Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska 88 years ago today in 1925. He would later change his name to El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz. In this photo from March 1964, he is shown with Muhammad Ali outside of the Trans-Lux Newsreel Theater in New York City after a screening of a film about Mr. Ali’s title fight with Sonny Liston. Photo: AP/Corbis.
Brilliant scholar, activist and author Angela Davis, photographed in 1973 by the legendary photographer Philippe Halsman. Filmmaker Shola LynchFree Angela has just released an AMAZING documentary about the iconic Ms. Davis. Photo: Philippe Halsman/Magnum Photos.
You didn’t think I forgot Billy Dee Williams’s 76th birthday today did you? No, of course you didn’t! Mr. Williams is still acting, still writing, still painting and still fine today and, if you can’t name the film this photo is from, I am going to shed real tears… of laughter. :) Photo: Bettman/Corbis.
Happy 86th Birthday to absolutely magisterial Sidney Poitier! In this 1965 photo, Mr. Poitier is on the set of “The Slender Thread,” a 1966 film he did with Anne Bancroft (Sydney Pollack’s directorial debut - and Quincy Jones did the music!) Photo: Cat’s Collection/Corbis.
Actress Theresa Harris as she appeared in the 1948 film, “The Velvet Touch,” which starred Rosalind Russell. Ms. Harris was the inspiration behind Lynn Nottage’s play, “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark” which starred Sanaa Lathan.
From Donald Bogle’s Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood: “Harris - who was both outspoken and highly intelligent - didn’t mince words about the plight of colored actresses. She told Fay M. Jackson, of the California Eagle in August 1937: “I never felt the chance to rise above the role of maid in Hollywood movies. My color was against me. The fact that I was not ‘hot’ stamped me as either an uppity ‘Negress’ or relegated me to the eternal role of stooge or servant. I can sing but so can hundreds of other girls. My ambitions are to be an actress. Hollywood had no parts for me.” Photo via A Certain Cinema.
Paul Robeson, majestic singer and actor, brilliant scholar and athlete, fierce political activist and all-around renaissance man, in a 1925 photo by Edward Gooch. According to Shadow And Act, David Harewood, the British actor and star of Showtime’s “Homeland” is in talks to portray Mr. Robeson in an upcoming film. Wynton Marsalis has signed on to score the film as well.
Harry Belafonte appears in a publicity photo for the movie ‘Odds Against Tomorrow’ which was produced by his company, Harbel Productions, Inc. in 1959. Carmen de Lavallade, Cicely Tyson, Shelley Winters, Robert Ryan and Robert Earl Jones (father of James Earl Jones) also appeared in the film. In the comments, I have included a clip from the film = the most fascinating 9 minutes you’ll spend today. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images.
Sidney Poitier and Eartha Kitt in the 1957 film “The Mark of the Hawk.” Mr. Poitier portrays a London-born African who returns home for a political position. His character’s name? Wait for it… Obam. Ms. Kitt plays his stylish wife Renee. Photo: John Springer Collection/Corbis.