Lift Every Voice and Swing


Vaughn A. Booker, Jr., Ph.D. showcases the religious lives of jazz greats such as Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Mary Lou Williams, from his book, Lift Every Voice and Swing: Black Musicians and Religious Culture in the Jazz Century (NYU Press, 2020). Exploring the musicians’ expressions of faith, Dr. Booker shows how these jazz professionals enacted religious beliefs and practices that echoed, contested with, and diverged from the predominant African American religious culture of their time, allowing them to hold unconventional positions of religious authority.


Vaughn A. Booker is a historian of religion whose scholarship focuses on twentieth-century African American religions. In American religious history and African American studies, his teaching and research include studies of religion and gender, leadership, conversion, popular music, humor, "race histories," memoir, visual/material culture, metaphysics/spirituality, memorialization/mourning, activism, and internationalism. His first book project, Lift Every Voice and Swing (NYU Press, 2020), won the 2022 Gustave O. Arlt Award in the Humanities from the Council of Graduate Schools. He was awarded a Distinguished Junior External Faculty Fellowship with the Stanford University Humanities Center for the 2022-2023 academic year, and in 2021, he was also awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship.

Event Details


Friday, February 17, 2023 5:00pm


New Hampshire Humanities
Concord NH 03301

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New Hampshire Humanities

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New Hampshire Humanities,