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Charles Henry Alston (11/28/1907-4/27/1977) was an influential African American artist and teacher who led art programs and community centers in New York. most especially Harlem. He directed the painters of the Harlem Hospital murals, under the Federal Arts Project of the Works Progress Administration in 1935-1936, and himself painted two of them: "Magic in Medicine" and "Modern Medicine". Emblematic of the Harlem Renaissan...
Our marbles are placed inside a large circle drawn with green string, and as I roll mine out from ten feet across the floor I somehow get the closest, surpassing the younger members of the household who are surprised at the feat of the first shot. For it is my luckiest shooter, a smallish dark blue one with delicate swirls of white, interspersed with patches of yellow and green -- a beauty to behold...
As we plan Teachers College's celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance, a new name comes to the table, with thanks to my colleague Angela Gooden, Research Associate at the Institute of Urban and Minority Education. She whispers it with bated breadth, letting us in on a remarkable connection. Little did I know that May E...
It's not surprising that Drawing in Two Colors or Interpretations of Harlem Jazz pops up when I begin searching for inspirational art or music connected to literature. Winold Reiss' striking lithograph (circa 1920) celebrates African American culture in Harlem, by featuring a man and woman dancing boldly -- most likely in a night club -- African masks and sculptures, bottle, and piano in the background. With his daring combination o...
Saturdays are lacking without a trip to the local ASPCA, until it ceases, through much pleading and cajoling by two small children when we acquire a new household companion. One afternoon in the dead of Winter (and absence of household head), Sky slips out of a big brown cardboard box onto our living room carpet, like tumbleweed propelled by a gust of wind across the Mojave. For weeks we fret ove...
Although it's exact date of origin is unknown, April Fools Day may have started as long ago as April 1, 1582, when France changed from the Julian to Gregorian calendar, an action that purportedly led to the "poisson d'avail" -- the ritual of placing fish on another's back as a symbol of gullibility. In the 1700s, the Scots hunted the "gowk" or cuckoo bird, playfully sending people on silly or fake errands or tasks, while ...
On March 25th, 1911 fire broke out in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory located on the eighth through tenth floors of the Asch building, currently the the landmarked Brown Building of Science, on Washington Place. It was one of the worst industrial fires in our local history -- a tragedy that caused 146 innocent deaths, mostly of women....
Spring EquinoxIn splendours of the forest brightly burningCrouches the tiger of the winter storm.Who made the lamb announced in his returningTerror and beauty in this sculptured form.Forever may the human heart be proudOf the great Architect, nor fear at all.From the tall, ruined columns of the cloudRumours of music down the tree tops fall.In golden light the tiger of the snow
On March 13th, 1928, American artist, writer, and journalist Gwendolyn Bennett spoke briefly before the NAACP in Philadelphia on the importance of appreciation by African Americans for African art, as well of the work of representatives in the field of modern art. Miss Bennett hoped that we'd cultivate "the viewpoint of looking at art from the creative genius exhibited by the producer." She refe...
A remarkable student is often inspired by a remarkable teacher. While Helen Keller was the first deaf-blind person to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree (and one from Radcliffe College in 1904), she maintained a life-long friendship with her first teacher, Anne Sullivan -- a relationship which is described in Keller's autobiography,