1. Ebony Fashion Fair: Changing History On The Catwalk

    The Johnson Publishing Company, and its flagship publication, Ebony Magazine, helped to fashion the black middle-class in America for five decades. For 50 years, from 1958 until 2009, the Ebony Fashion Fair traversed the country.

    The coast-to-coast show was a pageant of haute couture that created aspirations wherever it went. It was a rite of passage for black women, who flocked to it. The show also raised $55 million for African-American charities, like the United Negro College Fund or sickle-cell anemia research.

    Over its history, the Ebony Fashion Fair changed the lives of those on both sides of the catwalk, and it changed America…

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  2. House Party: EAT SLEEP BREAK BEAT feat. Ralph McDaniels Video Music Box and special guests

    8:00PM | Dance Party feat. Ralph McDaniels Video Music Box and special guests $10 Adv / $13 Door

    For some, it’s Eat Sleep Break Beat—life is all about the fundamentals of hip hop: break dance, DJ, graffiti art, and rap. Daytime activities include Protest Song Karaoke (a chance to sing your songs of protest) and screenings of street dance from YAK Films, followed by live dance performances throughout BRIC House. Hip hop pioneer Ralph McDaniels, creator of the groundbreaking public access TV show, Video Music Box, will be spinning the turntables and playing videos from back in the day, plus performances by Dres (Black Sheep), Crooklyn Dodgers’ Special Ed and more, and a celebration of Biggie Smalls to close out the night!

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  3. 1ne Drop Project

    People of African descent reflect a multiplicity of skin tones and phenotypic characteristics. Often times, however, when met by people who self-identify as ‘Black,’ but do not fit into a prototypical model of ‘Blackness,’ many of us not only question their identity, but challenge their Blackness, and thus our potential relationship to them. A multi-platform project, inclusive of a (forthcoming) full-color portrait essay book, online exhibit, and traveling exhibition & lecture, (1)ne Drop literally explores the other” faces of Blackness – those who may not immediately be recognized, accepted, or embraced as ‘Black’ in this visually racialized society.

    (1)ne Drop seeks to challenge narrow, yet popular perceptions of what Blackness is and what Blackness looks like. On the whole, the project seeks to raise social awareness and spark community dialogue about the complexities of Blackness as both an identity and a lived reality. If we can recalibrate our lenses to see Blackness as a broader category of identity and experience, perhaps we will be able to see ourselves as part of a larger global community.

    The inspiration behind CNN Black in America 5 -Who is Black in America?” (2012), (1)ne Drop continues to spark much-needed dialogue about the intricacies and nuances of racial identity, and the influence of skin color politics on questions of  racial determinacy and authenticity.

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  4. Black Audio Film Collective

    Between 1982 and 1998, the Black Audio Film Collective—a pioneering group of seven British artists and thinkers—produced an extraordinary body of poetic, allusive, and intensely personal films, videos, and “slide-tape texts” that chronicled England’s multicultural past and present and pushed the boundaries of the documentary form. BAMcinématek celebrates BAFC co-founder John Akomfrah’s acclaimed new film The Stuart Hall Project, which premiered at Sundance in 2013, with a four-day retrospective of the vital and visionary group.

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  5. ‘Godfather of multiculturalism’ Stuart Hall dies aged 82

    Academics, writers and and politicians have paid tribute to one of Britain’s leading intellectuals, the sociologist and cultural theorist Stuart Hall, who has died age 82.

    Known as the “godfather of multiculturalism”, Hall had a huge influence on academic, political and cultural debates for over six decades.

    Jamaican-born Hall was professor of sociology at the Open University from 1979 to 1997, topping off an academic career that began as a research fellow in Britain’s first centre for cultural studies, set up by Richard Hoggart at the University of Birmingham in 1964. Hall would later lead the centre and was seen as a key figure in the development of cultural studies as an academic discipline.

    Martin Bean, vice-chancellor of The Open University said: “He was a committed and influential public intellectual of the new left, who embodied the spirit of what the OU has always stood for: openness, accessibility, a champion for social justice and of the power of education to bring positive change in peoples’ lives.”

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  6. A 200-Year-Old Document Freeing A Slave Is Up For Auction Next Week

    The slave’s owner, Oswald Ricks of Virginia, gives as a reason that he should “do unto others as I would be done by.” The auction will take place in Gloucestershire and will be run by auctioneers Dominic Winter in Cirencester.

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  7. Hard Times at Howard U

    It could be said that Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick, acting president of Howard University, was to the manner born. On his birth 42 years ago in Port of Spain, Trinidad, his mother had already determined he would follow in the footsteps of the man she admired most: Eric Williams, who before leading Trinidad and Tobago to independence from Britain had taught at Howard.

    “For her,” Dr. Frederick explained, “Howard was an almost mystical place, which had done so much for our country.”

    Wayne Frederick was afflicted with sickle cell anemia, which is often accompanied by long-term pain and fatigue and can lead to early death. That, too, shaped his path. He was in a race against time. Graduating one year ahead of his high school class, he enrolled at Howard and received both his undergraduate and medical degrees in six years. He remembers mentors like the legendary Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall, who embraced and encouraged him during his surgical residency…

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  8. The FBI Wrote A Letter To Martin Luther King Telling Him To Commit Suicide

    Letters of Note published an interesting piece of correspondence this time last year. It is a letter from the FBI, written in 1964, trying to convince Martin Luther King Jr. to commit suicide.

    In November of 1964, fearful of his connection to the Communist Party through Stanley Levison, the FBI anonymously sent Martin Luther King the following threatening letter, along with a cassette that contained allegedly incriminating audio recordings of King with women in various hotel rooms — the fruits of a 9 month surveillance project headed by William C. Sullivan.

    Unsurprisingly, King saw the strongly worded letter as an invitation for him to take his own life, as did an official investigation in 1976 which concluded that the letter “clearly implied that suicide would be a suitable course of action for Dr. King.”

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  9. Smithsonian Celebrates History of African Americans in Oak Bluffs


    A rich history familiar to Vineyarders will soon reach a national audience. Oak Bluffs is one of 10 communities included in a national exhibit planned to inaugurate the The National Museum of African American History and Culture, set to open on the Washington Mall in late 2015.

    The town, a treasured summer community among middle and upper class African Americans for more than a century, will help tell a larger, underrepresented history of black leisure, Smithsonian curators said this week.

    “There are certain ways that African American history gets portrayed, and showing the life on Martha’s Vineyard allows us to picture a life through a different prism,” said curator Dr. Paul Gardullo in a telephone interview. “It gives them a new look at a culture they think they may know.” The show, Places of Pride, will replicate two cottage porch scenes, and incorporate artifacts and local knowledge from the Oak Bluffs community…

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