston and images of flappers may dance in one's head.... read more

Think about doing the Charleston and images of flappers may dance in one's head. But the song and dance originated with an African American orphanage band in Charleston, South Carolina, in the early twentieth century. Reverend Daniel Joseph Jenkins asked for old instruments-many of them Civil War relics-and hired music teachers in the hopes his charges could learn to perform, and did they ever! He eventually sent them to New York City, where their style of African-influenced song and dance caught on big-time. They traveled all over, including London on the eve of World War I. When war broke out, Reverend Jenkins gave the money they'd earned to stranded Americans so they could purchase tickets back home on the same ship carrying the band. Once the ship reached the safety of American waters, the now familiar call rang out, "Hey Charleston! Give us some rag!" An engaging, informative picture book narrative is followed by an author's note and selected bibliography. (Ages 7-10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2014

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