Jelly Roll Morton, Inventor Of Jazz, Online Book by Alan Lomax

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
Now listen to the story of the man who was maybe even more dangerous than Aaron. This was a seemingly harmless little fellow, but he tore up the entire city of New Orleans for a week.
Robert Charles sold newspapers on the corner of Dryad and Melpomene, back there around 1900. He never made any noise bigger than "Get your Picayune, Get your paypire!" until the day he had an argument with his wife and she called the police. According to authentic information that I gathered, Robert Charles was arrested and the policeman wouldn't let him go back after his hat. He was a very orderly seeming guy, but this arose him to fury. He broke away, taken a Winchester rifle, killed the policeman and from that the riot started, in which all sorts of innocent people were killed.
Seemingly Robert Charles must have been a marksman. It was later learned that he had a couple of barrels of bullets in his house that he had made himself. Well, if you shoot one officer like Robert Charles had, it's no more than right that another one should take his place, but the way that newsboy was killing them off it looked like the department might run out of officers. Every time he raised his rifle and got a police­man in the sights, there'd be another one dead. It was never learned how many police were killed. Some said thirty-two. Some said eighteen. And they also told how a policeman was killed who was gazing at the last rites of a brother officer. Robert Charles shot him right between the eyes and didn't harm the priest.
The first day after the killing, which I believe was on a Sunday, the newspapers were full of it. Then the riot broke out. Men were beat up on streetcars—both white and colored. Any place a white man seen a colored man or a colored man seen a white man there was a fight. The streetcars had to stop. Transportation absolutely quit. Finally, B. A. Baldwin, con­sidered one of the biggest ammunition dealers in the world, issued a statement that if they didn't quit killing the colored people, he would arm them all to fight back for their own