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Jandoli Institute plans forum on activist movement that focused attention on African American jazz musicians

Dec 07, 2020 |

An activist movement launched in 1970 to bring more attention to African American jazz musicians will be the focus of the Jandoli Institute’s next Sharp Notes, Sharp Thoughts forum on music and social justice. The session, Outrage, Protests and Passion 50 Years before BLM, will take place online on Dec. 21, starting at 7 p.m.

“The Jazz and People’s Movement evoked the same sense of outrage, emotion and passion that fuels today’s Black Lives Matter movement,” said David Freeman, a musician, producer and cultural arts educator who will lead the discussion.

The Jazz and People’s Movement was founded by jazz multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk and a number of high profile colleagues. To increase attention and media inclusion for African American jazz musicians, demonstrators conducted sit-ins at recording sessions of popular, mainstream talk shows and interrupted the programs with whistles and placards.

“I plan to talk about the act of risk-taking in the arts establishing a tone of bravery, joy and celebration when it comes to talking about the challenges for African American artists and their responses to those challenges, using the Jazz and People’s Movement as a case study,” Freeman said.

Freeman’s presentation will be followed by an online discussion with the Sharp Notes, Sharp Thoughts team:

Alex R. Gillham, an assistant professor of philosophy at St. Bonaventure University. Gillham’s research focuses on topics in ethics, ancient philosophy and philosophy of religion. He is particularly interested in the connection between music, identity and morality.

Stephen Wilt, an archivist at Media Transfer Service in Rochester and host of a weekly podcast, Street Corner Talking. As station manager and music director at 88.3 WSBU-FM, he interviewed professional musicians, celebrities and athletes. They included Stephen Stills, Judy Collins, Louis Anderson, Doug Flutie, Dr. Oz, Jimmy Page and many others.

Paul Ziek, chair and associate professor in the Department of Media, Communications, and Visual Arts at Pace University, where he teaches strategic and organizational communication in the undergraduate and graduate programs.

Richard Lee, an associate professor in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University and executive director of the Jandoli Institute. He writes and comments regularly on the intersection of music and public policy. During his career as a journalist, he covered rock’n’roll for several years before establishing himself a political reporter.

To register for the Dec. 21 forum, click here.

The Jandoli Institute launched Sharp Notes, Sharp Thoughts in October to explore the connection between music and social justice. The institute developed the project in collaboration with the Department of Media, Communications, and Visual Arts at Pace University. Through the project, scholars, musicians, journalists and others show how music has been – and can continue to be – a positive tool for social change.

The institute serves as a forum for academic research, creative ideas and discussion on the intersection between media and democracy. The institute, accessible at, is part of the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University.


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. In 2020, St. Bonaventure was named the #2 regional university value in New York and #3 in the North by U.S. News and World Report.