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In 1933, John Lomax and his young son Alan traveled by car to a number of prisons scattered throughout Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. In the nation's most restricted spaces, they recorded African-American convicts, who Lomax thought would be some of the last singers of traditional folk material due to the isolation of the institutions that held them. As a result of this fieldwork, we now have access to a multitude of powerful songs, both well and little known, which provide some understanding of this folk group during the era of Jim Crow in America's South.
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