Today’s Selected Readings

“These are the largest names I know,
To be so included that they spell the entire
Direction of the Flow. The flow of Song
Through them, from way back beyond
And forward, to and through us, lie a
Melody, heated and transported by rhythm
Touch you, carry you, as it do, as harmony

Bessie Smith is always connected to Louis the Satchmo, America’s “Pop”. For the combining of Blues and the instrumental diversity and copiousness of the new jazz. The original innovation of instrumental Blues. So Louis + Bessie is the beginning of the 20th century.”

“Kimako’s Blues People, which my wife, Amina, and I direct, produces plays, poetry readings, concerts, the last Saturday of each month for the last ten years. We must energize the indigenous popular culture of our communities. Rather an art gallery in your garage, a theater in your basement, a collective publishing house, than to stand around yapping about Knopf or Fox and waiting for them to discover us and turn us into what we now dispise…

Use our resources collectively, our friends and colleagues together, to produce an alternative superstructure. This is the first step in social revolution, to change the minds of the people.

As teachers we must go to the source of strength in U.S. life, its diversity, its post-European openness and earthiness. If we claim to be Americans we mut claim the whole of culture. Anything american is African, European, and Asian(Native), and to be American we must not only be that but claim that and seek to reorganize the whole of that culture to inspire, educate and social-economically develop the whole people.

We seek [true] Majority rule, the control of society by… its workers, and farmers, its oppressed nationalities, its democratic petty bourgeoisie, and even those of the national bourgeoisie (shaky at best) who oppose imperialism. This is our task. Let us get at it.”

—from DIGGING:THE AFRO-AMERICAN SOUL OF AMERICAN CLASSICAL MUSIC by Amiri Baraka