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Music Education and the National Urban League

Dear Don Bowen,  

First, let me say we have lots to be grateful and appreciative for and I acknowledge that! It is so good to know that you have risen to the Directorship of the National Urban League. Surely, the hard work you did for our office here in Fort Lauderdale had a lot to do with this commendable promotion on your behalf.  

I contacted you by phone at the suggestion of Karriem Edwards. I thank you for taking my call and for your response to the email I sent with information on my books and workshops on Women in Jazz and Blues.  

I see an opportunity to bring to the national arena something of great value and would appreciate the opportunity to dialogue with Dr. Hal Smith, VP of Education and Youth Development, if you would be so kind as to arrange that connection.  

Actually, I visited the Urban League office in Las Vegas a couple of months ago and three women there were very interested in my books and workshops. However I haven’t heard any more from them. Here, in Fort Lauderdale, I have not been in touch with anyone from the Urban League, but would be happy to sit down with anyone you could introduce me to.
I realize that we’re in a very tight economic environment and people are more concerned with everyday needs than with the Arts. But it is the Arts that enable people to, first, forget about the hard times and, second, develop their own creativity to overcome obstacles they face, personally and in business.  

Once we understand that taking Music and Art out of school and paying parents to feed their children Ritalin to counteract Attention Deficiency Disorder, which is a direct result of NOT learning how to access their creativity, we will honor artists by engaging them to develop and implement programs and workshops like the ones I’ve presented to you. Available at this link –  

The Urban League’s Statement is as follows:  

Our Strategy – The National Urban League employs a five-point approach to provide economic empowerment, educational opportunities and the guarantee of civil rights for African Americans.

As the founder of Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc. and a 38-year veteran of the Performing Arts, I am fully aware of the benefits musicians reap from musical studies, most importantly, discipline, dedication and ability to make a living from something they love to do, not to mention the opportunity to travel to foreign shores as Ambassors of Peace, where they are appreciated by people of varying cultures and backgrounds.

Education and Youth Empowerment ensures the education of all children by providing access to early childhood literacy, after-care programs and college scholarships.

My personal experience within the education system includes sharing the stories of Women in Jazz and Blues with thousands of children in Florida, New York, Georgia, China, Japan and Europe. In 1997, 1998 and 2000, I was the recipient of nearly $15,000 in Student Enrichment in the Arts grants (SEAS), through Broward County Schools.

Right now, I’m working on our organization’s directory listing and a grant proposal for the Broward Cultural Arts Council to take our programs into the schools and after-care programs in 2010.

In the past 12 years, I’ve presented at several colleges, including FAU, FIU, MDCC, BCC, NOVA SE and York College, where I’ve been scheduled to return on March 4, 2010. This one-hour presentation is fully-documented in photographs and videos on my websites:, and

Each time we bring the story of Women in Jazz and Blues to students, we receive positive feedback from them, their teachers, principals and parents. This is why we work to continue bringing this program to schools and events to the community. See our concert series at

Economic Empowerment invests in the financial literacy and employability of adults through job training, homeownership and entrepreneurship.

Every professional musician and artist is an entrepreneur that can enhance the learning process of adults and children they come in contact with. Musicians must learn how to be financially stable, especially in economic times like these. What music and art teach the artist is that they have a gift that they are responsible for sharing with others and that compensation is certainly forthcoming.

Personally, I’ve retired from the music business three times (1996, 1999, 2001) and I’ve returned, purely on the basis that music is my God-given talent that I MUST share with the world. It is the “talent” that I must use for the good of all. I must not bury it, take it for granted or squander it. See The Parable of the Ten Talents

I believe I understand that, now, and I am determined to help others recognize the value of African American music, art and culture. My book, A History of African-Amerian Jazz and Blues expands on why so many African-Americans have not reaped financial benefits of their artistic production. It’s tied up with cultural politics and I believe this book qualifies as required reading for every African-American man, woman and child. The book contains interviews with jazz greats Quincy Jones, Dewey Redman (father of Joshua), Lester Bowie (Chicago Art Ensemble) and Sandy Patton (Vocal Instructor, Swiss Jazz School). If we neglect to understand the value and importance of our cultural production, the dominant society will continue to be the only benefactor of it’s fruits, i.e., record companies, publishers, promoters and distributors.

Blues and Jazz are “the only original American art forms” and have been designated by Congress as a National Treasure! See the attached letter from First Lady Michelle Obama, indicating that we have been in touch with her regarding our organization.

Health and Quality of Life Empowerment promotes community wellness through a focus on prevention, including fitness, healthy eating and access to affordable healthcare.

This President’s highest priority has been health care reform. My contention is that happiness is the greatest cure for ill health. Music and Art are at the top of the list of conditions that cause happiness. I could write a treatise on this. This video sent to me earlier in the week speaks volumes about the healing properties of music. 

Patrick plays!

Civic Engagement and Leadership Empowerment encourages all people to take an active role to improve quality of life through participation in community service projects and public policy initiatives.

There can be no doubt that musical events unite a community, if only for one hour. You live in New York City. Have you been to the Jazzmobiles, during the summer, attended by thousands of New Yorkers? I was 19, when I attended some of the first concerts in 1968-70. At Grant’s Tomb, circa 1984, I performed with some of the greatest living jazz artists, including Frank Foster, Frank Wes and George Coleman. This experience led me to where I am as a jazz artist, today. Since then, hundreds of young musicians have been influenced by these concerts and by the education program developed by this organization. – It is our mission to continue this legacy with WOMEN IN JAZZ SOUTH FLORIDA, INC. –

Civil Rights and Racial Justice Empowerment guarantees equal participation in all facets of American society through proactive public policies and community-based programs.

The impact that Blues and Jazz artists have had on the global society is undeniable. This truth fills many books about musicians like Ella Fitzgerald, Mary Lou Williams, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and so many more who traveled to foreign lands as representatives of the American people and, African-American people in particular, bringing unmeasureable joy, despite obstacles they faced as people of color in the United States, under Jim Crow Laws declaring them less than whole persons. They were applauded on other continents and abused at home. But that didn’t stop them from being the messengers of peace, hope, love and community that they were born to be. Their stories must continue to be told to urban children, children in the suburbs and on farms, where many of them came from. Our organization serves that purpose and we trust that the National Urban League recognizes the value and importance of that work.

I ask that you calendar our Women in Jazz Presentations on Thursday, March 4, 2010 at York College and Friday, March 5, at the Langston Hughes Library in Queens. I’ll continue to send you notices with additional performances in the NY area and exact times, if that is not an imposition. Perhaps, you would be willing to share these dates with others you know who value the music and musicians we present.

In the meantime, please connect me with Dr. Hal Smith so that we can explore the possibilities of a partnership.

All the best,

Love and music,

Joan Cartwright

Founder & Executive Director

Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc.

2801 S. Oakland Forest Drive

Suite 103

Oakland Park, FL 33309


Diva JC

From: Donald Bowen <>
To: Joan Cartwright <>
Sent: Tue, November 24, 2009 11:06:21 AM
Subject: RE: Joan Cartwright’s Books and Workshops

Joan – I looked at the links below and want to commend you for your continued growth and for your efforts to expose young people to music and the arts.  You may or may not know that the National Urban League is an intermediary organization with 100 affiliates throughout the country.   Our affiliates are our direct-service delivery mechanism and each affiiates operates as its own separate and independent not for profit organization.  Approximately 5-10% of affiliates programming is directed and funded at the national level while most of it is conceived and funded locally.  As such, we do not have any national programs which involve music or the arts directly.   Nevertheless, I have asked  Dr. Hal Smith, our VP of Education and Youth Development to review your materials to determine if there are any opportunities to collaborate with you and for us to utilize the services which you provide.   We do conduct a national youth conference each year, and perhaps this venue might provide an opportunity to work with you.   Another strategy which you might want to pursue is to work directly with one of more of our local affiliates.  While we could recommend you to them, I would not suggest this approach as frankly they get too much from us already and it probably would “get lost” in the traffic.  Have you had any conversations with any of the local – South Florida affiliates?  If not, that might be a good place to start and I could facilitate the introduction, if needed.  Honestly, the chances of connecting the dots with a local affiliate are greater and this is probably an easier path to take than looking for a national type program or engagement.  I will let you know what Hal Smith suggests.  Let me know if you have tried to work with some of our local affiliates or if this is something you wish to pursue.  Happy Thanksgiving – it was good hearing from you.  Don

From: Joan Cartwright []
Sent: Monday, November 23, 2009 6:21 PM
To: Donald Bowen
Subject: Joan Cartwright’s Books and Workshops


Thanks for taking my call this evening.

It was great to hear your voice and I trust your work there is very fulfilling.

Here’s the link to my books and workshops.

My goal is to teach and bring awareness about the lives, contributions and joy brought to the global society by musicians who have made a difference no matter what circumstances they had to overcome. – Diva JC  

I would appreciated being on your list of artists who bring education to programs for urban children.

Let me know if you need anything else to make this happen.

I’ll be in NYC on March 4 at York College.

Will send more info as needed.

All the best in your endeavors at the National Urban League!

Joan Cartwright



For several years, I’ve built a site with content from emails and online of interest to me and, obviously, others. Click the image to see the 92 posts I’ve saved there. Here, I will add other conversations.


What do they mean?

As a musician and wordist, I have the opportunity to communicate with lots of people worldwide about the challenges of artists in this present economy. Actually, very little has changed for most musicians. We “play” music, therefore the larger society doesn’t really take us serious. We’re expected to pay all of our bills, but we’re also asked to perform for FREE or next to FREE on more than one occasion. The account that follows speaks to this problem.

I’m waving lots of flags. Here are some of them –
Here, the government is supposed to be “The People”. However, when parents allow the arts to be taken out of school and give their children drugs to subdue their creativity, we definitely have a problem. Obviously, it’s not just on this side of the planet. Your attestation confirms it’s a disease around the world.

Of course, Europeans appreciate the arts. Maybe we need to meet in Italy! Even there, they don’t have much money to pay anymore.

What to do? What to do?

Let’s keep talking and see if we can come up with a solution. We surely have a wide space in which to work. America ——— Australia.

Love and Music,

From: Heather
To: Joan
Sent: Sun, November 22, 2009 5:32:51 AM
Subject: Re: Music heals alllllllllllll!

Yes! There’s quite a number of us out there, so we’ll need to wave some pretty big signs…and ask for help from above!

Thank you for your email. It’s so weird to have this conversation with you, then have it in the park where I went for a picnic soon after!

Lobbying the government will be the hardest part – as usual.

Have a good week : )


Understanding is a wonderful thing. See the new blog I started, based on an old site I’ve been building on my website for many years. Be sure to follow the link

I think all of what you’ve said is true about here too.

POPE is more like POOP, Place of ODD People is what a jazz space is now.

On Oct 17, we had 100 people at our jazz series #1.
Tonight, at #2, we had about 50 people. Why? Everyone in Florida is at the Classics.

Now, you would think that means a Euro-Music concert.

Official Site Of The Florida Classic

Negroes really know how to reuse Caucasian terms. Here, it stand for Sports!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Go figure.

About medicine and music, did you ever see
I pay $50 a year to be on this site. Joan Cartwright [North America, Florida, USA]

Maybe one day, the world will turn back from killing and competing to sweet soul music. Let’s hope.


November 21, 2009 8:33:50 PM

Re: Music heals alllllllllllll!

Hahaha – what a response! How do I answer all that? Ah, see the responses in purple. Hope it makes sense. cheers, Heather


This message is so full of FOOD FOR THOUGHT for

We need to break it down. From my point, here are some points to ponder:
I was so busy studying and stressed to the max with an ill man in my life! WHICH ARE YOU DOING NOW? Men tend to be a great obstruction to a woman’s musical career. Neither. Just finished study. Moved out in July, so the man is at arm’s length. In recuperation mode (for both of us) – altho’ he is still not at all well, and yes, I will look out for him but on my timetable. I’m now looking for permanent work, either in teaching or where I am in the Bureau of Statistics – Commonwealth job.

Dealing with one thing at a time and the job circuit and world is opening out. IS MUSIC YOUR CAREER? Please expand on “the is world opening out.” Kind of. To do music in this country, you need another job. For most, it’s instrumental teaching – or an office job. For me, doing classroom music teaching was to keep a foot in both camps. I put my teaching start date off until next year. At the moment, I’m working a bureacratic life in a government office but it keeps everything together while I get my creative feathers together again. (I stopped doing a lot of things musical for about 6 years.) So putting MY style of chart together has moved up the list, hindered a little by the fact that I used the piano as my tool, which was sold earlier this year. Right now, I’m in a home without a piano for the first time in my entire life. In a way, it’s OK ‘cos I have to clean up all the other mess in my life to make way, if you know what I mean. So it won’t be a distraction for a few months. Once I clear the hoardings away, there will be room for a piano in the basement. The man I ‘look after’ said I could have his lovely Ronisch. He nearly sold it. I begged him to keep it for me until I had room…and he did. He’s a good egg. His illness and side-affects filled my headspace with other angst that I truly didn’t need at the time. So now it’s up to me to get it all moving. It does depend a little on where the permanent work pops up! I’m breathing easy. For some reason, the universe has kept saying “sit tight”…so I’ll just do things bit by bit and do JUST that!

It makes sense but left my pal bitter about musicians and their carelessness. THIS IS THE BEAST WE ARE CONFRONTED WITH. How do we raise consciousness. I don’t know. The government heads and administrators talk but hardly put action or money where their mouth is…I’m kind of hoping that the medical science world is the way to get music back high on the agenda. You see, a lot of prominent people say ‘we all need music’, yet it isn’t reflected in attitudes among education or business people. The Arts is the first to suffer in the financial crisis, yet it is the substance that people need most at such a time. We don’t have philosophers like Aristotle around anymore, even Dewey, to raise the consciousness of the wellbeing of mankind – and music is a big contributor to the way our minds develop and process thought.

Local government laws which abandoned the licensing of live music venues. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Musicians are facing real challenges in society today. Our local government decided that if places were to put on live music, they needed to be licenced for such a purpose, as a POPE: Place of Public Entertainment. See:

I’ve gotta choof off for some FREEEEEEEEE creativity. WHAT’S CHOOF? Run/go. I’ve gotta run, or I’ve gotta go. Taken, I think, from the sound of a choo-choo train moving out of the station. Gotta choof! (Aussie slang, from Queensland, I think…where I grew up.) I could be wrong but I haven’t heard of another explanation.
: ) Heather


November 21, 2009 1:47:19 AM

Re: Music heals alllllllllllll!

Yes, Joan.

You are SO right.

It’s taken me 20 years to learn that lesson. Worse still, there have been open-minded (men) players around who said they are available for me! So I really need to get my shit together. I was so busy studying and stressed to the max with an ill man in my life! Dealing with one thing at a time and the job circuit and world is opening out.

I also need to learn how to have valuable time for me and my energy so there’s enough there for the creativity!

As said before, I’m co-writing with a VERY talented individual. I think he and I are coming from the same page. Unlike me, he didn’t stop doing music. However, he was burnt by a “starlet” – who rushed off to make $’000’s (supposedly) at the drop of a hat after his composition, energy and production time put her where she is today. THAT to me is poor taste – no matter how hard everyone is trying for a paid gig.

In a way, I guess it suits her – because she’s the crowd control performer…not really creative. So it makes sense but left my pal bitter about musicians and their, shall we say, carelessness.

Meanwhile, more Sydney venues have ‘closed out’ (as opposed to “shut down”)…despite a change in local government laws which abandoned the licensing of live music venues.

More later, I’ve gotta choof off for some FREEEEEEEEE creativity. : )

Heather x


First, let me say that your messages bring me such LIGHT! and I appreciate you even more than words can express.

Next, I sent you an invite to a private ning network,
Please join and CAREFULLY invite other jazzers in Australia to join IF YOU KNOW THEY UNDERSTAND WHERE REAL JAZZ CAME FROM.

Finally, I’ve passed up lots of opportunities to teach in the school system here for one reason – I refuse to subject myself to the narrow views of school officials and the outright disrespect of students. At 61 (62 on Dec 7), I’m not in the frame of mind to be insulted on a daily basis.

What I’m doing is promoting THE LAUDERHILL JAZZ SERIES and soliciting ads and sponsorship for this program so badly needed here since most of the jazz venues have become parking lots. I just put up new videos from our concert on Oct 17. See

About your band and music selections. The first group I worked with was Siembre, a latin jazz band of 8 men and me. I was with them for 1 year in Philadelphia. I loved being the center of attention, however, after one year of them doing conga solos on EVERY SONG I SANG, including ballads like My Funny Valentine and In A Sentimental Mood, I decided to leave the band and form my own jazz group – Take Five with piano, bass, drums, sax and me. I got to pick all the music we did and sang my original lyrics and songs.

This is what I’m teaching women to do – BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. If the musicians don’t want to do your material, get some more musicians.

Please let’s continue this conversation on the ning network. It’s very very important.

November 18, 2009, 3:32 AM


Thank you, thank you so much!

I’m reading the book: The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidges.

It’s about neuroplasticity…and he is forever referring to cases about music and education.

For the same reason, I have every hope for the siamese twins that were just separated at the head. Now that the medical world and psychologists are recognising how we can shape our brains to shape ourselves and the information it absorbs, there are many ways to repair lost, damaged or traumatised cells.

Ah Joan,

I’m not sure why but I’m letting music teaching jobs slip by! I’ve passed with flying colours (100% for both assessments in my final semester). At this point, all I hear the univers saying is “sit tight”. I have no idea why yet. I sit quite content in a government bureaucratic job. Either way, there is room for developing my own music – so it’s like I would be juggling which path I travel down now.

Hmmm. What your book can’t address is when singers (namely me, on this occasion) have a dummy spit because the band boys are being too patronising, deceptive, controlling over the artistic output. Needless to say, the band I joined at the beginning of the year (with a view to Christmas functions work etc once we were out and about) is not on my agenda anymore.

So. I’m back to square one. Well, not quite. I’ve found another interesting avenue writing lyrics/melody with a great musician who’s put some soundtracks together. He and I have the same influences, so that’s really special. He’s got the best Blue Note collection I’ve seen in Australia. He totally loves Cuban to Brazilian music. And he’s quite eclectic as far as world music goes.

I know I’ve come full circle now and ready for the next phase because all the degrees of separation have kind of “imploded” down to ONE – no more than two, anyway!! I don’t know if that’s a good thing. We’ll see.

How are things for you?

Cheers, Heather


Patrick plays!

Diva JC