Rediscovering the Black Artists’ Group

Courtesy photoOliver LakeIn the mid- and late 1960s, the Black Arts Movement emerged as the aesthetic and spiritual corollary to the Black Power philosophy. In St. Louis, Black Artists’ Group (BAG), which flourished between 1968 and 1972, gave rise to a host of nationally recognized figures, including Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill and Hamiet Bluiett of the World Saxophone Quartet. Today, this influential yet little-known collective is undergoing a resurgence of interest, with the reissue of rare BAG recordings on the Ikef, Quakebasket and Atavistic record labels; a new definitive history published by the Missouri Historical Society Press; and an upcoming sypmosium at Washington University in St. Louis.

Judges should be vigilant in their protection of minority interests; take example from ‘free jazz’ pioneer Coleman

Ornette Coleman, inspiration for successful judging.Although United States laws attempt to safeguard the rights and interests of minorities, the subordination of socially disfavored groups persists in part because of informal structures and networks that have the effect of perpetuating social inequality. Christopher Bracey, an expert in the fields of American race relations and civil rights and associate professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis, says that judges must respond to these destructive patterns of social and economic stratification through their interpretation of the law, or successful judging. In his article, “Adjudication, Antisubordination, and the Jazz Connection” (Alabama Law Review, Vol. 54), Bracey says inspiration on how to realize democracy through judging can be found through the free jazz movement, more specifically, the work of Ornette Coleman.