Probably only a few remember that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once wrote a poem called "Retribution." But that's the one I'm reminded of when I recall the final outcome of this decades-long tragedy. The story of Medgar Evers resonates tellingly in 2018 as we mark a Black History Month shrouded with the deaths of too many African-Americans at the hands of white police officers, There is this thing, you see, called karma, which Longfellow clearly understood.
Though the mills of God grind slowly;
Yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience he stands waiting,
With exactness grinds he all.
Who knew as early as January 16th that 1938 would see Hitler invade Austria, Japan declare war on China, or General Franco declare victory in the Spanish Civil War? There was nothing in the stars to indicate the arrival later that year of Superman, Bugs Bunny, and the first use of a seeing-eye dog. Nor perhaps did anyone realize the Fair Labor Standards Act would get rid of child labor that year and make the 40-hour work week the national standard throughout the United States.
Those were all history-making events. But so was Benny Goodman's appearance at Carnegie Hall on January 16th of that year. Already famous as the "King of Swing," even he had not conquered the legendary hall, which was then home to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under the leadership of the renowned Arturo Toscanini. When the idea was first brought to him several months earlier, Goodman laughed out loud. It was unthinkable that the august venue of classical music might also find an audience for jazz. Although often referred to as "America's classical music," jazz was nevertheless seen as low brow and undignified.
When he succeeded in bringing jazz to Carnegie Hall that year, Goodman broke down the barrier between the classes - and also between the races - for a while at least.
The concert was a raging, history-making success. Goodman's orchestra included Gene Krupa, Count Basie, Lester Young, Harry James, Johnny Hodges, and Lionel Hampton. Many of them are easily identifiable in the video clip below, which serves up the exceptional Goodman hit, "Sing, Sing, Sing," inter-cut with still images that reveal the life of the time. It all seems archaic now, but the music in this clip steps outside of time to become something memorable. It may be jazz, but it's undeniably classic. Which is why it's worth revisiting 80 years later.
For more on this check out this story from NPR's "All Things Considered: How Benny Goodman Orchestrated the Most Important Concert in Jazz History. Be sure to follow the links within the story to learn more.
A Coincidence of Strange: Is There Synchronicity in the Recent Alignment of Luther Strange, Doctor Strange, Dr. Strangelove & Taking a Knee?
Synchronicity is the word Carl Jung coined to describe meaningful coincidence. In his lexicon, coincidence was meaningful when contents from your unconscious mind (dreams) lined up in an unmissable and non-causal way with events in your waking life. Bottom line: When this happens, you should pay attention. The Universe may be trying to tell you something.
Perhaps you already know that a new edition of Lawrence Otis Graham’s provocative 2009 bestseller, Our Kind of People, was published not too long ago. The book deals with class distinctions among African-Americans and the issue of “passing for white.” I learned about the updated edition from my daily Delancey Place newsletter, but I remember the original book well. It resonated with me. And still does. Not only because I grew up hearing the term passant blanc (passing for white, passer pour le blanc) from my New Orleans relatives, but also because I lived in Atlanta when segregation obscured the fact that black communities were often divided along class lines.
Why the So-Called 'Road Rage' Shooting of Bianca Roberson in 2017 Is a Hate Crime as Despicable as the 1964 Slaying of Lemuel Penn at Broad River Bridge
How the Obama Playbook Could Have Helped Jon Ossoff to Victory in Georgia's 6th District Congressional Race
For years now, I’ve wanted to take one of those Viking River Cruises advertised at the beginning of Downton Abbey, Wolf Hall, and other Masterpiece programs on PBS. So it felt good to find myself finally peering at a ribbon of blue-green water from my own stateroom window. The sun shone upon the glittering current like a Greek medallion, and I drifted into its light with the kind of elation that usually comes only while writing.
Imagine my surprise to find upon waking that so vivid an experience was a dream. The master bedroom felt chilly and damp. I reached for the phone and asked Siri for the temperature. Mid-forties, she chirped.
On Cinco de Mayo? Was she kidding?
If you’re reading this website, think of me as a troubadour standing on the street corner, strumming a guitar and singing a few songs. Not everyone who comes this way is able to make contribution. But if you’re one of the passers-by who can, then feel free to drop a little spare change in my hat by clicking either the Donate or the Become a Patron button below. Thank you!
To be notified of new posts to this blog
OTHER GREAT WEB SITES & BLOGS I ENJOY:
Ann Cavitt Fisher
Brain Pickings - Maria Popova