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JAZZ AND RACE
In Hollywood, California, a motion picture company substituted two white musicians for the two Negroes in Charlie Bamet's band during the filming of a picture. The Negroes played for the soundtrack but did not appear in the visual portion of the movie.
In Gadsden, Alabama, the musicians* union refused to let three white members of Fletcher Henderson's orchestra play an engagement unless they blackened their faces with burnt cork. They complied with the union and played in blackface.
In Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, a white mob stormed a motion picture theater and halted the showing of an all-Negro film, Cabin in the Sky, featuring Duke Ellington and Lena Home.
In Boonville, Missouri, Hazel Scott, the singer-pianist, wife of a Congressman, was told in a local restaurant that she would have to eat in the kitchen and was made to stand at the counter to wait for sandwiches to take out.
In New York City, a white taxi driver refused to take a Negro musician to Harlem. The musician asked to be driven to the nearest police station, where he complained to the officers on duty. He was arrested and beaten in his cell.
These incidents took place in America during the 1940s and *50s. Apparently unrelated to each other and seemingly having no direct bearing on musical history, they form a jagged mirror of the ugly, menacing atmosphere in which much of jazz saw its cultural birth. No study of jazz can be complete without a consideration of the socio-racial factors that determined the associations and the frustrations of the men who created it,