Frances Geneva Handy Southall (December 5, 1925 – January 2, 2004) was an American musicologist, pianist, and college professor.

Geneva Handy Southall
An older African-American woman with short grey hair, wearing glasses
Dr. Geneva Handy Southall, from a 1994 newspaper
Frances Geneva Handy

December 5, 1925
New Orleans, Louisiana, US
DiedJanuary 2, 2004
Iowa City, Iowa, US
EducationDillard University (B.A.), Chicago Conservatory of Music (M.F.A.), University of Iowa (Ph.D.)
Occupation(s)Musicologist, pianist, college professor
ChildrenTisch Jones
RelativesD. Antoinette Handy (sister)
Patrice E. Jones (granddaughter)

Early life and education edit

Frances Geneva Handy was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the daughter of Rev. William Talbot Handy and Dorothy Pauline Pleasant Handy. Her father was a Methodist minister and a trained singer, and her mother was a music teacher.[1] She was the great-great granddaughter of Mississippi Supreme Court justice Ephraim G. Peyton and of Mississippi state legislator Emanuel Handy.[2] She graduated from Dillard University, majoring in music, in 1945, and was active in Delta Sigma Theta. In 1954, she began a master's program at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. In 1966, she became the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in piano performance, at the University of Iowa.[3] Her dissertation was about composer John Field's piano concertos.[4]

Her sister D. Antoinette Handy (1930–2002) was also a musician and music scholar.[5][6]

Career edit

After college, Handy taught briefly at the Gray Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles. While she was in graduate school, she taught at Paul Quinn College in Waco, Texas, Knoxville College in Tennessee, and South Carolina State College. She joined the faculty of Grambling College in 1966, and became a professor of music and African-American studies at the University of Minnesota in 1970. She chaired the African-American studies department.[7] She retired from academic work in 1992.[8] In 1995 she gave an oral history interview to the University of Minnesota.[1] Southall's piano students included Ellis Marsalis Jr., whom she taught in New Orleans.[1]

Southall wrote three books about Blind Tom Wiggins,[3] a 19th-century disabled Black pianist:[9] Blind Tom: the Post-Civil War Enslavement of a Black Musical Genius (1979),[10] The Continuing Enslavement of Blind Tom: the Black Pianist-Composer (1983), and Blind Tom, the Black Pianist Composer: Continually Enslaved (1999).[11]

Southall was one of the organizers of the Black Music Educators of the Twin Cities in 1974.[12][13] Her work was recognized with awards from the National Association of Negro Musicians, the NAACP, and Dillard University, among other organizations. The library of the African American and African Studies department at the University of Minnesota is named for Southall.[3] In 1992, Minnesota governor Arne Carlson declared a Geneva Southall Week, in recognition of her lifetime contributions.[14]

Personal life edit

Southall married twice. Her first husband was a World War II veteran, dentist Patrick Omille Rhone. They married in 1946, and had a daughter, Patricia Rhone (later Tisch Jones, a theatre artist and scholar).[15] Patrick Rhone died in 1954. She was briefly married again, to a composer, Mitchell Southall (1922–1989); they divorced. Southall died after a stroke in 2004, in Iowa City, Iowa, aged 78 years.[12] There is a large collection of Southall's papers at Emory University,[3] and smaller collections of her papers in the Iowa Women's Archives,[14] and at Columbus State University.[16]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c Chambers, Clark A. "Interview with Geneva Southall" (June 1, 1995), University of Minnesota Oral History.
  2. ^ "How one Black family got its 40 acres — and turned them into intergenerational success".
  3. ^ a b c d "Geneva H. Southall papers". Emory University Special Collections. 2006-06-23. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  4. ^ Southall, Geneva H. (1994). John Field's Piano Concertos: An Analytical and Historical Study. University Microfilms.
  5. ^ Bustard, Clarke (February 7, 2003). "D. Antoinette Handy". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  6. ^ Handy, D. Antoinette (1995). Black Conductors. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-2930-5.
  7. ^ Southall, Geneva H. (June 1, 1978). "Words of the Week". Jet: 32.
  8. ^ Anthony, Michael (1994-10-06). "A Grand Piano Teacher". Star Tribune. pp. 1E, 2E. Retrieved 2021-02-26 – via
  9. ^ Allen, Jeffrey Renard (Spring 2014). "Reading the Blind and Blacking the Beyond: African American Fiction & Influence-Theory in the Twenty-First Century". Obsidian. 40: 265–273, 279 – via ProQuest.
  10. ^ Southall, Geneva H. (1979). Blind Tom: The Post-Civil War Enslavement of a Black Musical Genius. Challenge Productions.
  11. ^ Southall, Geneva H. (1999). Blind Tom, the Black Pianist-composer (1849-1908): Continually Enslaved. Scarecrow. ISBN 978-0-8108-3594-8.
  12. ^ a b Hahn, Trudi (2004-01-09). "Geneva Southall, dies; Taught Black Music Studies at 'U'". Star Tribune. pp. B6. Retrieved 2021-02-26 – via
  13. ^ Anthony, Michael (1994-10-06). "A Grand Piano Teacher (continued)". Star Tribune. p. 52. Retrieved 2021-02-26 – via
  14. ^ a b "Geneva Southall papers, 1960-2004". UI Collection Guides. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  15. ^ Winston, Connie (February 2004). "Tisch Jones: Mama Inanna Re-Incarnated". Black Masks. 16: 7–8, 15 – via ProQuest.
  16. ^ "Geneva Southall Collection (SMC 66)". Columbus State University Archives. Retrieved 2021-02-26.

External links edit

  • Yolanda Yvette Williams, "The Intellectual Capital of the Black Music Educators of the Twin Cities (1974-1994)" (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Minnesota, 2017).