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Cant Remember All Those Towns
daybreak that morning they tapped on my window, gave me my cut of the money and caught the first boat down the river.
Myself, I was glad to get out of Memphis with the Number One company on the Benbow circuit a few days later. The band consisted of a drummer and of me on piano. Buster Porter, was the main comedian, until he was later replaced by String-beans and Sweetie May; Edna Benbow sang the blues; Will Benbow was the straight man and manager. The show was a hit and we toured for two years, although I quit from time to time because I could make more money catching suckers at the pool table. There are two incidents of this tour I want to tell you about, the type of thing that unfortunately does happen in the South. I was an actual witness.
When we came to Greenwood, nobody was on the streets* They told me some white fellow had wanted to horsewhip a colored boy, so the colored fellow wouldn't stand for this and shot the man. Then they lynched the colored boy. Just like that. I heard all about the thing, which had happened fust before we came to town. The colored in Greenwood didn t seem very scared. They thought it was an even break. The colored boy had killed a white boy and then they killed the colored boy.
Later on in Biloxi I came in view of another lynchfng. This fellow, Henry Lyder, was lynched for attacking a white girl Now you know yourself that a lot of these rapes is lies. But plenty of them is truth. In this case the people I talked to in Biloxi felt it was the facts. It seems that most of the people of Biloxi, white and black, were satisfied; they seemed to think Lyder had really attacked the girl.
Will Benbow's show played Louisville, Winston Salem, Bich-mond, Chicago, Washington, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Kansas City, St. Louis—I cant remember all those towns.* Finally, in
* By this time Jelly Roll's story began to move so fast that we gave up trying for exact chronology. That he really covered ground the old master of Harlem piano, James P. Johnson, testifies . . .
"First time I saw Jelly was in 1911. He came through New York playing that Jelly Roll Blues of Ms. He was, well, he was what you might call pimping