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Miko (8)

"I look like her, and she looks like me."

Disney Junior's Doc McStuffins is an animated children's show about 6-year-old Dottie McStuffins, who wants to be a doctor like her mother, and pretends to be a doctor to her toys. Doc McStuffins has done well as a TV show, but it's as a doll that Doc's success has been stratospheric, with over $500 million in sales last year. “'When little white girls embrace Doc McStuffins, for them Doc McStuffins is a girl, and Doc McStuffins is powerful,' Dr. [Margaret Beale] Spencer said. 'For a little black girl, it may be all of those things, but also that she’s black.'”
posted by ocherdraco on Jul 31, 2014 - 37 comments

The queens we use would not excite you

Imagine a school where the cool kids are on the Chess Team... Welcome to I.S. 318. where 60% of the students come from families with incomes below the federal poverty level. BROOKLYN CASTLE tells the stories of five members of the chess team at a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school that has won more national championships than any other in the country. One of those students and the only female, 17 year-old Rochelle Ballantyne, is poised to become the first African-American female master in the history of chess. An interview with Miss Ballantyne.
posted by spock on Oct 30, 2012 - 19 comments

Auction House

Swann Galleries is Photographs, Posters, Prints & Drawings, Books, Maps, Autographs, and African-American Fine Art. Served daily. Also. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Jul 15, 2012 - 2 comments

"If I had my own .45 'matic, I'd be dangerous too."

Dangerous Blues sung by Mr. Joe Savage (SLYT)
posted by jason's_planet on Jul 7, 2012 - 5 comments

A Black Scholar Gone

Manning Marrable is dead. Author of a controversial biography of Malcolm X, he was a Marxist professor who wrote regular columns such as this one. Unfortunately, manningmarable.net, a collection of his columns, is no longer up, but he was an influential scholar (Mandatory Wikipedia Link). [more inside]
posted by kozad on Apr 2, 2011 - 23 comments

"I've Been Thrown Out of Some of the Best Churches in America."

He began his musical career as Georgia Tom, playing barrelhouse piano in one of Al Capone’s Chicago speakeasies... [more inside]
posted by magstheaxe on Feb 5, 2011 - 4 comments

Voices from the Days of Slavery

"If I thought, had any idea, that I’d ever be a slave again, I’d take a gun and just end it all right away." Audio recordings from interviews with former slaves, conducted by WPA folklorists and others, including the Lomaxes and Zora Neale Hurston. Only these twenty-six audio recordings of people formerly enslaved in the antebellum American South have ever been found.
posted by Miko on Feb 7, 2010 - 16 comments

Dr. Mayme A. Clayton: a Champion of Black History

Dr. Mayme Agnew Clayton was a librarian and collector in Los Angeles who left behind a collection of remarkable value. Over the course of more than 40 years, she had collected the largest privately held collection of African-American materials, with over 30,000 rare and out-of-print books, 1,700 films dating back to 1916, as well as more than 75,000 photographs and scores of movie posters, playbills, programs, documents and manuscripts. Her collection, which has been compared to the Schomburg Collection in the New York City Public Library, was opened to the public in 2007. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 8, 2010 - 6 comments

A loving look back on Dixieland Jazz

"Men working on the river would move in time to the beat of the music. It was everywhere: on the street, in the church. In the tonks and barrelhouses where people went to be together. Like the beating of a big heart. It gave everyone a good feeling." The Cradle is Rocking is a delightful 12-minute film that, though somewhat damaged (Folkstreams has found what may be the only surviving print), is highly recommended viewing for anyone interested in American roots music: in this case, New Orleans jazz. The film's thoughtful and affable narrator is trumpeter George "Kid Sheik" Cola, who can be heard along with Captain John Handy serving up some fine old-school Dixieland jazz here and here.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 9, 2009 - 13 comments

"...A Fourth of July picnic, a Sunday Best church revival, an urban rock concert and a rural civil rights rally"

There was a historic music festival in the summer of 1969. But it's not the one that took place in Bethel, NY. The Harlem Cultural Festival ran from June 29 to August 24 that summer, presenting a concert every Sunday afternoon in Mount Morris Park (known today as Marcus Garvey Park). Three hundred thousand people turned out for the six free concerts, hearing acts like Nina Simone , Sly & the Family Stone (the only act to play both Woodstock and the "black Woodstock"), Stevie Wonder, Mahalia Jackson, The 5th Dimension, Moms Mabley and. Speakers included Jesse Jackson and "blue-eyed soul brother" Mayor John Lindsay. Security was courtesy of the Black Panthers, since the NYC police refused to provide it. Filmmaker Hal Tulchin recorded over 50 hours of concert footage, which has remained unreleased. Historic Films seems to hold the footage; it was supposed to be made into a movie to premiere at Sundance 2007, but its release seems to be continually delayed for reasons unclear. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Aug 20, 2009 - 19 comments

Sunday Morning Blues

Sacred Steel is a pedal-steel guitar style that evolved in the African-American Pentecostal denomination The House of God, Which Is the Church of the Living God, the Pillar and Ground of the Truth. Brothers and lap steel players Willie and Truman Eason, inspired by the electric blues and Hawaiian steel guitar of the 1920s and 30s, brought the sound to two branches of the church, the Keith and Jewell dominions. Its hallmark: "talking guitar," in which the sliding steel emphasizes and mimics the words of preachers and singers. In the 1970s, a new "Motor City" tradition began, featuring the more complicated pedal steel guitar. This body of music was known mainly in church circles until two things happened: first, folklorist Robert Stone became interested in the music and relased several CD collections. And then, church player Robert Randolph (and his Family Band) began taking Sunday morning's music out onSaturday night. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Apr 8, 2008 - 19 comments

Do You Like American Music?

Sounds of America is a new monthly streaming audio program, a collaboration between the National Museum of American History and Smithsonian Global Sound. Up now are 3 episodes: African-American music in New Orleans, Women in American Music, and Freedom Songs of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
posted by Miko on Apr 2, 2008 - 12 comments

The Decline in African-American Land Ownership

In 1910 African-Americans owned 16-19 million acres of land in the United States, much of it rural farmland. Today, that figure has dropped to less than 8 million acres overall, and less than 2 million farm acres. What happened? In some cases, violence— whites would forcibly take farmland, a homestead, or a home from the black residents, who were often powerless to fight back in the face of systemic racism, threats of retaliation, and the 'enforcement' of the thefts by the Ku Klux Klan. More perniciously, many of these losses were the result of forced partition land sales. Many legal scholars and activists today are working to reverse the trend. [some pdfs]
posted by miss tea on Dec 16, 2007 - 41 comments

You want the Old Skool? You can't handle the Old Skool! You don't even have a clue what the Old Skool is! *chops down door* Here's ...Johnny!!!

Here is Uncle John Scruggs singing and playing Little Log Cabin Round the Lane in RealAudio Dial Up and DSL format. The dancing is great and I do like the walk-on kitten part, myself.

That's from the Center For Southern African-American Music Video Link Page. Their audio link page is a wonder, too with individual artists galore. But, for the real deal, check out the Various Artist compilation album pages. Those may be 20 second of so mp3 clips but, still, those Yazoo, Document and Folkways albums are the bomb and there you get a taste of what they offer. And anywhere you can hear, for example, even a few bars of Blind Alfred Reed's How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live ? or Estil C. Ball and Lacey Richardson's Trials, Troubles, Tribulations rules in my world.
posted by y2karl on Jun 29, 2007 - 9 comments

Caramel Crème Latte Like Me

Are Africans Black? The population of African immigrants in the United States is rapidly growing. Since 1990, about 50,000 Africans have come to the United States annually, more than in any of the peak years of the international slave trade, which was abolished in 1807. They add to the steady influx of black immigrants from other continents and the Caribbean, and those who have been in the United States for generations but who don't racially and culturally define themselves as African American. These blacks feel cramped by the narrowness of American racial politics, in which "blackness" has not just defined one's skin color but has served as a code word for African American.
Maybe Not. After all, Obama's mother is of white U.S. stock. His father is a black Kenyan. Other than color, Obama did not - does not - share a heritage with the majority of black Americans, who are descendants of plantation slaves.... when black Americans refer to Obama as "one of us," I do not know what they are talking about. In his new book, "The Audacity of Hope," Obama makes it clear that, while he has experienced some light versions of typical racial stereotypes, he cannot claim those problems as his own - nor has he lived the life of a black American.
posted by jfuller on Feb 18, 2007 - 161 comments

What? There were two black coaches in the Super Bowl?

Why having two African-American coaches in the Super Bowl is important. A postgame analysis of an over-analyzed subject.
posted by AVandalay on Feb 6, 2007 - 49 comments

Code Breaking

Did Anyone Really Follow the Drinking Gourd? Were you taught that slaves in the antebellum South sang this traditional song to convey coded instructions for escaping Northward? Were you taught that quilt block patterns could be read as a map to freedom, or that quilts were hung outside safe houses as signals to escaping slaves?Though these are among the most often taught stories of the operation of the Underground Railroad, current scholarship indicates that these aren't survivals of pre-Civil War African-American folklore, but legends constructed and popularized within the twentieth century, frequently by white writers and performers. In today's New York Times, these legends battle it out with fact in debate over the proposed design of a new Frederick Douglass memorial [PDF].
posted by Miko on Jan 23, 2007 - 42 comments

Numbers Give Me A Geek Woody

US Census Bureau Facts & Figures: Holiday Edition says that more than 20 billion letters, packages and cards will be delivered this holiday season and 12 million packages a day through to Christmas Eve. Also check out the Special Edition for comparison data from 1915, 1967 and 2006, the African-American History Month Facts & Features and more data going back to 2000.
posted by fenriq on Dec 15, 2006 - 4 comments

The Line

Steppin' is an hour-long documentary on an African-American dance tradition, most closely associated with historically black fraternities and sororities (though it's also found in high schools, clubs, and professional dance companies). Combining footwork, hand-clapping, chanting, singing, use of props, and changing configurations of dancers, it's a tightly coordinated dance form in which teams vie for honors in competitions nationwide.
posted by Miko on Dec 7, 2006 - 20 comments

Prison Songs

That's the Sound of the Man Working on the Chain Gang Among all genres of American folk music, prison songs may be the most viscerally compelling. They evolved from plantation songs and field hollers of slaves in the American South before the civil war (whose origins can in turn be traced to patterns found in the music of West Africa) but their tone and content is quite different. Limitless in length, bitter and pained, offering little hope of freedom or redemption, these songs were first heard during Reconstruction. Harsh and unevenly enforced laws incarcerated legions of black American men, consigning them to long sentences of labor for minor offenses like insult, fistfighting, and shoplifting. To shore up a tanking Southern economy, prisons leased convict labor to plantation owners as a low-cost replacement for slave labor. When reform efforts brought that to an end, state governments became the contractors. Sweetheart deals awarded lucrative contracts to prisons to provide labor for rebuilding the railroads and highways of the war-destroyed South. Slavery in all but name, these work conditions gave rise to a body of music that is one of the most significant antecedents of the blues. In hundreds of variants, cadenced to axe-fall, hoe stroke, or the drop of a maul, the songs set a working pace a man could sustain from dawn to dusk, while remaining fast enough to satisfy an armed 'Captain' on horseback.
posted by Miko on Aug 27, 2006 - 33 comments

North by South

North by South : web content on the Great Migration, the result of a six-year, NEH-funded collaboration between Kenyon College and K-12 students in Ohio and various Southern communities.
posted by Miko on May 1, 2006 - 3 comments

Reading Race

Is it American literature or African-American literature...or is it literature at all? Nineteenth-century novelist Emma Dunham Kelly-Hawkins, author of the little-read novels Megda and Four Girls at Cottage City, is getting dumped from The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers (previously mentioned in this thread) because she was probably white. Let the literary bickery begin!
posted by butternut on Mar 10, 2005 - 19 comments

Af-Am poet disses Maya Angelou's new book, gets disinvited to book signing

Af-Am poet disses Maya Angelou's new book, gets disinvited to book signing In this calm and thoughtful piece, smart, sharp poet Wanda Coleman reflects on the "furor" she caused in the Af-Am community with a savage review of Angelou's latest work. After the review appeared, she was asked not to attend a signing at a famous black bookstore for an anthology she participated in (story confirmed halfway down this page). She notes, "Critically reviewing the creative efforts of present-day African-American writers...is a minefield of a task." Also: Coleman on American poetry, Coleman recalls a mid-70's interview with Marley and Tosh and ponders black hair, Wanda's all-time top 10 books. [more inside]
posted by mediareport on Aug 19, 2002 - 26 comments

About Sydney Poitier

About Sydney Poitier Something one of my professor's brought up. He said, "I'm tired of everyone being politically correct in Hollywood. They say African-American because they are afraid to say Black." His point being that Mr. Poitier is from the Bahamas and not Africa. What do you think?
posted by ProfLinusPauling on Mar 29, 2002 - 74 comments

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