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Forever Feline, Forever Fierce (2008) | The New York Times

“Je cherche un billionaire,” Eartha Kitt purred last year from the stage of the Café Carlyle, the chic, intimate club in the Café Carlyle that had been her regular stomping ground for more than a decade. It was an ideal setting for Ms. Kitt to strut her archetypal show business persona: a glamorous, calculating international gold digger enslaving rich men with exaggerated feline wiles, then treating them like cat toys. If this ageless catwoman, who died at 81 on Christmas Day, was an amusing caricature, the role was fueled by a steady current of anger. Ms. Kitt, like so many […]

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A Massive New Database Will Connect Billions of Historic Records to Tell the Full Story of American Slavery | Smithsonian Magazine

The online resource will offer vital details about the toll wrought on the enslaved. In 1834, a 22-year-old Yoruba man who would come to be known as Manuel Vidau was captured as a prisoner of war and sold to slave traders in Lagos, today the largest city in Nigeria. A Spanish ship transported him to Cuba, where he was sold to a white man who forced him to roll 400 cigars a day (if his pace slowed, he recalled, he would be “stripped, tied down and flogged with the cow hide”). A decade later, however, Vidau secured permission from a […]

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What Louis Armstrong Really Thinks | The New Yorker

On October 31, 1965, Louis (Satchmo) Armstrong gave his first performance in New Orleans, his home town, in nine years. At twelve, he marched in parades for the Colored Waif’s Home for Boys, where he was given his first cornet. But he had publicly boycotted the city since its banning of integrated bands, in 1956. It took the Civil Rights Act, of 1964, to undo the law. Returning should have been a victory lap. At sixty-four, his popular appeal had never been broader. His recording of “Hello, Dolly!,” from the musical then in its initial run on Broadway, bumped the […]

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Don’t Try This at Home | The New York Times

How the Nicholas Brothers became America’s foremost tap-dancers. Most jazz tap-dancers stand up and dance. The Nicholas Brothers did that — and then they flew, catapulting themselves over each other’s heads, step by step down a staircase, or running up a wall and uncoiling backward into thin air. Perhaps you’ve seen them on television retrospectives of Hollywood, in film clips of movies like ”Down Argentine Way” (1940) or ”The Pirate” (1948). More often than not, they would touch down from such feats in a split — and not just any old kind either: a true balletic split, with the back […]

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Possible mass grave from 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre found by researchers | NBC News

Experts in Oklahoma believe they found a mass grave site from the deadly race riots, recently recreated in HBO’s “Watchmen.” Experts at the University of Oklahoma believe they have found a possible mass grave site from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre at a city cemetery, although they are unsure how many bodies are underneath. Geophysical scanning identified two spots at the Oaklawn Cemetery that might bear bodies of those killed in the city’s race riots almost 100 years ago, Scott Hammerstedt, a senior researcher for the Oklahoma Archeological Survey, said Monday at a public hearing in Tulsa. Surveys confirmed suspicions […]

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Who was Olaudah Equiano – and why was his story of slavery so important? | History Extra

Kidnapped, torn from his family as a child, and sold as a slave, Olaudah Equiano’s story would become a bestseller of its time, and a catalyst for the abolition of slavery in Britain. Jonny Wilkes explores his story for BBC History Revealed Somewhere on the coast of what is now Nigeria, 11-year-old Olaudah Equiano trembles with fear as he is thrown aboard a slave ship. The year is around 1756, and the vessel is crammed to bursting with men, women and children from all over Africa. Confused and terrified, Equiano is placed below deck, where the hot stench of sickness, […]

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US city to pay reparations to African-American community with tax on marijuana sales | The Telegraph

A city in Illinois has announced it will create a reparations fund for its African American community through a new tax on marijuana sales. Recreational use of the drug will become legal in the state from January and officials in Evanston, which is 12 miles north of Chicago, have voted to approve a 3 per cent tax on the sales to fund a local reparations programme. The tax is expected to generate between $500,000 and $750,000 annually for the reparations fund, which will be capped at $10 million over the next ten years. The city’s lawmakers will meet next week […]

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