The New York elementary school that banned the teaching of the Jingle Bells back in December last year didn’t back down. The management of the institution decided to banish one of the most popular Christmas songs in the world after reading a study that said the song was first performed with a black-masked face in a traveling theater in 1857. The case was also picked up by conservative American media, and the school came to the forefront of the attacks before Principal Kevin McGowan spoke out in an open letter. He claims
it is not a liberal amok run or the latest example of a culture of abolition, their opinion is not political in nature.
In their own defense, he added that they were not banned from singing the song at all, but the historical background of the curriculum does matter to them.
Nor was the leadership of the institution convinced by the fact that even Kyna Hamill, who wrapped up the story of the origins of Jingle Bells, was shocked to hear the conclusions drawn from her study. He hurried to point out that he didn’t even think of suggesting not to sing the song – on the contrary. By the way, his research reveals that Jingle Bells was not originally intended as a Christmas song, its title was different, and only in the 19th century. at the end of the twentieth century. It became a popular holiday hit at the beginning of the 19th century. His author, James Pierpont, also drew inspiration from other songs in his lyrics and melody, but it was just one of many livelihood pieces. The Boston Traveling Theater, which first performed the song in September 1857, also performed other compositions. During this period, color performances were common in the United States, in which whites with black-masked faces — known in English as blackface — were mocked by those with colored skin.
The study also reveals that James Pierpont was a rather boriss figure, always struggling with scarcity of money, and quarreling with his own family.
So much so that he fought on the side of the South of the Slavery Party in the Civil War, while his father strengthened the North.
In any case, the origins of Jingle Bells didn’t bother artists like the three tenors, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, and the imposing roster could go on for a long time.
Cover image: New York street view at Christmas. (Photo: TAYFUN COSKUN)
Source: Magyar Nemzet by magyarnemzet.hu.
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