“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” Wiiliam Wilberforce
Roland Hayes, the brilliant tenor became the first African-American man to earn international fame as a concert vocalist. In 1942, Mr. Hayes’s wife, Helen and daughter, Afrika, sat in a whites-only area of a shoe store and were thrown out. When Mr. Hayes defended his family, he was beaten and he and his wife were arrested. The incident inspired Langston Hughes to compose the poem, Roland Hayes Beaten.
The Beulah Show, the first sitcom to star an African American actress, moved from radio to ABC TV on October 3, 1950, starring Ethel Waters for the first season. Hattie McDaniel, star of radio’s Beulah, joined the cast around September of 1951 but only filmed six episodes of the second season before falling ill. She was quickly replaced by Louise Beavers who stayed with the show until its cancellation in 1952.
“I’m not black, I’m O.J.,” a reference to an alleged quote from O.J. Simpson’s murder trial. Simpson was saying, as the story goes, that through fame and fortune he had managed to distance himself from the issues plaguing black men in America: poverty, police brutality, incarceration. I guess he was wrong. Continue reading “Afroticity”