Crusader: Martin Luther King Jr. – Exhibition Opening Reception

January 15, 2019 5:00pm – 7:00pm

Join us for the official opening of Crusader: Martin Luther King Jr. in the Latimer/Edison Gallery.

Crusader: Martin Luther King Jr. is a Schomburg Center Capsule Exhibition of archival photography from the Photographs & Prints Division. The exhibition presents an intimate photo travelogue of King’s pilgrimage to India, Nobel Peace Prize acceptance in Oslo, Norway, and his work as a non-violent crusader for civil rights captured by select photographers of the day. Crusader Without Violence by Dr. L. D. Reddick is the first biography about Martin Luther King, Jr. published in 1959. This exhibition coincides 60th anniversary of its publication.

Photo: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta being greeted by Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (left) and labor leader A. Philip Randolph (right) at the Pan American World Airways terminal, in New York City” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1950 – 1959.

Events are free and open to all, but due to space constraints registration is requested. We generally overbook to ensure a full house. Registered guests are given priority check-in 15 to 30 minutes before start time. After the event starts all registered seats are released regardless of registration, so we recommend that you arrive early.

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Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Boulevard at 135th Street
New York NY 10037 US

Witnesses to History: African American Voting Rights

November 15, 2018 – April 28, 2019

African American Voting Rights explores the struggle of African Americans to gain access to the franchise in the century after the Civil War ended. The abolition of slavery was just the beginning of a long, difficult, and sometimes dangerous fight for civil rights, including voting rights, for African Americans. Although the 15th Amendment forbade discrimination based on race, state and local governments established laws that effectively prevented African Americans from voting. Violence and intimidation on the part of white citizens further obstructed black voting rights. This installation features materials from the Gilder Lehrman Collection that document the fight for voting rights through the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Among the highlights are letters written by Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr., two leaders in the fight for civil rights; reports on voter suppression in the South and one by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy on the federal actions taken to combat such discrimination; images of the black U.S. senators and representatives elected during Reconstruction; an evocative photograph from the March from Selma to Montgomery in 1965; and a broadside encouraging African Americans to register to vote in 1965.

Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Seymour Neuman Endowed Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the media sponsor.

More Info: 

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West at 77th Street
New York NY 10024 US

Barbara Jordan “I Dared To Be Me”

April 15, 2018 | 3:00pm – 6:00pm

Born on February 21, 1936, in Houston, Texas, Barbara Jordan was a lawyer, educator and politician. She was the first African-American woman to be elected to the Texas State Senate (1966) and the “first” African American from Texas to serve in the United States House of Representatives, from 1972 to 1978.  As President “Pro Temp” Jordan was called upon to be the acting governor of Texas for a day. By becoming governor for a day Jordan becomes the “first” African American woman governor in the history of the United States. She captured the attention of President Lyndon Johnson, who invited her to the White House for a preview of his 1967 civil rights message.

Barbara Jordan emerged as an eloquent and powerful interpreter of the Watergate impeachment investigation at a time when many Americans despaired about the Constitution and the country. Jordan lent added weight to her message by her very presence on the House Judiciary Committee. She was the keynote speaker during the impeachment process of Richard Nixon.

Cost: FREE

Raymour and Flanigan Furniture Store
100 West 125th Street btwn Park and Lexington Aves – Third Floor
New York NY 1002

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Ascension: A Lifting of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Legacy on the 50th Anniversary of His Assassination

April 4, 2018 | 7:30pm – 9:30pm

On April 4, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, an event that sent shock waves reverberating across the globe. A Baptist minister and founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), King had led the civil rights movement since the mid-1950s, using a combination of impassioned speeches and nonviolent protests to fight segregation and achieve significant civil-rights advances for African Americans inspiring seekers of justice equality across the country and the world. Where are we now? Join us for a musical, visual and movement celebration of a fearless leader.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Cost: FREE. Note: Tickets are issued on a first come, first served basis until the capacity of the house has been reached. Ticket distribution will begin (6:00pm) an hour and half before show time. Arriving early will help insure your reservation is honored. PLEASE NOTE: After an hour into ticket distribution at (7:00pm); tickets not picked up will be released. 2 TICKETS MAX. All guests must be present to pick up ticket.

Harlem Stage Gatehouse
150 Convent Avenue at West 135th Street
New York NY 10031

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Harlem Week: The Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 was the first step toward ending more than two centuries of African-American bondage in U.S.

Despite President Lincoln’s decree, blacks would endure injustice, discrimination and violence long after the abolition of slavery

President Abraham Lincoln's executive order changed the course of U.S. history and future for blacks in America.

President Abraham Lincoln’s executive order changed the course of U.S. history and future for blacks in America.

It’s the most significant executive order ever issued by a United States President. A 1,754-word document in legalese, the Emancipation Proclamation ultimately changed the course of U.S. history and the future for black people in America.

Formally made public by Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863, during the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation dealt a major blow to the institution of slavery. Issued as a war measure, it essentially freed slaves in the ten Confederate states that were still in rebellion at that time – some 3.1 million of the 4 million people in bondage in the America,

What the measure didn’t do was end slavery or emancipate those in four slave-holding states – Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware – that were not part of the Confederacy. And slaves in Confederate areas captured by the Union army were exempt, too.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, a turning point for the only group of people to be brought to these shores in chains. And though it laid the foundation for a new beginning for African-Americans, there seems to be little fanfare over the proclamation’s sesquicentennial.

In 1863, a runaway shows beating scars received before his escape to Union lines.

In 1863, a runaway shows beating scars received before his escape to Union lines.

Outside academia, few commemorative events appear planned in New York or nationwide.

That’s in stark contrast to New Year’s Day 1863 when millions greeted the news of emancipation with jubilation. For some sectors of American society, Lincoln’s decree was the beginning of the end of more than two centuries of bondage dating to 1619, when the first enslaved African slaves were brought to Jamestown, Va.

But in reality, blacks, particularly in the South, would continue to endure injustice, discrimination and violence even after the 13th Amendment – abolishing slavery entirely in the U.S. – was ratified in December 1865.

The Jim Crow laws formalizing racial segregation in the former Confederate states, lynchings and voting restrictions became a way of life in the wake of the proclamation.

A hundred years later, critics, including notable African-American intellectuals as W.E.B. DuBois, James Baldwin and Julius Lester, all described the proclamation as worthless.

Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who applauded the measure’s intent, and President Lyndon Johnson would also highlight its shortcomings.

The Emancipation Proclamation is a 1,754-word document that dealt a major blow to the institution of slavery.

The Emancipation Proclamation is a 1,754-word document that dealt a major blow to the institution of slavery.

In the famous 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech King gave in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial, he hailed the Emancipation Proclamation during its centennial as a “momentous decree that had come as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves.”

Then he noted: “It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But one hundred years later, the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacle of segregation and the chains of discrimination.”

Three months earlier, at a Emancipation Proclamation centennial event in Gettysburg, then-Vice President Lyndon Johnson voiced the same concern.

“One hundred years ago, the slave was freed. One hundred years later, the Negro remains in bondage to the color of his skin,” he said.

Continue reading

5 African American Artists Not Named Jean-Michel Basquiat

jacob-lawrenceVisually, Jacob Lawrence made a point that Cam’ron could be proud of — Harlem is in the building.

Jacob was born in Atlantic City and moved to Harlem when he was 13. His mother quickly enrolled him in an arts and crafts settlement house in Harlem in order to keep him busy.

Mr. Lawrence showed immediate potential and scored a scholarship to the American Artists School as well as a paid gig with the Works Progress Administration.

He deemed his style “dynamic cubism” and credited the shapes and colors of Harlem as being more influential than his French predecessors.

Lawrence was an astute observer who used his art to tell the story of struggling African Americans from the Civil War period up until the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Jacob excelled at visually expressing complicated narratives.

His subjects ranged from the historically grandiose, depicting Toussaint L’Ouverture during the Haitian revolution, to simpler portrayals of the struggle, strength, and perseverance of African Americans traveling from the agricultural communities of the South to Northern industrial cities.

While the rest of the country struggled with the Depression, Mr. Lawrence felt lucky to live during a vital period of Harlem’s history.

He claimed the 30’s “was actually a wonderful period in Harlem although we didn’t know this at the time. Of course it wasn’t wonderful for our parents. For them, it was a struggle, but for the younger people coming along like myself, there was a real vitality in the community.”*

In 1970, Jacob settled in Seattle as a professor of art at the University of Washington; he died in 2000.

*Leslie King-Hammond, “Inside-Outside, Uptown-Downtown, Jacob Lawrence and the Aesthetic Ethos of the Harlem Working-class Community,” in Peter T. Nesbett and Michelle Dubois, eds., Over the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001)

Posted Apr 22nd 2013 3:10PM by Sam Pattillo

This Day in Black History: April 15, 1889

Civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph was born.

072611-National-Black-Herritage-Stamps-A-Phillip-RandolfA. Philip Randolph, a major force leading the 1963 March on Washington, was born on April 15, 1889, in Crescent City, Florida.

Randolph moved to Harlem to become an actor after graduating from Cookman Institute. He held several jobs and later co-founded the Brotherhood of Labor to organize against impoverished conditions for waiters on a steamship where he worked.

In 1925, Randolph founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and served as its president. He also pushed the federal government to address racial discrimination in the war industry workforce and the U.S. Armed Forces.

Perhaps his most noted accomplishment was speaking at the March on Washington alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Randolph would later receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Lyndon B. Johnson for his dedication to labor and civil rights.

Randolph died on May 16, 1979, at age 90 in New York City.

By Natelege Whaley
Posted: 04/15/2013 08:00 AM EDT
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The MLK Assassination: 45 Years Later

273852_fkph5mylyq4yc_al“For more than two centuries our forebearers labored here without wages. They made cotton king, and they built the homes of their masters in the midst of the most humiliating and oppressive conditions… and yet, out of a bottomless vitality, they continued to grow and develop.  If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery couldn’t stop us, the opposition that we now face will surely fail!” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared during his ‘Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution’ dissertation, delivered on March 31st, 1968, at Washington D.C.’s National Cathedral, just days before he was killed. ​

The April 4th, 1968 assassination of the courageous Civil Rights leader stunned the nation.  Four-and-a-half decades later, many wonder if circumstances for Americanized-Africans have really improved in the land of the free since he was gunned down on a balcony of the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee while reverend Jesse Jackson peculiarly stood nearby. ​

Some speculate what may have been had the 39 year-old physically lived a bit longer, continuing to mature as he gained more experiences and his understanding grew.

On April 4th, 1967, exactly 365 days prior to his assassination, at Harlem’s historic Riverside Church, the fearless reverend delivered a scathing sermon about the United States involvement in the Vietnam War titled – Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence.  He assessed:

​“Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart… Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home.  It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population.  We were taking the Black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them 8,000 miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in Southwest Georgia and East Harlem.  So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching [Black] and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools.  So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit.  I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.” ​

During his ‘Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution’ dissertation, Dr. King declared:

“There can be no gainsaying of the fact that a great revolution is taking place in the world today.  In a sense it is a triple revolution: that is, a technological revolution, with the impact of automation and cybernation; then there is a revolution in weaponry, with the emergence of atomic and nuclear weapons of warfare; then there is a human rights revolution, with the freedom explosion that is taking place all over the world.  Yes, we do live in a period where changes are taking place.  And there is still the voice crying through the vista of time saying, ‘Behold, I make all things new; former things are passed away.’” ​

“It is an unhappy truth that racism is a way of life for the vast majority of Americans, spoken and unspoken, acknowledged and denied, subtle and sometimes not so subtle—the disease of racism permeates and poisons a whole body politic. And I can see nothing more urgent than for America to work passionately and unrelentingly—to get rid of the disease of racism.”

A strategic move which never manifested was the proposed liaison between two of that era’s most influential Black leaders.

“If Malcolm and King had lived [longer] – they were about to come together and become one movement – there would be a totally different world today, and they [the powers-that-be] couldn’t allow that to happen,” determined activist Atiim Ferguson.  “When they saw that happening, that was the death-warrant for both of those men.”

Dr. King once proclaimed… “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!”

He went on to dissect many social ills which plague his people in the land of the free, like the imperialistic Vietnam War… as King revealed…  “No matter where it leads, and no matter what abuses it may bring… it’s an evil war, and I’m going to tell the truth!”

Forty-five years after Martin’s murder, his message of self-determination still resonates beyond the hallow dreams that have been sold to the masses for the past few centuries.

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively, and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education,” informed the 1964 Noble Peace Prize winner.

“One of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses that the new situation demands,” Dr. King concluded.  “They end up sleeping through a revolution!”

-IcePick Slim 17(@ICEPICKSLIM17)

The Harlem Hell Fighters – World War I heroes

‘Harlem Hell Fighters’ on Black History Month

Dear Editor:

My wife teaches in an inner-city school. She teaches black, white, and Hispanics – both English and Spanish in the early grades, and high levels of math. I like the school, and I like many of the staff members, and have often done celebrity reads. In any event, a great African-American professor told me the story below, and he also gave me a library of books on my own ethnic background–being White, Irish, Italian, and having a background from Wales. Professor Hylan Lewis was indeed a great man, and a great read, and this is a story he told me and I have now again researched for Black History Month.

At the outbreak of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson from New Jersey, called for the enlistment of all able-bodied men–whether black or white. Soldiers were to be trained and sent to their Commander General “Black Jack” Pershing, who headed the American Expeditionary Force.

Due to pressure from home, Pershing largely assigned all black troops to the French Army. Think about that for a moment. Out of Harlem, a unit was created of such black troops called the 369th infantry, later to be called the “Harlem Hell Fighters.” A French general dubbed this now French Division, as the “Les Enfants Perdus” or the Lost Children in English, but the French general and the French people later would call this division heroes.

The brave unit was headed by Colonel William Hayward, a white reformer, who thought that this division would change the way of life for blacks after World War I. Of course that did not occur and would not occur until many years later. The division was, as noted above, ordered to be dressed in French uniforms and helmets, not an idea that Hayward and his black troops wanted. But soon many soldiers of the division distinguished themselves, including two listed in the next paragraph.

Two members of the 369th were on guard duty in a French trench facing the Germans on the night of May 14, 1918. Private Henry Johnson, a porter from Albany, and his already badly wounded Private Needham Roberts took on a German contingent entering the trench of the French Army. Private Henry Johnson single-handedly conducted hand-to-hand combat with many of the Germans, and killed some 24, and wounded many others. Both soldiers were severely wounded, and for their efforts Johnson and Roberts were the first American soldiers, white or black to receive the French Medal of Honor–the Croix de Guerre.

The 369th spent some 191 days at the front. In one encounter, the French general ordered a retreat; the 69th refused and turned the course of the battle. Civil Rights and an integrated Armed Forces did not come until years later, but though now largely forgotten, the “Harlem Hell Fighters” fought for liberty for the French, the English, and the United States in the great war that my grandfather took part in with our Merchant Marine and Navy.

Bill Weightman,


Monday, March 4, 2013

Lincoln’s Handwitten Draft of the Emancipation Proclamation Is Coming to Harlem

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem will be the first stop for the New York State Museum’s traveling exhibition of the only surviving draft of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in Abraham Lincoln’s handwriting.

A printed copy of the preliminary version of the Emancipation Proclamation issued by Lincoln in 1862.

A printed copy of the preliminary version of the Emancipation Proclamation issued by Lincoln in 1862.

On display Sept. 21 through Sept. 24, “The First Step to Freedom: Abraham Lincoln’s Preliminary Proclamation,” will include the draft and the official version of the preliminary document, issued on Sept. 22, 1862. The proclamation changed the course of history by freeing tens of thousands of slaves and laying the foundation for the end of slavery.

The two documents will be displayed along with the manuscript of a Sept. 12, 1962, speech by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the New York State Civil War Centennial Commission in New York City. Dr. King’s speech — typewritten with handwritten notes throughout — argued that the descendants of slaves were still awaiting civil rights and that government could be a powerful force for change.

The draft copy is “such a handsome, powerful and organic document,” Mark Schaming, director of the New York State Museum said on Wednesday. “It’s on this beautiful old paper and he’s thinking while he’s writing.”

The draft shows, for example, that Lincoln toyed with the idea of compensating slaveholders — a plan he had considered earlier. Lincoln’s fingerprint can even been seen in the ink, Mr. Schaming said.

Lincoln issued the preliminary document to signal his intention to order the freeing of slaves in any Confederate state that did not return to Union control by Jan. 1, 1863 — the day the official Emancipation Proclamation was signed and issued. A rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation sold for $2.085 million at auction in New York City in June.

The exhibition’s three documents are accompanied by free-standing pylons that provide context for what the documents mean historically and now.

Timed tickets to the Schomburg exhibition must be reserved, but are free, first come, first served, at or by calling (212) 491-2207. The center is at 515 Lenox Avenue, at 135th Street.

The New York State Legislature bought the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in 1865 from Gerrit Smith, a well-known abolitionist. The state will show off its jewel as the exhibition tours New York State this month,with stops that include the Oncenter in Syracuse, the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, the Plattsburgh State Art Center, the Rochester Museum and Science Center and the New York State Museum in Albany.