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‘The Bus’: Haskell Wexler’s ground-breaking documentary of the March on Washington, 1963

This month marks the 50th anniversary of “The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,” when up-to 300,000 people took part in one of America’s largest rallies for human rights, showing their support for President John F. Kennedy’s civil rights legislation.

The event took place on August 28th, 1963, and the participants ended their march in front on the Lincoln Memorial, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech.

Delegations traveled from all over the United States, to show their support. Haskell Wexler, one of cinema’s most important and influential cinematographers (American Graffiti, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest)  traveled with the San Francisco delegation, filming, interviewing, and documenting the political and historical significance of this event.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Malcolm X: Born today in 1925

Born today in 1925, Malcolm X, aka Malcolm Little, and El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. To celebrate his birthday, here is a an excellent and culturally important film, which looks at the great man’s life.

Narrated by James Earl Jones, this 1972 documentary about Malcolm X was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary. It is based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X, written by Alex Haley between 1964 and 1965, as told to him through conversations with Malcolm conducted shortly before his death. Made with the help of Malcolm’s wife Betty Shabazz, this documentary recounts the life and ideas of this controversial leader. In addition to clips of Malcolm X in public interviews and speeches, numerous important civil rights figures are featured, as well as important public officials from the period.


Previously on DM

Malcolm X: Assassinated on this date in 1965

Queer Eye for Revolutionary Style: Get Malcolm X’s hot look


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Baldwin, Brando, Belafonte, Poitier, Mankiewicz and Heston talk Civil Rights, 1963

On August 28 1963, the same day Martin Luther King delivered his landmark “I have a dream” speech, at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, writer James Baldwin, director Joseph Mankiewicz, and actors Harry Belafonte, Marlon Brando, Charlton Heston, and Sidney Poitier, sat down in a CBS studio to discuss Civil Rights in America. It was an historic moment, one that would be difficult to imagine happening today, amongst Hollywood’s glitterai - especially when Mankiewicz let’s the cat out of the bag:

“Freedom, true freedom is not given by governments; it is taken by the people.”


Via Open Culture

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Jazz lives! Thank you, Billy Taylor

Pianist Billy Taylor died yesterday at age 89, leaving a lasting legacy as America’s consummate jazz advocate.

Soon after getting his degree in Music Education, the Washington D.C.-raised Taylor became the house pianist at New York’s legendary Birdland, where he stayed throughout the ‘40s and ‘50s, playing with Bird, Dizzy and Miles and solidifying his role as a fixture and statesman in the city’s jazz scene.

But Taylor is perhaps best known as this country’s premier jazz educator, among the first to declare jazz “America’s classical music.” His long-running Jazzmobile project has produced concerts and educational programs throughout the American Eastern seaboard for 45 years.

Taylor was also the first to bring jazz thought and theory to mainstream American radio and TV. He was the jazz correspondent on CBS News Sunday Morning and on NPR.

But before all that, as the McCarthy era faded and Jim Crow was on its last gasp, Taylor was music director on an NBC show called The Subject is Jazz, which ran in 1958.

After the jump: Watch Nina Simone sing the Taylor-penned Civil Rights movement anthem “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free”…

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment