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DRAFT

Diversity and Race Assignment: How Jazz Musicians were affected by Diversity and Race Issues in American Society in the 20th Century.

Choose one of the following jazz artists/groups from the list below to research the way(s) in which race and/or diversity played a role in their interactions with American society in the earlier part of the 20th century (1900’s -1960’s.) This could include employment issues – performance opportunities, equal treatment, touring issues – hotels, travel options, etc.), criminal justice issues (cabaret cards, arrests, drug use-targeting of musicians and neighborhoods, etc.) and other societal issues of the day. Learn how they responded (or were forced to respond) to these issues and how they involved themselves in issues of civil rights and race and diversity discrimination. Discuss how they used their music or status in the entertainment industry to address these issues. 

List of Jazz Artists/Groups who were affected by issues of Diversity and/or Race and some of the issues they dealt with. The list of issues are JUST suggestions of a place to start your research, you need find much more material on the artist you choose.

Louis Armstrong– early 20th century stardom for a Black musician

Fletcher Henderson – Black swing bands vs. White Swing Bands – opportunities, acceptance, Black composers/arrangers and White Swing Bands

Benny Goodman– segregation, Black and White musicians playing together

Billie Holiday – female jazz performer, “Strange Fruit”, cabaret card, drug issues

John Coltrane – “Alabama”, how he used his music to comment on Society

Cannonball and Nat Adderley Sextet –raised awareness through their music – “Work Song”, and other songs which were inspired by African American history and traditions. Active in Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s

Nina Simone – singer/pianist who raised awareness and challenged American (World) societal norms with her songs, which often were about civil rights issues. She was an influence on many Americans, not just musicians and others in the entertainment field. 

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