Blast From The Past:
OUR HAMITE AWARD WINNER FOR 1946:
Mamie Smith was an American vaudeville singer, dancer, pianist, and actress, who appeared in several films late in her career. As a vaudeville singer, she performed some styles, including jazz and blues. She entered blues history by being the first African-American artist to make vocal blues recordings in 1920. Willie "The Lion" Smith, explained the background to that recording in his autobiography, Music on My Mind.
Mamie Robinson was probably born in Cincinnati, Ohio, although no records of her birth exist. When she was ten years old, she found work touring with a white act called the Four Dancing Mitchells. As a teenager, she danced in Salem Tutt Whitney's Smart Set. In 1913, she left the Tutt Brothers to sing in clubs in Harlem and married a singer named William "Smitty" Smith.
On August 10, 1920, in New York City, Smith recorded a set of songs written by the African-American songwriter Perry Bradford, including "Crazy Blues" and "It's Right Here For You (If You Don't Get It, 'Tain't No Fault of Mine)", on Okeh Records. It was the first recording of vocal blues by an African-American artist, and the record became a best seller, selling a million copies in less than a year.
Large numbers of the record were purchased by African Americans, and there was a sharp increase in the popularity of race records. Because of the historical significance of "Crazy Blues", it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1994, and, in 2005, was selected for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress.
Although other African Americans had been recorded earlier, such as George W. Johnson in the 1890s, they were African-American artists performing music which had a substantial following with European-American audiences. The success of Smith's record prompted record companies to seek to record other female blues singers and started the era of what is now known as classic female blues.
Smith continued to make a series of popular recordings for Okeh throughout the 1920s. In 1924 she made three releases for Ajax Records which, while heavily promoted, did not sell well. She made some records for Victor. She toured the United States and Europe with her band "Mamie Smith & Her Jazz Hounds" as part of "Mamie Smith's Struttin' Along Review."
She was billed as "The Queen of the Blues". This billing was soon one-upped by Bessie Smith, who called herself "The Empress of the Blues." Ma Rainey was called "The Mother of the Blues." Mamie found that the new mass medium of radio provided a way to gain additional fans, especially in cities with predominantly white audiences.
Mamie provided much-needed entertainment for blacks. She gave us a reason to smile. This generation we live in would like to honor Mamie Smith with the 1946 Hamite Award. If you haven't heard this woman sing, please click on the link provided below. Thank goodness for youTube. Her voice will instantly comfort you, she just had that ability. Full of love.
Mamie Robinson Smith died in 1946, aged 63, in Staten Island, New York.
Listen to Mamie
Mamie Smith |
|How were blacks feeling in 1946?
YOUR MOOD STATUS HAS FINALLY BEEN UPDATED
FAVORABLY HAPPENINGS FOR THE COLOREDS LATELY
THE COURTS & PRESIDENTS ARE FINALLY COMING AROUND
AIN'T NO TURNING BACK NOW
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!!!!
Fox Lake Resort |
Moving on up to the eastside!!!! That's what I'm talking about. We finally have a place to travel for fun and relaxation. We just hope our white American brothers don't burn it down or deny/jack up the electricity and water rates or claim eminent domain like they did with other resorts blacks attempted to set up.
Even though the average black person cannot afford to visit or live in Fox Lake, it's still nice to know some of our peoples are enjoying the life and gives us the motivation to fight even harder this high wall of racism. I ain't mad at cha!
The Fox Lake resort community was developed in Angola, Indiana specifically for African Americans in the 1930s, when such communities were quite rare. In the years between World War I and World War II, and for some time after that, African American were not welcomed to traditionally white resort communities. Fox Lake provided black families with a place of their own where they could escape the heat of the cities and enjoy the pleasures of summertime activities. The historic district contains 32 relatively modest lake cottages, most of which were constructed before World War II.
Occasionally big-name musicians were booked for dances at the clubhouse, which was surrounded by tennis courts, horseshoe pits, and basketball hoops. Saddle horses were available until the early 1950s. Other activities included trap shooting matches, weekly Family Night at the restaurant, and Sunday school held on the beach under the trees.
Today, Fox Lake is still a prosperous black community. Its traditions are still maintained by many second- and third-generation owners, who occupy a large number of the cottages.
What an wonderful history!!!
American Beach, Florida
American Beach, Florida was founded in 1935 by Florida's first black millionaire, Abraham Lincoln Lewis, and his Afro-American Life Insurance Company. The plan was for his employees to have a place to vacation and own homes for their families by the shore.
(thank you so much Abraham, we needed this!) Throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, summers at American Beach were busy with families, churches, and children. It was a place where African Americans could enjoy "Recreation and Relaxation Without Humiliation." The beach included hotels, restaurants, bathhouses, and nightclubs as well as homes and other businesses.
American Beach played host to numerous celebrities during this period, including folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, singer Billie Daniels, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Billy Eckstein, Hank Aaron, Joe Louis, actor Ossie Davis, and Sherman Hemsley. We know they had some fun! That's what I'm talking bout!
Lawrence Eugene Doby
| Sports in 1946 |
- In the 1946 Negro World Series, the Newark Eagles, champions of the Negro National League, beat the Kansas City Monarchs, champions of the Negro American League, four games to three.
- In one game, baseball great Roy Campanella assumed the managerial duties after manager Walter Alston was dismissed. This made Campanella the first African-American to manage caucasian players of an organized professional baseball team. Campanella's team came back from three down to win the game.
- Larry Doby along with teammate Monte Irvin helped the Eagles win the Negro League World Series.
- The New York Black Yankees was founded in Harlem as the Harlem Black Bombers in 1931 by financier James "Soldier Boy" Semler and dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. The team was active in the Negro Leagues from 1931 to 1948.
| 1946 Colored World Series |
|Newark Eagles||1||7||5||8||1||9||3||4 |
|Kansas City Monarchs||2||4||15||1||5||7||2||3 |
Location: New York: Polo Grounds (1)
Newark: Ruppert Stadium (2,6,7)
Kansas City: Blues Stadium (3,4)
Chicago: Comiskey Park (5)
Managers: Newark: Biz Mackey
Kansas City: Frank Duncan
Dates: September 17–29
Hall of Famers: Newark: Leon Day, Larry Doby, Monte Irvin,
Biz Mackey (mgr.) Kansas City: Willard Brown,
Satchel Paige, Hilton Smith
Charles Spurgeon Johnson
| Education in 1946 |
- In 1946 - Charles Spurgeon Johnson was appointed as the first black president of Fisk University. In 1946, Johnson was one of 20 American educators selected to advise on educational reform in occupied Japan. He was also a consultant for several White House conferences related to youth in American society.
- In 1946 - Channing H. Tobias became the first African American to head the Phelps-Stokes Fund.
The Manhattan Project|
The Manhattan Project began in 1939 and ended in 1946. It was a research and development project that produced the first nuclear weapons during World War II. It was led by the United States with the support of the United Kingdom and Canada.
The U.K. started their own atomic project first but didn't have funding to keep up with research and building so they ended up sharing all their scientific data with the United States which quickly surpassed and allowed them to stay in the game.
The Manhattan Project created the first nuclear bombs.The Trinity test is shown.
Most people working in the factories didn't understand what they were involved with. They were just happy to get a steady paycheck. Many residents continued to avoid discussion of "the stuff" in ordinary conversation despite it being the reason for their town's existence.
The Manhattan Project began modestly in 1939, but grew to employ more than 130,000 people in select cities across America and cost nearly US$2 billion (about $26 billion in 2016 dollars)
Harry S. Truman
Wedding photo of Harry and Bess Truman
| Political Scene in 1946 |
- Democrat Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States (1945–53). As the final running mate of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, Truman succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when Roosevelt died after months of declining health. Analysis: Truman at one time was very biased against blacks, using the word nigger freely in his speech. As a younger man, Truman was once quoted as saying:
"I think one man is as good as another as long as he's decent and honest and not a nigger or a Chinaman. The Lord made the man out of dust, the nigger from mud and threw up what was left to create the Chinaman." Ouch Harry! I guess people can change, and that's what's important to remember here.
If a person were able to look past Truman's racist views, Harry Truman would probably be looked upon as a decent president for blacks. He took over the office after FDR passed away. He was faced with the humongous war issue of World War II. He made the decision to drop the atom bombs on Japan, even though he didn't have to. Japan was already beaten, and it was just a matter of time before they surrendered. The Soviet Union was closing in at one end and the United States at the other where crazed mad bomber Curtis LeMay was blowing everything that moved. Most advisors didn't want Truman to drop the bomb, but he didn't listen and did it anyway, and even gloated afterward. The lies he told the world was he saved countless lives on both sides by not fighting a ground war.
Truman would go on to fully integrate the Armed services and also the Federal government. It's a start, and it's no looking back now. Truman was different than most presidents. He had said in the beginning that Civil Rights for the Negro was a moral issue and he was going to make it a priority in being settled. FINALLY A PRESIDENT THAT UNDERSTANDS THE U.S. CONSTITUTION. In his second term election, he wasn't expected to win. Truman has been particularly angry about reports of blacks who had fought valiantly in World War II, only to return home to unspeakable violence by whites. Harry Truman took a very unpopular platform of Civil Rights for the American black person and bet his political career on victory. The Democratic party had become splintered because Truman announced he was going to add Civil Rights to the agenda. The Southerners didn't like this and rebelled, so it was widely expected for Truman to lose the election, which polls (which were taken by phones) had him behind. He surprised everyone and pulled off the victory. These events have to mean that after all these years of injustice and hate, the American people are voting for change.He was also the first U.S. president to address the NAACP. He felt the time was NOW to address these discrimination issues along with the fact he was going after the critical black vote, well you got mine Harry! here's another little tidbit of information into the mindset of the majority of presidents who didn't care about the American black citizen and worked for hand and hand, north and south together. A reporter asked Strom Thurmond why he had bolted from the Democratic party when President Truman had not done anything substantially different from his predecessor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Thurmond replied, "Yes -- but Truman means it."
Movies in America
Eddie "Rochester" Anderson
Jack Benny's radio shows cast
Pearl Mae Bailey
- photo#100-yr-1918 -
| Radio / Television / Movies in 1946 |
- Pearl Mae Bailey, actress and singer. After appearing in vaudeville, she made her Broadway debut in St. Louis Woman in 1946.
- Till the Clouds Roll By - Lena Horne (musical film made by MGM)
- Ziegfeld Follies - Lena Horne (Hollywood musical comedy film )
- Studio Visit - Lena Horne (short subject; featuring outtake from Cabin in the Sky)
- Starting in the year of 1937, a new funny man would co-star on the Jack Benny Show. This man went by the name of Eddie "Rochester" Anderson. Eddie's character of "Rochester" generated much laughter, becoming immensely popular and would become a household name from 1937 to 1965 in America. The humor on the show was the usual stereotypical stuff that blacks had to endure, but later it would become a stepping stone for many successful comedians to follow. Eddie became the first black to have a regular role on a nationwide radio program. The show started on radio and moved to television in 1951 until it went off the air in the 1964-1965 season. Trivia:
Anderson was frequently late for the show. Benny attempted to instill punctuality in Anderson by fining him $50 each time he arrived late at the studio. Anderson had a habit of losing track of time, especially when he was talking with someone. Must have had something to say huh Eddie?
Demond Wilson in Sanford and Son
| Famous Birthdays in 1946 |
- January 15, 1946 - Charles Brown was a Tony Award-nominated actor and a member of New York City, New York theater troupe the Negro Ensemble Company.
- January 23, 1946 - Susan L. Taylor is an African American editor, writer, and journalist.
- February 14, 1946 - Gregory Oliver Hines was an African-American actor, singer, dancer and choreographer.
- March 5, 1946 - Michael Warren an American TV actor and former college basketball player.
- March 15, 1946 - Bobby Lee Bonds was an American right fielder in Major League Baseball.
- April 9, 1946 - Nathan Colbert Jr. former American Major League Baseball player.
- April 13, 1946 - Al Greene is an African American singer, best known for recording a series of soul hit singles in the early 1970s.
- April 21, 1946 - Le Tari was an American actor who appeared in movies and on television.
- April 27, 1946 - Marcella Lowery an American actress.
- May 4, 1946 - Renee Powell an American professional golfer who played on the U.S.-based LPGA Tour.
- May 5, 1946 - James Milton "Jim" "the Dragon" Kelly was an American athlete, actor, and martial artist who rose to fame during the Blaxploitation film era of the early 1970s.
- May 7, 1946 - Thelma Houston an American singer and actress.
- May 18, 1946 - Reggie Jackson a retired American baseball right fielder who played 21 seasons in Major League Baseball.
- July 11, 1946 - Beverly Todd an American actress, producer and writer.
- July 22, 1946 - Danny Glover an African American actor, film director and political activist.
- August 10, 1946 - James Reynolds a long-time American dramatic television actor.
- August 14, 1946 - Antonio Juan Fargas an American actor known for his roles in 1970s blaxploitation movies.
- August 19, 1946 - Charles Frank Bolden, Jr. a retired United States Marine Corps Major General, and former NASA astronaut.
- August 26, 1946 - Valerie Simpson were a husband-and-wife songwriting-production team (Ashford & Simpson) and recording artists.
- September 2, 1946 - Billy Preston was an American musician whose work included R&B, rock, soul, funk and gospel.
- September 7, 1946 - Willie Murphy Crawford was a Major League Baseball outfielder.
- September 28, 1946 - Herbert Jefferson Jr. an African-American film, television, and stage actor.
- October 6, 1946 - Eugene Anthony (Gene) Clines a former outfielder in Major League Baseball.
- October 10, 1946 - Ben Vereen an American actor, dancer, and singer.
- October 13, 1946 - Demond Wilson is an American actor, author, and pastor. He is best known for his role as Lamont Sanford, in the 1970s NBC sitcom Sanford and Son.
- October 14, 1946 - Albert Oliver, Jr. a former Major League Baseball player.
- October 19, 1946 - Kenneth Washington an African-American television and film actor.
- November 10, 1946 - Alaina Reed Hall was an American actress.
- November 20, 1946 - Samuel E. Wright an American film and theater actor and singer.
- December 26, 1946 - Trina Parks an American actress, vocalist, choreographer, principal dancer and dance instructor.
- 1946 - Alan Gerald Cherry an African American who in the 1960s had the courage to join the Latter-day Saint, against opposition.
| Famous Deaths in 1946 |
- January 9, 1946 - Countee Cullen was an African-American poet who was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance.
- January 13, 1946 - Etta McDaniel was an African American actress who appeared in over 60 films between 1933 and 1946.
- June 10, 1946 - Jack Johnson nicknamed the Galveston Giant, who became the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion.
- September 16, 1946 - Mamie Smith - née Robinson was an American vaudeville singer, dancer, pianist and actress, who appeared in several films late in her career. As a vaudeville singer she performed a number of styles, including jazz and blues.
| Famous Weddings in 1946 |
- 1946 - Joe Louis and Marva Trotter were married.
- 1946 - B.B. King and Martha Lee Denton were married.
- 1946 - Bo Diddley and Ethel-mae Smith were married.
- 1946 - Dinah Washington and George Jenkins were married.
Lenox Lounge in New York
The Negro Motorist Green Book was an annual guidebook for African Americans, commonly referred to simply as the "Green Book". It was published from 1936 to 1966, during the Jim Crow era, when discrimination against non-whites was widespread.
Middle-class blacks took to driving in part to avoid segregation on public transportation. Blacks employed as salesmen, entertainers and athletes also traveled frequently for work purposes. African American travelers faced a variety of dangers and inconveniences, such as white-owned businesses refusing to serve them or repair their vehicles, being refused accommodation or food by white-owned hotels, and threats of physical violence and forcible expulsion from whites-only "sundown towns". New York mailman and travel agent Victor H. Green published The Negro Motorist Green Book to tackle such problems and "to give the Negro traveler information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments and to make his trip more enjoyable." The Green Book became "the bible of black travel during Jim Crow." These people were crazy on the for real side! You can bet the Chitlin' Circuit entertainers used the Green Book.
|It's a Party in 1946 |
- 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.
Jitterbugging in Negro juke joint,
Saturday evening, outside Clarksdale, Mississippi
An African American couple dance the jitterbug in front
of a crowd. Los Angeles California.
Fun At The Beach?
The Negro has historically been excluded from every aspect of American life and success, but what about the public beaches, was he made to feel unwelcome there also?
In a word. HELL YEAH. I'm sorry, that's two words.
If a Negro and his family attempted to visit a public beach, he would be met with sure violence from whites.
It wasn't until after the Civil Rights protest in the 60s that the fight for equal access to public accommodations made it illegal to exclude the Negro.
One popular beach that blacks congregated was in Southern California. It was called "Ink Well" for obvious reasons. It served the black community very well.
You're not going to believe how blacks acquired another little piece of paradise in the same area called Bruce's Beach. A wonderful white American brother named George H. Peck who was a wealthy developer and the founder of Manhattan Beach, "bucked" the practice of racial exclusion and set aside two city blocks of the beachfront area and made them available for purchase by African Americans.
Jumping on this incredible opportunity, Willa and Charles Bruce purchased property in the Strand area and built a bathhouse, and dining area that catered to blacks. Peck would also go on to develop "Peck's Pier," the only pier in the area open to African Americans. In time because of increased racial tension and the value of beachfront property rising, the city pushed the blacks out claiming the eminent domain law. This type of exclusion was typical all across America for the Negro.
Singer, drummer and bandleader Roy Milton
| Music in 1946 |
Billboard Top Soul Hits:
Popular Soul Dances:
- January 12, 1946: "Buzz Me" — Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five
- March 16, 1946: "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" — Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra
- March 23, 1946: "Don’t Worry 'bout That Mule" — Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five
- June 29, 1946: "The Gypsy" — The Ink Spots
- July 10, 1946: "Stone Cold Dead in the Market" — Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five
- August 24, 1946: "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" — Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five
- November 23, 1946: "Ain’t That Just Like a Woman" — Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five
- Swing Dance
- The Big Apple is both a partner dance and a circle dance that originated in the Afro-American community of the United States in the beginning of the 20th century.
- The Hully Gully is a type of unstructured line dance often considered to have originated in the sixties, but is also mentioned some forty years earlier as a dance common in the black juke joints in the first part of the twentieth century.
Musical Happenings in 1946:
- Doo-wop is a genre of music that was developed in African-American communities across America in the 1940s, achieving mainstream popularity in the 1950s and early '60s. Built upon vocal harmony, doo-wop was one of the most mainstream, pop-oriented R&B styles of the time. In it's beginning, singers would gather on street corners, and in subways, generally in groups of three to six. They sang a cappella arrangements, and would mimic certain instruments since instruments were little used: the bass singing "bom-bom-bom", a guitar rendered as "shang-a-lang" and brass riffs as "dooooo -wop-wop".
- Billy Eckstine became a solo performer in 1947, with records featuring lush sophisticated orchestrations. Even before folding his band, Eckstine had recorded solo to support it, scoring two million-sellers in 1945 with "Cottage for Sale" and a revival of "Prisoner of Love".
- Louis Jordan's "Let the Good Times Roll" becomes a symbol of "economic prosperity and a new era in (the United States') social history" for all Americans, while for many blacks, the song signified an "end to racial inequalities" due to the cross-cultural mixing that became common during the recently ended World WarII.
- Roy Milton's "R. M. Blues" and Louis Jordan's "Choo-Choo-Ch'boogie" are two of the first black recordings to sell over a million copies.
- The Soul Stirrers record "Lord, I've Tried", a landmark in the transition from jubilee singing to true gospel music.
- The Sphinx Club in Baltimore becomes one of the first minority-owned clubs in the United States.
- The golden age of the jazz big band comes to an end.
Fashion styles in the 1940s - Thelonious Monk, Howard McGhee, Roy Eldridge, and Teddy Hill, Minton's Playhouse
New York, N.Y. (Photograph by William P. Gottlieb)
Rose McClendon Fashion Statement
Black Theater Fashion Statement
At the juke joint stylin
Men Fashions in the 40s
American jazz violinist Eddie South
with a conk hairdo.
Afro Puffs in the 1860s? Absolutely beautiful woman from the island of Nosy-Be, north west Madagascar (1868)
| Fashions and Styles in 1946 |
Immediately after the war, men's suits were broad-shouldered and often double-breasted. As wartime restrictions on fabric eased, trousers became fuller, and were usually styled with cuffs (turn-ups). In America, Esquire introduced the "Bold Look", with wide shoulders, broad lapels, and an emphasis on bold, coordinated accessories. Dark charcoal gray was the usual color, and the era of the gray flannel suit was born. Sport coats generally followed the lines of suit coats. Tartan plaids were fashionable in the early 1950s, and later plaids and checks of all types were worn, as were corduroy jackets with leather buttons and car coats. Khaki-colored pants, called chinos, were worn for casual occasions. Some young men wore tight trousers or jeans, leather jackets, and white tee shirts.
The "New Look" was the style of the 1940s. The signature shape was characterized by a below-mid-calf length, full-skirt, pointed bust, small waist, and rounded shoulder line. The "softness" of the New Look was deceptive; the curved jacket peplum shaped over a high, rounded, curved shoulders, and full skirt of Dior's clothes relied on an inner construction of new interlining materials to shape the silhouette. Throughout the post-war period, a tailored, feminine look was prized and accessories such as gloves and pearls were popular. Tailored suits had fitted jackets with peplums, usually worn with a long, narrow pencil skirt. Day dresses had fitted bodices and full skirts, with jewel or low-cut necklines or Peter Pan collars. At the end of 1945 the demand for nylon stockings was so great that Nylon riots ensued at stores selling the products.
Due to the baby boom, there was a high demand for clothing for children. Children's clothing began to be made to a higher quality, and some even adopted trends popular with teenagers; many boys started wearing jeans to Elementary school. Many girls' and young women's dresses were styled after those of the older women.
- Men's Hairstyles:
The conk, which was derived from congolene, a hair straightener gel made from lye was a hairstyle very popular among African-American men from the 1920s to the 1960s. This hairstyle called for a man with naturally "kinky" hair to have it chemically straightened using a relaxer, sometimes the pure corrosive chemical lye, so that the newly straightened hair could be styled in specific ways. Back in those days, you were cool to have a conk job done.
- Women's Hairstyles:
The hot comb was an invention developed in France as a way for women with coarse curly hair to achieve a fine straight look traditionally modeled by historical Egyptian women. However, it was Annie Malone who first patented this tool, while her protégé and former worker, Madam CJ Walker widened the teeth. Today, hot combs are still used by many African-American beauticians and families as an alternative to chemical hair straightening. Many African American and women of other races, still utilize hot combs because this form of straightening is temporary and less damaging to the hair if done properly.
- Braiding Hairstyles:
Historically, hair braiding was not a paid trade. Since the African diaspora, in the 20th and 21st centuries it has developed as a multi-million dollar business in such regions as the United States and western Europe. An individual's hair groomer was usually someone whom they knew closely. Sessions included shampooing, oiling, combing, braiding, and twisting, plus adding accessories.
Dang it! We're so Tired of all the Hate|
We can't wait to leave this wicked South,
and make the big bucks in the North!
Will our white American brothers love us there?
What type of employment awaits the Negro in the 1900s?
FSA photo of cropper family chopping the weeds
from cotton near White Plains, in Georgia Postmarked 1912
90% of Negroes still lived in the South up until the late 1910s.
King Cotton was still a big source of income for blacks. These workers were hired as temporary help. Many were tenant farmers, renting a piece of land and some of their tools and supplies, and paying the rent at the end of the growing season with a portion of their harvest. White and black farm laborers were paid comparable wages, and rental rates. Blacks didn't exclusively work in the cotton fields, for example some blacks worked in the Turpentine industry.
"Dipping and scraping pine trees. Turpentine industry in Florida." Postmarked 1912
Whites were much more likely to own land as opposed to blacks. Black children were unlikely to be in school because they helped the parents in the fields to support the family and also because of a lack of good quality schools. Funds that were intended for black schools went to white schools instead in the form of raising teacher salaries and per-pupil funding while reducing class size. Black schools suffered at this expense. Separate but Equal was a big lie, because it was anything but equal.
The government didn't have a special watchdog organization to enforce these racist laws, and the requirement of equality was not enforced. Black children never really had a fair chance.
Boll weevil ruins Cotton Crops in the 1920s
Of course hindsight is 20-20. But wouldn't it have been nice if during slavery someone would have thought to travel to Mexico and bring back the Cotton boll weevil to transplant them into Southern cotton crops?
Cotton boll weevil |
Where were you when we really
needed you, pre-1863?
A little integration of the boll weevil and Mr. King Cotton would have been a good thing for the Negro. We wonder what kind of effect that would have had on chattel slavery?
Well what the heck is a boll weevil?
The boll weevil is a beetle which feeds on cotton buds and flowers. Thought to be native to Central America, it migrated into the United States from Mexico in the late 19th century and had infested all U.S. cotton-growing areas by the 1920s, devastating the industry and the people working in the American south.
Southern blacks were tied to the cotton fields in the early 1900s, but after 1914, many were fed up and wanted to try something new and different. By then they were open for a change because of restrictive Jim Crow laws and the boll weevil destroyed many crops, putting them out of work. They decided to take the plunge, a new and exciting life for them. Their move was called the Great Migration. News had spread to these poor black Southerners about better opportunities in the North, so many of them packed up their belongings and bid farewell to the South, never looking back.
During World War I, blacks were very much desired in the workplace. The United States had a quota for Colored soldiers to enlist for service. Blacks filled the quota very quickly, and many had to be turned back. With white men fighting in the war, this left openings in industry for blacks to fill. How did they do? Employers loved them and wanted more. They proved themselves to be excellent workers. This is probably one of the main reasons for so many riots when the white soldiers returned to America because blacks had taken their jobs. So by the early 1900s, we have proven ourselves to be excellent and courageous soldiers and dependable workers at home.
In other cases, some Negroes were recruited to travel North by agents of the businesses who would pay their fare. In some cases, these poor blacks were tricked into traveling a great distance for jobs only to discover they would be hired as strikebreakers, which was a very dangerous undertaking. Money was better for the Negro in the North, but in many cases, racism persisted with many riots happening. Many unions in the North had explicit rules barring membership by black workers.
Blacks had various successes at different job locations, for example when the auto industry took off, Ford Motor Co. hired many blacks to work in its automobile plant, but other auto plants often excluded them. Jobs were not a certainty for the Negro; he had to stay alerted and knock on many doors. But blacks were making a little advancement, by 1940 there were more than 200,000 African Americans in the CIO, many of them officers of union locals.
A. Philip Randolph|
When the war broke out a very special man by the name of A. Philip Randolph petitioned President Roosevelt for jobs in the Defense plants which previously had been reserved for whites. Randolph had a special card up his sleeve in the form of 100,000 peaceful marchers on Washington to protest if Roosevelt declined.
Roosevelt half-heartedly gave in and created a new program for blacks called the Fair Employment Practice Committee which was designed to monitor the hiring practices of companies. The Committee did accomplish many blacks being hired into the Defense departments at very nice wages but closed down later because of a lack of funding from the U.S. Government.
After World War II, The G.I. Bill which was a law that provided a range of benefits for returning World War II veterans. Benefits included low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans to start a business, cash payments of tuition and living expenses to attend university, high school or vocational education, as well as one year of unemployment compensation was a big boon for whites and was a major factor in the creation of the white American middle class.
But sadly because of racial inequality, many of the benefits of the G.I. bill were not granted to black soldiers. This is because "at the very moment when a wide array of public policies was providing most white Americans with valuable tools to advance their social welfare—insure their old age, get good jobs, acquire economic security, build assets, and gain middle-class status—most black Americans were left behind or left out." It seems like we can get off the ground with these people, but we never give up. Also the black middle class failed to keep pace with the white middle class because blacks had fewer opportunities to earn college degrees.
In time, it became critical to have a college degree, for better pay wages which many whites were now working toward with the help of the G.I. Bill, but blacks were left behind in dying trades or just making it the best way they could because of racial discrimination and National leaders doing absolutely nothing to help.
Once they returned home after the war, blacks faced not only discrimination but also poverty, which confronted most blacks during the 1940s and 1950s and represented another barrier to harnessing the benefits of the G.I. Bill, as poverty made seeking an education problematic to while labor and income were needed at home. Banks and mortgage agencies routinely refused loans to blacks, making the G.I. Bill even less effective for blacks.
In addition to the other obstacles, gaining admission to universities was no easy task for blacks on the G.I. Bill. Most universities had segregationist principles underlying their admissions policies, utilizing either official or unofficial quotas. Those blacks that were prepared for college level work and gained access to predominantly white universities still experienced racism on campus.
During the 70s and 80s, the number of employed blacks increased. The civil rights movement played a huge role in this development. There were heavy gains in blue-collar jobs, such as steel, automobile production, electrical and non-electrical machinery, appliances, food and tobacco manufacturing, and textiles, and also white-collar occupations, where the four major subcategories-professional and technical, managerial and administrative, sales, and clerical increased very sharply.
The black labor force by the late 1990s, approximately sixty percent of these were white-collar sales and clerical personnel; many in this group were non-union workers with limited benefits and wages. However, another twenty percent of the black labor force, nearly three million workers, was classified as professional and technical employees and administrators. The percentage of the black labor force in the blue-collar field declined.
So what type of work did blacks do in the 1900s?
There were black doctors, dentist, newspaper editors, plumbers, mailman, teachers, singers, scientist, athletes, Pullman porters, laborers, politicians, judges, lawyers, mill workers, welders, domestic help, authors, factory workers, customer service, business owners, policemen, firemen, and every other profession you could think of. Sadly, their numbers and presence weren't as high as white Americans because of entrenched discrimination against the black race. It's in the history books, read it for yourself.
Blacks have historically had a harder time than other races being employed in America, ever since emancipation, and for the most part it has to do with racism. We're not fooled into believing any different. But we don't let this stop us and continue to push on. Our amazing journey has had many barriers and roadbloocks every step of the way.
The Fair Employment Practice Committee of the 40s and the Civil Rights movement helped a bit, but after slavery and the following Jim Crow years, racism had become deeply entrenched in the American workforce. It's not out in the open as it was during Jim Crow days but today more subtle and hidden, but just as hurtful, degrading and discouraging. But to our credit, blacks seem always to find a way. Truly remarkable American people, and if it were possible, would make our battered ancestors who sailed deep seas, shout for joy in their graves.
African Americans in the Twentieth Century
African Americans and the G.I. Bill
Blacks in the 1970's
Social and Economic Issues of the 1980s and 1990s
What The Negro Achieved in Industry
United States Census for African Americans
in the 1940s
| Our Community in 1946|
Newsworthy Events in the Black Community:
- 1946 - New York Mayor William O'Dwyer proclaims "Bill Robinson Day" in honor of legendary tap dancer Bill Robinson.
- 1946 - The U.S. Supreme Court in Morgan v. Virginia rules that segregation in interstate bus travel is unconstitutional.
Analysis: You don't say!
- 1940s - The Pepsi Cola company begins.
Trivia: Originally created and developed by pharmacist Caleb Bradham in 1893 and introduced as Brad's Drink, it was later renamed Pepsi-Cola on August 28, 1898. Bradham put the drink on the market in 1903. In the 1940s, President of Pepsi Walter Mack noticed that blacks were not being represented in advertising for soft drinks. He felt these were untapped dollars that Pepsi should capitalize. At this same time Coke had a reluctance to hire blacks. So Mack hired an all black advertising team headed by Hennan Smith, who was an advertising executive "from the Negro newspaper field." Henna portrayed blacks in a very positive light in his ads, and Mack's intuition was correct, Pepsi's sales skyrocketed, even beating Coke for the first time in Chicago. But here's the sad news. Pepsi was becoming very popular, and the white affiliates of the soft drink company didn't want it associated with black people, resulting in President Walter Mack making the following statement:
"We don't want it to become known as a nigger drink."
After Mack left the company in 1950, support for the black sales team faded and it was sadly cut. Of course, that was many years ago, and I won't be thinking about it the next time I pop open a can, but it's just good to know your history.
- The United States Population is 131,669,275 with a total of 12,865,518 being African Americans.
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