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RifftideThe Life and Opinions of Papa Jo Jones$
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Papa Jo Jones

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816673001

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816673001.001.0001

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They Said the Negro Would Never Be Free

They Said the Negro Would Never Be Free

(p.65) They Said the Negro Would Never Be Free

Papa Jo Jones

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter discusses Jo Jones’s experiences with racial discrimination—particularly with the racial segregation within the entertainment industry and elsewhere. Although Jones had understood the very concept of racial discrimination rather late in life, he became a passionate enough advocate of the rights of the colored—to the point that he’d even been involved in encounters with the local authority. But Jones was a great believer in the power of music. He pointed out that during the early days when slavery was the primary form of employment for the colored person, the slaves had often entertained themselves by playing on the drums—Jones’s signature instrument. So perhaps colored bands and colored music had had a rough start in his day, but Jones is happy to note that things are changing for the better, through the powers of sports and, of course, music.

Keywords:   racial discrimination, racial segregation, music, colored bands, slavery, drums

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