The Journey of African-American Culture and Civil Rights Through The Eyes of Jazz

Timeline created by WamuuBamuu
In Music
  • The Birth of Jazz

    The early 20th century was a time when racism and segregation still ran rampant. Groups like the Ku Klux Klan were still largely relevant and conducting operations. In the midst of all this, African American musicians banded together to share their love for music and ended up fathering an incredibly influential genre of music emphasizing freedom, self-expression and improvisation. A new medium of art that would grow mirroring America's changing times-- Jazz music.
  • The End of World War I

    It was the end of a bloody era, and the Americans were looking for a fresh start. "In with the new," they said. They searched for new beliefs, new philosophies, new things to do. Facets of African-American culture were becoming mainstream, and with it, Jazz rocketed into popularity.
  • Dixieland

    Jazz music continued to evolve as African-Americans fled from New Orleans to Chicago, attempting to escape the harsh social conditions they faced and looking for new opportunities. The "New Orleans sound" slowly but surely morphed alongside the change, becoming Chicago's very own. This style of jazz was called "Dixieland", and shared many similarities with the original New Orleans style of jazz.
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    Jazz Continues to Evolve

    New Orleans Jazz. Dixieland. Swing. Bop. Jazz's rapid change could be attributed to its very nature of being centered around improvisation and self-expression. And as jazz changed, so did the general public's thoughts and beliefs on African-Americans. The Civil Rights era was upon America. America's black population would be free to be who they are without the blatant oppression of their past environment, in a beautiful parallel with the music they had created that was all about self-expression.
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    Where It Stands Today

    In this day and age, jazz has taken a backseat. Like all old forms of music, it has fallen to time, but is still enjoyed by a niche audience. The history of jazz is so closely related to the history of civil rights movements, and yet, while one has fallen out of the limelight, the fight against racial oppression continues even today. And though jazz is a thing of the past, people would do well to remember its roots- the Orleans musicians creating a sound reflecting the freedom they longed for.