Anyone with even the most casual interest in the impact jazz has had on society at-large should seek out the comprehensive essay that Nat Hentoff published on the Thursday, January 15 edition of The Wall Street Journal. It is a must-read.
His piece, How Jazz Helped Hasten the Civil-Rights Movement, traces the very strong role that the music and its makers played, as early as the 1920s and through the 1960s, in eroding the segregation that was so prevalent. Even in Boston, where there was no law against racial intermingling, "it was frowned upon in official circles,"in the early 1940s, Hentoff recalls, except for the city's Savoy Cafe.
That's just one of many reminders of another place and time that Hentoff recalls in this piece, which blends the two subject matters about which he is so passionate - jazz and civil liberties as they were intertwined in the battle agaainst Jim Crow.
In its own vivid way, it is a celebration of the milestone that the United States will pass on January 20 when Barack Obama takes the Oath of Office as the nation's new President.