Harold Jackman (1901-1961) the public schoolteacher and patron of the arts best known as a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance, in an undated photograph (likely 1920s) by Max Ewing and in 1940 by his friend Carl Van Vechten. Mr. Jackman was born in London to a mother from Barbados and a German father and arrived in the United States as a toddler. He earned a bachelor’s degree from New York University in 1923 and a master’s degree from Columbia University in 1927. Mr. Jackman is usually noted for his relationships with Harlem Renaissance writers and artists, especially Countee Cullen. Mr. Jackman and Mr. Cullen met while attending DeWitt Clinton High School in New York City and remained friends until Mr. Cullen’s death in 1946. Arna Bontemps once noted how they were commonly referred to as the “David and Jonathan of the Harlem Twenties” because of their close relationship and Langston Hughes famously wrote Mr. Bontemps that he was still laughing at the headline in a black newspaper that ran after Mr. Cullen and Mr. Jackman sailed to Paris just two months after his lavish wedding to Yolande DuBois, daughter of W.E.B. DuBois, “Groom Sails With Best Man.”

Mr. Jackman maintained his position as a high school social studies teacher in the New York public school system for more than thirty years. During that time, he built an impressive memorabilia collection which theater programs, sheet music, manuscripts and audio tapes. He began donating portions of his collection to Atlanta University in the 1920s and encouraged influential friends like Langston Hughes to do the same. The collection Mr. Jackman amassed along with his vast personal letter collection have been invaluable to later scholars of African American culture and the Harlem Renaissance. He also helped Mr. Van Vechten build the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection at Yale University. He was also a member of the executive board and the historian for the Negro Actors Guild, an organization co-founded by Fredi Washington (best known for her role in the 1934 film version of “Imitation of Life”) for the benefit of black performers. When Mr. Cullen died at the age of 42 in 1946, Mr. Jackman requested that his collection be named the Countee Cullen Memorial Collection. It was renamed the Countee Cullen-Harold Jackman Collection when Mr. Jackman died in 1961. Photos: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Lack of female sources in NY Times front-page stories highlights need for change

In an analysis of 352 front-page stories from the Times in January and February 2013, we found that Times reporters quoted 3.4 times as many male sources as female sources.

Read more at Poynter


I assembled a few of my most creative pals for a trip to NYC this week to attend our 2013 Custom Culture finale events. Tay Jardine, Charlavail, and Sam Desantis have been tagging along with me to the welcome BBQ for all of our high school art student finalists, the final judging at the Whitney museum, and our graffiti tour of Brooklyn yesterday. See more photos from the trip on our Custom Culture Facebook page. -amanda

photos by sam desantis

I figured out why I never liked math. I’m not comfortable operating in a system where I don’t understand the underlying structural drivers behind why I’m doing something and how what I’m doing fits into the big picture. I know those things exist in math, but certainly nobody in the education system ever thought to try teaching them to me. In school, we learn equations and memorize laws, but we’re never taught where those equations come from or why those laws exist or even how we discovered them. I was never satisfied with being handed small pieces of the puzzle and never shown how they fit together, so I got bored. I was good at math, but I hated it. What was the point if the pieces never fit together?