Black History Month – Freedom Day – The Power of Jazz
In 1960 Max Roach released his album We Insist! – Freedom Now Suite which was one of the most powerful statements from any artist in the Civil Rights Movements. Max had help from Oscar Brown Jr. who wrote the lyrics for the album and singer Abbey Lincoln. Max Roach and Oscar Brown Jr. wrote the album after being invited to contribute to the hundredth anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and they did such a fine job of expressing themselves through this music that Max Roach was blacklisted by the American recording industry for a period in the 1960s. The album itself functions as a musical history lesson beginning in the time of slavery with the song ‘Driva Man’ and ending back in Africa with the final song ‘Tears for Johannesburg’. Even the album cover itself made a strong statement showing three young black students staging a sit-in at a restaurant that refused to serve African-Americans. On February 1, 1960 four black students actually did stage a sit-in in Greensboro, North Carolina and within a week black students all over the south were sitting-in at restaurants that would not serve them in over fifty four cities.
The song featured here is entitled ‘Freedom Day’ and speaks about the time period in when African-Americans were freed from slavery. The song speaks of the disbelief by the black community that freedom could actually be happening but reminds us of the sobering reality of the situation with the last line of the song. “Dim my path and hide the way. But we’ve made it Freedom Day.”
Baden-Baden(Germany) Abbey Lincoln - Vocals; Max Roach - Drums; Clifford Jordan - Tenor Sax; Coleridge Perkinson - Piano; Eddie Kahn - Bass
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