Yesterday on the BBC World Service’s Newshour, CMCI Lecturer Dr. Harvey G. Cohen provided commentary on the significance of African American performer Lena Horne, who died on Sunday 9 May at the age of 92. Though she enjoyed worldwide success as a jazz vocalist, film and TV star, recording artist, and Broadway performer, she is perhaps best known for her civil rights activism in the film and music world during World War 2 and in the decades afterward. Cohen briefly spoke about both these themes, especially focusing on her support for black soldiers during USO tours during the war. The broadcast is online for the next 7 days – listen to the 10 May 2010 show on the BBC’s web player or as a podcast on the official Newshour website here; the segment on Lena Horne takes up the last 5 minutes of the broadcast. The BBC World Service’s Newshour is broadcast worldwide, including on dozens of National Public Radio stations in the United States.
Dr. Cohen’s new book “Duke Ellington’s America” (University of Chicago Press) is the subject of an extended essay in the latest issue of the New Yorker, available here.