Blast From The Past:
OUR HAMITE AWARD WINNER FOR 1949:
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson was an American tap dancer and actor, the best known and most highly paid African-American entertainer in the first half of the twentieth century. His long career mirrored changes in American entertainment tastes and technology, starting at the age of minstrel shows, moving to vaudeville, Broadway, the recording industry, Hollywood radio, and television.
His signature routine was the stair dance, in which Robinson would tap up and down a set of stairs in a rhythmically complex sequence of steps, a routine that he unsuccessfully attempted to patent. Robinson is also credited with having introduced a new word, copacetic, into popular culture, via his repeated use of it in vaudeville and radio appearances.
A familiar figure in both the black and white entertainment worlds of his era, he is best known today for his dancing with Shirley Temple in a series of films during the 1930s, and for starring in the musical Stormy Weather (1943), loosely based on Robinson's own life, and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. Robinson used his popularity to challenge and overcome numerous racial barriers, including becoming the following:
* one of the first minstrel and vaudeville performers to appear without the use of blackface makeup
* one of the earliest African-American artists to go solo, overcoming vaudeville's two colored rule
* a headliner in the first African-American Broadway show, Blackbirds of 1928
* the first African-American to appear in a Hollywood film in an interracial dance team (with Temple in The Little Colonel)
* the first African American to headline a mixed-race Broadway production
During his lifetime and afterward, Robinson also came under heavy criticism for his participation in and tacit acceptance of racial
stereotypes of the era, with critics calling him an Uncle Tom figure. Robinson resented such criticism, and his biographers suggested that critics were at best incomplete in making such a characterization, especially given his efforts to overcome the racial prejudice of his era.
In his public life Robinson led efforts to:
* persuade the Dallas police department to hire its first African American policemen.
* lobby President Roosevelt during World War II for more equitable treatment of African American soldiers.
* stage the first integrated public event in Miami, a fundraiser which, with the permission of the mayor, was attended by both black and white city residents.
Robinson is remembered for the support he gave to fellow performers, including Fred Astaire, Lena Horne, Jesse Owens, and the Nicholas brothers.
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson kept a smile on everybody's face, black and white. He attempted to bridge the gap between the races. He took a lot of criticism about certain roles he made, but we think he did an excellent job in representing his race and this is why we honor Bill's memory with the 1949 Hamite Award which is the year he passed away, leaving a lasting legacy of love and hope to all races. He made his mark on the world and still much remembered today. If only we could be so fortunate to accomplish the same.
Sammy Davis, Jr. and Ann Miller credited him as a teacher and mentor, and Miller credits him with having “changed the course of my life.” Gregory Hines produced and starred in a biographical movie about Robinson for which he won the NAACP Best Actor Award. In 1989, the U.S. Congress designated May 25, Robinson's birthday, as National Tap Dance Day.
Bill died at the age of 71 from heart failure a poor man after earning over $2 million dollars in his career. Long time friend Ed Sullivan paid his funeral expenses.
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson|
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson
|How were blacks feeling in 1949?
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 1949:
- Wesley Brown was the first African-American graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.
- Edward R. Dudley was the first African-American to hold rank of Ambassador of the United States.
- Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to win an MVP award in Major League Baseball.
- WERD was the first African-American owned and operated radio station in Atlanta, Georgia by Jesse B. Blayton, Sr.
| Sports in 1949 |
- Althea Gibson won the American Tennis Association (ATA) (which is the oldest African-American sports organization in the United States.) NY State Championship, and the ATA national championship in the girls' division in 1944-1945, after losing in the women's final in 1946, she won her first of ten straight national ATA women's titles in 1947.
- Don Newcombe became the first black pitcher to start a World Series game.
- January 28, 1949 - New York Giants sign their first black players, Monte Irvin and Ford Smith.
- March 1, 1949 - Joe Louis retires as heavyweight boxing champ.
- June 22, 1949 - Ezzard Charles beats Jersey Joe Walcott in 15 rounds for the heavyweight boxing
- August 10, 1949 - Ezzard Charles TKOs Gus Lesnevich in 8 rounds forthe heavyweight boxing title.
- October 14, 1949 - Ezzard Charles TKOs Pat Valentino in 8 rounds for the heavyweight boxing title.
- October 26, 1949 - United States President Harry Truman increases the minimum wage from 40 cents to 75 cents.
- November 18, 1949 - National League batting leader (.342) Jackie Robinson wins the NL MVP.
Harry S. Truman
Wedding photo of Harry and Bess Truman
| Political Scene in 1949 |
- Democrat Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States (1945–53). As the final running mate of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, Truman succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when Roosevelt died after months of declining health. Analysis: Truman at one time was very biased against blacks, using the word nigger freely in his speech. As a younger man Truman was once quoted as saying:
"I think one man is as good as another as long as he's decent and honest and not a nigger or a Chinaman. The Lord made the man out of dust, the nigger from mud and threw up what was left to create the Chinaman." Ouch Harry! I guess people can change, and that's what's important to remember here.
If a person were able to look past Truman's racist views, Harry Truman would probably be looked upon as a decent president for blacks. He took over the office after FDR passed away. He was faced with the humongous war issue of World War II. He made the decision to drop the atom bombs on Japan, even though he didn't have to. Japan was already beaten, and it was just a matter of time before they surrendered. The Soviet Union was closing in at one end and the United States at the other where crazed mad bomber Curtis LeMay was blowing everything that moved. Most advisors didn't want Truman to drop the bomb, but he didn't listen and did it anyway, and even gloated afterward. The lies he told the world was he saved countless lives on both sides by not fighting a ground war.
Truman would go on to fully integrate the Armed services and also the Federal government. It's a start, and it's no looking back now. Truman was different than most presidents. He had said in the beginning that Civil Rights for the Negro was a moral issue and he was going to make it a priority in being settled. FINALLY A PRESIDENT THAT UNDERSTANDS THE U.S. CONSTITUTION. In his second term election, he wasn't expected to win. Truman has been particularly angry about reports of blacks who had fought valiantly in World War II, only to return home to unspeakable violence by whites. Harry Truman took a very unpopular platform of Civil Rights for the American black person and bet his political career on victory. The Democratic party had become splintered because Truman announced he was going to add Civil Rights to the agenda. The Southerners didn't like this and rebelled, so it was widely expected for Truman to lose the election, which polls (which were taken by phones) had him behind. He surprised everyone and pulled off the victory. These events have to mean that after all these years of injustice and hate, the American people are voting for change.He was also the first U.S. president to address the NAACP. He felt the time was NOW to address these discrimination issues along with the fact he was going after the critical black vote, well you got mine Harry! here's another little tidbit of information into the mindset of the majority of presidents who didn't care about the American black citizen and worked for hand and hand, north and south together. A reporter asked Strom Thurmond why he had bolted from the Democratic party when President Truman had not done anything substantially different from his predecessor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Thurmond replied, "Yes -- but Truman means it."
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
"Colored Waiting Room" sign from
segregationist era United States
photo #100 -year-1878
| Race in 1949 |
- August 27, 1949 - The Peekskill riots were anti-communist riots with anti-black and anti-Semitic undertones that took place at Cortlandt Manor, Westchester County, New York, in 1949. The catalyst for the rioting was an announced concert by black singer Paul Robeson, who was well known for his strong pro-trade union stance, civil rights activism, communist affiliations, and anti-colonialism. The concert, organized as a benefit for the Civil Rights Congress.
Movies in America
Eddie "Rochester" Anderson
Lillian Randolph as Beulah
Jack Benny's radio shows cast
| Radio / Television / Movies in 1949 |
- Some of the Best - Lena Horne (short subject)
- 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?
- The Beulah Show is an American situation-comedy series that ran on CBS Radio from 1945 to 1954, and on ABC Television from 1950 to 1952. The show is notable for being the first sitcom to star an African American actress. Trivia: Actress Hattie McDaniel played the role of Beulah on November 24, 1947, earningd $1000 a week for the first season, doubled the ratings of the original series (played by white actors) and elated the NAACP to see a black woman as the star of a network radio program. McDaniel became ill in 1952 and was replaced by Lillian Randolph, who was in turn replaced for the 1953-54 radio season by her sister, Amanda Randolph.
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
Isabel Sanford with
The Jeffersons co-stars, Sherman Hemsley and Mike Evans
Tracy Reed and James A. Watson, Jr.
Garry Lee Maddox
| Famous Birthdays in 1949 |
- January 10, 1949 - George Foreman an American former professional boxer. In his boxing career he was a two-time world heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist; outside of the sport he went on to become an ordained minister, author, and entrepreneur.
- January 14, 1949 - Frank Raines business executive.
- April 1, 1949 - Gil Scott-Heron was an American soul and jazz poet, musician.
- May 13, 1949 - Franklyn Ajaye stand-up comedian and actor. His nickname is "The Jazz Comedian" for his distinctive jazz inflected style of delivery, great timing, and astute use of silence.
- May 26, 1949 - Pam Grier is an American actress.
- June 12, 1949 - Roger Aaron Brown character actor known for his role as Deputy Chief Joe Noland on the hit CBS drama television series The District.
- June 20, 1949 - Lionel Richie singer, songwriter, musician, record producer and actor.
- July 6, 1949 - Phyllis Hyman was an American singer-songwriter and actress. She is best known for her singles from the late 1970s to the early 1990s: "You Know How to Love Me", "Living All Alone" and "Don't Wanna Change the World".
- July 28, 1949 - Vida Blue is a former Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher.
- August 21, 1949 - Loretta Devine talented actress whose face is a regular on the screen.
- September 1, 1949 - Garry Lee Maddox former center fielder in Major League Baseball who was known for his outstanding defense. Trivia: Exposure to chemicals in Vietnam left his skin highly sensitive, and he has worn a full beard ever since to protect his face.
- October 28, 1949 - Tracy Reed an African-American actress. Her most memorable film roles include ...All the Marbles (1981), A Piece of the Action (1977)
- November 3, 1949 - Mike Evans was best known for his recurring role as Lionel Jefferson on All in the Family and was the first actor to play Lionel on the spin-off The Jeffersons.
- November 3, 1949 - Larry Holmes an American former professional boxer. He grew up in Easton, Pennsylvania, which gave birth to his boxing nickname, The Easton Assassin.
Trivia: After retirement Holmes invested the money he earned from boxing and settled in his hometown of Easton. When he retired from boxing, Holmes employed more than 200 people through his various business holdings. In 2008, he owned two restaurants and a nightclub, a training facility, an office complex, a snack food bar and slot machines.
In 2014, Holmes sold his business complex in Easton to business entrepreneur Gerald Gorman.
- November 4, 1949 - Berlinda Tolbert actress best known for her role as Jenny Willis Jefferson on The Jeffersons.
- November 19, 1949 - Ahmad Rashad sportscaster (mostly with NBC Sports) and former professional football player.
- November 23, 1949 - Tom Joyner radio host, host of the nationally syndicated The Tom Joyner Morning Show.
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson
| Famous Deaths in 1949 |
- September 12, 1949 - Henry "Harry" Thacker Burleigh a baritone, was an African-American classical composer, arranger, and professional singer. He was the first black composer to be instrumental in the development of a characteristically American music.
- September 16, 1949 - Hallie Quinn Brown was an African-American educator, writer and activist.
- September 20, 1949 - Jesse Max Barber was an African-American journalist, teacher and dentist.
- November 7, 1949 - Vertner Woodson Tandy was one of the seven founders (commonly referred to as The Seven Jewels) of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at Cornell University in 1906. Before transferring to Cornell, Vertner studied architecture at Tuskegee University. He was the first black registered architect in New York State.
- November 25, 1949 - Bill "Bojangles" Robinson was an American tap dancer and actor, the best known and most highly paid African American entertainer in the first half of the twentieth century.
- December 6, 1949 – Lead Belly was an American folk and blues musician notable for his strong vocals, virtuosity on the twelve-string guitar, and the songbook of folk standards he introduced. Trivia: Lead Belly, although a very talented musician had a very violent history. He spent many times in prision for assault, once for murder, but was always released because of his talent.
- 1949 - Chris Smith songwriter who wrote songs that pointed to black folk styles.
Charity Adams Earley
| Famous Weddings in 1949 |
- November 5, 1949 - Joe Jackson and Katherine Jackson were married.
- 1949 - Women's Army Auxiliary Corps officer Charity Adams Earley and Stanley A. Earley, Jr. were wed in holy matrimony.
- 1949 - Shirley Chisholm and Conrad O. Chisholm were wed in holy matrimony.
| Famous Divorces in 1949 |
- February 1949 - Joe Louis and Marva Trotter were divorced.
Lenox Lounge in New York
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 1949 |
- Back in the early 1900s because of prejudice and racial discrimination, black entertainers had to be very careful where they traveled. They weren't always welcome in various venues, so they created what's called a Chitlin Circuit. They named it Chitlin Circuit because of blacks typical love for soul food with chitlins being near the top as favorite. So, in other words, they understood they would be love on the circuit. They knew that the clubs, juke joints, theaters, etc. in the circuit were welcoming of the black race and safe to visit. This way of life existing from the early 1900s - 1960s. Noted theaters and entertainers on the circuit included:
The Fox Theatre in Detroit; the Victory Grill in Austin, Texas; the Carver Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama; the Cotton Club, Small's Paradise and the Apollo Theater in New York City; Robert's Show Lounge, Club DeLisa and the Regal Theatre in Chicago; the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C.;the Royal Peacock in Atlanta; the Royal Theatre in Baltimore; the Uptown Theatre in Philadelphia; the Hippodrome Theatre in Richmond, Virginia; the Ritz Theatre in Jacksonville, Florida; and The Madam C. J. Walker Theatre on Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis.
Early figures of blues, including Robert Johnson, Son House, Charley Patton, and countless others, traveled the juke joint circuit, scraping out a living on tips and free meals. These entertainers provided much-needed joy and happiness for black folks. Once the band's gig was over, they would leave for the next stop on the circuit. Sounds like a lot of fun and an exciting life!
Many notable performers worked on the chitlin' circuit, including Patti LaBelle, Count Basie, Hammond B-3, Jeff Palmer, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Sheila Guyse, Peg Leg Bates, The Supremes, George Benson, James Brown & The Famous Flames, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis, Jr., Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ella Fitzgerald, The Jackson 5, Redd Foxx, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Billie Holiday, John Lee Hooker, Lena Horne, Etta James, B.B. King, The Miracles, Donna Hightower, Moms Mabley, The Delfonics, Wilson Pickett, Richard Pryor, Otis Redding, Duke Ellington, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Little Richard, Ike & Tina Turner, The Four Tops, Tammi Terrell, The Isley Brothers, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Muddy Waters, Flip Wilson and Jimmie Walker.
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.
| Music in 1949 |
Billboard Top Soul Hits:
- February 19, 1949: "Boogie Chillen" — John Lee Hooker
- February 19, 1949: "The Deacon's Hop" — Big Jay McNeely's Blue Jays
- May 5, 1949: "The Huckle-Buck" — Paul Williams and His Hucklebuckers
- June 4, 1949: "Trouble Blues" — The Charles Brown Trio
- August 20, 1949: "Ain't Nobody's Business" — Jimmy Witherspoon
- September 10, 1949: "Roomin' House Boogie" — Amos Milburn
- September 17, 1949: "All She Wants to Do Is Rock" — Wynonie Harris
- September 17, 1949: "Tell Me So" — The Orioles
- September 24, 1949: "Baby Get Lost" — Dinah Washington
- October 8, 1949: "Beans and Corn Bread" —; Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five
- October 15, 1949: "Saturday Night Fish Fry" — Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five
- December 24, 1949: "For You My Love" — Larry Darnell
Popular Soul Dances:
- Swing Dance
- 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.
Musical Happenings in 1949:
- February 1, 1949 - RCA releases the first single record ever (45 rpm)
- Doo-wop is a genre of music that was developed in African-American communities across America in the 1940s, achieving mainstream popularity in the 1950s and early '60s. Built upon vocal harmony, doo-wop was one of the most mainstream, pop-oriented R&B styles of the time. In it's beginning, singers would gather on street corners, and in subways, generally in groups of three to six. They sang a cappella arrangements, and would mimic certain instruments since instruments were little used: the bass singing "bom-bom-bom", a guitar rendered as "shang-a-lang" and brass riffs as "dooooo -wop-wop".
- Billy Eckstine became a solo performer in 1947, with records featuring lush sophisticated orchestrations. Even before folding his band, Eckstine had recorded solo to support it, scoring two million-sellers in 1945 with "Cottage for Sale" and a revival of "Prisoner of Love".
- Alan Lomax's work on Jelly Roll Morton constitutes the first biography of a musician to be executed as a serious historical appraisal.
- Billboard magazine begins using the term rhythm and blues to describe African-American popular music.
- The Clara Ward Singers release "Surely God Is Able", a popular song that was one of the first in gospel to be in three-quarter, or waltz-time.
- William Grant Still's Troubled Island is the first "full-length opera by a black composer mounted by a major American company", premiering with the New York City Opera this year.
- Marian Anderson's performance of "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" at Carnegie Hall gives national attention to its composer, Howard Swanson (text by Langston Hughes), who "consciously integrated African-American musical idioms into the neoclassical forms he created.
- Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool launches his solo career, creating a new style with a number of like-minded musicians.
- Fats Domino's "The Fat Man" is the first in a series of hits made under the guidance of Dave Bartholomew, who innovated the New Orleans rhythm and blues style.
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.
Fashion styles in the 1940s - Thelonious Monk, Howard McGhee, Roy Eldridge, and Teddy Hill, Minton's Playhouse
New York, N.Y. (Photograph by William P. Gottlieb)
Rose McClendon Fashion Statement
Black Theater Fashion Statement
At the juke joint stylin
Men Fashions in the 40s
American jazz violinist Eddie South
with a conk hairdo.
Afro Puffs in the 1860s? Absolutely beautiful woman from the island of Nosy-Be, north west Madagascar (1868)
| Fashions and Styles in 1949 |
Immediately after the war, men's suits were broad-shouldered and often double-breasted. As wartime restrictions on fabric eased, trousers became fuller, and were usually styled with cuffs (turn-ups). In America, Esquire introduced the "Bold Look", with wide shoulders, broad lapels, and an emphasis on bold, coordinated accessories. Dark charcoal gray was the usual color, and the era of the gray flannel suit was born. Sport coats generally followed the lines of suit coats. Tartan plaids were fashionable in the early 1950s, and later plaids and checks of all types were worn, as were corduroy jackets with leather buttons and car coats. Khaki-colored pants, called chinos, were worn for casual occasions. Some young men wore tight trousers or jeans, leather jackets, and white tee shirts.
The "New Look" was the style of the 1940s. The signature shape was characterized by a below-mid-calf length, full-skirt, pointed bust, small waist, and rounded shoulder line. The "softness" of the New Look was deceptive; the curved jacket peplum shaped over a high, rounded, curved shoulders, and full skirt of Dior's clothes relied on an inner construction of new interlining materials to shape the silhouette. Throughout the post-war period, a tailored, feminine look was prized and accessories such as gloves and pearls were popular. Tailored suits had fitted jackets with peplums, usually worn with a long, narrow pencil skirt. Day dresses had fitted bodices and full skirts, with jewel or low-cut necklines or Peter Pan collars. At the end of 1945 the demand for nylon stockings was so great that Nylon riots ensued at stores selling the products.
Due to the baby boom, there was a high demand for clothing for children. Children's clothing began to be made to a higher quality, and some even adopted trends popular with teenagers; many boys started wearing jeans to Elementary school. Many girls' and young women's dresses were styled after those of the older women.
- Men's Hairstyles:
The conk, which was derived from congolene, a hair straightener gel made from lye was a hairstyle very popular among African-American men from the 1920s to the 1960s. This hairstyle called for a man with naturally "kinky" hair to have it chemically straightened using a relaxer, sometimes the pure corrosive chemical lye, so that the newly straightened hair could be styled in specific ways. Back in those days, you were cool to have a conk job done.
- Women's Hairstyles:
The hot comb was an invention developed in France as a way for women with coarse curly hair to achieve a fine straight look traditionally modeled by historical Egyptian women. However, it was Annie Malone who first patented this tool, while her protégé and former worker, Madam CJ Walker widened the teeth. Today, hot combs are still used by many African-American beauticians and families as an alternative to chemical hair straightening. Many African American and women of other races, still utilize hot combs because this form of straightening is temporary and less damaging to the hair if done properly.
- Braiding Hairstyles:
Historically, hair braiding was not a paid trade. Since the African diaspora, in the 20th and 21st centuries it has developed as a multi-million dollar business in such regions as the United States and western Europe. An individual's hair groomer was usually someone whom they knew closely. Sessions included shampooing, oiling, combing, braiding, and twisting, plus adding accessories.
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.
United States Census for African Americans
in the 1940s
Wesley A. Brown
Eugene Jacques Bullard
| Our Community in 1949 |
Newsworthy Events in the Black Community:
- June 3, 1949 - Wesley A. Brown was the first African American graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), in Annapolis, Maryland.
- November 25, 1949 - America's favorite "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" appears on music charts.
- 1949 - in recognition of his contributions as a serologist and public health bacteriologist, William Augustus Hinton
Was elected a life member of the American Social Science Association. The serology lab at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Laboratory Institute Building was named for him. Trivia: Hinton turned down the NAACP's 1938 Spingarn Medal award because he wanted his work to stand on its merit; he was concerned that his work would not be as well received if it was widely known in his profession that he was black. He also refused to attend meetings of the American Microbiological Association, of which he was a member because they didn't know he was black and didn't want his hard work taken lightly. This man was amazing and achieved so much being the son of former slaves.
- 1949 - Eugene Jacques Bullard who was the first African-American military pilot during World War I attended a concert held by Black entertainer and activist Paul Robeson in Peekskill, New York to benefit the Civil Rights Congress resulted in the Peekskill Riots. Eugene Bullard was among those attacked after the concert. He was knocked to the ground and beaten by an angry mob, which included members of the state and local law enforcement. The attack was captured on film and can be seen in the 1970s documentary The Tallest Tree in Our Forest and the Oscar-winning documentary narrated by Sidney Poitier, Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist. None of the assailants was ever prosecuted. Trivia:
Bullard fought for the French and received many honors and awards for his service but after the war he returned to America where he was faced with racial hate.
- 1940s - The Pepsi Cola company begins.
Trivia: Originally created and developed by pharmacist Caleb Bradham in 1893 and introduced as Brad's Drink, it was later renamed Pepsi-Cola on August 28, 1898. Bradham put the drink on the market in 1903. In the 1940s, President of Pepsi Walter Mack noticed that blacks were not being represented in advertising for soft drinks. He felt these were untapped dollars that Pepsi should capitalize. At this same time Coke had a reluctance to hire blacks. So Mack hired an all black advertising team headed by Hennan Smith, who was an advertising executive "from the Negro newspaper field." Henna portrayed blacks in a very positive light in his ads, and Mack's intuition was correct, Pepsi's sales skyrocketed, even beating Coke for the first time in Chicago. But here's the sad news. Pepsi was becoming very popular, and the white affiliates of the soft drink company didn't want it associated with black people, resulting in President Walter Mack making the following statement:
"We don't want it to become known as a nigger drink."
After Mack left the company in 1950, support for the black sales team faded and it was sadly cut. Of course, that was many years ago, and I won't be thinking about it the next time I pop open a can, but it's just good to know your history.
- The United States Population is 131,669,275 with a total of 12,865,518 being African Americans.
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.
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