The Turkish Embassy’s Surprising Role In Desegregating D.C. JazzBreaking News
tags: Washington D.C., Turkey, jazz, desegregation, Turkish Embassy
In 1930s Washington, two teens changed jazz forever. Their names were Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun.
What was a completely segregated art slowly — and somewhat secretly — began to integrate in the halls of the Turkish Embassy.
What’s now the Turkish Ambassador’s residence sits on Sheridan Circle in Northwest D.C., not far from Georgetown. The mansion dates back to the World War I era, and its ornate rooms are replete with dark carved wood, 16th century art and twinkling gold chandeliers.
In 1935, Ahmet and Nesuhi moved into the house with their father, Ambassador Mehmet Ertegun, and the rest of their family. The teenagers were huge jazz fans — it was the popular music of the time, after all — so for them, D.C.’s thriving jazz scene was like heaven.
“They arrived waiting and anxious and wanting to witness this music firsthand,” said Anna Celenza, a Georgetown University music professor and jazz historian. Soon after they arrived, they started going out to hot jazz clubs like the Howard Theatre on U Street. They saw musicians like Duke Ellington, Joe Marsala and Jelly Roll Morton.
comments powered by Disqus
- Jefferson Davis Memorial Chair Stolen from Alabama Cemetery Found in New Orleans, 2 Arrested
- It’s Time to Reframe Voting Rights in the Courts
- Who are 'White Lies Matter’? Meet the Group that Says it Turned a Stolen Confederate Memorial into a Toilet
- San Francisco Schools Will Keep Jefferson, Lincoln and Washington Names
- The Man Who Waited 50 Years for This Moment
- Washington History Seminar – Until Justice Be Done: America’s First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction
- Washington History Seminar – Stalin: Passage to Revolution, Monday, April 12
- 2021 Winners of the Guggenheim Fellowship are Announced
- Devoted to the Deaf, Did Alexander Graham Bell Do More Harm Than Good?
- Retro Report Presents: How an Abstinence Pledge in the ’90s Shamed a Generation of Evangelicals