Further to my post about the death of Dave Brubeck, here's an extra angle on his life from Val Wilmer in the Guardian:
Dave Brubeck played a useful role in the fight against US segregation in the 1950s and 60s. The years of his greatest popularity coincided with growing activism in the cause of civil rights, and at the time the quartet's bassist was Gene Wright, an African American. A genial figure with a big sound and powerful presence, Wright had an impressive track record... but his presence was not welcome in the southern states.
Concert and college promoters told the pianist to leave Wright behind, but Brubeck refused. He insisted that Wright share the same facilities as the other musicians, wherever they worked, and would not perform for segregated audiences. Brubeck's stand was well-known... He was admired for his principles in the jazz world, just as Benny Goodman had been in the 1930s when he, too, defied convention and employed black musicians.
For Brubeck, it didn't matter that Gene Wright was black; he was the bassist in the group, a jazz musician, and his colour wasn't relevant. (For a different view of moral relevance, see this.)