Blast From The Past:
OUR HAMITE AWARD WINNER FOR 1909:
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is an African-American civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909. The 1908 race riots in Springfield Illinois was a catalyst for it's beginning. Many people don't realize that the NAACP was started by predominantly white and heavily Jewish Americans.
At its founding, the NAACP had only one African American on its executive board, Du Bois himself. It did not elect a black president until 1975, although executive directors had been African-American. The Jewish community contributed greatly to the NAACP's founding and continued financing.
"Over the years Jews have also expressed empathy with the plight of Blacks. In the early 20th century, Jewish newspapers drew parallels between the Black movement out of the South and the Jews' escape from Egypt, pointing out that both Blacks and Jews lived in ghettos, and calling anti-Black riots in the South "pogroms."
The NAACP would go on to fight many injustices in America such as segregation, disfranchisement, lynchings, etc. They were very successful in the Civil Rights Movement by pressing for much-needed legislation. Its membership grew by leaps and bounds becoming a household name for the American Negro. Other Civil Rights organizations were started and ended for one reason or another but the NAACP endured up unto our day.
The organization was able to chip away little pieces at a time of Jim Crow. Through the years, white America from the President on down, chose to take the low road in regards to the United States Constitution. It's shameful. But thankfully, not all were morally challenged and helped in starting this wonderful organization.
The NAACP gave hope to millions of people of color when there was no hope. We award this American institution with the 1909 Hamite Award for it's countless contributions to the Negro cause. They were a vital rung on the ladder to American assimilation. We just can't imagine what we would have done without their help.
An African American drinks out of a segregated water cooler designated for "colored" patrons in 1939 at a streetcar terminal in Oklahoma City. |
|How were blacks feeling in 1909?
This was the year our beloved NAACP got its start. Some very concerned and generous Jewish people helped out, and we appreciate it. I guess they can relate to our problems of oppression.
Hate, ignorance and outright stupidity are all over the world, not just here in America. The cause is always about resources and lack of it. If there was enough for everybody, I don't think there would be a thing such as racism. But sadly only a few of the greedy has all the wealth and throw down the crumbs for the poor to fight over.
Black people are still making do the best we can, and are starting to leave the South for the North. It just seems like there is more of an opportunity for success there. We wish them the best.
Jim Crow has the black person totally controlled, and whites aren't likely to see one unless being served. What a way to live. Whites have a total disregard for the laws of the land, the silent ones are just as bad, and Presidents do nothing.
Authentic newspaper article for the year 1909
Get a feel for what was really happening in 1909
The broad ax. (Salt Lake City, Utah), 21 Aug. 1909. Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
This writer has to be white in our opinion and expressing his strong opinions behind a black face, but in all honesty has some very valid points. This article was written well over 100 years ago but struck a nerve because there are still too many of us in this depressed state the writer mentions.
For the year 1909:
- W.E.B. Du Bois was the first African-American scholar to address the American Historical Association.
The Coloured Hockey League performed from 1895-1930
| Sports in 1909 |
- The first African American college basketball teams plays for Lincoln University, Hampton Institute, Virginia Union University, and Wilberforce University.
- 1895-1930 - Coloured Hockey League was an all-black ice hockey league founded in Nova Scotia in 1895, which featured teams from across Canada's Maritime Provinces. The Coloured League is credited by some as being the first league to allow the goaltender to leave his feet to cover a puck in 1900. This practice was not permitted elsewhere until the formation of the National Hockey League in 1917. Historians also claim that the first player to use the slapshot was Eddie Martin of the Halifax Eureka in 1906. Trivia: In the Revolutionary War, America and the British promised the black slaves freedom if they fought for their respective sides. Of course, we all know that America won the war but failed to keep its promise to the slaves and forced them back into slavery. President George Washington had to know about this and did nothing on the slave's behalf. On the other hand, the British kept their promise and transported these slaves who were also called black loyalist to Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, Africa to start a new life. The Coloured Hockey League players were from Nova Scotia and introduced exciting innovations to the game of hockey.
History of Education (1900-1950)
Black and Mexican kids were excluded
| Education in 1909 |
- 1909 - Piney Woods School is a co-educational independent historically African-American boarding school for grades 9-12 in Piney Woods, unincorporated Rankin County, Mississippi, and was founded in 1909 by Laurence C. Jones.
The 26th President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt standing next to the elephant
he shot on safari. Roosevelt and his companions killed or trapped approximately 11,400
animals, from insects and moles to hippopotamuses and elephants. The 1000 large animals
included 512 big game animals, including six rare White rhinos. It took years to mount them all.
William Howard Taft
Good By Teddy, Not a Great American President, But a Helluva White President.
| Political Scene in 1909 |
- 1909 - William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States (1909–1913) and later the tenth Chief Justice of the United States (1921–1930). He is the only person to have served in both of these offices. Analysis: Looks like another four years of frustration for the Negro with Taft at the helm. There was hardly any help with the Negroes problems in his administration, and whites are still stepping up their assault on the little progress the black people are etching out. Congress, who was voted in by white citizens passed a law that made it a requirement to pass a literacy test in the workplace, which had the support of all the white labor unions, but to his, credit Taft vetoed the bill. For those that don't know, most blacks were still illiterate at this point in history. They had endured over 200 years of slavery, forbidden to learn to read and write. In fact if anyone was caught teaching them, it was a far-reaching crime, a felony. After emancipation, there were schools opened for the black person to teach them to read and write but because of white displeasure and pressure, were shut done after a few short years. Slavery was outlawed but whites still controlled the black person with certain requirements they knew they wouldn't be able to perform, like literacy test, which was already a must for those wishing to vote. This was an obvious and clear assault on the Negroes Civil Rights protected by the US Constitution. But not one single President wants to acknowledge this issue and much more for black citizens. Read a quote from his predecessor Theodore Roosevelt, and you tell me if these Presidents are in a fantasy world and out of touch with the Negro citizens.
'the President has not just a right but a duty to do anything demanded by the needs of the nation unless such action is forbidden by the Constitution or federal law."
Hey, Mr. Roosevelt, I believe we have many needs within our Constitutional rights you didn't even want to address. Amazing! I guess the black person is invisible or doesn't exist to these Presidents, or they wish would disappear. But this is our home, and we aren't going anywhere, is the way the Negro felt. One day you're gonna have to be fair and deal with us, and then what are you going to do when you have a community full of uneducated angry blacks as your neighbors? Taft met with Booker T. Washington and publicly endorsed his program for the uplifting of black Americans, advising them to stay out of politics at the time and emphasize education and entrepreneurship. But nothing of substance came from the meeting. Instead of laying the foundation for a robust and united America, it was all a pretense.
- 1909 - Theodore Roosevelt (September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909) became the 26th President of the United States after the assassination of William McKinley. Analysis: It's really strange how America would rate this president as one of the greatest ever, even placing his mugshot on the side of Mount Rushmore. Well from a Negro perspective Mr. Theodore Roosevelt didn't measure up in the least. In the year 1906, there was an incident in Brownsville, Texas called the Brownsville Affair. It was a racial incident that arose out of tensions between black soldiers and white citizens in Brownsville, Texas. When a white bartender was killed and a police officer wounded by gunshot, townspeople accused the members of the 25th Infantry Regiment, a unit of Buffalo Soldiers stationed at nearby Fort Brown. Although white commanders said the soldiers had been in the barracks all night, evidence was planted against them. Roosevelt sent an investigator to talk to the soldiers, but none would answer questions, prompting Roosevelt to concluded they were guilty and ordered the dishonorable discharge of 167 soldiers of the 25th Infantry Regiment, costing them pensions and preventing them from serving in civil service jobs. Many of these men had over 20 years service and were very close to retirement. Many black people were upset with the way Roosevelt handled the matter, and this was the beginning of the end for Republican voter loyalty. A renewed investigation in the early 1970s exonerated the discharged black troops. The government pardoned them and restored their records to show honorable discharges but did not provide retroactive compensation. But the damage was already done.
Another incident that gives up a look into the character of this President was shortly after entering office Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to dinner at the White House, but got bitter resentment from the South, and guessed what? Yes, that was the last invite Washington received from Roosevelt. He let the South dictate who he ate his meals. In race issues, he was a passive sort. He understood there was a race problem but typically failed to act. He admitted that the South made a huge mistake with the slave trade because America has a huge population of Negroes and his wise words of wisdom were:
I have not been able to think out any solution of the terrible problem offered by the presence of the Negro on this continent, but of one thing I am sure, and that is that inasmuch as he is here and can neither be killed nor driven away, the only wise and honorable and Christian thing to do is to treat each black man and each white man strictly on his merits as a man, giving him no more and no less than he shows himself worthy to have.
Did he mean that if the black person could be killed or driven away, it would be a preferable option for America to use? I don't know; maybe I understood him the wrong way. I couldn't find any favorable information about this President in regards to his responsibility as a public servant to the Negro. He will just pass this ever-growing problem to the next President. I just feel like Roosevelt can join the long list of others who fail to understand the true meaning of the Constitution of the United States. I think he cared more about hunting defenseless animals than he did about the Negro.
What is The Declaration of Independence?
It is a statement that the colonist wrote that officially declared their independence from Great Britain. They would now be called, The United States of America. This very special occasion is celebrated every July 4th in America.
The Declaration in part states:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
After becoming official, many of the political leaders set their slaves free because they felt it was hypocritical denying a race of people life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These men had a moral conscience, and strived to be true Americans.
But on the other hand, many leaders chose to hold on to their slaves because it would mean a significant loss monetarily. These men didn't have a moral conscience. They let money and greed reign supreme.
The world was watching and ridiculed the men who held on to their slaves. America's very first test in morality and would set the tone for many years to come and up unto this day. Most Americans would put money first, with the lesser group clinging to true American principles. There were 12 American Presidents who were slaveholders, 8 of them while in office.
You ugly detestable greedy creep.
Is this what America has become?
Yes, the Negro thinks so
Looking through the eyes of a young person, imagine what you would see. Many may not understand how America came to be so polarized. Since the 60s, blacks have made enormous strides, but generally speaking today a youngster might see a white class of people who seem to have it all together, professionally, socially, educationally, economically, and the blacks are always demanding.
Can you imagine how overwhelming and intimidating this could be to some? But when a young black person understands their rich history, it will without a doubt give them courage and strength to believe in themselves, and when that happens, color of skin becomes less of an issue.
Young people deserve to be told the truth about how America became this way, and not in hate or a way that puts down another race. The truth, pure and simple that can be backed up with any library or Google search. America did not just happen yesterday, it took many years for this situation to become this way, and you might be surprised to learn that it was orchestrated by some not so sweet people who didn't sincerely believe in the meaning of the U.S. Constitution or the Declaration of Independence.
During slavery, the Negro depended on their masters for every single necessity of life. Even the smallest want of a slave had to be approved by his master. It also was a severe crime for anyone caught teaching the slaves to read or write. Books were hidden from the Negro, which meant that slaves were illiterate.
The Emancipation Proclamation freed over four million slaves, most of whom had lived and worked on plantations. America wanted to help these former slaves with Reconstruction aid such as education, medical, housing, etc., attempting to place these illiterate and uneducated Negroes on the road to complete American success.
What was the general attitude of the Negro with this Reconstruction help?
YEAH, THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT, THANKS SO MUCH AMERICA, WE WILL PROVE WE CAN BECOME SELF-RELIANT
PRODUCTIVE CITIZENS! WE CAN'T WAIT TO FIND OUT WHAT'S IN THOSE BOOKS YOU HAVE BEEN HIDING FROM US. LET"S GET THIS THING STARTED!
Enthusiasm and motivation were very high to excel. The schools that had been built for the Negro were packed to capacity with students from 7-70 years of age. Educated blacks were getting elected to office as politicians. Fruitful black communities sprang up, and for the first time in American history, the Negro felt like he was a part of America, and was super happy looking toward a prosperous future.
But sadly, there were some who were not as happy, and these were the former Confederates who lived in the same cities. They didn't want any part of Negro success and to be governed by the people they just lost as slaves. So there was a great white resistance.
What was the result?
After only a few short years, the U.S. Government bowed down to these white supremacist and canceled Reconstruction aid to the former slaves. This was called the 1877 Compromise, (please click on 1877 for details) and blacks calling it the 1877 Grand Betrayal. Terrorist had attacked countless black American citizens. Negroes were hanged, tortured, raped, murdered by the whites with total impunity. The U.S. government knew and did nothing, ignoring the enforcement duties set out in the Constitution.
The little gains the Negro was able to achieve were snatched away, and in the meantime, there were still millions of illiterate, defeated, restricted and uneducated black nomads wandering around in a racist society trying to make it the best way they could, and this situation would remain this way until the Civil Rights movement of the 60s, and yes this is how the black ghetto's got their start.
There's not enough room on this web page to describe the hate and exclusion by government and white Americans against blacks during this period. Jim Crow laws touched every part of life, all across America. Blacks and whites were kept apart as much as possible. Good jobs went to whites; blacks were given the worst with less pay. Many industries wouldn’t hire blacks. Many unions passed special rules to exclude them. All juries and judges were white; blacks were illegally denied voting rights. No blacks allowed in public pools. Many restaurants would not serve blacks, and those that did had a dirty colored section. Blacks and whites went to county fairs on different days. Blacks couldn't use public libraries. Simple common courtesy was rarely shown the blacks. Whites beat, tortured, raped and killed blacks with no fear of punishment. Blacks were denied credit for businesses, housing, cars by the banks. Blacks were kept out of white neighborhoods with housing covenants. Oklahoma had black and white phone booths. Texas had cities where blacks were entirely restricted from living. Blacks could not leave their homes after 10:00 pm in Mobile Alabama. Blacks could not marry whites. Georgia had separate white and black parks. Prisons, hospitals, and orphanages were segregated as were schools and colleges. Blacks and whites had to use separate sets of books in school, in Florida, they couldn't be stored together. When a person was sworn in at a trial, the whites used one Bible, and the blacks had a separate Bible. For those who did complete college, a crucial question had to be answered. Who was going to be their clients? Whites didn't engage blacks in business, and the battered Negro couldn't afford their services. These laws became so entrenched in American life; even unwritten laws affected black citizenship; blacks understood to stay out of white stores and establishments. Segregation was so complete that whites did not see blacks except when being served by them. After the Civil Rights movement of the 60s, blacks have made enormous gains. This is how the United States of America became a polarized country. Each and every President knew what was going on and allowed this illegal activity for 87 years. Were they guilty of not upholding the United States Constitution in the Negroes behalf? Is this the reason why many other nations laugh at America with its constant claims of being on the side of good and high morality?
We are rating each and every President up unto the Civil Rights movement of the 60s in regards to the Constitutional laws he took oath to uphold for all American citizens. The ratings can be located at the end of each President's term in office. Please keep in mind there are millions of poor and uneducated blacks in America seeking assistance into assimilating into American culture after 200 years of brutal slavery. Our focus is to find a courageous President, like Abe Lincoln that will solve this problem, and not pass it on to the next administration. Do you think the decisions of these Presidents would have an impact on the lives of blacks today? Of course it would.
Abraham Lincoln was assassinated before the Amendments to the Constitution became official, but without a doubt he understood and enforced the high standards and morality the Constitution stood for.
Andrew Johnson opposed the Fourteenth Amendment, which gave citizenship to former slaves. He fought the Negro every step of the way. Johnson was also a former slaveholder. He didn't believe all were created equal. He didn't uphold the Constitution.
Ulysses S. Grant was complete opposite of Andrew Johnson. Grant assisted the Negro in his quest of assimilation. He understood and enforced the United States Constitution.
Rutherford B. Hayes was an opportunist and sold out the Negro big time with the 1877 Compromise. He didn't understand what his country stood for.
James A Garfield was a strong defender of Civil Rights, and wanted the Negro to progress through education. Sadly he didn't get a chance to fufill his intentions because he was assassinated, but we give him the benefit of the doubt. We believe he understood the U.S. Constitution.
Chester Arthur wasn't really ever concerned with the negro issue. but he didn't make this humongous Negro problems his priority but chose to ignore it and pass it on to the next admin. He did not understand the principles of the U.S. Constitution.
Grover Cleveland actually sided with the white terrorist in the Chinese race riots and felt it was the Chinese fault. He wasn't a true believer in the U.S. Constitution, he only believed in it as far as it would benefit him, just like typical America.
Benjamin Harrison attempted to pass legislation to protect black Americans' civil rights. Nice words he had for blacks but in all honesty, we need something more concrete to hold on too. But we believe that this president understood the principles of the U.S. Constitution.
Grover Cleveland second term wasn't any better than the first. He wasn't a true believer in the U.S. Constitution, and was a no-show for the American Negro.
William McKinley didn't care much for the Civil Rights of Negroes. he failed to enforce the Constitution, because there were many abuses nationwide and he didn't act. He didn't understand or just didn't care.
Theodore Roosevelt glazed over the Negroes problems with beautiful speeches, but no action. I was pulling for this president to be fair, mainly because he was loved by many in his day, blacks included, but history shows that he failed to enforce the U.S. Constitution. Sorry Teddy.
At the bus station in Durham, North Carolina." May 1940, Jack Delano
photo #103-year -1909
A man lynched from a tree. Face partially concealed by angle and headgear.
| Race in 1909 |
- 1909 - The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is an African-American civil rights organization in the United States, formed "to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.
- 1909 - Lynchings - Sixty-nine black Americans are known to have died by lynching in 1909.
| Famous Birthdays in 1909 |
- June 22, 1909 - Katherine Dunham was an American dancer, choreographer, author, educator, and social activist.
- July 23, 1909 - Helen Dorothy Martin was an American actress of stage and television who was best known for her role as Weeping Wanda on the sitcom Good Times.
- July 29, 1909 - Chester Bomar Himes was an African American writer.
- August 23, 1909 - Leila Danette was an African-American stage, film and television actress, noted for her stage work and for her role as Helen on the short-lived television sitcom, You Take the Kids.
- September 21, 1909 - Kwame Nkrumah, P.C. was the leader of Ghana and its predecessor state, the Gold Coast, from 1951 to 1966.
- October 27, 1909 - Henry "Mule" Townsend was an American blues singer, guitarist and pianist.
William Hooper Councill
Sheet music cover to "All Coons Look Alike to Me", written by Ernest Hogan
| Famous Deaths in 1909 |
- April 9, 1909 - William Hooper Councill was a former slave and the first president of Huntsville Normal School, which is today Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in Normal, Alabama.
- May 20, 1909 - Ernest Hogan was the first African-American entertainer to produce and star in a Broadway show (The Oyster Man in 1907) and helped create the musical genre of ragtime. Trivia: Hogan would take a lot of flack from the African American community for his use of extremely racist and stereotypical images of blacks. One of his popular hits was entitled "All Coons Look Alike to Me" Later in life he regretted this and made the following comment before his death. "(That) song caused a lot of trouble in and out of show business, but it was also good for show business because at the time money was short in all walks of life. With the publication of that song, a new musical rhythm was given to the people. Its popularity grew, and it sold like wildfire... That one song opened the way for a lot of colored and white songwriters. Finding the rhythm so great, they stuck to it ... and now you get hit songs without the word 'coon.' Ragtime was the rhythm played in backrooms and cafes and such places. The ragtime players were the boys who played just by ear their creations of music which would have been lost to the world if I had not put it on paper."
Odessa Warren Grey
Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller
| Famous Weddings in 1909 |
- June 1909 - Odessa Warren Grey and Joseph W. Grey were wed in holy matrimony.
- June 1909 - Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller and Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, an internationally known sculptor were wed in holy matrimony.
Cover of theatre programme
- photo#112a - yr1900
Vaudeville star George Walker
| Entertainment in 1909 |
- The Rabbit's Foot Company was a leading traveling vaudeville show in the first part of the twentieth century. Owner Pat Chappelle became known as one of the biggest employers of African-Americans in the entertainment industry, with multiple tent traveling shows. Chappelle was described at that time as the "Pioneer of Negro Vaudeville" and "the black P. T. Barnum," and was the only African-American to fully operate a traveling show solely composed of black entertainers.
- George Walker formed the The Frogs (club)
Why did George Walker start a black club for actors when he could have just joined the American Actors Beneficial Association? Because like everything else in America, it was becoming commonplace for blacks and whites to be separated in everything. Doctors, Realtors, Lawyers, Unions etc. and every other organization you can think of was segregated. It's almost like whites needed a race of people such as the lowly Negro to measure it's greatness against. Blacks had no choice but to organize for their own benefit. The Negro didn't want it this way, but like a famous rapper once said: "That's just the way it is" The American Actors Beneficial Association excluded blacks from its memberships and didn't appreciate it when Walker formed the Frogs. His original start up group, The Colored Vaudeville Benevolent Association, received negative attitude from white producers. The concept of the colored man supporting himself through performance and no longer just “taking what they were given” posed a threat to the white vaudevillian and theatrical community. With this, Walker set forth to create The Frogs. On July 18, 1908, at Walker’s home at 52 West 153rd St in Harlem, eleven of the most prominent names in the industry formed together to create the African American theatrical organization. The Frogs became known for their big event “The Frolic of the Frogs” or “The Frogs Frolic” every August at the Manhattan Casino (New York City) at 155th Street and Eighth Avenue. For 50 cents, people enjoyed a combination ball, party and vaudeville show where favors were given to the ladies and door prizes went to the three people wearing a unique costumes symbolic of the frogs. With great success in the early years of the event, “The Frolic of the Frogs” was able to tour their event in cities such as Philadelphia, Richmond, Baltimore and Washington D.C. Popularity in the frolic was found among both blacks and whites. We love happy stories like "The Frogs" had given the people of New York. Come on let's face it, 99% of the time because of racial oppression, it's was negative for the Negro.
| It's a Party in 1909 |
- Back in the early 1900s because of prejudice and racial discrimination, black entertainers had to be very careful where they traveled. They weren't always welcome in various venues, so they created what's called a Chitlin Circuit. They named it Chitlin Circuit because of blacks typical love for soul food with chitlins being near the top as favorite. So, in other words, they understood there would be love on the circuit. They knew that the clubs, juke joints, theaters, etc. in the circuit were welcoming of the black race and safe to visit. This way of life existing from the early 1900s - 1960s. Noted theaters and entertainers on the circuit included:
The Fox Theatre in Detroit; the Victory Grill in Austin, Texas; the Carver Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama; the Cotton Club, Small's Paradise and the Apollo Theater in New York City; Robert's Show Lounge, Club DeLisa and the Regal Theatre in Chicago; the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C.;the Royal Peacock in Atlanta; the Royal Theatre in Baltimore; the Uptown Theatre in Philadelphia; the Hippodrome Theatre in Richmond, Virginia; the Ritz Theatre in Jacksonville, Florida; and The Madam C. J. Walker Theatre on Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis.
Early figures of blues, including Robert Johnson, Son House, Charley Patton, and countless others, traveled the juke joint circuit, scraping out a living on tips and free meals. These entertainers provided much-needed joy and happiness for black folks. Once the band's gig was over, they would leave for the next stop on the circuit. Sounds like a lot of fun and an exciting life!
Many notable performers worked on the chitlin' circuit, including Patti LaBelle, Count Basie, Hammond B-3, Jeff Palmer, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Sheila Guyse, Peg Leg Bates, The Supremes, George Benson, James Brown & The Famous Flames, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis, Jr., Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ella Fitzgerald, The Jackson 5, Redd Foxx, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Billie Holiday, John Lee Hooker, Lena Horne, Etta James, B.B. King, The Miracles, Donna Hightower, Moms Mabley, The Delfonics, Wilson Pickett, Richard Pryor, Otis Redding, Duke Ellington, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Little Richard, Ike & Tina Turner, The Four Tops, Tammi Terrell, The Isley Brothers, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Muddy Waters, Flip Wilson and Jimmie Walker.
Slaves kidnapped from their homes years ago belonged to tribes. Each tribe was as different as night and day to the next tribe.|
They each had their individual languages and customs. So upon arriving in America they had to create a way to communicate with their master and each other, so over time they developed a spanking new and unique language called African American Vernacular English, and it didn't stop there.
Each group had their defined drum beat from their tribe that was added to the new way of life in the New World but with a new American twist with musical instruments they didn't have in Africa.
So to put it simply, soul or black music is a mixture of many different African beats incorporated into a new American culture. Think about how exciting that is, if it's possible to create anything positive at all from slavery it has to be African American music. It's admired all over the world.
We all originate from the same place, so it doesn't matter if we're listening to early 1900s blues singer "Ma Rainey" or the great 1940s singers "Billie Holiday" and "Nat King Cole" down to the famous rappers of our time such as the two late greats, "Biggie Smalls" or "Tupac", it all sounds good to us because we can feel and hear that beat.
Many cultures have contributed to the American way of life such as German Americans who introduced the Christmas tree tradition, or Italian Americans with their delicious pizza, or Mexican Americans with the tacos and tasty burritos, or the English Americans with their mainstays such as baseball and apple pie. The list goes on and on, and to add to those contributions, and without a doubt, soul music has changed the American way of life, it is truly an original, and one of our many proud contributions to our home here in America.
Black Patti Troubadours
Bob Cole and John Rosamond Johnson,
African American composers
Storyville, New Orleans
| Music in 1909 |
Popular Soul Dances
- The Texas Tommy
- Turkey Trot
Musical Happenings in 1909:
- The first African American bandmasters in the American military are appointed; these are Wade Hammond (Ninth Cavalry), Alfred Jack Thomas (Tenth Cavalry), William Polk (Twenty-fourth Infantry) and Egbert Thompson (Twenty-fifth Infantry).
- Sissieretta Jones formed the Black Patti Troubadours (later renamed the Black Patti Musical Comedy Company), a musical and acrobatic act made up of 40 jugglers, comedians, dancers and a chorus of 40 trained singers. Jones sung passionately and pursued her career choice of opera and different repertory regardless to her lack of audience attendance. For more than two decades, Jones remained the star of the Famous Troubadours, while they graciously toured every season and established their popularity in the principal cities of the United States. The Black Patti Troubadours reveled in vernacular music and dance. Jones retired from performing in 1915.
- Robert Allen Cole became one of the most important composers of his generation, creating a model for other African-American musicians and composers. Cole began a partnership with J. Rosamond Johnson, and occasionally with Johnson's brother, James Weldon Johnson a collaboration that lasted until Cole's death. Cole and J. Rosamond Johnson continued their musical collaboration. Cole and the Johnson brothers wrote and helped produce two musicals, The Shoe-Fly Regiment (1907) and The Red Moon (1909). Both shows were successful, but lost money, so Cole and Johnson returned to performing in vaudeville. Cole's health began to fail in 1910 and in April 1911, he collapsed. Shortly thereafter, Cole drowned in what many believe to have been a suicide.
- Sidney Perrin was a composer, actor, and producer for a few lesser-known shows both in the first heyday of black musicals (1898-1910) and its revival in the 1920s. He composed most of the music for The Colored Aristocrats (1909), including the songs "Why Moses Never Saw the Promised Land," and "Chocolate Mandy." This show starred the famous team of Flourney E. Miller and Aubrey Lyles. Perrin also performed in a number of shows. He had roles in The Emperor of Dixie (1908), A Night in New York's Chinatown (1910), and No Place Like Home (1910)--the last two shows played in Chicago. He performed in Struttin' Along (1924), alongside Eddie Anderson, who later became more widely known as Rochester in Jack Benny's radio and television shows.
- Chris Smith "wrote songs that pointed to black folk styles," Both black and white musicals of the first decade of the 20th century used many of his songs as "interpolations,"or extra songs not especially connected to the plot. Some interpolations were "He's a Cousin of Mine," and "Come After Breakfast." Smith composed much of the music for His Honor the Barber (1909) with J. Tim Brymn. He scored another major hit with "Ballin' the Jack" in 1917. When styles changed, Smith wrote songs for female blues singers in the early 1920s.
- The first use of the word jazz in print, in reference to dancing.
- Chicago’s Pekin Theatre was the first black owned musical and vaudeville stock theatre in the United States. Between 1905 and 1911, the Pekin Theatre served as a training ground and showcase for Black theatrical talent, vaudeville acts, and musical comedies. Additionally, the theatre allowed “African-American theatre artists with an opportunity to master theater craft and contribute significantly to the development of an emerging Black theater tradition.”
- The Theater Owners' Booking Agency is founded by the Barasso Brothers, S. H. Dudley and other black theater owner-managers. It will become the primary booking agency for African American performers of the era.
Storyville was the red-light district of New Orleans, Louisiana from 1897 to 1917. It was established by municipal ordinance under the New Orleans City Council, to regulate prostitution and drugs. The ordinance did not legalize prostitution but rather designated a sixteen block area as the part of the city in which it was not illegal. The area was originally referred to as "The District," but its nickname, "Storyville," soon caught on. It became a centralized attraction in the heart of New Orleans. Only a few of its remnants are now visible.
Establishments in Storyville ranged from cheap "cribs" to more expensive houses, up to a row of elegant mansions along Basin Street for well-heeled customers. New Orleans' cribs were 50-cent joints, whereas the most expensive establishments could cost up to $10. Black and white brothels coexisted in Storyville; but black men were barred from legally purchasing services in either black or white brothel.
Trivia: It's interesting to note that Jim Crow even restricted the Negro male from legally purchasing the services of a prostitute. Amazing!
In the early 1900s, a Blue Book could be purchased for 25 cents. Blue Books were created for tourists and those unfamiliar with this area of New Orleans and contained, in alphabetical order, the names of all the prostitutes of Storyville, and separated them based on race.
Jazz did not originate in Storyville, but it flourished there as in the rest of the city. Many out-of-town visitors first heard this style of music there before the music spread north. Some outsiders continue to associate Storyville with the origins of jazz. It was the tradition in the better Storyville establishments to hire a piano player and sometimes small bands. Famous musicians who got their start in Storyville include Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, and Pops Foster.
At the start of World War I, Secretary of War Newton Baker did not want troops to have distractions while deploying. The Navy had troops located in New Orleans, and the city was pressed to close Storyville. Prostitution was made illegal in 1917 and Storyville was used for the purpose of entertainment. Most of its buildings were later destroyed.
How did religion begin for the American Negro?
Well, it was an exciting journey for sure, but as usual, we have to go back into history for the likely answer. Before arriving in America as slaves, generally speaking, our ancestors practiced a religion which included fetishism.
What is fetishism you may ask?
Traditional Benin Voodoo Dance
Fetishism is a man-made object (such as the doll aound the lady's neck in the picture) that is thought to have power over others. Africans were extremely superstitious in their native land.
But once exposed to religious teachers in America, quickly left their superstitious past behind them, and would frown upon new arrivals of Africans who practiced fetishism in religion.
In Europe, the Roman Catholic Church had lost their grip on people with their questionable religious practices. There were many who thought the Church was wrong and formed a protest or a Protestant Reformation that resulted in the creation of tons of different religions with their doctrines and teachings claiming to be Christian.
A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems,
and world views
that relate humanity to an order of existence.
Episcopal, Jesuits, Methodists, Protestant, Anglican, Lutheranism, Calvinism, Presbyterianism, Wesleyanism were all against Roman Catholic teachings.
But there would be a new religion on the horizon for humanity that went by the name of science. The introduction of science was in many ways entirely different than Christianity because it taught man to believe and rely on himself and his creations, rather than on a Supreme Being he couldn't see.
Faith is something foreign and unbelievable to a scientist. Also, this new form of religion would give these believers complete moral authority to do as they wished without a guilty conscience or retribution from a Surpreme Being.
This is what made slavery right or moral in the eyes of so many whites because new science taught that whites were superior and blacks inferior. The theory of evolution is another example in clear teaching that the world exists because of a big bang instead of being created, and also man evolved from apes rather than being created.
Do you believe in Evolution? If so, evolution is your religion because mainstream religion and evolution just don't jive, it's either one or the other.
During slavery, most of the first black congregations and churches were founded by free blacks, but slaves learned about Christianity by attending services led by a white preacher or supervised by a white person. Slaveholders often held prayer meetings at their plantations. Methodist and Baptist were the preferred choices of slaves because of its message.
But after slavery blacks were still restricted in the white churches so what they did next is not a surprise. They began to form their churches free from white rulership and exclusion, but kept the doctrine and teachings, but of course with a more lively twist (singing and dancing). It's clear they still had African culture in their hearts. This would mark the beginning of a new American creation, the black church.
The following is a very brief history of religion in Black America:
William J. Seymour - photo#111-yr-2015
Charles Fox Parham an independent holiness evangelist who believed strongly in divine healing, was an important figure in the emergence of Pentecostalism as a distinct Christian movement. But it wasn't until one of his black students named William J. Seymour learned these teaching and took it back to California with him that the Pentecostal movement took off like wildfire.
Seymour's preaching sparked the famous three-year-long Azusa Street Revival in 1906. Worship at the racially integrated Azusa Mission featured an absence of any order of service. (whites would later dislike this) People preached and testified as moved by the Spirit, spoke and sung in tongues, and fell in the Spirit. Blacks whites and other races would attend these services. But there was a matter of Jim Crow to be kept in mind that made it illegal for blacks and whites to mix.
So whites broke away from Seymour and began their Pentecostal churches. It's a fact that the beginning of the widespread Pentecostal movement in the United States is considered to have started with one-eyed black preacher William J. Seymour's Azusa Street Revival.
The Church Of God in Christ (COGIC) -
Church Of God in Christ Baptism
The Church Of God in Christ was formed in 1897 by a group of disfellowshiped Baptists, most notably Charles Price Jones (1865–1949) and Charles Harrison Mason (1866–1961) and is a Pentecostal Christian denomination with a predominantly African-American membership. It ranks as the largest Pentecostal denomination and the fifth largest Christian denomination in the U.S. Evangelical Baptist, and Methodist preachers traveled throughout the South in the Great Awakening of the late 18th century and appealed directly to slaves, and a few thousand slaves converted. Early COGIC leaders were very much attracted by the Pentecostal message and would break from the Baptist for this reason.
A.M.E. Church -
The African Methodist Episcopal Church, usually called the A.M.E. Church, is a predominantly African-American Methodist denomination based in the US. It is the oldest independent Protestant denomination founded by blacks in the world. It was founded by the Rt. Rev. Richard Allen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1816 from several black Methodist congregations in the mid-Atlantic area that wanted independence from white Methodists.
Baptists are individuals who comprise a group of denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers (believer's baptism, as opposed to infant baptism) and that it must be done by complete immersion (as opposed to affusion or sprinkling). Other tenets of Baptist churches include soul competency (liberty), salvation through faith alone, Scripture alone as the rule of faith and practice, and the autonomy of the local congregation. Baptists recognize two ministerial offices, pastors, and deacons. Baptist churches are widely considered to be Protestant churches, though some Baptists disavow this identity.
An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim. Jews felt like they were chosen people who were promised a land filled with milk and honey, a holy land. This promise was made to Abraham and his seed. Abraham's wife Sarah had trouble conceiving children so to keep the promise alive and in the family she chose Hagar who was an Egyptian handmaid to have sexual relations with Abraham to bear a son, which is what they did. This son's name was Ishmael.
But something happened later that would throw things into a tizzy. At a very old age Sarah was now able to have kids and bore a son named Isaac.
Now here's the problem. Does the promise belong to Sarah's son or Hagar's son? Sarah felt it belonged to her bloodline, so she sent Hagar and Ishmael into the wilderness for them to die. But guess what? They didn't die. Muhammad who was the final prophet sent by God as identified in the Quran was born within Ishmael's seed line.
So even to this day these two groups don't care for each other.
This religion by far has proven to be the most destructive for humankind. Its users have created a world of me, me, me, by magnifying themselves, sincerely believing they are all of that and a bag of chips. Also the belief that spirited competition is healthy and useful. Win at all cost! The survival of the fittest theory. Many genocides were accomplished in the name of science. It teaches us that man originates from apes, (many blacks lost their life because of this false teaching) the earth was created from nothing and in essence humans are their gods. The bad far outweighs the good with the practice of science. Just look around.
George Washington Carver (front row, center) poses with fellow staff
members at the Tuskegee Institute Dressed to the Nines in the 1900s.
Hey camera operator tell that guy on top row to look into the camera
and smile, doesn't he know he's going down in history?
George Walker and Bert Williams
styling in the 1900s
Fashions for young African American women
George E. Taylor, Presidential Candidate, 1904
Fashions for African American men
The Black Victorians (Victorian Era 1800s-1900s)
| Fashions in 1909 |
Popular entertainers of the 1990s, George Walker and Bert Williams in the fancy clothes they wore back in the 1900s. Sharp as a tack!
With the decline of the bustle, sleeves began to increase in size and the 1830s silhouette of an hourglass shape became popular again. The fashionable silhouette in the early 1900s was that of a confident woman, with full low chest and curvy hips. Unfussy, tailored clothes were worn for outdoor activities and traveling. The shirtwaist, a costume with a bodice or waist tailored like a man's shirt with a high collar, was adopted for informal daywear and became the uniform of working women. This decade marked the full flowering of Parisian haute couture as the arbiter of styles and silhouettes for women of all classes. Large hats were worn with evening wear. Shoes were narrow and often emphasized. They had a pointed toe and a medium height heel.
The long, lean, and athletic silhouette of the 1890s persisted. Hair was generally worn short. Beards were less pointed than before and moustaches were often curled. The sack coat or lounge coat continued to replace the frock coat for most informal and semi-formal occasions. Formal dress shirt collars were turned over or pressed into "wings". Collars were overall very tall and stiffened. The usual necktie was a narrow four-in-hand. Ascot ties were worn with formal day dress and white bow ties with evening dress. Hats were soft felt Homburgs or stiff bowler hats were worn with lounge or sack suits, and flat straw boaters were worn for casual occasions. Shoes for men were mostly over the ankle. Toe cap, lace up boots in black, gray, or brown were the most common for everyday wear.
Pullman porters, who were mainly black, are widely credited with contributing to the development of the black middle class in America. Before the Civil War, sleeping cars were not in use. George Pullman came up with the brilliant idea of making rail travel a memorable event with servers to cater to whites every need.
During slavery, most whites didn't own slaves, and this gave them an opportunity to experience that. Pullman became the number #1 employer of blacks in the country. He was a tight businessman though because the pay was lousy with the porters working over 400 hours a month. Porters also had to purchase their clothing and accessories. They received most of their income by tips.
But the job was steady work and that meant alot for black families. Famous porters of old included, Thurgood Marshall, Oscar Micheaux, Malcolm X and the photojournalist Gordon Parks.
Advertising postcard, picture side, for the "Happy Day" washing machine,
sold by the National Sewing Machine Co.
of Belvidere, Illinois.
United States Census for African Americans
in the 1900s
Nannie Helen Burroughs
Matthew Alexander Henson
| Our Community in 1909 |
Newsworthy Events in the Black Community:
- October 19, 1909 - Artic explorer Matthew Alexander Henson was the guest of honor at a dinner ceremony held by the Colored Citizens of New York, where he was honored by toasts and given a gold watch and chain.
- October 19, 1909 - Nannie Helen Burroughs founded the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, D.C., which uniquely provided academic, religious and vocational classes for black girls and young women at a time when education was segregated in the South.
- December 4, 1909 - The New York Amsterdam News is an American weekly newspaper geared to the African-American community of New York City, New York. It is one of the oldest African-American newspapers in the United States and was founded in the year 1909.
- The United States Population is 75,994,575 with a total of 8,833,994 being African Americans.
| Typical Local News & Advertisements in the Black Community for 1909 |
* May 22, 1909 - White Farmer Shot a Negro - Colored man had Threatrned to Kill His Assailant. Ed Williams a Negro farmer was shot and possible fatally wounded. A white neighbor Milton Laws fired with a shotgun loaded with number 4 shot. Immediately after the shooting Laws came to give himself up.
The Topeka State journal. (Topeka, Kan.), 22 May 1909
* November 10, 1909 - Sheriff Holds Off Two Mobs - Intense Excitement In Cairo Illinois Over Murder of Miss Annie Pelley. Citizens Threatened Negro. Colored man is arrested for crime and two mobs form to lynch him. Sherriff addresses crowd and prevails upon them to disperse.
The Calumet news. (Calumet, Mich.), 10 Nov. 1909
* December 31, 1909 - The Negro or Colored Dolls - This is a subject that has agitated the minds of thinking people for a number of years, especially the people of America. The word Negro throughout the civilized world in all the languages menas black.
The Nashville globe. (Nashville, Tenn.), 31 Dec. 1909
* December 25, 1909 - Madam Maude Seay - The Most up to date and fashionable French milliner among the African Americans, residing in Chicago.
The broad ax. (Salt Lake City, Utah), 25 Dec. 1909
* April 2, 1909 - Our Leader Domestic Water Works Outfit. With Hand Force Pump. Fig. 26 illustartes our leader waterworks outfit suitable for a medium sized residence. This outfit rrequires but little space and is a favorite size for supplying water to the kitchen, laundry and bathroom.
The Evening statesman. (Walla Walla, Wash.), 02 April 1909
How did "acting" Cool begin for African Americans?|
It seems like it's been around forever and
expected of every black kid growing up
For most blacks, cool started on the southern plantations. Opportunists slavemasters devised a way for slaves to work harder and reap the benefits of their labor. During the year at a chosen plantation slave masters would hold a "Corn Shucking Festival." Slaves from nearby plantations would also join this event with their owner's permission, so it was almost like a community gathering of all the local slaves, with greedy slavemasters making all the money.
The slave who shucked the most corn won an award, sometimes cash or a suit of clothes. Anyone who found a red ear of corn also received a reward - perhaps a kiss from a young woman or a jug of whiskey. It was at these events that the term Shuckin' and jivin' came into existence by the slaves while working and telling tall stories, talking smack, and joking around with each other.
These gatherings, even though involving hard work had to be an event looked forward to by the slaves, because it was one of the few times during the year blacks had a chance to interact with one another. Shuckin' and jivin' would become a tool the slaves would use to convince their masters of an untruth, and even among themselves. It was an early form of being cool.
After slavery blacks were free (sort of) to do as they pleased. Most blacks wanted to assimilate into American culture very much but were shut out by the white racist. African and European culture met head on in what was supposed to be fair in America guaranteed by our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, but blacks didn't stand a chance.
Why, what happened?
Because most whites banded together by breaking the law and made blacks second class citizens and would go on to murder, lynch, rape, humiliate them all the way until the 1960s Civil Rights movement. After Lincoln, every single United States President was aware of this and did nothing. Whites achieved like crazy and prospered while blacks lagged far behind and got along the best way they knew how.
Blacks disliked whites very much for this terrible treatment and instead of violent disobedience, they protested by living their lives opposite of white culture. I mean let's face it, why would blacks want to imitate or become a part of a race of people that hated them?
This is when being cool became a symbol of white resistance and protest. Being cool would show you were down with the struggle. During slavery, we had already created our language which was AAVE and many blacks communicated this way. Any black that did not use it was looked down as trying to act white, joining the enemy sort of speak.
We developed our own way of walking with a proud gait, (George Jefferson strut) our own style of music, our own style of dance, our own style of food, our own style of worship, that didn't have anything in common with white folks and that suited blacks just fine. We were poor, but we were proud and cool and everyone who practiced these traits was cool and a part of the resistance.
In the process, we were creating a new culture that was admired over the world. Blacks have always had a remarkable ability to create something out of nothing. But sadly there was significant risk with this lifestyle in a great country such as America.
What were the downfalls?
Oscar Micheaux felt it was wrong for blacks to live this way in America. Oscar was an African American author, film director and independent producer of more than 44 movies and he is regarded as the first major African-American feature filmmaker, the most successful African-American filmmaker of the first half of the twentieth century and the most prominent producer of race films. He produced both silent movies and "talkies" after the industry changed to incorporate speaking actors.
Oscar felt that blacks should become aggressive and use their brainpower in achieving instead of just settling for what the white man doled out. This man lived in some of the most racist times in American history, but he didn't let that stop him from fulfilling his dreams and doing it the legal way.
Evidently, Oscar had a brother who was the very cool type and was content on just putting up a show, or a front as living a successful life. We all know the type. A person that was living beyond his means. Blacks of his day called this way of living “the good life.”
Oscar didn't like it and was very upset with his brother. He later wrote in his book and discussed the culture of doers who want to accomplish, and those who see themselves as victims of injustice and hopelessness, and do not want to step out and try to succeed, but instead like to dress up, act cool and pretend to be successful while living the city lifestyle in poverty.
Oscar understood that education doesn't belong only to white people, it's a gift for all humanity to better ourselves, and honestly the best-proven way. Chinese, Japanese, Middle-Eastern and all other non-white nations understand this and have prospered by education. It's one of humanities treasure to learn.
But many blacks associated education with white and stayed far away from it, to continue with their cool lifestyle. A foolish mistake, and just what racist whites want you to believe.
Early Europeans completely dominated the Africans because they were better educated. They had guns we had spears, you do the math. In Africa our ancestors didn't value education, but traditions and silly ones at that. But that didn't save them. Education would have, though.
So without a doubt, it is entirely wrong to associate teaching and learning to white people. Many of us would look down upon another black who tried to better himself through education by saying they were trying to act white, and it wasn't cool. Racist whites laughed at us for believing this way because they knew we would always be behind.
After the 1960s, when our full Civil Rights were finally restored, many blacks chose to live the more standard American way by attending school to learn. But many also wanted to remain trapped in time with the old AAVE living in what they still perceived as defiance to the white American way of doing things. But were they only hurting themselves?
Later in time, being cool had become so prevalent in the black community it confused many kids, because they didn't quite understand if they were going to hang out with the cool kids or the so-called boring kids who liked to read and learn. At an early age, they are at a critical crossroad. Taking the cool route may seem easier, and a lot of fun, but would be a devastating mistake.
After the Civil Rights era we now have the opportunity to attend school and achieve as much as we can, but being cool has snatched many of the black kids and locked them into a culture hating education and in the process ruining their young lives.
Many entertainment figures reap much money from this cool culture by portraying cool as, well cool. They tell impressionable ones what's cool to hear, talk about, wear, eat, etc. and at the same time padding their cool humongous bank accounts.
These even get on television and flaunt their riches in a youngster's face never explicitly teaching on how they might be as successful, without being dishonest, stealing or selling drugs. Education is not cool for them to preach.
One thing is for sure, being cool can be a lot of fun and there's no denying that. Everybody wants to be liked, and it seems like cool people are respected and admired the most, from the clothes they wear to the type of songs they listen to the way they talk, the effortless way they seem to accomplish every task is amazing.
They possess incredible confidence. But truthfully everything they've accomplished wouldn't have been possible without the sacrifices of our wonderful ancestors. So don't you agree we owe a particular moral responsibility to them?
Kids should remember cool is not the real deal, It's a game we can't get caught up in. Our ancestors endured so much so we could achieve. We should never forget that. That's what this site was created. Browse through its pages, and you're going to read stories of amazing blacks.
They made it possible for us, and we're sure they would advise us to achieve through education first and foremost and save the cool for the weekends, and I ain't Shuckin and Jivin!
By White House (Pete Souza) / Maison Blanche (Pete Souza) (The Official White House Photostream) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Senate Office of Richard Lugar [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons