Jazz music, with its long history in the traditions of black people in America, acted as the background music to the civil rights movement in the late 50s and into the 60s. In contrast, Jazz musicians added a different outlook when playing music that could stand on its own as art, but also face the difficult issues of that time. Some of the best musicians of the period had a multitude of reactions to specific events. John Coltrane mourned the death of young girls in the Birmingham bombings in with Alabama. Nina Simone angered over the same horrific event and the murder of Medgar Evers in Mississippi Goddam. Max Roach protested and was defiant in his controversial album We Insist!
This biographical article is part of JAZZ. Charles Mingus was born on April 22, , in Nogales, Az. At an early age, Mingus was engrossed in the music of the church the only music that his step-mother allowed around the house , and he often engaged in choir and group singing.
One of Mingus's most explicitly political works,  the song was written as a direct protest against Arkansas governor Orval Faubus ,  who in sent out the National Guard to prevent the racial integration of Little Rock Central High School by nine African American teenagers , in what became known as the Little Rock Crisis. The song was first recorded for Mingus' album, Mingus Ah Um. However, Columbia Records refused to allow the lyrics to the song to be included,  and so the song was recorded as an instrumental on the album. The vocals featured a call-and-response between Mingus and Richmond. Faubus emerges in a glare of ridicule as a mock villain whom no-one really takes seriously.