Max Roach, drums; Abbey Lincoln, vocals; Eddie Kahn, bass; Clifford Jordan, tenor sax, Coleridge Perkinson, piano.
Live on Belgian television, possibly circa 1964. Roach’s We Insist! Freedom Now Suite is a landmark jazz album and an artistic jewel of the Civil Right Movement.
We get two pieces of ”Tiptych: Prayer/Protest/Peace” here. I’m not sure why the third was not included on the video, but it’s worth a listen to complete Roach’s thought. (Follow the link above.) He doesn’t simply “Peace” as a nirvana state. It’s jagged, weary, even incomplete.
”Tears for Johannesburg” was Roach’s artistic reckoning with the Sharpsville massacre, which I’d encourage you to read about — particularly right now.
Juneteenth marks the last arrival of the news of an emancipation formally proclaimed two and a half years earlier. By the time of its arrival in Galveston, the proclamation’s author had been reelected & assassinated. We should not forget that slavery continued in a couple Union states until the 6 December 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified and finally abolished the practice. Nor should we forget that last Union state to ratify that amendment was Kentucky — on 18 March 1976.
Johnson’s amnesty, Reconstruction’s failure, Jim Crow, the mass perpetuation Lost Cause myth, federal anti-immigrant laws, segregation, and redlining thwarted a national reckoning with the political, social, and moral devastation of slavery & racism for generations.
Juneteenth’s rightly a day of celebration. It’s also a reminder of how far we yet have to go as a country, how fragile progress can be. It is a call seeking a response, because the work of emancipation remains incomplete.