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JK

Jeff Kollath

Jeff Kollath is the Curator of History at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison, Wisconsin. He earned his MA in Public History from Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI), and has written and researched extensively on the history of soul and funk music in Indianapolis during the Civil Rights Era.

 

Abstract:

"Working the Line, Working the Crowd: The Soul of Indianapolis Music and Labor"

A Northern city with a well-established and proud black community, Indianapolis was at one time known as much for its music as auto racing, high school basketball, and UNIGOV. During the 1960s and 70s, the core of the Indianapolis music scene was made up of the black working class who also punched a clock for 40 hours a week as a line worker at Ford or as a union bricklayer. Jobs were plentiful, they paid well, and provided the black community with a strong civic base. These workers not only bought the drinks and filled the dance floors on Saturday nights, but they also wrote, recorded, and performed the music as well. Soul music in Indianapolis was truly for and by the people in the black community, reflecting their cultural and political values, and serving as a window into a poignant time in the city’s history.