Walter Ray Watson

Music impresario George Wein, who spawned the modern music festival when he helped launch the Newport Jazz and Newport Folk Festivals, has died at the age of 95.

According to a statement from his family, Wein died peacefully in his sleep early Monday morning.

Wein co-founded the Newport Jazz Festival in 1954 and the Newport Folk Festival in 1959. Newport was the first and largest event of its kind in the U.S., setting the standard for outdoor music festivals to come.

High fences, razor wire, Jersey barriers, armed troops.

The view isn't from a guard post at the entrance of a U.S. military base, or at the post-riot U.S. Capitol. Instead, it's the checkpoint set up more than a month ago on a city street just outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.

The National Guard was ordered up for this task and others even before jury selection began in the Derek Chauvin trial.

On the second day of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's murder trial, the judge considered a motion about the testimony of minors — including a witness whose video of the killing of George Floyd was seen around the world.

At the turn of the 20th Century, millions of African Americans moved from the rural South to the country's Northern cities in search of a new beginning. That time of discovery, awakening and Renaissance came to be known as The Great Migration.

Twenty-three-year-old jazz pianist James Francies has his musical fingerprints all over the place. From leading his own group at 2019'sWinter Jazzfest in New York City to playing shows in Tokyo with guitar legend Pat Metheny, the current pace of Francies's life is constantly in motion.

"It just feels like you're on a plane," Francies says. "Four thousand feet, traveling six hundred miles an hour."

Last fall, Blue Note Records released Flight, Francies's debut album.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


By the early 1960s, Nina Simone was well-known to the world as a singer, songwriter and classically trained pianist. But around 1963, as race relations in America hit a boiling point, she made a sharp turn in her music — toward activism.

Updated at 6:55 p.m. ET on Nov. 16

Shirley Chisholm's celebrated win on election night, Nov. 5, 1968, still resonates with today's election cycle, 50 years later. She became the first black woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Over the years, her victory is often cited as inspiration for women running for public office.

Fifty years ago, photographer and folklorist Roland Freeman hitched his hopes to a humble caravan of mule-driven wagons. The Mule Train left the small town of Marks, in the Mississippi Delta, for Washington, D.C. It was part of Martin Luther King Jr.'s last major effort to mobilize impoverished Americans of different races and ethnic backgrounds.