We discussed the organization Mobilization for Youth (MFY) when we learned that Ornette Coleman had applied there to perform. But MFY had further connections with jazz. My friend and former grad student Evan Spring, a jazz historian who specializes in the late 50s and early 1960s, tells me that MFY put on a jazz concert on July 25, 1963 in the East River Park Amphitheatre in lower Manhattan. It featured "four neighborhood youth bands" including one led by Jackie McLean’s saxophonist son René. Jackie was the m.c. (master of ceremonies) and sat in with some of the youth bands. The concert was described in the
Perry Robinson talked about his involvement with the youth concert with Shepp et al in his autobiography
Amazing work as usual Mr. Porter-- you and your colleagues are allowing us to see these luminaries work through daily life, bringing greater richness to their music!
Those of us who lived through the Red Scare remember it well. Over the winter, I read Beverly Gage's well received "G-Man," a serious biography of J. Edgar Hoover. D.C. was a southern city when he grew up in it; in college, he joined a fraternity that might be described as an educated branch of the Klan. As he formed the FBI, he recruited from its members -- indeed, membership seemed have been a requirement of the job. Gage reveals some scary details of Hoover's actions against anything that the Black community and/or its leadership did to move the ball forward; the Red Scare, also a major pursuit, gave him cover for that.
When finished work in Cairo, IL with the United Front in 1970 (I ran out of money), I was visited by the FBI, hoping I would spill some dirt. The movement there was organized by an ecumenical group of preachers, working out of the rectory and parish hall of a Roman Catholic church.
The Gage book, which is extensively researched, is a must read. It reveals Hoover as a closeted gay who had a long term relationship with another FBI agent, and Hoover as politically sensitive, playing up to each newly elected President. It's not an expose, but rather a study of the man, his strengths and weaknesses, to which it is sensitive. Among those strong points are his vision for the Bureau, which he created as a young man, his ability to create a productive and efficient organization, including some things that were innovative and quite beneficial.