Mo’ Curious: Bean’s Origins

During a career that lasted over five decades, tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins travelled the world. Born in St. Joseph, Missouri in 1904, the talented young man attended music school in Kansas. He left Missouri for good in 1921 to seek his fortune and fame.

Coleman Hawkins

Bean, as he was nicknamed, lived much of his adult life in Europe and New York. He died in New York in 1969.

This episode of Mo’ Curious explains the St. Joseph of Hawkins’ youth. Drawing on the oral histories of a community leader, an activist and a pair of scholars, this episode explores how racism locally and opportunity elsewhere led Hawkins away from his native Missouri.

Mo’ Curious is an occasional podcast about the history of our 24th state. Thanks for listening. Be sure to tell your friends and your grandma about Mo’ Curious. (They may even think you are cool for knowing about this here Missouri history podcast.)

Photo credits: / UMKC Dave E. Dexter Jr. Collection

Field Notes

Field Notes: ‘The Concept of One God Enthralled Me.’

Growing up in St. Joseph, Ramadhan Washington spent a lot of time at a local Church of God In Christ. Incarcerated as a young man in the Buchanan County, Missouri jail, he met fellow prisoners imported from Kansas City who were practicing Muslims. Over fifty years after his conversion to Islam, Washington is an elder of the Islamic Center of St. Joseph. On a recent balmy summer afternoon, Washington detailed his conversion from the front porch steps of the home he shares with his wife.