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The Registry

Sat, 06.26.1937 story

Robert Thompson, painter, genus

On this date in 1937, Robert Louis Thompson was born. He was an African American painter and one of the youngest black artists of his day to gain fame in the United States.

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Tue, 03.13.1500 story

African American Dance, a brief history

*This date is dedicated to African American Dance. Africans brought their dances to North and South America, and the Caribbean Islands as slave labor starting in the 1500s. The dance styles of hundreds of African ethnic groups merged with European dances, forming the extension of the African aesthetic in the Americas. Dance has always been an integral part of daily life in Africa. In the Americas, it helped enslaved Africans connect with their homeland keeping their cultural traditions alive.

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Mon, 01.05.1931 story

Alvin Ailey was a modern dance original

Alvin Ailey was born on this date in 1931. He was an African American dancer and choreographer, and founding director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

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Mon, 01.04.1937 story

Grace Bumbry, leading lady of opera on the international stage

This date celebrates the birth of Grace Bumbry, an African American opera singer, in 1937.

She was born Grace Ann Bumbry in St. Louis, Missouri. She studied music at Boston University, Northwestern University, and the Music Academy of the West. She has has performed as both a soprano and a mezzo-soprano. While at Northwestern she became the student and protégé of Lotte Lehmann, a famous German-born opera diva.

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Sat, 06.23.1928 story

William Pleasant, artist who chronicled Black heritage

William Merriette Pleasant, Jr., an African American artist, was born on this date in 1928.

He was born in Savannah, GA, and a graduate of that cit’s Beach High School. Pleasant attended Savannah State College, Delaware State College, and Tyler School of Fine Arts of Philadelphia, PA. He is a graduate of York College of York, Pennsylvania. He was one of the first members of the Bahai Faith of Savannah, and served on its assembly. Pleasant was a 33 degree Mason, a corporal in the United States Air Force, and a member of the Mu Eta Kappa Fraternity.

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Thu, 01.26.1899 story

Playwright May Miller born

*On this date we celebrate the birth of May Miller in 1899. She was an African American playwright and poet associated with New York’s Harlem Renaissance during the 1920s.

Born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of a Howard University sociologist, Miller grew up in an intellectual household in which W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington were frequent guests. She graduated from Howard University in 1920, while there she earned an award for her one-act play Within the Shadows. Afterwards she taught secondary school and continued to write.

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Thu, 02.10.1927 story

An exceptional opera singer, Leontyne Price

*Leontyne Price was born on this date in 1927. She is an African American operatic singer.

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Sat, 02.14.1880 story

Entertainer, Aida Overton Walker

*On this date we recall Aida Overton Walker, born in 1880. She was a singer, dancer, actress, and choreographer, regarded as the leading African American female performing artist at the turn of the century.

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Sat, 02.27.1897 story

A Contralto with strength and style, Marian Anderson

*On this date, Marian Anderson was born in 1897. She was an African American singer, one of the finest contraltos of her time.

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Wed, 03.07.1917 story

Janet Collins, a Prima Ballerina

*Janet Collins, an African American ballet dancer and painter, was born on this date in 1917.

From New Orleans, Louisiana, she moved with her family to Los Angeles as a young girl, attending Los Angeles City College and the Los Angeles Art Center School. As an accomplished painter, she was able to finance her relocation to New York to pursue a career in dance. In 1941, she performed with the new, but world-renowned Black dance troupe formed and directed by Katherine Dunham.

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