Michael L. Jones is an award-winning freelance journalist. His most recent book, Louisville Jug Music: From Earl McDonald to the National Jubilee, received the 2015 Samuel Thomas Book Award for best local history from the Louisville Historical League. He is also a member of the Order of Kentucky Colonels.
In 1892, Mildred wrote an article titled “Negro Music” for Music, a Chicago journal. She used the pseudonym Johann Tonsor because she was worried that her ideas wouldn’t be taken seriously if readers knew she was a woman. Two decades before the appearance of jazz, she claimed that the African-American sound would be the basis of American music in the next century. Mildred, who died in 1916, had no idea that one of her own African-American-influenced tunes would become an enduring part of popular culture.