Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Remembering Phyl Garland

I didn't know that Phyl Garland, who wrote The Sound of Soul: The Story of Black Music (1969), died, back in 2006. I didn't know too much about her, but have always appreciated the research she did on women in soul and thought she was an interesting writer.

In 1981, Phyllis Garland became the first African American and first woman to earn tenure at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

She loved jazz, ballet and soul music and believed deeply in the power of the arts. She taught her students to cover them as thoroughly as they would city hall.

Ms. Garland, a native of McKeesport, died Wednesday of complications of cancer at Calvary Hospice in Brooklyn. She was 71

In addition to teaching journalism, she was the editor of EBONY (The New York Times says Essence Magazine but I think they got it wrong) for several years, had an extensive music collection and sang at her own retirement party with an all-girl band backing her up.

The Sound of Soul is one of the only full length books about popular music (that I know of, there may be more) from this time period written by a woman. It's not that hard to find if you look in used bookstores. Nice cover too. I couldn't find a picture of it online.

1 comment:

Portia Wadley said...

Thanks for this site. I was reading "Gemini" by Nikki Giovanni,(Published by Penguin Book 1976) and she wrote a chapter titled: The Sound of Soul, by Phyll Garland: A book Review with a Poetic Insert. I didn't know anything about Garland and that's how I found this site. Giovanni brings out a lot of interesting, and contrasting, points about Garland's book. Again, thanks for the information you provided on the site. [You can reach me on facebook]