It's about Photography living life through the lens. The heart and soul. My journey as a mother artist.
The Muse brothers had an incredible career. The story of the two black albino brothers from Roanoke, Virginia is unique even in the bizarre world of freaks and sideshow. They were initially exploited and then later hailed for their unintentional role in civil rights.
Born in the 1890’s the pair were scouted by sideshow agents and kidnapped in 1899 by bounty hunters working in the employ of an unknown sideshow promoter. Black albinos, being extremely rare, would have been an extremely lucrative attraction. They were falsely told that their mother was dead, and that they would never be returning home.
The brothers began to tour. To accentuate their already unusual appearance, their handler had the brothers grow out their hair into long white dreadlocks. In 1922 showman Al G. Barnes began showcasing the brothers in his circus as White Ecuadorian cannibals Eko and Iko. When that gimmick failed to attract crowds the brothers were rechristened the ‘Sheep-Headed Men’ and later, in 1923, the ‘Ambassadors from Mars’.
As the ‘Men from Mars’ the two traveled extensively with the Barnes circus. Unfortunately, while they were being fed, housed and trained in playing the mandolin, they were not being paid.In the mid 1920’s the Muse brothers toured with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. In 1927, while visiting their hometown, their mother finally tracked them down. She fought to free her sons, some 20 years after their disappearance. She threatened to sue and the Muse brothers were freed.
The brothers filed a lawsuit for the wages they earned but were never paid. They initially demanded a lump-sum payment of 100,000. However, as time passed the Muse brothers missed the crowds, the attention and the opportunities sideshow provided. Their lawyer got them a smaller lump-sum payment and a substantial contract with a flat monthly wage. The pair returned to show business in 1928.
During their first season back they played Madison Square Garden and drew over 10,000 spectators during each of their performances. They made spectacular money as their new contract allowed them to sell their own merchandise and keep all the profits for themselves. In the 1930’s they toured Europe, Asia and Australia. They performed for royals and dignitaries including the Queen of England. In 1937 they returned to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for several years and finally ended their career in 1961 with the Clyde Beatty Circus.
The brothers returned to their hometown and lived together in a house they originally purchased for their mother. Neither brother married, though they were well known for their many extravagant courtships.
George Muse died in 1971 and many expected Willie to quickly follow his brother. Those people were wrong as Willie continued to play his mandolin and enjoy the company friends and family until his death on Good Friday of 2001.
He was 108 years old.
Keeper of the Gate outlines the history and work of Philip Simmons, a master blacksmith from Charleston, South Carolina. This online exhibition draws from materials and essays originally featured in Keeper of the Gate: Designs in Wrought Iron by Philip Simmons, Master Blacksmith, a traveling exhibition produced by thePhilip Simmons Foundation, Inc. It also highlights archival materials from the Philip Simmons Collection at the Avery Research Center, digitized for the Lowcountry Digital Library through the support of the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation. In addition, this exhibition includes an interactive map, and a documentary entitled Philip Simmons Tribute 1912-2009, produced by Sunhead Projects, LLC. For questions about visiting the Philip Simmons Museum and Gift Shop in Charleston, or to reserve the original traveling exhibition featuring photography of Philip Simmons gates by Claire Y. Greene (1958-2006), please contact Rossie M. Colter at the Philip Simmons Foundation, Inc. Published May 2014.
Click here for the exhibit.
Elizabeth Jennings Graham photo source: Kansas Historical Foundation, photo circa 1854-1860
(1830-1901) Elizabeth Jennings was a New York City schoolteacher whose 1854 defiance of a streetcar conductor’s order to leave his car helped desegregate public transit in New York City. With the help of her prominent father, the wealthy businessman Thomas L. Jennings, she filed and won a lawsuit against the streetcar company. Thomas L. Jennings, the first African-American to win a patent, owned a large clothing store and co-founded the famous Abyssinian Baptist Church. He used most of his profits in the fight against slavery and racism, founding a Legal Rights Association, which fought for civil rights through the courts. The association’s first case was his daughter’s. The judge in her case issued a ruling that prohibited discrimination in public transit against blacks. Chester A. Arthur, who later become the 21st President of the United States was her attorney. While she won her suit, only after blacks won another anti-discrimination lawsuit in 1859, did New York City’s public transit substantially desegregate. Later, with school’s remaining segregated, Jennings founded New York City’s first black kindergarten. — Sources: Speak out in Thunder Tones, Letters and Other Writings by Black Northerners 1787-1865 and The New York Times
Benjamin “Pap” Singleton
A leader in the “Great Exodus” that brought thousands of African Americans west from the post-Reconstruction South, Benjamin Singleton became toward the end of his life a pioneer of black nationalism who launched one of the first back-to-Africa movements in the United States.
Singleton was born in 1809 in Nashville, Tennessee, where he was several times sold as a slave but always managed to escape. Eventually, he fled to Canada, then settled in Detroit, Michigan, where he ran a boardinghouse that frequently sheltered runaway slaves.
Returning to Tennessee after the Civil War, Singleton became convinced that it was his mission to help his people improve their lives. He began in the late 1860’s by organizing an effort to buy up Tennessee farmland for blacks, but this plan failed when white landowners refused to sell at fair prices.
Undaunted, Singleton set his sights on Kansas, where he and a partner named Columbus Johnson staked out a black settlement in Cherokee County (which failed) and a second settlement in Morris County. Singleton spread the word about his settlements through posters that circulated widely across the South, and he formed a company with Johnson that helped hundreds of black Tennesseans move to Kansas between 1877 and 1879.
Those who answered Singleton’s call to head west became known as “Exodusters,” and Singleton himself was described as the “Father of the Exodus.” But the massive migration of African Americans from the South that reached a peak in 1879 was not inspired by Singleton alone. The driving force was the withdrawl of federal troops from the South in 1877, which marked the official end of Reconstruction and the return of racial oppression through segregation laws and the terrorist activities of groups like the Ku Klux Klan. By 1879, which became known as the year of the “Great Exodus,” some 50,000 blacks had fled to freedom in Kansas, Missouri, Indiana and Illinois, while thousands more had been turned back by whites patrolling the rivers and roads.
African American Women’s Fashion And Style Pre and Post Civil War Years
Documentation for West Africans’ concern for well-groomed hair and ornamented heads is long-standing and survives among African Americans
Under enslavement, white owners demanded a certain form of dress for those in bondage: better dress for house servants and managers; poorer attire for field hands, children, and those too old to continue working. In spite of these constrictions, the nineteenth-century autobiographies and narratives, collected in the 1930s from formerly enslaved people, relate that African Americans put a great deal of thought into their dress. The narrators emphasized what clothing they had and did not have and described the clothing styles they desired and how they obtained them. “Correct” dress was especially important when “stepping out” for social occasions with community members
The slave narratives explain various ways of styling hair even under the most adverse conditions. Photographs of prominent women after the Civil War show them wearing the elegant, long, straight hairstyles in general fashion at the time. In the antebellum South, several states legally enforced the code that ordered black women to wear a cloth head covering in public and not the hats and feathers worn by white women. These codes thus marked certain females as a subservient class. During enslavement, women working in onerous conditions wore the head wrap to keep the hair cleaner and to absorb perspiration. Use of the head wrap at home continued after the Civil War, but for public wear it was discarded.
PHOTO: Hairdresser, Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe ca 1895
Work Sited: written by Foster, Helen Bradley. "New Raiments of Self": African American Clothing in the Antebellum South. Oxford: Berg, 1997
I’m a black man and it’s time to be accountable. It’s always left to black women to do and say everything. I decided to make these an post them, where i live, and travel. I want to state that the language is of this area (chicagoland) an directed solely at young black men who live here so it maybe off putting to people not from here. with that said im not posting all of the fliers here. Feel free to save. print an post these at your convince. This is part of SEU Blackstorm project. More to come.. - Yumii
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these are dope. seen em in hyde park, need to be national. yall know how it feels to see a sign defining misogyny and with a black power fist on it when youre just walking down the street?? exciting as fuck
I’m gonna start posting these around campus.