The Power of Black Music: Interpreting Its History from Africa to the United States

By Samuel A. Floyd Jr. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8

The Sixties and After

Hornblowers! Blow in unison!
Bugandan folk saying

There is something suspicious about music, gentlemen.
I insist that she is, by her nature, equivocal. I shall not
be going too far in saying at once that she is politically
suspect.

Thomas Mann

The 1960s brought to full flowering the modern civil rights movement. It was a period of success and failure, of courage and fear, of discipline and disorder. It embraced the 1963 March on Washington and saw passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination in public accommodations and employment. It was a time that saw the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., the latter's death spurring riots in 125 American cities from April 4 to April 11, 1968— ironically coinciding with the signing, on April 11, of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which was meant to end discrimination in the sale and rental of private housing. It was a momentous decade in the fight for equal rights for all Americans (Bergman 1969, 610-611).

It was during the 1960s that the flight of whites to the suburbs accelerated and American cities de

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