Blast From The Past:
OUR HAMITE AWARD WINNER FOR 1939:
"Ma" Rainey, born Gertrude Malissa Nix Pridgett was one of the earliest known American professional blues singers and one of the first generation of such singers to record. She was billed as The Mother of the Blues.
She began performing as a young teenager, between the ages of 12 - 14 and played under the name Ma Rainey after she and Will Rainey were married in 1904.
She formed the Alabama Fun Makers Company with her husband, Will Rainey, but in 1906 they both joined Pat Chappelle's much larger and more popular Rabbit's Foot Company, where they were billed together as "Black Face Song and Dance Comedians, Jubilee Singers and Cake Walkers". In 1910, she was described as "Mrs. Gertrude Rainey, our coon shouter", and she continued with the Rabbit's Foot Company after it was taken over by new owner F. S. Wolcott in 1912.
They toured with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels and later formed their group called Rainey and Rainey, Assassinators of the Blues. From the time of her first recording in 1923 to five years later, Ma Rainey made over 100 recordings, including "Bo-weevil Blues" (1923), "Moonshine Blues" (1923), "See See Rider" (1924), "Black Bottom" (1927), and "Soon This Morning" (1927).
Some of Rainey's lyrics contain extensive references to lesbianism or bisexuality. For example, a 1928 song, "Prove It on Me", states:
They said I do it, ain't nobody caught me. Sure got to prove it to me. Went out last night with a crowd of my friends. They must've been women, cause I don't like any men. "Prove It on Me" further alludes to presumed lesbian behavior, "It's true I wear a collar and a tie... Talk to the gals just like any old man."
Hamites with a risqué side to them? Why not? Would you like to throw the first stone? They were human and showed a side of them that the world had probably never seen. It had to help others who were struggling with identity problems to realize there were others just like them in the world.
Ma Rainey was a well-liked woman, full of life who liked to see everyone having fun, just listen to some of her songs on YouTube, and it will give you an idea of her beautiful personality.
Thanks to you, The Mother of Blues, for keeping a smile on our peoples face, because everyone knows we could use it. We honor Ma Rainey's memory with the 1939 Hamite Award which is given to ones who uplift our race, giving us the strength to continue in an extremely racist society.
Ma Rainey was known for her very powerful vocal abilities, energetic disposition, majestic phrasing, and a ‘moaning’ style of singing. Her powerful voice was never adequately captured on her records, due to her recording exclusively for Paramount, which was at the time known for its below-average recording techniques and poor shellac quality. However, Rainey's other qualities are present and most evident in her early recordings, Bo-weevil Blues and Moonshine Blues.
In 1935, Rainey returned to her hometown, Columbus, Georgia, where she ran two theaters, "The Lyric" and "The Airdrome", until her death from a heart attack in 1939 at age 53 in Rome, Georgia.
Ma Rainey |
|How were blacks feeling in 1939?
WORLD WAR II BEGINS
SELF PROCLAIMED SUPERIOR RACES STARTS IT
GERMANS, JAPANESE, RUSSIANS, BRITAIN
OTHERS SUPERIOR RACES WOULD JOIN LATER
SENSELESS WARS IN THE NAME OF HATE
WITH OCEANS OF BLOOD
MEAN MALICIOUS MEN CONTROLS THE WORLD!
AND BLACKS GET PORTRAYED AS THE VIOLENT ONES
I need something to take my mind off this hate.
I think I'm going to the picture show to watch a new film for 1939
Fox Lake Resort |
Moving on up to the eastside!!!! That's what I'm talking about. We finally have a place to travel for fun and relaxation. We just hope our white American brothers don't burn it down or deny/jack up the electricity and water rates or claim eminent domain like they did with other resorts blacks attempted to set up.
Even though the average black person cannot afford to visit or live in Fox Lake, it's still nice to know some of our peoples are enjoying the life and gives us the motivation to fight even harder this high wall of racism. I ain't mad at cha!
The Fox Lake resort community was developed in Angola, Indiana specifically for African Americans in the 1930s, when such communities were quite rare. In the years between World War I and World War II, and for some time after that, African American were not welcomed to traditionally white resort communities. Fox Lake provided black families with a place of their own where they could escape the heat of the cities and enjoy the pleasures of summertime activities. The historic district contains 32 relatively modest lake cottages, most of which were constructed before World War II.
Occasionally big-name musicians were booked for dances at the clubhouse, which was surrounded by tennis courts, horseshoe pits, and basketball hoops. Saddle horses were available until the early 1950s. Other activities included trap shooting matches, weekly Family Night at the restaurant, and Sunday school held on the beach under the trees.
Today, Fox Lake is still a prosperous black community. Its traditions are still maintained by many second- and third-generation owners, who occupy a large number of the cottages.
What an wonderful history!!!
American Beach, Florida
American Beach, Florida was founded in 1935 by Florida's first black millionaire, Abraham Lincoln Lewis, and his Afro-American Life Insurance Company. The plan was for his employees to have a place to vacation and own homes for their families by the shore.
(thank you so much Abraham, we needed this!) Throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, summers at American Beach were busy with families, churches, and children. It was a place where African Americans could enjoy "Recreation and Relaxation Without Humiliation." The beach included hotels, restaurants, bathhouses and nightclubs as well as homes and other businesses.
American Beach played host to numerous celebrities during this period, including folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, singer Billie Daniels, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Billy Eckstein, Hank Aaron, Joe Louis, actor Ossie Davis, and Sherman Hemsley. We know they had some fun! That's what I'm talking bout!
For the year 1939:
- Ethel Waters was the first African-American to star in her own television program, The Ethel Waters Show on NBC.
- Jane M. Bolin was the first African-American woman judge in the United States.
Sugar Ray Robinson
| Sports in 1939 |
- 1939 - boxer Sugar Ray Robinson won the Golden Gloves featherweight championship.
- The New York Black Yankees was founded in Harlem as the Harlem Black Bombers in 1931 by financier James "Soldier Boy" Semler and dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. The team was active in the Negro Leagues from 1931 to 1948.
The Manhattan Project|
The Manhattan Project began in 1939 and ended in 1946. It was a research and development project that produced the first nuclear weapons during World War II. It was led by the United States with the support of the United Kingdom and Canada.
The U.K. started their own atomic project first but didn't have funding to keep up with research and building so they ended up sharing all their scientific data with the United States which quickly surpassed and allowed them to stay in the game.
The Manhattan Project created the first nuclear bombs.The Trinity test is shown.
Most people working in the factories didn't understand what they were involved with. They were just happy to get a steady paycheck. Many residents continued to avoid discussion of "the stuff" in ordinary conversation despite it being the reason for their town's existence.
The Manhattan Project began modestly in 1939, but grew to employ more than 130,000 people in select cities across America and cost nearly US$2 billion (about $26 billion in 2016 dollars)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
| Political Scene in 1939 |
- Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt commonly known by his initials FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd President of the United States.
Analysis: O.K. Mr. Roosevelt, we have studied your record on civil rights for the African-American and came to the conclusion that you put the problems of the world first before your black American citizens and perhaps if it weren't for your wife, Eleanor the civil rights movement would have taken longer to get off the ground. We know Roosevelt was loved by blacks and other races in his day, but from our vantage point in time, I searched high and low for concrete facts about laws he initiated to help black citizens. He did have some shining moments, though, but to me, it always seemed like he did it after being pushed into it by someone. Maybe I'm wrong, and if anybody knows something I don't I will be more than happy to change my assessment of this president, because believe it or not, we don't look for bad, we want to find good things they did for American citizens, and history won't lie. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the typical politician when it came to Negro civil rights, which meant they were not serious in demanding the enforcement of our rights. Roosevelt, like previous presidents, was afraid of the racist Southerners vote who in effect held America as a hostage with weak, spineless leaders. To Roosevelt's credit when he had Henry A. Wallace in 1941 as his Vice President this spoke volumes about the type of person Roosevelt was. Wallace had once studied under George Washington Carver as a young boy. Carver was a well respected black scientist by most which led Wallace to make the claim that white superiority was a hoax and all men were created equal in ability if given the opportunity. White racist was livid and demanded Roosevelt drop Wallace from the ticket to which he refused and threatened to drop out of the race all together until Eleanor addressed the convention floor to change the party's mind and her eventually her husband's also. We give big kudos to Roosevelt for this and notice a change in the air for human rights. But on the other hand, former Presiden Woodrow Wilson who went down in history as one of the most racist Presidents in America was a hero to Roosevelt who admired his vision for America and the world. Also during WWII Winston Churchhill was in dire need of assistance from the U.S. to fight Hitler's Germany and didn't have the money to complete a successful war campaign. Roosevelt offered him help under one condition that he dissolved colonial rule over the many countries around the world that Britain was controlled, of course, Churchill didn't have a choice and agreed. So Roosevelt envisioned a new society where all the world could live in peace and free from the domination of other governments, but of course, the black citizens in his country would take the back burner. But at least he was trying, unlike his predecessors. Roosevelt came from a Dutch family, and the Dutch in America had a history of being fair to blacks and looked upon them as regular people like themselves, so we thought this president would actually WANT to help us. He never instigated any helpful Negro policy on his accord, for example, he signed an important piece of legislation to put America to work with the (Work Projects Administration; WPA program) in his New Deal promises. But because of racism blacks were being left out. He didn't have the motivation to act on his own to find the reason for this, it took his concerned wife Eleanor to speak up to this injustice against the American black person and eventually put many blacks to work. Eleanor had blacks coming and going out of the White House, and it probably got to the point where white people were saying to themselves "There's goes the neighborhood" She was a trendsetter for sure, loved by all races of people. Believe it or not, we think without a doubt she was the real catalyst for the Civil Rights movement, because of her concern for black citizens and the influence she had on her husband in getting favorable results. She helped opened the door for us, and we took advantage with the burgeoning rights movement. She, in my opinion, was a real first lady. Blacks loved her. Another occasion was when blacks were demanding an integrated Federal government, which he didn't want to get involved with until Civil Rights leader A. Philip Randolph threatened to march thousands of protesters on Washington D.C. This was the beginning of the integration of the Federal government providing fruits even today because of the multitude of black government workers we have. With Roosevelt's handling of the Japanese citizens by sending them to prison camps wasn't a good idea, and resentment still holds today for many. Franklin Roosevelt has been rated as one of the top three presidents ever, and after much thought, I think we agree. He wasn't a particularly bad or mean president, and he was better than the recent ones we've had. Franklin Roosevelt loved women and had affairs while serving as U.S. President. Eleanor was acutely aware of his womanizing ways and still supported him but lived separately from him. She still had influence over him, because if not the Negro would have been in worse shape because she was a real American who wanted all citizens to enjoy a fair slice of America success. She was an excellent first lady who understood.
1930s - Blacks were appointed to positions of responsibility within numerous governmental agencies, the 'Black Cabinet' or 'Black Brain Trust' - a vocal and eloquent group of highly trained and politically astute African American intellectuals who spearheaded the struggle for civil rights during the 1930s.
1939 - World War II begins in Europe on September 1, 1939 when Germany invades the country of Poland.
Who is this man? |
His name was James F. Byrnes who was a major advisor/contributor to the events of World WarII. Byrnes was a protégé of Benjamin Tillman (who was known as "Pitchfork Ben") and often had a moderating influence on the fiery segregationist Senator of South Carolina. He would later go on to work for the very prejudice President Woodrow Wilson who often entrusted important political tasks to the capable young representative rather than to more veteran lawmakers.
During his time in the U.S. Senate, he was regarded as the most influential man on the floor. He had long been friends with Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom he supported for the Democratic nomination in 1932, and made himself the President's spokesman on the Senate floor.
Byrnes played a key role in blocking anti-lynching legislation, notably the Castigan-Wagner bill of 1935 and the Gavagan bill of 1937. Byrnes even claimed that lynching was necessary "to hold in check the Negro in the South," saying "rape is responsible, directly and indirectly, for most of the lynching in America"
During the war, Byrnes would advise the President on vital and grave matters which very often he embellished details. Roosevelt trusted him. A very popular Henry A. Wallace was Roosevelts Vice President, and the two would grow to dislike each other. Wallace was a man of the people. He felt that blacks should receive equal pay for equal work and was against the superior white theory and felt if blacks were given opportunity they would be just as successful as whites.
As a boy, Wallace had the honor of studying under the famous black scientist George Washington Carver. Many racist southerners didn't care for Wallace and worked with Byrnes to get him off the ticket. When Wallace ran for a second term for the Democratic nomination, he was seconds away from grabbing the honor but lost out on the convention floor because of shady backdoor politics Byrnes had managed against him, and the party ended up choosing Harry Truman as the Vice President nominee.
Roosevelt during this time was frail and sickly and perhaps didn't have the energy to stand up for Wallace who he liked just as much as Byrnes. After Roosevelt's death, Bynes would advise Harry Truman in important matters often omitting critical information the President should have known. In time Truman grew weary of Byrnes and got rid of him. Byrnes would then go on to becoming the Governor of South Carolina from 1951 to 1955, in which capacity he vigorously criticized the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Supporting segregation in education, the Democratic governor stated in his inaugural address.
"Whatever is necessary to continue the separation of the races in the schools of South Carolina is going to be done by the white people of the state. That is my ticket as a private citizen. It will be my ticket as governor." —James F. Byrnes
Black Legion Uniforms with Skull-and-Crossbones
| Race in 1939 |
- 1939 - The Black Legion was a secret vigilante terrorist group and a white supremacist organization in the Midwestern United States that splintered from the Ku Klux Klan and operated during the Great Depression of the 1930s. In 1931 a chapter was formed in Highland Park, Michigan, expanding to an estimated total membership in the state estimated between 20,000 and 30,000 by the mid-1930s during the Great Depression. Its members were generally native-born Protestant men, many who had migrated from the South. One third of the members lived in Detroit, which had also been a strong center of KKK activity in the 1920s.
Willis Winn Marshall
Seminole-Negro Baptist church, Brackettville
Attendants at Old Slave Day, Southern Pines
| Former Slaves in 1939 |
Portraits of African American ex-slaves from the U.S. Works Progress Administration, Federal Writers' Project slave narratives collections
The bulk is portraits of men and women from locations in Texas. People from Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island are also represented. Most show individuals standing or sitting outside; a few are posed with or next to personal possessions.
The faces of Hamites. Wonderful, peace loving and strong black folks who endured the injustices of slavery. I don't know about you, but when I see these pictures, I just feel so honored to be from the same stock as these people. A truly magnificent and strong people. These were portraits of African American ex-slaves from the U.S. Works Progress Administration, Federal Writers' Project slave narratives collections. Born in slavery, slave narratives from the Federal Writers' Project.
In 1937 an official project was organized and placed under the direction of folklorist John A. Lomax who coordinated and expanded data collecting activities throughout the South. The program continued up through the Spring of 1939. Photographs of former slaves were often taken at the time of the interviews. Photographs were taken by U.S. Government employees, and are therefore not eligible for copyright.
|| sLANG tALK in 1939 |
- Air out - to go, leave the scene
- Bad Hair - kinky negro hair
- Bailing - enjoying oneself, having a ball
- Bam & down in Bam - the southern parts
- Beating up your gums - not making sense when talking, big mouth
- Blowing your top - someone getting mad, to the boiling point
- Boogie-woogie - dancing, or could mean a venereal disease
- Bull-skating - a person that brags
- Butt sprung - whatever the person is wearing it doeasnt look good around the butt area
- Coal scuttle blonde - black lady
- Collar a nod - to go asleep
- Collor a hot - to get something to eat
- Conk buster - inexpensive liquor or could mean a smart black person
- Dat thing - sex of either male or female
- Diddy-Wah-Diddy - somewhere far away
- Dig - understand the meaning of something
- Dumb to the fact - don't know what you're talking about
- Dusty butt - inexpensive prostitute
- Eight-rock - super black person
- First thing smoking - a coming train
- Git up off of me - stop talking about me, leave me alone
- Good hair - white folks hair type
- Gut-bucket - a kind of music
- Handkerchief-head - a uncle tom
- I don't deal in coal - I don't hang with black females
- I'm cracking but I'm facking - I'm talking shit but it's true
- Inky dink - super black person
- Jar head - black man
- I shot him lightly and he died politely - I outsmarted him
- Jelly - term for sex
- Jig - short for zigaboo which means a negro
- Juice - alcoholic beverage
- July jam - super hot
- Knock yourself out - have a ball, enjoy yourself
- Liver-lip - black people's purple lips
- Made hair - black kinky hair that has been straightened
- Mammy - a word used to insult someone
- Miss Anne - term used for a white lady
- Mister Charlie - term used for a white man
- Pancake - agreeable black person
- Peckerwood - poor white folks
- Playing the dozens - bad talking about each others family
- Reefer - marijuana
- Rug-cutter - good dancer
- Scrap iron - inexpensive alcoholic beverage
- Solid - absolutely perfect
- Stomp - dance
- Stormbuzzard - a useless homeless person
- The man - The rule of the law or a person of authority
- Thousand on a plate - a serving of beans
- Tight head - a very kinky haired person
Movies in America
Eddie "Rochester" Anderson
Jack Benny's radio shows cast
| Radio / Television / Movies in 1939 |
Academy Award Winners:
- 1939 - Hattie McDaniel for Gone with the Wind. Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
- Starting in the year of 1937, a new funny man would co-star on the Jack Benny Show. This man went by the name of Eddie "Rochester" Anderson. Eddie's character of "Rochester" generated much laughter, becoming immensely popular and would become a household name from 1937 to 1965 in America. The humor on the show was the usual stereotypical stuff that blacks had to endure, but later it would become a stepping stone for many successful comedians to follow. Eddie became the first black to have a regular role on a nationwide radio program. The show started on radio and moved to television in 1951 until it went off the air in the 1964-1965 season. Trivia: Anderson was frequently late for the show. Benny attempted to instill punctuality in Anderson by fining him $50 each time he arrived late at the studio. Anderson had a habit of losing track of time, especially when he was talking with someone. Must have had something to say huh Eddie?
- 1939 - Bill Bojangles Robinson organizes the Black Actors Guild in 1939.
Clarence Williams III of Mod Squad fame
Marion Wright Edelma
| Famous Birthdays in 1939 |
- February 11, 1939 - D'Urville Martin was an American actor and director in both film and television.
- February 24, 1939 - Freddy Robinson AKA Abu Talib, African American blues and jazz guitarist, singer, and harmonica player.
- March 21, 1939 - Tommy Davis an American former Major League Baseball left fielder and third baseman, best known for his years with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- April 2, 1939 - Marvin Gaye singer-songwriter and musician.
- May 1, 1939 - Max Robinson broadcast journalist, and ABC News World News Tonight co-anchor.
- May 9, 1939 - Ralph Harold Boston is an American athlete.
- June 1, 1939 - Cleavon Little an American stage, film, and television actor.
- June 6, 1939 - Marian Wright Edelman an American activist for the rights of children. She has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. She is president and founder of the Children's Defense Fund.
- June 8, 1939 - Bernie Casey a professional actor who initially had a career as an interscholastic, intercollegiate and professional football player.
- June 18, 1939 - Lou Brock an American former professional baseball player who spent the majority of his career as the left fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals.
- August 21, 1939 - Clarence Williams III is an African-American actor who is perhaps best known for his role as "Linc Hayes" on the iconic "hippie" cop show The Mod Squad (1968-1973).
- November 15, 1939 - Thalmus Rasulala was an African American actor who starred in Blaxploitation films.
- November 15, 1939 - Yaphet Kotto actor, known for numerous film roles, as well as starring in the NBC television series Homicide.
- November 26, 1939 - Tina Turner singer, dancer, actress, and author, whose career has spanned more than half a century.
- November 28, 1939 - Ernest Lamour 'Wheels' Wheelwright is a former American football player. He was born in Columbus, Ohio on and attended Southern Illinois University.
- December 17, 1939 - Eddie Kendricks singer and songwriter.
- December 27, 1939 - John Amos actor who played James Evans, Sr. on the 1970s television series Good Times.
John R. Lynch
| Famous Deaths in 1939 |
- February 1, 1939 - Benjamin Griffith Brawley was a prominent African-American author and educator. Several of his books were considered standard college texts.
- June 4, 1939 - Thomas James "Tommy" Ladnier was an American jazz trumpeter. French jazz critic Hugues Panassié rated him second only to Louis Armstrong.
- November 2, 1939 - John Roy Lynch was an American politician, writer, attorney and military officer. Born into slavery, he became free in 1863. In 1873 he was elected as the first African-American Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives.
- December 22, 1939 - "Ma" Rainey, one of the earliest known American professional blues singers. She was billed as The Mother of the Blues.
- 1939 - Daniel Webster Wallace thrived as a rancher in a time and place where African. American ranchers were rare.
Zora Neale Hurston
| Famous Weddings in 1939 |
- January 3, 1939 - Roy Campanella and Bernice Ray were married.
- 1939 - Zora Neale Hurston and Albert Price III were married.
- 1939 - Poet and teacher Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks and Henry Lowington Blakely, Jr. were married.
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
The Negro Motorist Green Book was an annual guidebook for African Americans, commonly referred to simply as the "Green Book". It was published from 1936 to 1966, during the Jim Crow era, when discrimination against non-whites was widespread.
Middle-class blacks took to driving in part to avoid segregation on public transportation. Blacks employed as salesmen, entertainers, and athletes also traveled frequently for work purposes. African American travelers faced a variety of dangers and inconveniences, such as white-owned businesses refusing to serve them or repair their vehicles, being refused accommodation or food by white-owned hotels, and threats of physical violence and forcible expulsion from whites-only "sundown towns". New York mailman and travel agent Victor H. Green published The Negro Motorist Green Book to tackle such problems and "to give the Negro traveler information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments and to make his trip more enjoyable." The Green Book became "the bible of black travel during Jim Crow." These people were crazy on the for real side! You can bet the Chitlin' Circuit entertainers used the Green Book.
| It's a Party in 1939 |
- 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.
Jitterbugging in Negro juke joint,
Saturday evening, outside Clarksdale, Mississippi
An African American couple dance the jitterbug in front
of a crowd. Los Angeles California.
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.
The Lenox Lounge
Wizard of OZ movie poster
Thomas "Fats" Waller
Title Marian Anderson broadcasting a Negro spiritual at the dedication of a mural installed in the United States Department of the Interior building, commemorating the outdoor concert which she gave at the Lincoln Memorial after the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow her to sing in Constitution Hall.
| Music in 1939 |
Popular Soul Dances:
- Houston Two-Step
- Lindy Hop
- The Foxtrot
- The Big Apple is both a partner dance and a circle dance that originated in the Afro-American community of the United States in the beginning of the 20th century.
- The Hully Gully is a type of unstructured line dance often considered to have originated in the sixties, but is also mentioned some forty years earlier as a dance common in the black juke joints in the first part of the twentieth century.
- The Lenox Lounge was a long-standing bar in Harlem, New York City. The bar was founded in 1939 by Dominic Greco and served as venue for performances by many great jazz artists, including Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane. Harlem Renaissance writers James Baldwin and Langston Hughes were both patrons, as was Malcolm X.
Musical Happenings in 1939:
- Muriel Rahn was an American vocalist and actress. She co-founded the Rose McClendon Players with her husband, Dick Campbell and was one of the leading black concert singers of the mid-20th Century. In 1929, she launched her professional career in New York City. She is perhaps best known for her starring role in the original Broadway production of Carmen Jones.
- Swing music, or simply swing, is a form of American music that developed in the early 1930s and became a distinctive style by 1940. The period between 1935 and 1946 is when big band swing music reached its peak and was the most popular music in America. As with jazz, swing was created by African Americans, and its impact on the overall American culture was such that it marked and named an entire era of the United States, the Swing Era.
- Critically acclaimed African-American opera singer Marian Anderson performs at the Lincoln Monument in Washington, D.C., in protest after having been blocked from performing at Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution because of her race. Her performance has originally been requested by Eleanor Roosevelt, and Anderson will perform at Constitution Hall for Franklin Delano Roosevelt's inauguration in 1941. Analysis: Can't find any love for the Negro with the white woman either. The Daughters of the American Revolution refused Marian Anderson, wow, now that's amazing. Maybe if these women knew anything at all about the American Revolution, they would know that blacks were at the forefront in fighting the British, in fact many blacks fought valiantly in that war and every war after for a America that refuses to accept them, but why do they do it? They don't do it for white America, they do it for the Constitution of the United States, not the fake/phonies terrorist who claim to represent it. Eleanor Roosevelt didn't agree with these women's decision and told them so.
- The most successful movie musical of the era, The Wizard of Oz is released.
- Popular actor Paul Robeson releases his composition "Ballad for Americans", which sold 30,000 copies and is considered (at the time) to be a curious "hybrid between art and popular folk".
- The Dixie Hummingbirds' "Soon Will Be Done With This World" is an innovative recording, featuring the sustained use of falsetto, one of the hallmarks that separates true gospel music from jubilee.
- Duke Ellington innovates the "use of the extended form" in jazz with Concerto for Cootie.
- 1930s - "Fats" Waller was an important contributor to the popular stride piano style.
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.
Pullman porters, who were primarily 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.
S. H. Kress & Co. was the trading name of a chain of "five and dime" retail department stores in the
United States, established by Samuel Henry Kress, which operated from 1896 to 1981. There were
Kress stores with ornamented architecture on "Main Street" in hundreds of cities and towns.
United States Census for African Americans
in the 1930s
American jazz violinist Eddie South
with a conk hairdo.
Wizard of OZ movie poster
| Our Community in 1939 |
Newsworthy Events in the Black Community:
- 1939 - The most successful movie musical of the era, The Wizard of Oz is released.
- Marian Anderson was recognized with the NAACP's Spingarn Medal in 1939.
- 1939 - In the 1930s, 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 122,775,046 with a total of 11,891,143 being African Americans.
#100 - Public Domain image - Portraits of African American ex-slaves from the U.S. Works Progress Administration, Federal Writers' Project slave narratives collections. Born in slavery, slave narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938.
Federal Writers' Project (FWP) interviews with former slaves began as early as 1936 with initial efforts concentrated primarily in Florida. In 1937 an official project was organized and placed under the direction of folklorist John A. Lomax who coordinated and expanded data collecting activities throughout the South. The program continued up through the Spring of 1939. Photographs of former slaves were often taken at the time of the interviews. Photographs were taken by U.S. Government employees, and are therefore not eligible for copyright.
#101 - Public Domain image - Near White Plains, Ga.?
1 transparency : color. | Photograph shows African American woman standing by building with Georgia state and United States flags. Contributor: Delano, Jack - Wolcott, Marion Post Original Format: Photos, Prints, Drawings Date: 1939
#102 - Public Domain image - See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#103 - Public Domain image - Marion Post Wolcott [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#104 - [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#105 - Bundesarchiv, Bild 192-208 / Unknown / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de],via Wikimedia Commons
Marion Post Wolcott [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
#107 - By Johnmaxmena2 (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
#108 - By Leon M. Trice (The Sporting News Archives) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Photograph taken by Contributor (Ryan Davis),P97dav45 at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [Public domain],
from Wikimedia Commons
By MGM [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#111 - By NBC Television Network (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#112 - By Creator:Gordon Parks 1912-2006, photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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