“The Negro Digest” was first published during WW2 around 1942-43 by John H. Johnson. He was born in 1918 and died around 2005. Johnson was the son of 2 slaves, and eventually grew up to be the founder of both Jet & Ebony Magazines, as well as Fashion Fair. What’s interesting is that, I read somewhere that he repeated the 8th grade, and this was not because he was left back, but because there were no negro high school were he was living at the time. Who would have ever thought that his publishing company, would become the number one African American publishing company in the world! They say he was most remembered for his 1955 decision to publish pictures of Emmett Till’s open casket. For those who do not know, Emmett was a 14 year old boy who was visiting Mississippi to see some relatives. A Caucasian woman accused Emmett of whistling at her (which was a big no no at that time), and as a result, he was beaten beyond recognition by the KKK (if I am not mistaken). If you want to read more on Emmett (warning… photo is graphic! However, it is the unfortunate truth of what it was to be black in the not so long ago 1950′s) click here.
Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor III (December 2, 1940 – December 10, 2005) was an American comedian, actor, and writer. Pryor was known for his unflinching examinations of racism and customs in modern life, and was renowned for his frequent use of colorful, vulgar, and profane language and racial epithets. He reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations and storytelling style. He is widely regarded as one of the most important stand-up comedians of all time: Jerry Seinfeld called Pryor “The Picasso of our profession”; Bob Newhart has called Pryor “the seminal comedian of the last 50 years.”
His body of work includes such concert movies and recordings as Richard Pryor: Live and Smokin’ (1971), That Nigger’s Crazy (1974), …Is It Something I Said? (1975), Bicentennial Nigger (1976), Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979), Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (1982), and Richard Pryor: Here and Now (1983). He also starred in numerous films as an actor, usually in comedies such as Silver Streak, but occasionally in dramatic roles, such as Paul Schrader’s film Blue Collar and roles like Gus Gorman in Superman III (1983). He collaborated on many projects with actor Gene Wilder. He won an Emmy Award in 1973, and five Grammy Awards in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1981, and 1982. In 1974, he also won two American Academy of Humor awards and the Writers Guild of America Award.
Born in Springfield, Illinois, Pryor grew up in Peoria in his grandmother’s brothel, where his mother, Gertrude Leona (née Thomas), practiced prostitution. His father, LeRoy “Buck Carter” Pryor was a former bartender, boxer, and World War II veteran who worked as his wife’s pimp. After his mother abandoned him when he was ten, he was raised primarily by his grandmother Marie Carter, a violent woman who would beat him for any of his eccentricities.
He was expelled from school at the age of 14. His first professional performance was playing drums at a night club. Pryor served in the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1960, but spent virtually the entire stint in an army prison. According to a 1999 profile about Pryor in The New Yorker, Pryor was incarcerated for an incident that occurred while stationed in Germany. Annoyed that a white soldier was a bit too amused at the racially charged sections of Douglas Sirk’s movie Imitation of Life, Pryor and some other black soldiers beat and stabbed the white soldier, though not fatally. According to Live on Sunset Boulevard, when he was nineteen, he worked at a Mafia-owned nightclub as the MC. On hearing that they would not pay a stripper, he attempted to hold up the owners with a cap pistol. The owners, amazingly enough, thought he was joking and were greatly amused.
During this time, Pryor’s girlfriend gave birth to a girl named Renee. Years later, however, he found out that she was not his child. In 1960, he married Patricia Price and they had one child together, Richard, Jr. (his first child and first son). They divorced in 1961.
In 1963, Pryor moved to New York City and began performing regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Allen. On one of his first nights, he opened for singer and pianist Nina Simone at New York’s Village Gate. Simone recalls Pryor’s bout of performance anxiety:
“He shook like he had malaria, he was so nervous. I couldn’t bear to watch him shiver, so I put my arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down. The next night was the same, and the next, and I rocked him each time.”
Inspired by Bill Cosby, Pryor began as a middlebrow comic, with material far less controversial than what was to come. Soon, he began appearing regularly on television variety shows, such as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show. His popularity led to success as a comic in Las Vegas. The first five tracks on the 2005 compilation CD Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966–1974), recorded in 1966 and 1967, capture Pryor in this era.
Jones had his acting career beginnings at the Ramsdell Theatre in Manistee, Michigan. In 1953 he was a stage carpenter. During the 1955 – 1957 seasons he was an actor and stage manager. He performed his first portrayal of Shakespeare’s Othello in this theater in 1955.
His first film role was as a young and trim Lt. Lothar Zogg, the B-52 bombardier in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb in 1964, which was more famous for the work of Peter Sellers and Slim Pickens. His first big role came with his portrayal of boxer Jack Jefferson in the film version of the Broadway play The Great White Hope, which was based on the life of boxer Jack Johnson. For his role, Jones was nominated Best Actor by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, making him the second African-American male performer (following Sidney Poitier) to receive a nomination.
In 1969, Jones participated in making test films for a proposed children’s television series called Sesame Street; these shorts, combined with animated segments, were shown to groups of children to gauge the effectiveness of the then-groundbreaking Sesame Street format. As cited by production notes included in the DVD release Sesame Street: Old School 1969-1974, the short that had the greatest impact with test audiences was one showing bald-headed Jones counting slowly to ten. This and other segments featuring Jones were eventually aired as part of the Sesame Street series itself when it debuted later in 1969 and Jones is often cited as the first celebrity guest on that series, although a segment with Carol Burnett was the first to actually be broadcast.
In the early 1970s, James appeared with Diahann Carroll in a film called Claudine, the story of a woman who raises her six children alone after two failed marriages and one “almost” marriage. Ruppert, played by Jones, is a garbage man who has deep problems of his own. The couple somehow overcomes each other’s pride and stubbornness and gets married.
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On October 16, after an afternoon meeting at the White House with Booker T. Washington, President Theodore Roosevelt informally invited Washington to remain and eat dinner with him, making Washington the first black American to dine at the White House with the president. A furor arose over the social implications of Roosevelt’s casual act.
Medgar Evers was born on July 2, 1925 in Decatur, Mississippi. His parents were Jessie and James Evers. Evers was the fourth of six siblings, Eva Lee and Gene (which were Jessie’s children from a prior marriage), Charles, Elizabeth, and Mary Ruth being the youngest. He dropped out of 10th grade in 1943 and enlisted in the army with his older brother Charlie. Evers fought in France, the European Theatre of WWII and was honorably discharged in 1945 as a Sergeant. In 1946, Evers, along with his brother and four friends, returned to his hometown.
In 1948, Evers enrolled at Alcorn State University, majoring in business administration. In college he was on the debate team, played football and ran track, sang in the school choir and served as president of his junior class.
He married classmate Myrlie Beasley on December 24, 1951, and completed work on his degree the following year. Myrlie Beasley and Medgar Evers had three children, two boys and a girl.
The couple moved to Mound Bayou, MS, where T.R.M. Howard had hired him to sell insurance for his Magnolia Mutual Life Insurance Company. Howard was also the president of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership (RCNL), a civil rights and pro self-help organization. Involvement in the RCNL gave Evers crucial training in activism. He helped to organize the RCNL’s boycott of service stations that denied blacks use of their restrooms. The boycotters distributed bumper stickers with the slogan “Don’t Buy Gas Where You Can’t Use the Restroom.” Along with his brother, Charles Evers, Medgar also attended the RCNL’s annual conferences in Mound Bayou between 1952 and 1954 which drew crowds of ten thousand or more.
Evers applied to the then-segregated University of Mississippi Law School in February 1954. When his application was rejected, Evers became the focus of a NAACP campaign to desegregate the school, a case aided by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education 347 U.S. 483 that segregation was unconstitutional.
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Amii Stewart’s father Joseph Stewart II, signed her up for singing and dancing lessons in 1960, at the age of four, and this eventually led to a very successful career as one of the most highly regarded disco artists. Before being signed to Ariola Records, Stewart was in the touring company of the stage production Bubbling Brown Sugar in 1975, firstly in Miama, then Broadway, and eventually London’s West End, where she met Barry Leng, a record producer for Hansa records.
At the end of 1977, “You Really Touch My Heart” a Barry Leng/Simon May composition, produced by Leng, was Stewart’s first recording. An album followed, which contained five Leng/May songs, one Leng/Morris song and three cover versions.
Her first single, a disco cover version of the 1966 Eddie Floyd hit “Knock on Wood” (Floyd/Cropper), reached number one in the U.S. in April 1979, and earned her a platinum record and a Grammy Award nomination. It also reached number 6 in the U.K., and number 2 in Australia, in the same year. It was her only American pop chart hit and as a result she is considered a one hit wonder there, although she also achieved several Top 10 and Top 20 hits in the U.S. dance chart. You can read the rest of the article on Wikipedia. The Best of Amii Stewart: Knock on Wood.
Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela has supported reconciliation and negotiation, and has helped lead the transition towards multi-racial democracy in South Africa. Since the end of apartheid, many have frequently praised Mandela, including former opponents. Mandela has received more than one hundred awards over four decades, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He is currently a celebrated elder statesman who continues to voice his opinion on topical issues. In South Africa he is often known as Madiba, an honorary title adopted by elders of Mandela’s clan. The title has come to be synonymous with Nelson Mandela.
Mandela belongs to a cadet branch of the Thembu dynasty, which reigns in the Transkeian Territories of South Africa’s Cape Province. He was born in Mvezo, a small village located in the district of Umtata, the Transkei capital. His patrilineal great-grandfather Ngubengcuka (who died in 1832), ruled as the Inkosi Enkhulu, or king, of the Thembu people. One of the king’s sons, named Mandela, became Nelson’s grandfather and the source of his surname. However, because he was only the Inkosi’s child by a wife of the Ixhiba clan (the so-called “Left-Hand House”), the descendants of his branch of the royal family were not eligible to succeed to the Thembu throne.
Mandela’s father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, served as chief of the town of Mvezo. However, upon alienating the colonial authorities, they deprived Mphakanyiswa of his position, and moved his family to Qunu. Despite this, Mphakanyiswa remained a member of the Inkosi’s Privy Council, and served an instrumental role in Jongintaba Dalindyebo’s ascension to the Thembu throne. Dalindyebo would later return the favour by informally adopting Mandela upon Mphakanyiswa’s death. Mandela’s father had four wives, with whom he fathered a total of thirteen children (four boys and nine girls). Mandela was born to his third wife (‘third’ by a complex royal ranking system), Nosekeni Fanny. Fanny was a daughter of Nkedama of the Mpemvu Xhosa clan, the dynastic Right Hand House, in whose umzi or homestead Mandela spent much of his childhood. His given name Rolihlahla means “to pull a branch of a tree”, or more colloquially, “troublemaker”.
Patricia Louise Holte (born May 24, 1944), best known by her stage name of Patti LaBelle, is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter and actress.
She fronted two groups, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, which received minor success on the pop charts in the 1960s, and Labelle, which received acclaim and a mainstream breakthrough in 1974 with their song “Lady Marmalade”. She went on to have a solo recording career well into the 1990s, earning another U.S. #1 single in 1986 with “On My Own,” a duet with Michael McDonald.
She is renowned for her passionate stage performances, wide vocal range and distinctive high-octave belting. Her biography, Don’t Block the Blessings, remained at the top of the The New York Times best-seller list for several weeks.
LaBelle was born Patricia Louise Holte in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Henry Holte, a railroad worker. The fourth of five children, including three sisters and a brother, LaBelle began singing at the age of 14 in church. A shy girl, LaBelle had a voice of a torch diva. A school teacher advised her to start a singing group.
12 Lena Horne Quotes to Celebrate the Life Of An Entertainer and Activist
by: Noel Jameson
Why celebrate Lena Horne’s birthday with ten Lena Horne quotes? Because her words have so much to teach us. The woman overcame a day and age that wasn’t exactly hospitable to those of her ancestry. These twelve quotes give us some insight as to how special she is. Happy Birthday Lena. Thank you for these wonderful words.
1. “Always be smarter than the people who hire you.”
2. “Don’t be afraid to feel as angry or as loving as you can, because when you feel nothing, it’s just death.”
3. “I was lucky, as many of my generation was, in having a man like Dr. King in our lives. He came at a time that we needed to take a long look at each other and see how similar we were.”
4. “I’m still learning, you know. At 80, I feel there is a lot I don’t know.”
5. “Malcolm X made me very strong at a time I needed to understand what I was angry about. He had peace in his heart. He exerted a big influence on me.”
6. “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
7. “It’s so nice to get flowers while you can still smell the fragrance.”
8. “After I got over the terrible pain of having something of mine taken from me, I began to think how bad everybody else must be feeling. It wasn’t a nice time.”
9. “I don’t have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I’d become. I’m me, and I’m like nobody else.”
10. “Nobody black or white who really believes in democracy can stand aside now; everybody’s got to stand up and be counted.”
11. “I’m not alone, I’m free. I no longer have to be a credit, I don’t have to be a symbol to anybody; I don’t have to be a first to anybody.”
12. “I told them I belong to the same organizations and clubs Mrs. Roosevelt belongs to, but with a few brave exceptions, I was still unable to do films or television for the next seven years.”
Lena Horne is many things. She is a role model, an entertainer, a civil rights activist. Most of all, she is her own person and I think that’s what we like best about her. Her birthday is right around the corner. Here’s to hoping she gets hundreds or thousands of flowers (she seems to like them) and that some of us learn a bit from these twelve Lena Horne quotes.
About the Author
For more music quotes, check out the popular music quotes section of Famous-Quotes-And-Quotations.com, a website that specializes in ‘Top 10′ lists of quotations in dozens of categories. http://www.famous-quotes-and-quotations.com/music-quote.html