Blast From The Past:
OUR HAMITE AWARD WINNER FOR 1926:
Frazier Augustus Boutelle
Frazier Augustus Boutelle, who was born in Troy, New York, served in the US Army for 57 years, fighting in the Civil War and the Indian Wars and working as a recruiter in World War I. In 1889-1890 he was a conservation activist and superintendent of Yellowstone National Park.
Frazier Boutelle's military career began June 4, 1861, when he enlisted as one of the first volunteers of the 5th New York Cavalry, Company A. Entering as a quartermaster sergeant, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant November 4, 1862. Following an injury, and promoted to first lieutenant April 2, 1864.
On February 12, 1866, he reenlisted as a private in the regular Army, and was sent, via Panama, to the West to join the First Cavalry's Company F. Boutelle was promoted to captain on April 24, 1886.
June 1889, Captain Frazier Boutelle was appointed as the second acting superintendent of Yellowstone National Park and given command of the U.S. Army contingent in the park.
The Department of Interior was unable to establish sufficient control of the park to protect wildlife, geothermal other park resources. In 1886, the War Department was given authority over the park, and the U.S. Army began administering the park in August 1886.
African Americans were among the first in the nation to recognize the importance of conservation. Boutelle supported the preservation of bison, advocated stocking streams to maintain fish populations, insisted that travelers use established campgrounds, and developed a system for rapid and efficient response to fires, which at that point were primarily caused by park visitors.
His approach to fisheries had a significant and lasting impact. Boutelle was an avid angler and recognized the angling potential in Yellowstone waters. In 1889 he suggested the U.S. Fish Commission consider stocking many of the fishless lakes and streams in Yellowstone. The park would become renowned for it's excellent fishing.
Frazier Boutelle returned to duty in 1905 as a recruiting officer. He was active in the Seattle office during World War I, the oldest serving officer of his time, and when the office closed in 1919, he retired from military service for the third and final time. Frazier Boutelle died at his home in Seattle on February 12, 1924.
It was clear that this man loved to serve his country. Blacks were noted and respected for their bravery and patriotism in every single war, and Boutelle was no different. Boutelle would later go on to run Yellowstone National Park. Wow! That's the kind of job I would want, away from all the racist hate in the cities.
He loved the outdoors and did his utmost to protect it from folks who would attempt to damage mother nature. Interesting history the fact that blacks were among the first in conservation efforts in America.
We award Frazier Boutelle with the 1926 hamite Award for allowing us and other people to view the Negro in another light, as a leading conservationist, opening up new and exciting possibilities for African Americans.
Frazier Boutelle, 1870 |
|How were blacks feeling in 1926?
I'm on my way to my family in Chicago for a visit. They've been ranting and raving about these black people that know how to play basketball exceptionally well. One of the premier attractions in Chicago at the Savoy Ballroom is the Savoy Big Five, a basketball team that played exhibitions before the dances.
These cats can do magic with a basketball and have everybody feeling good and laughing. Since Harlem is considered the center of new black culture, there is talk about changing their name to the Harlem Globetrotters. My family can see big things in these boy's future, right for them.
It's possible to find a sliver of happiness for the black person in America; you just got to search for it. Some blacks have moved out West to Quincy, California and got jobs in the lumber mills.
The name of the company is Quincy Lumber Mills. It's like a small city; the lumber mills own the housing and stores. But get this, it was hard for me to believe. Black and White mill workers are living and working together in relative peace.
Wow, unbelievable! But it's true. Of course, the housing is segregated, but the fact that the whites haven't attempted to hog all the jobs for themselves is amazing, and we wish they would teach others whites in America how to share.
Soupy Sales and the Harlem Globetrotters from a 1969
television special in which Sales manages the team.
Theodore "Tiger" Flowers
Flowers (left), posing with Mickey Walker
before their 1926 title bout
| Sports in 1926 |
- Theodore "Tiger" Flowers was the first African-American middleweight boxing champion, defeating Harry Greb to claim the title in 1926. Nicknamed the "Georgia Deacon", he was a devoutly religious man who would recite a passage from Psalm 144 before every bout.
- In the 1926 Colored World Series, the Chicago American Giants, champions of the Negro National League (1920–1931), beat the Bacharach Giants of Atlantic City, New Jersey, champions of the Eastern Colored League, five games to four. Red Grier of the Bacharach Giants pitched a no-hitter in Game 3.
- Satchel Paige began his professional baseball career in 1926 with the Chattanooga Black Lookouts of the Negro Southern League and became one of the most famous and successful players from the Negro leagues.
- Rube Foster organized the Negro National League, the first long-lasting professional league for African-American ballplayers, which operated from 1920 to 1931. He is known as the "father of Black Baseball."
Foster adopted his longtime nickname, "Rube", as his official middle name later in life.
- Robert L. "Bob" Douglas founded the New York Renaissance basketball team. Nicknamed the "Father of Black Professional Basketball", Douglas owned and coached the Rens from 1923 to 1949, guiding them to a 2,318-381 record (.859). He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor in 1972, the first African American enshrined.
- The Harlem Globetrotters founded in 1926 is an exhibition basketball team that combines athleticism, theater, and comedy. The executive offices for the team are located in downtown Phoenix, Arizona.
- May 16, 1926 - The Pipestone Black Sox which was an all black baseball team in rural southwestern Minnesota, played it's first game. Trivia: Baseball was a beloved sport in the 20s. Even though the Major Leagues were segregated, that didn't stop other teams across America from getting together to compete. Many of these teams played in rural areas against each other and were not necessarily segregated.
| 1926 Colored World Series |
| Chicago American Giants||3||7||0||4||5||4||5||0||6||13 ||1||5|
|Bacharach Giants||3||6||10||4||7||6||4||3||3||0 ||0||4|
Location: Atlantic City: Bacharach Park (1,2,6)
Baltimore: Maryland Baseball Park (3)
Philadelphia: Baker Bowl (4,5)
Chicago: Schorling Park (7,8,9,10,11)
Managers: Chicago: Dave Malarcher
Atlantic City: Dick Lundy
Dates: October 1–14
Hall of Famers: Chicago: Bill Foster
| Education in 1926 |
- 1926 - Over the first three decades of the 20th century, the funding gap between black and white schools in the South increasingly widened. NAACP studies of unequal expenditures in the mid-to-late 1920s found that Georgia spent $4.59 per year on each African-American child as opposed to $36.29 on each white child student. Analysis:This data is typical throughout history for the American Negro. The first injustice is that schooling is separate for Americans of different colors, and if you think about it, for lack of a better word, stupid. Has this been an orchestrated plan nationwide by our white American brothers to hold the black person back from improving and competing in American society? HECK YEAH. This proves that whites never doubted the Negroes ability to learn, but didn't want anything to do with another culture, educated or not. I don't even know if we could be called different cultures at this point because by now we should all claim American culture as our main. Now be totally honest. Is this an American attitude, or an Anti-American attitude? The reply by whites might be, so what! America belongs to white people. Well if that's the case you gotta change the name of America to something else, or risk being sued for false advertising in representing the Constitution of the United States.
| Political Scene in 1926 |
- Republican John Calvin Coolidge was the 30th President of the United States (1923–1929) A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state.
Analysis: John Calvin Coolidge probably came as close in character
to Abraham Lincoln than any other President. This man had compassion, common sense and was a great motivator. He wanted all Americans to get along. At the beginning of his term, he had the blacks pumped up with his beautiful speeches, saying everything they wanted to hear. Consider one of John Calvin Coolidge's speeches:
The propaganda of prejudice and hatred which sought to keep the men of color from supporting the national cause completely failed. The black man showed himself the same kind of citizen, moved by the same kind of patriotism, as the white man. They were tempted, but not one betrayed his country. ... They came home with many decorations, and their conduct repeatedly won high commendation from both American and European commanders. ... No part of the community responded more willingly, more generously, more unqualifiedly, to the demand for individual extraordinary exertion, than did the members of the Negro race. Whether in the military service or in the massive mobilization of industrial resources which the war required, the Negro did his part precisely as did the white man. He drew no color line when patriotism made its call upon him. He gave precisely as his white fellow citizens gave, to the limit of resources and abilities, to help the general cause. Thus the American black person established his right to the gratitude and appreciation which the Nation has been glad to accord.
Dang, almost brought tears to my eyes. Finally a president who can feel our pain!!! Mr. Coolidge was a President who knew little about black people and the problems they were facing. He surrounded himself with black advisors who were actually out of touch with the black community and were only interested in patronage jobs for their following. These black advisors would give him bad advice, one, in particular, was William H. Lewis, who had attended Amherst College the same time as Coolidge. Lewis told the President to 'play politics' with W.E.B. Dubois, offering him a high political position so Dubois would write favorably about him. Dubois recognized the 'political play' and declined the offer. Another example was Jay Scott who later became the most influential Afro-American political adviser to the President. During all the time he spent with Coolidge he only brought up segregation and the lynching issue a couple of occasions. But he did assist in getting funding Howard University and other acts that benefited blacks. But how can I put this in a way that doesn't sound ungrateful for what he did do? His help, though appreciated was primarily cosmetic. He ended up letting down many blacks. The fact that he got bad advice from questionable black leaders doesn't matter. I'm sure he got bad advice from white advisors from time to time, but he still went on to get the job done. Black voters who had voted Republican since Lincoln began to give second thoughts of remaining loyal to a party who refused to offer real concrete help and reform in a racist society. Sorry, John Calvin Coolidge. I think you were sincere, but there was not enough motivation to match your great speeches. I was pulling for you, but history proves that you didn't tackle Negro issues like Abe Lincoln did.
Cab Calloway, who wrote a Hepster's dictionary about the language of jive.
The term 'Baby' was for a long time, a racist expression meant to "denigrate" (to criticize unfairly, to say bad things about a person or thing) African-Americans. That all changed with the advent of the hit song, I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby, (1920s) From then on the expression, 'Baby' joined many other words used to express a term of endearment.
| sLANG tALK in 1926 |
- Jive talk - harlmese speech, slang talking
- Alligator - a devotee of jazz or swing music
- Bringer-Downer - a disappointment
- Chops - refers to any musician's level of ability
- Frail - a noun for any hepster woman
- G-man - government man, especially one harasses people
- Gage - marijuana, particularly associated with Louis Armstrong
- Gate - any man, usually used as a greeting
- Hep - in the know, hip
- Hep cat - smart and knowledgeable person, also hipster
- High - happy, content, mellow
- Hoochie Coocher - hot woman who dances laying down
- Hoochie coochie - sexy dance
- Jeff - opposite of hep; unhip, uncool
- Jitterbug - a dance created in the 1920s and 1930s
- Light up - to light a stick of T or reefer
- Lid - a Prince Albert tobacco can filled to the lid
- Man! - commonly used as an interjection or for emphasis
- Mighty Mezz - an expertly rolled joint
- Mop - woman, often meaning another hepster's girlfriend
- Ofay - police
- Puff - to smoke weed
- Stick of tea - joint, reefer, left-handed cigarette
- Zoot suit - suits popular with dancers of the swing era
The Homesteader (1919) is a lost black-and-white silent race film by African American
author and filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. This is a newspaper advert for the film.
Movies in America
Actress Evelyn Preer
American film director Oscar Micheaux
Actress Rose McClendon
| Movies in 1926 |
- Evelyn Preer was a pioneering African-American stage and screen actress and blues singer of the 1910s through the early 1930s. Preer was regarded by many as the greatest actress of her time and was known within the black community as "The First Lady of the Screen"
- 1926 - Oscar Micheaux was an African-American author, film director and independent producer of more than 44 films. The first of which was released in 1919 called The Homesteader which was met with critical and commercial success.
Trivia: Image is everything and Oscar recognized that fact. Up unto the time, he began producing movies; the black person was portrayed as lazy, weak morals, thieves, dishonest savage people you couldn't trust. Well guess what? Oscar changed all of that with his movies. He put positive role models on the silver screen and finally the world was able to see the black person in their right light, as intelligent, well to do honest people, hard working, industrious human beings who loved their families. Oscar was a crucial aspect of active Negro development in this country. Are we continuing to lift the image of our people in this country today?
- 1926 - The Colored Players Film Corporation was an independent silent film production company based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania founded in 1926. The film company, for the most part, made silent melodramatic films that featured all African American casts. During its brief time operating, the production company released four films, including A Prince of His Race (1926), a remake of Timothy Shay Arthur’s Ten Nights in a Bar Room (1926) with an all black cast, Children of Fate (1927), and finally The Scar of Shame (1929). Of the four films the company produced only Ten Nights in a Bar Room and The Scar of Shame remain.
- African American Charles Sidney Gilpin became one of the most highly regarded actors of the 1920s. In 1920 he was the first black American to receive the Drama League of New York's annual award, as one of the ten people who had done the most that year for American theater.
- 1920s - Rose McClendon was a leading African-American Broadway actress of the 1920s. McClendon was a contemporary of Paul Robeson, Ethel Barrymore, Lynn Fontanne and Langston Hughes.
Horace Dawson with his Granddaughter, Mia
John William Coltrane
| Famous Birthdays in 1926 |
- January 30, 1926 - Horace Greeley Dawson, Jr. was an American diplomat who served as the United States Ambassador to Botswana.
- March 11, 1926 - Ralph Abernathy was a leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, a minister, and Martin Luther King Jr.'s closest friend. In 1955, he collaborated with King to create the Montgomery Improvement Association, which would lead to the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott against segregation on buses in the south.
- April 29, 1926 - Samuel Berry McKinney an American politician from the U.S. state of Florida. She served in the United States House of Representatives from 1993 to 2003, representing Florida's 17th congressional district.
- May 3, 1926 - Jymie Merritt is an American jazz double-bassist, electric-bass pioneer, band leader and composer out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- June 14, 1926 - Donald Newcombe an American former Major League Baseball right-handed starting pitcher.
- September 23, 1926 - John William Coltrane, also known as "Trane" was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and was later at the forefront of free jazz.
- October 18, 1926 - Chuck Berry is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music.
- December 11, 1926 - Big Mama Thornton was an American rhythm and blues singer and songwriter. She was the first to record Leiber and Stoller's "Hound Dog" in 1952, which became her biggest hit.
- December 28, 1926 - Samuel Berry McKinney served as pastor of Seattle's Mount Zion Baptist Church from 1958 until 1998, and provided the longest continuous pastorship in the history of the church.
- July 24, 1926 - Orison Rudolph Aggrey was a United States Ambassador to Senegal, Gambia and Romania. He was also known as O. Rudolph Aggrey.
Mary Eliza Mahoney
George W. Murray, member of the United States House of Representatives
| Famous Deaths in 1926 |
- April 21, 1926 - George Washington Murray born into slavery in South Carolina, became educated and worked as a teacher, farmer and politician.
- April 30, 1926 - Bessie Coleman was an American civil aviator. She was the first female pilot of African American descent and the first person of African-American descent to hold an international pilot license.
- September 9, 1926 - William Sanders Scarborough is generally thought to be the first African-American classical scholar. Scarborough served as president of Wilberforce University between 1908 and 1920 after having been born into slavery.
- 1926 - Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first black professional nurse in America, and an active organizer among African American nurses.
- 1926 - Addison Jones was an African American cowboy.
Cotton Club on 125th Street in New York City
Cotton Club dancer Mildred Dixon - Duke Ellington's wife
| It's a Party in 1926 |
- 1923 - the Cotton Club on 142nd St & Lenox Ave in the heart of Harlem, New York was operated by white New York gangster Owney Madden. Madden used the Cotton Club as an outlet to sell his “#1 Beer” to the prohibition crowd. Although the club was briefly closed several times in the 1920s for selling alcohol, the owners’ political connections allowed them to reopen quickly. The club was a whites-only establishment even though it featured many of the best black entertainers of the era.
- 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 there 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.
Fun At The Beach?
The Negro has historically been excluded from every aspect of American life and success, but what about the public beaches, was he made to feel unwelcome there also?
In a word. HELL YEAH. I'm sorry, that's two words.
If a Negro and his family attempted to visit a public beach, he would be met with sure violence from whites.
It wasn't until after the Civil Rights protest in the 60s that the fight for equal access to public accommodations made it illegal to exclude the Negro.
One popular beach that blacks congregated was in Southern California. It was called "Ink Well" for obvious reasons. It served the black community very well.
You're not going to believe how blacks acquired another little piece of paradise in the same area called Bruce's Beach. A wonderful white American brother named George H. Peck who was a wealthy developer and the founder of Manhattan Beach, "bucked" the practice of racial exclusion and set aside two city blocks of the beachfront area and made them available for purchase by African Americans.
Jumping on this incredible opportunity, Willa and Charles Bruce purchased property in the Strand area and built a bathhouse, and dining area that catered to blacks. Peck would also go on to develop "Peck's Pier," the only pier in the area open to African Americans. In time because of increased racial tension and the value of beachfront property rising, the city pushed the blacks out claiming the eminent domain law. This type of exclusion was typical all across America for the Negro.
Josephine Baker dancing the Charleston
at the Folies-Bergère, Paris
Thomas "Fats" Waller
| Music in 1926 |
Popular Soul Dances
- The Breakaway
- Lindy Hop
- The Black Bottom
- The Foxtrot
- Shim Sham Shimmy, Shim Sham or just Sham originally is a particular tap dance routine and is regarded as tap dance's national anthem.
Musical Happenings in 1926:
- Choral director, Eva Jessye directed a spirituals, jazz, and light opera choir called the Dixie Jubilee Singers. who later changed their name to the Eva Jessye Choir. The groups success last over 30 years.
- Jelly Roll Morton forms the Red Hot Peppers and records for Victor, resulting in an "epic" set of recordings, particularly notable for "one of the best rhythm sections in early jazz".
- The Soul Stirrers, the "real creators of the modern gospel sound", is formed by Roy Crain in Trinity, Texas.
- Several popular songs by vaudeville singer Blind Lemon Jefferson kicks off a wave of solo male folk-blues artists recording commercially. Jeffersion is believed to become the first to record a slide guitar in this year.
- Arizona Dranes begins recording, soon becoming one of the "most celebrated pioneers of the Holiness-Pentecostal" gospel style.
- New York's Savoy Ballroom opens, with Chick Webb as bandleader. It will become a major jazz venue, and Webb will reign "over the birth of such dances as the Lindy Hop and the Susie Q".
- Eva Jessye moves to New York, where she will soon become a fixture in the city's musical life, eventually becoming the "first black woman to win international distinction as a professional choral conductor".
- The Carnegie Corporation purchases an extensive collection of books on African-American culture from Arthur Schomburg. The collection will become the casis for the New York Public Library's Schomburg Collection of Negro Literature and History, the "most famous collection of books on black in the world".
- Louis Armstrong's "Heebie Jeebies" is a notable early example of scat vocals in jazz.
- The first recordings of solo gospel guitar are made by Blind Joe Taggart.
- 1926 - The Oklahoma City Blue Devils was the premier Southwest territory jazz band in the 1920s. Originally called Billy King's Road Show, it disbanded in Oklahoma City in 1925 where Walter Page renamed it. The name Blue Devils came from the name of a gang of fence cutters operating during the early days of the American West. The Blue Devils disbanded in 1933, after which Basie recruited most of the group's members to join his group, which had begun in 1931, but then changed the name to the Count Basie Orchestra.
- 1920s - "Fats" Waller was an important contributor to the popular stride piano style.
How did "acting" Cool begin for African Americans?|
It seems like it's been around forever and
expected of every black kid growing up
For most blacks, cool started on the southern plantations. Opportunists slavemasters devised a way for slaves to work harder and reap the benefits of their labor. During the year at a chosen plantation slave masters would hold a "Corn Shucking Festival." Slaves from nearby plantations would also join this event with their owner's permission, so it was almost like a community gathering of all the local slaves, with greedy slavemasters making all the money.
The slave who shucked the most corn won an award, sometimes cash or a suit of clothes. Anyone who found a red ear of corn also received a reward - perhaps a kiss from a young woman or a jug of whiskey. It was at these events that the term Shuckin' and jivin' came into existence by the slaves while working and telling tall stories, talking smack, and joking around with each other.
These gatherings, even though involving hard work had to be an event looked forward to by the slaves, because it was one of the few times during the year blacks had a chance to interact with one another. Shuckin' and jivin' would become a tool the slaves would use to convince their masters of an untruth, and even among themselves. It was an early form of being cool.
After slavery blacks were free (sort of) to do as they pleased. Most blacks wanted to assimilate into American culture very much but were shut out by the white racist. African and European culture met head on in what was supposed to be fair in America guaranteed by our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, but blacks didn't stand a chance.
Why, what happened?
Because most whites banded together by breaking the law and made blacks second class citizens and would go on to murder, lynch, rape, humiliate them all the way until the 1960s Civil Rights movement. After Lincoln, every single United States President was aware of this and did nothing. Whites achieved like crazy and prospered while blacks lagged far behind and got along the best way they knew how.
Blacks disliked whites very much for this terrible treatment and instead of violent disobedience, they protested by living their lives opposite of white culture. I mean let's face it, why would blacks want to imitate or become a part of a race of people that hated them?
This is when being cool became a symbol of white resistance and protest. Being cool would show you were down with the struggle. During slavery, we had already created our language which was AAVE and many blacks communicated this way. Any black that did not use it was looked down as trying to act white, joining the enemy sort of speak.
We developed our own way of walking with a proud gait, (George Jefferson strut) our own style of music, our own style of dance, our own style of food, our own style of worship, that didn't have anything in common with white folks and that suited blacks just fine. We were poor, but we were proud and cool and everyone who practiced these traits was cool and a part of the resistance.
In the process, we were creating a new culture that was admired over the world. Blacks have always had a remarkable ability to create something out of nothing. But sadly there was significant risk with this lifestyle in a great country such as America.
What were the downfalls?
Oscar Micheaux felt it was wrong for blacks to live this way in America. Oscar was an African American author, film director and independent producer of more than 44 movies and he is regarded as the first major African-American feature filmmaker, the most successful African-American filmmaker of the first half of the twentieth century and the most prominent producer of race films. He produced both silent movies and "talkies" after the industry changed to incorporate speaking actors.
Oscar felt that blacks should become aggressive and use their brainpower in achieving instead of just settling for what the white man doled out. This man lived in some of the most racist times in American history, but he didn't let that stop him from fulfilling his dreams and doing it the legal way.
Evidently, Oscar had a brother who was the very cool type and was content on just putting up a show, or a front as living a successful life. We all know the type. A person that was living beyond his means. Blacks of his day called this way of living “the good life.”
Oscar didn't like it and was very upset with his brother. He later wrote in his book and discussed the culture of doers who want to accomplish, and those who see themselves as victims of injustice and hopelessness, and do not want to step out and try to succeed, but instead like to dress up, act cool and pretend to be successful while living the city lifestyle in poverty.
Oscar understood that education doesn't belong only to white people, it's a gift for all humanity to better ourselves, and honestly the best-proven way. Chinese, Japanese, Middle-Eastern and all other non-white nations understand this and have prospered by education. It's one of humanities treasure to learn.
But many blacks associated education with white and stayed far away from it, to continue with their cool lifestyle. A foolish mistake, and just what racist whites want you to believe.
Early Europeans completely dominated the Africans because they were better educated. They had guns we had spears, you do the math. In Africa our ancestors didn't value education, but traditions and silly ones at that. But that didn't save them. Education would have, though.
So without a doubt, it is entirely wrong to associate teaching and learning to white people. Many of us would look down upon another black who tried to better himself through education by saying they were trying to act white, and it wasn't cool. Racist whites laughed at us for believing this way because they knew we would always be behind.
After the 1960s, when our full Civil Rights were finally restored, many blacks chose to live the more standard American way by attending school to learn. But many also wanted to remain trapped in time with the old AAVE living in what they still perceived as defiance to the white American way of doing things. But were they only hurting themselves?
Later in time, being cool had become so prevalent in the black community it confused many kids, because they didn't quite understand if they were going to hang out with the cool kids or the so-called boring kids who liked to read and learn. At an early age, they are at a critical crossroad. Taking the cool route may seem easier, and a lot of fun, but would be a devastating mistake.
After the Civil Rights era we now have the opportunity to attend school and achieve as much as we can, but being cool has snatched many of the black kids and locked them into a culture hating education and in the process ruining their young lives.
Many entertainment figures reap much money from this cool culture by portraying cool as, well cool. They tell impressionable ones what's cool to hear, talk about, wear, eat, etc. and at the same time padding their cool humongous bank accounts.
These even get on television and flaunt their riches in a youngster's face never explicitly teaching on how they might be as successful, without being dishonest, stealing or selling drugs. Education is not cool for them to preach.
One thing is for sure, being cool can be a lot of fun and there's no denying that. Everybody wants to be liked, and it seems like cool people are respected and admired the most, from the clothes they wear to the type of songs they listen to the way they talk, the effortless way they seem to accomplish every task is amazing.
They possess incredible confidence. But truthfully everything they've accomplished wouldn't have been possible without the sacrifices of our wonderful ancestors. So don't you agree we owe a particular moral responsibility to them?
Kids should remember cool is not the real deal, It's a game we can't get caught up in. Our ancestors endured so much so we could achieve. We should never forget that. That's what this site was created. Browse through its pages, and you're going to read stories of amazing blacks.
They made it possible for us, and we're sure they would advise us to achieve through education first and foremost and save the cool for the weekends, and I ain't Shuckin and Jivin!
By White House (Pete Souza) / Maison Blanche (Pete Souza) (The Official White House Photostream) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Senate Office of Richard Lugar [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Women's fashion in 1920s
Women's fashion in 1920s
Men's fashion in 1920s
| Fashions in 1926 |
During the 1920s, the notion of keeping up with fashion trends and expressing oneself through material goods seized middle-class Americans as never before. Purchasing new clothes, new appliances, new automobiles, new anything indicated one's level of prosperity. Being considered old-fashioned, out-of-date, or—worse yet—unable to afford stylish new products was a fate many Americans went to great lengths to avoid.
- During the Harlem Renaissance, Black America’s clothing scene took a dramatic turn from the prim and proper. African-Americans wore clothing that was far from somber. Women were dressed in wide hats garlanded with flowers, modest veils, silk stockings that were held up by garters, open-toed slippers, and the low-slung dress, possibly with a ribbon at the hip. Though the 1920s cloche, a close-fitting number usually made of felt or wool, was extremely popular for casual wear and was worn gaily pulled down over the eyes. Popular by the 1930s was the trendy beret hat with stand-up or egret feather. Men wore zoot suits which were wide-legged, high-waisted, pegged trousers, and a long coat with wide padded shoulders and lapels. They also wore wide-brimmed hats, hand-colored socks, white gloves, and velvet-collared Chesterfield coats. African Americans also expressed respect for their heritage through a style of leopard-skin coats indicating the great power of the infamous African animal.
A young Malcolm X described the zoot suit as: "a killer-diller coat with a drape shape, reet pleats and shoulders padded like a lunatic's cell".
Dang it! We're so Tired of all the Hate|
We can't wait to leave this wicked South,
and make the big bucks in the North!
Will our white American brothers love us there?
What type of employment awaits the Negro in the 1900s?
FSA photo of cropper family chopping the weeds
from cotton near White Plains, in Georgia Postmarked 1912
90% of Negroes still lived in the South up until the late 1910s.
King Cotton was still a big source of income for blacks. These workers were hired as temporary help. Many were tenant farmers, renting a piece of land and some of their tools and supplies, and paying the rent at the end of the growing season with a portion of their harvest. White and black farm laborers were paid comparable wages, and rental rates. Blacks didn't exclusively work in the cotton fields, for example some blacks worked in the Turpentine industry.
"Dipping and scraping pine trees. Turpentine industry in Florida." Postmarked 1912
Whites were much more likely to own land as opposed to blacks. Black children were unlikely to be in school because they helped the parents in the fields to support the family and also because of a lack of good quality schools. Funds that were intended for black schools went to white schools instead in the form of raising teacher salaries and per-pupil funding while reducing class size. Black schools suffered at this expense. Separate but Equal was a big lie, because it was anything but equal.
The government didn't have a special watchdog organization to enforce these racist laws, and the requirement of equality was not enforced. Black children never really had a fair chance.
Boll weevil ruins Cotton Crops in the 1920s
Of course hindsight is 20-20. But wouldn't it have been nice if during slavery someone would have thought to travel to Mexico and bring back the Cotton boll weevil to transplant them into Southern cotton crops?
Cotton boll weevil |
Where were you when we really
needed you, pre-1863?
A little integration of the boll weevil and Mr. King Cotton would have been a good thing for the Negro. We wonder what kind of effect that would have had on chattel slavery?
Well what the heck is a boll weevil?
The boll weevil is a beetle which feeds on cotton buds and flowers. Thought to be native to Central America, it migrated into the United States from Mexico in the late 19th century and had infested all U.S. cotton-growing areas by the 1920s, devastating the industry and the people working in the American south.
Southern blacks were tied to the cotton fields in the early 1900s, but after 1914, many were fed up and wanted to try something new and different. By then they were open for a change because of restrictive Jim Crow laws and the boll weevil destroyed many crops, putting them out of work. They decided to take the plunge, a new and exciting life for them. Their move was called the Great Migration. News had spread to these poor black Southerners about better opportunities in the North, so many of them packed up their belongings and bid farewell to the South, never looking back.
During World War I, blacks were very much desired in the workplace. The United States had a quota for Colored soldiers to enlist for service. Blacks filled the quota very quickly, and many had to be turned back. With white men fighting in the war, this left openings in industry for blacks to fill. How did they do? Employers loved them and wanted more. They proved themselves to be excellent workers. This is probably one of the main reasons for so many riots when the white soldiers returned to America because blacks had taken their jobs. So by the early 1900s, we have proven ourselves to be excellent and courageous soldiers and dependable workers at home.
In other cases, some Negroes were recruited to travel North by agents of the businesses who would pay their fare. In some cases, these poor blacks were tricked into traveling a great distance for jobs only to discover they would be hired as strikebreakers, which was a very dangerous undertaking. Money was better for the Negro in the North, but in many cases, racism persisted with many riots happening. Many unions in the North had explicit rules barring membership by black workers.
Blacks had various successes at different job locations, for example when the auto industry took off, Ford Motor Co. hired many blacks to work in its automobile plant, but other auto plants often excluded them. Jobs were not a certainty for the Negro; he had to stay alerted and knock on many doors. But blacks were making a little advancement, by 1940 there were more than 200,000 African Americans in the CIO, many of them officers of union locals.
A. Philip Randolph|
When the war broke out a very special man by the name of A. Philip Randolph petitioned President Roosevelt for jobs in the Defense plants which previously had been reserved for whites. Randolph had a special card up his sleeve in the form of 100,000 peaceful marchers on Washington to protest if Roosevelt declined.
Roosevelt half-heartedly gave in and created a new program for blacks called the Fair Employment Practice Committee which was designed to monitor the hiring practices of companies. The Committee did accomplish many blacks being hired into the Defense departments at very nice wages but closed down later because of a lack of funding from the U.S. Government.
After World War II, The G.I. Bill which was a law that provided a range of benefits for returning World War II veterans. Benefits included low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans to start a business, cash payments of tuition and living expenses to attend university, high school or vocational education, as well as one year of unemployment compensation was a big boon for whites and was a major factor in the creation of the white American middle class.
But sadly because of racial inequality, many of the benefits of the G.I. bill were not granted to black soldiers. This is because "at the very moment when a wide array of public policies was providing most white Americans with valuable tools to advance their social welfare—insure their old age, get good jobs, acquire economic security, build assets, and gain middle-class status—most black Americans were left behind or left out." It seems like we can get off the ground with these people, but we never give up. Also the black middle class failed to keep pace with the white middle class because blacks had fewer opportunities to earn college degrees.
In time, it became critical to have a college degree, for better pay wages which many whites were now working toward with the help of the G.I. Bill, but blacks were left behind in dying trades or just making it the best way they could because of racial discrimination and National leaders doing absolutely nothing to help.
Once they returned home after the war, blacks faced not only discrimination but also poverty, which confronted most blacks during the 1940s and 1950s and represented another barrier to harnessing the benefits of the G.I. Bill, as poverty made seeking an education problematic to while labor and income were needed at home. Banks and mortgage agencies routinely refused loans to blacks, making the G.I. Bill even less effective for blacks.
In addition to the other obstacles, gaining admission to universities was no easy task for blacks on the G.I. Bill. Most universities had segregationist principles underlying their admissions policies, utilizing either official or unofficial quotas. Those blacks that were prepared for college level work and gained access to predominantly white universities still experienced racism on campus.
During the 70s and 80s, the number of employed blacks increased. The civil rights movement played a huge role in this development. There were heavy gains in blue-collar jobs, such as steel, automobile production, electrical and non-electrical machinery, appliances, food and tobacco manufacturing, and textiles, and also white-collar occupations, where the four major subcategories-professional and technical, managerial and administrative, sales, and clerical increased very sharply.
The black labor force by the late 1990s, approximately sixty percent of these were white-collar sales and clerical personnel; many in this group were non-union workers with limited benefits and wages. However, another twenty percent of the black labor force, nearly three million workers, was classified as professional and technical employees and administrators. The percentage of the black labor force in the blue-collar field declined.
So what type of work did blacks do in the 1900s?
There were black doctors, dentist, newspaper editors, plumbers, mailman, teachers, singers, scientist, athletes, Pullman porters, laborers, politicians, judges, lawyers, mill workers, welders, domestic help, authors, factory workers, customer service, business owners, policemen, firemen, and every other profession you could think of. Sadly, their numbers and presence weren't as high as white Americans because of entrenched discrimination against the black race. It's in the history books, read it for yourself.
Blacks have historically had a harder time than other races being employed in America, ever since emancipation, and for the most part it has to do with racism. We're not fooled into believing any different. But we don't let this stop us and continue to push on. Our amazing journey has had many barriers and roadbloocks every step of the way.
The Fair Employment Practice Committee of the 40s and the Civil Rights movement helped a bit, but after slavery and the following Jim Crow years, racism had become deeply entrenched in the American workforce. It's not out in the open as it was during Jim Crow days but today more subtle and hidden, but just as hurtful, degrading and discouraging. But to our credit, blacks seem always to find a way. Truly remarkable American people, and if it were possible, would make our battered ancestors who sailed deep seas, shout for joy in their graves.
African Americans in the Twentieth Century
African Americans and the G.I. Bill
Blacks in the 1970's
Social and Economic Issues of the 1980s and 1990s
What The Negro Achieved in Industry
United States Census for African Americans
in the 1920s
American jazz violinist Eddie South
with a conk hairdo.
| Our Community in 1926 |
Newsworthy Events in the Black Community:
- June 19, 1926 - DeFord Bailey was both the first performer to be introduced as playing on the Grand Ole Opry and also the first African-American performer on the show. He played several instruments but is best known for his harmonica tunes.
- June 20, 1926 - Dr. Mordecai Johnson becomes the first African American president of Howard University.
- June 29, 1926 - Carter Woodson wins the Springarn Medal for his research of Black history.
- 1926 - In the 1920s, some believed the conk hairdo served as a rite of passage from adolescence into adulthood for black males. Because of the pain involved in the process, the conk represented masculinity and virility within the community. Many of the popular musicians of the early to mid 20th century, including Chuck Berry, Little Richard, James Brown, and the members of The Temptations and The Miracles, were well known for sporting the conk hairstyle.
- The United States Population is 105,710,620 with a total of 10,463,131 being African Americans.
#100 - Public Domain image - By Mills Artists; photographer: James Kriegsmann, New York (eBay item photo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#101 - Public Domain image - By Universal Attractions (management) (eBay item photo frontphoto back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#102 - Public Domain image - By Unknown photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#103 - Public Domain image -
See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#104 - Public Domain image -
By CBS Television (eBay item photo frontphoto back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#105 - Public Domain image -
By U.S. Congress [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#106 - Public Domain image -
By Stylezm [Public domain or Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons
By Gelderen, Hugo van / Anefo [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl], via Wikimedia Commons
By Marilyn K. Morton (David C. Morton, DeFord Bailey biographer) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons
#109 - Public Domain image -
By Chicago Daily News [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#110 - Public Domain image -
By Ann Rosener, U.S. Office of War Information [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#111 - Public Domain image -
By http://www.nps.gov/media/photo/gallery.htm?id=2FF95CAC-1DD8-B71C-076131B37CA0E80B (National Park Service) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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