Justice Sandra Day O'Connor talks jazz and democracy

By Kimberly Atkins

Dolan Media Newswires

BOSTON, MA--Much has already been written about Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's quest to boost civics education. But did you know that she is also an avid jazz fan?

Those two passions came together in a new educational series in which O'Connor joins jazz legend Wynton Marsalis in a conversation about the role of jazz in American democracy.

''Jazz calls us to engage with out national identity,'' O'Connor says in the program, called Let Freedom Swing: Conversations on Jazz and Democracy. ''It gives expression to the beauty of democracy, and of personal freedom, and of choosing to embrace the humanity of all types of people. It really is what American democracy is supposed to be.''

The project - a collaboration by Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Documentary Group, and Columbia University's Teachers College - features historians, musicians, and students discussing the connection between jazz and American democracy through themes such as freedom of expression and patriotism.

O'Connor describes the approach of jazz musicians in a way that sounds similar to the way the justices of the Supreme Court engage during conferences or oral arguments. ''Each takes a turn performing and the others listen,'' O'Connor says.


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Published: Thu, Oct 28, 2010


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