WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Portrait Gallery is putting up a photograph of American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, often referred to as “The First Lady of Song.”
The portrait is on view beginning Thursday, ahead of the 100th anniversary of Fitzgerald’s birth. Fitzgerald, who died in 1996 at the age of 79, would have celebrated her 100th birthday April 25.
The National Portrait Gallery said in a statement the photograph on display is of Fitzgerald in performance flanked by Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie and Milt Jackson. It was taken around 1974 by William Gottlieb, who learned to use a camera to take pictures to accompany his weekly music column for The Washington Post. It’s the first time the photograph has been displayed at the museum.
Less than two weeks ago, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser released a six-point plan to address what has become an incendiary national story of missing black and brown girls in the district.
The issue was getting so much attention, in fact, that the mayor, who said that the plan was drafted in January, distributed a broad outline early, including $600,000 in grant support for organizations that work with teens at risk and the launch of a website which will eventually update missing cases in real time.
Mayor Bowser says she wants to “break the cycle” of young people who go missing – the majority, according to the MPD, of whom are Black and brown girls, a large number of whom “voluntarily” leave home and are not abducted (which would trigger the ubiquitous Amber Alerts on our phones.)
Michelle Obama is still devoted to “letting girls learn.”The former first lady marked International Women’s Day with a surprise visit to 12 female students at a combined middle and high school in Washington, D.C.
Obama had a roundtable talk with the girls at Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus, several of whom are from the school’s international program for recent immigrants, including some girls from Africa and Latin America. She announced the visit on Snapchat Wednesday morning, saying: “We’re celebrating International Women’s Day with a group of amazing young women. We’re going to talk about education — the importance of it in their lives and in mine.”
Another snap showed the moment Obama walked into a classroom and surprised the stunned young women, who responded with a chorus of “Oh my Gods!”“Did you know?” the former first lady said with a smile. “You didn’t know.”“This school is amazing,” she added as she greeted the girls.After a round of hugs, Obama and the young students sat down to talk about education and their goals for the future.
The former first lady later took to her Instagram to share a photo and reflect on her visit.
“Celebrating the beauty and diversity of our country on this #InternationalWomensDay with some of the many fierce and promising girls here at DC’s Cardozo Education Campus,” she wrote. “I loved visiting this school because it tells the American story in so many ways. Three years ago, Cardozo established its International Academy with only 150 students, but today it boasts nearly 400 who are thriving in and out of the classroom. By embracing young immigrants and their diverse cultures and contributions, Cardozo is a model for our entire country. The girls I met with today are ready to take on the world. We’ve just got to make sure that the world is ready for them.”
When former first lady Michelle Obama walked into a D.C. high school classroom, the stunned students erupted in tears. One student even darted out of the classroom to regain her composure before she could sit next to her. Obama, who still lives in Washington, made a surprise visit Tuesday to Ballou STAY High School to speak with 14 students for two hours.
Upon arriving, she hugged each of them before taking her seat in the circle. “Once she came in, it was an inspirational feeling,” said Alliyah Williams, 18. “She was so sweet and warm. She was like a mom.”
After visiting the public alternative high school in Southeast Washington, she tweeted “Always love visiting DC schools. Thank you for hosting me today @BallouSTAY. Stories of students #reachinghigher continue to inspire me.” The tweet referenced the White House initiative “Reach Higher” she launched to encourage students to continue their education.
President Barack Obama on Sunday marked the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks by calling on Americans to embrace the nation’s character as a people drawn from every corner of the world, from every religion and from every background. He said extremist groups will never be able to defeat the United States.
Obama spoke to hundreds of service members, and relatives and survivors of the attack that occurred at the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Defense Department’s headquarters, killing 184 people. The youngest victim was only 3 years old.
In all, about 3,000 people lost their lives that day as a result of the planes that crashed into New York City’s World Trade Center and in a Pennsylvania field.
The president said extremist organizations such as the Islamic State group and al-Qaida know they can never drive down the U.S., so they focus on trying to instill fear in hopes of getting Americans to change how they live.
“We know that our diversity, our patchwork heritage is not a weakness, it is still and always will be one of our greatest strengths,” Obama said. “This is the America that was attacked that September morning. This is the America that we must remain true to.”
Obama spoke on warm, mostly sunny morning, noting that the threat that became so evident on Sept. 11 has evolved greatly over the past 15 years. Terrorists, he said, often attempt strikes on a smaller, but still deadly scale. He specifically cited attacks in Boston, San Bernardino and Orlando as examples.
In the end, he said, the enduring memorial to those who lost their lives that day is ensuring “that we stay true to ourselves, that we stay true to what’s best in us, that we do not let others divide us.”
Legendary actress Cicely Tyson is adding more awards to her repertoire.
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Incorporated (CBCF) recently announced that the 91-year-old actress will be a recipient of a lifetime achievement award in the arts. Tyson will also be joined by “Being Mary Jane” actor Richard Roundtree and music icon Dionne Warwick during the foundation’s 20th Annual Celebration of Leadership in the Fine Arts.
“With a lifetime of entertaining and educating us, this year’s honorees have also distinguished themselves as remarkable leaders and passionate advocates for the arts and arts education,” said CBCF president and CEO A. Shuanise Washington in a press release.
“Their outstanding contributions and continuing commitment to the arts make them ideal to help elevate the visibility of the CBC Spouses Visual and Performance Arts Scholarship Program. The awards are conferred on artists whose legacy includes not only extraordinary works but a commitment to cultivating future generations of artists.”
The awards ceremony, which will take place Sept. 14 in Washington, D.C., is organized in cooperation with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Spouses Visual and Performance Arts Scholarship program, Shadow and Act noted.
The House of Cards and How To Get Away With Murder guest star is no stranger to recognition.
During Tyson’s illustrious 65-year career, she has won an Emmy, a Tony, a SAG and a Drama Desk Award for her work in television, film and on and Off-Broadway. She has also been nominated for a Golden Globe, Academy Award and BAFTA to name a few. And just recently, it was announced that the American Theatre Wing will honor Tyson at its annual Gala September 26 at The Plaza Hotel.
Destyni Tyree was living in a homeless shelter in Washington, D.C., when the 14-year-old girl enrolled in Roosevelt S.T.A.Y. High School. Two years later, she graduated with a 4.0 GPA, was appointed captain of the school’s cheerleading squad and voted prom queen — all while working a 25-hour per week job.
What’s more, she has secured a full scholarship to Potomac State College of West Virginia University and will continue her education in August. Her next stop after college is surely world domination.
The principal of Roosevelt S.T.A.Y., Eugenia Young, told ABC that Tyre is “a joy to be around, she has a good heart.” She continued to call Tyree a “bubbly person” and a “phenomal student.”
For Tyree, the hard life that she grew up in only served as motivation to secure academic success. “Quite frankly, I’m just ready to go and live life,” she said in an interview with ABC. “I know there’s a better life out there for me. It gets better. If you work hard enough, if you have that drive, if you have that motivation, it gets a lot better.” She continued to describe how she was able to achieve so much in such little time, saying, “I just time managed. I just wake up and do what I gotta do.”
More than a century after Georgetown University used some of the profits from the sale of 272 enslaved African-Americans to help ensure its survival, John J. DeGioia, the university’s president, took a first step on Monday toward making amends to their descendants.
He walked into the public library in Spokane, Wash., for a private meeting with Patricia Bayonne-Johnson, a great-great-great granddaughter of Nace and Biby Butler, two of the enslaved persons who were sold in 1838 to help keep the college afloat.
The 45-minute meeting, which was followed by a lunch at the nearby Davenport Hotel, may well have been a historic one.
More than a dozen universities have recognized their ties to slavery and the slave trade. But historians say they believe this is the first time that the president of an elite university has met with the descendants of slaves who had labored on a college campus or were sold to benefit one. “I came to listen and to learn,” Mr. DeGioia said in an interview, describing the discussion as “moving and inspiring.”
Ms. Bayonne-Johnson, an amateur genealogist and retired teacher, said she believed Mr. DeGioia was willing to take necessary steps “to honor the sacrifice and legacy” of her ancestors. “He asked what could he do and how could he help,” she said in an interview. “It was a very good beginning.”
The meeting comes as officials at Georgetown continue to grapple with how to address the college’s complicity in the slave sale. The slaves, who were owned by the Jesuit priests who founded and ran the college, were sold for about $3.3 million in today’s dollars.
The gift was unexpected, but so welcomed. It happened on Thursday at N Street Village’s Empowerment Luncheon. The organization helps women in need through housing and employment as well as helping those battling drug addiction or are encountering health issues.
They only wanted to hear Oprah Winfrey’s inspirational words, but they got so much more.
“I thank you N Street for seeing, hearing and knowing that every life matters, every woman matters,” Winfrey said.
Linda Rush introduced Winfrey at the luncheon. For years, Rush was addicted to crack and involved in prostitution. “My mom dropped me off. She walked me in here,” said Rush.
At one time before finding N Street Village, Rush wanted to reach out to Winfrey. “Twenty years ago, I wanted to write her a letter and ask her to help me into a program,” Rush told FOX 5. “The people I was getting high with, they were like, ‘Oh, she don’t have time for you.’”
Two decades later, Rush told Winfrey that story and how N Street Village helped turn her life around.
“Before I introduced her, I said that now she can see for herself how things turned out,” Rush said. “She said, ‘I see.’ And that felt – I can’t even describe that feeling.”
“N Street Village has been a vital part of Washington D.C. for over 40 years now,” said Schroeder Stribling, executive director for N Street Village.
It has four locations across the city helping homeless women get their lives back on track. Stribling said Winfrey’s gift brought her to tears. “I went up and I kind of couldn’t help myself, but hang on her for a while and cry,” Stribling said.