Bruce Jackson is a professor of culture at U. Buffalo. As a doctoral student, I became familiar with his work as a prison folklore anthropologist. Jackson not only perfected a sampling technique called "snowball sampling" (where one respondent provides you access to the next), he was (and is) one of the great chroniclers of what he calls "convict work songs" which, he notes, "seemed to me to be part of an unbroken musical tradition going back to West Africa." Ironically, I just discovered yesterday (on the day of Pete's death) that it was Pete Seeger who encouraged Jackson to record the work songs and even funded a film Jackson made about them. Here's a link to a recording:
Together, they conspired to preserve a uniquely situated American text--with deep roots to West Africa, slavery, resistance and identity. A tapestry of the finest cloth. Thank you Bruce. Rest in Peace, Pete!