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


Summer writing workshop

Books by Joan Cartwright

Books by Joan Cartwright

Diva Joan Cartwright has the opportunity to teach a creative writing workshop in Assisi, Italy, in July-August. She needs 4-10 students to make this happen.

Register for a two or four-week intensive writing workshop in Assisi, Italy with musician, composer, poet and author Diva Joan Cartwright, author of 9 books: 3 poetry, 2 manuals on musicians and musicianship, memoirs, history and 2 music books. Joan’s classes will explore the creative process involved in structuring lyrics and poetry; researching biographical material; interviewing as research; journaling as storytelling; travel writing and historical data gathering. Classes run from July 18 to August 18, 2009. For information and registration: