African American

02/12/2013 - 1:34pm

In 1939, talented singer Marian Anderson was denied the spotlight at the D.A.R.'s Constitution Hall on account of her race. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt quickly saw to it that she had another venue--the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. On Easter Sunday, a crowd of 75,000 listened to her in person, and her music was carried on the radio and heard by many more. After the concert, Marian Anderson went on to break more racial barriers in the entertainment industry and became a voice of the Civil Rights Movement.

02/05/2010 - 10:49am

Chester Himes had a hard life, even for someone growing up in the 'thirties. He took some knocks early on, knocks many people get in life; it was the racism he encountered in LA that made him bitter, a bitterness which put a fire in his belly and informed so much of his best work. Himes probably would have drawn little consolation over the fact he was breaking new trails for  authors such as  Walter Mosley. But he did.

02/03/2010 - 8:55am

Born a slave in Franklin County, Virginia, Booker T. (Taliaferro) Washington went on to become a nationally-known leader and educator. He shared his educational philosophy with U.S. presidents and served as the first president of Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University.

01/14/2010 - 2:14pm

    Last Tuesday, our librarians discussed ten books we found worthy of the Coretta Scott King author and illustrator awards.  The actual winners will be announced next Monday, January 18, at the American Library Association conference in Boston.  Click here on Monday morning at 7:45 for a live webcast of the announcements.


    The Coretta Scott King Awards are given to African American authors and illustrators for outstanding inspirational and educational contributions.  Among our nominations for the Illustrator Award is “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” a poem by Langston Hughes illustrated by E. B. Lewis. 

01/11/2010 - 9:15am

Robert Hodge reported in 1981 that this is from a report prepared by a students of Germanna Community College in circa 1979. Report is not verified and was unsigned. Indeed, there is a variation in the name Bumbrey - represented as Bumbray here, but there are stones with Bumbrey in the cemetery. The original list was accompanied by the following statements:

"The following list of names is a list of people buried in an all black cemetery in the City of Fredericksburg at the corner of Monument Avenue and Littlepage Street.

12/02/2009 - 2:26pm

    Nine months before Rosa Parks made history, a fifteen-year-old girl was arrested for refusing to move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.  Claudette Colvin was well aware of the convoluted rules about where blacks could sit on the city buses, but on this day she decided not to obey the bus driver’s command to give up her seat.  She was arrested and eventually convicted of assault and violating the segregation law. 


    Deemed too emotional to become the public face of the civil rights cause, Colvin has been a footnote to history for the last fifty years. But that has changed with the publication of Philip Hoose’s “Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice,” winner of this year’s National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

10/30/2009 - 4:31pm

This is an oral history interview with Johnny P. Johnson, Fredericksburg artist, teacher, civil rights activist, on July 1 and August 14, 1997, at his art studio at 1311 Charles St., Fredericksburg. This interview was suggested, in part, by Mr. Johnson's personal and yet objective picture of the civil rights movement in Fredericksburg as related during a 1997 Black History Month program.
Johnny Johnson, Part I

10/29/2009 - 12:14pm

By Janet Payne

Janet Payne is the retired fine arts coordinator of the Stafford (VA) County Public Schools.

This article originally appeared in the International Review of African American Art, volume 16, number 1, and is reproduced here with the permission of this publication.

04/02/2010 - 10:44am

(This brochure was originally printed in the fall of 2002.)

Colonial Times

Africans first arrived in the Virginia colony in 1619 as indentured servants. In the late 1600s slaves were brought into the sparsely settled Rappahannock Valley, primarily to serve as agricultural laborers.

10/12/2009 - 2:24pm

On October 18, 2009, Little Mine Road Baptist Church will be marking its 150th anniversary. Founded just before the Civil War, the congregation first met in a tent. According to an article in the Free Lance-Star, the members weren't able to buy the land to build their permanent sanctuary until 18 years later in 1877, and the current structure was built in 1974. A series of special worship services October 18 through 20th will celebrate the church's long history.

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