According to wjla.com, The Board of Public Works in Maryland voted 3-0 to approved a contract to put bronze statues of American heroes and freedom fighters Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass in the Maryland State House. The statues will stand in the Old House of Delegates Chamber.
Maryland-born abolitionists Tubman and Douglass both escaped enslavement in their home state and worked in the North to secure freedom for others via speeches, protests and journalism. Tubman, known by many as “Black Moses,” went back down South personally several times to rescue and guide enslaved people to freedom via the Underground Railroad.
House delegate R. Julian Ivey asked to delay the contract, citing a lack of minority business participation in the deal. “If the state of Maryland is going to honor Ms. Tubman and Mr. Douglass, we need to do it the right way,” Ivey wrote in a letter to the board.
The contract with The Christmas Company, of Sterling, Virginia, calls for completing the work within 390 days.
U.S. Representative Maxine Waters will celebrate her 80th birthday on Wednesday, August 15th. To pay tribute to this iconic woman who has dedicated 37 years to serving the people, speaking up against injustice and side-eyeing all manner of foolishness from all quarters, GirlTrek is joining AFROPUNK, Color of Change, and thousands of Black folks across the country in a nationwide #BeLikeMaxine celebration.
GirlTrek, the largest national public health nonprofit and movement for Black women and girls, is organizing 80 walks across the United States in honor of Congresswoman Waters’ 80th turn around the sun. With more than 150,000 members nationwide, GirlTrek encourages Black women and girls to use radical self-care and walking as the first practical step to leading a healthier, more fulfilled life.
“We did it for Harriet Tubman because she showed us the way. Reminded it us that it’s OK to walk alone. We did it for Fannie Lou Hamer because she taught us how to organize. Showed us that every woman can be a leader,” said GirlTrek cofounder T. Morgan Dixon. “Now, we do it for Auntie Maxine because she teaches us daily how to find our voice, how to speak truth to power, how to stand in grace against the storm and how to reclaim our time in the process.”
Elected in November 2016 to her fourteenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 43rd Congressional District of California, Rep. Maxine Waters is considered to be one of the most powerful women in American politics today. She has gained a reputation as a fearless and outspoken advocate for women, children, people of color and the poor.
GirlTrek is inviting women everywhere to reclaim 30 minutes of time in honor of Auntie Maxine by hosting a #BeLikeMaxine walk in their community with their friends and loved ones. “No walk is too small. You + a friend = a celebration,” Dixon said. “Maxine Waters is a living foremother. We walk in her footsteps. We celebrate her.”
GirlTrek encourages women to use walking as a practical first step to inspire healthy living, families, and communities. In five years, GirlTrek has mobilized more than 150,000 Black women and girls nationwide. By 2020, GirlTrek’s goal is to motivate 1 million Black women and girls to walk for better health. GirlTrek has been featured in The New York Times, Essence, shondaland.com, E! News, People magazine, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, and many other national and regional outlets. The TED Talk, Walking as a Revolutionary Act of Self-Care has received more than 1 million views.
JuVee Productions – the integrated film, television and digital production company created by Viola Davis and her husband, Julius Tennon, is embarking on an effort to raise $250,000,000 in a global expansion plan for the development, production and distribution of diverse and inclusive film and digital content.
The fund will be used to develop, finance, produce and distribute a slate of multiple feature films and branded digital content that will see the relatively young production company expand its footprint globally. “The shift in storytelling should be inclusive and we aim to make it a reality,” says Julius Tennon in a press statement.
Launched in 2012 by Davis and Tennon, JuVee Productions is a Los Angeles-based artist driven production company that develops and produces independent film, television, theater, and digital content across all platforms. JuVee Productions aims to become the go-to creative hub where the next generation of filmmakers and artists have the space to craft dynamic stories spanning the broad spectrum of humanity.
The company’s most recent project is the courtroom drama “Custody” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016, and aired on the Lifetime network last week. The short film “Night Shift” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January of this year and continues to tour the film festival circuit.
Upcoming the production company has the film adaptation of “The Personal History of Rachel DuPree” which Davis is starring in; a biopic on Barbara Jordan (the first Southern African American woman elected to the United States House of Representatives), also with Davis starring; and a TV period series set up at ABC titled “The Zipcoders,” set in 1968, about a group of black teenagers form a rock ‘n’ roll band who aspire to be like The Beatles; and there’s also Davis’ Harriet Tubman film with HBO.
The “Mastry” Gallery, created by African-American artist Kerry James Marshall, walks you through Marshall’s journey of making it as a fine artist – a field dominated by whites for centuries. Marshall was born in Alabama in 1955, and as a child was a part of the last wave of The Great Migration to the west, a region still full of promise and opportunity. Marshall’s family settled in South Central Los Angeles and while growing up in Watts, Marshall pursued art and was an active participant in the movement that encouraged an increase of black artists in the art community. All of Marshall’s work contributed to his mission to prove that art by blacks was just as challenging and beautiful as the white art which was typically celebrated.
The exhibit shows Marshall’s earlier works such as “The Invisible Man,” which is a collection of small scale portraits of people using the darkest shades of black, emphasizing Marshall’s idea that black people in society blend into the background. The exhibition displays how Marshall’s work developed, and include many of his large scale paintings.
Marshall changed the style of his work because he realized that a big statement called for a grander canvas. A large three-piece work called “Heirlooms and Accessories,” appears to be a necklace with a woman’s face in it at first glance. However, once one’s eyes adjust to the painting, fine lines start to become more distinct, and it is clear that there is a lynching occurring in the background. The faces in the painting are witnesses at the lynching, and the expressions of indifference are utterly shocking. While “Heirlooms and Accessories” seem to be referring to the necklaces, accessories serves as a double meaning because it also refers to those who were accessories to murder. This is a prime example of the depth and meaning behind each of Marshall’s work.
All of the paintings reflect Marshall’s commentary on black identity in the U.S. and in traditional western art. In his piece “Harriet Tubman,” Marshall paints an image of Harriet Tubman on her wedding day, with hands with white gloves essentially hanging this piece of art in a museum. Marshall’s feeling that museums are responsible for the lack of black art is portrayed in this piece. Museums typically hold the standard of what is beautiful and worthy, and Marshall makes the direct statement of what should be celebrated in this work.
The exhibition is especially engaging because of the varying emotions each work provokes. While pieces such as “Slow Dance,” which illustrates two people peacefully dancing, provokes calmness and peace, other pieces express injustice and anger. Marshall’s versatility and innate talent for art is clear as his work consists of completely different mediums and subjects. The exhibition allows you to fully observe all of Marshall’s different forms of art and varying ideas, and is not limited to a specific time period or brand of art.
Marshall’s range of mediums and subjects include large to small scale, canvas paintings to comics, common people to historical figures, and glittery mediums to the blackest of paint. This ability to effectively utilize different forms of art makes Marshall a unique artist, and a unique person who has learned to effectively communicate in a way people of all race, gender, and social class can understand. Marshall’s works are visually stunning to say the least, and his success in spreading the meaning of his art and pursuing his career despite the circumstances of racial discrimination, is truly inspiring.
Federal parks officials have formally established the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in upstate New York. Members of the state’s congressional delegation joined U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in Washington, D.C., for the official signing ceremony last month that makes the park part of the National Park Service system. It encompasses the site of Tubman’s old home on the outskirts of Auburn, about 25 miles west of Syracuse, and a nearby church where she worshipped.
The New York park will focus on Tubman’s work later on in her life when she was an active proponent of women’s suffrage and other causes. It will be a sister park to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Maryland.
“These two parks preserve and showcase a more complete history of one of America’s pivotal humanitarians who, at great personal risk, did so much to secure the freedom of hundreds of formerly enslaved people,” Secretary Jewell said. “Her selfless commitment to a more perfect union is testament that one determined person, no matter her station in life or the odds against her, can make a tremendous difference.”
Harriet Tubman will replace President Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill, a Treasury Department official said Wednesday.
The official did not give a timetable for the change, saying only that the department is looking to make it as quickly as possible without compromising security.
The news deviates from Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s original plan, which was unveiled last summer. Lew’s plan involved changing the $10 bill, not the $20; the department planned to put a woman on the $10 bill by 2020, in time for the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
The $10 bill currently features Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Treasury secretary. In June, Lew said that either Hamilton would share the bill with a woman or the Treasury would release two different bills.
The Treasury Department official did not comment Wednesday morning on any planned changes for the $10 bill.
Lew’s original plan to change the $10 suffered backlash from several directions. Many who objected said the only woman on the nation’s paper currency should be featured alone on the bill, rather than sharing space with a man. Some said the $20 bill should be changed instead, as its ubiquity in ATMs gives it a much higher profile than the $10.
Viola Davis made history Sunday night as the first Black woman to win an Emmy for outstanding actress in a drama series, bringing a sisterhood of Black actresses to their feet at the announcement of her accomplishment.
But Davis’ win was the second history-making moment of her night — as Vanity Fair points out, the nomination of lead actress, alongside Taraji P. Henson’s nomination, was the first time multiple women of color have been considered for the award at the same time.
The significance of the moment was not lost on Henson, who stood to embrace Davis as she made her way to the stage. In a powerful speech that amplified the voices of Black women who have called for more representation in TV, media and film, Davis noted that roles for Black women are scarce in a whitewashed Hollywood.
“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there,” she said.
A quote from Harriet Tubman, which she recited at the top of her acceptance speech, served as a succinct but profound outline of what many Black actresses are facing in the world of film, even in 2015.
“In my mind I see a line and over that line I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line, but I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line.”
You can watch her speech here:
But Davis’ win was not the first exceptional moment for Black women at the 2015 Emmy Awards. Orange Is The New Black star Uzo Aduba also made her own history when she accepted the Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama Series, making her the first actress to win both a drama and a comedy award for the same role.
Hollywood veteran and favorite Regina King also took home an award for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie for “American Crime.” It was King’s first nomination and win.
For a full list of winners, click below:
2015 Emmy Awards: A List Of The Night’s Big Winners
Viola Davis is attached to star in an HBO telepic about the life of Harriet Tubman, the activist who helped devise a system that allowed hundreds of slaves to escape to freedom via the Underground Railroad.
Davis is developing the project with Amblin TV and writer Kirk Ellis, who has penned historical projects for HBO including its “John Adams” miniseries, and “Entourage” exec producer Doug Ellin. The untitled movie is based on the book “Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero” by Kate Clifford Larson.
Davis is executive producing with her partner and husband, Julius Tennon; Amblin’s Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank; Ellin; Jim Lefkowitz; and Cliff Dorfman.
The movie is in the early development stage and has not been given the go-ahead for production. But it’s eyed for filming during Davis’ hiatus next year from her hit ABC drama “How to Get Away With Murder.”
Tubman became an American icon as a woman who escaped from slavery in Maryland in 1849 and helped organize a network of safe houses to help her relatives. She eventually helped hundreds of slaves to secure their freedom and became the most famous “conductor” on the network. During the Civil War, Tubman served with the Union Army as a cook and a nurse, but she was eventually pressed into service as a spy.
Tubman is not the only African-American historical figure that Davis has sought to portray onscreen. The actress has been developing a feature film based on the life of pioneering congresswoman Barbara Jordan.
From the moment they come into the world, little black girls work just a little bit harder than their peers to construct a healthy sense of self in a society that prizes values and attributes that don’t mirror those they possess. We as their caregivers must help them find the way by offering them as many affirming messages as possible. We can do this with our words and by our example; however, books can also prove to be important points of contact into the souls and spirits of African-American girls. Here is a list of books that promote a positive self-image in younger, black females:
This companion book to Boy of Mine shows a dazzling little girl enjoying playtime in the moon’s soft glow. As daddy cradles his baby girl, she is suddenly whisked away on a fantastical adventure, swinging above lush floral gardens under the golden moonlight. The sweet text, inspired by “Rock-A-Bye Baby,” will whisk little ones off to peaceful slumber.
This heartwarming story reminds us how satisfying it is to grow up surrounded by love. I Can Do It Too! affirms a little girl’s growing independence as she, too, can begin to do all the things she sees her parents, relatives and neighbors do: pouring juice at breakfast, strumming a guitar, and even riding a bike! The simple cadence of text and direct-to-the-heart art result in a book as warm and generous as its message, providing reading pleasure for toddlers, older siblings, and the grown-ups who love them.
This is the tale of Mufaro’s two daughters, two beautiful girls who react in different ways to the king’s search for a wife – one is aggressive and selfish, the other kind and dignified. The king takes on disguises to learn the true nature of both girls and of course chooses Nyasha, the kind and generous daughter, to be his queen.
A little girl longs to see beyond the scary sights on the sidewalk and the angry scribbling in the halls of her building. When her teacher writes the word beautifulon the blackboard, the girl decides to look for something beautiful in her neighborhood. Her neighbors tell her about their own beautiful things.
AOP (American Opera Projects), and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture will co-present an evening of scenes from Nkeiru Okoye‘s folk opera Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom that tells of how a young girl born in slavery, becomes Harriet Tubman, the legendary Underground Railroad conductor. The musical excerpts will be followed by an artist Q&A moderated by WQXR’s Terrance McKnight. The concert will be presented on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 6:30 PM at the Langston Hughes Auditorium: 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037-1801. General admission will be $10 ($8 for Schomburg Society Members) and available by calling (212) 491-2206 or visiting www.showclix.com/event/HarrietTubman.
Harriet Tubman will include performances by soprano Sumayya Ali (Lincoln Center, Berkshire Opera, Sarasota Opera), soprano Sequina DuBose (Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Memphis, PAB Theater), contralto Nicole Mitchell (Lincoln Center Festival, Sarasota Opera), tenor Clinton Ingram (Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Teatro Real), and baritone Damian Norfleet (Perseverance Theater, AMAS Musical Theater, Prospect Theater Company). The evening will feature a string ensemble with music direction by Mila Henry, stage direction by Beth Greenberg (New York City Opera) and WQXR’s Terrance McKnight moderating a Q&A with the artists.
Using a mixture of opera and vernacular folk music, featuring gospel spirituals, ragtime, early blues, minstrel songs, work songs, call and responses, and field hollers, Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom tells this important chapter of American history in the context of Tubman’s tight-knit family of lively characters and two sisters vowing that nothing but death will separate them, despite the slavery threatening to tear them apart. The work is in development at Brooklyn-based AOP who has featured music from Tubman at venues such as Galapagos Art Space, SUNY Albany, and the Brooklyn Public Library Main Branch.
A semi-staged performance of the entire Harriet Tubman opera will be presented by AOP in February 2014 at Brooklyn’s Irondale Center as part of Lines of Freedom, a theatrical celebration of African-American history. Presentations of Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works.