NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — For the first time in 100 years, students and faculty alike can legally listen and dance to Jazz music in New Orleans public schools.
On Thursday, March 24, the Orleans Parish School Board unanimously voted to rescind the school board’s action to abolish Jazz music and dancing in public schools.
Since it was passed on March 24, 1922, NOLA-PS reports the policy has been ignored by schools, saying many students have gone on to play part in shaping the history of Jazz, including:
- Allen Toussaint
- Edgar “Dooky” Chase
- Warren Bell Sr.
- Benny Powell
- Yvonne Busch
According to NOLA-PS, the ban stemmed from racist origins and intentions, with creators wanting to distance New Orleans school children from the African-American musicians who created the genre.
According to the Associated Press, board minutes from the 1922 meeting reflected the proposal had been on the agenda and was passed without “prior policy development, analysis, or debate. The AP adds one member abstained from voting on the ban and walked out on a special meeting called at the end of the meeting because media were not allowed in.
Here’s what school board members had to say following the ban’s lift:
“I’m very glad that we can rescind this policy. I want to acknowledge it. It was rooted in racism. And I also want to acknowledge the tremendous contributions of our students and especially of our band directors, whose legacy continues from 1922 through present day.”OPSB President Olin Parker
“What a significant opportunity this is for us to be able to rescind this policy on what is literally the 100th anniversary, to the day, since it was originally passed. I want to thank Dr. Ken Ducote for bringing this to my attention to submit this resolution, and also to thank Connie Phelps, librarian at the Special Collections of the Earl K Long library who unearthed the original minutes for us.”OPSB member Carlos Zervigon
“We’re glad that the policy was ignored by our schools, because our schools played a major role in the development of jazz.OPSB member Katherine Baudouin.
NOLA-PS adds Jazz music in education has been shown to enhance student learning experiences through “inspiring creativity and self-expression and by developing focus, self-discipline, communication skills, and teamwork.”