God has wrought many things out of oppression. He has endowed
his creatures with the capacity to create—and from this capacity has flowed the sweet songs of sorrow and joy that have
allowed man to cope with his environment and many different situations.
Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life's difficulties,
and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only
to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph.
This is triumphant music.
Modern jazz has continued in this tradition, singing the songs
of a more complicated urban existence. When life itself offers no order and meaning, the musician creates an order and meaning
from the sounds of the earth which flow through his instrument.
It is no wonder that so much of the search for identity among
American Negroes was championed by Jazz musicians. Long before the modern essayists and scholars wrote of racial identity
as a problem for a multiracial world, musicians were returning to their roots to affirm that which was stirring within their
Much of the power of our Freedom Movement in the United States
has come from this music. It has strengthened us with its sweet rhythms when courage began to fail. It has calmed us with
its rich harmonies when spirits were down.
And now, Jazz is exported to the world. For in the particular
struggle of the Negro in America there is something akin to the universal struggle of modern man. Everybody has the Blues.
Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy. Everybody longs
In music, especially this broad category called Jazz, there
is a stepping stone towards all of these.