Anita Thompson, Harlem’s American Cocktail Girl, 1920′s

PASSING-superJumbo

Langston Hughes was a cousin; Booker T. Washington was a friend; Bill “Bojangles” Robinson taught her tap dance; W. E .B. du Bois a likely first lover…

Contemporary ‘It girls’ have nothing on the free spirits of the 1920s like Anita Thompson Dickinson Reynolds, who danced the Charleston, turned cartwheels on the sidewalk, and drank gin blossoms till dawn. Continue Reading →

What is this?

HW Pick: Help Make Madam C.J. Walker’s Home A National Treasure

Villa-Lewaro_zpscb031975In the early 1900’s, entrepreneur and philanthropist Madam C.J. Walker commissioned Vertner Tandy, the first licensed black architect in New York, to design a home for her.   Continue Reading →

My Grandmother’s Harlem Renaissance Wedding

By A’Lelia Bundles

Langston Hughes called A’Lelia Walker “the joy goddess of Harlem’s 1920s”

Whenever I see my grandmother Mae’s 1923 wedding photographs, I can’t help but marvel at the elegance and extravagance.

What is this?

Continue Reading →

A’Lelia Walker’s Dark Tower in Harlem

This was the site of A’Lelia Walker’s (1885-1931) home and famous salon, “The Dark Tower,” which she hosted for writers, musicians, and other artists during the 1920s. Continue Reading →

Anniversary Of A’Lelia Walker’s Death (August 17th, 1931)

Eighty years ago this month on August 17, 1931–after a lovely day at the beach celebrating a friend’s birthday– A’Lelia Walker, my great-grandmother and namesake, died in Long Branch, New Jersey. Continue Reading →

A’Lelia Walker’s Sterling Silver Flask

A’Lelia Walker carried a flask, especially after Prohibition became the law of the land. In her case, of course, the flask was sterling silver, befitting her love of fine things.

What is this?

A’Lelia Walker, The Kelis Of The Harlem Renaissance

The daughter of Madam C.J. Walker, A’Lelia Walker was the Kelis of the Harlem Renaissance. The arts patron, who loved expensive cars and jewelry. Continue Reading →

Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker (December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919) was an African-American businesswoman, hair care entrepreneur and philanthropist. She made her fortune by developing and marketing a hugely successful line of beauty and hair products for black women, under the company she founded, Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company. Continue Reading →