Dizzy's 

World Tour

You are a famous jazz musician. The government is paying you to travel around the world and play concerts to help improve America's image. 

You have mixed feelings about this because Black people are still victimized by Jim Crow Laws, segregation, and violence.

After a concert in Egypt, a reporter asks for your opinion about race relations in America. What will you say?

Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University

After the dilemma:

What really happened

    Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993) was a famous trumpeter and bandleader. He released many albums and performed  alongside the biggest names in jazz. In the 1940s, he developed a new style of jazz music called "bebop." 

     In 1956, Rep. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. organized the "jazz ambassadors" project, which sent a supergroup of Black and White musicians around the world to improve America's image. There is no evidence that Dizzy was actually asked about segregation while visiting Egypt.

 

     However, there is a video recording of another jazz superstar, Louis Armstrong, saying that he would tell the truth about segregation if asked by a reporter. In 2018, PBS released a full-length documentary about the jazz ambassadors.

Sources

https://www.biography.com/musician/dizzy-gillespie

https://time.com/5056351/cold-war-jazz-ambassadors/

Keywords

Jazz, Jim Crow, Civil Rights, Diplomacy, Cold War

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© 2019 Chris Seeger