Rhodes history professor Jeff Jackson will be one of several scholars interviewed for a new documentary on PBS titled “Harlem in Montmartre: A Paris Jazz Story” which will air nationally on August 26, 2009 at 8:00 Eastern/7:00 Central on most PBS stations (check local listings).
“Harlem in Montmartre” tells the story of the jazz age in Paris between the first and second World Wars, exploring an often neglected era in African-American cultural history. After the peace treaty was signed at Versailles, many black Americans remained in Europe rather than return to the brutal segregation and racism of America. Over the next two decades, they created an expatriate community of musicians, entertainers and entrepreneurs, primarily congregating in Paris′s hilly Montmartre neighborhood. Some achieved enduring fame, while others have faded into history. Inspired by the book by William A. Shack and using research from Jackson’s book Making Jazz French, along with rare archival material from both France and America, this documentary features footage of such key figures as James Reese Europe, Josephine Baker, Sidney Bechet, Bricktop, Eugene Bullard, Django Reinhardt, and many more. It also recreates the music from that period with wonderful performances by jazz musicians today.