William Christopher Handy and William Grant Still were both great Black composers that were subjected to a time in which their racial identity had both positive and negative effects on their music. Positively, their music was able to reach other African Americans which created a unity and appreciation for simply being themselves. They brought pride to who they were, their background from out of which they came, and managed to give them hope for the future. In a way they both helped pave the road for future generations by giving people their souls back. This is where the negative aspects come in, although these men were both great at what they did, composing (Black) music, they were still Black. They were still present in an oppressive point of our history, and it is sad to say, but it was a very real part of their lives.
Even when traveling, they were not as it today with reservations and everything laid out in advance for celebrities and the like, Grant and Handy lived day by day, and although they did get paid most of the time, matters such as food and housing (which are very vital to human beings), were not exactly prominent in some of the smaller communities they performed at.
Both men traveled together for a time, and it was Handy that subjected Grant to certain styles of music. Grant's mother was against the idea of him making his life music , so it wasn't until he hooked up with Handy that he was finally introduced to the world of the blues. Both men believed strongly on the power and representative qualities that their music portrayed of their race, and that their music stood for something other that income.
Some differences are certain between the two men though ,