Arts & Entertainment

Walter Francis White

Aug 23rd, 2011 | By
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1893-1955  Walter Francis White spent most of his highly accomplished career in the service of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and led the organization during a crucial period in American racial history to a position of undeniable political power and broad interracial support. A New Middle Class White was born in
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Oscar Micheaux

Aug 21st, 2011 | By
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1884-1951  Oscar Micheaux was a pioneer writer and filmmaker during the formative years of the motion picture industry. Over a period of more than 20 years, he wrote, produced, directed, distributed, and marketed more than 30 groundbreaking feature films oriented toward the African American audience. From Porter to Pioneer Micheaux was born outside Metropolis, Illinois,
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Nina Mae McKinney

Aug 20th, 2011 | By
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1912?-1967  Nina Mae McKinney burst onto the popular scene, on stage and screen, at a young age with great talent and promise. But limited by Hollywood’s preconceptions about African American lead actresses, she was frustrated after her initial success and spent much of her short professional life performing in Europe. A Chorus Line McKinney was
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Josephine Baker

Aug 17th, 2011 | By
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1906-1975  Josephine Baker became wildly popular as an American dancer and singer who brought the essence of the Jazz Age to Paris. Widely known for her daring costumes and exotic cabaret performances, she also was an early civil rights activist and the mother of 12 adopted children known as her “Rainbow Tribe.” A Fleeting Childhood
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Hattie McDaniel

Aug 10th, 2011 | By
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1895-1952  Hattie McDaniel was an actress best known for her performance as “Mammy” in Gone with the Wind. During her career, she also became a lightning rod for criticism of the racially stereotyped roles offered in the entertainment industry at the time. Brought up in the Family Business McDaniel was born to Henry and Susan
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Ella Fitzgerald

Aug 8th, 2011 | By
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1917-1996  Ella Fitzgerald bebopped with Dizzy Gillespie and scatted with Louis Armstrong during a nearly 60-year-long career in which she became a renowned jazz pioneer. She effectively reinterpreted the American songbook, won 13 Grammy Awards, and earned the title “The First Lady of Song.” From Dance to Song Fitzgerald was born on April 25, 1917,
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Richard Wright

Aug 7th, 2011 | By
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1908-1960  Richard Nathaniel Wright, one of America’s great literary figures, was also one of the first African American writers to receive international fame and notoriety. He was a prolific writer who used stunning prose to address themes of race, gender, politics, and the struggle for individual freedom. Wright was the first black author to have
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Louis Jordan

Aug 5th, 2011 | By
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1908-1975  Louis Jordan was one of the most successful African American musicians of his era, achieving success and popularity across jazz, blues, R&B, and the nascent Rock and Roll genres. He was one of the first black artists to “cross over” to the mainstream, scoring with white audiences and on the pop music charts. Studies
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Langston Hughes

Jul 28th, 2011 | By
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1902-1967  Langston Hughes was an accomplished writer in almost every form and genre, and one of the first African Americans to earn a living from writing professionally. He captured the essential voice of jazz and the blues in his poetry, and used it to express the anguish, joy, and exhilaration of black life in America.
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Jelly Roll Morton

Jul 25th, 2011 | By
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1890-1941  Jelly Roll Morton brewed a gumbo of musical styles including New Orleans traditional, ragtime, blues, minstrel shows, hymns, spirituals, and classical genres to help create jazz. He was a prolific composer and one of the first to capitalize on the growing market for sheet music, and to master the art of creating music for
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