One of the great advantages of my life and time was growing up in a couple of places on the southern New England coast. A tough old factory town and, later, a culturally vital small town nearby. Both offered me a lot. Not the least of which was being able to hop in the family car [a 20-year-old Chevy] and be in Harlem, Greenwich Village, anywhere in metro New York City in an hour or so.
So, this young white dude, reading philosophy, writing poetry, hating every factory I worked in…got to hear the real deal in person: Malcom X on a Harlem street corner, bought books and argued dialectics at the Jefferson Bookstore, caught musicians like Monk, Mingus and Miles at Birdland, Half Note and the Five-Spot.
Living double time-and-a-half.