Tag Archives: African American

Help Save Harlem’s Historic Renaissance Ballroom from Demolition

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Protesters Aim to Save Harlems Historic Renaissance Ballroom from Demolition – Video: via Protesters Aim to Save Harlems Historic Renaissance Ballroom from Demolition – NY1.

“The Ballroom was completed in 1924 as part of a larger entertainment hub that included a bustling casino and 900-seat theatre.  Built and operated by black businessmen, the “Rennie” was the only upscale reception hall available to African Americans at the time.  Prize fights, concerts, dance marathons, film screenings, and stage acts were held at the Renaissance, along with elegant parties and meetings of the most influential social clubs and political organizations in Harlem.  The community’s elite gathered to dance the Charleston and the Black Bottom to live entertainment by the most renowned jazz musicians of the age.

“The nightspot even played host to the nation’s first all-black professional basketball team, also called the Harlem Renaissance, considered by some to be the best in the world in their day.  On game nights, portable hoops were erected on the dance floor, converting the ballroom into a stadium.  Following each game, almost invariably a victory for the Rens, a dance was held where players would mingle and jive with the choicest ladies of Harlem.  The team barnstormed in towns across the country, playing exhibition games in which coveted matches with white teams drew the largest crowds.  In their best season, the Renns set a record with 88 consecutive wins that has yet to be broken.”

-AbandonedNYC.com

 

Congratulate the 4 African American MacArthur Fellows Genius Grant recipients

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 12.49.17 PM The MacArthur Foundation named 21 “extraordinarily creative people” as the 2014 recipients of its annual MacArthur Fellows Program—widely referred to as the “genius” grants.

Four African Americans are among this year’s consortium.

These individuals were nominated by an anonymous and esteemed group of people who are experts in their fields. The fellows had to demonstrate not only that they are brilliant self-starters in their respective professions but also that they are pushing the limits on future work that has “the potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work,” the foundation’s site reads.

via 4 Black People Named as Recipients of the 2014 MacArthur Fellowship – The Root.

Happy Memorial Day: African Americans invented Memorial Day in Charleston, South Carolina

Happy Memorial Day

The first widely publicized observance of a Memorial Day-type observance after the Civil War was in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 1, 1865.

During the war, Union soldiers who were prisoners of war had been held at the Charleston Race Course; at least 257 Union prisoners died there and were hastily buried in unmarked graves.

Together with teachers and missionaries, black residents of Charleston organized a May Day ceremony in 1865, which was covered by the New York Tribune and other national papers.

The freedmen cleaned up and landscaped the burial ground, building an enclosure and an arch labeled, “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

Nearly ten thousand people, mostly freedmen, gathered on May 1 to commemorate the war dead. Involved were about 3,000 school children newly enrolled in freedmen’s schools, mutual aid societies, Union troops, black ministers, and white northern missionaries. Most brought flowers to lay on the burial field.

Today the site is used as Hampton Park.  Years later, the celebration would come to be called the “First Decoration Day” in the North.  David W. Blight described the day:

“This was the first Memorial Day. African Americans invented Memorial Day in Charleston, South Carolina. What you have there is black Americans recently freed from slavery announcing to the world with their flowers, their feet, and their songs what the war had been about. What they basically were creating was the Independence Day of a Second American Revolution.”

via Memorial Day – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.



African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (DVD)

Director: .
Starring: Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Explore with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the evolution of the African-American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed forging their own history, culture and society against unimaginable odds.
List Price: $34.99 USD
New From: $17.78 USD In Stock
Used from: $16.98 USD In Stock

Nelson Mandela – Rest in Peace

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Rest in Peace.  With hearts heavy around the world right now with the passing of Nelson Mandela.  He led a tireless, valiant and successful struggle that brought freedom to millions.

His efforts were watched and supported by millions in the United States, whose same struggle has been so well recounted in the PBS series The African Americans.

As you honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela please make time to watch this amazing series by yourself or with family and friends.    Watch one minute of one episode and you won’t be able to stop, it is so captivating.

A brief history of Nelson Mandela

A segment from The African Americans