Fred Astaire As “Bojangles Of Harlem,” 1936, (video)

Fred Astaire as boljanglesHere’s a vintage 1936 original photograph capturing Fred Astaire wearing blackface attired to evoke the dancer and Harlem man Bill Robinson, in the “Bojangles of Harlem” solo sequence of “Swing Time”. Continue Reading →

HW Pick: Josephine Baker And Madame C. J. Walker In Women’s Stories Film Series

JosephineBaker2Josephine Baker: Black Diva In A Whit Man’s World

A tender, revealing documentary about one of the most famous and popular performing artists of the 20th century and the Harlem Renaissance. Her legendary banana belt dance created theatre history; her song “J’ai deux amours” became a classic, and her hymn. Continue Reading →

Marcus, Josephine, Coltrane, Monk … At Swann Galleries Auction

george washington carvey letterAs we celebrate American history, the Swann Galleries offer us an opportunity to own it. On Thursday, March 27 Swann Galleries will offer a rich assortment of historical material related to the African experience in the Americas in their 19th annual auction of Printed & Manuscript African Americana. Continue Reading →

Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes, The Great, 1905 – 2001

dorothy-dandridge-latin-dance-red-3Before she created the original, legendary Playboy Bunny outfit, Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes (June 28, 1905 – September 26, 2001), designed for divas like Dorothy Dandridge and she created the stage costumes for the Dance Theater of Harlem. Continue Reading →

Harlem’s Eugene Jacques Bullard, The First African American Fighter Pilot

Eugene Jacques Bullard (1894-1961) was the first African American to fly a fighter plane and was known as the “black swallow of death” for his courage during missions. He led a colorful life, much of it in Europe. Continue Reading →

Harlem’s Bessie Allison Buchanan First Black Woman To Be New York State Legislature, 1940′s

bessie-buchanan-1955Bessie Allison Buchanan (March 7, 1902 – September 7, 1980) of Manhattan in New York City became the first African-American woman to hold a seat in the New York State Legislature when she was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1954. Continue Reading →

Walter’s World: Harlem Dance Caravan (with video)

By Walter Rutledge

The Faison Firehouse and Summerstage presented Harlem Dance Caravan on Friday, August 9 and Saturday, August 10 at Marcus Garvey Park’s Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in the village of Harlem. Continue Reading →

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Pat Cleveland Channels Jospehine Baker’s Harlem Swag

“[she came] with… a Harlem shimmy dance-movement that recalled Josephine Baker …”

Alicia Drake in the book The Beautiful Fall described Pat Cleveland’s arrival in Paris in the late 1970’s, saying, “[she came] with liquorice hair, legs like pipe-cleaners, and a … Continue Reading →

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