restricted access Toni Morrison and "Sis Joe": The Musical Heritage of Paul D

One way that Toni Morrison confronts slavery in Beloved is by drawing on music that has recorded an experience ignored in written history. The railroad holler "Sis Joe," whose lyrics are sung by Paul D, offers insight into her revisionary project. Originally performed by African-American song leader Henry Truvillion and immortalized in a ballet by Aaron Copland, "Sis Joe" provides Morrison with the opportunity to recover the black contribution to U.S. culture and history, and to illustrate the interdependence between blackness and whiteness in American identity.