Posts tagged "history"
I am saddened to learn that Alice Coachman, the first Black woman to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games (London 1948 for the high jump) died today at the age of 90 near her home in Albany, Georgia. In this photo, Ms. Coachman (far right) takes a break and watches the 1948 London games with fellow athletes Emma Reed, of Nashville, Tennessee (broad and high jumper) and Nell C. Jackson, of Tuskegee, Alabama, (200 meters and relay. Photo: Bettman/Corbis.

I am saddened to learn that Alice Coachman, the first Black woman to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games (London 1948 for the high jump) died today at the age of 90 near her home in Albany, Georgia. In this photo, Ms. Coachman (far right) takes a break and watches the 1948 London games with fellow athletes Emma Reed, of Nashville, Tennessee (broad and high jumper) and Nell C. Jackson, of Tuskegee, Alabama, (200 meters and relay. Photo: Bettman/Corbis.

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.

The unforgettable Eartha Kitt selling the new Carver-Washington half-dollars - for $2 each - at Macy’s in New York City in August 1952. The promotion was a special program to aid the Booker T. Washington Birthplace Memorial. The coins were embossed with the slogan, “Freedom and Opportunity For All - Americanism.” Photo: Bettman/Corbis.

The unforgettable Eartha Kitt selling the new Carver-Washington half-dollars - for $2 each - at Macy’s in New York City in August 1952. The promotion was a special program to aid the Booker T. Washington Birthplace Memorial. The coins were embossed with the slogan, “Freedom and Opportunity For All - Americanism.” Photo: Bettman/Corbis.

I am thrilled to have Janet Collins, the first Black prima ballerina at The Metropolitan Opera, in my upcoming book. But it also thrills me to see her getting more recognition and exposure in other ventures. My pal Karyn Parsons (Yes, that Karyn Parsons…) is the founder of Sweet Blackberry, whose mission is to bring little-known stories of African American achievement to kids. She created a Kickstarter to fund the 20-minute short on Janet Collins’ life that she is producing with Chris Rock narrating. Sweet Blackberry has produced two previous shorts for kids (on Henry Box Brown and Garrett Morgan) narrated by Alfre Woodard and Queen Latifah. Please check out the video at this link and donate - even as little as $1 can help! - so we can get this video in homes, schools and libraries around the world.https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/798791271/the-janet-collins-story-presented-by-sweet-blackbe

Ruby and Ossie - In This Thing Together…  

Ruby and Ossie - In This Thing Together…  

"I believe that often young performers, lacking a continuity of experience, lacking a knowledge of the history of entertainment, of the tradition and great contributions that our people have made to theater, may tend to feel that a whole new world begins with each newcomer. Not so…. I maintain that we actresses must concern ourselves more with the fate of each other, and of the younger actresses coming along, by helping to find material and getting it produced and by promoting scholarships for intensive training.” ~ Ruby Dee, from an article she wrote for the April 1966 issue of Negro Digest entitled “Tattered Queens: Some Reflections on the Negro Actress.” In this photo, she is shown with baseball legend Jackie Robinson in a scene from the movie, “The Jackie Robinson Story,” where she played his wife, Rachel. Ms. Dee died at the age of 91 on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at her home in New Rochelle, New York. Photo: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library

Every Memorial Day, I like to remind people about the Double V campaign. It was started in 1942 by the Pittsburgh Courier, an historic African-American newspaper, just as the United States entered World War II. “Double V” stood for “Victory Abroad and Victory at Home.” The purpose of the campaign was to call continued attention to the legal injustices and segregation that blacks dealt with as American citizens on American soil and as soldiers abroad within the (segregated) armed forces. Naturally, J. Edgar Hoover considered the Double V Campaign an act of sedition. When Black Americans were hesitant to serve in the military for a country in which they were legally treated as second class citizens, there was no understanding, only accusations of treason.To appreciate the role of the Pittsburgh Courier in this campaign, keep in mind that white newspapers did not cover Blacks unless there was a crime involved or, of course, if the Black in question was an athlete or an entertainer. White newspapers did not cover our births, deaths, weddings or any other slice of life-type activity that we did just like everyone else. That is why, in part, Ebony magazine was born. And they certainly did not report on racial discrimination (especially within the military who banned black newspapers from its libraries during the Double V Campaign) the way the Black press did.The picture above was taken in 1942 on 119th Street, between Lenox and 7th (now Malcolm X Blvd and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd).

Every Memorial Day, I like to remind people about the Double V campaign. It was started in 1942 by the Pittsburgh Courier, an historic African-American newspaper, just as the United States entered World War II. “Double V” stood for “Victory Abroad and Victory at Home.” The purpose of the campaign was to call continued attention to the legal injustices and segregation that blacks dealt with as American citizens on American soil and as soldiers abroad within the (segregated) armed forces. Naturally, J. Edgar Hoover considered the Double V Campaign an act of sedition. When Black Americans were hesitant to serve in the military for a country in which they were legally treated as second class citizens, there was no understanding, only accusations of treason.

To appreciate the role of the Pittsburgh Courier in this campaign, keep in mind that white newspapers did not cover Blacks unless there was a crime involved or, of course, if the Black in question was an athlete or an entertainer. White newspapers did not cover our births, deaths, weddings or any other slice of life-type activity that we did just like everyone else. That is why, in part, Ebony magazine was born. And they certainly did not report on racial discrimination (especially within the military who banned black newspapers from its libraries during the Double V Campaign) the way the Black press did.

The picture above was taken in 1942 on 119th Street, between Lenox and 7th (now Malcolm X Blvd and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd).