FOUNDATIONS AND PREHISTORY
In terms of both personal histories and historical resonance, the roots of AACM discourses of mobility and atmosphere can be traced to the decades-long movement known as the Great Migration. From around 1915 to the early 1960s, working-class black migrants, hoping to better their condition in the classic fashion of the American Dream, streamed out of the Old Confederacy in one of the largest internal relocations in U.S. history. The oldest members of the AACM's first wave, including pianist and composer Richard Abrams, saxophonist Fred Anderson, pianist Jodie Christian, drummer Jerol Donavon, trumpeter Phil Cohran, drummer Steve McCall, and violinist Leroy Jenkins, were all born between 1927 and 1932, the children of migrants who settled in Chicago and St. Louis.
The migration narrative inevitably turns upon the question of loss—in particular, the loss of land. African Americans in the South were subjected to economic warfare, including land seizures and various forms of terrorism, whether state-sponsored, privatized, or formulated through private-public partnerships.1 The practice of “whitecapping,” whereby whites physically drove blacks from their land and confiscated it, compounded the difficulties blacks already faced in buying and owning land, ultimately contributing greatly to the urgency of plans to leave the South.2 The fiercely independent Cohran