Blast From The Past:
OUR HAMITE AWARD WINNER FOR 1958:
W. C. Handy
William Christopher Handy was an American blues composer and musician. He was widely known as the "Father of the Blues".
Handy remains among the most influential of American songwriters. Though he was one of many musicians who played the distinctively American form of music known as the blues, he is credited with giving it its contemporary form. While Handy was not the first to publish music in the blues form, he took the blues from a regional music style with a limited audience to one of the dominant national forces in American music.
Handy was an educated musician who used the folk material in his compositions. He was scrupulous in documenting the sources of his works, which frequently combined stylistic influences from several performers.
Handy was born in Florence, Alabama, to parents Elizabeth Brewer, and Charles Barnard Handy. His father was the pastor of a small church in Guntersville, a small town in northeast central Alabama. Growing up he apprenticed in carpentry, shoemaking and plastering.
Handy's father believed that musical instruments were tools of the devil. Without his parents' permission, Handy bought his first guitar, which he had seen in a local shop window and secretly saved for by picking berries and nuts and making lye soap.
Handy worked on a "shovel brigade" at the McNabb furnace, and described the music made by the workers as they beat shovels, altering the tone while thrusting and withdrawing the metal part against the iron buggies to pass the time while waiting for the overfilled furnace to digest its ore.
"With a dozen men participating, the effect was sometimes remarkable...It was better to us than the music of a martial drum corps, and our rhythms were far more complicated."
He wrote, "Southern Negroes sang about everything.... They accompany themselves on anything from which they can extract a musical sound or rhythmical effect..." He would later reflect that "In this way, and from these materials, they set the mood for what we now call blues."
Handy's musical endeavors were varied: he sang the first tenor in a minstrel show, worked as a band director, choral director, cornetist and trumpeter. At the age of 23, Handy became bandmaster of Mahara's Colored Minstrels. In their three-year tour, they traveled to Chicago, throughout Texas and Oklahoma, through Tennessee, Georgia and Florida, and on to Cuba.
Handy traveled throughout Mississippi, where he listened to the various black popular musical styles. The state was mostly rural, and the music was part of the culture, especially in the Mississippi Delta cotton plantation areas. Musicians usually played the guitar, banjo and to a much lesser extent, the piano. Handy's remarkable memory enabled him to recall and transcribe the music heard in his travels.
Handy tried to interest black women singers in his music, but initially was unsuccessful. In 1920 Perry Bradford persuaded Mamie Smith to record two of his non-blues songs, published by Handy, accompanied by a white band: "That Thing Called Love" and "You Can't Keep a Good Man Down." When Bradford's "Crazy Blues" became a hit as recorded by Smith, African-American blues singers became increasingly popular. Handy found his business began to decrease because of the competition.
The genre of the blues was a hallmark of American society and culture in the 1920s and 1930s. So great was its influence, and so much was it recognized as Handy's hallmark, that author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in his novel The Great Gatsby that "All night the saxophones wailed the hopeless comment of the "Beale Street Blues" while a hundred pairs of golden and silver slippers shuffled the shining dust. At the gray tea hour, there were always rooms that throbbed incessantly with this low, sweet fever, while fresh faces drifted here and there like rose petals blown by the sad horns around the floor."
Handy would later live on Strivers' Row in Harlem. He became blind following an accidental fall from a subway platform in 1943. After the death of his first wife, he remarried in 1954, when he was 80. His new bride was his secretary, the former Irma Louise Logan, whom he frequently said had become his eyes.
W. C. Handy was a student of the Blues. He would travel to rural communities and listen to the original Blues singers practice their craft. He would then put it on paper, study it and change it to a slightly different sound that caught the ear of mainstream America. He was scientific in his approach of music, amazing!
W. C. Handy put Blues on the American map that eventually helped many blacks make a living with their music. We honor W. C. Handy with the 1958 Hamite Award for bringing attention to an original African American contribution to American culture, blues music.
On March 28, 1958 he died of bronchial pneumonia at Sydenham Hospital in New York City. Over 25,000 people attended the funeral in Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church. Over 150,000 people gathered in the streets near the church to pay their respects. He was buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York
W. C. Handy |
photographed by Carl Van Vechten
W. C. Handy at age 19
W. C. Handy, 1900, Director of the Alabama Agriculture & Mechanical College Band
US postage stamp: 6-cent stamp honoring W. C. Handy was issued on May 17, 1969
|How were blacks feeling in 1958?
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 Negro 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 1958:
- Tommy Edwards was the first African-American to reach number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
- Ruth Carol Taylor was the first African-American flight attendant.
- photo #106-yr-1927
Sugar Ray Robinson
| Sports in 1958 |
- In tennis, Althea Gibson won both Wimbledon and the U.S. Nationals (precursor of the U.S. Open) in 1958.
- Althea Gibson was voted Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press.
- Willie Mays won the National League Gold Glove Awards.
- January 18, 1958 - The first black in NHL player was William O'Ree of the Boston Bruins.
- March 25, 1958 - Sugar Ray Robinson is the first boxing champ to win the title five times.
- August 18, 1958 - Floyd Patterson knocks out Roy Harris in 13 rounds for the heavyweight boxing title.
||Famous African American Quotes |
Venus Williams - womens professional tennis player commenting on fellow tennis great Althea Gibson.
"I am honored to have followed in such great footsteps," wrote Venus Williams. "Her accomplishments set the stage for my success, and through players like myself and Serena and many others to come, her legacy will live on."
Dwight D. Eisenhower
| Political Scene in 1958 |
- 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 we can get it. Many positive changes happened for the Negro 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.
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."
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?
"It is worthy of emphasis, that the antiquity of the Negro race is beyond dispute. His brightest days were when history was an infant; and, since he early turned from God, he has found the cold face of hate and the hurtful hand of the Caucasian against him."
George Washington Williams
How did it begin?
It's a worldwide negative perception of blacks.
Well, a quick and straightforward trip back in history will get the likely answer. The Arab trade of Zanj (Bantu) slaves in Southeast Africa predated the European transatlantic slave trade by 700 years but it wasn't until the Portuguese sailed to West Africa in search of gold and discovered something much more valuable, (slaves) and shared with the world what they encountered that aided in the bad rap on blacks.
During the transatlantic slave trade the African empires of Benin, Dahomey, and Yoruba were very powerful. From these kingdoms, more than from any other part of Africa were the people sold into American slavery.
These kingdoms had many districts with different tribes and clans who always fought against each other. These tribes were illiterate without a written form, passing their history to the next generation orally. They were blissfully ignorant of the world around them. As with all people of a common nature, they lived within the limits and respect of the land and were very content in doing so.
Europeans considered the Africans pagans because most tribes were involved with witchcraft, idol worship, cannibalism, superstition, female genital mutilation, and human sacrifices just to name a few of their foolish practices. Europeans thought of themselves as being illuminators to the world made in the image of God which in their minds was white and holy.
Before Christianity took place in Europe, whites believed in a different form of worship which was called mythology, but in time came to their senses with the help of a man named Thales who would later become known as the father of science. Thales was the first person in human history to dispel mythology and would usher in a new way of thinking which was based on facts which in its beginning was called Natural philosophy, and later would be called science. Science would eventually take mythology's place in the way white people believed. Goodbye Jupiter and Neptune.
Thales studied, recorded and compared facts laying the foundation for science. In time, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle would go on to perfect the methods of science. Over the centuries with this wealth of new knowledge discoveries with the aid of science, you can probably imagine how this had to elevate the Europeans ego and self-worth in themselves.
Before long they would claim white superiority, and many began even to doubt the existence of a God. So by the time the Portuguese made their arrival to Africa, they were only smarter and better educated than the blacks and of course dominated as they pleased.
Africans were still living in the past in a fast changing world and were no match for the very greedy and violent Europeans. Africans had seen the last of their glory days. It's a documented fact the Africans were the beginning of human innovation. Other races would go on to copy and perfect their existing creations, scientifically.
If you study ancient history and technological achievements which were in many ways the equal of, or superior of, much that we have today, were founded and carried to a high technological proficiency by Hamitic (African) people. This is the role in history given by God to the descendants of Ham. The Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Mayans, the Aztecs, all were Hamitic people. They were the great inventors of mankind. http://www.ldolphin.org/ntable.html
Why were the African people a no-show in technological discoveries other nations around the world were experiencing?
It wasn't because Africans weren't capable of learning. Type the key phrase into Google "African immigrants in college" you will discover the same lineage of Sub-Saharan Africans today out-perform all races in America's colleges academically. Skin color doesn't matter when it comes to learning; it was because of conditions beyond their control.
Africans couldn't share and contribute information with other nations during this period because of one humongous roadblock. The Sahara Desert. The entire continental United States would fit inside the Sahara Desert with plenty of room to spare. This desert spanned from west to east of Northern Africa and continued to grow, making it very dangerous and challenging for travel.
Sub Saharan Africans were landlocked, lost in time away from all other humanity. The Sahara Desert wasn't always a desert, but slowly grew to be that way. Cave drawings have been discovered in parts of the Sahara that actually depict the flora as green and thriving. http://self.gutenberg.org/articles/history_of_west_africa
So with Portuguese arriving in Africa with their advanced knowledge they encountered a people lost in time and because of their tribal culture and erroneous Pre-Adamic belief the Portuguese had about black people, these people were labeled ignorant wild beast, incapable of learning and the world agreed.
The Africans had a reputation as a peaceful and lovable people and were considered easy pickings by ruthless and brilliant Europeans who extended no mercy.
With their love for science, whites would constantly compare themselves with blacks. They collectively studied the Negro from the kinks in his hair, size of his brain to the jam in his toenails and declared themselves superior to this lowly ape-like creature.
They believed Africans were the descendants of pre-Adamism races and that the White race was made in the image and likeness of God and that Adam gave birth to the White race only.
They also believed and taught that blacks are not human beings but pre-Adamite beasts and could not possibly have been made in God's image and likeness because they are beastlike, immoral and ugly. Whites also claimed that the pre-Adamite races such as blacks didn't have souls. The world would be satisfied with their scientific theory they learned with the help of a blatant and racist media. Whites accepted these lies as truth and raised their kids to do the same.
Science, pre-Adamite beliefs, and the media would go on to replace common sense. According to whites, it was the destiny of these black beast to serve whites, and they believed they had God's backing. Some of the things they wrote as fact about the Negro would go on to cause many innocent deaths.
Typical American Newspaper Article Of Yesteryear
The above article was an editorial reply to another editor that was published in the Cayton's weekly., January 25, 1919, (Seattle, Wash.)
More than anything else science, pre-adamite beliefs and the racist media played an enormous role which perpetuated the negative image of blacks all over the world. The saddest part was when many blacks would believe these false teachings and felt unworthy, ugly and completely worthless as human beings and lived their lives in a useless way and the process was reinforcing these negative views.
Once in America the following comment gives insight into how whites viewed the Negro in the 1700s during colonial days.
Speaking on the duties of missionaries in converting the Negro to Christianity in 1784, Bishop Porteus published an extensive plan for the most effectual conversion of the slaves contending that
"despicable as they are in the eyes of man they are, nevertheless, the creatures of God."
When slaves first arrived in America, it wasn't quite agreed what their social status would be because it was supposed to be only temporary until white immigrants could come from other countries to take their place, but it didn't happen that way. This is when slavery slowly became associated with dark skin. Everybody jumped on the bandwagon against the lowly Negro who was considered inhuman and a savage beast.
But because it was later discovered that blacks were capable of learning, it made some bright whites change their negative view, except for white slavemasters who had a financial interest in keeping the Negro uneducated and made it a felony for anyone caught teaching them.
Real Americans soon began to realize blacks were human beings just as they were and started movements to free them from the bondage of slavery.
Writers of that day cite desirable characteristics of blacks, saying they were deeply religious, cheerful, imaginative, patient, courageous, had high physical endurance, affectionate and without vindictiveness, even though living under a brutal slavery system. They hated slavery, but always kept hope alive, waiting for their Judgement Day.
When their Judgement day arrived, how did slaves act once freed?
Imagine if you spent your entire existence depending and working from dusk to dawn for someone else and suddenly set free.
How would you do?
Who would teach you to read and write, the importance of family, morality, open a bank account, manage your money, how to distinguish between necessity and want, how to keep your house maintained, the importance of honesty in personal and business dealings, how to think big and become self-reliant with confidence and the many more life skills that's needed in society? All would agree that these are crucial life skills to master that the Negro didn't have during slavery.
Well, needless to say, many former slaves didn't measure up after freedom, wasting their lives with pleasure seeking and absolutely no ambition at all. These people gave the whole race a bad rap and continued to do so until this day.
But most wanted to learn these life skills and progress. That's why the Reconstruction schools of the 1870s were so important; it was like a halfway or transition house for the blacks into American culture. But of course we know that the U.S. government did away with Reconstruction in 1877 because of pressure from white southerners who didn't want educated blacks in America.
Our achievements have been many since then, so why does the negative image of blacks persist?
It's simple. The negative image of blacks persists around the world because of a lack of compassion and love mainly from non-black people. Even though erroneous beliefs of science and pre-Adamic theories happened centuries ago, hard habits are hard to break. It's entrenched in the hearts of many.
That's really sad, but as American citizens today, how are blacks doing?
Well under the circumstances blacks are doing a fantastic job, and it's a wonder we are still around. We as African-Americans are honing our life skills with increasing precision without the same network or support groups that other races enjoy. We are a unique type of people that don't have a reference point but must learn as we go.
Quite frankly, we are true Americans who continue to accomplish our goals non-violently and completely understand what the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence stands for. Would other races been able to do the same? We are love, always have been and always will be.
Historically, after being raped, tortured, lynched and murdered with perpetrators enjoying total impunity, the usual reply of blacks were these words, "I forgive you." Even though made out to be the violent savage beast, blacks seldom retaliated. It's true, check your history books. We live for today and as Americans realizing we have this excellent opportunity to excel and soar like the eagles, and we will!
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a white officer in the Union army had the task of training colored soldiers in the Civil War. He kept a diary for our enjoyment today. (click here)
George W. Williams - History of the Negro Race in America From 1619 to 1880. (click here)
Europeans Come to Western Africa -
The Characteristics of the Negro People -
|| sLANG tALK in 1958 |
- 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.
Movies in America
Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt (Milton) Jackson, and Timme Rosenkrantz, Downbeat, New York, N.Y.
Pearl Mae Bailey
- photo#100-yr-1918 -
Eddie "Rochester" Anderson
Jack Benny's radio shows cast
W. C. Handy
photographed by Carl Van Vechten
| Television / Movies in 1958 |
- Tamango - Dorothy Dandridge (role as Aiché, Reiker's mistress)
- The Decks Ran Red - Dorothy Dandridge (role as Mahia)
- - 1958, a movie about W. C. Handy's life – appropriately entitled St. Louis Blues – was released starring legendary African-Americans Nat "King" Cole (in the main role), Pearl Bailey, Mahalia Jackson, Ruby Dee, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, and Eartha Kitt. It was released in the year of Handy's death.
- 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?
| Famous Birthdays in 1958 |
- January 1, 1958 - Renn Woods an African-American film and television actress/singer.
- January 3, 1958 - Marc Morial American political and civic leader.
- January 13, 1958 - Michael Anthony Madden a former professional baseball player who pitched in the Major Leagues.
- January 26, 1958 - Anita Baker an American singer-songwriter. Starting her career in the late 1970s with the funk band Chapter 8, Baker eventually released her first solo album, The Songstress, in 1983.
- February 15, 1958 - Karen Elizabeth Fraction Hamilton was an American actress, dancer and model from Flint, Michigan.
- February 19, 1958 - Leslie David Baker is an American film and television actor. He is known for his portrayal of Stanley Hudson in The Office.
- February 26, 1958 - Darrell Keith Miller a former Major League Baseball catcher/outfielder.
- March 7, 1958 - Albert Hall an American former professional baseball player who played the majority of his Major League career for the Atlanta Braves.
- March 25, 1958 - James McDanielr an American stage, film and television actor.
- March 31, 1958 - Joseph Anthony "Tony" Cox an American actor.
- April 26, 1958 - Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito an African-Italian American actor, director, and producer.
- May 13, 1958 - Anthony Ray Parker an American actor.
- May 16, 1958 - Donald "Don" Fullilove an American film and voice actor.
- June 5, 1958 - Warren Thomas was an African-American comedian.
- June 7, 1958 - Prince is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and actor.
- June 8, 1958 - Keenen Ivory Wayans is an African-American actor, comedian, producer, director and writer, and a member of the Wayans Family of entertainers.
- June 19, 1958 - Wallace McArthur "Butch" Davis an American professional baseball coach and a retired Major League outfielder.
- June 24, 1958 - Tommy "Tiny" Lister an American character actor and retired professional wrestler.
- July 21, 1958 - David Lee Henderson nicknamed Hendu, former African American Major League Baseball player.
- August 15, 1958 - Rondell Jerome Sheridan an American actor, comedian and television director.
- August 16, 1958 - Angela Bassett is a very talented and popular African-American actress.
- August 18, 1958 - Reginald "Reg" E. Cathey an American stage, film and television actor.
- August 25, 1958 - Michael Genet an American actor and screenwriter.
- August 29, 1958 - Michael Jackson was an African-American singer, songwriter, dancer, and actor. Called the King of Pop.
- September 6, 1958 - Michael Winslow an American actor, beatboxer and comedian billed as the "Man of 10,000 Sound Effects".
- September 19, 1958 - Kevin Hooks an American actor, and a television and film director.
- October 15, 1958 - Renée Jones former American dramatic actress.
- November 2, 1958 - Willie Dean McGee retired professional baseball player who won two batting titles.
- November 19, 1958 - Terrence C. Carson an American singer and stage, voice, and television actor.
- December 25, 1958 - Rickey Nelson Henley Henderson a retired American baseball left fielder who played in Major League Baseball.
W. C. Handy photographed by Carl Van Vechten
Angelina Weld Grimké
Archie Alphonso Alexander
| Famous Deaths in 1958 |
- January 4, 1958 - Archie Alphonso Alexander was an African-American mathematician and engineer.
- March 28, 1958 - William Handy was an American blues composer and musician.
- June 5, 1958 - Evelyn Ellis was an African American character actress of stage and film.
- June 10, 1958 - Angelina Weld Grimké was an African-American journalist, teacher, playwright and poet who was part of the Harlem Renaissance; she was one of the first African-American women to have a play publicly performed.
- August 15, 1958 - Big Bill Broonzy was a prolific American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. His career began in the 1920s when he played country blues to mostly African-American audiences.
- December 13, 1958 - Tim Moore was a celebrated American vaudevillian and comic actor of the first half of the 20th century. He gained his greatest recognition in the starring role of George "Kingfish" Stevens in the CBS television series Amos 'n' Andy. Trivia: On occasion in between his entertainment tours, Moore had a love for boxing, even going up against heavyweight champ Jack Johnson. he fought under the name "Young Klondike"
|| Famous African American Quotes |
Tim Moore - vaudevillian, comic actor and star of the television series Amos 'n' Andy.
"I've made it a point never to tell a joke on stage that I couldn't tell in front of my mother."
| Famous Weddings in 1958 |
- January 14, 1958 - Malcolm X marries Betty Shabazz.
- 1958 - Miles Davis marries Frances Taylor.
- 1958 - Winnie Mandela marries Nelson Mandela.
- 1958 - B.B. King marries Sue Carol Hall.
- 1958 - Amiri Baraka marries Hettie Cohen.
- 1958 - Toni Morrison marries Harold Morrison.
- 1958 - Newscaster Louis Lomax marries Betty Frank.
| Famous Divorces in 1958 |
- 1958 - Sarah Vaughan and jazz trumpeter George Treadwell were divorced.
- 1958 - Joe Louis and Rose Morgan were divorced.
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 1958 |
- 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.
African American music sprang from our robust 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 doin’ 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/Elvis_Presley (read racial issues)
Picture of a 45 rpm record from the mid-1950s
| Music in 1958 |
Billboard Top Soul Hits:
Popular Soul Dances:
- January 6, 1958 "At the Hop" — Danny & the Juniors
- January 6, 1958 "Raunchy" — Ernie Freeman
- January 20, 1958 "Raunchy" — Bill Justis And His Orchestra
- January 27, 1958 "I'll Come Running Back to You" — Sam Cooke
- February 3, 1958 "Get a Job" — The Silhouettes
- March 10, 1958 "Sweet Little Sixteen" — Chuck Berry
- March 31, 1958 "Tequila" — The Champs
- April 28, 1958 "Twilight Time" — The Platters
- May 5, 1958 "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck" — Elvis Presley
- May 19, 1958 "All I Have to Do Is Dream" — The Everly Brothers
- May 26, 1958 "Witch Doctor" — David Seville
- June 23, 1958 "Yakety Yak" — The Coasters
- June 23, 1958 "What Am I Living For" — Chuck Willis
- August 4, 1958 "Splish Splash" — Bobby Darin
- August 11, 1958 "Patricia" — Perez Prado And His Orchestra
- August 25, 1958 "Just a Dream" — Jimmy Clanton
- September 1, 1958 "Little Star" — The Elegants
- September 1, 1958 "When" — The Kalin Twins
- September 29, 1958 "It's All in the Game" — Tommy Edwards
- October 6, 1958 "Rock-In Robin" — Bobby Day
- October 27, 1958 "Topsy Part 2" — Cozy Cole
- December 8, 1958 "A Lover's Question" — Clyde McPhatter
- December 15, 1958 "Lonely Teardrops" — Jackie Wilson
Musical Happenings in 1958:
- The Bop
- The Stroll
- The Hand Jive
- The Cha Cha
- The Twist
- Bosa Nova
- The record players we used:
From mid 1950s through the 1960s, folks in the United States would typically have these features on their record player, a 3 or 4 speed player (78, 45, 331/3, and sometimes 162/3 rpm); with changer, a tall spindle that would hold several records and automatically drop a new record on top of the previous one when it had finished playing, a combination cartridge with both 78 and microgroove styli and a way to flip between the two; and some kind of adapter for playing the 45s with their larger center hole.
- The creation of the Doo-wop sound:
Doo-wop is a genre of music that was developed in African-American communities all across America 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".
- American Bandstand introduces a number of "cleaned-up versions of the coolest new black dances".
- Jackie Wilson's "Lonely Teardrops" is a major hit. Producer Berry Gordy for the next decade began producing an unprecedented series of best-selling records with a variety of different black artists.
- The Chantels' "Maybe" is the first of many songs from the next few years to cross over into the mainstream of 'girl groups' in the music industry.
- Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater becomes the first African American resident concert dance company to earn a national reputation.
1950s Mens Fashions
1950s Men's Fashions
1950s Women's Fashions
2.Actress Diahann Carroll wears a full-skirted dress with a small Peter Pan collar
360 Waves hairstyle
American jazz violinist Eddie South
with a conk hairdo.
Black couple in the 1950s
| Fashions in 1958 |
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.
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.
United States Census for African Americans
in the 1950s
Students used LEGO bricks to 'Build the Future' at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Alvin Ailey in en:1955
CREDIT: en:Carl Van Vechten, photographer - photo #100
Beautiful black family in the 50s
| Our Community in 1958 |
Newsworthy Events in the Black Community:
- January 28, 1958 - the modern brick design was developed and patented for Lego.
- March 1958 - Alvin Ailey and a group of young Black modern dancers first performed at New York's 92nd Street Young Men's Hebrew Association, under the name Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT)
- August 19, 1955 - NAACP Youth Council begin their sit-ins at Oklahoma City Lunch counters.
- 1958 - Baseball great Roy Campanella, nicknamed "Campy", was paralyzed by an automobile accident.
- 1958 - Louis Lomax began his journalism career at the Afro-American and the Chicago Defender. These two newspapers focused on news that interested African-American readers. In 1958, he became the first African-American television journalist when he joined WNTA-TV in New York.
- 1950s Happenings in America - Car Hops at burger establishments where waitresses roller-skate to your vehicle 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 everyone's 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.
#100 - Public Domain image - By Trailer screenshot (The Decks Ran Red trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#101 - By Michael_Jackson_in_Vegas_cropped.jpg: *Michael_Jackson_in_Vegas.jpg: Keir Whitaker from Bath, UKderivative work: TheCuriousGnome (Michael Jackson in Vegas cropped.jpg) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
#102 - As the restrictions on this collection expired in 1986, the Library of Congress believes this image is in the public domain.However, the Carl Van Vechten estate has asked that use of Van Vechten's photographs "preserve the integrity" of his work, i.e, that photographs not be colorized or cropped, and that proper credit is given to the photographer.
#103 - By User Dpbsmith on en.wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By RCA Victor Records (Billboard page 21) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By uploaded to Wikipedia by Mink Butler Davenport (the English language Wikipedia (log)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
This media file is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923. See this page for further explanation. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WCHandy_w_A%26M_College_band_1900.jpg
By Wysinger at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
By NASA/Bill Ingalls (NASA Image of the Day) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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