The U.S. Senate has agreed by “unanimous consent” on a resolution to honor the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, In Session News reports. The 1970 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was also recognized in the resolution.
Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the resolution will designate the last weekend of June 2022 as a time to commemorate the first weekend of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, one of the several weekends that highlighted in Summer of Soul, Questlove’s 2021 acclaimed documentary on the "Black Woodstock's" concert footage that was hidden for 50 years.
The resolution notes that performances by Nina Simone and Mahalia Jackson represented “a shift in Black culture, consciousness, and expression, and …. a movement away from performances designed to be palatable for white audiences and toward freer expression and celebration of Black art.”
Although the lineup featured B.B. King, Sly and the Family Stone, Chuck Jackson, Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach, the 5th Dimension, David Ruffin, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Stevie Wonder, and others, the Harlem Cultural Festival was not as well known as Woodstock which took place in August of 1969.
The unanimously approved resolution also “encourages Senators to plan appropriate activities that support the objectives of the [festivals]…and encourages local governments in the United States to build partnerships with local Black artists, performers, and activists to further uplift Black culture and art and promote equal treatment of all people.”
Questlove's Summer Soul garnered rave reviews, receiving an Academy Award for Best Documentary and a Grammy for Best Music Film.