blast from the past

blast from the past
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annual hamite award

OUR HAMITE AWARD WINNER FOR 1954:
Alain Leroy Locke
    Alain Leroy Locke was an American writer, philosopher, educator, and patron of the arts. Distinguished as the first African American Rhodes Scholar in 1907, Locke was the philosophical architect —the acknowledged "Dean"— of the Harlem Renaissance. As a result, favorite listings of influential African-Americans have repeatedly included him.

    On March 19, 1968, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. proclaimed: "We're going to let our children know that the only philosophers that lived were not Plato and Aristotle, but W. E. B. Du Bois and Alain Locke came through the universe."

    Alain Locke was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 13, 1885, to Pliny Ishmael Locke and Mary Hawkins Locke. In 1902, he graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia, second in his class. He also attended Philadelphia School of Pedagogy.

    In 1907, Locke graduated from Harvard University with degrees in English and philosophy and was honored as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and recipient of the prestigious Bowdoin Prize.

    After graduation, he was the first African-American selected as a Rhodes Scholar (and the last to be selected until 1960). At that time, Rhodes selectors did not meet candidates in person, but there is evidence that at least some selectors knew he was African-American.

    On arriving at Oxford, Locke was denied admission to several colleges, and several Rhodes Scholars from the American South refused to live in the same college or attend events with Locke.

    NOTE: Are these racist white people insane? The whole purpose of being selected into the Rhodes Scholarship was to gain a better understanding of peoples different than yourself. These people are so sad, and without a doubt with their pure hatred has made America worst for it. They are from barbarian stock during the middle ages who didn't do well through the Age Of Enlightment in their native lands. Amazing!

    He was finally admitted to Hertford College, where he studied literature, philosophy, Greek, and Latin. In 1910, he attended the University of Berlin, where he studied philosophy.

    Locke wrote from Oxford in 1910 that the "primary aim and obligation" of a Rhodes Scholar "is to acquire at Oxford and abroad generally a liberal education, and to continue the Rhodes mission [of international understanding] throughout life and in his country subsequently. If once more it should prove impossible for nations to understand one another as nations, then, as Goethe said, they must learn to tolerate each other as individuals". Locke received his PhD in philosophy in 1918.

    Locke returned to Howard University as the chair of the department of philosophy. During this period, he began teaching the first classes on race relations, leading to his dismissal in 1925. After being reinstated in 1928, Locke remained at Howard until his retirement in 1953. Locke Hall, on the Howard campus, is named after him.

    Locke promoted African-American artists, writers, and musicians and worked on a collection of writings by African Americans, which would become one of his best-known works. A landmark in the black literature (later acclaimed as the "first national book" of African America), it was an instant success. Locke contributed five essays: the "Foreword," "The New Negro," "Negro Youth Speaks," "The Negro Spirituals," and "The Legacy of Ancestral Arts."

    Locke's writings were deep, and the average person would probably have a hard time making a connection, so he saw himself as inspiring others in the movement who became more broadly known, like Zora Neale Hurston.

    Locke certainly stood out as a person to be most admired. I believe that during this time in history many black inspirational figures didn't picture themselves as role models or doing something great. But of course from our vantage point we wonder with awe how they were able to accomplish anything at all considering the times they lived in.

    One thing for sure, we're eternally grateful to them. We would like to take this opportunity to honor this quiet and great man, Alain Locke with the 1954 Hamite Award for his outstanding achievements against the odds.

    Locke was gay and may have encouraged and supported other gay African-Americans who were part of the Harlem Renaissance. However, he was not fully public in his orientation and referred to it as his point of "vulnerable/invulnerability," taken to mean an area of risk and strength in his view.

    After his retirement from Howard University in 1953, Locke moved to New York City. He suffered from heart disease, and after a six-week illness died at Mount Sinai Hospital on June 9, 1954.

Alain Leroy Locke
Alain Leroy Locke
photo #106-yr-1886





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How were blacks feeling in 1954?
sad mood of blacks


Malcolm X
Fox Lake in Angola Indiana
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!!!

http://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/afam/2002/foxlake.htm
http://foxlakeindiana.com/



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, Florida
photo #109-yr-1935

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!



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former slaves liked to laugh


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african american first

 For the year 1954:
  • Carl Brashear was the first African-American U.S. Navy Diver.

  • Dorothy Dandridge was the first African-American woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress.

  • Dorothy Dandridge was the first individual African-American woman as subject on the cover of Life magazine.

  • Charles V. Bush was the first African-American page for the U.S. Supreme Court, and first to be enrolled in the Capitol Page School.



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black civil war soldiers

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blacks and basketball

Althea Gibson
Althea Gibson
photo #106-yr-1927

Willie  Mays
Willie Mays
photo #103-yr-1931

Ezzard Charles
Ezzard Charles
photo #107-yr-1949

     Sports in 1954
  • April 23, 1954 - Hammerin' Hank Aaron hits the first of his 755 homers.

  • July 17, 1954 - The first major league baseball game where the majority of team is black (Dodgers)

  • September 14, 1954 -San Francisco Giants' Willie Mays gets his 82nd extra-base hit, breaking Mel Ott's old record.

  • September 17, 1954 - Rocky Marciano knocks out Ezzard Charles in 8 rounds for heavyweight boxing title.

  • September 29, 1954 - San Francisco Giants' Willie Mays make a famous over-the-shoulder catch of Vic Wertz' 460' drive.

  • 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.

  • Willie Mays won Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award.



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annual bbq



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SOUTHERN HATE  if I said it once I must say it again, these people ain't normal!

The Civil War Is Over, Why Do You Still Hate Me So Much Man?


southern hate

There were over 179,000 black soldiers who fought in the Civil War for their freedom and the right to become American citizens. Many brave souls died. They thought once it was over things would be better for the colored people. But it wasn't and especially in the South.


What the HELL! Why do these southern whites hate blacks so much and fight against our pursuit of happiness at every turn? They ain't normal, and surely not American, because if they were they would believe all are created equal, which is what our country was founded on.


Southern whites had enjoyed a lifestyle much better than their ancestors before them. Before arriving in America, most white immigrants were destitute and severely oppressed by their governments. Many were uneducated peasants and serfs not much better off than a black slave. When they finally encountered blacks in America, they showed little empathy toward them.


No longer on the bottom rung of the ladder of humanity, these white immigrants would also proclaim themselves superior and joined the higher class of whites in dominating blacks unmercifully for many years. Whites as a group was happy as a lark even the not so intelligent ones.


The North understood slavery to be a temporary situation, but in contrast Southern whites viewed it as a permanent institution that should be expanded into new territories that hadn't been admitted to the union yet. Stop the Slave Power at all cost was the North's goal. This reason the Civil War started, not because Abraham Lincoln had this burning desire to free the slaves.


Before the war, southern whites grew very comfortable with their lifestyle and after losing it blamed blacks for everything. Many were brilliant and proud people. Now can you imagine proud, intelligent white people who had dominated blacks for hundreds of years, and faced with the possibility of black equality and being governed by the same individuals they mistreated and spit on and looked upon as ignorant savage beast?


They viciously fought against equality for black people at every turn and opportunity. They considered themselves true Sons of the South, do or die.


They had to feel like the North was punishing and embarrassing them by giving blacks American citizenship and the right to vote. Southern whites would kill many blacks for what they perceived as upholding their honor. What did the North do? They made a show of attempting to help black people, but in the end, that's all it was a show. In reality, they used blacks as a pawn to teach the South a lesson in hopes that one day the southern faithful would reconcile their hearts to the Union of America as one big happy white American family.



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ballot box

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
photo #108-yr-1953

     Political Scene in 1954
  • Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army during World War II and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe. Analysis:   Dwight D. Eisenhower was raised in a very religious household and some of his values followed him into later life. When receiving backlash from the Navy because of a refusal to fully integrate, Eisenhower made the statement that America is not taking one step backward in Civil Rights of blacks. Why? It wasn't because it was the right and moral thing to do, it was because Communists around the world who were using the racial discrimination and history of violence in the U.S. as a point of propaganda attack. Well, I guess we'll take justice anyway we can get it. Many positive changes happened for the black person during this period because of Communism. Eisenhower told District of Columbia officials to make Washington a model for the rest of the country in integrating black and white public school children. He proposed to Congress the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and 1960 and signed those acts into law. "There must be no second-class citizens in this country" he stated.



  • May 3, 1954 - Hernandez v. Texas - the United States Supreme Court ruled that Mexican Americans and all other races residing in America are entitled to equal protection under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

  • August 18, 1954 - James E Wilkins is the first black to attend a United States cabinet meeting.

  • August 19, 1954 - Ralph J Bunche is named the undersecretary of UN.

  • September 27, 1954 - CV Bush is the first African American Supreme Court page.



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Who is this man?

His name was George Kennan, who was an American diplomat and historian, who served as ambassador to the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. He was known best as an advocate of a policy of containment of Soviet expansion during the Cold War on which he later reversed himself. He lectured widely and wrote scholarly histories of the relations between USSR and the United States. He was also one of the groups of foreign policy elders known as "The Wise Men."

George  Kennan


If you've ever wondered how the world became such a hateful and dangerous place, this man George Kennan explains it for us. Kennan didn't have any great powers to implement his ideas and was a Cold War strategist to various leaders in American history who obviously listened to much of what he had to say.

Memo PPS23 (1948) "Memo PPS23", written 28 February 1948, declassified 17 June 1974

We must be very careful when we speak of exercising "leadership" in Asia. We are deceiving ourselves and others when we pretend to have answers to the problems, which agitate many of these Asiatic peoples. Furthermore, we have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3 of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia.

In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships, which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.

In the face of this situation, we would be better off to dispense now with some the concepts which have underlined our thinking about the Far East. We should dispense with the aspiration to 'be liked' or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism.

We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers' keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should cease to talk about vague — and for the Far East — unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.

Do you think leaders of America are overstepping their boundaries with these strategies?



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The Race Factor


racism

Mauthausen concentration camp
Naked Soviet POWs in Mauthausen concentration camp. Between June 1941 and January 1942, the Nazis killed an estimated 2.8 million Red Army POWs, whom they viewed as "subhuman".
photo #105- in year 1939

     Race in 1954
  • 1954 – "Separate but equal" remained standard doctrine in U.S. law until its repudiation in the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education. Analysis: I imagine many blacks had lost all hope and trust in the United States legal system. All these years of injustices against the black person, and not one president since Abraham Lincoln spoke up boldly and acted on behalf of our Constitution. Some were aware of a problem but didn't pursue it. They let this system of hate and discrimination fester for years. But what caused America to change its mind, are they finally gaining a moral conscience? Sadly the answer is NO. If they had a guilty conscience, they would have gotten together years ago to correct these American injustices. The only reason we see a change in American attitude is that of COMMUNISM, Yep; that's right I said communism, it's 100% correct. This is the primary reason that African Americans are finally getting their Civil Rights restored and enforced. The world has become a place of two ideologies between Communism and Democracy. The Communist are making claims about how bad blacks are being treated, giving them ammunition against Democracy. America doesn't like that and must uphold this false image of a just and moral country which is fair to all its citizens. Go back to the year 1947 when the NAACP made a claim to the world of Genocide by the American government, that was the beginning of America to re-think this Negro Civil Rights problem. We notice all rulings coming down from the courts are favorable for blacks, something that should have to happen right after emancipation. Now blacks are so far behind and dejected, demoralized and no telling what else, it's a wonder if we'll ever catch up. Thank you very much Mr. Communism for forcing these anti-Americans who have control of our United States Constitution to change their violent and unjust ways.



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HOW LONG WILL GOOD WHITE-AMERICANS
SIT ON THE FENCE?




whites sitting on fence


Since the beginning of American history, there's always been a fight between good and bad. The problem is that both good and bad forces claim to adore democracy. Someone is lying. You be the judge.


First, we need to define democracy and we'll let two of America's greatest Presidents do this for us by their actions and famous quotes.


Abraham Lincoln made the following quotes:

"As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this to the extent of the difference, is no democracy."

"I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and the black races.... But I hold that ... there is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."


Now it's very clear from the many biased comments Abraham Lincoln made against black people he wasn't the type that would have blacks over for dinner, in fact, most whites shared his views many years ago. But that's okay, at least he was honest. This site believes he would have changed his racist views if living in our time because one of his most admirable qualities was flexibility.


In contrast to Abraham Lincoln, the first President of the United States, George Washington didn't share Lincoln's view of democracy.


Black slaves were actively sought and recruited to fight for America in the Revolutionary War and promised citizenship after the victory. It's well recorded that slaves fought with courage and valor that ensured American success. George Washington himself made the comment:

Washington wrote a letter to Colonel Henry Lee III stating that success in the war would come to whatever side could arm the blacks the fastest.


whites sitting on fence

But after victory in the war, America didn't keep it promises, and most blacks were forced back into slavery. Of course, George Washington had to know about this but did nothing. Washington was a brilliant soldier but failed as an upholder of truth and justice and set the tone for future race relations in our country by trivializing and compromising real Democracy.


Washington had many slaves himself and didn't want to free them and damage his financial stake. He put money interests ahead of real Democracy. But all of America's founders didn't feel this way. A contemporary of Washington and future President John Adams hated slavery and was proud to boast he handled his business with paid workers. Did George Washington look at himself in the mirror and feel guilty about compromising (true) American Democracy? History says he didn't.


Washington created the blueprint for this distorted view of true Democracy


Blacks in the colonies had been treated poorly since their arrival from Africa, but this action by Washington made it official. This blueprint became the norm in much of America's dealings with black people. Whites felt if their supreme leader thought so lowly of black people, they would also.


We must all be honest with ourselves in admitting this view of Democracy was not American because it denied certain humans liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness. Therefore we must call for what it was, which is Anti-American.


So we had two different Presidents with various versions of Democracy, and this is the way it remains today. What made Lincoln a force for good and better President was he put Democracy first and his personal prejudices second, but Washington put his financial interest ahead of true Democracy. This is what set these two men apart. Both were great men with different views about what it meant to be an American on the side of liberty and justice for all.


After Lincoln's death, democracy would take a downward spiral. One of the most biased President in American history led the attack. His name was Andrew Johnson, and he fought against the Civil Rights of blacks tooth and nail. Every favorable bill for former slaves that appeared on his desk was immediately denied. Later, there were new laws created to restrict black American citizens that worked very well. This was called the Jim Crow era. It was an all-out attack on Democracy by Anti-Americans and aided by good white Americans who remained on the fence. Read for yourself.


There's not enough room on this web page to describe the hate and exclusion by government and white Americans against blacks during this period. Jim Crow laws touched every part of life, all across America. Blacks and whites were kept apart as much as possible. Good jobs went to whites; blacks were given the worst with less pay. Many industries wouldn’t hire blacks. Many unions passed special rules to exclude them. All juries and judges were white; blacks were illegally denied voting rights. No blacks allowed in public pools. Many restaurants would not serve blacks, and those that did had a dirty colored section. Blacks and whites went to county fairs on different days. Blacks couldn't use public libraries. Simple common courtesy was rarely shown the blacks. Whites beat, tortured, raped and killed blacks with no fear of punishment. Blacks were denied credit for businesses, housing, cars by the banks. Blacks were kept out of white neighborhoods with housing covenants. Oklahoma had black and white phone booths. Texas had cities where blacks were entirely restricted from living. Blacks could not leave their homes after 10:00 pm in Mobile Alabama. Blacks could not marry whites. Georgia had separate white and black parks. Prisons, hospitals, and orphanages were segregated as were schools and colleges. Blacks and whites had to use separate sets of books in school, in Florida, they couldn't be stored together. When a person was sworn in at a trial, the whites used one Bible, and the blacks had a separate Bible. For those who did complete college, a crucial question had to be answered. Who was going to be their clients? Whites didn't engage blacks in business, and the battered Negro couldn't afford their services. These laws became so entrenched in American life; even unwritten laws affected black citizenship; blacks understood to stay out of white stores and establishments. Segregation was so complete that whites did not see blacks except when being served by them. After the Civil Rights movement of the 60s, blacks have made enormous gains. This is how the United States of America became a polarized country. Each and every President knew what was going on and allowed this illegal activity for 87 years. Were they guilty of not upholding the United States Constitution in the Negroes behalf? Is this the reason why many other nations laugh at America with its constant claims of being on the side of good and high morality?



Did religion made things worse?


Even though the U.S. was not founded as a Christian nation and existed solely as a secular state completely free of religious influence in lawmaking, religion would soon be thrown into the loop. This made American people feel righteous and just in their own eyes. White's beleived they were "good" and made in God's image and blacks were not. In time slogans such as "In God We Trust" were printed on money to describe a people who had snuffed out Democracy, They felt God was on their side and loved only them.


Countless movies, radio shows, newspapers, magazines and other media would consistently portray these Anti-Americans as on the side of good, morally upstanding and righteous to the world with God on their side. Good white Americans had to know this was a farce because of the way it's black citizens were being treated and did nothing.


There were a relative few brave, good white Americans who spoke up during this period and got involved with some even losing their lives, but the majority did nothing. They remained on the fence because they were also partakers of the privileged American way of living and failed to realize how this was undermining true Democracy with the threat of one day being faced with an America they wouldn't recognize.


whites sitting on fence


“Ignorance of how we are shaped racially is the first sign of privilege. In other words. It is a privilege to ignore the consequences of race in America.” Tim Wise


So, what now?


Because of the folly of racism and privilege by Anti-Americans and the lack of action to speak out for true Democracy by good Americans, has our country morphed into another form of power? Something that is completely different than it started out as, perhaps like an insatiable, detestable and ugly monster, without a soul or conscience? You be the judge.


whites sitting on fence





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slang and memorable quotes
slang african americans      sLANG tALK in 1954
  • Baby - term of endearment to the opposite sex

  • Bread - money, cash, moola

  • Cookin' - doing something very well

  • Cool it - forceful way of saying to stop doing what you're doing fool

  • Cooties - considers another person dirty in a playful way

  • Cut out - to leave the scene

  • Dibs - wants a share

  • Dig - understand

  • Flick - a movie

  • Gig - a job

  • Give me five - a favorable greeting

  • Heat - danger, usually the police are close or could mean a gun

  • Hip - cool, everything under control, up to date, trendsetter

  • Made in the shade - complete success at something

  • Make out - kissing or could mean to be discovered by someone

  • No sweat - no problem, everything is under control

  • Pad - the house, home

  • Punk - weak person, considered not cool to hang around

  • Split - leave the scene

  • Square - a person who is not hip, slow, not with the times

  • The man - police

  • Tight - everything is completely together, flawless.



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black Movies in America
Movies in America

Carmen Jones promotional poster
Carmen Jones promotional poster
photo #100-yr-1954

Eddie Rochester Anderson
Eddie "Rochester" Anderson
photo #103-yr-1937

Lillian Randolph
Lillian Randolph as Beulah
photo #107-yr-1898

Jack Benny's radio shows cast
Jack Benny's radio shows cast
photo #104-yr-1937

      Radio / Television / Movies in 1954
    Movies:
  • Carmen Jones - Dorothy Dandridge (role as Carmen Jones)
    Dorothy was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy



  • Television:
  • 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?


    Radio:
  • 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.





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famous black birthdays

Denzel Washington
Washington at the 62nd Academy Awards
photo #101-yr-1954

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey
photo #102-yr-1986

 Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
photo #107-yr-2000

Ron Kirk
Ron Kirk
photo #102-yr-1995

      Famous Birthdays in 1954
  • January 20, 1954 - Ken Page  an American cabaret singer, actor and voice actor from St. Louis, Missouri.

  • January 29, 1954 - Oprah Winfrey  media proprietor, talk show host, actress.

  • March 5, 1954 - Wendell B. Harris, Jr. a Juilliard- and Interlochen-trained American filmmaker and actor.

  • March 22, 1954 - Tommy Hollis  was an American actor. A native of Jacksonville, Texas, he starred as Earl Little in the Spike Lee-directed movie Malcolm X (1992).

  • June 2, 1954 - Dennis Dexter Haysbert an American film and television actor.

  • June 27, 1954 - Ron Kirk an American politician and member of the Democratic Party, also former mayor of Dallas Texas.

  • August 20, 1954 - Al Roker, Jr.  an American television weather presenter, actor and book author. He is best known as being the weather anchor on NBC's Today.

  • September 8, 1954 - Ruby Nell Bridges Hall  is an African American activist known for being the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South.

  • September 10, 1954 - Clark Johnson  sometimes credited as Clark "Slappy" Jackson, Clarque Johnson, and J. Clark Johnson, is an American actor and director who has worked in both television and film.

  • September 13, 1954 - Isiah Whitlock, Jr. an American actor.

  • September 15, 1954 - Barry Shabaka Henley an American character actor.

  • September 22, 1954 - Shari Lynn Belafonte  is an American actress, model, writer and singer.

  • September 23, 1954 - Charlie Barnett  was an American actor and comedian.

  • September 30, 1954 - Calvin Levels  an American film actor.

  • October 3, 1954 - Al Sharpton, Jr. is an African American Baptist minister, civil rights activist, television/radio talk show host.

  • October 26, 1954 - James Pickens, Jr.  an American actor. He is best known for his starring role as Dr. Richard Webber on the ABC medical drama television series Grey's Anatomy.

  • November 12, 1954 - Clayton LeBouef  an African American actor, best known for his recurring role as Colonel George Barnfather in Homicide: Life on the Street.

  • November 14, 1954 - Condoleezza Rice is an African American political scientist and diplomat.

  • December 4, 1954 - Anthony T. "Tony" Todd an American actor and film producer, known for portraying Ben in both the 1990 and 2014 remakes of Night of the Living Dead.

  • December 28, 1954 - Denzel Washington is one of the best if not the best actors to ever grace the silver screen. Denzel is also a film director and film producer.



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famous african american deaths

Alain Leroy Locke
Alain Leroy Locke
photo #106-yr-1886

John Rosamond Johnson
Bob Cole and John Rosamond Johnson, (right) African American composers
photo #103-yr-1873

John Robinson
John Robinson
photo #115-yr-1903

The movie Beulah
Amanda Randolph and Ernest Whitman on "Beulah" 1953 - 1954
photo #105-yr-1953

Oscar Charleston
Oscar Charleston
photo #105-yr-1896

     Famous Deaths in 1954
  • March 26, 1954 - John Robinson  was an American aviator and activist who was hailed as the "Brown Condor" for his service in serving in the Imperial Ethiopian Air Force against Fascist Italy.

  • April 6, 1954 - William Pickens was an African-American orator, educator, journalist, and essayist.

  • June 9, 1954 - Alain Leroy Locke   was an American writer, philosopher, educator, and patron of the arts.

  • July 24, 1954 - Mary Church Terrell   daughter of former slaves, was one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree.

  • August 5, 1954 - Ernest Whitman was an African American stage and screen actor.

  • November 11, 1954 - J. Rosamond Johnson was a Bahamian-American composer and singer during the Harlem Renaissance. Johnson is most notable as the composer of the hymn "Lift Every Voice and Sing" which has come to be known in the United States as the "Black National Anthem".

  • December 25, 1954 - John Marshall Alexander, Jr.  known by the stage name Johnny Ace, was an American rhythm and blues singer. He scored a string of hit singles in the mid-1950s before dying of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound.

  • June 11, 1954 - Carlotta Freeman was an American stage actress. She was one of the first African American women in the legitimate theatre.

  • October 5, 1954 - Oscar Charleston was an American center fielder and manager in baseball's Negro leagues from 1915 to 1945.

  last words
  Johnny Ace


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famous african american weddings

William  Handy
W. C. Handy
photographed by Carl Van Vechten
photo #102-1958

     Famous Weddings in 1954
  • 1954 - Cissy Houston and Freddie Garland are wed in holy matrimony.

  • 1954 - Ivan Dixon  and Berlie ray Dixon are wed in holy matrimony.

  • 1954 - Ramsey Lewis  and Geraldine Taylor are wed in holy matrimony.

  • 1954 - W. C. Handy  marries Irma Louise Logan.



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famous african american divorces

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou
photo #102-yr-1928

     Famous Divorces in 1954
  • 1954 - Maya Angelou and Tosh Angelos were divorced.



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juke joints, party for black people
chitlin circuit

negro green book

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 1954
    Chitlin' Circuit:
  • 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.


  • chitlin circuit
    Jitterbugging in Negro juke joint,
    Saturday evening, outside Clarksdale, Mississippi

    photo #111-yr-1930

    chitlin circuit
    An African American couple dance the jitterbug in front
    of a crowd. Los Angeles California.

    photo #112-yr-1930



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soul music orgin

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elvis presley

Elvis Presley

African American music sprang from our strong and beautiful ancestors into an original contribution to American culture without a doubt. It changed everything. Is it safe to say that without black music and dance, there would never have been a Elvis Presley? Elvis never denied his love of African American music and dance and how he imitated it and sought at an early age to integrate the races for the love of music.

In an interview with the Charlotte Observer on June 26, 1956, Elvis explained the origins of his music:

" The colored folks been singing it and playing it just like I’m don’ now for more years than I know. They played it like that in the shanties, and in their juke joints and nobody paid it no mind ‘til I goose it up. I got it from them, down in Tupelo, Mississippi I used to hear old Arthur Crudup band his box the way I do now, and I said if I ever got to the place I could feel all old Arthur felt, I’d be a music man like nobody ever saw."

Elvis Presley appreciated black music and paved the way for performers like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino, and Bo Diddley who weren't allowed to perform to mainstream America because of racial prejudice. There were rumors during Presley's career that he made negative comments about blacks, but this website was unable to locate a reliable source but was easily able to find many favorable things said about this great American performer in how he felt about blacks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_impact_of_Elvis_Presley
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elvis_Presley  (read racial issues)


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The Cookies
The Cookies were an American R&B girl group in the 1950s to 1960s.
Members of the original lineup would later become the Raelettes,
the backing vocalists for Ray Charles.
photo #103-yr-1954


Dinah Washington
Dinah Washington
photo #101-yr-1948

     Music in 1954

  Billboard Top Soul Hits:
  • January 30, 1954 "The Things That I Used to Do" — Guitar Slim

  • February 6, 1954 "I'll Be True" — Faye Adams

  • March 27, 1954 "You'll Never Walk Alone" —Roy Hamilton

  • May 22, 1954 "Work With Me, Annie" — The Midnighters

  • June 12, 1954 "Shake, Rattle and Roll" — Big Joe Turner

  • July 10, 1954 "Honey Love" — The Drifters feat. Clyde McPhatter

  • September 4, 1954 "Oh What a Dream" — Ruth Brown

  • September 25, 1954 "Annie Had a Baby" — The Midnighters

  • October 16, 1954 "It Hurts Me to My Heart" — Faye Adams

  • November 20, 1954 "Mambo Baby" — Ruth Brown

  • November 27, 1954 "Hearts of Stone" — The Charms

  • November 25, 1954 "You Upset Me Baby" — B.B. King



  Popular Soul Dances:
  • The Bop

  • The Stroll

  • Swing

  • The Hand Jive

  • The Cha Cha

  • The Twist

  • Bosa Nova



  Musical Happenings in 1954:
  • Jazz musician Miles Davis discovers an "intensely personal sound that was often heard in tightly muted playing, close to the microphone", a trend exemplified by a recording of the blues number "Walkin' with J. J. Johnson, Horace Silver and Kenny Clarke.

  • Doo-wop is a genre of music that was developed in African-American communities across the United States 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".

  • For the first time ever, African American performers achieve the Billboard pop charts in the same year: Hank Ballard & the Midnighters' "Work With Me Annie", The Crows' "Gee", The Chords' "Sh-Boom" and Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters' "Honey Love".

  • The Moonglows innovate a new technique in the field of black vocal harmony with their single "Sincerely", in which the singers blow sounds in the microphone to create a vocal effect.

  • Exciting and innovative entertainer, Little Richard and his drummer, Charles Conner, introduce a new rhythm to the field of black popular music in imitation of a train; the beat will be adopted by many R&B, rock and roll and doo wop groups.

  • Mahalia Jackson becomes the first gospel performer ever with her own tv show, the Mahalia Jackson Show, which aired on CBS.




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pretty lady cooking
Hi there, I'm Annie.
Thanks for viewing my collection of wonderful soul-food dishes that my amazing ancestors cooked, and more than likely yours did too.

We didn't have much of anything back in the day and had to live off the scraps we were given. But like a famous rapper once said in his songs, we knew how to "make a dollar out of 15 cents" Enjoy.



sweet potatoes
Sweet Potatoes / Yams


Barbecue Ribs
Barbecue Ribs


Ham Hocks
Ham Hocks


Rice and Beans
Rice and Beans


Fish and Chips
Fish and Chips


Bean Soup
Bean Soup


Biscuits and Gravy
Biscuits and Gravy


Waffles
Waffles


Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken


Cornbread
Cornbread


Collard Greens
Collard Greens


Fried Liver
Fried Liver


Peach Preserves
Peach Preserves


Pinto Beans
Pinto Beans


Pound Cake
Pound Cake


Pork Chops
Pork Chops


Watermelon
Watermelon


black man hungry


(images - https://pixabay.com/)
Southern Cooking - Soul Food

    Have you ever wondered what African-Americans ate back in the day? Well, maybe we can help you with that. We've found the oldest known black cookbook to date.

    This cookbook was written by an actual former slave woman that had once lived on a plantation, but gained her freedom with the Emancipation Proclamation moving from Mobile, Alabama to San Francisco, California where she published an entirely excellent collection of 160 authentic and tasty recipes of the Old South entitled;

    "What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Southern Cooking"

    This book is indeed a rare gemstone with tons of actual recipes that black folks enjoyed back in the day, but Mrs. Fisher cooking wasn't limited to blacks only, many whites also loved her delicious recipes and persuaded her to make a cookbook.

    Here is just a sample of some of the southern foods mentioned in her book, and by the way, it wasn't called soul-food until the 1960's.

    Breakfast
  • Maryland Beat Biscuit
  • Waffles
  • Cream Cake
  • Flannel Cakes
  • Sallie Lund
  • Egg Corn Bread
  • Plantation Corn Bread
  • Light Bread


  • Broiled Meats
  • Beefsteak
  • Lamb or Mutton Chops
  • Pork Steak or Chops
  • Venison


  • Croquettes
  • Lamb
  • Chicken
  • Crab
  • Liver
  • Oyster
  • Fish


  • Cakes Etc.
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Almond
  • Feather
  • Sponge
  • Fruit
  • Jelly
  • Carolas
  • Ginger Cookies
  • Sweet Wafers


  • Pickels, Sauces Etc.
  • Sweet Cucumber Pickles
  • Sweet Cucumber Mangoes
  • Chow Chow
  • Creole Chow Chow
  • Cherry Chutney
  • Game Sauce
  • Compound Tomato
  • Napoleon
  • Sweet Pickle Peaches
  • Sweet Pickle Prunes
  • Sweet Watermelon Kind Pickle
  • Sauce for Boiled Fish or Mutton
  • Milanese Sauce
  • Sauce for Suet Pudding


  • Pies, Etc.
  • Pastry for making Pies of all kinds
  • Preparing the Fruit for Pies
  • Rhubarb
  • Apple
  • Peach
  • Lemon Pies
  • Cocoanut
  • Cream Apple
  • Sweet Potato
  • Gooseberry and Cherry
  • Light Bread
  • Mince
  • Blackberry Roll
  • Oyster


  • Puddings
  • Snow
  • Plum
  • Corn
  • Corn Fritters
  • Batter
  • Rice
  • Yorkshire
  • Cheese
  • Suet


  • Preserves, Spices, ETC.
  • Brandy Peaches
  • Quince Preserves
  • Syrups for Preserves
  • Preserved Peaches
  • Preserved Pears
  • Currant Jelly
  • Cranberry Jelly
  • Strawberry Jam
  • Raspberry and Currant Jam Combined
  • Marmalade Peach
  • Crab Apple Jelly
  • Blackberry Brandy
  • Blackberry Syrup for Dysentery in Children
  • Preserved Apricots
  • Apple Sauce for Roast Pork
  • Charlotte Eusse
  • Spiced Currants
  • Preserved Cherries


  • Roast Meats
  • Venison
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Pig
  • Veal
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Birds
  • Quail
  • Domestic Duck
  • Wild Duck


  • Salads
  • Chicken
  • Veal
  • Lamb
  • Shrimp
  • Crab
  • Meat


  • Sherbets
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Pineapple


  • Soups, Chowders, Etc.
  • Beef
  • Ox-TaH
  • Calf 's Head
  • Mock Turtle
  • Green Turtle
  • Oyster Gumbo
  • Ochra Gumbo
  • Old Fashioned Turnip
  • Chicken
  • Corn and Tomato
  • Creole
  • Fish Chowder
  • Chicken Gumbo


  • Miscellaneous
  • Fricassed Chicken
  • Fried Chicken
  • Chicken fried Steak
  • Meat Stews or Entrees
  • Ice Cream
  • Boiled Turkey
  • Beef a la Mode
  • Neckbones
  • Spiced Round
  • Hog Maws
  • Stuffed Ham
  • Lima Beans
  • Jumberlie a Creole Dish
  • Baked Fish
  • Ribs, Beef or Pork
  • Boiled Corn
  • Peach Cobbler
  • Egg Plant Stuffed
  • Chitterlings or "Chitlins"
  • Corned Beef Hash
  • Ladies' Custard
  • Tonic Bitters
  • Terrapin Stew
  • Leaven Biscuit
  • Pap for infant Diet
  • Sorghum Syrup
  • Cracklins
  • Meringue for Pudding
  • Circuit Hash


  • What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Southern Cooking
    Paperback – March, 1995
    by Abby Fisher (Author), Karen Hess (Editor)

    http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Knows-About-Southern-Cooking/dp/1557094039

 

Southern Jewel Million Dollar Pound Cake
(this recipe is not from Mrs. Fisher cookbook, but has been in Annie's family for generations, it's everyones favorite!)

    Butter: 1 pound
    Sugar: 3 cups
    Eggs: 6
    Milk: 3/4 cup
    Cake Flour: 4 cups (Soft as Silk Cake Flour)
    Baking Powder: 1 teaspoon
    Vanilla Flavor: 1 teaspoon
    Lemon Flavor: 1 teaspoon

    Directions:
    For best results, leave butter and eggs out overnight
    Cream butter well, add sugar and mix until butter and sugar look like whip cream.
    Beat each egg individually and then add with sugar and butter, mix well for at least a couple minutes.
    Add milk and cake flour a little at a time, then add flavorings.
    Spray Pam spray on entire round cake pan, and then add cake batter.
    Bake about 1 hour and 15 minutes at 325.
    Let cake cool for about 30 minutes, and then remove cake from cake pan.



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mens fashion
1950s Mens Fashions
photo #105-yr-1950

mens fashion
1950s Men's Fashions
photo #106-yr-1950

womens fashion
1950s Women's Fashions
2.Actress Diahann Carroll wears a full-skirted dress with a small Peter Pan collar

photo #107-yr-1950

360 Waves hairstyle
360 Waves hairstyle
photo #104-yr-1950



Eddie South
American jazz violinist Eddie South
with a conk hairdo.

photo #104-yr-1920

1950 fashion
Black couple in the 1950s
photo #library

     Fashions in 1954

  Popular Fashions:

  • Men:
    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). Dark charcoal gray was the usual color, and the era of the gray flannel suit was born. By the later 1950s, a new Continental style of suit appeared from the fashion houses of Italy, with sharper shoulders, lighter fabrics, shorter, fitted jackets and narrower lapels. Hawaiian shirts, worn untucked from suspenders, also became widely popular during this era. Some young men wore tight trousers or jeans, leather jackets, and white tee shirts. Browline eyeglasses were commonly worn by men during the 1950s and early 1960s.


  • Women:
    A popular style of brassiere for women during the 1950s was the "bullet bra", where cups were pointed in a conical shape. This brassiere design was popularized by famous actresses of that day. Women who had worn trousers on war service refused to abandon these practical garments which suited the informal aspects of the post-war lifestyle. Casual sportswear was an increasingly large component of women's wardrobes. Casual skirts were narrow or very full. In the 1950s, pants became very narrow, and were worn ankle-length. Shorts were very short in the early '50s, and mid-thigh length Bermuda shorts appeared around 1954 and remained fashionable through the remainder of the decade. Loose printed or knit tops were fashionable with pants or shorts. They also wore bikinis to sport training. Swimsuits were one- or two-piece; some had loose bottoms like shorts with short skirts. Bikinis appeared in Europe but were not worn in America in the 1950s.


  • 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.

  • 360 Waves Hairstyle is generally worn by men. The hair is cropped short to the head in the styling of a Caesar cut. There are brushing techniques that will result in the resemblance of "oceanic waves" in the hair. In the 1950s African American males would straighten their hair with a homemade lye relaxer or one from the barber shop and have a texturizing cream put in for a wave pattern. This was commonly worn by young men in Doo-wop groups.

  • 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.




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Dang it! We're so Tired of all the Hate

We can't wait to leave this wicked South,
and make the big bucks in the North!
Will our white American brothers love us there?

What type of employment awaits the Negro in the 1900s?



african americans working the farms
FSA photo of cropper family chopping the weeds from cotton near White Plains, in Georgia Postmarked 1912
photo #119-yr-1900

90% of Negroes still lived in the South up until the late 1910s. King Cotton was still a big source of income for blacks. These workers were hired as temporary help. Many were tenant farmers, renting a piece of land and some of their tools and supplies, and paying the rent at the end of the growing season with a portion of their harvest. White and black farm laborers were paid comparable wages, and rental rates. Blacks didn't exclusively work in the cotton fields, for example some blacks worked in the Turpentine industry.


african americans working the farms
"Dipping and scraping pine trees. Turpentine industry in Florida." Postmarked 1912
photo#126-yr-1900


Whites were much more likely to own land as opposed to blacks. Black children were unlikely to be in school because they helped the parents in the fields to support the family and also because of a lack of good quality schools. Funds that were intended for black schools went to white schools instead in the form of raising teacher salaries and per-pupil funding while reducing class size. Black schools suffered at this expense. Separate but Equal was a big lie, because it was anything but equal. The government didn't have a special watchdog organization to enforce these racist laws, and the requirement of equality was not enforced. Black children never really had a fair chance.


Boll weevil ruins Cotton Crops in the 1920s

Of course hindsight is 20-20. But wouldn't it have been nice if during slavery someone would have thought to travel to Mexico and bring back the Cotton boll weevil to transplant them into Southern cotton crops?
 boll weevil
Cotton boll weevil
Where were you when we really
needed you, pre-1863?

photo#127-yr-1900

A little integration of the boll weevil and Mr. King Cotton would have been a good thing for the Negro. We wonder what kind of effect that would have had on chattel slavery?

Well what the heck is a boll weevil?

The boll weevil is a beetle which feeds on cotton buds and flowers. Thought to be native to Central America, it migrated into the United States from Mexico in the late 19th century and had infested all U.S. cotton-growing areas by the 1920s, devastating the industry and the people working in the American south.

Southern blacks were tied to the cotton fields in the early 1900s, but after 1914, many were fed up and wanted to try something new and different. By then they were open for a change because of restrictive Jim Crow laws and the boll weevil destroyed many crops, putting them out of work. They decided to take the plunge, a new and exciting life for them. Their move was called the Great Migration. News had spread to these poor black Southerners about better opportunities in the North, so many of them packed up their belongings and bid farewell to the South, never looking back.

During World War I, blacks were very much desired in the workplace. The United States had a quota for Colored soldiers to enlist for service. Blacks filled the quota very quickly, and many had to be turned back. With white men fighting in the war, this left openings in industry for blacks to fill. How did they do? Employers loved them and wanted more. They proved themselves to be excellent workers. This is probably one of the main reasons for so many riots when the white soldiers returned to America because blacks had taken their jobs. So by the early 1900s, we have proven ourselves to be excellent and courageous soldiers and dependable workers at home.

In other cases, some Negroes were recruited to travel North by agents of the businesses who would pay their fare. In some cases, these poor blacks were tricked into traveling a great distance for jobs only to discover they would be hired as strikebreakers, which was a very dangerous undertaking. Money was better for the Negro in the North, but in many cases, racism persisted with many riots happening. Many unions in the North had explicit rules barring membership by black workers.

Blacks had various successes at different job locations, for example when the auto industry took off, Ford Motor Co. hired many blacks to work in its automobile plant, but other auto plants often excluded them. Jobs were not a certainty for the Negro; he had to stay alerted and knock on many doors. But blacks were making a little advancement, by 1940 there were more than 200,000 African Americans in the CIO, many of them officers of union locals.

 boll weevil
A. Philip Randolph
photo#128-yr-1900

When the war broke out a very special man by the name of A. Philip Randolph petitioned President Roosevelt for jobs in the Defense plants which previously had been reserved for whites. Randolph had a special card up his sleeve in the form of 100,000 peaceful marchers on Washington to protest if Roosevelt declined.

Roosevelt half-heartedly gave in and created a new program for blacks called the Fair Employment Practice Committee which was designed to monitor the hiring practices of companies. The Committee did accomplish many blacks being hired into the Defense departments at very nice wages but closed down later because of a lack of funding from the U.S. Government.

After World War II, The G.I. Bill which was a law that provided a range of benefits for returning World War II veterans. Benefits included low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans to start a business, cash payments of tuition and living expenses to attend university, high school or vocational education, as well as one year of unemployment compensation was a big boon for whites and was a major factor in the creation of the white American middle class.

But sadly because of racial inequality, many of the benefits of the G.I. bill were not granted to black soldiers. This is because "at the very moment when a wide array of public policies was providing most white Americans with valuable tools to advance their social welfare—insure their old age, get good jobs, acquire economic security, build assets, and gain middle-class status—most black Americans were left behind or left out." It seems like we can get off the ground with these people, but we never give up. Also the black middle class failed to keep pace with the white middle class because blacks had fewer opportunities to earn college degrees.

G.I. Bill

In time, it became critical to have a college degree, for better pay wages which many whites were now working toward with the help of the G.I. Bill, but blacks were left behind in dying trades or just making it the best way they could because of racial discrimination and National leaders doing absolutely nothing to help.

Once they returned home after the war, blacks faced not only discrimination but also poverty, which confronted most blacks during the 1940s and 1950s and represented another barrier to harnessing the benefits of the G.I. Bill, as poverty made seeking an education problematic to while labor and income were needed at home. Banks and mortgage agencies routinely refused loans to blacks, making the G.I. Bill even less effective for blacks.

In addition to the other obstacles, gaining admission to universities was no easy task for blacks on the G.I. Bill. Most universities had segregationist principles underlying their admissions policies, utilizing either official or unofficial quotas. Those blacks that were prepared for college level work and gained access to predominantly white universities still experienced racism on campus.

During the 70s and 80s, the number of employed blacks increased. The civil rights movement played a huge role in this development. There were heavy gains in blue-collar jobs, such as steel, automobile production, electrical and non-electrical machinery, appliances, food and tobacco manufacturing, and textiles, and also white-collar occupations, where the four major subcategories-professional and technical, managerial and administrative, sales, and clerical increased very sharply.

Black professionals

The black labor force by the late 1990s, approximately sixty percent of these were white-collar sales and clerical personnel; many in this group were non-union workers with limited benefits and wages. However, another twenty percent of the black labor force, nearly three million workers, was classified as professional and technical employees and administrators. The percentage of the black labor force in the blue-collar field declined.

So what type of work did blacks do in the 1900s?

There were black doctors, dentist, newspaper editors, plumbers, mailman, teachers, singers, scientist, athletes, Pullman porters, laborers, politicians, judges, lawyers, mill workers, welders, domestic help, authors, factory workers, customer service, business owners, policemen, firemen, and every other profession you could think of. Sadly, their numbers and presence weren't as high as white Americans because of entrenched discrimination against the black race. It's in the history books, read it for yourself.

Black lady welder

Blacks have historically had a harder time than other races being employed in America, ever since emancipation, and for the most part it has to do with racism. We're not fooled into believing any different. But we don't let this stop us and continue to push on. Our amazing journey has had many barriers and roadbloocks every step of the way.

The Fair Employment Practice Committee of the 40s and the Civil Rights movement helped a bit, but after slavery and the following Jim Crow years, racism had become deeply entrenched in the American workforce. It's not out in the open as it was during Jim Crow days but today more subtle and hidden, but just as hurtful, degrading and discouraging. But to our credit, blacks seem always to find a way. Truly remarkable American people, and if it were possible, would make our battered ancestors who sailed deep seas, shout for joy in their graves.


Sources:
African Americans in the Twentieth Century
African Americans and the G.I. Bill
Blacks in the 1970's
Social and Economic Issues of the 1980s and 1990s
What The Negro Achieved in Industry



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United States Census for Negroes
United States Census for African Americans
in the 1950s

 black family
Beautiful black family in the 50s

 Eugene Jacques Bullard
Eugene Jacques Bullard
photo #112-yr-1923

Our Community in 1954

Newsworthy Events in the Black Community:

  • September 27, 1954 - School integration begins in Washington DC & Baltimore Maryland public schools.

  • October 27, 1954 - Benjamin O. Davis Jr. becomes the first African-American general in the United States Air Force.

  • 1954 - Eugene Jacques Bullard who was the first African-American military pilot during World War I was invited by the French Government to Paris to help rekindle the everlasting flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe. In 1959 he was made a Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d'honneur by général Charles de Gaulle who made reference to Bullard as a hero.

  • 1950s Happenings in America - Car Hops at burger establishments where waitresses roller-skate to your car and take your order. 3D Movies which had been around since the 1920s was making a comeback, competing against the television. Everybody loved the Blackjack Chewing Gum which had a licorice flavor. Frisbee throwing was becoming a serious art form, the tricks some could do with a frisbee were amazing. Hula Hoop was a regular in everyones home, the inventors put sand or rocks inside the hoop to make noise while in use. Pez candy was a favorite for kids. Men of all races wore sideburns which was facial hair that grew down about an inch below the ears.

  • The United States Population is 150,697,361 with a total of 15,044,937 being African Americans. Negroes are having more babies, and more than likely it was because of the Great Migration and jobs opening up in the North with the war effort.



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RESOURCES:


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#100 -   Saul Bass [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

#101 -   photo by Alan Light [ CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

#102 -   [Public domain],
This photograph is a work for hire created prior to 1968 by a staff photographer at New York World-Telegram & Sun. It is part of a collection donated to the Library of Congress. Per the deed of gift, New York World-Telegram & Sun dedicated to the public all rights it held for the photographs in this collection upon its donation to the Library. Thus, there are no known restrictions on the usage of this photograph. Photographs in this collection other than those identified by such stamps as "World-Telegram photo" or "World-Telegram photo by Ed Palumbo" might not be in the public domain. Works within the collection may be attributed to other news services that retain copyright, works of the U.S. government that are in the public domain, or works with no attribution for which copyright cannot be determined.

#103 -   [Public domain],
By en:Murray the K (real name Murray Kaufman) (eBaycovers pages pages pages pages pagespages) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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