Later this Summer, a new documentary, Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami, will find its way to a PBS television station near you. This 2008 production begins in 1960 as it traces the young boxer known as Cassius Clay through his training at Miami, Florida's Fifth Street Gym. The release of the one hour documentary is timed to coincide with the August 8 - August 24 Summer Olympics in Beijing, although many PBS stations will repeat the program this Fall. Ali's trainer Angelo Dundee talks about the role Miami played in launching the boxing great. Historian Manning Marable, journalist David Remnick, and Ali biographer Thomas Hauser offer commentary and insight during the program. Ali's Miami neighbors and friends also weigh-in with their recollections. Watch for Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami in the coming months.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett, (1862 – 1931), was a crusader for African American civil rights and for equal rights for women. Through newspaper articles, she wrote about discrimination she experienced and observed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Historian Paula Giddings has captured the essence of the life of Wells in Ida: A Sword Among Lions, a new 2008 publication. Giddings, a Smith College professor, has written two previous books: In Search of Sisterhood: Delta Sigma Theta and the Challenge of the Black Sorority Movement, and When and Where I Enter: The Impact Of Black Women On Race and Sex In America. Her Wells biography is accurately documented as it rolls back the curtain on the fascinating odyssey of an American woman who fought for civil rights and justice. Highly recommended.
Augusta Savage, (1892-1962), sculptor and art teacher, was the first Director of the Harlem Community Art Center in New York City. She studied at the Grand Chaumiere in Paris after receiving a Rosenwald grant in 1929. Savage also received a prestigious Carnegie Foundation grant. Her works have been exhibited at... The 1939 New York World's Fair New York's Anderson Galleries The New Jersey State Museum New York's Schomburg Collection The Societe Des Artistes Francais Beaux Arts in Paris Our 10 black history artists hold the distinction of crafting great collections in the USA and around the world... Augusta Savage - sculptor Charles Alston - muralist, sculptor, and artist Dr. Margaret Burroughs - painter, sculptor Elizabeth Catlett - sculptor and artist Adele Chilton - Painter and artist Richard Hunt - sculptor Lois Mailou Jones - artist Dr. Samella Sanders Lewis – painter, graphic artist James A. Porter - painter William E. Scott - murals and portraits
Friday, April 4, 2008 marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Here are 2 video tributes we created using a couple of albums, now out of print, that salute the Martin Luther King Jr. legacy. In 1973, a 2nd annual Benefit Concert for the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Social Change was held at the Omni arena in Atlanta, Georgia. RCA Records was a big sponsor of the event. Many of their artists performed. Here's the rundown of the original double album. Keep The Dream Alive Side 1 Introduction: Mrs. Coretta Scott King "Precious Lord" - Linda Hopkins "It's My Belief" - Linda Hopkins "No One's Gonna Be a Fool Forever" - Friends of Distinction Medley: "Love Or Let Me Be Lonely," "Going In Circles," "Time Waits for No One," "Grazing In The Grass" - Friends of Distinction Side 2 "Hey Leroy" - The Jimmy Castor Bunch "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" - The Jimmy Castor Bunch "Betcha By Golly Wow" - The Jimmy Castor Bunch "Troglodyte (Cave Man)" - The Jimmy Castor Bunch Geraldine struts her stuff (Flip Wilson) Side 3 "Make It With You" - Main Ingredient "Work To Do" - Main Ingredient Medley: "You've Been My Inspiration," "Spinning Around (I Must Be Falling In Love)," "I'm So Proud," "Everybody Plays the Fool" - Main Ingredient Comments: Mrs. Coretta Scott King Side 4 "Ain't No Sunshine" - Jose Feliciano "We've Only Just Begun" - Jose Feliciano "Oye Como Va" - Jose Feliciano Comments: Flip Wilson Funny Talk: Flip Wilson "Don't Knock My Love" pts. 1 & 2 - Wilson Pickett "Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You" - Wilson Pickett Keep the Dream Alive was a great concert featuring strong performances. The Atlanta community supported the effort with a large turnout. Martin Luther King Jr. Remembered - Selma the Musical - 1976. Read the notes from playwright Tommy Butler about the Martin Luther King Jr. Selma Musical.
March 14, 2008 was the 75th birthday of the phenomenal Quincy Jones. Musical genius Jones was born in Chicago in 1933. He studied his craft at Seattle University and at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. As a black history legend in music, Jones has been honored with 27 Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, seven Oscar nominations, plus an honorary Oscar. Quincy has worn all of his industry hats as a musical director, film score creator, composer, musician, producer, conductor, arranger, and record company executive. In 1953, Quincy Jones was the first arranger/conductor to utilize the newly-invented Fender electric bass in audio recordings. He played and toured with jazz greats Ray Charles, Lionel Hampton, and Dizzy Gillespie. Jones has scored over 50 films. His first film score was "The Pawnbroker," in 1963. Jones has produced albums for the very best, including Michael Jackson. Besides winning all of those Grammy Awards, Quincy Jones has produced the actual network presentation of the Grammys on television. "Q" recorded "Hallelujah," Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration, a contemporary version of the famous classical work in 1991. Released in 1992, the album featured Patti Austin, Andrae Crouch, Sandra Crouch, Clifton Davis, Charles Dutton, Kim Fields, Edwin Hawkins, Tramaine Hawkins, Linda Hopkins, Al Jarreau, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Johnny Mathis, Marilyn McCoo, Stephanie Mills, Jeffrey Osborne, Phylicia Rashad, Joe Sample, Take 6, Vanessa Williams, Patti LaBelle, Stevie Wonder, and Vanessa Bell Armstrong. For his incredible story, discover Q - The Autobiography of Quincy Jones.
Margaret Rosezarian Harris, (1944 – 2000), was the first black woman to conduct the symphony orchestras of 16 American cities, including Los Angeles, Detroit, and Chicago. A child prodigy, she played piano at age 3, and at age 10, played a Mozart Concerto with the Chicago Symphony. Miss Harris started her career as a pianist, but achieved much more attention as a celebrated conductor. The Chicago, Illinois born Margaret won a scholarship to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She was also a graduate of New York City’s Julliard School of Music. Margaret Harris conquered Broadway as the music director of the musical Hair in 1970. She passed away this week, 8 years ago, at age 56. Classical Trivia: William Grant Still was the first African American to conduct a major symphony orchestra, (The Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1936).
USA teens are out of touch with not just African American history, but with history and traditional culture in general. Common Core, an advocacy group pushing for the teaching of more liberal arts in schools, released the shocking report today as reported in USA Today. Out of 1,200 17 year-olds surveyed, only 43% knew that the Civil War was fought between 1850 - 1900. 30% did not know that President John F. Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." It's troubling that real history is taking a back seat to the more seedy elements of today's popular culture. Most teens and adults are experts in the gossipy news of today. As Black History Month comes to a close, it's time to renew our commitment to real knowledge that matters, across cultural and ethnic divides. A trivia question as a final thought. In 1976, U.S. representative Barbara Jordan became the first African American to give the keynote address to a national party convention. Who gave the keynote address to the Democratic National Convention in 2004? Leave your answer in a comment!
Fannie Lou Hamer, (1917-1977), was the founder and Vice Chairman of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. She led the black delegates from Mississippi to the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Hamer was a sharecropper with just an 8th grade education. She was forced to leave the plantation in 1962 after unsuccessfully attempting to register to vote. Fannie Lou then joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, (SNCC), and became a field Secretary. Late in 1962 she was finally able to register to vote. Her story is fascinating and inspirational. Fannie Lou Hamer was an ordinary citizen who rose to take extraordinary action. With the backdrop of this year's 2008 USA presidential election, the complete Fannie Lou Hamer story is one you'll enjoy experiencing in much more detail. How did one woman, barred from registering to vote in 1962 America, help change the system of segregation in the South? I highly recommend diving right into This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer (Civil Rights and the Struggle for Black Equality in the Twentieth Century), written by Kay Mills.
Beyond Jackie Robinson, Tiger Woods, Wilma Rudolph, and other famous sports legends, black history honor rolls are filled with many other competitive athletes who made their mark. Here are 5 sports originals who richly deserve a second look, although they may not be the best known. Alice Coachman - Represented the women's track team at Tuskegee Institute. Alice was the only woman on the 1948 U.S. Olympic team to win a gold medal in track and field (high jump). Dan Bankhead - The first African American pitcher in Major League Baseball (August 1947 for the Brooklyn Dodgers). Fritz Pollard - First black All-American (1916). This football legend played for Brown University between 1915 - 1916. He played in the first Rose Bowl game (January 1, 1916 - Brown vs. Washington State). Marshall W. "Major" Taylor - A cyclist who won the World Cycle Racing Championship in 1899. Taylor won the U.S. trophy in 1900. He was called the fastest bike rider in the world. Pele' - Born Edson Arantes De Nascimento in Tres Coracoes, Brazil, "The Black Pearl" became the most famous soccer player in the world. At 17, he led the Brazilian team to their first World Cup in Sweden (1958).
From the digital pages of Empower Encyclopedia(c) 1998 - 2008, here are 25 innovative and original black history champions from A - M. There are many more of course, but this time, we shine the beacon on these 25: Dr. Sadie Tanner Alexander - The first Black woman Ph.D. in the United States (Doctorate in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, 1921). Guion Stewart Bluford Jr.- First African American astronaut (in space) aboard the space shuttle Challenger on August 30, 1983. Justice Jane M. Bolin - America's first African American woman judge, appointed to the Court of Domestic Relations in New York City by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia on July 22, 1939. Thomas Bradley (1917-1998) - First African American elected Mayor of Los Angeles in 1973. Ensign Jesse Brown - First black aviator in the U.S. Navy in 1948. Jill Brown - First black woman accepted for pilot training by the U.S. Navy in 1974. In 1978, she became the first African American female pilot/First Officer with a major carrier: Texas International Airlines. Dr. Ralph J. Bunche - First African American to win the Nobel Peace Prize (1950). Yvonne Brathwaite Burke - First woman elected chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (1976). Sergeant William H. Carney - First African American awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Gwendolyn B. Cherry, (1924-1979) - First African American woman elected to the Florida Legislature (1970). Nathaniel Sweetwater Clifton - First African American to play in the National Basketball Association (1950 with the New York Knicks). Bessie Coleman, (1892-1926) - First black woman in the United States to receive a pilot's license. Ernie Davis, (1940-1963) - First African American to win the Heisman Trophy (1961 as a football half-back with Syracuse University). Dr. Charles R. Drew, (1904-1950) - Founded the first blood bank (1940). Lelia Foley - First African American female mayor in America (Taft, Oklahoma, April 3, 1973). W. Wilson Goode - First African American elected Mayor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (sworn in on January 2, 1984). Patricia R. Harris, (1924-1985) - First black woman to hold a top cabinet post (Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under President Jimmy Carter in 1977). Judge William H. Hastie, (1904-1976) - First African American U.S. federal judge... and the youngest at age 32 (1936). Matthew A. Henson, (1866-1954) - First explorer to reach the North Pole on (April 6, 1909). General Daniel "Chappie" James Jr. - First African American (Air Force) to obtain the rank of full four-star General (1975). Hazel W. Johnson - First African American woman (Army) to obtain the rank of General (September, 1979). William H. Lewis - First African American to hold the position of Assistant U.S. Attorney General (1911 by President William H. Taft). Autherine Lucy - First African American student enrolled at the University of Alabama in 1956. Mary Elizabeth Mahoney, (1846-1926) - First African American to graduate with a diploma in nursing (1879). Thurgood Marshall, (1908-1993) - First African American appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court (by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967).