Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Narrative images: The Duke plays baseball

"Duke Ellington and band members playing baseball in front of their segregated motel ("Astor Motel") while touring in Florida" (via). In the background the sign "Colored. Astor Motel" can be seen.

The Astor Motel was located at 1111 Cleveland Street near Kings Road in Sugar Hill, Jacksonville. It was one of Jacksonville's "finest accomodations for blacks during segregation" (via)

The photograph was taken by Charlotte Brooks (1918-2014), born Charlotte Finkelstein, in 1955. Brooks was "one of only a handful of women ever hired to work as a full-time staff photographer at Look magazine". She was assigned to provide pictures for so-called women's features - children, families, food, homes. But the photographer with "the mind of a sociologist" soon produced a photo essay about one of the black teenagers who integrated in a high school in the 1950s, Brooks explored "the emotional toll of those historic months in one teenager's life". In the 1950s, she also went on tour with Duke Ellington and "returned with the story of a grueling bus travel, transcendent musical performances and the many extra miles that even a jazz great like Ellington was forced to travel in search of food and lodging when the tour entered the segregated South" (via).

“Within the male-dominated world of photojournalism and commercial photography during the postwar period in the U.S., Brooks was a pioneer.”
Ileana Selejan

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Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (1899-1974) on YouTube:

::: Wonderful: Duke Ellington live at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall (1969): WATCH/LISTEN
::: The Duke discusses jazz (1970): WATCH/LISTEN
::: It don't mean a thing (1943): WATCH/LISTEN

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photograph via