Accounts of interracialism in white jazz autobiography may best be viewed as works in progress toward a more just society, comparable to the growing movement for gender justice in the contemporary jazz world. Unlike the more unsparing critiques of white appropriation and theft that leave little space for the positive elements of interracialism in popular culture, this book resists the cynicism and despair that come from the belief that individuals are powerless in the face of systemic racism; rather, it proposes a reading of jazz autobiography that stresses the importance of individuals in breaking down the social structures upon which racist laws and institutions depend. Finally, it proposes that the accounts of these autobiographers—from the most embracing to the most virulent—provide rich material for teaching and studying twentieth-century US race history and offer paths for resisting the intolerance of our present time.
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