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The fact that “Freight Train,” Elizabeth Cotten’s humble and beautiful classic song, was almost never recorded is a sad reminder that for too long black folk music was largely ignored by the American recording industry. That is, until white musicians started playing it, and making mainstream hits based on its sound. Though under-appreciated in her day, the self-taught Cotten has now taken her place among great American folk artists.

Elizabeth Cotten, Freight Train, Grammy, African American Singer, African American Entertainer, African American History, Black History, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN


The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. (Website).

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