Jelly Roll Morton, Inventor Of Jazz, Online Book by Alan Lomax

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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The Boys in the Bands
their entertainments; they just wouldn't affiliate with dark people. Wouldn't intermarry. They were actually more preju­diced than many white people back in that time."
"Maybe you don't believe that/7 said Johnny sincerely, "But it's true. There were mixed neighborhoods of colored and white where we all got along just like one race of people. The white lady and her husband next door used to set on the steps of our house and talk to my mother and stepfather. I even had a cousin married to a white woman and had two children by her. It wasn't until 1902 they began that segregation outfit; then it got so bad around here it made a fellow want to go North if he had the chance."
Jelly Roll had preferred to remember New Orleans in the days before "they began that segregation outfit," yet he had left town earlier and younger than almost any of the other jazzmen. Never once did he mention this problem, nor did he once refer to his Negro status. His attitude made it impossible to ask him the question that Johnny St. Cyr answered readily.
"What about segregation in the Tenderloin District?" 1 asked. "Was there a Negro section?*'
'There was. Uh-huh."
"Was it pretty strictly enforced?"
"Yes it was."
"A colored man couldn't go to the white houses?"
"No. That's right. It was only forced on one way, though. White man could go to Negro houses."
"That's the bad part about the South! Should be, if going to be segregation, be complete segregation."
"Tell me, did any colored man you ever know of ever go to these highclass houses?"
'Well, not that I know of—none ever frequented those high-class houses ."
"But that was a privilege some of the musicians had?"
'Well, yeah; the musicians had more of an opportunity than anyone else, that is, in the colored race, to go to these houses.