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This project was made possible by funding through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy and the Heritage Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Canadian Heritage

John Hammond

John Hammond discusses jazz on televison.

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John Hammond discusses music composition.

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John Hammond discusses his ecperience with racial awareness.

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Transcription

Q: “We’ve been talking about your musical background but running as a constant thread through your biography – and therefore through your life – is your social awareness…”

A: “Well, that came early. That came because when I was in prep school, I got to know Black musicians. It's simple, you know. I mean, you know, I got to eat with my friends in the hall. I mean, all of them decided that I take them downtown to eat and no way. And then when, in 1932, I decided I wanted to have an integrated theater. You know, where the cast would be integrated and the audiences would be integrated. That was a no-no in 1932, but it was the policy that I had, which was the stage band policy. It antedated the Paramount by a couple of years and it would have made it on 42nd Street, except we couldn't get a decent theater on 42nd because they didn't want to have Blacks downstairs in the theater.”