Projects

The Vanishing of Harry Pace

It was Motown before Motown, FUBU before FUBU: Black Swan Records. The label founded 100 years ago by Harry Pace. Pace launched the career of Ethel Waters, inadvertently invented the term rock n roll, played an important role in W.C. Handy becoming "Father of the Blues," inspired Ebony and Jet magazines, and helped desegregate the South Side of Chicago in an epic Supreme Court battle. Then, he disappeared.  The Vanishing of Harry Pace is a series about the phenomenal but forgotten man who changed America. It's a story about betrayal, family, hidden identities, and a time like no other.

From the team who brought you Dolly Parton’s America, Jad Abumrad and Shima Oliaee, this series was produced in collaboration with author Kiese Laymon, scholar Imani Perry, writer Cord Jefferson, and WQXR’s Terrance McKnight. Jami Floyd is our consulting producer; our fact checker is Natalie Meade. Based on the book Black Swan Blues: the Hard Rise and Brutal Fall of America’s First Black Owned Record Label by Paul Slade.

  • The Vanishing of Harry Pace: Episode 6

    Jul 9, 2021
    Lift Every Voice. Black Swan Records was first to record the anthem Lift Every Voice and Sing. From a family Thanksgiving, we portal through to the song's past, present and future.
  • The Vanishing of Harry Pace: Episode 5

    Jul 2, 2021
    Roland Hayes and the Lost Generation. This is the extraordinary story of the life of Roland Hayes, another great (and largely forgotten) creator of new cosmologies.
  • The Vanishing of Harry Pace: Episode 3

    Jun 26, 2021
    Black No More, White No More. We follow Harry's grandkids and great grandkids as they grapple with his legacy in their own lives. 
  • The Vanishing of Harry Pace: Episode 2

    Jun 19, 2021
    Dreams Deferred. We follow Harry’s Supreme Court battle to desegregate the South Side of Chicago, and then a mysterious decision which forces him into seclusion.
  • The Vanishing of Harry Pace: Episode 1

    Jun 18, 2021
    The Rise and Fall of Black Swan. It was Motown before Motown, FUBU before FUBU: Black Swan Records, the record company founded by Harry Pace.
  • The Vanishing of Harry Pace Trailer

    Jun 10, 2021
    The Vanishing of Harry Pace reveals an untold story about identity, crossed color lines, and the phenomenal but forgotten man who revolutionized American pop music, and then disappeared.