Moments in History: St. Clair Cobb

Robert Booker: Cobb shared passion for music with generations

April 10, 2012

The Rev. Eugene Thomas, a 1954 graduate of Austin High School, recently published his new book, “Swing and Swab with St. Clair Cobb.”

It is the story of the Austin High bandmaster who taught black youngsters of Knoxville to play band instruments between 1923 and 1974. He also taught band at Knoxville Colored High School, Knoxville College, Beardsley Junior High and Maynard and Sam E. Hill Elementary schools….

It is uncertain where St. Clair Cobb attended grade school, but records show that he graduated from the high school department at Swift Memorial College in Rogersville in 1914. He later attended what is now Tennessee State University in Nashville before entering the Army on April 29, 1918, at the age of 22. He spent eight months in France and was promoted to corporal.

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