When Boogie Woogie came back to Marshall

Entertainment – February 14, 2022

from  Marshall News Messenger

When Boogie Woogie came back to Marshall


Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a multi-part series on the history of Marshall’s musical history, and the Black residents who created the legacy of music we know today.

Marshall’s musical legacy as the birthplace of boogie woogie is a legacy that goes back to the 1800’s, but for a lot of local residents it was an unknown legacy until just a decade ago.

It was January 2010 when Dr. John Tennison first came to Marshall, bringing with him his gathered knowledge of the history of boogie woogie and East Texas that would change the way residents thought about their small town.

Tennison said that he grew up in Texarkana and heard the sounds of boogie woogie for the first time around first grade, becoming captivated with the sound ever since.

“I was always interested in the music and the sounds of Boogie Woogie, but my interest in the history of it was really reinvigorated when I was in medical school,” Tennison said.

Through around 33 years of researching the subject on and off, Tennison said that he was able to determine that Marshall was the closest municipality to what could be best determined as the originating location for the musical sound we know now as boogie woogie.

“Really by birthplace we mean the closest city or municipality at the time to the area that historians have determined that particular sound originated from,” Tennison said, “Many other cities have similar history, like New Orleans which is the birthplace of jazz.”

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