Martin Luther King Jr. was born in 1929 and was assassinated on April 4, 1968. King was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesman and leader in the civil rights movement. He was also the son of early civil rights activist and minister Martin Luther King Sr., an African American church leader who advanced civil rights for people of color in the United States through nonviolence and civil disobedience. While being influential, King also recruited big celebrities to support his movement. But which celebrity joined the civil rights marches with him?
Frank Sinatra was an outspoken advocate for civil rights. He was a generous financial supporter of Martin Luther King Jr., and he was recruited to join the civil rights marches in the south by him. He would later be honored by the NAACP with a lifetime achievement award.
How Did Frank Sinatra Show His Support for Civil Rights?
America was in apartheid during the 1940s and 1950s. The courts, legislatures, laws, churches, and institutions converged with the blessing and explanation to excuse it. It was hard to believe that Frank Sinatra who was born in 1915 would go on to promote the rights of all people in both his public and private life.
An early example of Frank Sinatra using his fame came in 1945. This was at the start of his Sinatramania when he appeared as himself in a fictional film. During a break in a recording session, he witnesses a scene on the street in which ten boys chase down a Jewish kid. He intervened and tells them that all Americans are equal, regardless of race or religious creed. The film, titled The House I Live In, went on to win a special Academy Award and a Golden Globe the following year after its release.
Sinatra insisted on having integrated supporting orchestras throughout his career. He collaborated with practically every black jazz, blues, and swing idol, including Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, and many others. He also became close friends with them. By the 1960s, he recorded two records with Count Basie for Reprise, and in the 1950s, he quoted him musically and lyrically in his Capitol Records work – a notable reference can be found in the line Hey there, cutes, put on your Basie boots and come dance with me! in his version of Come Dance With Me. (Source: Jazziz)
When did Frank Sinatra Become a Supporter of the Civil Rights Movement?
Martin Luther King Jr. encouraged Frank Sinatra to join the Civil Rights marches in the South during the turbulent 1960s. In a few sentences from the July 1958 edition of Ebony Magazine, which contained a race essay by Sinatra, his opinion on racial matters may be summed neatly.
My friend is not of any race, class, or ethnicity, and he is not a member of any minority group. My friendships are built on affection, mutual respect, and a sense of shared interests. These are timeless values that cannot be quantified.Frank Sinatra, American Singer
(Source: Barry Bradford)