merican Black history has always been a topic for discussion. Through adversities and oppression, African Americans have always found joy and purpose in their lives. In the 1950s, race tensions were increasing as the fight for freedom was, again, moving to the forefront of African Americans’ focus. While Linda Brown, and others, were celebrating their triumph in gaining rights to attend integrated schools in Kansas, jazz composer, Duke Ellington, toured the world with his orchestra. Oh what a time to be alive. During this time, too, Malcolm X began ministry over Temple no.7 (now Masjid Malcolm Shabazz) and The Drifters were Doo Wop’n in New York. These magic moments were sometimes far and few, due to the social warfare in the U.S. In 1955, the death of teenage Emmett Till fueled sparks of resistance across the nation. Citizens and activists pushed for social and legal justice for Black people everywhere. A couple of years later, Arkansas governor was unsuccessful in hindering nine Black teens from obtaining opportunities to equal education. Plight has never been a reason to give up for Black people. By the end of the 1950s, Black people began owned property, such as Hitsville USA, in Detroit. This building was the home studio for many artists such as Jackson 5, The Supremes, and Stevie Wonder. Motown fuzed gospel with jazz and everything else to produce amazing hits throughout the remainder of the 20th century, even after leaving Detroit for LA in 1972.

The 60s was a pivotal era for American Black people. The Civil Rights Acts passed in the 1960s infuriated racist whites,, leading to increased hate crimes across the nation. In 1963, after the 16th St Baptist Church bombing that killed four young Black girls, John Coltrane, along with other artists released music to give Black Americans a sense of relief from their oppression, or just melodies to hear when words couldn’t describe their feelings. Nina Simone fused Jazz with her Blues in 1964, releasing “Mississippi Goddamn” to convey the resilience of Black people. While Nina sang her heart out, Muhammad Ali fought for his life, in and out of the boxing ring– even after being titled Heavyweight Champion of the World.

The late 60s into the 70s marked a significant turn for Black people in America. In 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated in NYC. However, that did not stop the Movement. In fact, it sparked new activist groups such as the Black Panther Party. By this time multiple civil rights acts had been passed and Black people were getting into the grooves of Funk and Disco. Artists such as Jimmy Hendrix was rocking on the guitar and James Brown was coming through with the funky dance moves. James Brown, in particular, was very influential to the Black culture. This shows circa 1968, after the death of Martin Luther King Jr, when James was called by the government to hold a concert to curb the riots. James would remain on top charts throughout the next decade. He, along with other artists of this time, have influenced  future artists  such as Michael Jackson, Lauryn Hill, and Kendrick Lamar.

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