Remembering: the Man in Black (One)



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  1. Quote:
    “In 1965, Cash and June Carter appeared on Pete Seeger’s TV show, Rainbow Quest, on which Cash explained his start as an activist for Native Americans:
    In ’57, I wrote a song called ‘Old Apache Squaw’ and then forgot the so-called Indian protest for a while, but nobody else seemed to speak up with any volume of voice.[63]
    Columbia, the label for which Cash was recording then, was opposed to putting the song on his next album, considering it “too radical for the public”.[64] Cash singing songs of Indian tragedy and settler violence went radically against the mainstream of country music in the 1950s, which was dominated by the image of the righteous cowboy who simply makes the native’s soil his own.[65]
    In 1964, coming off the chart success of his previous album “I Walk The Line”, he recorded the aforementioned album Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian.”
    “We’re Still Here: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited, a documentary by Antonino D’Ambrosio (author of A Heartland and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears) tells the story of Johnny Cash’s controversial concept album “Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian”, covering the struggles of Native Americans. The film’s DVD was released on August 21, 2018.[66]
    The album featured stories of a multitude of native peoples, mostly of their violent oppression by white settlers: The Pima (“The Ballad of Ira Hayes”), Navajo (“Navajo”), Apache (“Apache Tears”), Lakota (“Big Foot”), Seneca (“As Long as the Grass Shall Grow”), and Cherokee (“Talking Leaves”). Cash wrote three of the songs himself and one with the help of Johnny Horton, but the majority of the protest songs were written by folk artist Peter La Farge[67] (son of activist and Pulitzer prizewinner Oliver La Farge), whom Cash met in New York in the 1960s and whom he admired for his activism.[68] The album’s single, “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” (about one of the six to raise the U.S. flag at Iwo Jima), was neglected by nonpolitical radio at the time, and the record label denied it any promotion due to its provocative protesting and “unappealing” nature.[69] Cash faced resistance and was even urged by an editor of a country music magazine to leave the Country Music Association: “You and your crowd are just too intelligent to associate with plain country folks, country artists, and country DJs.”[70]”
    Johnny Cash was much more than a top Country Singer. He was a very compassionate and intelligent and true American with enormous courage to speak up to the monsters in this business whose only interest was a five letter obscene word MONEY. Read all of this fascinating article for all the details. Thanks Gordon for posting this. Johnny Cash 1932-2003, 71 years from extreme poverty of the great depression to one of the greatest and most compassionate and intelligent performers of all time with much sorrow and suffering along the way. I had no idea of the story of his remarkable life.
    Born J.R. Cash

    February 26, 1932
    Kingsland, Arkansas, U.S.

    Died September 12, 2003(aged 71)
    Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.

    Resting place Hendersonville Memory Gardens, Tennessee, U.S.

    • Further quote from above Wikipedia article:
      “In reaction, on August 22, 1964, the singer posted a letter as an advertisement in Billboard, calling the record industry cowardly. “D.J.s – station managers – owners … where are your guts?” he demands. “I had to fight back when I realized that so many stations are afraid of Ira Hayes. Just one question: WHY???” He concludes the letter, “Ira Hayes is strong medicine … So is Rochester, Harlem, Birmingham and Vietnam.” [71] Cash kept promoting the song himself and used his influence on radio disc jockeys he knew eventually to make the song climb to number three on the country charts, while the album rose to number two on the album charts.[70]

      Cash in 1969
      Later, on The Johnny Cash Show, he continued telling stories of Native-American plight, both in song and through short films, such as the history of the Trail of Tears.[72]

      In 1966, in response to his activism, the singer was adopted by the Seneca Nation’s Turtle Clan. He performed benefits in 1968 at the Rosebud Reservation, close to the historical landmark of the massacre at Wounded Knee, to raise money to help build a school. He also played at the D-Q University in the 1980s.[73]

      “Johnny Cash used his stardom and economic status to bring awareness to the issues surrounding the Native American people.[74] Cash sang songs about indigenous humanity in an effort to confront the U.S. government. Many non-Native Americans stayed away from singing about these things.[75]

      In 1970, Cash recorded a reading of John G. Burnett’s 1890 80th-birthday essay [76] on Cherokee removal for the Historical Landmarks Association (Nashville).[77]”

    • I take pride in first learning here that I was born exactly 1 day after and 7 years later than this giant of an American, Johnny Cash, on February 27, 1939 at Lutheran Hospital at Cleveland, Ohio.

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