When the Westboro Baptist Church staged an anti-LGBT protest near Howard University last week, students weren’t having it. Dozens of HU students showed up with signs and rainbow flags to demonstrate against Westboro, and the hashtag #BlackLoveMatters took off. Well done. (via Huffington Post)
Joyce Bryant (October 14, 1928)
• Joyce was born in Oakland, CA and raised in San Francisco.
• She was the oldest of 8 kids and raised as a Seventh Day Adventist.
• She eloped at 14 but the marriage ended the same day.
• In 1946, while visiting a cousin in L.A., she agreed to sing at a local club on a dare. The club owner later offered her $25 to sing on stage.
• During the 1940s, she began to perform regularly at different night clubs.
• Eventually she was booked on the same bill as Josephine Baker. To standout she dyed her hair silver using radiator paint
• In 1952, Joyce became the first black entertainer to sing at the Miami Beach Hotel despite KKK protests.
• In 1954, she became the first black singer to perform at the Casino Royal in Washington D.C.
• By the late 1950s, Joyce had grown tired of her than lifestyle. She disliked the men that frequented the clubs she performed at.
• She was once beaten by a man for rejecting his advances.
• In 1955, she quit performing.
• She devoted herself to the Seventh Day Adventist Church and enrolled in Oakwood College in Huntsville, AL.
• She traveled throughout the South and became angry at the discrimination she saw.
• She organized fundraisers for blacks so they could buy food, medicine, and clothing.
• Joyce also helped her church raise money by performing. She wore no makeup and her natural hair.
• She often met with Martin Luther King Jr. and was inspired to ask her church to take a stand against racism.
• Her church refused, which led her to return to the entertainment industry in the 60s.
• She trained with vocal teacher Frederick Wilkerson at Howard University. This led to her winning a contract with the New York City Opera.
• Joyce toured internationally with French and Vienna Opera companies.
• In the 1980s, she became a vocal instructor and worked with people like Jennifer Holliday, Raquel Welch, and Phyllis Hyman.
Howard University student members of the NAACP with nooses around their necks in silent protest at the National Crime Conference, Washington, D.C., December 1934; conference organizers refused to address lynching as a crime.
Photographer Ra’Sontai Watson, a freshman, Psychology student at Howard University and founder of Terres Noir Photography, shot a collection of color block images that explores the many beautiful shades of blackness at Howard University.