Those who helped make a difference
Benny Goodman was one of the first musicians to have an interacial band. He was instrumental in giving African-Americans a chance to shine as a performer in his band when nearly all music groups were segregated and did not perform together. Mr. Goodman chose African-American Lionel Hampton as his vibraphonist in his jazz trio and from there, he added more and more African-Americans. This was groundbreaking not only in the music industry, but for the world in general. He knew that music is the universal language of the arts and nothing more than a musician’s talent was important. One of the most pivotal points in musical history was Benny Goodman’s 1938 Carnegie Hall performance which was unlike any other before. Jazz was brought to the main stage through the collaboration of black and white musicians playing together to create a historical performance and recording. Just like black and white keys on a piano, the black and white musicians played together in perfect harmony. Only the music mattered, not the color of skin.
Alan Freed was instrumental in getting African-Americans rhythm and blues records to be played on the airwaves of a major radio station, WJW in Cleveland. This opened the door to audiences who were not familiar with the music at the time.
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