When the Beatles refused to play in front of an audience divided between whites and blacks

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Among the many voices that have risen against the terrible murder of George Floyd, his also resounds, louder than ever: that of Paul McCartney. The Beatle has in fact published a note on his social networks in which he expressed all his pain and indignation at what happened to the African American: “We must work together to overcome racism in all its forms, we must learn more, listen more, to speak more and above all to commit ourselves personally ».

The refusal of 1964

And Sir Paul recalled that the Beatles on the field really took off way back in 1964, when segregation in many Southern states in the US was a factual reality, with buses, schools, separate neighborhoods. And concert halls: the band knew that it would have to perform in Jacksonville, Florida, in a divided theater, whites on one side and blacks on the other. And he refused to perform in a similar context: “We thought it was wrong,” McCartney simply remembers, “and we imposed in the contract that it shouldn’t have happened.” So the Beatles won their battle, managing to play the same, but without any division: “It was the first concert ever in front of an audience not segregated.” A small but decisive step along the battle for civil rights.

Final appeal

But that should not be of much use, “Paul angry and grieved” admits “if almost sixty years later we have to witness horrendous scenes like that of Floyd and racist acts of the police”. And he concludes with a heartfelt appeal: «I want justice for George Floyd’s family. I want justice for all who died and suffered. Not saying anything is not an option. ” And to say that they said back in 1964 was an act of courage not a little, in a world often bent to the logic of “business is business”, another of the many revolutions of the most important band ever.

June 6, 2020 (change June 6, 2020 | 22:17)

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