NYU Black Renaissance Noire Winter 2014 - Page 168

Jules Allen’s Photographic Series on Black Marching Bands Black marching bands are a marching history book of culture, keeping alive our connections to the past, ennobling the struggles and triumphs of everyday life, inspiring us to adapt, succeed and celebrate cultural potency. 166 Every refined gesture and high step is spiritual magic in a black marching band. The bands are grounded in American military and African tradition. They are cultural pathfinders, which seize the public space, dramatically etching the inherited terrain with a transformational force, using archetypal metaphors of home. As an exemplary national institution of mythical dimension, founded and fueled by creative interchange, they link artists with a community vibrantly sensitive to the music and the ceremony. The rhythm and resistance of the bands is an essential American story. Black marching bands provoke us to demand everything they have to give: to mourn the dead, console the distressed, pay respects to our heroes and above all to celebrate victories! By GAIL REID