Media Resource

The Jazz Ambassadors

The Jazz Ambassadors is a Peabody award winning, NEH-funded film about the role jazz artists played during the Cold War. Intended by the U.S. government to counter negative images of racism and anti-Black discrimination in the United States, these artists spoke honestly about the inequalities faced by African Americans in their country.

You can view additional clips from the movie on PBS.

Learn More

Listen to an NPR interview with director Hugo Berkeley.

Classroom Connections

On EDSITEment, learn about the role jazz played in World War II and the effects of war on the musical style in Jazz and World War II: A Rally to Resistance, A Catalyst for Victory (grades 9-12). The longer history of African American music in the United States is covered in The Music of African American History (grades 9-12).

Our "Jazz Beyond Borders" Closer Reading looks at jazz through a global lens, including discussion of the Jazz Ambassadors program started during the Cold War. 

PBS has created a series of lesson plans for grades 8-12 that draw on materials from the film.