Blast From The Past:
OUR HAMITE AWARD WINNER FOR 1929:
Charles Young (United States Army)
Charles Young was the third African-American graduate of West Point, the first black U.S. national park superintendent, first black military attaché, first black to achieve the rank of colonel, and highest-ranking black officer in the United States Army until his death in 1922.
Charles Young was born in 1864 into slavery to Gabriel Young and Arminta Bruen in Mays Lick, Kentucky, a small village near Maysville. However, his father escaped from slavery early in 1865, crossing the Ohio River to Ripley, Ohio, and enlisting in the Fifth Regiment of Colored Artillery near the end of the American Civil War.
The Young family settled in Ripley when Gabriel was discharged in 1866, deciding that opportunities were probably better there than in postwar Kentucky. Gabriel Young received a bonus by continuing to serve in the Army after the war, and he had enough to buy land and build a house. Charles Young attended the all-white high school in Ripley, the only one there was. He graduated in 1880 at the top of his class. He then taught school for several years in the new black high school that was opened in Ripley.
Young took a competitive examination for appointment as a cadet at United States Military Academy at West Point. He had the second highest score in his district, but the top candidate decided not to go, and Young reported to West Point in 1884. There was then one other black cadet, John Hanks Alexander, who had entered in 1883 and graduated in 1887. Young and Alexander shared a room for three years at West Point.
Young graduated in 1889 with his commission as a second lieutenant, the third black man to do so at the time. He was first assigned to the Tenth U.S. Cavalry Regiment. Through a reassignment, he served first with the Ninth U.S. Cavalry Regiment, starting in Nebraska. His subsequent service of 28 years was chiefly with black troops—the Ninth U.S. Cavalry and the Tenth U.S. Cavalry.
Because of his exceptional leadership of the 10th Cavalry in the Mexican theater of war, Young was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in September 1916. He was assigned as commander of Fort Huachuca, the base in Arizona of the Tenth Cavalry, nicknamed the "Buffalo Soldiers," until mid-1917. He was the first African-American to achieve the rank of colonel in the US Army.
At the beginning of WW1, Colonel Charles Young was the highest ranking African-American officer in the army. He was also the first black to reach that rank in the military. He was denied promotion to brigadier general by The United States because this would mean he would have whites under his command. There was widespread resistance among white officers, especially those from the segregated South, who did not want to be outranked by an African American.
He had proved himself to be an exceptional military officer and leader. He was more than qualified, and had Roosevelt on his side in creating a Negro volunteer regiment, but was overruled by a racist President Woodrow Wilson who refused Roosevelt's permission to organize his volunteer division.
The United States had to find a legitimate reason to expel Young from the military and they did so by claiming he had high blood pressure and was unfit for duty. Young had traveled by horseback from Wilberforce, Ohio, to Washington, D.C. to prove his physical fitness; he was reinstated on active duty as a colonel. Wilson did not rescind his order that Young be forcibly retired. In 1919, Young was reassigned as military attaché to Liberia.
What a mockery of the United States Constitution. Unbelievable. It's no wonder this country is so divided today because of the poor examples American leaders set. These leaders have failed to live up to the true meaning of what this country was founded. It's a mockery. The blacks know it and so does the world.
Colonel Charles Young was a man who dedicated himself to the military and led an exemplary life. He was a model for others to follow, and that's just the kind of candidate we like for our particular award.
We would like to honor the memory of this great human being with the 1929 Hamite Award which is given to the illuminators of the world. Thank you, Colonel, We know we can do it now, we have confidence because of you.
Young died January 8, 1922, of a kidney infection while on a reconnaissance mission in Nigeria. His body was returned to the United States, where he was given a full military funeral and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. He had become a public and respected figure because of his unique achievements in the Army, and his obituary was carried in the New York Times.
Charles Young (United States Army) |
Charles Young (United States Army)
Charles Young cartoon by Charles Alston, 1943
The Coloured Hockey League performed from 1895-1930
| Sports in 1929 |
- Rube Foster organized the Negro National League, the first long-lasting professional league for African-American ballplayers, which operated from 1920 to 1931. He is known as the "father of Black Baseball."
Foster adopted his longtime nickname, "Rube" as his official middle name later in life.
- Robert L. "Bob" Douglas founded the New York Renaissance basketball team. Nicknamed the "Father of Black Professional Basketball", Douglas owned and coached the Rens from 1923 to 1949, guiding them to a 2,318-381 record (.859). He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor in 1972, the first African American enshrined.
- 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.
| Education in 1929 |
- 1926 - Over the first three decades of the 20th century, the funding gap between black and white schools in the South increasingly widened. NAACP studies of unequal expenditures in the mid-to-late 1920s found that Georgia spent $4.59 per year on each African-American child as opposed to $36.29 on each white child student. Analysis:This data is typical throughout history for the American Negro. The first injustice is that schooling is separate for Americans of different colors, and if you think about it, for lack of a better word, stupid. Has this been an orchestrated plan nationwide by our white American brothers to hold the black person back from improving and competing in American society? HELL YEAH. This proves that whites never doubted the Negroes ability to learn, but didn't want anything to do with another culture, educated or not. I don't even know if we could be called different cultures at this point because by now we should all claim American culture as our main. Now be totally honest. Is this an American attitude, or an Anti-American attitude? The reply by whites might be, so what! America belongs to white people. Well if that's the case you gotta change the name of America to something else, or risk being sued for false advertising in representing the Constitution of the United States.
Herbert C. Hoover
Goodbye Mr. Coolidge. You along with others have failed in your constitutional duties to enforce the civil rights of American Negro citizens by allowing Jim Crow laws to thrive in your presidency.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 1st district
| Political Scene in 1929 |
- Republican Herbert C. Hoover was the 31st President of the United States (1929–1933). He was a professional mining engineer and was raised as a Quaker. A Republican, Hoover served as head of the U.S. Food Administration during World War I, and became internationally known for humanitarian relief efforts in war-time Belgium.
Analysis: I thought because of his Quaker upbringing this president might be a little more understanding of Negro problems. Quaker's were at the forefront in helping blacks fight for their freedom.
Hoover believed that African-Americans and other races could improve themselves with education and wanted the races assimilated into white culture, which would be fine if everything was fair and equal and the black person had a sliver of a chance. Whites controlled every aspect of American life and success and doled out to the Negro as they saw fit, an almost impossible situation to achieve. Now if Hoover had created laws that made the playing field fair, he would have gotten my vote. But he just ignored that a problem even exist. This has become a political trick that leaders use to shift the blame to the blacks, as to why they are not achieving as whites. The good presidents that everyone remembers are the ones who were truly on the side of all human rights, not just the privileged because that's what America means.
1929 - Oscar DePriest made national news when the first lady Lou Hoover invited his wife, Jessie, to tea for congressional wives at the White House. Analysis: Oh thank you so much, Mr. President, for your fine gesture towards the American Negro, which as president you are responsible for their civil rights being enforced. Maybe in a couple of years you can invite us for dinner, we'll help with the dishes. Now that's what I call progress!
Black Legion Uniforms with Skull-and-Crossbones
| Race in 1929 |
- 1929 - The Black Legion was a secret vigilante terrorist group and a white supremacist organization in the Midwestern United States that splintered from the Ku Klux Klan and operated during the Great Depression of the 1930s. In 1931 a chapter was formed in Highland Park, Michigan, expanding to an estimated total membership in the state estimated between 20,000 and 30,000 by the mid-1930s during the Great Depression. Its members were generally native-born Protestant men, many who had migrated from the South. One third of the members lived in Detroit, which had also been a strong center of KKK activity in the 1920s.
What is The Declaration of Independence?
It is a statement that the colonist wrote that officially declared their independence from Great Britain. They would now be called, The United States of America. This very special occasion is celebrated every July 4th in America.
The Declaration in part states:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
After becoming official, many of the political leaders set their slaves free because they felt it was hypocritical denying a race of people life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These men had a moral conscience, and strived to be true Americans.
But on the other hand, many leaders chose to hold on to their slaves because it would mean a significant loss monetarily. These men didn't have a moral conscience. They let money and greed reign supreme.
The world was watching and ridiculed the men who held on to their slaves. America's very first test in morality and would set the tone for many years to come and up unto this day. Most Americans would put money first, with the lesser group clinging to true American principles. There were 12 American Presidents who were slaveholders, 8 of them while in office.
You ugly detestable greedy creep.
Is this what America has become?
Yes, the Negro thinks so
Looking through the eyes of a young person, imagine what you would see. Many may not understand how America came to be so polarized. Since the 60s, blacks have made enormous strides, but generally speaking today a youngster might see a white class of people who seem to have it all together, professionally, socially, educationally, economically, and the blacks are always demanding.
Can you imagine how overwhelming and intimidating this could be to some? But when a young black person understands their rich history, it will without a doubt give them courage and strength to believe in themselves, and when that happens, color of skin becomes less of an issue.
Young people deserve to be told the truth about how America became this way, and not in hate or a way that puts down another race. The truth, pure and simple that can be backed up with any library or Google search. America did not just happen yesterday, it took many years for this situation to become this way, and you might be surprised to learn that it was orchestrated by some not so sweet people who didn't sincerely believe in the meaning of the U.S. Constitution or the Declaration of Independence.
During slavery, the Negro depended on their masters for every single necessity of life. Even the smallest want of a slave had to be approved by his master. It also was a severe crime for anyone caught teaching the slaves to read or write. Books were hidden from the Negro, which meant that slaves were illiterate.
The Emancipation Proclamation freed over four million slaves, most of whom had lived and worked on plantations. America wanted to help these former slaves with Reconstruction aid such as education, medical, housing, etc., attempting to place these illiterate and uneducated Negroes on the road to complete American success.
What was the general attitude of the Negro with this Reconstruction help?
YEAH, THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT, THANKS SO MUCH AMERICA, WE WILL PROVE WE CAN BECOME SELF-RELIANT
PRODUCTIVE CITIZENS! WE CAN'T WAIT TO FIND OUT WHAT'S IN THOSE BOOKS YOU HAVE BEEN HIDING FROM US. LET"S GET THIS THING STARTED!
Enthusiasm and motivation were very high to excel. The schools that had been built for the Negro were packed to capacity with students from 7-70 years of age. Educated blacks were getting elected to office as politicians. Fruitful black communities sprang up, and for the first time in American history, the Negro felt like he was a part of America, and was super happy looking toward a prosperous future.
But sadly, there were some who were not as happy, and these were the former Confederates who lived in the same cities. They didn't want any part of Negro success and to be governed by the people they just lost as slaves. So there was a great white resistance.
What was the result?
After only a few short years, the U.S. Government bowed down to these white supremacist and canceled Reconstruction aid to the former slaves. This was called the 1877 Compromise, (please click on 1877 for details) and blacks calling it the 1877 Grand Betrayal. Terrorist had attacked countless black American citizens. Negroes were hanged, tortured, raped, murdered by the whites with total impunity. The U.S. government knew and did nothing, ignoring the enforcement duties set out in the Constitution.
The little gains the Negro was able to achieve were snatched away, and in the meantime, there were still millions of illiterate, defeated, restricted and uneducated black nomads wandering around in a racist society trying to make it the best way they could, and this situation would remain this way until the Civil Rights movement of the 60s, and yes this is how the black ghetto's got their start.
There's not enough room on this web page to describe the hate and exclusion by government and white Americans against blacks during this period. Jim Crow laws touched every part of life, all across America. Blacks and whites were kept apart as much as possible. Good jobs went to whites; blacks were given the worst with less pay. Many industries wouldn’t hire blacks. Many unions passed special rules to exclude them. All juries and judges were white; blacks were illegally denied voting rights. No blacks allowed in public pools. Many restaurants would not serve blacks, and those that did had a dirty colored section. Blacks and whites went to county fairs on different days. Blacks couldn't use public libraries. Simple common courtesy was rarely shown the blacks. Whites beat, tortured, raped and killed blacks with no fear of punishment. Blacks were denied credit for businesses, housing, cars by the banks. Blacks were kept out of white neighborhoods with housing covenants. Oklahoma had black and white phone booths. Texas had cities where blacks were entirely restricted from living. Blacks could not leave their homes after 10:00 pm in Mobile Alabama. Blacks could not marry whites. Georgia had separate white and black parks. Prisons, hospitals, and orphanages were segregated as were schools and colleges. Blacks and whites had to use separate sets of books in school, in Florida, they couldn't be stored together. When a person was sworn in at a trial, the whites used one Bible, and the blacks had a separate Bible. For those who did complete college, a crucial question had to be answered. Who was going to be their clients? Whites didn't engage blacks in business, and the battered Negro couldn't afford their services. These laws became so entrenched in American life; even unwritten laws affected black citizenship; blacks understood to stay out of white stores and establishments. Segregation was so complete that whites did not see blacks except when being served by them. After the Civil Rights movement of the 60s, blacks have made enormous gains. This is how the United States of America became a polarized country. Each and every President knew what was going on and allowed this illegal activity for 87 years. Were they guilty of not upholding the United States Constitution in the Negroes behalf? Is this the reason why many other nations laugh at America with its constant claims of being on the side of good and high morality?
We are rating each and every President up unto the Civil Rights movement of the 60s in regards to the Constitutional laws he took oath to uphold for all American citizens. The ratings can be located at the end of each President's term in office. Please keep in mind there are millions of poor and uneducated blacks in America seeking assistance into assimilating into American culture after 200 years of brutal slavery. Our focus is to find a courageous President, like Abe Lincoln that will solve this problem, and not pass it on to the next administration. Do you think the decisions of these Presidents would have an impact on the lives of blacks today? Of course it would.
Abraham Lincoln was assassinated before the Amendments to the Constitution became official, but without a doubt he understood and enforced the high standards and morality the Constitution stood for.
Andrew Johnson opposed the Fourteenth Amendment, which gave citizenship to former slaves. He fought the Negro every step of the way. Johnson was also a former slaveholder. He didn't believe all were created equal. He didn't uphold the Constitution.
Ulysses S. Grant was complete opposite of Andrew Johnson. Grant assisted the Negro in his quest of assimilation. He understood and enforced the United States Constitution.
Rutherford B. Hayes was an opportunist and sold out the Negro big time with the 1877 Compromise. He didn't understand what his country stood for.
James A Garfield was a strong defender of Civil Rights, and wanted the Negro to progress through education. Sadly he didn't get a chance to fufill his intentions because he was assassinated, but we give him the benefit of the doubt. We believe he understood the U.S. Constitution.
Chester Arthur wasn't really ever concerned with the negro issue. but he didn't make this humongous Negro problems his priority but chose to ignore it and pass it on to the next admin. He did not understand the principles of the U.S. Constitution.
Grover Cleveland actually sided with the white terrorist in the Chinese race riots and felt it was the Chinese fault. He wasn't a true believer in the U.S. Constitution, he only believed in it as far as it would benefit him, just like typical America.
Benjamin Harrison attempted to pass legislation to protect black Americans' civil rights. Nice words he had for blacks but in all honesty, we need something more concrete to hold on too. But we believe that this president understood the principles of the U.S. Constitution.
Grover Cleveland second term wasn't any better than the first. He wasn't a true believer in the U.S. Constitution, and was a no-show for the American Negro.
William McKinley didn't care much for the Civil Rights of Negroes. he failed to enforce the Constitution, because there were many abuses nationwide and he didn't act. He didn't understand or just didn't care.
Theodore Roosevelt glazed over the Negroes problems with beautiful speeches, but no action. I was pulling for this president to be fair, mainly because he was loved by many in his day, blacks included, but history shows that he failed to enforce the U.S. Constitution. Sorry Teddy.
William Howard Taft wasn't in touch with the humongous Negro problem that was left festering since the emancipation. History shows that he failed to enforce the U.S. Constitution.
Woodrow Wilson was a typical no-show as president for the Negro poplualtion. He instigated segregation in U.S. If you're claiming to the world as being a great democracy and not living up to that boast at home is a falsehood.
Warren G. Harding same old story. He spoke of the development of Negro, just didnt make it a priority and nothing was accomplished. Good intentions won't make a plant grow, you have to water it. The negro had hopes in this president, but another no-show.
Calvin Coolidge didn't talk much but made wonderful speeches that had impact and just what the lowly Negro wanted to hear, but that's as far as it went. A true America is more than just hollow words, Abe Lincoln understood that. Why can't others?
Cab Calloway, who wrote a Hepster's dictionary about the language of jive.
The term 'Baby' was for a long time, a racist expression meant to "denigrate" (to criticize unfairly, to say bad things about a person or thing) African-Americans. That all changed with the advent of the hit song, I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby, (1920s) From then on the expression, 'Baby' joined many other words used to express a term of endearment.
| sLANG tALK in 1929 |
- Jive talk - harlmese speech, slang talking
- Alligator - a devotee of jazz or swing music
- Bringer-Downer - a disappointment
- Chops - refers to any musician's level of ability
- Frail - a noun for any hepster woman
- G-man - government man, especially one harasses people
- Gage - marijuana, particularly associated with Louis Armstrong
- Gate - any man, usually used as a greeting
- Hep - in the know, hip
- Hep cat - smart and knowledgeable person, also hipster
- High - happy, content, mellow
- Hoochie Coocher - hot woman who dances laying down
- Hoochie coochie - sexy dance
- Jeff - opposite of hep; unhip, uncool
- Jitterbug - a dance created in the 1920s and 1930s
- Light up - to light a stick of T or reefer
- Lid - a Prince Albert tobacco can filled to the lid
- Man! - commonly used as an interjection or for emphasis
- Mighty Mezz - an expertly rolled joint
- Mop - woman, often meaning another hepster's girlfriend
- Ofay - police
- Puff - to smoke weed
- Stick of tea - joint, reefer, left-handed cigarette
- Zoot suit - suits popular with dancers of the swing era
The Homesteader (1919) is a lost black-and-white silent race film by African American
author and filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. This is a newspaper advert for the film.
Movies in America
Actress Evelyn Preer
American film director Oscar Micheaux
Actress Rose McClendon
Adelaide Louise Hall
| Movies in 1929 |
- Evelyn Preer was a pioneering African-American stage and screen actress and blues singer of the 1910s through the early 1930s. Preer was regarded by many as the greatest actress of her time and was known within the black community as "The First Lady of the Screen"
- 1929 - Oscar Micheaux was an African-American author, film director and independent producer of more than 44 films. The first of which was released in 1919 called The Homesteader which was met with critical and commercial success.
Trivia: Image is everything and Oscar recognized that fact. Up unto the time, he began producing movies; the black person was portrayed as lazy, low morals, thieves, dishonest savage people you couldn't trust. Well guess what? Oscar changed all of that with his movies. He put positive role models on the silver screen and finally the world was able to see the Negro in their true light, as intelligent, well to do honest people, hard working, industrious human beings who loved their families. Oscar was a crucial aspect to positive Negro development in this country. Are we continuing to lift the image of our people in this country today?
- 1926 - The Colored Players Film Corporation was an independent silent film production company based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania founded in 1926. The film company, for the most part, made silent melodramatic films that featured all African American casts. During its brief time operating, the production company released four films, including A Prince of His Race (1926), a remake of Timothy Shay Arthur’s Ten Nights in a Bar Room (1926) with an all black cast, Children of Fate (1927), and finally The Scar of Shame (1929). Of the four films the company produced only Ten Nights in a Bar Room and The Scar of Shame remain.
African American Charles Sidney Gilpin became one of the most highly regarded actors of the 1920s. In 1920 he was the first black American to receive the Drama League of New York's annual award, as one of the ten people who had done the most that year for American theater.
1920s - Rose McClendon was a leading African-American Broadway actress of the 1920s. McClendon was a contemporary of Paul Robeson, Ethel Barrymore, Lynn Fontanne and Langston Hughes.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
| Famous Birthdays in 1929 |
- January 15, 1929 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil rights leader who paved the way for many of the right blacks enjoy today.
- March 5, 1929 - Raymond Gilmore Allen is an American actor best known for his appearances on television in the 1970s. He had recurring roles as Ned the Wino on the series Good Times, as Aunt Esther's husband, Uncle Woody.
- June 27, 1929 - Gwendolyn Midlo Hall a prominent historian and public intellectual who focuses on the history of slavery in the Caribbean, Latin America, Louisiana (United States), Africa and the African Diaspora in the Americas.
- August 28, 1929 - Roxie Albertha Roker was an American actress, best known for her role as Helen Willis on the CBS sitcom The Jeffersons (1975–85), half of the first interracial couple to be shown on regular prime time television.
- November 11, 1929 - Delores LaVern Baker was an American rhythm and blues singer, who had several hit records on the pop chart in the 1950s and early 1960s.
- November 28, 1929 - Berry Gordy is an American record producer, and songwriter. He is best known as the founder of the Motown record label.
Elijah J. McCoy
Sergeant Henry Lincoln Johnson, 369th Infantry ("Harlem Hellfighters"), who single-handedly fought off a german raiding party to save his comrade, Private Needham Roberts, 1918.
| Famous Deaths in 1929 |
- July 5, 1929 - Henry Lincoln Johnson was a United States Army soldier who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart. He was also the first American soldier in World War I to receive the French Croix de guerre with star and bronze palm.
- October 10, 1929 - Elijah J. McCoy was a Canadian-American inventor and engineer, who was notable for his 57 U.S. patents, most to do with lubrication of steam engines.
- December 19, 1929 - "Blind" Lemon Jefferson was an American blues and gospel blues singer and guitarist from Texas. He was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s, and has been called "Father of the Texas Blues".
- December 31, 1929 - Jerome R. Riley was an African American doctor and gifted writer.
- 1929 - Charles Burleigh Purvis was an African American surgeon and medical educator.
- 1929 - First Sergeant Mingo Sanders was an African American soldier in the Brownsville Affray.
Negro League legend Josh Gibson's plaque at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
| Famous Weddings in 1929 |
- March 7, 1929 - Baseball great Josh Gibson and Helen Mason were wed in holy matrimony.
- 1929 - Nightclub owner and entertainer Ada "Bricktop" Smith and singer Peter DuConge were wed in holy matrimony.
Cotton Club on 125th Street in New York City
Cotton Club dancer Mildred Dixon - Duke Ellington's wife
| It's a Party in 1929 |
- 1923 - the Cotton Club on 142nd St & Lenox Ave in the heart of Harlem, New York was operated by white New York gangster Owney Madden. Madden used the Cotton Club as an outlet to sell his “#1 Beer” to the prohibition crowd. Although the club was briefly closed several times in the 1920s for selling alcohol, the owners’ political connections allowed them to always reopen quickly. The club was a whites-only establishment even though it featured many of the best black entertainers of the era.
- 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.
Fun At The Beach?
The Negro has historically been excluded from every aspect of American life and success, but what about the public beaches, was he made to feel unwelcome there also?
In a word. HELL YEAH. I'm sorry, that's two words.
If a Negro and his family attempted to visit a public beach, he would be met with sure violence from whites.
It wasn't until after the Civil Rights protest in the 60s that the fight for equal access to public accommodations made it illegal to exclude the Negro.
One popular beach that blacks congregated was in Southern California. It was called "Ink Well" for obvious reasons. It served the black community very well.
You're not going to believe how blacks acquired another little piece of paradise in the same area called Bruce's Beach. A wonderful white American brother named George H. Peck who was a wealthy developer and the founder of Manhattan Beach, "bucked" the practice of racial exclusion and set aside two city blocks of the beachfront area and made them available for purchase by African Americans.
Jumping on this incredible opportunity, Willa and Charles Bruce purchased property in the Strand area and built a bathhouse, and dining area that catered to blacks. Peck would also go on to develop "Peck's Pier," the only pier in the area open to African Americans. In time because of increased racial tension and the value of beachfront property rising, the city pushed the blacks out claiming the eminent domain law. This type of exclusion was typical all across America for the Negro.
Thomas "Fats" Waller
East St Louis Toodle-Oo
Josephine Baker dancing the Charleston
at the Folies-Bergère, Paris
| Music in 1929 |
Popular Soul Dances:
- Lindy Hop
- The Black Bottom
- The Foxtrot
- Shim Sham Shimmy, Shim Sham or just Sham originally is a particular tap dance routine and is regarded as tap dance's national anthem.
Musical Happenings in 1929:
- "East St Louis Toodle-Oo" is a composition written by Duke Ellington and Bubber Miley and recorded several times by Ellington for various labels from 1926-1930 under various titles. This song was the first charting single for Duke Ellington in 1927 and was one of the main examples of his early "jungle music".
- Muriel Rahn was an American vocalist and actress. She co-founded the Rose McClendon Players with her husband, Dick Campbell and was one of the leading black concert singers of the mid-20th Century. In 1929, she launched her professional career in New York City. She is perhaps best known for her starring role in the original Broadway production of Carmen Jones.
- Fats Waller's musical Aint Misbehavin, opens on Broadway.
- The first major black entertainer on a major radio network is Jack L. Cooper of WSBC in Chicago, who hosts a music and comedy show.
- 1929 - The Oklahoma City Blue Devils was the premier Southwest territory jazz band in the 1920s. Originally called Billy King's Road Show, it disbanded in Oklahoma City in 1925 where Walter Page renamed it. The name Blue Devils came from the name of a gang of fence cutters operating during the early days of the American West. The Blue Devils disbanded in 1933, after which Basie recruited most of the group's members to join his group, which had begun in 1931, but then changed the name to the Count Basie Orchestra.
- 1920s - "Fats" Waller was an important contributor to the popular stride piano style.
How did "acting" Cool begin for African Americans?|
It seems like it's been around forever and
expected of every black kid growing up
For most blacks, cool started on the southern plantations. Opportunists slavemasters devised a way for slaves to work harder and reap the benefits of their labor. During the year at a chosen plantation slave masters would hold a "Corn Shucking Festival." Slaves from nearby plantations would also join this event with their owner's permission, so it was almost like a community gathering of all the local slaves, with greedy slavemasters making all the money.
The slave who shucked the most corn won an award, sometimes cash or a suit of clothes. Anyone who found a red ear of corn also received a reward - perhaps a kiss from a young woman or a jug of whiskey. It was at these events that the term Shuckin' and jivin' came into existence by the slaves while working and telling tall stories, talking smack, and joking around with each other.
These gatherings, even though involving hard work had to be an event looked forward to by the slaves, because it was one of the few times during the year blacks had a chance to interact with one another. Shuckin' and jivin' would become a tool the slaves would use to convince their masters of an untruth, and even among themselves. It was an early form of being cool.
After slavery blacks were free (sort of) to do as they pleased. Most blacks wanted to assimilate into American culture very much but were shut out by the white racist. African and European culture met head on in what was supposed to be fair in America guaranteed by our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, but blacks didn't stand a chance.
Why, what happened?
Because most whites banded together by breaking the law and made blacks second class citizens and would go on to murder, lynch, rape, humiliate them all the way until the 1960s Civil Rights movement. After Lincoln, every single United States President was aware of this and did nothing. Whites achieved like crazy and prospered while blacks lagged far behind and got along the best way they knew how.
Blacks disliked whites very much for this terrible treatment and instead of violent disobedience, they protested by living their lives opposite of white culture. I mean let's face it, why would blacks want to imitate or become a part of a race of people that hated them?
This is when being cool became a symbol of white resistance and protest. Being cool would show you were down with the struggle. During slavery, we had already created our language which was AAVE and many blacks communicated this way. Any black that did not use it was looked down as trying to act white, joining the enemy sort of speak.
We developed our own way of walking with a proud gait, (George Jefferson strut) our own style of music, our own style of dance, our own style of food, our own style of worship, that didn't have anything in common with white folks and that suited blacks just fine. We were poor, but we were proud and cool and everyone who practiced these traits was cool and a part of the resistance.
In the process, we were creating a new culture that was admired over the world. Blacks have always had a remarkable ability to create something out of nothing. But sadly there was significant risk with this lifestyle in a great country such as America.
What were the downfalls?
Oscar Micheaux felt it was wrong for blacks to live this way in America. Oscar was an African American author, film director and independent producer of more than 44 movies and he is regarded as the first major African-American feature filmmaker, the most successful African-American filmmaker of the first half of the twentieth century and the most prominent producer of race films. He produced both silent movies and "talkies" after the industry changed to incorporate speaking actors.
Oscar felt that blacks should become aggressive and use their brainpower in achieving instead of just settling for what the white man doled out. This man lived in some of the most racist times in American history, but he didn't let that stop him from fulfilling his dreams and doing it the legal way.
Evidently, Oscar had a brother who was the very cool type and was content on just putting up a show, or a front as living a successful life. We all know the type. A person that was living beyond his means. Blacks of his day called this way of living “the good life.”
Oscar didn't like it and was very upset with his brother. He later wrote in his book and discussed the culture of doers who want to accomplish, and those who see themselves as victims of injustice and hopelessness, and do not want to step out and try to succeed, but instead like to dress up, act cool and pretend to be successful while living the city lifestyle in poverty.
Oscar understood that education doesn't belong only to white people, it's a gift for all humanity to better ourselves, and honestly the best-proven way. Chinese, Japanese, Middle-Eastern and all other non-white nations understand this and have prospered by education. It's one of humanities treasure to learn.
But many blacks associated education with white and stayed far away from it, to continue with their cool lifestyle. A foolish mistake, and just what racist whites want you to believe.
Early Europeans completely dominated the Africans because they were better educated. They had guns we had spears, you do the math. In Africa our ancestors didn't value education, but traditions and silly ones at that. But that didn't save them. Education would have, though.
So without a doubt, it is entirely wrong to associate teaching and learning to white people. Many of us would look down upon another black who tried to better himself through education by saying they were trying to act white, and it wasn't cool. Racist whites laughed at us for believing this way because they knew we would always be behind.
After the 1960s, when our full Civil Rights were finally restored, many blacks chose to live the more standard American way by attending school to learn. But many also wanted to remain trapped in time with the old AAVE living in what they still perceived as defiance to the white American way of doing things. But were they only hurting themselves?
Later in time, being cool had become so prevalent in the black community it confused many kids, because they didn't quite understand if they were going to hang out with the cool kids or the so-called boring kids who liked to read and learn. At an early age, they are at a critical crossroad. Taking the cool route may seem easier, and a lot of fun, but would be a devastating mistake.
After the Civil Rights era we now have the opportunity to attend school and achieve as much as we can, but being cool has snatched many of the black kids and locked them into a culture hating education and in the process ruining their young lives.
Many entertainment figures reap much money from this cool culture by portraying cool as, well cool. They tell impressionable ones what's cool to hear, talk about, wear, eat, etc. and at the same time padding their cool humongous bank accounts.
These even get on television and flaunt their riches in a youngster's face never explicitly teaching on how they might be as successful, without being dishonest, stealing or selling drugs. Education is not cool for them to preach.
One thing is for sure, being cool can be a lot of fun and there's no denying that. Everybody wants to be liked, and it seems like cool people are respected and admired the most, from the clothes they wear to the type of songs they listen to the way they talk, the effortless way they seem to accomplish every task is amazing.
They possess incredible confidence. But truthfully everything they've accomplished wouldn't have been possible without the sacrifices of our wonderful ancestors. So don't you agree we owe a particular moral responsibility to them?
Kids should remember cool is not the real deal, It's a game we can't get caught up in. Our ancestors endured so much so we could achieve. We should never forget that. That's what this site was created. Browse through its pages, and you're going to read stories of amazing blacks.
They made it possible for us, and we're sure they would advise us to achieve through education first and foremost and save the cool for the weekends, and I ain't Shuckin and Jivin!
By White House (Pete Souza) / Maison Blanche (Pete Souza) (The Official White House Photostream) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Senate Office of Richard Lugar [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Women's fashion in 1920s
Women's fashion in 1920s
Men's fashion in 1920s
| Fashions in 1929 |
During the 1920s, the notion of keeping up with fashion trends and expressing oneself through material goods seized middle-class Americans as never before. Purchasing new clothes, new appliances, new automobiles, new anything indicated one's level of prosperity. Being considered old-fashioned, out-of-date, or—worse yet—unable to afford stylish new products was a fate many Americans went to great lengths to avoid.
- During the Harlem Renaissance, Black America’s clothing scene took a dramatic turn from the prim and proper. African-Americans wore clothing that was far from somber. Women were dressed in wide hats garlanded with flowers, modest veils, silk stockings that were held up by garters, open-toed slippers, and the low-slung dress, possibly with a ribbon at the hip. Though the 1920s cloche, a close-fitting number usually made of felt or wool, was extremely popular for casual wear and was worn gaily pulled down over the eyes. Popular by the 1930s was the trendy beret hat with stand-up or egret feather. Men wore zoot suits which were wide-legged, high-waisted, pegged trousers, and a long coat with wide padded shoulders and lapels. They also wore wide-brimmed hats, hand-colored socks, white gloves, and velvet-collared Chesterfield coats. African Americans also expressed respect for their heritage through a style of leopard-skin coats indicating the great power of the infamous African animal.
A young Malcolm X described the zoot suit as: "a killer-diller coat with a drape shape, reet pleats and shoulders padded like a lunatic's cell".
Pullman porters, who were primarily black, are widely credited with contributing to the development of the black middle class in America. Before the Civil War, sleeping cars were not in use. George Pullman came up with the brilliant idea of making rail travel a memorable event with servers to cater to whites every need.
During slavery, most whites didn't own slaves, and this gave them an opportunity to experience that. Pullman became the number #1 employer of blacks in the country. He was a tight businessman though because the pay was lousy with the porters working over 400 hours a month. Porters also had to purchase their clothing and accessories. They received most of their income by tips.
But the job was steady work and that meant alot for black families. Famous porters of old included, Thurgood Marshall, Oscar Micheaux, Malcolm X and the photojournalist Gordon Parks.
United States Census for African Americans
in the 1920s
American jazz violinist Eddie South
with a conk hairdo.
| Our Community in 1929 |
Newsworthy Events in the Black Community:
- The Great Depression sapped the auto industry generally, with the luxury market declining more steeply; between 1928–1933, Cadillac sales had declined by 84%, to 6,736 vehicles. Exacerbating sales performance for the Cadillac brand was a policy, reflective of the times, which discouraged sales to African Americans. Nick Dreystadt, mechanic and national head of Cadillac service, urged a committee – set up to decide whether the Cadillac brand would live on – to revoke that policy. After the policy was eliminated, brand sales increased by 70% in 1934 – and Dreystadt was promoted to lead the entire Cadillac Division
- Writer and poet, Claude McKay won the Harmon Foundation Award for distinguished literary achievement, NAACP, 1929, for Harlem Shadows and Home to Harlem.
- 1929 - the Bessie Coleman Aero Club, which was founded by Lieutenant William J. Powell in 1929.
- 1929 - In the 1920s, some believed the conk hairdo served as a rite of passage from adolescence into adulthood for black males. Because of the pain involved in the process, the conk represented masculinity and virility within the community. Many of the popular musicians of the early to mid 20th century, including Chuck Berry, Little Richard, James Brown, and the members of The Temptations and The Miracles, were well known for sporting the conk hairstyle.
- The United States Population is 105,710,620 with a total of 10,463,131 being African Americans.
#100 - Public Domain image - Maum Duck (Mrs. Doctor), South Carolina | African American woman, half-length portrait, wearing large hat and bead necklace, standing, facing front with hands together at waist. Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/97514528/
#101 - By DougW at en.wikipedia [Attribution], from Wikimedia Commons
#102 - Public Domain image - By Mills Artists; photographer: James Kriegsmann, New York (eBay item photo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#103 - Public Domain image - By Dick DeMarsico, World Telegram staff photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#104 - Public Domain image -
By CBS Television (eBay item photo frontphoto back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#105 - Public Domain image -
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:Herbert_Hoover.jpg
#106 - Public Domain image -
By Dorothea Lange, Farm Security Administration / Office of War Information / Office of Emergency Management / Resettlement Administration [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#107 - Public Domain image -
By W. Allison Sweeney [Public domain or Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
#108 - Public Domain image -
This image is a work of a U.S. Army soldier or employee, taken or made as part of that person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.
#109 - Public Domain image -
By Charles Henry Alston, 1907-1977, Artist (NARA record: 3569253) (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#110 - Public Domain image -
See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#111 - Public Domain image -
By Walery, French, 1863-1935 (http://estonia.usembassy.gov/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#112 - Public Domain image -
By Unknown(Life time: Unknown) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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