October 3, 1954 Alfred Charles “Al” Sharpton, Jr., minister, civil rights activist, and radio talk show host, was born in Brooklyn, New York. Sharpton preached his first sermon at the age of four and toured with Mahalia Jackson. While still in high school, Sharpton started promoting concerts and was hired by soul singer James Brown […]
August 27, 1979 Norman W. Lewis, painter, scholar, and educator, died. Lewis was born July 23, 1909 in Harlem, New York. Always interested in art, he had amassed a large art history library by the time he was a young man. His early paintings were mostly figurative, including “Meeting Place” (1930), “The Yellow Hat” (1936), […]
July 27, 1984 Clarence LaVaughn “C. L.” Franklin, minister and civil rights activist, died. Franklin was born January 22, 1915 in Sunflower County, Mississippi. At the age of 16, Franklin became a preacher working the black preaching circuit before settling at churches in Memphis, Tennessee and later Buffalo, New York.
March 12, 1988 Romare Bearden, artist and writer, died. Bearden was born September 2, 1911 in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 1935, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in science and education from New York University. He went on to study at the Arts Student League from 1936 to 1937. From 1942 to 1945, Bearden […]
March 8, 2009 Willie King, blues guitarist, composer and singer, died. King was born March 18, 1943 in Prairie Point, Mississippi. Prior to recording, he worked at many occupations. King later became active with the Civil Rights Movement, which inspired him to write socially-conscious blues songs. He described his music as struggling blues because of […]
March 1, 1927 Harold George “Harry” Belafonte, Jr., musician, actor and social activist, was born in New York City. Belafonte served in the United States Navy during World War II and after his discharge began his music career singing in clubs to pay for acting classes.
February 21, 1992 Eva Jessye, the first black woman to receive international distinction as a professional choral conductor, died. Jessye was born January 20, 1895 in Coffeyville, Kansas. She studied choral music and music theory at Western University, a now defunct historically Black college, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Langston University in […]
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