View the electronic postcard (PDF, 650kb) about this concert.
Note from co-curator Patricia Spencer
Last year I read two books on black history (past and present) that profoundly re-educated me: Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration and Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow.
Wilkerson’s book describes what historians call the “great migration” – six million people, over the 1915-1970 time span, leaving the South, moving to cities and towns in the north, east and west, leaving behind everything they knew. Told from the viewpoint of three individuals (based on hundreds of hours of interviews), while also giving an insightful view of the full picture, the story of their determination and the immense difficulties they faced is staggering. With every chapter, every page, I felt unutterably shocked at what they endured.
Alexander’s book deals with the current situation. Many of us may imagine things have improved, due to the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, Alexander reports that right now, in the US, a larger percentage of our black population is in jail or has a prison record than in South Africa during the height of apartheid. And when they are released (often after being incarcerated for minor offenses), they are most often denied housing, jobs, education, and voting rights.
As I read Alexander’s painstaking details outlining the court systems, police practices, and government policies that have led to an unending list of unspeakable injustices, I found myself in a permanent state of outrage. This is not OK. In the country I live in, happening right now – this is not OK.
Feeling quite helpless as a mere flute player, I decided that even a small step, a program honoring black history and featuring a few of the extraordinary black composers in our midst, might help raise awareness of this crisis. The other members of Da Capo are totally behind this project, and Meighan Stoops agreed to co-curate the program with me. We’re very excited about the program – superb pieces! We will donate box office proceeds to All of Us or None, an organization that works to provide legal services and re-entry assistance to people with conviction histories.
Maybe if everyone takes a small step we can do something.