The Great Depression And President Roosevelt 's New Deal

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The 1930s, historically remembered for the Great Depression and President Roosevelt’s New Deal, demonstrated a time of great racial tension and segregation in America. Slavery dissolved and the Ku Klux Klan became less popular; the struggle of African Americans, however, was not over. Racial segregation thrived with half of African Americans out of work, their jobs transfered to whites who were struggling from the Great Depression (“Race During the Great Depression”). The New Deal, created to promote equality and produce jobs, proved largely ineffective on the front of desegregation, doing little to help the black American community. One place that African Americans were able to prosper: jazz. However, even the jazz community itself remained segregated. Racial prejudice came from both fronts: whites did “not want to mix socially with Negroes,” and blacks believed that “when a Negro enters a White band, he loses his identity as a Negro musician” (“DownBeat Dodges the Racial Issue”). Benny Goodman, however, broke this barrier, initially in 1935 with the first interracial jazz performance, and again in his 1938 Carnegie Hall concert featuring black musicians. Benny Goodman’s career did not commence with the Trio’s 1935 performance; a clarinet player from a young age, Goodman initiated his professional career in 1925 as a member of the Ben Pollack Orchestra. During his time with the orchestra, he recorded his first solo on the song “He’s the Last Word.” In 1931, Benny
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