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*Afrocubanismo is affirmed on this date in 1920. This was an artistic and social movement in Black-themed Cuban culture with origins in the 1920s, as in works by the cultural anthropologist Fernando Ortiz. The Afrocubanismo movement focused on establishing the legitimacy of Black identity in Cuban society, culture, and art. The movement developed in the […]learn more
*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.learn more
On this date, the Registry examines African American art—-painting, carving, graphic arts, and crafts created by people of African descent in the United States and influenced by African and African American culture.learn more
*Stepping is celebrated on this date in 1739. Also called Step Dancing it is a percussive dance in which the participant’s body is used to produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word, and hand-claps. Black Africans brought their dances to North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean as […]learn more
*The birth of Scipio Moorhead around 1750 is celebrated on this date. He was a Black portrait engraver.learn more
*The birth of Joshua Johnson in c.1763 is celebrated on this date. He was a Black artist (painter). Joshua Johnson was from the Baltimore area of African and white-European ancestry. The son of George Johnson, a white man, and a Black slave woman whose name was undocumented. His father purchased his son from his mother’s owner for 25 pounds […]learn more
*The birth of James Hewlett is celebrated on this date in 1778. He was a Black actor, a tailor and waiter who also performed on-man shows. From the British West Indies, he was a servant boy for actor George Frederick Cooke and learned to imitate his actions and attitude. He was principal actor in and […]learn more
The birth of Richard Potter in 1783 is celebrated on this date. He was a magician, one of the first Black illusionist in America.
Potter was born in New Hampshire, the son of an English baronet and an African servant woman. He was educated in Europe before beginning his 25-year career as a performer in post-Revolutionary America. He lived with his father in Hopkinton, NH, until he married his wife, Sally, and had three children.learn more
*John Audubon was born on this date in 1785. He was a Black French American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. He painted, cataloged, and described the birds of North America.learn more
*The birth of Saartjie Baartman in 1789 is celebrated on this date. She was a South African entertainer and objectified Black woman.learn more
This date commemorates the birth of Ira Frederick Aldridge in 1807. He was a Black actor, considered one of the greatest interpreters of his day.
His place of birth has been listed as Africa, and Bel Air, Maryland. Some accounts of his life in the United States are inconsistent. Because of the lack of schools for African Americans in Maryland, Aldridge moved to New York and attended the African Free School and Schenectady College. The great British-American actor James William Wallack is believed to have hired him as a personal attendant while visiting the United States.learn more
*Thomas Dartmouth Rice was born on this date in1808. He was a White entertainer and playwright who popularized the Jim Crow character in minstrel shows.learn more
*The birth of William A. Brown is celebrated on this date in 1815. He was a Black playwright and theatrical producer. William Alexander Brown also known as William Henry Brown was born in the West Indies. He after he retired from working at sea, he had been a ship’s steward, he settled in a […]learn more
*David Bowser was born on this date in 1820. He was a Black ornamental artist and portraitist. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, David Bustill Bowser was a grandson of Cyrus Bustill, a former slave who purchased his freedom and went on to become a founding member of Philadelphia’s Free African Society, and a son of oyster house proprietor Jeremiah Bowser, whose freedom […]learn more
*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.learn more