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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

HOW JAZZ BROKE THE KKK AND HELPED PAVE THE WAY FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

Feeling Quasi-Rebloggy 
In the 1920s,[]the evolution of jazz music and culture into a societal revolution elevated aspects of African American popular culture. For the first time in the U.S. History the culture of a minority became the desire of the majority.

Black Jazz musicians started getting PAID. 

Jazz in New Orleans elevated the status of African Americans there. Not surprisingly, there was a very serious white reaction to these black successes.



Image Jazz Music by chriskronen on DeviantArt


The member rolls of formal White Supremacy Groups were already at record highs in the 1920s. The KKK, for example, was 4 million members strong all by itself and there were plenty of other white citizens groups as well. In 1919, white supremacists even managed to gain control of New Orleans, Louisiana (the birth place of jazz).

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For many years, Creoles had held positions of power and respect in the city. And Jazz put money in the pockets of all sorts of black people.  But soon a series of new laws made New Orleans a very difficult place for any man or women with African blood to [continue to] prosper.Some African Americans fled North.  However, others who enjoyed elevated status due to the income generated by African American Jazz, were able to stay and protest the unjust treatment they were receiving from racist whites due to color of their skin
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Enraged by black demands for fair wages and the popularity of African American Jazz music with white youths, the Klan decided to go on a nationwide campaign to "Americanize Americans."


Some white musicians began to deny that jazz was African American by origin, instead choosing to label the Original Dixieland Jazz Band as the genesis of jazz music...

But white youths preferred African American Jazz over the Dixieland music now being called "jazz" too.

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While trying to destroy true Jazz culture, the KKK (feeling themselves?) also decided to go on nationwide tirades about the evils of Catholicism and other aspects of popular culture managing to alienate a large percentage of people that may have shared their views of white supremacy.


By expanding the scope of their "vision," the Klan planted the seeds of its eventual disintegration.As a result the Klan lost membership remained relatively dormant until the controversy of equal rights reached its zenith in the 1960s.


http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/tbacig/studproj/is3099/jazzcult/20sjazz/race.html


In other words, Jazz helped pave the way for the Civil Rights Movement by reducing formal white supremacy groups numbers before the civil rights battle surged forth again.

The Klan was weak and had to organize when 1950s "mass protests"  began adding people power to NAACP legislative victories within the Supreme Court. Changing the laws on paper only began to have meaning when ordinary black people demanded  --in huge numbers in full sight of these new things called "television" cameras, broadcasting world wide-- that white people stop ignoring the new laws, doing and hating as they pleased. 


As horrific as the civil rights battle was against racist whites was in the 1950s and 60s, imagine what the battle could have been for Thurgood Marshall, Pauli Murray, Jo Ann Robinson, Ella Baker, Martin Luther King, and Malcom X. They would have had with a highly organized, high intact membership of white racists that remained popular, millions of members strong for close to 100 years before the modern civil rights movement really began ramp up again INSTEAD OF dealing "only" having to deal with groups like the KKK that had to regroup in response to the Civil Rights progresses that had already passed them by, leaving them eating dust.
Yes, the KKK hit it's zenith in the 1960s. But black and brown people had won some very public victories by the time they reached white supremacy groups got their highest membership numbers. By the time the KKK hit their full strength, black people were already a solid wall.


4 little girls lost to 16th Street Church Bombing



Yes, we lost Martin, Medgar, Denise, Cynthia, Addie Mae, and Carol a whole host of others before the Black Power Movement would have us surging forward again. But we might have lost Jo Ann Robinson and Rosa Parks before they had a chance to start the Montgomery Bus Boycott. We might have lost Thurgood Marshall before he got to be a supreme court justice. Without Thurgood Marshall, we might not to have gotten to have a first black president yet.  Who knows how many times Marshall voted on key legislation that edged us all forward, just the tiniest bit, that we didn't even notice-- leaving just enough behind him to give Barack Obama a little more traction than he would have had.
I don't think the KKK throwing itself against Jazz and breaking is nothing. I really don't. The KKK had to have been one of the most prominent white supremacy groups. When the KKK went down in 1920s, it probably took the general popularity of overt white supremacy groups down with it.

That's all it probably was too. Jazz disrupted the type of white supremacy that was popular at the time. Jazz made it lay low for a bit, maybe?  Maybe Jazz loosened white racists' ties to one another for just long enough.