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Legends of the Jazz Age


(image) Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong once said, "My whole life, my soul, my whole spirit is to blow that horn." Like Armstrong, other jazz musicians such as Duke Ellington, James P. Johnson, Eubie Blake and Fletcher Henderson were passionate about arranging and performing.

Legends of the Jazz Age originally appeared on African-American History on Saturday, May 31st, 2014 at 21:56:56.

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Alice Walker


Alice Walker is an African-American writer and activist. As a writer, Walker is best known for The Color Purple, which won both the Pulitzer Prize and The National Book Award in 1983, and which was later made in a critically acclaimed film by Steven Spielberg and a Tony Award winning play on Broadway. Walker has also published books of poetry, essays, and other novels. A devoted social activist, Walker defends not only human rights, but the rights of all living beings. She is perhaps best known for bringing female genital mutilation practiced in Africa to the attention of the West.

Please Note:This post and the accompanying article were written by Scott Cerreta.

Alice Walker originally appeared on African-American History on Saturday, May 31st, 2014 at 20:49:22.

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Bill "Bojangles" Robinson


(image) Bill ¨Bojangles¨ Robinson was born in Richmond, Virginia May 25, 1878. Though he began dancing in beer gardens at the age of five, his stage career began at the age of eight when he was spotted by a promoter dancing outside the Globe Theater and asked to become a pick in a minstrel show. He became a star of the black vaudeville stage, as well as appearing in white vaudeville shows.

Bill "Bojangles" Robinson originally appeared on African-American History on Saturday, May 31st, 2014 at 20:20:17.

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Nikki Giovanni


Poet, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni describes herself as "a Black American, daughter, mother and a professor of English." Throughout her career as a writer Giovanni has used the written word to explore themes such as pride, liberation and African-American feminism. Described as a "national treasure" and honored as one of Oprah Winfrey's "Living Legends," Giovanni's work is considered classic and evocative by readers and critics.

Nikki Giovanni originally appeared on African-American History on Saturday, May 31st, 2014 at 20:17:07.

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Angela Davis: Political Activist


Angela Davis is an African American political activist, philosopher, and retired professor. Davis was a leader of the Communist Party USA and, though never an official member, also had close ties to the Black Panther Party.

She rose to prominence as an activist in the Civil Rights Movements of the nineteen sixties, and was mostly affiliated with the Students Nonviolent Coordinating Committee until the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., after which she joined the Communist Party. Davis may best be known for her arrest as a suspected conspirator in the failed attempt to free George Jackson from a courtroom in Marin County, California on August 7th, 1970.

Angela Davis: Political Activist originally appeared on African-American History on Saturday, May 31st, 2014 at 19:55:23.

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Meta V.W.Fuller


(image) Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller traveled to Paris in 1899 to study with Raphaël Collin. While studying with Collin, Fuller was mentored by painter Henry Ossawa Tanner. She also continued to develop her craft as a sculpturist at Academie Colarossi and sketching at Ecole des Beaux-Arts. She was heavily influenced by the conceptual realism of Auguste Rodin who declared, "My child, you are a sculptor; you have the sense of form in your fingers."

In 1903 Fuller returned to the United States invigorated and ready to express her ideas through sculptor. However she was met with racism at every turn. Read her biography to discover how she overcame discrimination

Meta V.W.Fuller originally appeared on African-American History on Saturday, May 31st, 2014 at 16:59:17.

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Remembering Maya: The Caged Bird Has Sung


(image) In 1969, Maya Angelou, a budding yet reluctant writer and strong supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, published I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The memoir, which would become the first of a six-part series, told the story of Angelou's early life of growing up in the Jim Crow Era in Stamps, Arkansas. Of this experience, Angelou said, "if growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." I'm just happy that Angelou had the courage to push forward and tell her story.

Remembering Maya: The Caged Bird Has Sung originally appeared on African-American History on Thursday, May 29th, 2014 at 03:18:23.

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Remembering Malcolm X



One of my favorite quotes by Malcolm X is "There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time."

Often, when I think about the struggles that everyday men and women faced during the Jim Crow Era and even in some cases today, I can't help but think about the importance of continuously fighting for change.

Remembering Malcolm X originally appeared on African-American History on Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 at 01:02:11.

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Fighting Jim Crow


The Jim Crow Era in United States history began towards the end of the Reconstruction Period and lasted until 1965 with the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Yet, the Jim Crow Era was more than a body of legislative acts on the federal, state and local levels that barred African-Americans from being full American citizens. It was also a way of life that allowed African-Americans to be oppressed economically, socially and barred the masses from achieving an adequate education.

Yet throughout the Jim Crow Era African-Americans fought to end the prevalent disenfranchisement.

Educators such as Booker T. Washington and Nannie Helen Burroughs established institutions that would train African-American men and women in various trades--allowing them the ability to overcome economic disenfranchisement.

Intellectuals such as William Monroe Trotter , in stark opposition to Washington's philosophy of not fighting against racial inequality but becoming self sufficient, provided men and women the opportunity to voice their opinions in organizations such as the Niagara Movement and the NAACP.

And finally, how can we forget the power of the pen?

My favorite muckraker, Ida B. Wells wrote about the horrors of lynching and singlehandedly started the anti-lynching campaign.

Although the Jim Crow Era was able to thrive in American society for almost one hundred years and we still bear the brunt of this horrid period today, I am always mesmirized by the daring spirit of men and women who accepted the challenge to fight for change.

Fighting Jim Crow originally appeared on African-American History on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 at 21:34:36.

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Five Playwrights of the Harlem Renaissance



The Harlem Renaissance is often remembered for its novelists and poets, visual artists and musicians.

But what about plays published during this period?

This month, I've collected a list of Harlem Renaissance playwrights. Writers such as George Douglass Johnson, Joseph Seamon Cotter Jr., and Regina Anderson created plays exploring themes such as lynching, racism and the impact of the Great Migration on African-Americans.

Five Playwrights of the Harlem Renaissance originally appeared on African-American History on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 at 19:30:53.

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