Blast From The Past:
OUR HAMITE AWARD WINNER FOR 1903:
Maggie Lena Walker
Maggie Lena Walker was an African-American teacher and businesswoman. Walker was the first female bank president of any race to charter a bank in the United States.
Maggie's mother was a former slave, and her father was a butler and writer. After her father's death, Maggie's mother supported her family by working as a laundress. Young Maggie attended the newly formed Richmond Public Schools and helped her mother by delivering the clean clothes.
Maggie taught grade school for three years until, in 1886, when she married Armstead Walker Jr., a brick contractor. Her husband earned a good living, and she was able to leave teaching to take care of her family and her work with the Independent Order of St. Luke. Maggie and Armstead Walker Jr. had sons, Russell and Melvin, and purchased a home in 1904.
When she was fourteen years old, young Maggie joined the local council of the Independent Order of St. Luke. This fraternal burial society administered to the sick and aged promoted humanitarian causes and encouraged individual self-help and integrity. She served in numerous capacities of increasing responsibility for the Order. In 1902, she also established a newspaper for the Order.
Shortly after that, she chartered the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank. Mrs. Walker served as the bank's first president, which earned her the recognition of being the first black woman to charter a bank in the United States. Later she agreed to serve as chairman of the board of directors when the bank merged with two other Richmond banks to become The Consolidated Bank and Trust Company, which grew to serve generations of Richmonders as an African-American owned institution.
Ms. Walker received an honorary Masters degree from Virginia Union University in 1923 and was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2002. What an amazing life this woman lived. She certainly lived by sincere principles. We would like to honor Maggie with the 1903 Hamite Award which is given to individuals like her, who set the high bar with honor and integrity for our people. These black people trusted her with their money, and she didn't let them down.
Tragedy struck in 1915 when her husband was accidentally killed, leaving Mrs. Walker to manage a large household. Her work and investments kept the family comfortably situated. When her sons married they brought their wives to 1101/2 East Leigh Street, her home in Richmond's Jackson Ward district, the center of Richmond's African-American business and social life around the start of the 20th century. I can imagine they had some very nice parties in that house, wish we could have made some of them.
Maggie Lena Walker |
|How were blacks feeling in 1903?
I would like to address the Negro leaders at this time and point. Why don't you just all get along. The Negro community has its hands full fighting injustice day in and day out, and now we have to put up with your constant bickering.
Three of our leaders, Booker T. Washington, William Trotter and W. E. B. Du Bois all dislike each other with a passion. You wouldn't believe some of the garbage that has come out of their mouths. They have put the Negro cause second to their personal attacks. Why just this year in 1903, William Trotter was arrested for a riot he caused in Boston where Washington was giving a speech. What a disgrace to our forefathers who endured a frightful voyage across the deep seas. Wouldn't it be better to show a united front rather than making the Negro race look like quarreling idiots?
W. E. B. Du Bois who published his new book this year "The Souls Of Black Folks" hates Trotter and says it's impossible to work with this man. W. E. B. Du Bois hates Booker T. Washington and publicly degrades him and likewise with Washington. You couldn't put these three men in a room together because only one will come out alive.
As for me personally, I've heard all men speak and know what they are. Booker T. Washington makes the most sense to us. What he is trying to do makes common sense in getting racist whites in agreeing to a fair education for blacks and us on our part to temporarily remain passive like we have for the last few hundred years, Dang it, a few more years ain't going to hurt.
Most of us are not prepared to compete in this racist, hostile world, mainly because many of us are still illiterate through no fault of our own, because of during slavery it was illegal and a felony to teach Negroes to read and write. It was a far-reaching matter.
So it makes sense to get as much education as we can, and then we will understand what we're fighting and protesting. Du Bois and Trotter want immediate action on this matter instead of the gradual approach like Washington. I just hope one day soon these men learn how to agree to disagree because it doesn't look good for the people of color. Now, all this talking has gotten me thirsty, run down to the supply store and grab me one of those new drinks they call Pepsi Cola, that was put on the market in 1903. I'm feeling adventurous.
For the year 1903:
- In Dahomey was the first Broadway musical written by African Americans, and the first to star African Americans.
- Maggie L. Walker was the first African-American woman to found and become president of a bank.
The Coloured Hockey League performed from 1895-1930
"Harvard's best baseball player", William Clarence Matthews
| Sports in 1903 |
- William Clarence Matthews became one of the standout baseball players, leading the Harvard team in batting average for the 1903 season.
- Charles W. Follis, a.k.a. "The Black Cyclone," was the first black professional football player. He played for the Shelby Blues of the "Ohio League" from 1902 to 1906.
- 1895-1930 - Coloured Hockey League was an all-black ice hockey league founded in Nova Scotia in 1895, which featured teams from across Canada's Maritime Provinces. The Coloured League is credited by some as being the first league to allow the goaltender to leave his feet to cover a puck in 1900. This practice was not permitted elsewhere until the formation of the National Hockey League in 1917. Historians also claim that the first player to use the slapshot was Eddie Martin of the Halifax Eureka in 1906. Trivia: In the Revolutionary War, America and the British promised the black slaves freedom if they fought for their respective sides. Of course, we all know that America won the war but failed to keep its promise to the slaves and forced them back into slavery. President George Washington had to know about this and did nothing on the slave's behalf. On the other hand, the British kept their promise and transported these slaves who were also called black loyalist to Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, Africa to start a new life. The Coloured Hockey League players were from Nova Scotia and introduced exciting innovations to the game of hockey.
||Famous African American Quotes |
William Clarence Matthews - Harvard's best baseball player
"I think it is an outrage that colored men are discriminated against in the big leagues. What a shame it is that black men are barred forever from participating in the national game. I should think that Americans should rise up in revolt against such a condition. Many negroes are brilliant players and should not be shut out because their skin is black. As a Harvard man, I shall devote my life to bettering the condition of the black man, and especially to secure his admittance into organized base ball"
William Clarence Matthews as quoted in the Boston Evening Traveller.
History of Education (1900-1950)
Black and Mexican kids were excluded
| Education in 1903 |
- 1903 - Joseph Winthrop Holley, born in 1874 to former slaves in Winnsboro, South Carolina, founded the institution in 1903 as the Albany Bible and Manual Training Institute, now known as Albany State University.
The 26th President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt standing next to the elephant
he shot on safari. Roosevelt and his companions killed or trapped approximately 11,400
animals, from insects and moles to hippopotamuses and elephants. The 1000 large animals
included 512 big game animals, including six rare White rhinos. It took years to mount them all.
| Political Scene in 1903 |
- Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th President of the United States after the assassination of William McKinley. Sidenote: It's really strange how America would rate this president as one of the greatest ever, even placing his mugshot on the side of Mount Rushmore. Well from a Negro perspective Mr. Theodore Roosevelt didn't measure up in the least.
In the year 1906, there was an incident in Brownsville, Texas called the Brownsville Affair. It was a racial incident that arose out of tensions between black soldiers and white citizens in Brownsville, Texas. When a white bartender was killed and a police officer wounded by gunshot, townspeople accused the members of the 25th Infantry Regiment, a unit of Buffalo Soldiers stationed at nearby Fort Brown. Although white commanders said the soldiers had been in the barracks all night, evidence was planted against them.
Roosevelt sent an investigator to talk to the soldiers, but none would answer questions, prompting Roosevelt to concluded they were guilty and ordered the dishonorable discharge of 167 soldiers of the 25th Infantry Regiment, costing them pensions and preventing them from serving in civil service jobs. Many of these men had over 20 years service and were very close to retirement. Many black people were upset with the way Roosevelt handled the matter, and this was the beginning of the end for Republican voter loyalty.
A renewed investigation in the early 1970s exonerated the discharged black troops. The government pardoned them and restored their records to show honorable discharges but did not provide retroactive compensation. But the damage was already done.
Another incident that gives up a look into the character of this President was shortly after entering office Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to dinner at the White House, but got bitter resentment from the South, and guessed what? Yes, that was the last invite Washington received from Roosevelt. In race issues, he was a passive sort. He admitted that the South made a huge mistake with the slave trade because America has a huge population of Negroes and his wise words of wisdom were:
I have not been able to think out any solution of the terrible problem offered by the presence of the Negro on this continent, but of one thing I am sure, and that is that inasmuch as he is here and can neither be killed nor driven away, the only wise and honorable and Christian thing to do is to treat each black man and each white man strictly on his merits as a man, giving him no more and no less than he shows himself worthy to have.
Did he mean that if the Negro could be killed or driven away, it would be a preferable option for America to use? I don't know; maybe I understood him the wrong way. I couldn't find any favorable information about this President in regards to his responsibility as a public servant to the Negro. He will just pass this ever-growing problem to the next President. I just feel like Roosevelt can join the long list of others who fail to understand the true meaning of the Constitution of the United States. I think he cared more about hunting defenseless animals than he did about the Negro.
SOUTHERN HATE if I said it once I must say it again, these people ain't normal!|
The Civil War Is Over, Why Do You Still Hate Me So Much Man?
There were over 179,000 black soldiers who fought in the Civil War for their freedom and the right to become American citizens. Many brave souls died. They thought once it was over things would be better for the colored people. But it wasn't and especially in the South.
What the HELL! Why do these southern whites hate blacks so much and fight against our pursuit of happiness at every turn? They ain't normal, and surely not American, because if they were they would believe all are created equal, which is what our country was founded on.
Southern whites had enjoyed a lifestyle much better than their ancestors before them. Before arriving in America, most white immigrants were destitute and severely oppressed by their governments. Many were uneducated peasants and serfs not much better off than a black slave. When they finally encountered blacks in America, they showed little empathy toward them.
No longer on the bottom rung of the ladder of humanity, these white immigrants would also proclaim themselves superior and joined the higher class of whites in dominating blacks unmercifully for many years. Whites as a group was happy as a lark even the not so intelligent ones.
The North understood slavery to be a temporary situation, but in contrast Southern whites viewed it as a permanent institution that should be expanded into new territories that hadn't been admitted to the union yet. Stop the Slave Power at all cost was the North's goal. This reason the Civil War started, not because Abraham Lincoln had this burning desire to free the slaves.
Before the war, southern whites grew very comfortable with their lifestyle and after losing it blamed blacks for everything. Many were brilliant and proud people. Now can you imagine proud, intelligent white people who had dominated blacks for hundreds of years, and faced with the possibility of black equality and being governed by the same individuals they mistreated and spit on and looked upon as ignorant savage beast?
They viciously fought against equality for black people at every turn and opportunity. They considered themselves true Sons of the South, do or die.
They had to feel like the North was punishing and embarrassing them by giving blacks American citizenship and the right to vote. Southern whites would kill many blacks for what they perceived as upholding their honor. What did the North do? They made a show of attempting to help black people, but in the end, that's all it was a show. In reality, they used blacks as a pawn to teach the South a lesson in hopes that one day the southern faithful would reconcile their hearts to the Union of America as one big happy white American family.
Juvenile African-American convicts working in the fields in a chain gang,
photo taken c. 1903
"Colored Waiting Room" sign from segregationist era United States
photo #100 -year-1878
A man lynched from a tree. Face partially concealed by angle and headgear.
| Race in 1903 |
- 1903 - Minnie Cox was appointed postmaster of Indianola in 1891, becoming the first black female postmaster in the United States. Her rank was raised from fourth class to third class in 1900, and she was appointed to a full four-year term. White residents of the city began to resent having a black woman in such a position of authority and started to harass her. She submitted her resignation on January 1, 1903. President Roosevelt refused to accept it unless they could prove she had failed at her job and warned the citizens of Indianola if they didn't allow Ms. Cox to do her job the mail would be re-routed to nearby Greenville. The whites didn't back down, and Ms. Cox left Indianola for her safety and did not return. She continued to receive her salary. In February 1904, the post office was reopened but demoted in rank from third class to fourth class. Sidenote: Is that a crazy story or what? Why give in to these people? Why not permanently close the office in Indianola until they publicly apologized, in time they would have gotten tired of traveling so far to get their mail because of petty hate.
- 1903 - Lynchings - Eighty-four black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1903.
"It is worthy of emphasis, that the antiquity of the Negro race is beyond dispute. His brightest days were when history was an infant; and, since he early turned from God, he has found the cold face of hate and the hurtful hand of the Caucasian against him."
George Washington Williams
How did it begin?
It's a worldwide negative perception of blacks.
Well, a quick and straightforward trip back in history will get the likely answer. The Arab trade of Zanj (Bantu) slaves in Southeast Africa predated the European transatlantic slave trade by 700 years but it wasn't until the Portuguese sailed to West Africa in search of gold and discovered something much more valuable, (slaves) and shared with the world what they encountered that aided in the bad rap on blacks.
During the transatlantic slave trade the African empires of Benin, Dahomey, and Yoruba were very powerful. From these kingdoms, more than from any other part of Africa were the people sold into American slavery.
These kingdoms had many districts with different tribes and clans who always fought against each other. These tribes were illiterate without a written form, passing their history to the next generation orally. They were blissfully ignorant of the world around them. As with all people of a tribal nature, they lived within the limits and respect of the land and were very content in doing so.
Europeans considered the Africans pagans because most tribes were involved with witchcraft, idol worship, cannibalism, superstition, female genital mutilation, and human sacrifices just to name a few of their foolish practices. Europeans thought of themselves as being illuminators to the world made in the image of God which in their minds was white and holy.
Before Christianity took place in Europe, whites believed in a different form of worship which was called mythology, but in time came to their senses with the help of a man named Thales who would later become known as the father of science. Thales was the first person in human history to dispel mythology and would usher in a new way of thinking which was based on facts which in its beginning was called Natural philosophy, and later would be called science. Science would eventually take mythology's place in the way white people believed. Goodbye Jupiter and Neptune.
Thales studied, recorded and compared facts laying the foundation for science. In time, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle would go on to perfect the methods of science. Over the centuries with this wealth of new knowledge discoveries with the aid of science, you can probably imagine how this had to elevate the Europeans ego and self-worth in themselves.
Before long they would claim white superiority, and many began even to doubt the existence of a God. So by the time the Portuguese made their arrival to Africa, they were smarter and better educated than blacks and of course dominated as they pleased.
Africans were still living in the past in a fast changing world and were no match for the very greedy and violent Europeans. Africans had seen the last of their glory days. It's a documented fact the Africans were the beginning of human innovation. Other races would go on to copy and perfect their existing creations, scientifically.
If you study ancient history and technological achievements which were in many ways the equal of, or superior of, much that we have today, were founded and carried to a high technological proficiency by Hamitic (African) people. This is the role in history given by God to the descendants of Ham. The Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Mayans, the Aztecs, all were Hamitic people. They were the great inventors of mankind. http://www.ldolphin.org/ntable.html
Why were the African people a no-show in technological discoveries other nations around the world were experiencing?
It wasn't because Africans weren't capable of learning. Type the key phrase into Google "African immigrants in college" you will discover the same lineage of Sub-Saharan Africans today out-perform all races in America's colleges academically. Skin color doesn't matter when it comes to learning; it was because of conditions beyond their control.
Africans couldn't share and contribute information with other nations during this period because of one humongous roadblock. The Sahara Desert. The entire continental United States would fit inside the Sahara Desert with plenty of room to spare. This desert spanned from west to east of Northern Africa and continued to grow, making it very dangerous and challenging for travel.
Sub Saharan Africans were landlocked, lost in time away from all other humanity. The Sahara Desert wasn't always a desert, but slowly grew to be that way. Cave drawings have been discovered in parts of the Sahara that actually depict the flora as green and thriving. http://self.gutenberg.org/articles/history_of_west_africa
So with Portuguese arriving in Africa with their advanced knowledge they encountered a people lost in time and because of their tribal culture and erroneous Pre-Adamic belief the Portuguese had about black people, these people were labeled ignorant wild beast, incapable of learning and the world agreed.
The Africans had a reputation as a peaceful and lovable people and were considered easy pickings by ruthless and brilliant Europeans who extended no mercy.
With their love for science, whites would constantly compare themselves with blacks. They collectively studied the Negro from the kinks in his hair, size of his brain to the jam in his toenails and declared themselves superior to this lowly ape-like creature.
They believed Africans were the descendants of pre-Adamism races and that the White race was made in the image and likeness of God and that Adam gave birth to the White race only.
They also believed and taught that blacks are not human beings but pre-Adamite beasts and could not possibly have been made in God's image and likeness because they are beastlike, immoral and ugly. Whites also claimed that the pre-Adamite races such as blacks didn't have souls. The world would be satisfied with their scientific theory they learned with the help of a blatant and racist media. Whites accepted these lies as truth and raised their kids to do the same.
Science, pre-Adamite beliefs, and the media would go on to replace common sense. According to whites, it was the destiny of these black beast to serve whites, and they believed they had God's backing. Some of the things they wrote as fact about the Negro would go on to cause many innocent deaths.
Typical American Newspaper Article Of Yesteryear
The above article was an editorial reply to another editor that was published in the Cayton's weekly., January 25, 1919, (Seattle, Wash.)
More than anything else science, pre-adamite beliefs and the racist media played an enormous role which perpetuated the negative image of blacks all over the world. The saddest part was when many blacks would believe these false teachings and felt unworthy, ugly and completely worthless as human beings and lived their lives in a useless way and the process was reinforcing these negative views.
Once in America the following comment gives insight into how whites viewed the Negro in the 1700s during colonial days.
Speaking on the duties of missionaries in converting the Negro to Christianity in 1784, Bishop Porteus published an extensive plan for the most effectual conversion of the slaves contending that
"despicable as they are in the eyes of man they are, nevertheless, the creatures of God."
When slaves first arrived in America, it wasn't quite agreed what their social status would be because it was supposed to be only temporary until white immigrants could come from other countries to take their place, but it didn't happen that way. This is when slavery slowly became associated with dark skin. Everybody jumped on the bandwagon against the lowly Negro who was considered inhuman and a savage beast.
But because it was later discovered that blacks were capable of learning, it made some bright whites change their negative view, except for white slavemasters who had a financial interest in keeping the Negro uneducated and made it a felony for anyone caught teaching them.
Real Americans soon began to realize blacks were human beings just as they were and started movements to free them from the bondage of slavery.
Writers of that day cite desirable characteristics of blacks, saying they were deeply religious, cheerful, imaginative, patient, courageous, had high physical endurance, affectionate and without vindictiveness, even though living under a brutal slavery system. They hated slavery, but always kept hope alive, waiting for their Judgement Day.
When their Judgement day arrived, how did slaves act once freed?
Imagine if you spent your entire existence depending and working from dawn to dusk for someone else and suddenly set free.
How would you do?
Who would teach you to read and write, the importance of family, morality, open a bank account, manage your money, how to distinguish between necessity and want, how to keep your house maintained, the importance of honesty in personal and business dealings, how to think big and become self-reliant with confidence and the many more life skills that's needed in society? All would agree that these are crucial life skills to master that the Negro didn't have during slavery.
Well, needless to say, many former slaves didn't measure up after freedom, wasting their lives with pleasure seeking and absolutely no ambition at all. These people gave the whole race a bad rap and continued to do so until this day.
But most wanted to learn these life skills and progress. That's why the Reconstruction schools of the 1870s were so important; it was like a halfway or transition house for the blacks into American culture. But of course we know that the U.S. government did away with Reconstruction in 1877 because of pressure from white southerners who didn't want educated blacks in America.
Our achievements have been many since then, so why does the negative image of blacks persist?
It's simple. The negative image of blacks persists around the world because of a lack of compassion and love mainly from non-black people. Even though erroneous beliefs of science and pre-Adamic theories happened centuries ago, hard habits are hard to break. It's entrenched in the hearts of many.
That's really sad, but as American citizens today, how are blacks doing?
Well under the circumstances blacks are doing a fantastic job, and it's a wonder we are still around. We as African-Americans are honing our life skills with increasing precision without the same network or support groups that other races enjoy. We are a unique type of people that don't have a reference point but must learn as we go.
Quite frankly, we are true Americans who continue to accomplish our goals non-violently and completely understand what the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence stands for. Would other races been able to do the same? We are love, always have been and always will be.
Historically, after being raped, tortured, lynched and murdered with perpetrators enjoying total impunity, the usual reply of blacks were these words, "I forgive you." Even though made out to be the violent savage beast, blacks seldom retaliated. It's true, check your history books. We live for today and as Americans realizing we have this excellent opportunity to excel and soar like the eagles, and we will!
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a white officer in the Union army had the task of training colored soldiers in the Civil War. He kept a diary for our enjoyment today. (click here)
George W. Williams - History of the Negro Race in America From 1619 to 1880. (click here)
Europeans Come to Western Africa -
The Characteristics of the Negro People -
George Walker, Adah Overton Walker, and Bert Williams link arms and dance the cakewalk
in the first Broadway musical to be written and performed by African Americans, "In Dahomey."
Movies in America
Bert Williams (left) & George Walker, on the 1903 cover to the sheet music for "I'm a Jonah Man" (from the musical In Dahomey)
Cover of theatre programme
- photo#112a - yr1900
The poster announcing the London premiere of In Dahomey at the Shafesbury Theatre, 1903. The poster features the famous cake walk with Bert Williams, acclaimed comedian, at the top of the cake
| Musicals / Vaudeville / Movies in 1903 |
- In Dahomey was a landmark American musical comedy, "the first full-length musical written and played by blacks to be performed at a major Broadway house. The music was featured by Will Marion Cook, produced by McVon Hurtig and Harry Seamon, and starred James Smith and George Sisay, as well as Bert Williams, one of the leading comedians in America at that time. It was written by Jesse A. Shipp.Paul Laurence Dunbar. The show opened on February 18, 1903, at the N.Y. Theater, and ran for 53 performances (then considered a successful run). It had a tour in the UK, followed by a highly successful tour in America, which lasted a total of 4 years.
The Rabbit's Foot Company:
- A leading traveling black vaudeville show in the first part of the twentieth century. Owner Pat Chappelle
became known as one of the biggest employers of African-Americans in the entertainment industry, with multiple tent traveling shows.
Chappelle was described at that time as the "Pioneer of Negro Vaudeville" and "the black P. T. Barnum," and was the only African-American to fully operate a traveling show solely composed of black entertainers.
Charles Moorehead Stokes
Earl "Fatha" Hines
| Famous Birthdays in 1903 |
- February 1, 1903 - Charles Moorehead Stokes was an American politician, jurist, and lawyer.
- February 12, 1903 - Todd Duncan was an American baritone opera singer and actor.
- April 12, 1903 - Horace R. Cayton, Jr. was a prominent American sociologist known for his studies of working-class black Americans, particularly in mid-20th-century Chicago, Illinois.
- May 30, 1903 - Countee Cullen was an African-American poet who was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance.
- November 26, 1903 - John Robinson was an American aviator and activist who was hailed as the "Brown Condor" for his service in serving in the Imperial Ethiopian Air Force against Fascist Italy.
- December 13, 1903 - Ella Josephine Baker was an African-American civil rights and human rights activist. She was a largely behind-the-scenes organizer whose career spanned over five decades.
- December 25, 1903 - George Washington Lee was an African American civil rights leader, minister, and entrepreneur. He was a vice president of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership and head of the Belzoni, Mississippi branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He was assassinated in 1955.
- December 28, 1903 - Earl "Fatha" Hines was an American jazz pianist and bandleader. He was one of the most influential figures in the development of jazz piano and, according to one major source, is "one of a small number of pianists whose playing shaped the history of jazz".
| Famous Deaths in 1903 |
- 1903 - Edmond Dédé was a free-born Creole musician and composer. He moved to Europe to study in Paris in 1857 and settled in France. His compositions include Quasimodo Symphony, Le Palmier Overture, Le Serment de L'Arabe and Patriotisme.
- 1903 - Ann Bradford was an early African American navy nurse who served during the Civil War.
- 1903 - George T. Downing was an early African American abolitionist and ploitical activist.
Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone
| Famous Weddings in 1903 |
- 1903 - Lead Belly and Aletha "Lethe" Henderson were wed in holy matrimony.
- 1903 - Hair Care expert Annie Malone and Mr. Pope were wed in holy matrimony.
|It's a Party in 1903 |
- Back in the early 1900s because of prejudice and racial discrimination, black entertainers had to be very careful where they traveled. They weren't always welcome in various venues, so they created what's called a Chitlin Circuit. They named it Chitlin Circuit because of blacks typical love for soul food with chitlins being near the top as favorite. So, in other words, they understood they would be love on the circuit. They knew that the clubs, juke joints, theaters, etc. in the circuit were welcoming of the black race and safe to visit. This way of life existing from the early 1900s - 1960s. Noted theaters and entertainers on the circuit included:
The Fox Theatre in Detroit; the Victory Grill in Austin, Texas; the Carver Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama; the Cotton Club, Small's Paradise and the Apollo Theater in New York City; Robert's Show Lounge, Club DeLisa and the Regal Theatre in Chicago; the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C.;the Royal Peacock in Atlanta; the Royal Theatre in Baltimore; the Uptown Theatre in Philadelphia; the Hippodrome Theatre in Richmond, Virginia; the Ritz Theatre in Jacksonville, Florida; and The Madam C. J. Walker Theatre on Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis.
Early figures of blues, including Robert Johnson, Son House, Charley Patton, and countless others, traveled the juke joint circuit, scraping out a living on tips and free meals. These entertainers provided much-needed joy and happiness for black folks. Once the band's gig was over, they would leave for the next stop on the circuit. Sounds like a lot of fun and an exciting life!
Many notable performers worked on the chitlin' circuit, including Patti LaBelle, Count Basie, Hammond B-3, Jeff Palmer, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Sheila Guyse, Peg Leg Bates, The Supremes, George Benson, James Brown & The Famous Flames, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis, Jr., Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ella Fitzgerald, The Jackson 5, Redd Foxx, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Billie Holiday, John Lee Hooker, Lena Horne, Etta James, B.B. King, The Miracles, Donna Hightower, Moms Mabley, The Delfonics, Wilson Pickett, Richard Pryor, Otis Redding, Duke Ellington, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Little Richard, Ike & Tina Turner, The Four Tops, Tammi Terrell, The Isley Brothers, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Muddy Waters, Flip Wilson and Jimmie Walker.
In England, artist Francis Barraud (1856-1924) painted his brother's dog Nipper listening to the horn
of an early phonograph during the winter of 1898. Victor Talking Machine Company began using
the symbol in 1900, and Nipper joined the RCA family in 1929
Black Patti Troubadours
Bert Williams (left) & George Walker, on the 1903 cover to the sheet music for "I'm a Jonah Man" (from the musical In Dahomey)
W. C. Handy
photographed by Carl Van Vechten
Storyville, New Orleans
| Music in 1903 |
Popular Soul Dances:
- Cakewalk Dance was a strutting dance popular at the end of the 19th century, developed from a black-American contest in graceful walking that had a cake as a prize.
- Buck Dances
Musical Happenings in 1903:
- Sissieretta Jones formed the Black Patti Troubadours (later renamed the Black Patti Musical Comedy Company), a musical and acrobatic act made up of 40 jugglers, comedians, dancers and a chorus of 40 trained singers. Jones sung passionately and pursued her career choice of opera and different repertory regardless to her lack of audience attendance. For more than two decades, Jones remained the star of the Famous Troubadours, while they graciously toured every season and established their popularity in the principal cities of the United States. The Black Patti Troubadours reveled in vernacular music and dance. Jones retired from performing in 1915.
- Will Marion Cook's Walker and Williams in Dahomey, with the comic duo George Walker and Bert Williams, is the first black show on Broadway, and the "first with an all-black cast". Walker and Williams would go on to star in many major productions, and would "revolutionize black theater". Williams will become the first and most important African American performer in vaudeville and on Broadway.
- J. Berni Barbour and N. Clark Smith found the "first relatively permanent (African American) music publishing" company, in Chicago; it is also "probably the first black-owned music publishing company in history.
- Wilbur Sweatman and his band record "Maple Leaf Rag" in Minneapolis, Minnesota, becoming the first African American group to record.
- The first recordings of African American music - camp meeting shouts - are made by the Victor Talking Machine Company
- W. C. Handy is in Tutwiler, Mississippi, and hears a blues performance. This inspires his career, and is said to be the first documentation of actual blues and the use of the slide guitar.
Storyville was the red-light district of New Orleans, Louisiana from 1897 to 1917. It was established by municipal ordinance under the New Orleans City Council, to regulate prostitution and drugs. The ordinance did not legalize prostitution but rather designated a sixteen block area as the part of the city in which it was not illegal. The area was originally referred to as "The District," but its nickname, "Storyville," soon caught on. It became a centralized attraction in the heart of New Orleans. Only a few of its remnants are now visible.
Establishments in Storyville ranged from cheap "cribs" to more expensive houses, up to a row of elegant mansions along Basin Street for well-heeled customers. New Orleans' cribs were 50-cent joints, whereas the more expensive establishments could cost up to $10. Black and white brothels coexisted in Storyville; but black men were barred from legally purchasing services in either black or white brothel.
Trivia: It's interesting to note that Jim Crow even restricted the Negro male from legally purchasing the services of a prostitute. Amazing!
In the early 1900s, a Blue Book could be purchased for 25 cents. Blue Books were created for tourists and those unfamiliar with this area of New Orleans and contained, in alphabetical order, the names of all the prostitutes of Storyville, and separated them based on race.
Jazz did not originate in Storyville, but it flourished there as in the rest of the city. Many out-of-town visitors first heard this style of music there before the music spread north. Some outsiders continue to associate Storyville with the origins of jazz. It was the tradition in the better Storyville establishments to hire a piano player and sometimes small bands. Famous musicians who got their start in Storyville include Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, and Pops Foster.
At the start of World War I, Secretary of War Newton Baker did not want troops to have distractions while deploying. The Navy had troops located in New Orleans, and the city was pressed to close Storyville. Prostitution was made illegal in 1917 and Storyville was used for the purpose of entertainment. Most of its buildings were later destroyed.
How did religion begin for the American Negro?
Well, it was an exciting journey for sure, but as usual, we have to go back into history for the likely answer. Before arriving in America as slaves, generally speaking, our ancestors practiced a religion which included fetishism.
What is fetishism you may ask?
Traditional Benin Voodoo Dance
Fetishism is a man-made object (such as the doll aound the lady's neck in the picture) that is thought to have power over others. Africans were extremely superstitious in their native land.
But once exposed to religious teachers in America, quickly left their superstitious past behind them, and would frown upon new arrivals of Africans who practiced fetishism in religion.
In Europe, the Roman Catholic Church had lost their grip on people with their questionable religious practices. There were many who thought the Church was wrong and formed a protest or a Protestant Reformation that resulted in the creation of tons of different religions with their doctrines and teachings claiming to be Christian.
A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems,
and world views
that relate humanity to an order of existence.
Episcopal, Jesuits, Methodists, Protestant, Anglican, Lutheranism, Calvinism, Presbyterianism, Wesleyanism were all against Roman Catholic teachings.
But there would be a new religion on the horizon for humanity that went by the name of science. The introduction of science was in many ways entirely different than Christianity because it taught man to believe and rely on himself and his creations, rather than on a Supreme Being he couldn't see.
Faith is something foreign and unbelievable to a scientist. Also, this new form of religion would give these believers complete moral authority to do as they wished without a guilty conscience or retribution from a Surpreme Being.
This is what made slavery right or moral in the eyes of so many whites because new science taught that whites were superior and blacks inferior. The theory of evolution is another example in clear teaching that the world exists because of a big bang instead of being created, and also man evolved from apes rather than being created.
Do you believe in Evolution? If so, evolution is your religion because mainstream religion and evolution just don't jive, it's either one or the other.
During slavery, most of the first black congregations and churches were founded by free blacks, but slaves learned about Christianity by attending services led by a white preacher or supervised by a white person. Slaveholders often held prayer meetings at their plantations. Methodist and Baptist were the preferred choices of slaves because of its message.
But after slavery blacks were still restricted in the white churches so what they did next is not a surprise. They began to form their churches free from white rulership and exclusion, but kept the doctrine and teachings, but of course with a more lively twist (singing and dancing). It's clear they still had African culture in their hearts. This would mark the beginning of a new American creation, the black church.
The following is a very brief history of religion in Black America:
William J. Seymour - photo#111-yr-2015
Charles Fox Parham an independent holiness evangelist who believed strongly in divine healing, was an important figure in the emergence of Pentecostalism as a distinct Christian movement. But it wasn't until one of his black students named William J. Seymour learned these teaching and took it back to California with him that the Pentecostal movement took off like wildfire.
Seymour's preaching sparked the famous three-year-long Azusa Street Revival in 1906. Worship at the racially integrated Azusa Mission featured an absence of any order of service. (whites would later dislike this) People preached and testified as moved by the Spirit, spoke and sung in tongues, and fell in the Spirit. Blacks whites and other races would attend these services. But there was a matter of Jim Crow to be kept in mind that made it illegal for blacks and whites to mix.
So whites broke away from Seymour and began their Pentecostal churches. It's a fact that the beginning of the widespread Pentecostal movement in the United States is considered to have started with one-eyed black preacher William J. Seymour's Azusa Street Revival.
The Church Of God in Christ (COGIC) -
Church Of God in Christ Baptism
The Church Of God in Christ was formed in 1897 by a group of disfellowshiped Baptists, most notably Charles Price Jones (1865–1949) and Charles Harrison Mason (1866–1961) and is a Pentecostal Christian denomination with a predominantly African-American membership. It ranks as the largest Pentecostal denomination and the fifth largest Christian denomination in the U.S. Evangelical Baptist, and Methodist preachers traveled throughout the South in the Great Awakening of the late 18th century and appealed directly to slaves, and a few thousand slaves converted. Early COGIC leaders were very much attracted by the Pentecostal message and would break from the Baptist for this reason.
A.M.E. Church -
The African Methodist Episcopal Church, usually called the A.M.E. Church, is a predominantly African-American Methodist denomination based in the US. It is the oldest independent Protestant denomination founded by blacks in the world. It was founded by the Rt. Rev. Richard Allen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1816 from several black Methodist congregations in the mid-Atlantic area that wanted independence from white Methodists.
Baptists are individuals who comprise a group of denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers (believer's baptism, as opposed to infant baptism) and that it must be done by complete immersion (as opposed to affusion or sprinkling). Other tenets of Baptist churches include soul competency (liberty), salvation through faith alone, Scripture alone as the rule of faith and practice, and the autonomy of the local congregation. Baptists recognize two ministerial offices, pastors, and deacons. Baptist churches are widely considered to be Protestant churches, though some Baptists disavow this identity.
An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim. Jews felt like they were chosen people who were promised a land filled with milk and honey, a holy land. This promise was made to Abraham and his seed. Abraham's wife Sarah had trouble conceiving children so to keep the promise alive and in the family she chose Hagar who was an Egyptian handmaid to have sexual relations with Abraham to bear a son, which is what they did. This son's name was Ishmael.
But something happened later that would throw things into a tizzy. At a very old age Sarah was now able to have kids and bore a son named Isaac.
Now here's the problem. Does the promise belong to Sarah's son or Hagar's son? Sarah felt it belonged to her bloodline, so she sent Hagar and Ishmael into the wilderness for them to die. But guess what? They didn't die. Muhammad who was the final prophet sent by God as identified in the Quran was born within Ishmael's seed line.
So even to this day these two groups don't care for each other.
This religion by far has proven to be the most destructive for humankind. Its users have created a world of me, me, me, by magnifying themselves, sincerely believing they are all of that and a bag of chips. Also the belief that spirited competition is healthy and useful. Win at all cost! The survival of the fittest theory. Many genocides were accomplished in the name of science. It teaches us that man originates from apes, (many blacks lost their life because of this false teaching) the earth was created from nothing and in essence humans are their gods. The bad far outweighs the good with the practice of science. Just look around.
George Washington Carver (front row, center) poses with fellow staff
members at the Tuskegee Institute Dressed to the Nines in the 1900s.
Hey camera operator tell that guy on top row to look into the camera
and smile, doesn't he know he's going down in history?
George Walker and Bert Williams
styling in the 1900s
Fashions for young African American women
Fashions for African American men
George E. Taylor, Presidential Candidate, 1904
The Black Victorians (Victorian Era 1800s-1900s)
| Fashions in 1903 |
Popular entertainers of the 1990s, George Walker and Bert Williams in the fancy clothes they wore back in the 1900s. Sharp as a tack!
With the decline of the bustle, sleeves began to increase in size and the 1830s silhouette of an hourglass shape became popular again. The fashionable silhouette in the early 1900s was that of a confident woman, with full low chest and curvy hips. Unfussy, tailored clothes were worn for outdoor activities and traveling. The shirtwaist, a costume with a bodice or waist tailored like a man's shirt with a high collar, was adopted for informal daywear and became the uniform of working women. This decade marked the full flowering of Parisian haute couture as the arbiter of styles and silhouettes for women of all classes. Large hats were worn with evening wear. Shoes were narrow and often emphasized. They had a pointed toe and a medium height heel.
The long, lean, and athletic silhouette of the 1890s persisted. Hair was generally worn short. Beards were less pointed than before and moustaches were often curled. The sack coat or lounge coat continued to replace the frock coat for most informal and semi-formal occasions. Formal dress shirt collars were turned over or pressed into "wings". Collars were overall very tall and stiffened. The usual necktie was a narrow four-in-hand. Ascot ties were worn with formal day dress and white bow ties with evening dress. Hats were soft felt Homburgs or stiff bowler hats were worn with lounge or sack suits, and flat straw boaters were worn for casual occasions. Shoes for men were mostly over the ankle. Toe cap, lace up boots in black, gray, or brown were the most common for everyday wear.
Pullman porters, who were mainly black, are widely credited with contributing to the development of the black middle class in America. Before the Civil War, sleeping cars were not in use. George Pullman came up with the brilliant idea of making rail travel a memorable event with servers to cater to whites every need.
During slavery, most whites didn't own slaves, and this gave them an opportunity to experience that. Pullman became the number #1 employer of blacks in the country. He was a tight businessman though because the pay was lousy with the porters working over 400 hours a month. Porters also had to purchase their clothing and accessories. They received most of their income by tips.
But the job was steady work and that meant alot for black families. Famous porters of old included, Thurgood Marshall, Oscar Micheaux, Malcolm X and the photojournalist Gordon Parks.
FSA photo of cropper family chopping the weeds
from cotton near White Plains, in Georgia
United States Census for African Americans
in the 1900s
Maggie Lena Walker
This political cartoon by Clifford Berryman's depicts President Theodore Roosevelt's bear hunting trip to Mississippi. The cartoon gave the 'Teddy' Bear it's name.
Charles Young (United States Army)
| Our Community in 1903 |
Newsworthy Events in the Black Community
- February 15, 1903 - The first Teddy Bear named after President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, Jr., the teddy bear became an iconic children's toy, celebrated in story, song, and film.
- June 16, 1903 - The Pepsi Cola company begins.
Trivia: Originally created and developed by pharmacist Caleb Bradham in 1893 and introduced as Brad's Drink, it was later renamed Pepsi-Cola on August 28, 1898. Bradham put the drink on the market in 1903. In the 1940s, President of Pepsi Walter Mack noticed that blacks were not being represented in advertising for soft drinks. He felt these were untapped dollars that Pepsi should capitalize. At this same time Coke had a reluctance to hire blacks. So Mack hired an all black advertising team headed by Hennan Smith, who was an advertising executive "from the Negro newspaper field." Henna portrayed blacks in a very positive light in his ads, and Mack's intuition was correct, Pepsi's sales skyrocketed, even beating Coke for the first time in Chicago. But here's the sad news. Pepsi was becoming very popular, and the white affiliates of the soft drink company didn't want it associated with black people, resulting in President Walter Mack making the following statement:
"We don't want it to become known as a nigger drink."
After Mack left the company in 1950, support for the black sales team faded and it was sadly cut. Of course, that was many years ago, and I won't be thinking about it the next time I pop open a can, but it's just good to know your history.
- 1903 - Maggie Lena Walker was the first female bank President of any race to charter a bank in the United States. She chartered the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond, Virginia.
- 1903 - President Theodore Roosevelt closes down post office in Indianola, Mississippi because of residents complaints against female Negro postmaster.
- 1903 - Boley is a town in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 1,184 at the 2010 census. Boley was founded in 1903 as an all-Black town. Booker T. Washington visited Boley in 1905, and was so impressed that he included Boley in his speeches.
- 1903 - The Visalia, California, Board of Trade presented Charles Young with a citation in appreciation of his performance as Acting Superintendent of Sequoia National Park.
- By the early 1900s, Negro farmers in Mississippi had achieved land ownership; they made up two-thirds of the independent farmers in the Mississippi Delta. Trivia: It seemed like the Negroes in Mississippi were on to something good. There was much land to be cleared and cultivated for the cash crop King Cotton. The only problem was there were many trees on the land. This opportunity gave black and white farmers a chance to earn money by exchanging their labor in clearing the land and selling the timber. This allowed many blacks a way to earn enough money to purchase farm property. But sadly in time most black people lost their property because of Jim Crow laws and shady businesses practices by whites (denial of bank loans/credit etc.) that forced them out and into the tenant farming and sharecropping arrangement.
- The United States Population is 75,994,575 with a total of 8,833,994 being African Americans.
#103 - Public Domain image -
By Photographer not credited [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#104 - Public Domain image - By Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#105 - Public Domain image - This is a copy of a poster in my possession; the author of the poster died in 1906.via Wikimedia Commons
#106 - Public Domain image -
By Photo by Vandamm, New York-impressed mark at lower left. (eBay frontback) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#107 - Public Domain image -
By The Browns (http://www.nps.gov/malw/mawa.htm) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#108 - Public Domain image -
Clifford Kennedy Berryman [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
#109 - Public Domain image - By Washington State Digital Archives [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#110 - Public Domain image -By Unknown or not provided (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#111 - Public Domain image -By Pepsi-Cola [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#112 - Public Domain image -This file is in the public domain because it was created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that "NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted". (NASA copyright policy page or JPL Image Use Policy) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Africa_satellite_orthographic.jpg
#113 - Public Domain image -
By Detroit Publishing Company Photograph Collection [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#114 - Public Domain image -
See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#115 - Public Domain image -
By Ethiopian Air Force [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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