Songs of Sam Lucas by Sandra Jean Graham is an open-access resource that streams recordings of 12 songs attributed to Lucas (ca. 1840–1916), one of the most celebrated entertainers of his generation, supplemented by a background essay, extensive liner notes, and illustrations.
Lucas created a significant body of black popular song that serves as an important window into the post-Civil War era. His songs illustrate a range of strategies: conformity to minstrel stereotypes, an attempt to recuperate the dignity of black traditional song, and ultimately liberation from minstrelsy through the adoption of white popular song style.
Recordings of Lucas’s songs are extremely rare; this site gives the public a chance to become acquainted with the music of this performer whose career spanned minstrelsy, variety, vaudeville, theater, and silent film.
Above, a newspaper photograph of Lucas from 1911; the full article is here.