In 1998, the City of New Orleans proclaimed October 28th as Harold Battiste Day in honor of New Orleans composer, musician, educator, and record producer Harold R. Battiste Jr. This recognition is one of many that Mr. Battiste has received throughout his lifetime, and his many honors and accomplishments are well documented in the Harold R. Battiste Papers currently being processed at the Amistad Research Center.
Mr. Battiste’s papers chronicle his career as a musical performer, professor of Jazz Studies at the University of New Orleans, and the founder of All For One (AFO) Records, the first African American musician-owned record label. The collection includes correspondence, family records, photographs, news clippings, business records, and audio recordings. It is especially rich in musical scores composed and arranged by Mr. Battiste and others associated with AFO Records and New Orleans jazz dating from the 1960s onward.
The Battiste papers have been of interest to researchers for a number of years and provided key information for publication of his recent memoir, Unfinished Blues: Memories of a New Orleans Music Man. However, final processing and arrangement of the papers will provide global access with an extensive finding aid posted in Amistad’s online database. The Center will mount an exhibition in honor of Mr. Battiste in early 2011. Stay tuned for more information in the near future.
Posted by Christopher Harter
(Image provided courtesy of Amistad Research Center. May not be reproduced without permission.)