Three Women who Inspire us to Celebrate Women’s History Month

Don’t you think there should be events to commemorate women who have contributed to the history and contemporary society? Well, Women’s History Month celebrates the contributions that women have made throughout history. Women have created a legacy that expands the frontier of possibilities for generations to come. It is observed during March in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia and during October in Canada.  As a part of this effort, let us take a moment to recognize several remarkable women in history.

1. Josephine Baker (Singer, Dancer, Civil Rights Activist):

Josephine Baker was a renowned African-American dancer, activist, and French Resistance agent. Her parents named her Freda Josephine McDonald. She was born on June 3, 1906, in St. Louis, Missouri. Josephine Baker was very well known and earned nicknames like “Black Venus” and “Black Pearl.” Early in her career during the Harlem Renaissance, she performed at the Plantation Club and in the chorus lines of the groundbreaking and hugely successful Broadway revue Shuffle Along in 1921. In 1927, while performing in “La Folie du Jour,” she caught the eyes of the world by dancing in a costume consisting of a skirt made of bananas which was a revolution in the Jazz Age of the 1920’s. Baker was the first African-American to become a worldwide entertainer and to star in a major motion picture, the 1934 Marc Allégret film Zouzou.  Baker was also an activist, and she served in the military.  Baker supported the

Civil Rights Movements in 1950’s was unwavering, she refused to perform for segregated audiences in the United States, she wrote articles about segregation in the United States, and in 1963, she spoke at the March on Washington at the side of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  She was cast in many films, and she adopted 12 children from different nationalities referred to as “The Rainbow Tribe.” Baker died on April 12, 1975, in France and she was buried with military honors and 21-gun, making Baker the first African-American woman in history to be buried in France with military honors.

2.Florence Mills (Singer, Dancer, and Comedian):

Florence Mills was popularly known as “Queen Of Happiness.” Born on January 25, 1896, in Washington, D.C, and died on November 1, 1927, in New York City. She was African-American singer, dancer, and comedian during the Jazz Age and Harlem Renaissance who captivated the world with her talent, beauty, and dedication to racial equality. Mills became well known in New York as a result of her role in the successful Broadway musical Shuffle Along (1921) at Daly’s 63rd Street Theatre, written by African-American Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake. In 1924, she headlined at the Palace Theatre, in the hit show, Lew Leslie’s Blackbirds (1926).  While in Europe performing Blackbirds for more than 300 performances of the hit show in 1926, she became ill with tuberculosis.  Mills is credited with having been a staunch and outspoken supporter of equal rights of African-Americans with her signature song, “I’m A Little Black Bird” as a request for racial equality. During her life, she broke many racial barriers. She was a fascinating, intelligent and socially conscious human being.   Mills died on November 1, 1927, in New York City.  Three thousand fans attended her funeral in Harlem, and thousands more saw her funeral procession as it moved through the black community.

3.Cora T. Walker (Lawyer)

Cora T. Walker was born on June 20, 1922, in Charlotte, NC. Walker was a dedicated lawyer and community activist, and she was the first African-American woman to practice law in the state of New York.  She later became the first female president of the Harlem Lawyers Association. In the early stages of her career, Walker found it chCora T. Walker - Black and white photoallenging to get a position at a law firm. She established Walker & Bailey, one of the city’s few black law firms, with her son, Lawrence R. Bailey, Jr.  The firm’s practice eventually included corporate clients like Conrail, the Ford Motor Company, Texas Instruments and Kentucky Fried Chicken.  This allowed her to work for the residents of the Harlem community for more than half a century. She was active in the National Bar Association which was a professional organization for African-American lawyers formed in the 1920’s. She was also honored when she was listed in New York Times as one of the most powerful people in Harlem.   She ran her private practice in Harlem from 1976 until her retirement in 1999.

These three phenomenal women broke the barriers of racism and continue to be inspirations to today’s society. These fearless and unbowed women are one of the many reasons to celebrate Women’s History Month which also helps to spread awareness regarding the significant contributions of women.


Council Approves Harlem African Burial Ground

The Harlem African Burial Ground, affordable housing, and commercial space will replace the 126th Street Bus Depot.

On September 27, 2017, City Council approved the 126th Street Bus Depot redevelopment by a vote of 42-0. The land use application, by NYC Economic Development Corporation, includes a zoning map amendment, zoning text amendment, city map change, and future disposition of city-owned property. This action will facilitate the development of affordable housing, commercial space, and the Harlem African Burial Ground Memorial. For CityLand’s coverage on the prior stages of the project’s ULURP process, click here.

On September 5, 2017, at the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions meeting, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito described the project’s history. This project is “the culmination of almost a decade of work.” SELRES_7b87e16a-b7e2-4613-9752-ba9d8640fdc6Reverend Patricia Singletary SELRES_7b87e16a-b7e2-4613-9752-ba9d8640fdc6from the Elmendorf Reformed Church wanted “to properly memorialize her church’s historic African burial ground underneath the 126th Street Bus Depot, which had been forgotten, built upon and disrespected for almost 200 years.” Reverend Singletary approached Speaker Mark-Viverito in 2009, who then helped the Reverend form a group of local stakeholders—community members, city agencies, archaeologists, urban planners, architects, historians—to create the Harlem African Burial Ground Task Force “to advocate for the reclamation, preservation and recognition of this sacred cemetery.” Speaker Mark-Viverito commended the efforts of Reverend Singletary and the Harlem Burial Ground Task Force, especially in their ability “to persevere when no one believed the history that they had uncovered.”

18,000 square feet in the Harlem African Burial Ground will be accessible to the public. The Harlem African Burial Ground will also contain an outdoor memorial and an indoor cultural educational center, which must be maintained in perpetuity. The City will work with the developer to ensure the memorial’s future through financial commitment. Speaker Mark-Viverito stated, “The developer will be required to provide an annual contribution of approximately $1 million to support eligible operating costs. The indoor and outdoor spaces will be provided to the memorial operator free of charge.” 20% of the housing units, available at market-rate, will also contribute to the cost of the memorial’s operation. The Speaker added, “The commitments being made today will ensure the history that Reverend Singletary and the task force have rediscovered will never be forgotten again.”

The project will also produce affordable housing. The Council modified the zoning text amendment to apply the deep affordability option instead of Option 2 for Mandatory Inclusionary Housing. 80% of the 730 housing units will be affordable. Half of the units will be affordable for households earning up to 60% of the Average Median Income (“AMI”). 20% of all housing units will be affordable for households earning a maximum of 30% AMI ($25,770 annual income).

Lastly, the redevelopment will produce commercial space. The commercial development has been capped at 138,000 square feet to accommodate the affordable housing demand. The developer will be required to support job training, create a targeted hiring outreach plan, and work with the Economic Development Corporation to meet these local hiring goals.

The application with modifications—ensuring 18,000 square feet of public space and amending the zoning text to reach the deepest affordability levels—unanimously passed through both the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions and the Committee on Land Use. The City Council honored the Harlem African Burial Ground Task Force at the September 27th meeting for “their stellar service and enduring contributions to East Harlem and all of New York City” before unanimously approving the modified land use applications for the project. The site is integral in honoring the story and culture of those who helped build this City and nation.  

CC: 126th Street Bus Depot (LU 0733-2017; LU 0734-2017; LU 0735-2017; LU 0736-2017) (Sept. 27, 2017).

By: Shelby Hoffman (Shelby is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2017.)

Carnegie Hall presents a Neighborhood Concert: Istmo Trio


May 21, 2017 | 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Featuring Mexican singer, Magos Herrera, Brazilian accordionist Vitor Gonçalves, and Brazilian percussionist Rogério Boccato, the newly formed Istmo Trio brings multiple influences together to create an original sound. Drawing on rhythms and repertoire from diverse corners of the Americas, the Istmo Trio explores a rich musical landscape with performances that showcase improvisation.

Performers: Istmo Trio

·· Magos Herrera
·· Vitor Gonçalves
·· Rogério Boccato

Cost: Free

Queens Library Flushing
41-17 Main Street at 41st Avenue
Flushing NY 11355

Contact: Carnegie Hall
Phone: 212-903-9600

Website/More Info:

Carnegie Hall presents a Neighborhood Concert: Ranky Tanky


May 6, 2017 | 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Singer and guitar wizard, Clay Ross of Matuto fronts Ranky Tanky, a band of South Carolina natives celebrating the best of Southern roots music. Taking its name from a South Carolina Sea Islands phrase meaning “work it” or “get funky,” Ranky Tanky lives up to its name with a vibrant mix of everything from New Orleans–style jazz, blues, and country, to spirituals and tender lullabies. Note: This event will be held in the Gazebo Lawn Stage at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden. This is an outdoor venue.

Performers: Ranky Tanky··Clay Ross, Guitar and Vocals
··Charlton Singleton, Trumpet and Vocals
··Kevin Hamilton, Bass
··Quentin Baxter, Drums
··Quiana Parlor, Vocals

Cost: Free

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
1000 Richmond Terrace
Staten Island NY 10301

Contact: Carnegie Hall
Phone: 212-903-9600

More Info:


Until Everyone Has It Made: Jackie Robinson’s Legacy

Jackie Robinson

Running until July 5, 2017 | 12:00pm – 5:00pm

On April 15, 1947 Jackie Robinson broke the professional baseball color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base. 70 years later, on April 5, 2017, Brooklyn Historical Society is proud to open a new exhibition celebrating this seminal moment in American history. Featuring a wonderful array of archival materials, photography, programs, and memorabilia, the exhibition will tell a story that continues to resonate today.

Museum Hours: Wednesday to Sunday: 12 pm to 5 pm; Library Hours: Wednesday to Saturday: 1 pm to 5 pm; Gift Shop Hours: Monday to Sunday: 12 pm to 5 pm

Cost: BHS Member Fee: Free; Adults: $10; Seniors 62 yrs old and over: $6; Students (with I.D.): Free; Children under 12 yrs old: Free.

Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street near Clinton Street
Brooklyn NY 11201

Website/more info:

“For The Love of Money: Blacks on US Currency”

for the love of money blacks on US currency.jpg

February 22, 2017 to January 31, 2018 | 10:00am – 4:00pm

“For the Love of Money: Blacks on US Currency,” a travelling exhibit on loan from the Museum of UnCut Funk.

To be featured on currency is among the nation’s highest honors. The Treasury’s latest redesign – which will feature Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill beginning in 2020 – will acknowledge for the first time on paper money the contributions of Black and women’s rights activists in advancing American democracy. There is a longer tradition of honoring such leaders through the creation of commemorative coins, medals and medallions. Through legislation, Congress has chosen to honor on US commemorative currency Black icons, seminal historic events and institutions which have significantly influenced American and Black history.

“For the Love of Money” honors barrier-breaking Black athletes, entertainers, civil rights leaders, military leaders and politicians, and it features the historic contributions of several prominent Black women. The exhibit showcases more than 40 anti-slavery tokens, commemorative coins, concept coins, commemorative bronze medals, Presidential bronze medals and commemorative medallions representing American and Black history milestones that have contributed to the betterment of the United States. Additional coins and medals will be added to the exhibit as they are released in 2017. More information can be found at This exhibit will be on view through January 2018.

Cost: Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for students/seniors and free for members and kids 6 and under. The Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday, from 10 am – 4 pm.

Museum of American Finance

48 Wall Street at William Street
New York NY 10005

Contact: Museum of American Finance
Phone: 212.908.4110

Website/more Info:

Visually Speaking: Lina Viktor and Amy Sall

March 29, 2017 | 6:30pm – 8:30pm

visually-speakingGuest curator and moderator, Ja’nell Ajani introduces artist Lina Viktor, whose practice is described as a “merging of photography, performance, and abstract painting,” in conversation with Amy Sall, writer and lecturer in the Culture and Media Studies department at The New School University. Visually Speaking by Founding Curator, Terrence Jennings, spotlights recognized and unrecognized photographers of our time and explore the photography’s influence on art, culture, and the urban landscape. 

Cost: FREE.

For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. First Come, First Seated. Registration via

RSVP.  All registered seats are released 15 to 30 minutes before start time, so we recommend that you arrive early.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture – 515 Malcolm X Boulevard at 135th Street

New Black Power! Exhibition now open at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (until Dec 2017)

Black Power exhibition at the Schomburg Center - Feb 16 to Dec 2017.jpg

March 20, 2017 to December 2017 | 10:00am – 8:00pm

On February 16, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture will open its latest exhibition Black Power! in the newly-renovated Main Exhibition Hall. On display through December 2017, Black Power! will invite visitors to delve deeper into the heterogeneous and ideologically diverse global movement that shaped black consciousness and built an immense legacy of community organizing and advocacy that continues to resonate in the United States of America and around the world today. Visitors will also confront misconceptions and truths about the Black Power movement.

Black Power! serves as another touchstone in the Schomburg’s “Black Power 50” focus, a year-long examination into the 50th anniversary of the Black Power movement. Stokely Carmichael and fellow Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) worker Willie Ricks introduced Black Power as a concept in June 1966.

In February 2016, the Schomburg launched “Black Power 50” with a two-part digital exhibition in partnership with Google Cultural Institute. The Schomburg has since released the new exhibition’s catalog Black Power 50 and hosted a “Grandassa Models” © Kwame Brathwaite, 1968 series of public programs featuring conversations with leaders of the Black Power movement such as Kathleen Cleaver, Bobby Seale, and Iris Morales, and Black Arts Movement luminaries Nikki Giovanni, Askia Touré, and Sonia Sanchez, among many others.

Highlights from the Black Power! exhibition include:

•Black Panther Coalition Flyer –  A flyer capturing the efforts of the Black Panther Party, the Puerto Rican Young Lords, the white Young Patriots, the Chinese-American I Wor Kuen, and the Inmates Liberation Front united to demand the release of the Panther 21, who were arrested in April 1969 on suspicion of planning to bomb several sites in New York City.

•First Issue of The Black Panther –  Bobby Seale and Elbert “Big Man” Howard published the first mimeographed issue of The Black Panther on April 25, 1967. Howard, an original member of the Black Panther Party, served as the publication’s first editor. ·

•Letter from Arab Women to Angela Davis – A letter of support to Angela Davis from The Arab Women’s League of Jordan, capturing how the fate of political prisoners in the United States received worldwide attention.

•Photo of Black Panthers in Israel – A photo of Black Panther Party Members in Israel who were part of the Mizrahi community: Jews from North Africa and the Middle East who denounced and fought against the economic and cultural domination of European Jews. Their leader wears a T-shirt reading Black Panthers in Hebrew.

Cost: FREE. Schomburg Center’s hours: Monday: 10am – 6pm; Tues – Weds: 10am – 8pm; and Thurs – Sat: 10am – 6pm.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Boulevard at 135th Street
New York NY 10037
Phone: 917-275-6975

More Info:

Lapidus Center Presents: Slavery and Globalization in Arabia

March 30, 2017 | 6:30pm – 8:30pm

slaves-of-one-masterMatthew S. Hopper’s, Slaves of One Master: Globalization and Slavery in Arabia in the Age of Empire, a finalist for the Frederick Douglass Prize, explores the history of the African diaspora in Arabia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The book links the personal stories of Africans to the impersonal global commodity chains their labor enabled, demonstrating how the growing demand for workers created by a global demand—including from the United States—for Persian Gulf products led to the enslavement of Africans in eastern Arabia. Hopper, Professor of History at California Polytechnic State University, will be in conversation with Eve M. Troutt Powell, C. Brown Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Tell This in My Memory: Stories of Enslavement from Egypt, Sudan and the Ottoman Empire.

Cost: FREE.

Schomburg Center – 515 Lenox Avenue, NYC

For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. First come, First seated. Registration via

Youth Dance Performance: Dancing Through Barriers with Dance Theatre of Harlem

March 16, 2017 | 10:30am – 11:30am

danceThe Dance Theatre of Harlem’s, Dancing Through Barriers® lecture demonstration and performance is an informal presentation on the art and science of dance. Through engaging commentary and dancing, the audience experiences the rudiments of classical ballet, as well as the building block-training process that allows dancers to achieve excellence in this exacting art form.  Priority seating for youth. For ages 13 to 18 yrs. For school groups and groups larger than 10, please contact for more information.

Cost: FREE.

For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. FIRST COME, FIRST SEATED.  FREE – Register via Register Here. All registered seats are released 15 to 30 minutes before start time, so we recommend that you arrive early.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture – 515 Malcolm X Boulevard at 135th Street, NYC