Panel 2: From Mississippi to Chicago

Described under the heading Accessible Text
Exhibit Panel 2


Audio Clips for Panel 2

1. Milt Hinton discussing his neighborhood in Chicago in the 1920s:


2. Milt Hinton discussing switching to double bass and getting his first professional music gigs:


3. Selection from “Squeeze Me” from Tiny Parham and His Musicians: volume three (1926-1930), recorded November 4, 1930, Swaggie Records 833 (featuring Milt Hinton on Sousaphone)


«  Previous   |   Next  »

Accessible Text

Following is the complete text of the Panel 2 image.

From Mississippi to Chicago

Milt Hinton was born into extreme poverty in Vicksburg, Mississippi. His father abandoned the family when Milt was an infant, leaving his mother, whom Milt called “Titter,” to provide for her only son. Racism was a part of everyday life, and Milt once described his horrific encounter with a crowd lynching an African American man as “one of the clearest memories of my childhood.”

His family moved to Chicago in 1919 where they experienced new economic and musical opportunities. As Milt recalled, “That’s when I realized that being black didn’t always mean you had to be poor.”

Musically, the hot jazz of King Oliver and Louis Armstrong was taking the city by storm. Titter gave Milt his first instrument—a violin—for his 13th birthday, and soon he joined the high school orchestra. Later he took up Sousaphone and tuba to march in the city brass band.

By the early 1930s Milt shifted to double bass, and he never looked back, gaining his first taste of fame in bands led by pianist Tiny Parham and violinist Eddie South

Milt, 1913

Milt with Titter, ca. 1911

Milt, 1922

Milt, ca. 1928

Upper banner from left to right:
Milt (on right) with friend, 1923; Milt, 1926; Wendell Phillips High School Orchestra (Milt, front row, sixth from left), 1929; James Johnson (Milt’s violin teacher in Chicago), 1925

Lower banner from left to right:
Wendell Phillips High School ROTC Band (Milt, back row, far left), 1929; letter from Eddie South to Milt, November 24, 1933; Eddie South publicity photograph (Milt on bass), ca. 1933