Dean Dixon

Negro at Home, Maestro Abroad (African American Cultural Theory and Heritage)

Non-Fiction - Biography
206 Pages
Reviewed on 10/08/2015
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Roy T. James for Readers' Favorite

Dean Dixon: Negro at Home, Maestro Abroad by Rufus Jones Jr. is the biography of the first Black American to lead the New York Philharmonic and NBC Symphony orchestras in 1941. Rufus begins by tracing the family of Henry Charles Dixon from the closing years of the nineteenth century to the birth of Dean Rolston Dixon in 1915. He goes on to give us a peep into Dixon's childhood. Dixon's growing stature and the admiration and help from influential people like Ms Roosevelt, which enabled him to perform at many prestigious venues not normally open to black conductors, are described poignantly. He and a pianist, Vivian, fall in love and get married, and her being white adds to interesting consequences too. They make successful visits across Europe, but later they divorce, he developing a friendship with a playwright to eventually settle down in Sweden. This, their separation, another marriage, and more visits are all entwined in the busy schedule Dixon kept throughout his life.

Dean Dixon: Negro at Home, Maestro Abroad by Rufus Jones Jr. is the story of an inspiring life. The author has shown a great degree of balance in covering the childhood, formative years, and the eventful career of a world famous American, more or less equitably. The sense of justice is visible even when the discussion is about the racial injustice the maestro did suffer, or the love and affection he received from all races. One observation though, the important events in the career and personal life of Dean Dixon are adequately covered except for the failures of his marital life. Both the divorces hit me without warning.