Jan 15, 2009, 08:26AM

Jazz and the Civil Rights Movememnt

Nat Hentoff was recently laid off from his 50-plus year gig at The Village Voice, but that doesn't mean he's not writing. No, the man still has the chops to floor you.

From the man himself:

As this music reached deeply into more white Americans, their sensitivity to segregation, affecting not only jazz musicians, increased. A dramatic illustration is the story told by Charles Black, a valuable member of Thurgood Marshall's team of lawyers during the long journey to Brown v. Board of Education. In 1931, growing up white in racist Austin, Texas, Black at age 16 heard Louis Armstrong in a hotel there. "He was the first genius I had ever seen," Black wrote long after in the Yale Law Journal. "It is impossible," he added, "to overstate the significance of a sixteen-year-old southern boy's seeing genius, for the first time, in a black. We literally never saw a black then in any but a servant's capacity. It was just then that I started toward the Brown case where I belonged."


Register or Login to leave a comment