CATEGORY: Black History

Three Legendary African American Female Vocalists

Mahalia Jackson, Marian Anderson, and Odetta are three legendary female vocalists who established the African American woman in the first half of the 20th Century as, not only a significant voice in the Civil Rights Movement, but a defining inspiration for both female and male vocalists.

FOUR OF HOLLYWOOD’S CLASSIC BLACK COMEDIC ACTORS

COMEDIC BACKGROUND 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 – African American Superstar

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.

Sidney Poitier – African American Landmark Actor & Director

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 Dandridge – Hollywood’s First African-American Sex Symbol

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). 

SIX GREAT AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSICALS

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African American Musical Theater Background: Before the turn of the 20thth Century the idea of Black Musical Theater was a second-hand treatment of black life created by European-American performers, performing stereotyped “coon songs” in blackface.  This began to change as African American composers and lyrists such as Will Marion Cook and Bob Cole brought black-written musical comedy to Broadway in 1898. Cook’s Clorindy, or The Origin of the…

8 GREAT BLACK JAZZ MUSICIANS

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. MILES DAVIS Backgroun…

Collecting Vintage African-Americana / Black Memorabilia

JOSEPHINE BAKER  – above photograph from “La Creole” (1934) Walter Film.com offers a range of vintage African-American Collectibles or Black Memorabilia that celebrate the achievements of actors, artists, musicians, athletes, politicians, and other members of the black community. Vintage African Americana (vintage original star photographs, posters, lobby cards, film scripts, newspaper articles, rare books and advertising or marketing collectibles)  identified with all types of black celebrit…