Posts tagged "African American women"
When I first told my dad about Vintage Black Glamour, he had one question: “Is Freda Payne in the book?” Why yes, Dad. Yes she is. This photo by Terry O’Neill (via Getty) is from the early 1970s.
Hilda Simms and Lena Horne in the late 1940s. It drives me crazy that I have not been able to find a legitimate source/photographer behind this photo. It’s one thing to find it on a random website (like I did last year) but it’s another thing to share it and properly credit it for a wider audience. Sigh…
Elisabeth Welch, the American singer who introduced the “Charleston” on Broadway before becoming a superstar in England, in 1935. Born in Manhattan in 1904 to a Scottish-Irish mother and African American father, Ms. Welch was a favorite of iconic composers Noël Coward and Cole Porter. She was the first singer to popularize the classic Porter tune, “Love for Sale” and it would become a signature song in her career. She also introduced “Stormy Weather” to British audiences and would be so beloved there, she remained for the rest of her life. Ms. Welch, among other career highlights in her 70-year career, was nominated for a Tony award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical in 1986 at age 82, for her role in “Jerome Kern Goes to Hollywood.” Ms. Welch also starred in two films with Paul Robeson, “Song of Freedom” in 1936 and “Big Fella” in 1937. In the comment section, I am linking a fantastic short video (1:56) of Ms. Welch singing “Harlem in my Heart” from “Big Fella” and Mr. Robeson can be seen in the clip. Photo: National Portrait Gallery, London.
Pioneering educator Nannie Helen Burroughs (1879-1961) sometime in the 1910s. Born in Orange, Virginia, Ms. Burroughs graduated with honors from the Colored High School, which would later become M Street School and then Dunbar High School. Best know as the founder of the National Trade and Professional School for Women and Girls, Ms. Burroughs was an early advocate for teaching African American History and students had to pass a course in black history in order to graduate. A member of the National Association of Colored Women among other civic and religious advocacy groups, Ms. Burroughs was appointed to a special committee on African Americans and housing by President Herbert Hoover. Also a leader in religion, she helped found the Women’s Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention.
Ms. Burroughs also had a special connection to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. A longtime friend of his parents, Ms. Burroughs wrote a letter to Dr. King’s mother, Mrs. Alberta King on February 4, 1956 during the course of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and told her how impressed she was with the “calm, sure way that Junior is standing up for right and righteousness.” Photo: The Library of Congress
Beyonce’s fabulous Super Bowl outfit (designed by Rubin Singer) is serving Tina Turner in Amsterdam 1979 realness. Gotta love it…
Muriel Smith, photographed in 1944 by Carl Van Vechten as “Carmen,” the role she originated on Broadway. In 1956, she turned down an offer from Samuel Goldwyn to star in the film version of ”Porgy and Bess,” stating, ”It doesn’t do the right thing for my people.” After a successful career overseas, particularly Great Britain, the New York-born Ms. Smith taught voice at Virginia Union University before her death in 1985.
A model in 1954, showing off the continuing popularity of the bikini. This photo actually appeared in the November 1965 issue of EBONY in a story about fashion tastes over twenty years (as in 1945-1965). Some things never change, right?
Zora Neale Hurston, born on this day in 1891, wrote these words in her 1950 essay, What White Publishers Won’t Print. ”For various reasons, the average, struggling, non-morbid Negro is the best-kept secret in America. His revelation to the public is the thing needed to do away with that feeling of difference which inspires fear, and which ever expresses itself in dislike. It is inevitable that this knowledge will destroy many illusions and romantic traditions which America probably likes to have around. But then, we have no record of anybody sinking into a lingering death on finding out that there was no Santa Claus. The old world will take it in its stride. The realization that Negroes are no better nor no worse, and at times just as bonny as everybody else, will hardly kill off the population of the nation.” This photo was taken on November 9, 1934 in Chicago by Carl Van Vechten. Via Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Jane M. Bolin was the first Black woman graduate of Yale Law School and the first Black woman in the United States to become a judge. She is pictured here in July 1939, shortly after her appointment by New York City mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, which made news all over the world. Judge Bolin retired in 1979 after 40 years as a judge - but only because she had reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. She died at age 98 in 2007.
I thought I would share Judge Bolin again since the post I wrote last year is floating around Pinterest… ;)
Actress, singer, model and poet Mauryne Brent on the January 26, 1956 cover of JET. A star of the 1948 film Come On, Cowboy! with Mantan Moreland, she was a cousin of jazz pianist Billy Taylor. She is included in her half-sister Shirlee Taylor Haizlip’s critically-acclaimed memoir, The Sweeter the Juice: A Family Memoir in Black and White: “Mauryn was an honor student and the class poet, but she wanted a career in show business. Hollywood would not find a place for her, however. The studios told her she was too light and beautiful to be black, and too “exotic” to be white. Independent producers wanted to take her to Europe, but she resisted and turned her attention to the Negro films called “race movies” at that time.”