Booker T. Jones on the 1964 Civil Rights Act

CBS News asked noted figures in the arts, business and politics about their experience in today’s civil rights movement, or about figures who inspired them in their activism.

Booker T. Jones, musician (Booker T. and the MGs), songwriter, and record producer

Is there something that you’d like to share about your personal connection to civil rights issues?

On the heels of one of the most alarming political assassination of our time, an assuredly uneasy President Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas signed an act on July 2, 1964, as a matter of course. He might as well have used invisible ink. Constantly, executive orders and Affirmative Action were needed to make President John F. Kennedy’s initiative earn any simulations of actuality in real life. Institutions, individuals and businesses simply ignored the new laws and continued discriminatory practices.

In the wake of the gruesome slaughter of President Kennedy, the adroit Johnson used his political savvy and called up sizable bravery. But such fortitude pales next to the moxie demonstrated by a tired, diminutive black woman nine years earlier on a bus in Alabama when told to give up her seat to a white passenger. She was Mrs. Rosa Parks.

Given the long history of racial injustices and cruelties rivaling the worst man has ever inflicted on the oppressed, Mrs. Park’s act of defiance was significant enough to give rise to the civil rights movement. The petite woman’s actions showed courage and resolve, and provided the impetus which instigated events that led to the landmark legislation, and her heroism was no less than Herculean in its effect on the progress of the black race.

Such is the legacy of Rosa Parks. There is no figure in the civil rights history of America that is more deserving, or that has demonstrated more daring and humility than Mrs. Rosa Parks.

Read on at CBS News



Stax Records To Get Broadway Treatment


Concord Music Group and Academy Award-nominated and GRAMMY Award-winning producer Stuart Benjamin have begun development of a musical production based on the dramatic story of iconic soul music label Stax Records. The book will be written by Matthew Benjamin. A Spring 2016 Broadway premiere is targeted.

The Stax Records saga, from its beginning in an old movie theater on East McLemore Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, to its extraordinary rise as an international hit-making machine, is an indispensable chapter in American musical history. Amid the civil rights-era racial strife and deep-seated tensions of the late 50’s and 60’s, Stax’s integrated artist roster and staff fundamentally shaped American soul music, spawning the careers of recording artists, songwriters and producers such as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. & the MG’s, The Staple Singers, Albert King, Johnnie Taylor, Eddie Floyd, William Bell, David Porter, Steve Cropper, Rufus and Carla Thomas, just to name a few.


About Stuart Benjamin:

Academy Award-nominated and GRAMMY Award-winning film, television and record producer Stuart Benjamin co-founded New Visions Entertainment which has produced such films as Against All Odds, White Nights, La Bamba, Everybody’s All American, The Long Walk Home and Mortal Thoughts, as well as the Academy Award-winning short, Teenage Father. As a principal in New Visions Music Group, Mr. Benjamin has been involved in a number of platinum-selling soundtrack albums including as executive producer of Sam Moore’s comeback album, Overnight Sensational. Mr. Benjamin has also produced a number of successful feature, television, cable and animated projects, including a live gospel concert with Ray Charles, which he also directed, and the multi-award winning Ray Charles Tribute Concert. Mr. Benjamin’s friendship with Ray Charles resulted in Mr. Charles’ full participation in the film, Ray. The film garnered six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture for which Mr. Benjamin, its producer, was personally nominated. He also won a GRAMMY Award as producer of the film’s multi-platinum soundtrack album. Additionally, Mr. Benjamin has produced two hit musicals; Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara, which will begin touring in 2014 after a long run at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood and Unchain My Heart…The Ray Charles Musical which had a successful debut at the Pasadena Playhouse. Benjamin is a graduate of the University of Southern California and Harvard Law School.

About Concord Music Group:
Concord Music Group, based in Beverly Hills, CA is one of the largest independent record and music publishing companies in the world. A small sampling of the company’s active roster includes Sir Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Alison Krauss, Valerie June, Ben Harper, Chick Corea, Steve Martin, Esperanza Spalding and Seether. Concord’s catalog includes legends such as John Coltrane, John Fogerty, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Little Richard, Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett, among many others. The company’s celebrated family of labels includes Concord Records, Concord Jazz, Hear Music, Fantasy, Milestone, Riverside, Specialty, Telarc, Prestige and Rounder Records. Additionally, Concord has recently partnered with independent label Loma Vista Recordings whose illustrious artist roster includes Spoon, St. Vincent, Little Dragon, Birds of Tokyo, Ghost BC, Manchester Orchestra and Papa.

Concord Music Group is also proud owner of famed Memphis soul music label Stax Records. Through major initiatives including deluxe reissues from Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Johnnie Taylor and many others to new music releases from Angie Stone, Ben Harper and Booker T., Concord seeks to actively protect and maintain Stax Records’ singular legacy.

Concord Music Group’s releases are distributed throughout the world by Universal Music Group and are regularly licensed for use in major motion pictures, television and advertising. In March of 2013, Wood Creek Capital Management, LLC acquired Concord Music Group in partnership with an individual investor group that includes members of Concord’s senior management. As an investment manager at the forefront of intellectual property investing, the confidence in Concord underscores Wood Creek’s belief in the lasting and appreciating value of great music content around the globe.