1950 July 29

Cold War Victim: Hazel Scott TV Show Cancelled

 

Hazel Scott was a popular jazz pianist/singer in the early 1940s, who was a mainstay at Café Society in New York City (see December 28, 1938). For several months in 1950, she had a regular television show on the small Dumont network (which soon went out of business). As such, she was the first African-American to have his or her own television show. (Most people believe that Nat King Cole was the first; see November 5, 1956).

Scott was politically active on civil rights and left-wing issues, performing at many fund-raising events. On June 22, 1950, she was named as a Communist sympathizer in the notorious anti-communist report Red Channels. Then, on July 22, she was called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee HUAC). A week later, on this day, Dumont cancelled her show, and her career never fully recovered.

Learn more: Karen Chilton, Hazel Scott: The Pioneering Journey of a Jazz Pianist from Café Society to Hollywood to HUAC (2008)

Watch Hazell Scott perform in one of her Hollywood movies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmujUkwU19I

Learn more about Cold War blacklisting: David Everitt, A Shadow of Red: Communism and the Blacklist in Radio and Television (2007)

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