Bearden’s early work depicted scenes of Black urban and rural living, although took pains to not categorize his work as strictly Black art. After serving briefly in the U.S. Army during World War II in Europe, Bearden began to study other forms of art while traveling and studying abroad. His travels to Europe had him crossing paths with the likes of Pablo Picasso and other artists, no doubt influencing his later work.
Throughout Lowcountry Georgia, African Americans marshaled against native southern power, as well as federal policies that did not serve their interests. African American opposition included both individual and community resistance, formalized organizational protest, and armed resistance. Through organizations such as the Union League and the Farmers’ Alliance, African Americans developed a deft understanding of their political and social identity. In fact, the pursuit of self-governance, kinship, labor, and networks of communication transformed the political and social consciousness of African Americans during this period.
Spotswood Rice was born in Virginia in 1819 and some 30 years later, he would be sold to Benjamin Lewis in Howard County, Missouri, forced to be a tobacco roller. Missouri was a slave state but it did not secede from the Union like the Southern Confederate States when the Emancipation Proclamation came into effect on January 1st, 1863. Rice managed to run away and enlist in the 67th US Colored Infantry in Glasgow, Missouri in 1864. His wife Arry, and his daughters, Cora and Mary were still enslaved by the Diggs family of Madison County Missouri and the word that they had not been granted their freedom (even though Missouri was a swing-state of some sort) drove Rice to write a scathing letter Kitty Diggs — the woman enslaving his daughter Mary.
Coffey was born in the town of Newport. After taking a flight at the age of 13, his interest in becoming a pilot grew over time. Coffey moved to Chicago in 1925 to study auto mechanics, befriending John C. Robinson and supporting each other’s dreams of becoming Black pilots. After being barred from attending aviation school due to their race, Coffey and Robinson built their own single-engine plane and taught themselves how to fly.
Sambo Anderson was an enslaved carpenter at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s Fairfax County plantation. Born in Africa, Anderson endured the Middle Passage to America as a child and was purchased by Washington…s a carpenter, Anderson was involved in a vast array of work to build and repair the plantation’s infrastructure and equipment. He was manumitted, or freed, by George Washington’s will in 1801, but his wife and children had not been owned by Washington but by the estate of Martha Custis Washington’s late husband; as a result, they remained enslaved.
It was aboard this pitching vessel—the USS Bear—that a young, winsome mess attendant named George Washington Gibbs Jr. put in long days to provide meals for the crew (when they could keep them down) and fought to launder and clean despite a dearth of fresh or warm water. Gibbs, selected from many eager candidates to join famed explorer Admiral Richard Byrd’s third expedition to Antarctica, would achieve a historic first when they arrived on the Ross Ice Shelf on January 14, 1940, becoming the first African-American to set foot on the frozen continent.
Ten enslaved African-American people stand in front of a two-story, white clapboard building, some with baskets of cotton on top of their heads. A boy bows his head in the lower-left corner, his back to the camera. It’s a quarter-plate daguerreotype, a little larger than a deck of cards but brimming with details visible only when magnified: the individual leaves of the plants encircling a well, the woven wicker of the baskets. The antebellum photograph, believed to date back to the 1850s, is the oldest-known image of enslaved people with cotton, the commodity that they were forced to harvest.
After arriving to Kansas City, Mo. in the early ‘30s, Young joined a few of the local bands in the region but found his footing with Count Basie’s Orchestra. He stood out in the band because of his reserved playing style, and his colorful use of language. Some Jazz historians say that Young was responsible for the use of the word “cool” and using the term “bread” for money, informing the laid back speaking style employed by other jazz musicians.
As you walk among the ancient gravestones of the Old Burying Ground, prepare to be greeted by some of the spellbinding characters buried there. Meet Eunice Burr, Samuel Smedley and Goody Knapp who was convicted and executed for witchcraft in 1653, while discovering long-buried legends that have haunted Fairfield for nearly 400 years.
Spooks, Legends & Lore Immersive Experiences will take place on Thursday, October 29, Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31. Special family tours will be offered Saturday afternoon in daylight. Tours are approximately 45 minutes long and will depart on their ghostly journey every 15 minutes beginning at 6:30 PM.
Gertrude Rush became a legal pioneer after pioneer after becoming the first Black woman to practice law in Iowa, and the first Black woman to lead a national co-ed bar association. Rush was born August 5, 1880 in Navasota, Texas.
In August 1932 while away working, Dorsey received horrible news that his wife and child died in childbirth. Wrecked by the news, Dorsey, in interviews, said God led him to the piano where he penned “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” which has become his best-known work. The song has been performed masterfully by the likes of Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin and in modern times by Ledisi for the “Selma” soundtrack. It was said to be Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s favorite song.
Tan Town Jubilee premiered that October with Nat D. Williams, an African-American syndicated columnist, high school teacher, and local talent show host, playing blues records from his own collection. Aside from a few initial bomb threats from whites, it was well received. In fact, so many African Americans tuned in to listen to “Nat D.” that WDIA rapidly rose to the number two spot in the market.
Dwight was born on September 9, 1933 in Kansas City, Mo. His father was a player for the Kansas City Monarchs, and as a boy he showed promised as an artist. After high school, Dwight entered Kansas City Junior College, earning an A.A. degree in Engineering before entering the Air Force in 1953. As a cadet and airman, Dwight completed his training and was stationed at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona. At night, Dwight studied at Arizona State University, earning his B.S. degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1957.
It is long past time to recognize Black excellence in the culinary world the same way it has been celebrated in music, sports, literature, film, and the arts. From the start, the ingenuity and artistry of these cooks and creators have made an indelible mark on American culture—while also being consistently erased from the story of American food.
In his new book, The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food, chef, author, and television star Marcus Samuelsson presents an unforgettable feast of food, culture, and history that highlights the diversity and flavor of Black cooking today. Driven by a desire to fight against bias, reclaim Black culinary traditions, and energize a new generation of cooks, Samuelsson shares his own journey along with 150 recipes. He also tells stories about dozens of top chefs, writers, and activists that honor their creativity and influence.
In conversation with Osayi Endolyn, James Beard Award-winning food writer, Samuelsson discusses how Black cooking has always been more than soul food, with flavors that can be traced to the African continent, the Caribbean, across the United States, and beyond. Jamila Robinson, food editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and vice-chair of the James Beard Foundation Journalism Committee, moderates.
Ormes was born Zelda Jackson on August 1, 1911 in Pittsburgh, Penn. After high school, Ormes took a job with “The Pittsburgh Courier” as a proofreader, eventually moving to writing and reporting in 1930. In 1937, Ormes produced the comic strip “Torchy Brown in Dixie to Harlem,” which followed the life of a Mississippi teenager hoping to make it big as a singer at the famed Cotton Club.
James Weldon Johnson achieved many high marks in his life, including becoming chosen as the first Black Executive Secretary of the NAACP. The co-author of the “Negro National Anthem” was born June 17, 1871, in Jacksonville, Florida.