blast from the past

blast from the past
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annual hamite award

OUR HAMITE AWARD WINNER FOR 1899:
Norris Wright Cuney
    Norris Wright Cuney, or simply Wright Cuney, was born on May 12, 1846 near Hempstead, Texas. Cuney had eight brothers and sisters. His mother was enslaved Adeline Stuart who was of African, European, and Native ancestry. His dad was, yes you guessed it, his master and his dad.

    These White Southerner plantation owners lived very dishonorable lives, even though they claimed to be holier than thou. Cuney's dad was Colonel Philip Cuney, a wealthy plantation owner of English ancestry who not only had kids with Adeline Stuart but also had a white family.

    How did the white family feel about their father with a completely different set of kids living on the same plantation? We can only imagine. The wife had to take it especially hard. But it was a very common occurance. Now it becomes clearer as to why these racist white men didn't want to abolish slavery, when you add the sex factor or should we say rape factor into it.

    By 1850 Philip Cuney was one of the largest landowners in the state, with 2,000 acres and 105 slaves, including Stuart. He was one of the 50 largest slave owners in the state in 1860. Cuney raised cotton but also had a dairy operation, with several hundred cows, plus beef cattle.

    Cuney's master/father would later free his entire family and send him off to a black school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Cuney's sister also left the plantation and would go into the world, passing for white. In time Cuney built such a distinguished name for himself he became regarded as the most prominent black leader in Texas in the 19th century and one of the most important in the United States. He became active in black fraternal organizations and was elected by black Masons as the grand master of the Grand Lodge of Texas in 1875.

    Cuney also became involved with politics being appointed as United States Collector of Customs in 1889 in Galveston, Texas. Establishing his own business of stevedores, he helped to unionize black workers in Galveston, opening jobs for them on the docks. He substantially improved employment and educational opportunities for blacks in the city. He eventually rose to the chairmanship of the Texas Republican Party and became a national committeeman.

    He was a member of the Union League and helped attract black voters to the Republican Party; in the 1890s, more than 100,000 blacks were voting in Texas, which were indeed a force to be reckoned with until blacks were disenfranchised.

    If you were asked to profile an African American who got involved with current issues instead of riding the sidelines, you would be hard-pressed to find one more interesting than Norris Wright Cuney. This man was obviously capable of providing for himself and could have taken the attitude to live in a lovely home on the river and go fishing every day, ignoring the pressing issues former slaves had. But did he do that?

    No, he didn't, and that's why we must award this great man with the 1899 Hamite Award which is given to folks who have been generous in extending a helping hand to their own. He made the lives of many black people more bearable. We are all indebted to him. Historians call the the period between 1884 and 1896 as the "Cuney era", a very well liked and influential man. We could use many more Norris Wright Cuney's.

Norris Wright Cuney
Norris Wright Cuney
photo #108-yr-1886



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How were blacks feeling in 1899?
sad mood of blacks

See the picture below?

This is one of the things black people need real bad. But we are shut out. The jobs we do get it seems we have to work twice as hard to earn some of these dollars. It's going to get better. I just know it is, but in the meantime, I gotta run to the supply store and grab me a box of those little white do-dads that's on the market in 1899. They call them aspirin the wonder drug, a fella named Bayer invented them and it's supposed to take all your pains and stress away, sounds good to me because these people are racking my nerves. I think I'm going to buy two boxes. I got the cash right here....

sad mood of blacks



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african american first

 For the year 1899:
  • Marshall "Major" Taylor was the first African-American to achieve world championship in any sport.



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black civil war soldiers


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black civil war soldiers
African American baseball players from Morris Brown College, ca. 1899 - 1900
Photo Credit: W.E.B. Du Bois/Library of Congress

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blacks in hockey
The Coloured Hockey League performed from 1895-1930
photo #119-yr-1910


blacks in sports in 1899

Marshall Walter Major Taylor
Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor
photo #104-yr-1878

Octavius Catto
Octavius Valentine Catto
photo #121-yr-1863

Bud Fowler
John W. "Bud" Fowler
photo #105-yr-1913

Moses Fleetwood Walker
Moses Fleetwood Walker
photo #102-yr-1884

George Franklin Grant
George Franklin Grant
photo #114-yr-1910

Alonzo Lonnie Clayton
Alonzo "Lonnie" Clayton
photo #108-yr-1917

      Sports in 1899
    Trivia:
  • Blacks were not accepted into the league baseball games, so they started their teams, becoming professional by the the 1870s. The first known baseball game between two black teams was held on November 15, 1859, in New York City. The Henson Base Ball Club of Jamaica, Queens, defeated the Unknowns of Weeksville, Brooklyn, 54 to 43.

    By the end of the 1860s, the black baseball mecca was Philadelphia, which had an African-American population of 22,000. Two former cricket players, James H. Francis and Francis Wood, formed the Pythian Base Ball Club. They played in Camden, New Jersey, at the landing of the Federal Street Ferry, because it is hard to get permits for black baseball games in the city. Octavius Catto, the promoter of the Pythians, decided to apply for membership in the National Association of Base Ball Players, generally a matter of sending delegates to the annual convention; beyond that, a formality.

    At the end of the 1867 season "the National Association of Baseball Players voted to exclude any club with a black player." In some ways Blackball thrived under segregation, with the few black teams of the day playing not only each other but white teams as well. "Black teams earned the bulk of their income playing white independent 'semipro' clubs."


  • The mistreatment and segregation of Blacks didn't only happen in the South, but also the Northern cities like Philadelphia.



  • Octavius Valentine Catto was a black educator, intellectual, and civil rights activist in Philadelphia. As a man, he also became known as a top cricket and black baseball pioneer in 19th-century Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


  • The first known professional black baseball player was Bud Fowler, who appeared in a handful of games with a Chelsea, Massachusetts club in April 1878 and then pitched for the Lynn, Massachusetts team in the International Association.

  • Moses Fleetwood Walker and his brother, Welday Wilberforce Walker, were the first two black players in the major leagues. They both played for the 1884 Toledo Blue Stockings in the American Association.

  • The few blacks on the white minor league teams were constantly dodging verbal and physical abuse from both competitors and fans. Then the Compromise of 1877 removed the remaining obstacles from the South's enacting the Jim Crow laws. To make matters worse, on July 14, 1887, Cap Anson's Chicago White Stockings marched his team onto the field, military style as was his custom, he demanded that the blacks not play, and later that same day, league owners voted to refuse future contracts to blacks, citing the "hazards" imposed by such athletes.

  • In 1888, the Middle States League was formed, and it admitted two all-black teams to its otherwise all-white league, the Cuban Giants and their arch-rivals, the New York Gorhams. They became traveling teams known as the Colored All-Americans. They would go to various cities playing games that were not authorized by the professional white league. They would play against any team that just wanted some real, fair competition and make a little money in the process. The New York Gorhams quit playing after awhile and by 1892 the Cuban Giants were the only black team in the East still in operation on a full-time basis.

  • Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor won the world 1 mile track cycling championship in 1899 after setting numerous world records and overcoming racial discrimination.

  • George Franklin Grant invented the wooden golf tee.

  • Alonzo "Lonnie" Clayton was an American jockey in Thoroughbred horse racing described by author Edward Hotaling, as "one of the great riders of the New York circuit all through the 1890s" and who holds the record as the youngest jockey to ever win the Kentucky Derby.

  • 1895-1930 - Coloured Hockey League was an all-black ice hockey league founded in Nova Scotia in 1895, which featured teams from across Canada's Maritime Provinces. The Coloured League is credited by some as being the first league to allow the goaltender to leave his feet to cover a puck in 1900. This practice was not permitted elsewhere until the formation of the National Hockey League in 1917. Historians also claim that the first player to use the slapshot was Eddie Martin of the Halifax Eureka in 1906. Trivia: In the Revolutionary War, America and the British promised the black slaves freedom if they fought for their respective sides. Of course, we all know that America won the war but failed to keep its promise to the slaves and forced them back into slavery. President George Washington had to know about this and did nothing on the slave's behalf. On the other hand, the British kept their promise and transported these slaves who were also called black loyalist to Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, Africa to start a new life. The Coloured Hockey League players were from Nova Scotia and introduced exciting innovations to the game of hockey.




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famous african american quotes      Famous African American Quotes
    Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor -   African American cyclist who won the world 1 mile track cycling championship and much more in the late 1800s

    "I trust they will use that terrible prejudice as an inspiration to struggle on to the heights in their chosen vocations."—Marshall Taylor."


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black kids shooting marbles in the 1800s


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blacks and politics

William McKinley
William McKinley
photo #109-yr-1897


     Political Scene in 1899
  • 1898 - William McKinley is the 25th President of the United States. Sidenote: McKinley took office in 1897. William McKinley Will he finally prove to be the President of justice we have been waiting and hoping? NOPE it ain't gonna happen. Black people were excited about McKinley in the beginning especially because he was against lynching when he served as Governor and wanted to abolish it, so the few blacks that were not disenfranchised voted for him but were quickly disappointed.

    The administration’s response to racial violence was minimal, causing him to lose black support. When black postmasters at Hogansville, Georgia in 1897, and at Lake City, South Carolina the following year, were assaulted, McKinley issued no statement of condemnation. Although black leaders criticized McKinley for inaction, supporters responded by saying there was little the president could do to intervene. Critics replied by saying that he could at least publicly condemn such events, as Harrison had done. Look like we have another loser in the morals department, McKinley will join the long list of Presidents who didn't comprehend the Constitution of the United States.

    One writer wrote:

    “McKinley lacked the vision to transcend the biases of his day and to point toward a better future for all Americans.”

    I must say that we agree.




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equal rights for black people



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black Movies in America
Movies in America

Hyers Sisters
Anna Madah Hyers dressed as 'Urlina' in the opera Urlina the African Princess (1879)
photo #100-yr-1879

     
Musicals / Vaudeville / Movies in 1899

    Musicals:

  • The Hyers Sisters, Anna Madah and Emma Louise were singers and pioneers of black musical theater. With Joseph Bradford and Pauline Hopkins, the Hyers Sisters produced the "first full-fledged musical plays... in which African Americans themselves comment on the plight of the slaves and the relief of Emancipation without the disguises of minstrel comedy." Their first play was Out of Bondage (also known as Out of the Wilderness) which premiered in 1876. The Hyers Sisters under the management of their proud father not only toured in America but internationally. As small children, the father had them classically trained by German professor Hugo Sank and later opera singer Josephine D'Ormy and they performed for private parties before making their professional stage debut. They were very well received everywhere they performed and blazed a path for other black entertainers to follow. They traveled until the mid-1880s with their own shows and continued to appear on stage into the 1890s. Wow, absolutely amazing!

  • Clorindy, or The Origin of the Cake Walk is a one-act musical by composer Will Marion Cook and librettist Paul Laurence Dunbar. The piece premiered in 1898 and was the first Broadway musical with an all-black cast. It starred the famous African-American performer Ernest Hogan. Popular songs from the show included "Who Dat Say Chicken In Dis Crowd" (one of the first documented uses of the well-known "Who Dat?" comedy motif) and the finale, "Darktown Is Out Tonight. Clorindy had a brief run, also starring Hogan, at the Boston Music Hall in mid-January, 1901.




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the meaning of cool
How did "acting" Cool begin for African Americans?

It seems like it's been around forever and
expected of every black kid growing up



For most blacks, cool started on the southern plantations. Opportunists slavemasters devised a way for slaves to work harder and reap the benefits of their labor. During the year at a chosen plantation slave masters would hold a "Corn Shucking Festival." Slaves from nearby plantations would also join this event with their owner's permission, so it was almost like a community gathering of all the local slaves, with greedy slavemasters making all the money.

The slave who shucked the most corn won an award, sometimes cash or a suit of clothes. Anyone who found a red ear of corn also received a reward - perhaps a kiss from a young woman or a jug of whiskey. It was at these events that the term Shuckin' and jivin' came into existence by the slaves while working and telling tall stories, talking smack, and joking around with each other.

These gatherings, even though involving hard work had to be an event looked forward to by the slaves, because it was one of the few times during the year blacks had a chance to interact with one another. Shuckin' and jivin' would become a tool the slaves would use to convince their masters of an untruth, and even among themselves. It was an early form of being cool.
http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Corn-Shucking+Festival

After slavery blacks were free (sort of) to do as they pleased. Most blacks wanted to assimilate into American culture very much but were shut out by the white racist. African and European culture met head on in what was supposed to be fair in America guaranteed by our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, but blacks didn't stand a chance.


Why, what happened?

Because most whites banded together by breaking the law and made blacks second class citizens and would go on to murder, lynch, rape, humiliate them all the way until the 1960s Civil Rights movement. After Lincoln, every single United States President was aware of this and did nothing. Whites achieved like crazy and prospered while blacks lagged far behind and got along the best way they knew how.

Blacks disliked whites very much for this terrible treatment and instead of violent disobedience, they protested by living their lives opposite of white culture. I mean let's face it, why would blacks want to imitate or become a part of a race of people that hated them?

This is when being cool became a symbol of white resistance and protest. Being cool would show you were down with the struggle. During slavery, we had already created our language which was AAVE and many blacks communicated this way. Any black that did not use it was looked down as trying to act white, joining the enemy sort of speak.

We developed our own way of walking with a proud gait, (George Jefferson strut) our own style of music, our own style of dance, our own style of food, our own style of worship, that didn't have anything in common with white folks and that suited blacks just fine. We were poor, but we were proud and cool and everyone who practiced these traits was cool and a part of the resistance.

In the process, we were creating a new culture that was admired over the world. Blacks have always had a remarkable ability to create something out of nothing. But sadly there was significant risk with this lifestyle in a great country such as America.

What were the downfalls?

Oscar Micheaux felt it was wrong for blacks to live this way in America. Oscar was an African American author, film director and independent producer of more than 44 movies and he is regarded as the first major African-American feature filmmaker, the most successful African-American filmmaker of the first half of the twentieth century and the most prominent producer of race films. He produced both silent movies and "talkies" after the industry changed to incorporate speaking actors.

cool black americans


Oscar felt that blacks should become aggressive and use their brainpower in achieving instead of just settling for what the white man doled out. This man lived in some of the most racist times in American history, but he didn't let that stop him from fulfilling his dreams and doing it the legal way.

Evidently, Oscar had a brother who was the very cool type and was content on just putting up a show, or a front as living a successful life. We all know the type. A person that was living beyond his means. Blacks of his day called this way of living “the good life.”

Oscar didn't like it and was very upset with his brother. He later wrote in his book and discussed the culture of doers who want to accomplish, and those who see themselves as victims of injustice and hopelessness, and do not want to step out and try to succeed, but instead like to dress up, act cool and pretend to be successful while living the city lifestyle in poverty.

cool black americans


Oscar understood that education doesn't belong only to white people, it's a gift for all humanity to better ourselves, and honestly the best-proven way. Chinese, Japanese, Middle-Eastern and all other non-white nations understand this and have prospered by education. It's one of humanities treasure to learn.

But many blacks associated education with white and stayed far away from it, to continue with their cool lifestyle. A foolish mistake, and just what racist whites want you to believe.

Early Europeans completely dominated the Africans because they were better educated. They had guns we had spears, you do the math. In Africa our ancestors didn't value education, but traditions and silly ones at that. But that didn't save them. Education would have, though.

So without a doubt, it is entirely wrong to associate teaching and learning to white people. Many of us would look down upon another black who tried to better himself through education by saying they were trying to act white, and it wasn't cool. Racist whites laughed at us for believing this way because they knew we would always be behind.

After the 1960s, when our full Civil Rights were finally restored, many blacks chose to live the more standard American way by attending school to learn. But many also wanted to remain trapped in time with the old AAVE living in what they still perceived as defiance to the white American way of doing things. But were they only hurting themselves?

Later in time, being cool had become so prevalent in the black community it confused many kids, because they didn't quite understand if they were going to hang out with the cool kids or the so-called boring kids who liked to read and learn. At an early age, they are at a critical crossroad. Taking the cool route may seem easier, and a lot of fun, but would be a devastating mistake.

After the Civil Rights era we now have the opportunity to attend school and achieve as much as we can, but being cool has snatched many of the black kids and locked them into a culture hating education and in the process ruining their young lives.

Many entertainment figures reap much money from this cool culture by portraying cool as, well cool. They tell impressionable ones what's cool to hear, talk about, wear, eat, etc. and at the same time padding their cool humongous bank accounts.

These even get on television and flaunt their riches in a youngster's face never explicitly teaching on how they might be as successful, without being dishonest, stealing or selling drugs. Education is not cool for them to preach.

One thing is for sure, being cool can be a lot of fun and there's no denying that. Everybody wants to be liked, and it seems like cool people are respected and admired the most, from the clothes they wear to the type of songs they listen to the way they talk, the effortless way they seem to accomplish every task is amazing.

They possess incredible confidence. But truthfully everything they've accomplished wouldn't have been possible without the sacrifices of our wonderful ancestors. So don't you agree we owe a particular moral responsibility to them?

Kids should remember cool is not the real deal, It's a game we can't get caught up in. Our ancestors endured so much so we could achieve. We should never forget that. That's what this site was created. Browse through its pages, and you're going to read stories of amazing blacks.

They made it possible for us, and we're sure they would advise us to achieve through education first and foremost and save the cool for the weekends, and I ain't Shuckin and Jivin!

the meaning of cool


Resources:
By White House (Pete Souza) / Maison Blanche (Pete Souza) (The Official White House Photostream[1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Senate Office of Richard Lugar [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
https://pixabay.com/en/flag-united-states-american-waving-40724/



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famous african american birthdays


Duke Ellington
photo #113-yr-1899

Alonzo Lonnie Johnson
Alonzo "Lonnie" Johnson
photo #103-yr-1925

     Famous Birthdays in 1899
  • February 8, 1899 - Alonzo "Lonnie" Johnson   was an American blues and jazz singer/guitarist, violinist and songwriter who pioneered the role of jazz guitar and jazz violin, and is recognized as the first to play an electrically-amplified violin.

  • April 11, 1899 - Percy Lavon Julian  was an American research chemist and a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants.

  • April 29, 1899 - Duke Ellington  was an American composer, pianist and bandleader of jazz orchestras.

  • June 16, 1899 - Marita Bonner (also known as Marieta Bonner) was an African-American writer, essayist, and playwright who is commonly associated with the Harlem Renaissance.

  • July 1, 1899 - Thomas Andrew Dorsey  was known as "The father of black gospel music".

  • December 14, 1899 - DeFord Bailey   was an American country music and blues star from the 1920s until 1941. Bailey was both the first performer to be introduced as playing on the Grand Ole Opry and also the first African-American performer on the show.



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famous african american deaths

     Famous Deaths in 1899
  • March 31, 1899 - William Robison was an early civil rights worker.

  • June 20, 1899 - Louise Cecelia Fleming was the first African American to graduate from the Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  • November 5, 1899 - James Herman Banning the son of Riley and Cora Banning, was born on an Oklahoma homestead. Despite prejudice and lack of resources, he decided that one day he was going to fly an airplane. What he didn't know was that the only way he was going to be able to fly enough hours to earn a pilot’s license would be to build his own plane.


  • December 2, 1899 - William Lewis Eagleson was a publisher of the Colored Citizen, which was the first black-owned newspaper in Kansas.



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famous african american weddings

Scott Joplin
Scott Joplin
photo #101-yr-1899

 Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
photo #104-yr-1899

     Famous Weddings in 1899
  • June 27, 1899 - William Monroe Trotter  and Geraldine Louise ("Deenie") Pindell were wed in holy matrimony.

  • 1899 - Scott Joplin and Belle Joplin were wed in holy matrimony.

  • 1899 - Samuel Coleridge-Taylor  and Jessie Walmisley were wed in holy matrimony.



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famous african american divorces

Sam Lucas
Sam Lucas
photo #104-yr-1916

     Famous Divorces in 1899
  • Sam Lucas and  Carrie Melvin Lucas were divorced.



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Bayer Heroin bottle



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juke joints, party for black people
chitlin circuit

It's a Party in 1899

    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.




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soul music orgin


black music in the 1800s

Bob Cole and John Rosamond Johnson
Bob Cole and John Rosamond Johnson,
African American composers
photo #108-yr-1881

Sissieretta Jones
Sissieretta Jones
photo #103-yr-1883

Sissieretta Jones
Sissieretta Jones
Black Patti Troubadours

photo #106-yr-1896

Scott Joplin
Scott Joplin
photo #101-yr-1899

Storyville, New Orleans
Storyville, New Orleans

     Music in 1899

  Popular Soul Dances:
  • Cakewalk Dance was a strutting dance popular at the end of the 19th century, developed from a black-American contest in graceful walking that had a cake as a prize.

  • Buck Dances

  • Chalkline-Walk

  • Walk-Around



  Musical Happenings in 1899:
  • September 18, 1899 - The "Maple Leaf Rag" is an early ragtime musical composition for piano composed by Scott Joplin. It was one of Joplin's early works, and became the model for ragtime compositions by subsequent composers. It is one of the most famous of all ragtime pieces. As a result Joplin was called the "King of Ragtime". Joplin made a living off this song. Sidenote: Absolutely awesome! Parents call your children and let them hear this song which we've probably heard a million times through the years and didn't realize it's creator was an African-American, well at least I didn't know. All races of peoples should know this proud American history. To listen, please click here.

    Trivia: In Joplin's will, he requested that the Maple Leaf Rag be played at his funeral. When preparations were being made however, his wife did not allow it because she did not think it was a proper funeral song. She admitted regretting that decision her whole life.


  • Sissieretta Jones formed the Black Patti Troubadours (later renamed the Black Patti Musical Comedy Company), a musical and acrobatic act made up of 40 jugglers, comedians, dancers and a chorus of 40 trained singers. Jones sang passionately and pursued her career choice of opera and various repertory regardless to her lack of audience attendance. For more than two decades, Jones remained the star of the Famous Troubadours, while they graciously toured every season and established their popularity in the principal cities of the United States. The Black Patti Troubadours reveled in vernacular music and dance. Jones retired from performing in 1915.


  • By 1881, Billy Johnson was performing in minstrel shows. In 1886 he joined Lew Johnson's Minstrels and the following year moved to Hicks and Sawyer's minstrels, where he stayed for six seasons. He began writing songs and eventually landed a job with Bob Cole as songwriter and stage producer for the more upscale Black Patti Troubadours. Cole and Johnson produced a musical sketch for Black Patti, then left that company to produce their musical, A Trip to Coontown (1898), the first full-length black-produced musical on an American stage. However, during the third season of this musical, the pair separated.


  • Will Accooe was an important songwriter during the birth of the black musical. By 1896, Accooe was working as musical director for John Isham's Octoroons, a fruitful and popular quasi-minstrel troupe.


  • One of the most prominent figures in pre-jazz African-American music, Will Marion Cook is also one of its better-known personalities. As a composer, conductor, performer, teacher, and producer, he had his hand in nearly every aspect of the black music of his time and worked with almost every other important musician in his fields.


  • Eubie Blake's "Charleston Rag" is published; it is his "first and most famous ragtime piece", and it will establish his career as one of the top composers of Eastern ragtime.


  • African-English composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor attends a concert held by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, inspiring him to create a collection of African-derived melodies, arranged for the piano. The Bamboula becomes the most popular, and his works make a "marked impression on the American public, particularly in black communities".


  • Storyville was the red-light district of New Orleans, Louisiana from 1897 to 1917. It was established by municipal ordinance under the New Orleans City Council, to regulate prostitution and drugs. The ordinance did not legalize prostitution but rather designated a sixteen block area as the part of the city in which it was not illegal. The area was originally referred to as "The District," but its nickname, "Storyville," soon caught on. It became a centralized attraction in the heart of New Orleans. Only a few of its remnants are now visible. Establishments in Storyville ranged from cheap "cribs" to more expensive houses, up to a row of elegant mansions along Basin Street for well-heeled customers. New Orleans' cribs were 50-cent joints, whereas the most expensive establishments could cost up to $10. Black and white brothels coexisted in Storyville; but black men were barred from legally purchasing services in either black or white brothel.   Trivia:  It's interesting to note that Jim Crow even restricted the Negro male from legally purchasing the services of a prostitute. Amazing! In the early 1900s, a Blue Book could be purchased for 25 cents. Blue Books were created for tourists and those unfamiliar with this area of New Orleans and contained, in alphabetical order, the names of all the prostitutes of Storyville, and separated them based on race.
    Jazz did not originate in Storyville, but it flourished there as in the rest of the city. Many out-of-town visitors first heard this style of music there before the music spread north. Some outsiders continue to associate Storyville with the origins of jazz. It was the tradition in the better Storyville establishments to hire a piano player and sometimes small bands. Famous musicians who got their start in Storyville include Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, and Pops Foster.
    At the start of World War I, Secretary of War Newton Baker did not want troops to have distractions while deploying. The Navy had troops located in New Orleans, and the city was pressed to close Storyville. Prostitution was made illegal in 1917 and Storyville was used for the purpose of entertainment. Most of its buildings were later destroyed.



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african americans and religion


How did religion begin for the American Negro?

Well, it was an exciting journey for sure, but as usual, we have to go back into history for the likely answer. Before arriving in America as slaves, generally speaking, our ancestors practiced a religion which included fetishism.

What is fetishism you may ask?


 Traditional  Benin Voodoo Dance
Traditional Benin Voodoo Dance

Fetishism is a man-made object (such as the doll aound the lady's neck in the picture) that is thought to have power over others. Africans were extremely superstitious in their native land.

But once exposed to religious teachers in America, quickly left their superstitious past behind them, and would frown upon new arrivals of Africans who practiced fetishism in religion.

In Europe, the Roman Catholic Church had lost their grip on people with their questionable religious practices. There were many who thought the Church was wrong and formed a protest or a Protestant Reformation that resulted in the creation of tons of different religions with their doctrines and teachings claiming to be Christian.


Religion definition:
A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems,
and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence.



Episcopal, Jesuits, Methodists, Protestant, Anglican, Lutheranism, Calvinism, Presbyterianism, Wesleyanism were all against Roman Catholic teachings.

But there would be a new religion on the horizon for humanity that went by the name of science. The introduction of science was in many ways entirely different than Christianity because it taught man to believe and rely on himself and his creations, rather than on a Supreme Being he couldn't see.

Faith is something foreign and unbelievable to a scientist. Also, this new form of religion would give these believers complete moral authority to do as they wished without a guilty conscience or retribution from a Surpreme Being.

This is what made slavery right or moral in the eyes of so many whites because new science taught that whites were superior and blacks inferior. The theory of evolution is another example in clear teaching that the world exists because of a big bang instead of being created, and also man evolved from apes rather than being created.

Do you believe in Evolution? If so, evolution is your religion because mainstream religion and evolution just don't jive, it's either one or the other.

During slavery, most of the first black congregations and churches were founded by free blacks, but slaves learned about Christianity by attending services led by a white preacher or supervised by a white person. Slaveholders often held prayer meetings at their plantations. Methodist and Baptist were the preferred choices of slaves because of its message.

But after slavery blacks were still restricted in the white churches so what they did next is not a surprise. They began to form their churches free from white rulership and exclusion, but kept the doctrine and teachings, but of course with a more lively twist (singing and dancing). It's clear they still had African culture in their hearts. This would mark the beginning of a new American creation, the black church.


The following is a very brief history of religion in Black America:


Pentacostal -
 Pentacostal Movement
    William Seymour
William J. Seymour - photo#111-yr-2015

Charles Fox Parham an independent holiness evangelist who believed strongly in divine healing, was an important figure in the emergence of Pentecostalism as a distinct Christian movement. But it wasn't until one of his black students named William J. Seymour learned these teaching and took it back to California with him that the Pentecostal movement took off like wildfire.

Seymour's preaching sparked the famous three-year-long Azusa Street Revival in 1906. Worship at the racially integrated Azusa Mission featured an absence of any order of service. (whites would later dislike this) People preached and testified as moved by the Spirit, spoke and sung in tongues, and fell in the Spirit. Blacks whites and other races would attend these services. But there was a matter of Jim Crow to be kept in mind that made it illegal for blacks and whites to mix.

So whites broke away from Seymour and began their Pentecostal churches. It's a fact that the beginning of the widespread Pentecostal movement in the United States is considered to have started with one-eyed black preacher William J. Seymour's Azusa Street Revival.




The Church Of God in Christ (COGIC) -
 The Church Of God in Christ baptism
Church Of God in Christ Baptism
photo#112-yr-2015

The Church Of God in Christ was formed in 1897 by a group of disfellowshiped Baptists, most notably Charles Price Jones (1865–1949) and Charles Harrison Mason (1866–1961) and is a Pentecostal Christian denomination with a predominantly African-American membership. It ranks as the largest Pentecostal denomination and the fifth largest Christian denomination in the U.S. Evangelical Baptist, and Methodist preachers traveled throughout the South in the Great Awakening of the late 18th century and appealed directly to slaves, and a few thousand slaves converted. Early COGIC leaders were very much attracted by the Pentecostal message and would break from the Baptist for this reason.



A.M.E. Church -
The African Methodist Episcopal Church, usually called the A.M.E. Church, is a predominantly African-American Methodist denomination based in the US. It is the oldest independent Protestant denomination founded by blacks in the world. It was founded by the Rt. Rev. Richard Allen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1816 from several black Methodist congregations in the mid-Atlantic area that wanted independence from white Methodists.



Baptists -
Baptists are individuals who comprise a group of denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers (believer's baptism, as opposed to infant baptism) and that it must be done by complete immersion (as opposed to affusion or sprinkling). Other tenets of Baptist churches include soul competency (liberty), salvation through faith alone, Scripture alone as the rule of faith and practice, and the autonomy of the local congregation. Baptists recognize two ministerial offices, pastors, and deacons. Baptist churches are widely considered to be Protestant churches, though some Baptists disavow this identity.



Islam -
An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim. Jews felt like they were chosen people who were promised a land filled with milk and honey, a holy land. This promise was made to Abraham and his seed. Abraham's wife Sarah had trouble conceiving children so to keep the promise alive and in the family she chose Hagar who was an Egyptian handmaid to have sexual relations with Abraham to bear a son, which is what they did. This son's name was Ishmael.

But something happened later that would throw things into a tizzy. At a very old age Sarah was now able to have kids and bore a son named Isaac.

Now here's the problem. Does the promise belong to Sarah's son or Hagar's son? Sarah felt it belonged to her bloodline, so she sent Hagar and Ishmael into the wilderness for them to die. But guess what? They didn't die. Muhammad who was the final prophet sent by God as identified in the Quran was born within Ishmael's seed line.

So even to this day these two groups don't care for each other.




Science -
This religion by far has proven to be the most destructive for humankind. Its users have created a world of me, me, me, by magnifying themselves, sincerely believing they are all of that and a bag of chips. Also the belief that spirited competition is healthy and useful. Win at all cost! The survival of the fittest theory. Many genocides were accomplished in the name of science. It teaches us that man originates from apes, (many blacks lost their life because of this false teaching) the earth was created from nothing and in essence humans are their gods. The bad far outweighs the good with the practice of science. Just look around.


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William C. Billy McClain
William C. ("Billy") McClain
photo #101-yr-1895

Lady fashion in 1890
The illustration represents a corsage by Charvet. It is a blouse of pink cambric finely plaited, and with a white cascade frill, also of cambric, down the center. The scarf is of white cambric and the waistband of pink cambric.
photo #101-yr-1890

Men fashion in 1890
Early 1890s fashion includes gray coat with covered buttons and matching waistcoat, dark trousers, short turnover shirt collar, and floppy bow tie. The short hair and pointed beard are typical.
photo #101-yr-1890

work fashions in 1890s
Work fashions in the 1890s (housekeeper)
photo #103-yr-1890

hair styles in 1890s
Dapper young African-American woman with Afro-textured hair wearing a hat.
photo #112-yr-1890



The Black Victorians (Victorian Era 1800s-1900s)


     Fashions and Styles in 1899

  Popular Hairstyles:

  • After the American Civil War and emancipation, many blacks migrated to towns or cities, where they were influenced by new styles. Many straightened their hair to conform to white beauty ideals. They wanted to succeed, and to avoid mistreatment and legal and social discrimination. Some women, and a smaller number of men, lightened their hair with household bleach. They used creams and lotions, combined with hot irons, to straighten hair. The black hair care industry was initially dominated by white-owned businesses. In the late 19th century, African-American entrepreneurs such as Annie Turbo Malone, Madam C. J. Walker, Madam Gold S.M. Young, Sara Spencer Washington and Garrett Augustus Morgan revolutionized hair care by inventing and marketing chemical (and heat-based) applications to alter the natural tightly curled texture. Men began using pomades, and other products, to achieve the standard aesthetic look.



  Popular Fashions:

  • Men:
    By the 1890s, the sack coat was fast replacing the frock coat for most informal and semi-formal occasions. Three-piece suits ("ditto suits") consisting of a sack coat with matching vest and trousers were worn, as were matching coat and waistcoat with contrasting trousers. Shirt collars were turned over or pressed into "wings", and became taller through the decade. The usual necktie was a four-in-hand or an Ascot tie, made up as a neckband with wide wings attached and worn with a stickpin, but the 1890s also saw the return of the bow tie for day dress.

  • Women:
    Early 1890s dresses consisted of a tight bodice with the skirt gathered at the waist and falling more naturally over the hips and undergarments than in previous years. Corsets in the 1890s helped define the hourglass figure. Afternoon dresses typical of the time period had high necks, wasp waists, puffed sleeves and bell-shaped skirts. Evening gowns had a squared decolletage, a wasp-waist cut and skirts with long trains.

  • Portrait of the stylish African-American impresario William C. ("Billy") McClain in late 1800s.



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black pullman porter

black pullman porter

Pullman porters, who were mainly black, are widely credited with contributing to the development of the black middle class in America. Before the Civil War, sleeping cars were not in use. George Pullman came up with the brilliant idea of making rail travel a memorable event with servers to cater to whites every need.

During slavery, most whites didn't own slaves, and this gave them an opportunity to experience that. Pullman became the number #1 employer of blacks in the country. He was a tight businessman though because the pay was lousy with the porters working over 400 hours a month. Porters also had to purchase their clothing and accessories. They received most of their income by tips.

But the job was steady work and that meant alot for black families. Famous porters of old included, Thurgood Marshall, Oscar Micheaux, Malcolm X and the photojournalist Gordon Parks.



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George Jordan
United States Census for African Americans
in the 1890s

Bayer pharmaceuticals
Old advertisement for Bayer pharmaceuticals
photo #102-yr-1899

     
Our Community in 1899

Newsworthy Events in the Black Community:


  • March 6, 1899 - Bayer begins selling the wonder drug, aspirin around the world.

  • May 9, 1899 - The lawn mower wins a patent.

  • The United States Population is 62,947,714 with a total of 7,488,676 being African Americans.



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RESOURCES:


Text_of_Creative_Commons_Attribution-ShareAlike_3.0_Unported_License


#101 -   Public Domain image -See page for author [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

#102 -   Public Domain image -See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

#103 -   Public Domain image By Jonathunder (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

#104 -   Public Domain See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

#113 -   Public Domain image -See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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