Black comedian/comedic actors today rank as some of the most successful and respected stars of the film, stage and television comedy firmament: Eddie Murphy, Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Leslie Jones, Kevin Hart, Redd Fox, Whoopi Goldberg, Dick Gregory, Wanda Sykes, Nipsey Russell and the list goes on and on.
But this was not always the case. For the first half to two thirds of the 20th century there were very few African American comedians or c…
Paul Robeson was a famous African-American athlete, singer, actor, and advocate for the civil rights of people around the world. During the first half of the 20th Century, he rose to international prominence in a time when segregation was legal in the United States, and Black people were being lynched by racist mobs, especially in the South.
In 1963 Sidney Poitier became the first African American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role creating the character of Homer Smith in Lilies of the Field.
His 40+ year career as an Oscar-winning star and film director broke down barriers for actors of color, becoming a Hollywood leading man at a time before black Americans were even granted full civil rights. He also opened doors for black directors after stepping behind the camera to direct &nbs…
Dorothy Jean Dandridge (November 9, 1922 – September 8, 1965) was an American film and theatre actress, singer, and dancer. She is one of the earliest black movie stars and the first woman of color to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, which was for her performance in Carmen Jones (1954).
by Bill Reed
In the first half of the 20th century these eight, great black jazz musicians, who helped to create one of America’s unique contributions to the musical canon, come alive in the wonderful posters, photographs and promotional pieces that are part of WalterFilms’ collection of African Americana. Jazz, a music genre that originated in the African American community, is known for its soulfulness and complex musical variations. Click on an image to view offering.