MUH 3016: Survey of Jazz

Writing Assignment 2

Diversity and Race

This writing assignment is designed so that you will research and write about music using your own words and descriptions. 

See your syllabus for more detailed information regarding the specifics of this assignment.

Research and write about how:
Jazz musicians were affected by diversity and race issues in American society in the 20th Century.

Research one of these jazz artists/groups to discover how diversity and race issues played a role in their interactions with American society from 1900 -1960.

The following Jazz Artists/Groups were affected by issues of diversity and/or race. The list includes some issues they dealt with and provide suggestions for your research.  You will need to find additional research materials about the artist you choose. 

Louis Armstrong
Research suggestion: Early 20th century stardom for a Black musician 

Fletcher Henderson
Research suggestion:  Black swing bands vs. White swing bands (opportunities/acceptance); Black composers/arrangers  

Benny Goodman
Research suggestion:  Segregation; Black and White musicians playing together

Billie Holiday 
Research suggestion:  Female jazz performer; Strange Fruit; cabaret card; drug issues

John Coltrane 
Research suggestion:  Alabama; how he used his music to comment on society

Cannonball and Nat Adderley Sextet
Research suggestion:  Raised awareness through their music; Work Song and other songs inspired by African American history and traditions; active in Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s

Nina Simone 
Research suggestion:  Singer/pianist who raised awareness and challenged societal norms with her songs about civil rights issues in America and the world; influenced many Americans, not just musicians and people in entertainment

Discover how these musicians:
Responded (or were forced to respond) to these issues
Involved themselves in issues of civil rights, race, diversity, and discrimination
Discuss how they used their music or status in the entertainment industry to address these issues