"And then I saw a lone figure walking across on a very, very cold day," he continues, "and you know how it is when the wind blows and you have to turn your back against the wind, and I felt so sorry for that person, and then I realized it was my father. That my father, who was completely out of work, had been the director of his own business as a contractor in the heyday of the migrant stream back in the late '50s, but now that business had died. He was up in the chilly North with family, broke and sick, and he had to get to this very insignificant job in a factory, miles and miles away. A black man with no car, trying to hitchhike, and no one picking him up, and he has to walk that 10 miles to get to the factory. And I'm sitting in this warm classroom, getting educated, not paying attention to the teacher, and suddenly feeling torn between two worlds. And this music, when I hear it, I feel for my father. There's something about art that can be, yes, depressing, but helps us bear the pain through sheer beauty and intensity."
full interview here
you can read the text but i suggest you listen to the audio so you can here the music piece he talks about.
i was captivated by this interview and this piece of music. i listened to it three times in a row. if you don't listen to a ridiculous amount of public radio like i do you may have missed it. it's a real sad and beautiful piece of music and a real sad and beautiful memory. bill t jones tells it with grace and wisdom.