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by Mark Werlin
Historians of jazz identify the African-American civil rights struggle circa 1945-1965 as the locus for the most active involvement of jazz music in expressions of social and political protest. One of the earliest recorded instances of explicit political protest in jazz, Strange Fruit," was refused by Decca, singer Billie Holiday's record label, for fear of reprisals from Southern radio stations and record stores. The independent Commodore label released the record in 1939; a searing indictment of lynching and a landmark ...read more