Breaking News: The Library of Congress has published Christa’s essay on legendary jazz drummer Max Roach at their National Recording Registry website. Read it here (scroll down page to Max Roach 1960 PDF).

Christa Gammage explores the role of music and jazz in the 1960’s American Civil Rights movement in her book, Freedom Now! The Function of Jazz in the Civil Rights Movement.

Taking a deep dive into the activism of Jazz and Jazz artists in the Bebop era, Gammage notes the effects of such activism both abroad and at home in the United States. Lastly, Gammage does a case study on Max Roach’s important 1960 album “Freedom Now! Suite,” which inspired the title of this book. She analyzes the various methods Roach and his wife, Abbey Lincoln, utilized performance and music to express their revolutionary views.

“The Civil Rights Movement occurred simultaneously with the Cold War; the latter of which encouraged the United States government to fund a series of cultural tours to prove to the rest of the world the cultivation of the American aestheticism. Ironically enough, the United States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (CU) decided to sponsor jazz musicians, many of whom were African-American, as ambassadors of highbrow American culture to the rest of the world. Although race relations within the United States were highly contested, the United States government asked these second-class citizens to represent the country’s democratic principles abroad despite its lack of such at home. These jazz ambassadors used their assigned position to advertise the flaws of the American democratic system from the view of African-Americans during the most intense time of the Civil Rights movement. “

Chapter Two: Activism Abroad
Watch the promotional video.