Racism towards blacks in America has occupied American public opinion for a long period of time. The struggle against racism began in the late 19th century. In 1619 the first black slaves were brought to Virginia. Indeed, for a long time, white Americans looked at niggers as “niggers are animals just like gorillas”. According to them, the Negroes were a bit more advanced than the gorillas. Negroes could talk and could behave like human beings. But that didn't mean they were human. So the Whites had the authority to save on them.
In 1808, it was forbidden to bring slaves from foreign countries. In 1861, the Southern states separated from the United States and the Confederation was formed. The civil war began. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln published the Declaration of Freedom, which declared all slaves in the Confederate States made free. In 1865 the north won the civil war. The 13th article added to the US Constitution prohibited slavery by declaring it illegal. In 1868, Article 14 of the Constitution granted all African Americans the right to full citizenship. In 1870 black men were given the right to vote. In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled that racial discrimination was legal and opened the door to discrimination in the south.
The 1900s witnessed race-based struggle, and finally some positive practices were implemented for the blacks. In 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first black player to play in the American Major Baseball League. In 1948, President Harry S. Truman issued an administrative order that lifted discrimination in the American armed forces. In 1955, Rosa Parks, a black woman, refused to give her place to whites on a bus where blacks and whites sit in separate seats. Parks' arrest for this reason, led to a successful boycott against racially discriminated buses led by the famous black leader Martin Luther King. In 1963, King was arrested during a protest in Birmingham, Alabama.
Approximately 25 percent of blacks, who are active in every aspect of daily life, believe that they have been unfairly treated by the police and that they have been wronged in the social spaces they go to. Until the 1960s, blacks could not go to some restaurants or sit in the front row of buses. In the toilets, even hand wash sinks were separated for 'black' and 'white'.
“Black Music” refers to various musical styles created by people who have faced and fought against racism at different times and locations. The African diaspora, especially the black population, is considered as comprising communities, based not only on their real or imagined engagements with Africanness and experiences of and struggles against racism, but also on their music cultures linked to those struggles (Back, 2000: 127). The blacks brought from Africa to America in the 19th century brought their dreams and revolts with them. Jazz melodies accompanied them while working in the field, worshiping and having fun. They sometimes expressed their demands and sometimes their rebellions with jazz. In the 1920s, jazz, which is now recognized by the whole world, was not only the days of slavery in the past, but also a rebellion against the discrimination experienced in those days. Jazz is important not only for blacks but for the whole music world because it allows individuals to express themselves. Jazz collects opposing views. It is an important platform for all people to express themselves. In this way, African Americans had the chance to come together and express themselves as in any democracy. This is not just a genre of music, but an effort to survive. Blacks had the opportunity to develop themselves and in this process, many beautiful works have emerged. Blacks have seen what they can do through music.
Blues, jazz, reggae, and hip hop can be heard all over the world, and even when their political dimensions are not emphasized or they have been transformed and reinterpreted in their new locations, as genres, they are known to be rooted in particular political fields (Rastas & Seye, 2018: 692-610). At the end of the 1970s, hip hop music, composed of black people who were in minority position, emerged as a culture and lifestyle. Hip hop music reveals the difficulties that black people face. This music refers to the challenges that have been fought. The hip-hop ethos can trace its genealogy to the emergence in that decade of a black ideology that equated black strength and authentic black identity with a militantly adversarial stance toward American society (McWhorter, 2003).
Back, L. (2000). “Voices of Hate, Sounds of Hybridity: Black Music and the Complexities of Racism.” Black Music Research Journal, 20(2), 127–49.
McWhoter, J. (2003). How Hip-Hop Holds Blacks Back. Arts and Culture The Social Order https://www.city-journal.org/html/how-hip-hop-holds-blacks-back-12442.html. Date of Access: 29.11.2019.
Rastas A. & Seye E. (2018). Music and Anti-Racism: Musicians’ Involvement in Anti-Racist Spaces. Popular Music and Society, 42(5), 592-610.