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