African-American Culture: Media, Sport, Film, Music
This boxing archive has a page on Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion of the twentieth century. The site has some great photos of Johnson before and after his success. While limited, a useful place for look.
From the end of slavery, until Jackie Robinson heralded the fracturing of the color bar in the 1940s, American baseball was segregated. This museum site contains photos video and audio exploring how the Negro Leagues, and the players such as Satchel Paige, who provided the star power - worked and played within the world of segregtion.
Guest edited by Alain Locke this edition of the magazine provides a useful primer to the New Negro arts movement of the 1920s, spearheaded by Locke himself.
Web version of the 1997 exhibition exploring the art & politics of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. How did the artists/poets position themselves as 'New Negroes' and/or modernists? A useful introduction.
Claude McKay was a Jamaican-American poet and novelist. This poem was partly written in response to the 'red summer' of 1919 which saw a wave of racial violence sweep the United States. McKay's defiant poem marked one of the first sparks of what became known as the Harlem Renaissance, of which he was a key figure.
Poems from 10 figures who were part of the Harlem Renaissance. Worth noting that two of these, James Weldon Johnson and W.E.B. Du Bois, were also active in the NAACP.
By 1938, Joe Louis had become the first black heavyweight boxing champion since Jack Johnson. As the Nazi state rose in power through the 1930s it took to using sporting contests as opportunities to express racial superiority. Louis had been beaten by Schmeling in 1936, so when the two faced a rematch in 1938, for the world title, the fight took on a wider symbolism. This documentary explores the way the fight reflected and challenged contemporary ideas about race and freedom.
The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated in 1922. It took until 1939 for the monument to the 'great emancipator' to become inextricably linked to the struggle for black equality. 24 years before the March on Washington, opera singer Marion Anderson held an open air concert there after her plan to sing in the Constitution Hall was blocked by its owners. Anderson's concert played heavily on the symbolism and this audio of her introduction by Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior (and a member of the NAACP) shows how the event was conceived.
University of Pennsylvania's site on Marian Anderson contains the programme and photos of her historic concert at the Lincoln Memorial on April 9th 1939.
Destination Freedom launched in 1948, a weekly series of 30 minute radio dramas, sponsored by the Chicago Defender, that showcased the lives and accomplishments of prominent African Americans - from Louis Armstrong, Joe Lewis and Duke Ellington, to the 18th century icon of the anti-slavery movement Crispus Attucks and Harriet Tubman. The programme's founder and writer, Richard Durham, described it as radio that was "rebellious, biting, scornful and cocky". This site contains the first 45 episodes - historical biographies in themselves, but also an insight into the role of the radio in the struggle for black equality in the 1940s.
This 25-minute tv programme provides a biography of Owens by his friends and associates. Interesting for both its subject and the way in which he was portrayed.
T.A.M.I. (Teen Age Music International) is a 1964 concert film released by American International Pictures. It includes performances by numerous popular rock and roll and R&B musicians from the United States and England. Brown's performance lasts for just under 20 minutes and includes the staples of his early rhythm & blues success including 'Out of Sight' and 'Please Please,Please'. Worth watching for the stagecraftas well as the singing, Brown shows off his dance moves and acts out his famous 'stage collapse'in which, exhausted by the performance, he would collapse mid song,only to recover.
Sam & Dave, Booker T & the MGs, the Mar-Keys, filmed on the Norwegian leg of the Stax/Volt records European tour, this clip gives a glimpse of the raw live style that characterised performances by may Stax artists.
A useful collection of sources dealing with Muhammad Ali's battle with the US Government over his decision not to fight in Vietnam which cost him some 4 years of his career.