Taking Black History Month to ... India?

Travel Blog  •  Julia Ross  •  02.19.09 | 2:24 PM ET

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is apparently making good use of cultural diplomacy early in her term. Before she departed on her current Asia tour, Clinton sent a delegation of U.S. congressional representatives, civil rights leaders and musicians, including Herbie Hancock and Chaka Khan, to India to commemorate U.S. Black History Month. The group includes Martin Luther King III, who is retracing a trip his parents, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, took 50 years ago to study Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence.

Meanwhile, Hancock, Khan and jazz students from New Orleans will perform at concerts in Mumbai and New Delhi, then jam with students at the Ravi Shankar Institute of the Performing Arts. I’m pleased to see the group continue a long tradition of U.S. jazz ambassadorship abroad.

Julia Ross is a Washington, DC-based writer and frequent contributor to World Hum. She has lived in China and Taiwan, where she was a Fulbright scholar and Mandarin student. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Time, Christian Science Monitor, Plenty and other publications. Her essay, Six Degrees of Vietnam, was shortlisted for "The Best American Travel Writing 2009."

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