15 November 2007

Going to see Neil Young tonight...

Neil Young is playing Constitution Hall tonight, and I'm going to be there. In all my fourteen years of living in this nation's capital, I've never been in the site that turned away Marion Anderson because the Daughters of the American Revolution didn't like the fact that she was Black. The DC School Board also denied her an auditorium. Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR over their racist stance (which of course didn't keep FDR from hemming and hawing and dragging his feet over anti-lynching legislation). Marion Anderson instead performed at the Lincoln Memorial.

These days the DAR is happy to have anyone in their doors, and Neil Young will be there and I will be there and it will be the first time I've seen Mr. Young live and in person. Young of course wrote "Southern Man," in which he attacked the white supremacists who were clinging to their dustbin of history ways, and "Alabama," which takes a more indirect route by implying that Alabama has poverty to worry about rather than upholding white supremacy. Lynyrd Skynyrd didn't take kindly to Neil Young's critiques, calling him out in "Sweet Home Alabama," though they themselves claimed it was for the sweeping condemnation of the South rather than for the anti-racist aspect of Young's song (Skynyrd have some interesting stances, including what might be one of the earliest gun control songs in "Saturday Night Special").

I'm guessing Mr. Young will be promoting his new album, Chrome Dreams II, and pulling out a few oldies from his catalog. I'm hoping for "Like a Hurricane" myself.

2 comments:

Grad School Reject said...

Have you read Richard Powers' _In the Time of Our Singing_? He uses the Marion Anderson story as a pivot point for his novel. The novel isn't about Anderson, but the story's relevance is certainly there. And the book happens to be pretty fantastic, like of most of Powers' books, despite the fact that he doesn't get much press.

p.s. - MA is going to to totally back me up here.

Momentary Academic said...

I do back GSR up. I love that novel so very much.