BlackMusic, BlackWork Exhibit Showcases Historic Black Los Angeles Musicians Union


WHAT:  Opening night of BlackMusic, BlackWork, a historical exhibition showcasing the African-American musicians union Local 767 of Los Angeles of the 1920s through 1950s.

Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, 6-9 p.m.

California Jazz and Blues Museum
4317 Degnan Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90008


–  John Acosta, President, American Federation of Musicians Local 47

–  Lola Smallwood Cuevas, Co-Founder, Los Angeles Black Worker Center

–  Albert Lord, Deputy – South East, Council District 10 (Herb Wesson)

–  Deputy, Council District 8 (Marqueece Harris-Dawson)

–  Musicians and family members of historical Local 767

–  Live musical performances by Barbara Morrison & the Nedra Wheeler Trio

This Black History Month marks the launch of BlackMusic, BlackWork, a historical exhibition that explores the unsung bravery and artistry of Black working musicians of Central Avenue in Los Angeles whose work transformed L.A.’s music industry forever.

Developed by the American Federation of Musicians Local 47, Los Angeles Black Worker Center, and UCLA Labor Center and History Department, the exhibition includes rare photographs, historical documents and other ephemera that shed a light on the segregated Musicians Protective Association Local 767 of Los Angeles from the 1920s through early 1950s. The efforts of these musicians paved the way for big-name artists like Quincy Jones and Lenny Kravitz and laid the foundation for Black workers to organize for racial and economic justice in Los Angeles and beyond.

The opening event takes place Thursday, Feb. 23, from 6-9 p.m. at the new California Jazz and Blues Museum, opened by acclaimed jazz vocalist Barbara Morrison in Leimert Park, South Los Angeles. Major sponsors include Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, LA Metro, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, American Federation of Teachers Local 1521A, and the California Endowment.

The program will feature a panel of distinguished guest speakers discussing struggle of Black musicians from Central Avenue’s rise as the West Coast’s cultural center up to the present struggles of working musicians and activists, oral histories with prominent Local 767 members, live jazz performances, and a diverse crowd of workers, business owners, interfaith leaders, local elected officials, in the heart of L.A.’s African American Arts culture, Leimert Park. Tickets are $25 at the door. Discounted presale tickets for $20, and VIP Early Admission tickets for $100, are available at The exhibition runs through June 30.

About AFM Local 47American Federation of Musicians Local 47 is a labor organization formed by and for musicians over a century ago that promotes and protects the concerns of 7,000 Los Angeles-area musicians in all areas of the music business. Local 47 is affiliated with the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, the largest organization in the world representing the interests of 85,000 professional musicians.

About Los Angeles Black Worker Center – This dynamic table of workers, organized labor, community-based organizations, clergy, students, and scholars works collectively to improve the position of the African-American working class, facilitate co-empowerment of workers and potential workers, and strengthen the voice of L.A.’s social and economic justice community.

About UCLA Labor Center – The UCLA Labor Center believes that a public university belongs to the people and should advance quality education and employment for all. Every day we bring together workers, students, faculty, and policymakers to address the most critical issues facing working people today. Our research, education, and policy work lifts industry standards, creates jobs that are good for communities, and strengthens immigrant rights, especially for students and youth.

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