tv Lectures in History CSPAN September 10, 2016 8:00pm-8:56pm EDT
>> websites and found cleaning up to the ceremony eerie we will be alive with president obama and lonnie bunch. this is american history tv. >> captain jeffrey copeland teaches a class on the use of american jazz musicians in africa during the cold war. he argues the policy was to showcase america in a positive light and counteract the negative global press about equality. >> you were. let's get it started. standby. >> please have a seat everybody. welcome.
a different class, a fun topic. what we are doing is continuing that series on cold war topics. we have talked about central america, we have talked about the wars. we are talking about cultural cold war. the war over culture and that fight for influence. jazz comes tot the forefront. we are thinking about why that congo whenhrough the they are traveling to far-flung places of the world. what are they doing? we will impact that. that. to start with please tell me recognize that. yes it is louis armstrong. you know who it is.
you can't miss that smile. he is america's most prominent jazz musician. he had already to lord -- toured. he was a prominent figure in not just american jazz but american culture generally. thise we get into packing , it washe same author extract the part of the book that deals with africa. in have the jazz ambassadors the cold war and africa.
we are talking about everything they did. and how they perceive their role. image and weo this can spend 30 minutes talking about what is going on. you probably noticed the beach lawnchair. but he is on the shoulders of some traditionally dressed congolese men. he had been on tour in 1955. he came to the french portion and played for french foreign dignitaries. , he wascrossed over treated like a king. this right here is how they
perceived the congo to be. we are going to carry you as though you are a king. he enjoyed it thoroughly. pepsi.even sponsored by you like satchmo. you like pepsi. that was their advertising slogan. role as jazz ambassador was already well cemented in 1960. why the congo? on a commercially sponsored tour. why the congo was important? the congo was rich in minerals. like a lot of places in africa. it had marginal utility.
important for the united states and the soviet union. right away congo becomes the center of attention for the usa and the soviet union. 1959,han just that, belgium said to the congolese we are giving you your independence next year as part of that decolonization movement. as would happen in other parts of africa when the colonial awers leave, there is either that team the availability for other influences or organic leaders to rise up and lead. that is exactly what happened. various people begin organizing political parties. the guy who came to the you may know him, the
anniversary of his assassination wasn't long ago. , as soon as he gain the he is met with a civil war. there is a section of the belgian congo that they didn't want to be a part of. independent.o be immediately.ronted they were especially mineral rich. and, they look to the united states and the yuan and say i need your help to bring these guys back in the fold, to crush this rebellion. the united states for their part was like i don't know if i want -- we don't know if we want you to have complete control over
that. there is still this notion we have this trapping remaining. those are those kinds of ideas that are circulating. the united states would have rather exerted hegemony over that region incident just helping patrice out with his drive to unite the congo. the movement needed help. this was his most fatal flaw. let's see if the soviets will help me. immediately the the united states says threats. that is a threat. if this new government is going to align with united states -- the soviet union that is a problem that needs to be rectified. , the ciay that problem sends people and funds
operatives to capture and inassinate president patrice 1961. he didn't know about this. he was not privy to this information. he was still playing continent concerts when those operatives assassinated the trees. i don't need to go into too much more depth for you to see that conflict into which these ambassadors were stepping as the face of the united states and africa. even while the united states foreign-policy was doing thing less than savory, that would give the sense of a different idea of what america was for that time.
let's talk about the cold war. you cannot think about these jazz ambassadors without thinking about that firmly within the cold war. they had specific intent sending these guys into the same area where they were dropping bombs shortly before or shortly after. they are sending these physicians into the world to garner that support. the civil rights movement is in full swing. there is no surprise african-american musicians in africa trying to put the verse -- best face on the united states. there is also the context of vietnam which is going badly for the united states. the mood has soured about this whole thing. that context puts these jazz
ambassadors in the awkward decision to feel like they are defending foreign-policy. how are you out here telling us how great united states is when the united states is doing these awful things in the world. that is the paradox of this whole thing. it is also important to think why africa? why not the middle east? againk we can look back and retrace a couple of steps. and why jazz? rock and roll has come a long and become popular. -- whyz a. schu nark jazz? there is some issues that are
important to the story that we will unpack. think about how it began and wide. , young through the lens can see why the state department solve their role but how they perceived their role in this mission of spreading the american image throughout the world and garnering goodwill. it has a strong layer of complexity to this two decades of jazz ambassadors in the world. finally we can think about some impact. timesss was ticked many at having to fund these far-flung and complex tours. to in thel amounts end of things, to think about the end of the story, we can musiciansw these jazz
were reminiscing and remembering their role. the context, the cold war. you can't extricate these cold war chores between what was going on. here you have denny goodman. he was one of those big jazz leaders. very popular. here he is. square inan in red 1962. it should start setting up bells saying why is that happening? why is an american in the heart of the soviet union. what is going on on either side? missile crisis.
>> you bet. it almost becomes hot. it is one of those things. what else? >> it is more like a culture war. >> ok. this is happening because they have agreed to this cold sheryl exchange. you have the soviet symphonies traveling in the united states to show us what each other is about. go ahead. >> tying into the cuban missile crisis, you have an arms race and nuclear proliferation. >> not just the arms race but a space race going on. they beat the americans to space. how could they possibly do that? not just the space race but the race to the moon was on.
things thatitioning led to the cuban missile crisis. absolutely. these other high-profile items, you know how that ended up. you know about the berlin wall. tensions had mounted. the soviets said we are going to build a wall to keep you guys separate. that is in 1961. then of the cuban missile crisis. the literally in the middle of those big event you have benny goodman trying to play his jazz for russians who frankly loved the music. jazz was something not only americans love that people around the world loved. it is the appeal of this
underground jazz. jazz was popular all over the world. there is that cultural attraction. we will get to that in a moment. that is what is going on in terms of the cold war. there is the civil war -- civil rights context. the bus boycott that tipped off civil rights movement is followed almost immediately by louis armstrong in ghana trying cool america is. locale purely american this artform is. you should come along with us. there is no surprise you have an
african-american musician on the .eels of what is blown out you have to think of vietnam. vietnam has become something of a mass for the united states. , this toweringys jazz pianist, how can you be supporting the united states when this is going on? that is the context of all of these jazz musicians. you can't separate them from why the state department was putting them out there. to backtrack. thinking why africa? you know why in terms of minerals and the natural after the especially decolonization movement. the u.s. and soviet union us.ending saying align with
we will send you cool stuff. and you can be our friend. that is a simple way of thinking about it. we know why africa conceptually. world werethe third some of the most hotly contested cold war spaces. you have all of the conflicts throughout the world from 1945 onward. this includes a lot of civil wars in africa in the 90's and 2000s. you have a lot of conflicts emerging even in the cold war. this bottom one may be more telling about what the u.s. was doing. as ais all cia involvement percentage of years. these countries are places where the cia was operating from 95 to 100% of those years.
big presence for the cia trying to work against the soviet influence. of course there are these other countries where the cia was operating. no only did they want to win the war of influence in africa, the u.s. was worried about losing because of this egg civil rights problem they had at home. they worried in africa in particular it will cause the u.s. to lose that cultural traction and lose the goodwill for america entirely. the soviet union sent jazz musicians. why not rock 'n roll, why not composers? i think we can get into the idea of this thinking about the difference between what the
soviets saw as high coulter -- culture and what americans thought about the new way of inking about art. the soviets mastered the art of last come music. course.this song of ♪ is the nutcracker suite. very much not jazz. i am proving a point here. stick with me. union, for as stingy as they have been with funding the arts the soviet union was loose with funding the arts. they funneled a lot of money into symphonies and supporting the arts generally. union, these other
coole up to me of american -- the epitome of american cool. they saw something they could use. what is uniquely american? what is so american about jazz music that the state department would say go out there instead of rock bands? what makes jazz american? >> african-american culture. >> it had its roots in african-american culture. the state department was slow to acknowledge that area -- that. thereby line was this is american music. the musicians new a little different. but jazz in the world because it is american. english.n roll was to
>> perhaps. it was an organically american. there is something to that. >> it didn't have to follow typical rules classical had to follow. it echoes freedom and liberty. >> now we are really onto something. if you think about this compared to this music, it is not a difference between structure and no structure. any jazz musician would deny the is a characteristic. but they are following a score. some composer has written a score and they are not going to deviate. these guys, it's a lot of freedom and terms of how it is laid. structure, andic how can we work around that basic structure?
was american in the sense that it represented the freedom america was supposed to represent. that it -- that is what they wanted. that is why they said hey. freedom,imilar to the the freeness of the united states. no surprise that a lot of musicians for african-americans. for them in particular what does african-american physician see jazzsician see about playing in africa no less? how does that represent freedom for an african-american?
>> it is going to frame just because of what is going on in america. they are traveling the world playing fun music while their counterparts are oppressed at home. >> that is a great point. 1956, the band is first out there with this integrated black and white playing together. they are experiencing freedom that many counterparts at home never get to experience. that was not lost on them, the novelty of what they were doing. this experience is freedom in its essence. ,o tie your thoughts together it represents the musicians, they felt the freedom to deviate from -- to agree on the basic
structure and have total freedom around that on how to express themselves. ok. jazz, but there's a difference. there is a distinction between early jazz and modern jazz and what each represented. here is an example of early jazz. ♪ >> before world war ii. you may have heard that and a movie or something. that is duke ellington's
orchestra directing the band. playing take the a train. that is characteristics of early forms of jazz. we envision that being played in a jazz club. ,ndeed these big orchestras that was very characteristic of early forms of jazz. as the 1950's war on jazz changed a little bit. ruback who had been orchestra leaders before the 1950's moved over to this model. here is an example. ♪
>> you probably recognize that. take five.ous hopefully you can see the difference between big band, big orchestra and the way these smaller groups favored the improvisations characteristic and made modern jazz so appealing to so many people. about a sick music structure. you have a 4-4 time signature. he has all sorts of crazy time signatures.
it is this where i want to focus on for a moment. the state department was seeing something. seeing the relevance and the applicability of this new form of jazz in the places they were going. ability, if you , or you are an iraqi and you are hearing that kind of music. what is the message that might be conveyed with that new kind of jazz music? they are in different countries. they don't need words. >> it certainly sounds different.
usually it has a lot of cap to it. that is true. communicates this new freeform that you have truly transcends words, something people are drawn to. >> the kind of freedom that represents. if there are still so lows and isms of expression, if this a contrast, the classical music to the jazz generally, this is specially had a lot of relevance. indeed, in those places where traveling, they felt a revolutionary nature of basic structure of music. tempo.gree on a key, a
that, we are all doing some awesome stuff. the improvisation of it all is a big key factor. that wasn't lost in the state department. it wasn't lost on the people hearing it throughout the world. particularly africa. about a lot talking of these jazz artists. the question is why does this start to begin with? realized hesenhower had a race problem on his hands. jim crow america tarnished the image of america in the world. people were saying you have some problems domestically. you can't seem to solve them. the eisenhower administration was saying we need to do
something. that the samein month the bus boycott began, got approved. rights tipped off at the same time. image has been tarnished at home. that brought on these two decades of jazz tours. away, those are his band members. you can see the integrated nature of the band. black him of playing together, living together. that is the kind of image the state department wanted to put
together about america. they wanted to say this is what we are. this is us. this is the image they wanted to portray. everyone getting along together. very early on we can see a different motivation. sentknew they were being to garner goodwill. right away you can tell what they wanted first and foremost was a chance to play. clearly this was something that would have been literally impossible. state department sponsorship it was almost impossible to get a decent p&l -- piano. they knew that this was something they would never get
to do. first of all a chance to play. they saw this as validation, not only their art form but also of them as americans. african-americans for whom jazz had been sidelined as lowbrow culture. in the state department says we want you to be our ambassadors in the world. finally someone understands jazz. they appreciate me for being capable of being that phase for the united states. that, as they spend some time in africa they start connecting the dots between the jazz they had grown up knowing and the roots of jazz and african music, and african cultures. as soon as these tours start
receive these diverging motivations. lens of arough the couple of these musicians we can get a better sense of the complexity that they brought to the table. the state department would have been happy saying jazz is awesome, listen to our music. america is great. resthey weren't willing to on that alone. the state department never really foresaw those connections with their roots these positions would make. here is louis armstrong, his first trip in 1956. he traveled on a commercial tour in europe a decade before. but he goes to africa for the first time. band, heying with his
is playing for them. in the crowd he sees a woman who looks just like his mom. his mom died 20 years before. in the middle of the song he stops plying he goes over to her. he says to the crowd i came here , i came from here way back, at least my people did. now i know this is my country too. from the very first interaction, one of these african-american musicians. making that connection between their roots not only as musicians but also as people, i came from here. feeling that connection. louis armstrong, after his tour of europe, he had already been
acknowledged as ambassador satchmo. here he was, a guy who could transcend borders, transcend cultural boundaries. he could play in all circles. not just crossing boundaries like a national boundary from africa. here is a man, one of the most prominent cultural figures in the united states who had grown behaving a certain way. and being himself. he had already grown accustomed to crossing those different boundaries. that is just one example. there is another example of them crossing actual borders. berlin he was in east with his band.
they had gotten approval for him to be there. night, he got shut down for the night. berlin is hear west popping, let's go over there. his guy says we can't do that. so he is just insisted. let's try it. they walk up to the soviet cars. guards sawone of the a russian guard knew who he was. he called his other guard buddies over. they send them across the bridge to the american side at checkpoint charlie. it was like this big guy from texas, this imposing figure.
as soon as that guy saw louis armstrong he said it is satchmo. the same thing that happened on the russian side happened on the american side. louis armstrong because of his , heding as a cultural icon crossed that legal boundary in many ways. walkid i can even just back-and-forth read but louis armstrong because of his relevance, that is the kind of abilities that his cultural power held. he was slated to go on a state department tour.
in 1957, when the central high school of little rock has that order, you are going to -- desegregate in the governor says no and the president is slow to take action, louis armstrong says i'm not going on your tour. in 1957 he can say stuff like a colored man has no country. .hose are the things he can say that is the kind of clout that he had not only in the world but also in american culture to say things like the government can go to hell. talking about this treatment of african americans at home. goinge is saying i'm not out there and telling everyone america is awesome when you are
doing this african-americans at home. that is that deep meaning that they had for him despite the images that the public perception had of him. they crafted him as the simpleton not thinking about his role or his music. you can see he had a complex understanding of what he was doing. he wanted to play with the people. he didn't want them to be playing for ambassadors and wives and things. it turns out he was more democratic than the state department. this is the image of american democracy. this is why you guys should like
america instead of the soviet way of life. but as he is playing concerts through that tour of south asia, they are looking at the crowd saying american diplomats and their families. why are we playing for the choir. he said let the ragamuffin children common. come in. withsaid maybe we will go goodman next time. someone who will say kinder things about the u.s.. he didn't go on a tour for another 14 years. 1973, in then interim, he did next to run for
president, this is a bit of a joke but it speaks to his as aral traction he gained jazz musician, he was fighting for civil rights, fighting free intection under the law, that time he had become a convert and a devout leader in the high faith and changed his way of thinking about america to the extent that in 1973 when he was in kenya playing for a canyon audience he said this. to the canyons, this is the culmination not only of my professional activities but of my human relationships. to come to kenya to perform for you because i think of you as my people. this is the best thing i have , to done as a jazz musician perform for you because you are
my people. experiencing that african culture that one time he realized those are my roots. that is the meaning the state department could not have envisioned. up, this thing about duke ellington. he was a different kind of ambassador. is basically an old man when he is doing these tours. errorsthese middle-class -- airs about him. the state department considered him a model ambassador read he was one of the only registered republicans among these musicians.
connection ofe s an american with his roots. saw theat old guard united states and their mission in the world to spread american idealism. he saw it as noble. he was happy to partake in it. he was so proud in 1971 he got even busier. when the united states wrote off africa in terms of these cultural tours they sent him to central america, and down to brazil. he was touring basically as an old man basically as he perceived to be the important mission of the united states and
the world. eyesan see through their what these musicians saw as distinct from what the state department saw. for 20 years they were out there traveling the world. they were spending a lot of money. we can think, was it effective? did they do anything after all? what is the effectiveness of this? go ahead. now,m pretty sure even there are millions of challenges. democracy never took hold there. there are still countries where i feel like we failed. great point. if you think about africa today, many of which are not cold war
conflicts, that gains special traction. here,e are looking at this blue and green are kind of good. american alignments. red and pink are soviet alignment or involvement. that is 1970. in 1980 you see a few things have changed. africa is easyn to see. a little bit different particularly in angola. by 1980 the nine states lost both of those countries and the influence to the soviets. states lost ethiopia to the soviets even though they gained somalia. they had regained egypt back.
if you're thinking about the effectiveness, think about who won the cold war, at best it was a draw. at worst, you think about who wins the battle, who keeps the territory when it is all over. the united states turned its focus away. maybe winning isn't really the measurement for their effectiveness in being jazz ambassadors to africa and other parts of the world. the question becomes why. as these tours when on they became more and more privy to what their role was, what they were trying to do. despite all of those contradictions they were still out there playing. the question is why.
>> it was like there only opportunity to lay outside of the country. they would not have have the chance staying inside of america facing racism and segregation. >> yeah. a big part of this story, the state department took this image artform this backwater and said this is appropriate competition for that highest form of art. this is proper competition for that area they wanted to get into that. they said finally, some acknowledgment. despite the contradiction. >> you talked about how it is about connecting with roots.
probably thought they could continue to interact with that and have that experience. they will still have continued to play the role. >> ok. that is a great point. they wanted to indulge that even more. absolutely. ust is a good point to segue thinking about the end of the story. bornave duke ellington 1899. that wen in the circles and trust that those in power have our best interest in mind. , that've seen the butler is a good example of his character.
work with the system and the system will work for you. his something's he is crazy. duke ellington is very much like his character, let's work with the system. the system will work for us if we are patient. in 1969, for all of the backpedaling the next administration did, nixon himself was a musician. he realized duke ellington had been the foremost ambassador of all of these guys. award,rved this highest this presidential medal of freedom. for duke ellington receiving validationthat was as a musician and as african-american man working for equal rights and civil rights. that is how he perceive this.
to work within the channels he was given. that is one way thinking about the old guard of these jazz musicians. randy was on the opposite. he is 26 years old or. he's a whole generation removed. in the same year duke ellington received the presidential medal of freedom he opened the club in morocco. his own jazz club. after two northern africa he 1967 and morocco in lived in morocco for several years after this before returning to the united states. weston when he continued to make music incorporated the african elements of rhythm and congas and those kinds of unique
rhythms into the jazz area not only an identity but a straight up movement. perspectiveferent than what duke ellington and the old guard guys had on the whole thing. note, the state department realized too late what they had started out with in the 1950's with this can-do attitude on foreign policy, the u.s. can shape the world how we wanted it. that has changed. foreign policy has started to become more like american politics at home. a little bit tired, a little bit depressed. what the state department realized only too late as they were cashiering this program of the jazz ambassadors, they
realized americans are better employed in the world as an idea than as an identity and nationality. sending these guys out there and saying this is an american, this is what america represents, saying this is an american and you can see how this guy has been made great because america. they realized only too late they should have said america is a great idea and these guys are a representation of that idea. that is all i've got. i will see you on thursday. there is another reading. do that and have a good one. >> join us every saturday evening as we join students and college classrooms to hear topics ranging from the american
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business. >> in 1944 the supreme court ruled his detainment constitutional. 1983 afterturned in lawyers reopened the case. nai talks about fred cora monsoon and his quest for justice. club of sanalth francisco hosted the event just over one hour. >> thank you so much. lorraine: thank you so much. i really appreciate that. and to george and the commonwealth club for making this event possible.