Theatre/the Arts

Those who serve as Black examples in dance, painting, sculptor, stage performance, and more.

Vocalist Marie Selika Williams born


Maria Selika Williams

*On this date in 1849, we celebrate the birth of Marie Selika Williams. She was a African American concert vocalist and educator. 

Mattiwilda Dobbs born


Matiwilda Dobbs (1953)

*Mattiwilda Dobbs was born on this date in 1925. She was an African American operatic and gospel singer.

Robert McFerrin Sr. born


Robert McFerrin Sr.

*Robert McFerrin, Sr. was born on this date in 1921. He was an African American operatic baritone and the first African-American man to sing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

Tthe Sphinx Organization begins

*The founding of the Sphinx Organization in 1998 is celebrated on this date. They are a national non-profit education organization whose vision is a world in which classical music reflects cultural diversity and plays a role in the everyday lives of youth.

Aaron Dworkin born


Aaron Dworkin

*Aaron Dworkin was born on this date in 1970. He is an African American violinist and music educator.

Aaron Paul Dworkin was born in Monticello, New York to Vaughn and Audeen Moore, but they were forced to give their son up for adoption. When he was two weeks old, Barry and Susan Dworkin, who both were New York City College professors, with a specialization in neuroscience, adopted him. His biological mother is of Irish descent and his biological father is African-American, while his adoptive family is Jewish. Barry and Susan had another son as well.

Dancer Jimmy Slyde born


Dr. Jimmy Slyde

*Jimmy Slyde was born on this date in 1927. He was an African American tap dancer and choreographer.

Lou Bellamy born


Lou Bellamy

*Lou Bellamy was born on this date in 1944. He is an African American Theatric Director, actor, entrepreneur and educator.

Composer Hall Johnson born


Hall Johnson

*Hall Johnson was born on this date in1888. He was an African American concert vocalist and composer.

From Athens, GA his father was a minister in the African Methodist Church and a college president. His earliest interest in music came from his grandmother. She was a former slave who exposed him to spirituals. Johnson graduated from Allen University and also studied at the University of Pennsylvania, the Julliard School and the University of Southern California.

Saartjie Baartman born


Saartjie Baartman
gravesite in South Africa

*The birth of Saartjie Baartman in 1789 is celebrated on this date. She was a South African entertainer and objectified Black woman.

Misty Copland born


Misty Copland

*Misty Copeland was born on this date in 1982. She is an African American author, entertainer, and American ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre. She is the third African American soloist and first in two decades with ABT, where she has endured the cultural pressure associated with this role.