46 Total Pages 48 Contributing Members
From October 1929 to September 1933, "Abbott’s Monthly" successfully engaged readers with a cosmopolitan feel that featured unknown contemporary authors who addressed African American news while also writing fiction pieces. The publication was founded by Robert Sengstacke Abbott, founder and owner of the already popular "Chicago Defender," the most popular African American newspaper in the country at the time. The first edition of "Abbott's Monthly" sold nearly 50,000 copies and shortly thereafter soared to 100,000. However, the magazine in it's original form ceased publication in 1933 due to the Great Depression, but continued to be publish under a new name "Abbott’s Monthly Illustrated News," until 1934. Help us transcribe this Abbott’s Monthly to explore the culture of the 1930s.
6 Total Pages 12 Contributing Members
"J'ai Deux Amours," which translates to “I have two loves,” was performed by Josephine Baker in the 1930s. The 1930 piece was written by Géo Koger and Henri Varna with music by Vincent Scotto. Entirely in French, the song was first performed in the Casino de Paris. The song describes her two loves, “Mon pays et Paris,” which translates into my country and Paris. However, there is some disagreement as to whether the country she refers to is America or France. Help us transcribe the lyrics to this song to discover the music of the 1930s.
3 Total Pages 8 Contributing Members
Less than a year before the start of World War II, Josephine Baker wrote to her sister, Margaret "Meg" Martin Wallace, about how the "awful war rumors" were affecting her performance schedule. Help us transcribe this letter to learn more about Josephine Baker's career in the late 1930s.
1 Total Pages 3 Contributing Members
On August 29th, 1938, Fats Waller preformed in London at the Empire Theatre at Finsbury Park. Hailed as the “World’s Greatest Pianist,” Waller was one of the most popular performers of his era. He was a skilled pianist, a master of stride piano, and a prolific songwriter. Many songs he wrote or co-wrote are still popular, such as "Honeysuckle Rose," "Ain't Misbehavin,'" and "Squeeze Me." Help us transcribe this poster advertising Waller's 1938 performance.
15 Total Pages 18 Contributing Members
"Flash" was a weekly newspicture magazine published in Washington, D.C., from June 1937-August 1939. "Flash" was one of a number of periodicals aimed at black audiences during the 1930s that featured images and text about African Americans and African American life during this period. In a 1938 editorial titled "New Year Forecast" the editors wrote, "No longer an experiment, it ["Flash"] will represent the outstanding dynamic and satisfying weekly presentation of the significant drama of American life, with colored men and women in the title roles." This February 14, 1938 issue of "Flash" features photographs by acclaimed Pittsburgh photographer Charles "Teenie" Harris. Help us transcribe this issue of "Flash" to learn more about African American life in the 1930s and see if you can find Teenie Harris' photos throughout.
1 Total Pages 2 Contributing Members
Pinback buttons are a statement that lets others know your opinions and feelings on a variety of topics. This button shows support for the Scottsboro Boys. On March 25, 1931, nine African American teenage boys were accused of raping two white women. The case was first heard in Scottsboro, Alabama, in three rushed trials, where the defendants received poor legal representation. All but one of the defendants were convicted of rape and sentenced to death. The International Labor Defense (ILD), the legal arm of the Communist Party USA, took on this case realizing that the fame of the case would spotlight the blatant racism shown against the Scottsboro Boys. The ILD directed a national campaign to help free the teenagers that included rallies, speeches, parades, and demonstrations. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled in favor of the guilty verdict for seven of the eight convictions. The ruling was appealed to the United States Supreme Court in the case Powell v. Alabama Chief Justice John C. Anderson. The Supreme Court ruling decided that the defendants had been denied an impartial jury, fair trial, fair sentencing, and effective counsel, which violated their rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. This ruling was one of the first examples showing that African Americans were denied the rights of a fair impartial trial. The ruling was upheld again in Norris v. Alabama.
2 Total Pages 3 Contributing Members
Economic despair and widespread unemployment during the Great Depression lead many Americans to seek inspiration and hope in the world of sports. Like other sports, baseball, both the Negro leagues and the all-white Major Leagues, was not immune to the effects of the Great Depression. Player salaries dropped and attendance at games declined. All-star games were a way to highlight local talent and promote the game during the Great Depression. Help us transcribe this poster from an all-star game between the "colored all stars" and "white all stars" from Northwestern Ohio and surrounding areas.
2 Total Pages 5 Contributing Members
Economic despair and widespread unemployment during the Great Depression lead many Americans to seek inspiration and hope in the world of sports. When boxer Joe Louis burst onto the scene in the mid-1930s he became a symbol of pride for African Americans. The 1937 fight between Joe Louis and James Braddock began an unprecedented winning streak by Louis that included a 12-year run as champion, defeating 25 challengers. Help us transcribe this ticket for the 1937 fight between Louis and Braddock for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world.
2 Total Pages 4 Contributing Members
Economic despair and widespread unemployment during the Great Depression lead many Americans to seek inspiration and hope in the world of sports. When boxer Joe Louis burst onto the scene in the mid-1930s he became a symbol of pride for African Americans. During the 1930s Joe Louis and German heavyweight Max Schmeling fought two fights whose influence reached far beyond the ring. Louis lost the first fight in 1936, and Schmeling became a symbol of Nazi superiority. The second fight in 1938 was billed as a fight between democracy and fascism. When Louis won in a first-round knockout, the fight was viewed as a triumph for American democracy, though segregation was still widespread in the United States. Cheer on Joe Louis and help us transcribe a ticket from his memorable 1938 knockout against Max Schmeling.
8 Total Pages 13 Contributing Members
The Cotton Club was Harlem’s premier nightclub in the 1920s and 1930s. The club featured many of the greatest African American entertainers of the era, including Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, and Ethel Waters. However, while the performers were black, the club only permitted white audiences. Nonetheless, the Cotton Club launched the careers of many African American performers including Fletcher Henderson, who led the first house band in 1923, and Duke Ellington, whose orchestra was the house band from 1927 to 1931. Cab Calloway's orchestra took over for Ellington’s group in 1931 and Jimmie Lunceford’s band followed in 1934. Lena Horne began her career as a chorus girl at the Cotton Club and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and Sammy Davis Jr. performed as tap dancers. Many of these acts are featured in this program “The Cotton Club Parade: World’s Fair Edition.” Help us transcribe this program and step into a night at one of the most well-known nightclubs in New York.