This article from the Melody Maker in 1956 reminds of the uphill battle that jazz music had to overcome.
Most people don’t understand the opposition and racism that was prevalent in the perception of this new music that seemed to threaten a very conservative public.
Here’s an excerpt:
The White Citizens Council of Birmingham, Alabama – who were responsible for the attack on Nat “King” Cole during Ted Heath’s concerts there again caused trouble when Freddy Randall appeared at the Civic Auditorium.
The Randall band, in a package including “Rock ‘n Roll” king Bill Haley and his Comets played before a segregated audience at the Auditorium on Sunday.
Council pickets paraded outside the hall carrying printed signs reading “Down with bebop. Christians will not attend this show. Ask your preacher about jungle music!”
Teenagers hit back
The pickets were in turn picketed by teenagers who shouted, “Rock ‘n Roll is here to stay!” The White Citizens Council, in condemning the craze, have linked “Rock ‘n Roll” with sin, degradation and Communism.
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