[JPL] Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Opening Address to the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival,

David Johnson djohnso2001 at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 17 14:11:32 EST 2009

I love this speech!  I quoted part of it in the Night Lights "Dear Martin:  Jazz Tributes to MLK Jr." program.  Thanks for posting it in its entirety.

David Brent Johnson
Night Lights/Afterglow
WFIU-Bloomington, IN

--- On Fri, 1/16/09, JASSavannah <jassav at comcast.net> wrote:
From: JASSavannah <jassav at comcast.net>
Subject: [JPL] Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Opening Address to the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival,
To: jazzproglist at jazzweek.com
Date: Friday, January 16, 2009, 10:40 AM

Sponsored by: JazzWeek Summit 2009


On the Importance of Jazz
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Opening Address to the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival
God has wrought many things out of oppression. He has endowed his creatures
with the capacity to create-and from this capacity has flowed the sweet songs of
sorrow and joy that have allowed man to cope with his environment and many
different situations. 

Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life's difficulties, and
if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities
of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of

This is triumphant music. 

Modern jazz has continued in this tradition, singing the songs of a more
complicated urban existence. When life itself offers no order and meaning, the
musician creates an order and meaning from the sounds of the earth which flow
through his instrument. 

It is no wonder that so much of the search for identity among American Negroes
was championed by Jazz musicians. Long before the modern essayists and scholars
wrote of racial identity as a problem for a multiracial world, musicians were
returning to their roots to affirm that which was stirring within their souls. 

Much of the power of our Freedom Movement in the United States has come from
this music. It has strengthened us with its sweet rhythms when courage began to
fail. It has calmed us with its rich harmonies when spirits were down. 

And now, Jazz is exported to the world. For in the particular struggle of the
Negro in America there is something akin to the universal struggle of modern
man. Everybody has the Blues. Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs to
love and be loved. Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy. Everybody longs
for faith. 

In music, especially this broad category called Jazz, there is a stepping stone
towards all of these. 

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