Charging The Cavalry
Down Prison Road
Games of Shame
Our Kind of Guy
Zaps - 10/10
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Abbey Lincoln, 1930-2010
with Ivan Dixon in
Nothing But a Man
with Max Roach
Vocalist, actress, and activist Abbey Lincoln captured the energy of an era in recording and film as few others could, staring down the camera and shouting into the microphone with the force of a warrior. She refuted the oppression of Hollywood's type-casting as boldly as she rebelled against a song's harmonic structure. Lincoln's art was her most telling weapon and she brandished it with a fearlessness that would rock the white-dominated entertainment industry during years of social upheaval. Her most recalled work, We Insist!: Freedom Now Suite, angrily challenged those singing of overcoming some day; hers was not a protest art of patience.
Anna Marie Wooldridge was born in Chicago on August 6, 1930 when streams of unemployed workers roamed the streets and the African American population was struggling against apartheid America. The entertainment industry was one means to economic salvation in the Black community in Chicago—the site of the momentous development of jazz during the 1920s. Though raised in a rural suburb, Lincoln's singing spoke of the ages, informed by Billie Holiday, urban blues, field hollers, and swing.
The newly-christened Abbey Lincoln relocated to the West Coast and became an in-demand performer on the nightclub circuit. Lincoln recorded her debut album the same year she was cast in the Jayne Mansfield movie The Girl Can't Help It (1956), which also featured Little Richard and other popular musicians. In 1957, in spite of the possibility of a film career, the young actress focused her efforts on collaborating with drummer/composer Max Roach. Their projects together were revolutionary on several levels. They recorded several concept albums, most powerfully the Freedom Now Suite (1960), a hallmark of protest music. Lincoln's speech-song vocal on "Driva Man" is a lesson in the power of song as a force for social protest, a "Strange Fruit" for the Civil Rights era.
During the 1960s, Lincoln continued working with Roach (they were married from 1962-1970), but also with other jazz legends, including Sonny Rollins and Eric Dolphy. By 1964, she returned to film, co-starring with Ivan Dixon in Nothing But a Man, a depiction of the racism in the deep South. Shortly thereafter, she was paired with Sidney Poitier in For Love of Ivy (1968), where Lincoln was cast in the title role.
By 1970, Lincoln had become a common sight on television and film. Then, in 1980, she had something of a musical resurgence. In the next three decades, Lincoln performed widely and recorded numerous collections, often featuring her own compositions. Though her lyrics had been a part of several earlier collaborations, Lincoln's focus on her own material began in earnest in 1972 while traveling through Africa. She came to see her calling as that of a storyteller and developed a large catalog of original material. A series of albums exploring her career received much-deserved critical acclaim. To those in the crowded venues where she played, Lincoln was at the zenith of her art.
She remained a thriving, independent performer into her final years, speaking truth to the power that might otherwise have sought her silence. She died on August 14, 2010.
John Pietaro is a cultural worker from New York City.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.