1. Nelson Mandela was born on this day, July 18, 1918. As we remember his life and legacy, we also celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day. On November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly designated July 18 as a day of commemoration of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom. To learn more about Mandela Day, click here. 

    Nelson Mandela was born on this day, July 18, 1918. As we remember his life and legacy, we also celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day. On November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly designated July 18 as a day of commemoration of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom. 

    To learn more about Mandela Day, click here

  2. Schomburg on Location*
Writing Blackness: Harlem | Paris
On view through August 10, 2014
 
Writing Blackness: Harlem | Paris is an exploration of the Harlem Renaissance through the Schomburg Center collection. The exhibit was inspired by the function of the literary salons as a convening physical space where dialogue and exchange of ideas was fostered among intellectuals and cultural producers. Writing Blackness aims to incite intellectual engagement by making archival materials accessible and ‘activating’ the Schomburg Collection in a living space—literally, a 2 bedroom apartment in an affordable housing, educational and cultural arts mixed-use development. This exhibition is presented as part of No Longer Empty’s site specific art exhibit, If You Build It. 
 
For more information, click here. 
Follow Writing Blackness on Tumblr: writingblackness
 
*Location: 155th Street & St. Nicholas Avenue, New York 10032

    Schomburg on Location*
    Writing Blackness: Harlem | Paris
    On view through August 10, 2014
     
    Writing Blackness: Harlem | Paris is an exploration of the Harlem Renaissance through the Schomburg Center collection. The exhibit was inspired by the function of the literary salons as a convening physical space where dialogue and exchange of ideas was fostered among intellectuals and cultural producers. Writing Blackness aims to incite intellectual engagement by making archival materials accessible and ‘activating’ the Schomburg Collection in a living space—literally, a 2 bedroom apartment in an affordable housing, educational and cultural arts mixed-use development. This exhibition is presented as part of No Longer Empty’s site specific art exhibit, If You Build It. 
     
    For more information, click here
    Follow Writing Blackness on Tumblr: writingblackness
     
    *Location: 155th Street & St. Nicholas Avenue, New York 10032

  3. 2014 Harlem Book Fair →

  4. harlembookfair2014 →

    Saturday, July 12, 2014. 11am-6pm

    Stop by the 16th Annual Harlem Book Fair and the 1st Annual HBF Urban Arts & Lit Book Festival.

    Panel discussions will be held in the Schomburg’s Langston Hughes Auditorium and broadcasted live on C-SPAN2.

  5. Friday, August 1 at 6:00 p.m.
First Fridays
This month’s First Fridays at the Schomburg is themed “For the Love of House Music,” in honor of Frankie Knuckles. Known as the “Godfather,” Knuckles helped build House, a style of Chicago dance music that revolutionized club culture in the ‘70s and ‘80s and still resonates around the world today. Check out our wonderful displays, sign-up for a membership, and visit our Schomburg Gift Shop while networking and dancing the night away.
Our DJs for the night will be DJ Masai and DJ Frankie Paradise. 

For More Information and to Register, Click Here

    Friday, August 1 at 6:00 p.m.

    First Fridays

    This month’s First Fridays at the Schomburg is themed “For the Love of House Music,” in honor of Frankie Knuckles. Known as the “Godfather,” Knuckles helped build House, a style of Chicago dance music that revolutionized club culture in the ‘70s and ‘80s and still resonates around the world today. Check out our wonderful displays, sign-up for a membership, and visit our Schomburg Gift Shop while networking and dancing the night away.

    Our DJs for the night will be DJ Masai and DJ Frankie Paradise. 

    For More Information and to Register, Click Here

  6. 





As you celebrate Independence Day, check out this photo from our Photographs and Prints Division of a 4th of July celebration in St. Helena Island, South Carolina (year unknown).

Image ID: 1260135 

    As you celebrate Independence Day, check out this photo from our Photographs and Prints Division of a 4th of July celebration in St. Helena Island, South Carolina (year unknown).

    Image ID: 1260135 

  7. 50 years ago on July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law, outlawing discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. This legendary bill was enacted 10 years after the Supreme Court Ruled, in the historic Brown v. Board of Education case, that the racial segregation of children in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Explore the Civil Rights Act and other moments surrounding the legendary Brown v. Board case with our pop-up exhibit “On the Road to Integration: Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education” (on display until July 26, 2014).
To learn more about this exhibit and others, click here.

    50 years ago on July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law, outlawing discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. This legendary bill was enacted 10 years after the Supreme Court Ruled, in the historic Brown v. Board of Education case, that the racial segregation of children in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

    Explore the Civil Rights Act and other moments surrounding the legendary Brown v. Board case with our pop-up exhibit “On the Road to Integration: Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education” (on display until July 26, 2014).

    To learn more about this exhibit and others, click here.

  8. Purple Rain! Talk at the Schomburg →

    Did you miss Purple Rain! yesterday? Watch now via Livestream.

  9. Monday, June 30, 2014. 6:30-8:00 PM  
Harlem LGBT Community: A Conversation
As a closing for Gay Pride Month, we invite you to the Schomburg Center for a community conversation. This program is presented by In The Life Archive. 
For more information and to register, click here

    Monday, June 30, 2014. 6:30-8:00 PM  

    Harlem LGBT Community: A Conversation

    As a closing for Gay Pride Month, we invite you to the Schomburg Center for a community conversation. This program is presented by In The Life Archive. 

    For more information and to register, click here

  10. Today is Juneteenth, which commemorates the ending of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, it was not enforced in the state of Texas due to a lack of Union troop presence and enforcement in the confederate state. 

    However on June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger and his regiment  entered Galveston, Texas to override the resistance to the law and to enforce the Executive Orders. Union Major-General Gordon Granger read General Orders, No.3 to the people of Galveston. It stated:

    "The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere."

    Since 1865 black Americans have regarded June 19th as the official emancipation day, and on January 1, 1980, the state of Texas proclaimed June 19 an official state holiday thanks to the African American state legislator Al Edwards.

  11. PURPLE RAIN!Wednesday, June 25, 2014. 6:30-8:00 pm.Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Prince’s “Purple Rain” LP with a conversation featuring Greg Tate, Karen Good Marable and Zaheer Ali and moderated by Ebony.com’s Miles Marshall Lewis. Stay for the garden party with Burnt Sugar Arkestra “sugarizing” the LP immediately following the panel discussion.For more information and to register, click here.  

    PURPLE RAIN!
    Wednesday, June 25, 2014. 6:30-8:00 pm.

    Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Prince’s “Purple Rain” LP with a conversation featuring Greg Tate, Karen Good Marable and Zaheer Ali and moderated by Ebony.com’s Miles Marshall Lewis. Stay for the garden party with Burnt Sugar Arkestra “sugarizing” the LP immediately following the panel discussion.

    For more information and to register, click here.  

  12. "As an actress, Ms. Dee was a bridge between the Harlem Renaissance and contemporary black theater. Inspired by Paul Robeson whom she met at the Schomburg’s American Negro Theater, she helped make artistry as a form of activism real and meaningful for actors as influential as Harry Belafonte and Audra McDonald." —Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Image: Ruby Dee and Sydney Poitier in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, 1959. NYPL Digital Gallery, Image ID 5013050.

    "As an actress, Ms. Dee was a bridge between the Harlem Renaissance and contemporary black theater. Inspired by Paul Robeson whom she met at the Schomburg’s American Negro Theater, she helped make artistry as a form of activism real and meaningful for actors as influential as Harry Belafonte and Audra McDonald." —Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

    Image: Ruby Dee and Sydney Poitier in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, 1959. NYPL Digital Gallery, Image ID 5013050.

  13. We take pause to remember the legacy of actress, activist, and dear friend of the Schomburg, Ruby Dee, who passed away on June 11, 2014.
Photo Credit: Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center

    We take pause to remember the legacy of actress, activist, and dear friend of the Schomburg, Ruby Dee, who passed away on June 11, 2014.

    Photo Credit: Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center

  14. An Interview with Djola Branner

    The Schomburg Center’s In the Life Archive’s Ordinary People series presents Djola Branner. 

    **** 

    Can you talk about how you came to the stage, first as a dancer, then as an actor and playwright? 

    My first experience as a performer was actually doing open mike poetry readings, before they were called SLAMS, back in the day back in San Francisco.  My hands would shake and my knees would knock, but I would steady myself as best I could and lunge as the microphone to utter a few words despite myself.  It was terrifying and liberating all at the same time.  Next came… the dance, which opened me to a whole new level of energy and community.  I actually studied, taught and performed Haitian dance for 25 years (so yes, I AM older than I look) and that experience informs my approach to creating and staging original drama to this day.  

    As a lot of folks know, my theatrical trial by fire came with the formation of Pomo Afro Homos.  It provided the perfect venue for my love of poetry, dance and personal narrative.  And in the wake of my life as a Pomo, I realized I had become a theatre artist.

    How did sash & trim come together? 

    sash & trim started as a writing exercise.  My favorite graduate playwriting teacher, Laura Maria Censabella, said:  “Imagine your parent’s first date, and write about it”.  Once I had completed the exercise, I realized the characters had a LOT more to say.  I had written and performed a piece about my mother (in 1994), a one-person show entitled Sweet Sadie,and initially my intention for writing sash & trim was to script a companion piece about my father.  He was a frustrated singer/songwriter who never made his living as an artist, and I knew that his original music, or what I could remember of it, would play significantly in constructing his story.

    What can audiences expect to see next week when you visit the Schomburg Center next Tuesday with your book, sash & trim

    Audiences can expect to see a family grappling with the legacy of one complicated African-American man.  “Hank” is complicated.  One the one hand he’s a romantic singer/songwriter, and on the other he’s a philandering husband and father.  The story is told through memory, music and a good dose of laughter.

    I’m particularly excited because four of the five actors – Khi Armand, David Donnella, and I are reprising our roles from the original workshop production, and Laurie Carlos (who directed the play) is reading the role of “Sadie”. Judyie Al-Bilali is reading the role of “Anne”, which she read at the book release party in Amherst, MA last September.  I’m ecstatic to be amongst this cast.  So audiences are also likely to see me grinning from ear to ear.

    ****

    On Tuesday, June 17, at 6:30, playwright, actor, and co-founder of the Pomo Afro Homos (Postmodern African-American Homosexuals), Djola Branner will be performing excerpts from his first collection of dramatic work, sash & trim and other plays published by RedBone Press earlier this year. The reading will be followed by a small reception. Books will be available for purchase.

    Djola Branner combines movement, sound and light to enliven voices historically absent from the stage.  Co-founder of the seminal group Pomo Afro Homos, he toured nationally and internationally with their shows Fierce Love: Stories from Black Gay Life and Dark Fruit.  His interdisciplinary work has been supported by Creative Capital, the Jerome, McKnight, and Bush Foundations, and published in such anthologies as In the LifeThe Road Before Us, Colored ContradictionsStaging Gay Lives, and Voices Rising.  He has createdsuch performances as Sweet SadieMighty Real: A Tribute to Sylvester and sash & trim, and performed in regional theaters across the country.  Djola is currently Dean of the School for Interdisciplinary Arts, and Associate Professor of Theater at Hampshire College.

    Please RSVP for the event here

  15. In the Life: Djola Branner

    Tuesday, June 17, 2014. 6:30-8:00 pm

    Playwright, actor, and co-founder of the Pomo Afro Homos (Postmodern African-American Homosexuals), Djola Branner performs selections from his debut book, sash & trim. A Q&A and signing with the author will follow. 

    (This program is presented by In The Life Archive at the Schomburg Center.) 

    For more information and to register, click here.