Today's Articles

People, Locations, Episodes

Fri, 05.20.1808

Thomas Rice, The Face of ‘Jim Crow’ born

*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.

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Sun, 01.16.1820

David Bowser, Portrait Artist born

*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 […]

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Tue, 05.29.1821

The African Grove Theater Opens

*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.

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Sun, 08.26.1821

Robert Duncanson, Artist born

The birth of Robert S. Duncanson in 1821 is celebrated on this date. He was a Black artist.

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Tue, 07.27.1824

Alexandre Dumas Fils, Playwright born

*Alexandre Dumas fils was born on this date in 1824. He was a Black French author and playwright. Dumas fils was born in Paris, France, the illegitimate quarteron child of Marie-Laure-Catherine Labay, a dressmaker, and novelist Alexandre Dumas. In 1831 his father legally recognized him and ensured that the young Dumas received the best education possible at the Institution Goubaux and the Collège […]

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Tue, 08.02.1825

Master Juba, Minstrel Performer born

*The birth of Master Juba is celebrated on this date in 1825.  He was a Black stage entertainer specializing in dance and was one of the first publicly recognized Black performers in America.  Born William Henry Lane in Providence, RI, he began his career in the saloons and dance halls of the Five Points neighborhood […]

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Thu, 11.02.1826

Edward Bannister, Artist born

This date celebrates the birth of Edward Bannister, a Black artist born in 1826.

Edward Mitchell Bannister was the first of two sons born to Edward and Hannah Alexander Bannister in St Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada. He moved to New England in the late 1840s, where he remained for the rest of his life.

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Sun, 09.28.1828

George L. White, Missionary, and Choral Conductor born

*George L. White was born on this date in 1838. He was a white-American soldier, missionary, and choral administrator. Born in Cadiz, New York George Leonard White was the son of a blacksmith who played in a local band. He attended public school until age fourteen and moved to Ohio when he was twenty. Although […]

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Sun, 10.26.1828

Mary E. Webb, Orator, and Actress born

*The birth of Mary E. Webb is celebrated on this date in 1828. She was a Black actress and orator known for her dramatic readings of poetry and literature. Mary Espartero Webb was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, three weeks after her mother succeeded in escaping therefrom slavery in Virginia. Her father, who was described […]

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Fri, 11.20.1829

Edmund Dédé, Musician, and Composer born

The birth of Edmund Dédé in 1829 is celebrated on this date. He was an African American violinist and composer.

The son of free Black West Indian parents, Dédé first studied the violin in New Orleans then in Mexico. In 1850, he left for Paris, completing his musical education and beginning a career that lasted for nearly fifty years. As a violinist, musical director and composer, Dédé developed a considerable reputation abroad.

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Wed, 04.02.1834

Frederic Bartholdi, Artist, and Sculptor born

*Frederic Barthodi was born on this date 1834.  He was a white-French artist and sculptor who designed the Statue of Liberty for France as a gift to the United States of America. Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was born in Colmar, France, to a family of Italian and German Protestant heritage.  Bartholdi was the youngest of their four children, and one of only […]

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Mon, 06.15.1835

Adah Menkens, Actress, and Poet born

On this date, we recall the birth of Adah Menkens in 1835. She was a Black actress and poet of international renown in the mid-19th century.

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Sun, 01.17.1836

José White Lafitte, Classical Musician born

*José Silvestre White Lafitte was born on this date in 1836.  Also known as Joseph White, he was an Afro Cuban, French violinist, and composer.   Born in Matanzas, Cuba, his father Don Carlos White was Spanish, and his mother was Afro-Cuban.  After receiving early musical training from his father, who was an amateur violinist, White […]

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Sun, 10.29.1837

Harriet Powers, Story Quilt Artist born

Harriet Powers was born on this date in 1837. She was a Black artist who worked in textile needlework.

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Fri, 12.04.1840

The Ethiopian Serenaders Are Formed

*The Ethiopian Serenaders are noted on this date in 1840.  From Boston, they were a white-American blackface minstrel troupe successful in the 1840s and 1850s. Through various line-ups, they were managed and directed by James A. Dumbolton and are sometimes mentioned as the Boston Minstrels, Dumbolton Company, or Dumbolton’s Serenaders.  The group was formed in […]

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New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

Black is the first nail I ever stepped on; Black the hand that dried my tears. Black is the first old man I ever noticed; Black the burden of his years. Black is... NEGRITUDE by James Emanuel
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