When Jazz Great Dizzy Gillespie ran for President

It’s a little known fact that bebop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie actually ran for president of the United States back in 1964:

“What began as one of Dizzy’s famous practical jokes, and a way to raise money for CORE (Congress for Racial Equality) and other civil rights organizations became something more, a way for Dizzy’s fans to imagine an alternative to the “millionaire’s-only” club represented by Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater.”

Open Culture

The White House, henceforth to be known as the ‘Blues House’ would comprise the following cabinet:

  • Duke Ellington (Secretary of State)
  • Miles Davis (Director of the CIA)
  • Max Roach (Secretary of Defense)
  • Charles Mingus (Secretary of Peace)
  • Ray Charles (Librarian of Congress)
  • Louis Armstrong (Secretary of Agriculture)
  • Mary Lou Williams (Ambassador to the Vatican)
  • Thelonious Monk (Travelling Ambassador)
  • Malcolm X (Attorney General).

I assume that Charles Mingus’ position as Secretary of Peace is a cheeky play on his fiery temperament. Dizzy said his running mate would be Phyllis Diller. (Source: Wikipedia)

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