Theatre/the Arts

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

Adelle Addison, one of Opera's best


Adelle Addison

*Adelle Addison was born on this date in 1925. She is an African American concert soprano.

Margaret Burroughs, a Chicago (S)hero


Margaret Burroughs

*Margaret Burroughs was born on this date in 1917. She was an African American artist, historian, teacher and writer.

Raven Wilkinson, Ballet pioneer


Raven Wilkinson

*Raven Wilkinson’s birth in 1935 is celebrated on this date. She is an African American ballet dancer (semi-retired) and actress.

From New York City, her mother was influential pursuing ballet training for her. Wilkinson began studying with a well-known Russian dancer when she was nine. After being inspired by seeing Janet Collins on stage in the early 1950s, she left school in her teens to pursue ballet full time. When the director of Ballet de Russe purchased Monte Carlo, her ballet school the students were invited to try out for his company.

The African Grove Theater begins


African Grove Theater
(Mercer street location)

*The origin of the African Grove Theater in 1821 is celebrated on this date.

Based in Manhattan, in its seven years of existence the venue played host to Black productions of ballets, plays, and ballad operas that were enhanced by musical performances. These included Shakespeare and original plays (including The Drama of King Shotoway, which called for a slave rebellion) in 1823.

The Lincoln Theater opens


Lincoln Theater (1922)

*On this date from 1922 we celebrate the opening of the Lincoln Theater.

Located in Washington, D.C. The Lincoln Theater was the center of a cultural renaissance that predated Harlem. Washington natives Duke Ellington and Pearl Bailey were joined by nationally acclaimed artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Nat King Cole, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, and Sarah Vaughn who performed regularly there. Even Franklin Delano Roosevelt had his birthday parties at the Lincoln Colonnade, a festive party hall once located at the Theater.

Adrienne Herndon, actress and designer


Adrienne Herndon

*Adrienne Herndon was born on this date in1869. She was an African American actress, and designer.

Joe Nash, dancer and dance historian


Joseph Nash

*Joe Nash was born on this date in 1919. He was an African American dancer, archivist of African American dance and essayist.

Arthur Mitchell, pioneer of Dance


Arthur Mitchell

*Arthur Mitchell was born on this date in1934. He is an African American dancer, choreographer, and director of the Dance Theater of Harlem.

Jane White, stage star and more


Jane White

*Jane White was born on this date in 1922. She was an African American stage actress and dancer.

Ralph Cooper, the voice of the Apollo


Ralph Cooper

*Ralph Cooper was born on this date in 1908. He was an African American actor and entertainment administrator.