vbgmen

Cecil Williams in the 1950s - and today. I am taking the liberty of posting Mr. Williams again so people can see him now. From my original post: I thought about this searing, beautiful picture today in light of recent events in the United States. I, like many others, shared it a few years ago on my blog, but it was only today that I finally found the name of the man in the photograph! His name is Cecil Williams and, he happens to be a photographer himself. The photo was probably taken by Mr. Williams mentor, John Goodwin, who joined him for a talk at Richland Library in Columbia, South Carolina in September 2013 about their experiences as black photographers in South Carolina during Jim Crow and the Civil Rights era. Mr. Williams, an Orangeburg, South Carolina native was a correspondent for Jet Magazine when he was only 15 and made national news after shooting some crucial pictures after the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre. This picture of Mr. Williams currently hangs over the water fountain on the Garden level of the Richland Library in Columbia, South Carolina.

#wwsicon from @vintageblackglamour Our beloved Langston Hughes was born 113 years ago today in Joplin, Missouri. I am going to inundate you with photos and links to his poetry today, so I hope you’re ready. This photo was taken in New York City in 1947 by his friend, the legendary French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. The men were once roommates in the early 1930s in Mexico along with the Mexican poet Andres Henestrosa. According to Arnold Rampersad’s biography on Mr. Hughes, he called their place “a vivienda, or apartment” but Mr. Cartier-Bresson insisted that “It was no apartment. It was a shack. We lived in a very humble place near the Lagunilla market and the little bars where the mariachi bands played. It was very cheap because we didn’t have any money. We pooled what we had and worked a little and entertained our girl friends there and enjoyed life a great deal.” Photo: Magnum Photos. #vintageblackglamour #vbgbook #vbgmen #LangstonHughes #HenriCartierBresson #poets #photographers #1940s #NYC #Mexico #BlackHistoryMonth

"Education begins at the home. You can’t blame the school for not putting into your child what you don’t put into him." - Geoffrey Holder. The legendary dancer Carmen de Lavallade shared this beautiful photo on her Facebook page of her husband, the legendary dancer, actor, painter and director Geoffrey Holder with their son, Leo. While I understand that Mr. Holder is retired, Ms. Carmen de Lavallade is still performing masterfully today! Her latest show, “As I Remember It” will have its world premiere at Jacob’s Pillow in Massachusetts in June 2014 and will tour nationally through 2015. You can visit her website for more information. http://www.carmendelavallade.com/current/ 

I thought about this searing, beautiful picture today in light of recent events in the United States. I, like many others, shared it a few years ago on my blog, but it was only today that I finally found the name of the man in the photograph! His name is Cecil Williams and, he happens to be a photographer himself. The photo was probably taken by Mr. Williams mentor, John Goodwin, who joined him for a talk at Richland Library in Columbia, South Carolina in September 2013 about their experiences as black photographers in South Carolina during Jim Crow and the Civil Rights era. Mr. Williams, an Orangeburg, South Carolina native was a correspondent for Jet Magazine when he was only 15 and made national news after shooting some crucial pictures after the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre. This picture of Mr. Williams currently hangs over the water fountain on the Garden level of the Richland Library in Columbia, South Carolina.

I thought I’d share one more picture from this extraordinary collection that will soon be featured in an exhibition in London. I think some of these fabulous vintage Black people, like boxing champion Peter Jackson, are worthy of their own movie. Where are you Idris Elba? Jamie Foxx? From The Guardian:

"Peter Jackson, December 2, 1889. Born in 1860 in St Croix, then the Danish West Indies, Jackson was a boxing champion who spent long periods of time touring Europe. In England, he staged the famous fight against Jem Smith at the Pelican Club in 1889. In 1888 he claimed the title of Australian heavyweight champion. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Well, as you know, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born 86 years ago today in Atlanta, Georgia. In January and February 1967, Dr. King wrote the first draft of his final book, “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” in Ocho Rios, Jamaica at a rented, secluded house with no telephone. He was joined by his wife, Coretta Scott King, his aide, Rev. Bernard Lee, and his secretary, Dora McDonald. The pictures I used for this collage and more appeared in the June 1967 issue of Ebony magazine. According to the article, Dr. King responded to news reports about him taking a vacation by saying, “I’m working as hard as ever. I’d like a vacation when I finish the book.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Harry Belafonte share a good laugh together. Dr. King was born 85 years ago today in Atlanta, Georgia. This photo was released by Alfred A. Knopf in 2012 upon the publication of Mr. Belafonte’s memoir, “My Song.” Mr. Belafonte always put his money where his mouth was when it came to the civil rights movement. Among numerous financial commitments he made to the movement, he raised $50,000 in bail money to get Dr. King out of jail in Birmingham, Alabama.

Happy 88th Birthday Harry Belafonte​! I said it last year on your birthday and I’ll say it again -Thank you Mr. Belafonte for more than 50 years of art and activism behind the scenes in Hollywood and on the frontlines of the civil rights movement. Thank you for speaking up early and often and for still speaking up and enlightening us today.

In this photo, Mr. Belafonte is on the set of ‘The Strollin’ Twenties,’ a 1965 television special he produced, with a script by Langston Hughes. The show, a celebration of the Harlem Renaissance, featured Duke Ellington, Diahann Carroll and other luminaries and aired on February 21, 1966. Photo: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images.

Langston Hughes (shown as a waiter in a Washington, D.C. hotel in 1925) wrote these words in September 1966: “Since most Negro writers from Chesnutt to Leroi Jones have found it hard to make a literary living, or to derive from other labor sufficient funds to sustain creative leisure, their individual output has of necessity often been limited in quantity, and sometimes in depth and quality as well - since Negroes seldom have time to loaf and invite their souls. When a man or woman must teach all day in a crowded school, or type in an office, or write news stories, read proofs and help edit a newspaper, creative prose does not always flow brilliantly or freely at night, or during that early morning hour torn from sleep before leaving for work. Yet some people ask, “Why aren’t there more Negro writers?” Or, “Why doesn’t Owen Dodson produce more books?” Or “how come So-and-So takes so long to complete his second novel”? I can tell you why. So-and-So hasn’t got the money. Unlike most promising white writers, he has never sold a single word to motion pictures, television or radio. He has never been asked to write a single well-playing soap commercial. He is not in touch with the peripheral sources of literary income that enable others more fortunate to take a year off and go somewhere and write.”

Our beloved Langston Hughes was born 113 years ago today in Joplin, Missouri. I am going to inundate you with photos and links to his poetry today, so I hope you’re ready. This photo was taken in New York City in 1947 by his friend, the legendary French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. The men were once roommates in the early 1930s in Mexico along with the Mexican poet Andres Henestrosa. According to Arnold Rampersad’s biography on Mr. Hughes, he called their place “a vivienda, or apartment” but Mr. Cartier-Bresson insisted that “It was no apartment. It was a shack. We lived in a very humble place near the Lagunilla market and the little bars where the mariachi bands played. It was very cheap because we didn’t have any money. We pooled what we had and worked a little and entertained our girl friends there and enjoyed life a great deal.” Photo: Magnum Photos

Charles “Tarzan” Cooper, shown circa 1939, was a member of the New York Rens basketball team - one of the first all-Black basketball teams in the United States. All-Black teams existed up until around 1950 when the NBA integrated their teams The New-York Historical Society is sponsoring a scholarship contest that was inspired by their upcoming exhibition on The Black Fives, which is about the history of early 20th-century African American basketball teams. Photo: The Black Fives Foundation/New York Historical Society.