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Baile McKnight interview, 2018-05-17

Identifier: dcpl_dcohc010

Scope and Contents

In this interview Baile McKnight reflects on his life and the important role that African drumming has plaid in it. He talks about how having close connections to family in North Carolina, while growing up in Washington, D.C., and made Baile aware of cultural differences. Travel and the importance of culture plays a major role in his narrative. Another major point of emphasis is his visit to Africa. He feels that his visits to Nigeria played a major role in helping him to understand African drumming. The history of slavery and the slave trade is another important contributing factor to the cultures of dance and drumming that he believes is important for people to be aware of. McKnight speaks about changes to Washington, D.C. including his observations about displacement in the city. Training and mastery are key elements for drummers that he speaks about. He feels that artists free people’s minds and helps to heal their trauma.


  • Creation: 2018-05-17


Biographical / Historical

Baile McKnight is a drummer who drums in African traditions. He has been active in African dance and drumming circles in Washington, D.C., and beyond, for over five decades. He grew-up in Washington, D.C., often traveling to spend time with family in North Carolina.


From the Collection: 1.13 Terabytes

Language of Materials


Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001