Posts tagged "Howard University"
Billy Eckstine, one of the smoothest balladeers and bandleaders ever (and the man responsible for giving Sarah Vaughan one of her first big breaks) was born 100 years ago today in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. One of my favorite fun facts about Mr. Eckstine: he won a singing competition imitating Cab Calloway when he was a student at Howard University in the 1930s. In this photo, he is adjusting his tie while his first wife, June, applies her lipstick in their Manhattan apartment on April 11, 1950. Photo: Martha Holmes, one of the first female staff photographers at LIFE magazine.

Billy Eckstine, one of the smoothest balladeers and bandleaders ever (and the man responsible for giving Sarah Vaughan one of her first big breaks) was born 100 years ago today in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. One of my favorite fun facts about Mr. Eckstine: he won a singing competition imitating Cab Calloway when he was a student at Howard University in the 1930s. In this photo, he is adjusting his tie while his first wife, June, applies her lipstick in their Manhattan apartment on April 11, 1950. Photo: Martha Holmes, one of the first female staff photographers at LIFE magazine.

Pioneering opera singer Todd Duncan in 1930, photographed by Addison Scurlock. In 1935, Mr. Duncan was selected by George Gershwin to originate the role of Porgy in “Porgy and Bess” and in 1945, he became the first African American to perform with a major American opera company, the New York City Opera. In 1955, he was the first person to record the now classic song, “Unchained Melody.” Born Robert Todd Duncan in Danville, Kentucky in 1903, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Butler University in 1925, and a master’s at Columbia University Teachers College in 1930. Soon after, he joined the music faculty of Howard University where he taught voice, well into his 90’s, for over fifty years. He died in 1998. Photo: National Museum of American History.

Pioneering opera singer Todd Duncan in 1930, photographed by Addison Scurlock. In 1935, Mr. Duncan was selected by George Gershwin to originate the role of Porgy in “Porgy and Bess” and in 1945, he became the first African American to perform with a major American opera company, the New York City Opera. In 1955, he was the first person to record the now classic song, “Unchained Melody.” Born Robert Todd Duncan in Danville, Kentucky in 1903, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Butler University in 1925, and a master’s at Columbia University Teachers College in 1930. Soon after, he joined the music faculty of Howard University where he taught voice, well into his 90’s, for over fifty years. He died in 1998. Photo: National Museum of American History.

Actor Graham Brown, pictured on one of his actor composite photos from the 1960s. Born Robert Elwood Brown in Harlem on October 24, 1924, Mr. Brown was an actor whose career spanned more than five decades. A World War II veteran, he began acting in Army shows before enrolling in college at Howard University, where he was a member of the Howard University Players theater group and graduated in 1949. Over the last few months, I have had the honor of analyzing and organizing Mr. Brown’s personal collection of photographs, papers and other historically and culturally relevant ephemera, for donation to a major institution on behalf of his family. I could hardly believe my eyes at some of the things I held in my hands in the Harlem office where I spent hours examining Mr. Brown’s collection: a personal letter to Mr. Brown from Harold Jackman, a prominent Harlem Renaissance figure. Mr. Brown’s Howard Players member card, programs from their plays, and a photo of them in Norway at the home of the Norwegian ambassador, surrounding him at his piano in 1949. There are pages and pages of Mr. Brown’s writing: attempts at poems, short stories, English homework and drafts of articles he wrote for Howard’s school newspaper, “The Hilltop” and copies of the actual newspapers. There are Columbia University bursar’s receipts from 1952 (he briefly attended graduate school there) and show programs, posters, tickets, letters and photos from much of his life and career. Mr. Brown was a member of the Negro Ensemble Company, where he worked with actors such as Roxie Roker (his Howard classmate) in “The River Niger,” Laurence Fishburne and Esther Rolle. He was also in several productions of the Greenwich Mews Theater, a theater famous for it’s integrated productions in the 1950s and a member of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. In the 1960s and 1970s, made several appearances on Broadway (Gore Vidal’s “Weekend”) and with Joseph’s Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival, including “The Black Picture Show” in 1975. His film credits included “Malcolm X,” “Clockers,” “Sanford & Son,” and “Law & Order.” Mr. Brown died on December 13, 2011 at the age of 87.

Actor Graham Brown, pictured on one of his actor composite photos from the 1960s. Born Robert Elwood Brown in Harlem on October 24, 1924, Mr. Brown was an actor whose career spanned more than five decades. A World War II veteran, he began acting in Army shows before enrolling in college at Howard University, where he was a member of the Howard University Players theater group and graduated in 1949. Over the last few months, I have had the honor of analyzing and organizing Mr. Brown’s personal collection of photographs, papers and other historically and culturally relevant ephemera, for donation to a major institution on behalf of his family. I could hardly believe my eyes at some of the things I held in my hands in the Harlem office where I spent hours examining Mr. Brown’s collection: a personal letter to Mr. Brown from Harold Jackman, a prominent Harlem Renaissance figure. Mr. Brown’s Howard Players member card, programs from their plays, and a photo of them in Norway at the home of the Norwegian ambassador, surrounding him at his piano in 1949. There are pages and pages of Mr. Brown’s writing: attempts at poems, short stories, English homework and drafts of articles he wrote for Howard’s school newspaper, “The Hilltop” and copies of the actual newspapers. There are Columbia University bursar’s receipts from 1952 (he briefly attended graduate school there) and show programs, posters, tickets, letters and photos from much of his life and career. Mr. Brown was a member of the Negro Ensemble Company, where he worked with actors such as Roxie Roker (his Howard classmate) in “The River Niger,” Laurence Fishburne and Esther Rolle. He was also in several productions of the Greenwich Mews Theater, a theater famous for it’s integrated productions in the 1950s and a member of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. In the 1960s and 1970s, made several appearances on Broadway (Gore Vidal’s “Weekend”) and with Joseph’s Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival, including “The Black Picture Show” in 1975. His film credits included “Malcolm X,” “Clockers,” “Sanford & Son,” and “Law & Order.” Mr. Brown died on December 13, 2011 at the age of 87.

Happy Founders Day to the wonderful women of Alpha Kappa Alpha! The first sorority for African-American women was founded 105 years ago today at Howard Univerity, where this photo was taken in 1945 by the legendary photographer, Addison N. Scurlock (1883-1964). Photo: Scurlock Studio Records, ca. 1905-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.

Happy Centennial to the members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority! Delta Sigma Theta was founded 100 years ago today at Howard University, where these lovely sorors were photographed in 1930. Photo: Scurlock Studio Records, ca. 1905-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.

Howard University freshman Rose Esters, a history major, and Sarah White, a pre-med student. Another photo from Alfred Eisenstaedt’s 1946 LIFE magazine photo essay, these women were photographed in their Truth Hall dormitory room.

Howard University freshman Rose Esters, a history major, and Sarah White, a pre-med student. Another photo from Alfred Eisenstaedt’s 1946 LIFE magazine photo essay, these women were photographed in their Truth Hall dormitory room.

Howard University Queen contestants, 1947. Photo via Flickr.

Howard University Queen contestants, 1947. Photo via Flickr.