We all know Elvis, The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles –but what if I told you a black woman walked so they could run?

Her name was Sister Rosetta Tharpe, an African American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Her career spanned from 1919–1973, 20 years before Elvis Presley’s reign (1942–1977) and The Rolling Stones (1962).

Why is it that these prominent male staples are known for their contribution to rock music, yet their style is rooted in cultural appropriation? Cultural appropriation is the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc., …

TeAnna Atkins

African American Historian and Genealogist | Folklorist | Educator

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