Tag: Booker T. Washington

Octavia Spencer, LeBron James Team on Limited TV Series About Madam CJ Walker

LeBron James / Octavia Spencer (photos via variety.com)

by Justin Kroll via variety.com

NBA superstar LeBron James is continuing to make moves off the court. James’ production company, SpringHill Entertainment, is adding the first scripted drama to its growing slate. The project also boasts Oscar-winning talent: Octavia Spencer.

Spencer is attached to star in the limited series about entrepreneur and social activist Madam C.J. Walker’s life, with James executive producing along with his company’s co-founder, Maverick Carter. Sources tell Variety that Netflix is interested in the series and is the likely destination. The steaming service had no comment on their involvement in the project.

Nicole Asher is on board to write and co-exec produce and “Black Nativity” helmer Kasi Lemmons will direct the pilot and also executive produce. The series is based on the book “On Her Own Ground” by A’Lelia Bundles, Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, who will also serve as a consultant on the series.

Walker, the daughter of slaves, was orphaned at age seven, married at 14, and widowed at 20. She spent two decades laboring as a washerwoman, earning $1.50 a week. However, everything changed following Walker’s discovery of a revolutionary hair care formula for black women. By the time she died in 1919, she had built a beauty empire from the ground up, amassing wealth unprecedented among black women. She counted W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington among her friends.

Zero Gravity Management’s Mark Holder and Christine Holder optioned the book from Bundles in early 2016. Spencer got wind of the project and aggressively pursued the part. Once word spread that Spencer was attached, WME, who reps both Spencer and James, pitched the series to James as his production company’s entryway into the prestige genre.

SpringHill president Jamal Henderson brought the project to Carter’s attention and the two moved quickly to land the property. With Nicole Asher set to write, Spencer starring, and James and Springhill on board as producers, the package was presented to potential buyers, with Netflix acting fast and the favorite to land the series. “I am really proud of this project and that SpringHill will be partnering with Octavia to tell this important story,” James said. “Every American should all know the story of Madam C.J. Walker. She was an innovator, entrepreneur, social activist, and total game changer whose story has been left out of the history books. I hope this project lives up to her legacy with a story that will educate and inspire.”

To read full article, go to: Octavia Spencer, LeBron James Team on TV Series About Madam CJ Walker | Variety

PBS to Air Documentary on William Monroe Trotter, a Black Newspaper Editor Who Fought Against Original “The Birth of a Nation”

William Monroe Trotter (photo via colorlines.com)

article by Sameer Rao via colorlines.com

As D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” contributed to the Ku Klux Klan’s resurgence nearly 100 years ago, pioneering Black newspaper editor and activist William Monroe Trotter fought to ban the film in his native Boston. An upcoming PBS doc will explore his battle against the infamous 1915 film.

Birth of a Movement focuses on Trotter’s mobilization of community protests, which included an attempt to see the movie with supporters that ended in a scuffle and his arrest. These protests were part of a career spent critiquing segregationist policy that included founding and editing The Boston Guardian, criticizing Booker T. Washington, helping to create the NAACP and leading the National Equal Rights League. Trotter’s activism grew into a broader movement to combat the film’s violent aftermath.

The documentary premieres February 6 at 10 p.m. as part of PBS’ “Independent Lens” series.

To read more, go to: PBS to Air Doc on Black Editor Who Fought Original ‘The Birth of a Nation’ | Colorlines

USPS Honors Architect Robert Robinson Taylor With Stamp

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 11.00.31 AMSince 1940, the United States Postal Service has paid homage to the countless achievements made by African-American men and women through stamps that immortalize those individuals who had an impact on this country’s history.

Now Robert Robinson Taylor (pictured), the first academically trained black architect in the U.S. and, coincidentally, the great-grandfather of Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, was honored on USPS’ 38th Black Heritage stamp, issued yesterday, February 12.

Taylor was born in Wilmington, N.C. 1868 to a middle-class family.  Taylor’s grandfather was a white slave owner, who freed his son, Henry Taylor, in 1847. Robert’s mother was descended from free blacks since before the Civil War. Upon graduating high school, Taylor worked for his father a bit but then attended the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where prejudice awaited him and the other handful of blacks who dared to attend.

During his four years at MIT, Taylor worked hard and managed to maintain an above average grade point average. He went on to graduate from MIT in 1892 becoming the first black person to receive a degree from the university.

Upon graduating MIT, Taylor married his wife, Nellie and landed a job at Tuskegee as an architect and educator through a close relationship he forged with Booker T. Washington. Taylor designed most of the university’s buildings built before 1932.  He retired from his university posts in 1935.

Taylor collapsed and passed away in 1942 while attending a service at the Tuskegee chapel which he had designed.

Last year the USPS honored the meritorious works of such African-American greats as Shirley Chisholm, Ralph Ellison, Jimi Hendrix, C. Alfred “Chief” Anderson, Edna Lewis and Wilt Chamberlain through stamps.

article by Ruth Manuel-Logan via newsone.com

74 Years Ago Today: Booker T. Washington Becomes 1st African-American Honored on a U.S. Stamp

Booker T. Washington stamp

The U.S. Postal Service regularly honors African-Americans on stamps in the present day, but Booker T. Washington was the first Black person to be honored in this way on April 7, 1940.

Washington was part of the U.S. Postal Service’s Famous Americans Series. The stamp was issued at a cost of 10 cents.

Washington was a prominent educator, having founded Alabama’s Tuskegee Normal Industrial School, which was renamed Tuskegee Institute in 1937. He was born enslaved on April 5, 1856, in Hale’s Ford, Virginia.  He died in Tuskegee, Alabama on Nov. 14, 1915.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt urged that Washington have his own stamp, after numerous petitions from African-American supporters. A ceremony was eventually held for the stamp’s revealing at the Tuskegee Institute.

article by Natelege Whaley via bet.com

The First 5 African-Americans to be Featured on U.S. Stamps

Many wonder who were the first group of African-Americans to get their own stamp.

It’s no secret that African-Americans have contributed to the development of the United States; more than we are given credit for. However, most of the ones who have been acknowledged for their work in America have been honored with their very on U.S., postage stamp.

While we know Harriett Tubman and other famous African-Americans have their pictures on stamps, many wonder who were the first group of African-Americans to get their own stamp.

Check out the list below to find out:

1. Booker T. Washington

Born of slaves, Booker T. Washington worked his way through Hampton Institute and Wayland Seminary. By the age of 25, he was named the president of the Tuskegee Institute. Washington was known for being one of the best orators of his time who used his oration skills to be the voice for African-Americans. He also helped develop 5,000 small schools to educate African-Americans throughout the south.

Washington was awarded with a 10 cent stamp in 1940. The U.S. Postal Service invited the pubic for recommendations and Booker T. Washington’s name was repeatedly submitted. Him receiving a 10 cent stamp was an honor in itself because most of the other African-Americans featured were relegated to the stamps worth a penny or two.

2. George Washington Carver

As one of the most famous African-Americans of his time, George Washington Carver became known as “The Peanut Man” due to his extensive work trying to explain the positive effect peanuts could have on the southern farming industry. After being invited by Booker T. Washington to become the Director of Agriculture at Tuskegee Institute, Carver continued his work in botany and agriculture until the day he died in 1934.

George Washington Carver was commemorated with a three cent stamp in 1948. He was picked to receive a stamp for his work in science and how his work with the peanut and sweet potato industry helped farming continue to succeed when most thought the farming industry was on its last legs. Continue reading “The First 5 African-Americans to be Featured on U.S. Stamps”

Reflections in Black: Celebrating African Americans in Photography

Augustus Washington (1820–1875)
Unidentified woman, probably a member of the Urias McGill family, daguerreotype, sixth plate, 1855, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, LZ-USZC4-3937.

article via blog.charlesguice.com

Twelve years ago, Reflections in Black became the largest exhibition ever conceived to explore the breadth and history of work by black photographers.

It is unlikely that many people would be familiar with the name Jules Lion. A free man of color, Lion established the first daguerrean studio in New Orleans and, in doing so, became somewhat of a local celebrity. Alone, his accomplishments might have been of little interest. But the fact that he did this in the early spring of 1840, soon after the announcement of the daguerreotype process, is worthy of special attention. Moreover, there is evidence that Lion may have immigrated from France with knowledge of the process. For historian Deborah Willis, Lion’s achievements mark not only the beginning of photography in the U.S., but the pioneering involvement of blacks in the medium. As a result, Lion is included in the landmark exhibition,Reflections in Black: Smithsonian African American Photography. Continue reading “Reflections in Black: Celebrating African Americans in Photography”

Isaac Scott Hathaway Becomes First African American To Design A U.S. Mint Coin 66 Years Ago Today

Pioneering sculptor Isaac Scott Hathaway (pictured) was chosen as the first African American to design a U.S. Mint coin on this day 66 years ago. Then-President Harry S. Truman authorized a commission for the Mint to jump 

isaac scott hathaway biographystart the design of a new 50-cent piece. Hathaway received the clearance to design the coin, which featured educator and author Booker T. Washington (pictured right) who was chosen as the coin’s face because Truman wanted “to commemorate the life and perpetuate the ideas and teachings of Booker T. Washington.”

Continue reading “Isaac Scott Hathaway Becomes First African American To Design A U.S. Mint Coin 66 Years Ago Today”

GBN Quote Of The Day

“Few are too young, and none too old, to make the attempt to learn.”

–Booker T. Washington, educator, author, orator and first President of the Tuskegee Institute