Cowboys to visit African American history museum after Redskins game

After the Dallas Cowboys play the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field this Sunday, they’ll stay in the Washington, D.C. area an extra day to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Fort Worth Star-Telegramreported.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said it was a great opportunity “because of proximity.” Additionally, Dallas has a bye after the Redskins game and doesn’t need to get back and prepare for another opponent.

“It means so much to the players but also the National Football League and our game,” Jones said. “Here we are in the nation’s capital and (we) wanted to take the time to do that. We are making a big effort to go over there.”

Executive Vice President Stephen Jones said players had talked about their desire to see the museum, the largest in the country dedicated to the African American experience.

“It’s huge, I’m excited for it,” quarterback Dak Prescott said. “I think it’s going to be a great trip. We are going to learn a lot and see some things. I think it’s going to be great for our team, great camaraderie.”

Prescott is black, and he drew criticism in the offseason for supporting Jones’ stance against players kneeling for the anthem to protest police brutality against black Americans.

The museum has been open since September 2016 and sits on the National Mall, close to the Washington Monument. The lower floor is dedicated to the history of African migration to North America, slavery and segregation, while the upper floors honor African American art, music, sports and culture.

And the Cowboys won’t be the first team to visit. When the Golden State Warriors were in town to play the Washington Wizards last winter, they took local kids to the museum.

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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Cannabis is legal in Canada — here’s what you need to know

Recreational marijuana is legal as of today, but the vision of what a pot-permissive Canada looks like remains somewhat hazy.

There’s still a lot we don’t know, including what will happen to the illicit dispensaries that popped up in cities across the country in recent years. But here’s a look at what we do know as Canadian consumers buy legal cannabis for the first time. 

How will people buy pot?

How people purchase legal cannabis depends on where they live.

There is one constant across the country: Online sales are available in all provinces and territories, whether via private retailers or through government-run websites. E-commerce giant Shopify, which will manage online sales for four provinces, is confident its system will be able to handle the volume.

But there are distinctions across the county with respect to age limits and retail models. Minimum age limits for purchasing and consuming cannabis vary, but most provinces mirror their rules for alcohol.

What’s the latest where you live?

Can I grow marijuana at home?

In most provinces and all territories, adults are allowed to possess four marijuana plants per household for recreational use. That’s the limit the federal government imposed when it passed the Cannabis Act in June.

Quebec and Manitoba are the two holdouts. Both fiercely opposed that decision and enacted their own rules banning growing cannabis plants at home — a move some lawyers argue could eventually result in a constitutional challenge.

How much will it cost? 

Much of the success of Canada’s decision to legalize marijuana will be pegged to the price Canadians end up paying per gram of legal weed. Should legal cannabis turn out to be more expensive than pot on the black market, there may be little incentive for Canadians to quit buying from their current source.

A recent McMaster University study suggested that the sweet spot for consumers — the price where they’d buy legal weed instead of turning to the black market — was $10 to $12 a gram.

Prices could change, but for now, it looks like retail prices in New Brunswick will range from $8-$16 per gram; between $8.21-$14.55 per gram in the Northwest Territories; between $6-$13 in Newfoundland and Labrador; and prices will start at $8 per gram in Yukon. 

Ontario’s new PC government has been quiet on prices, but said it aims to set them at a rate that would be competitive with illicit dispensaries.

In Quebec, a spokesperson for SQDC, the provincial crown corporation responsible for cannabis sales, told CBC News it has yet to announce detailed pricing, adding that a lot of items would retail starting at $7 per gram.

Could there be a weed shortage?

According to Health Canada, there are currently more than 120 licensed cannabis producers in the country — with many based in Ontario and B.C.

Several companies rapidly expanded ahead of legalization, but one of Canada’s top cannabis producers recently said labour shortages and supply chain issues may cause “sold out” signs to pop up at pot stores soon after it becomes legal. 

“I’m concerned about the supply side,” business consultant Sarah Stockdale said of pot e-commerce. “The tech that the government has is set up to handle the load on the servers, but are Canadians going to be waiting a really long time to receive their shipments when they’re used to Amazon? If they have to wait one to two weeks will they turn to the black market?” 

How does legalization work at the border?

Despite some changes at the state level, pot possession is still illegal under U.S. federal law. Ahead of legalization, Ottawa warned Canadian travellers that “previous use of cannabis, or any substance prohibited by U.S. federal laws, could mean that you are denied entry to the U.S.”

One day ahead of legalization, a U.S. border official noted that nothing had changed in that regard, saying: “If you’ve been the subject of a violation of U.S. laws, that will still make you inadmissible to our country.”

What’s remains unclear is whether travellers will be questioned more frequently about past cannabis use.

There’s also going to be some changes for people coming into Canada, CBC’s J.P. Tasker reported. An official speaking on background told CBC News that Canada Border Services Agency guards will have to ask every traveller about pot possession. Travellers arriving by air should expect to see a question about cannabis use on declaration forms.

What can I take on a plane?

People flying within Canada will be able to pack up to 30 grams of cannabis. But travellers should remember they still can’t bring weed aboard international flights.

Check out this primer on age restrictions and travelling with pot: 

How could this affect my job?

It depends on your field and your employer. Ahead of legalization, many Canadian companies updated cannabis policies — especially companies where employees work in high-risk positions.

Both Air Canada and WestJet have prohibited recreational cannabis use for pilots and those in “safety-sensitive positions.” Rules for police officers vary widely across the country: Calgary’s police service forbids cannabis consumption outright, while Vancouver’s requires officers to self-evaluate whether they are fit for duty.

Experts say policies will likely evolve in the months following legalization.

How ready are employers for legal weed? 

CBC News Network’s John Northcott speaks to employment lawyer, Soma Ray-Ellis 5:16

What are the rules around driving?

Under new legislation passed in June, police can conduct roadside saliva tests of drivers they suspect to be under the influence of drugs. How drivers will be treated depends on how much THC, the primary psychoactive substance in pot, is found in their blood.

  • Drivers with between two and five nanograms in their blood could face a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Drivers with either more than five nanograms, or who were drinking alcohol and consuming cannabis at the same time, could face steeper fines and jail time.
  • People convicted in the most serious cases could face 10 years in prison.

In August, Statistics Canada reported nearly five per cent of Canadians — about 1.4 million people — said they had been a passenger in a vehicle driven by someone who had consumed cannabis within two hours of driving.

The new rules around impaired driving are expected to face legal challenges.

A pot investment company CEO and former Liberal Party treasurer says he’s putting up $25,000 of his own money to challenge Canada’s drug-impaired driving laws. 3:15

What are the health effects of using cannabis?

Expect more research around cannabis and health — both in terms of health benefits and potential risks — in the years ahead. For now, campaigns are underway to try and educate people about cannabis and health, particularly groups deemed at risk of dangers linked to cannabis consumption, including pregnant women and children.

The federal government has a website outlining the health effects of cannabis use, including both short-term effects (like impairing your ability to drive) and longer-term effects (including potential lung damage). CBC Radio’s White Coat, Black Art took a deep dive into issue and asked medical experts to answer your questions about pot. 

The outreach effort won’t stop once pot is legal: Health Canada alone is slated to spend more than $100 million over six years on awareness, public education and surveillance, The Canadian Press reported in September.

What else do you need to know? 

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

In Conversation: Artist Profile on Darius Moreno

By Jade Flint, Culture Editor

Vivid memories of go-go, early 2000’s streetwear turned fashion, and the parties that surrounded it all describe the environment that artist, Darius Moreno, was raised in. Although classically trained at Duke Ellington High School and Parsons School of Art and Design, his affinity for the ghetto-fabulous shines through in his colorful artwork. In an ever-changing D.C. landscape, Darius Moreno and his work serve as a nostalgic reminder of what once was Chocolate City.

 “Being that you recently graduated from Parsons, how well did your classwork reflect your real life interests?”

“Parsons was a great opportunity. But it wasn’t like a lot of black students and stuff. Especially in my major, it was only one other, two other students in illustration. So I would just take a lot of time to work on personal projects. Like the reason for me doing the bare minimum at school was because my teachers didn’t understand my work a lot of times. Like being the only black student in the classroom, they just assume like ‘oh this is different, so unique.’ So they wouldn’t know how to critique it necessarily. I didn’t really take offense to it, I just took it as a way like ‘I could do what I want because you guys can’t check me so.”

“Can you explain the impact that social media has had on your career?

“Uh, social media *laughs*. Honestly like, I hate to say it, but it kinda saved my career in a way because like before I started posting on Instagram, I really started posting on Tumblr. And Tumblr was where I got a lot of notice and reposts and stuff like that, reblogs. So that kind of put my work out there a lot. And then like I didn’t even have a Twitter until like two years ago, foreal. But they like knew all that stuff. ‘Your artwork is all over and stuff.’ And I would see people like make their little icon or avis as like my work or whatever.”

“No, it really is. I’ve encountered your work, like as I was researching for this interview, I encountered like the Lisa Raye image that you did. And I’d seen that on Tumblr like years ago and didn’t even know who it was credited to at the time. “

“Yeah because honestly when I was posting on Tumblr at first, I used to just not even tag my stuff. I was just posting where I could get in. Then I realized I had to like tag my stuff ‘cause I had an incident my first year of school where somebody tried to claim it as their own. So I started making sure I had to like type my name and stuff like that. My first two years, I was just doing a lot of pieces influenced by like movies that are around the culture of hip-hop in general. And just like anything I felt that was like pretty or like themed around things kind of like going unnoticed or nostalgic that were related to me or people like me. Especially being in an environment like Parsons where it just wasn’t a lot of black culture.”

“So how would you define the black aesthetic being that your work is so heavily influenced by it?”

“I would say the black aesthetic is ever-changing. It’s always changing but I also feel like the black aesthetic is the aesthetic that starts it all to be honest. It all starts from where you grew up whether you’re from Georgia, DC, New Orleans, North Carolina. If you grew up in a kinda [impovrished] neighborhood, you have something to say. I feel like a lot of the most popular art comes from the hood. I would describe it as ghetto fabulous. That’s how I would describe it in regards to my own work.”

“Would you identify yourself as like a black artist specifically, a queer artist specifically, or do you just prefer to be an artist?”

 I prefer to just be an artist, but at the same time, I like being identified as a black artist and a queer artist, you know? ‘Cause that’s what I am, that’s what I represent. Lotta times, I don’t even paint people outside the black community, lotta times to be honest. Like I’ve only done one or two pieces of like white people. And I hated them *laughs*. So yeah, I would definitely identify myself as a black artist, a queer artist. Also, I guess an artist of Hispanic heritage because I do have a Puerto Rican mother.

“How do you feel about white artists getting opportunities over ones that you feel that, given that you’re within the culture, you should have access to in regards to the recent Twitter scandal at the Blacksonian, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, with the white curator for hip-hop?’

“That’s super problematic because like you said, there are many like black curators, I’m sure, would’ve done a better job of like portraying like the hip-hop community in the museum. I don’t necessarily think that it doesn’t have anything to do with them ‘cause like, you can’t base like who can relate to anything based off the color of their skin. At the same time, an opportunity like that, an opportunity that’s huge like that should only be within our own community”

“What led to the dolls that you have recently been making?”

Actually like in school, so I guess three years ago now, I took a 3D class, and we had to make toys or whatever. And everyone in the class had to make different variations of their toys or whatever. And I decided to make like dolls. The teacher didn’t like it at the moment because it was like I didn’t follow the directions. People were making like puppets and stuff like that, and I kinda made like a pole and stripper. It went really well in the end. Like I didn’t really know who I was like creating these for, but on my Instagram, white people really loved it. And I didn’t even realize how much I enjoyed making those dolls. Like taking on a different medium is like refreshing. So yeah. But I really enjoy making toys and dolls, because I was also very influenced by dolls growing up. Like I loved dolls. I loved Barbies, Bratz dolls, the Brandy doll, all that stuff. I loved action figures, still do have action figures.”

“Yeah, have you ever seen the cartoon ‘The PJs’?

“Mm-hm, definitely inspired by ‘The PJs,’ yeah.”

“Yes! That’s what they remind me of. If that and Barbie had a baby.”

“Yeah, that’s what I was going for. I really wanna go into stop-motion eventually. Like short films.”

I’m very excited to see what you do with that medium. ‘Cause stop-motion, it’s not used as much as it could be and I think the way that you’re gonna use it is gonna be immaculate.

 “Yeah. Yeah like I think stop-motion is definitely under appreciated. Like I really hate how everything is CGI at the moment. So it makes everything look the same after a while. Like some things they should reconsider like especially stop-motion. Like I love films like Coraline, Paranorman, and then like [inaudible], a lot of like Tim Burton’s stuff. So yeah, I love stuff like that. Because it comes off kinda creepy but it’s still really cool to watch”

Yeah, I think we’re so obsessed with the beautiful. It’s kinda nice if they have a little imperfections to them, you know?

“ Exactly, yeah. I like that, I like that. It comes off more organic.”

Rapid Fire Questions: If you had to have one Lil’ Kim song to open your biopic, what would it be?

Drugs (which is mine too!)

What’s your favorite episode of ‘The Boondocks’

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Do you have a favorite Rico Nasty song?

Smack a B*tch

Would you consider DC the south?

Yes, Because I feel like a lot of people in DC appreciate southern music more than like up-north music.

“Lastly, what is something that you miss about the DMV area that’s been lost in the past 5 years?”

“Hm, lost in the past 5 years? Honestly, I don’t even know because I’ve like been to the DMV area. I don’t live there anymore. But I miss things like parties and functions and go-go in general. Like I don’t know even think they’re still really a thing like when I was a kid.”

Artists, like Darius Moreno, Rico Nasty and Goldlink are arguably the last children of the DMV to really have lived the culture at its heights. Through their work, we get a soft glimpse of the ghetto fabulous looks and gogo music that reigned supreme years prior to the gentrification that we see today. We should look to them for the preservation of the culture but also for how we will evolve next.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

A New Day for Craft Beer in Pittsburgh

Day Bracey, along with Ed Bailey and Mike Potter, forges a more inclusive approach to craft brewing.

by Hal B. Klein

October 18, 2018



photos by laura petrilla


Day Bracey tried his first craft beer when he was 23. It was a Blue Moon on special for a dollar at an Oakland bar. “I thought, ‘This tastes like orange, kind of.’ I didn’t know beer could taste like something other than just beer,” he says.

Bracey also didn’t know that taking this sip of craft beer, albeit a mass-market one, would a decade later help set the stage for his role as co-founder of Fresh Fest Beer Festival, the nation’s first beer festival spotlighting black brewers, which took place in August.

In 2014, Bracey and fellow comedian Ed Bailey started a podcast called Drinking Partners. Initially, the content focused on conversations recorded over drinks — but they didn’t talk specifically about booze. A live event at Full Pint Brewing (which, incidentally, is the local brewery Bracey credits for truly opening his mind to craft beer) followed by live podcast at The Brew Gentlemen keyed them into the close-knit community of craft brewers. The theme of the show, which now is approaching its 200th episode, shifted to brewers and breweries. “Beer snobs can enjoy it because it’s entertaining, but it’s not about the deep specifics of the beer all the time. We don’t want to propagate the culture of beer snobbery,” Bracey says.

But there was a nagging issue for Bracey and Bailey. “There isn’t a lot of culture in the black community that’s focused on beer brewing,” Bracey says.

Bracey says that lingering divisions and disadvantages caused by systemic racism in the United States are at the root of the black community’s underrepresentation as both brewers and drinkers of craft beer. “Any time you’re talking about an industry that is especially homogeneous, especially in America, especially where it’s white-male-dominated, typically it’s because of barriers of access and education,” he says.

 




 


Historically, beer companies marketed malt liquor rather than craft beer to black drinkers. Home brewing clubs, the primary space for budding brewers to learn their craft, are largely unheard of in black communities. Most bars that specialize in craft beer are in primarily white neighborhoods, and that lack of diversity in the clientele highlights the lack of community integration. “We’re less inclined to go to new places when they’re majority white spaces. We typically stay where we know. But that’s everybody, really,” Bracey says.

Bracey and Bailey believed that, with their position, they could open doors for those in the black community to feel welcome in the beer one. A conversation with Mike Potter of Black Brew Culture, an online magazine, about practical ways for them to do so resulted in the three of them deciding to organize Fresh Fest.

The trio brought in 10 black-owned breweries from across the United States and had 25 Pittsburgh-area breweries collaborate on beers with local black artists, thought-leaders, business people and entrepreneurs. “When you see people who look like you doing this, it’s easier to think that you can do it yourself,” Bracey says.

Despite some pushback in the form of threatening emails, PMs and comments from apparent white supremacists threatened by the intersectionality of the event, the festival was by all accounts a success, with a diverse, inclusive crowd mingling over cups filled with a wide assortment of beer styles and flavor profiles. Pittsburgh’s brewers welcomed the opportunity for inclusivity with open arms; Bracey says that a number of the local collaborations resulted in ongoing conversations between the brewing partners.

Fresh Fest Two already is on the books for August 2019. In the months leading up to it up to it, Bracey, Bailey and Potter plan more outreach by bringing brewers into black communities to do tastings, education and events. “The stories that they have of building their businesses are inspirational. And it translates. It’s within reach of what people can do,” Bracey says.

“This is real opportunity to grow something in an industry where we don’t have a lot of representation, and we don’t yet have a big market for.”


RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Chairman of Preston Black History Group honoured by Prime Minister

The Prime Minister has recognised a Preston man for raising awareness of the contributions African and African-Caribbean people have made.


Clinton Smith, chairman the Preston Black History Group, has been honoured with a Points of Light award, which recognises volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. This award was in celebration of Black History Month.

Clinton Smith

Clinton Smith


In a personal letter to Clinton, Theresa May said: “You are promoting cultural understanding, challenging misconceptions, and raising awareness of the far-reaching contributions African and African-Caribbean people have made. You should feel very proud of your inspiring work sharing previously untold stories and collaborating with local museums, galleries, and libraries.”


Clinton Smith, who was also awarded the 2018 Fusion Lifetime Community Achievement Award for services to race relations, said: “Over the years I have tried to make a positive contribution to race, diversity and community cohesion, with the support of the members and supporters of Preston Black History Group. Our work is to educate and to have pride in what we do and what we have achieved. The future is to ensure the present and future generation will follow in our footsteps to continue what we have started. I feel humble and proud to receive this award.”

Read more: Celebrating the achievements in black African American history and Lifetime achievement award for city’s Clinton Smith in honour of his dedication to equality in Preston


Clinton Smith has chaired the Preston Black History Group since 2012 to research, celebrate and share the contribution of Black history to British society. He hosts regular presentations at schools, libraries, museums and police forces, to promote diversity and improve multicultural understanding. Clinton oversaw an innovative partnership with the Preston-based Turner Prize winning artist Professor Lubaina Himid, the first female Black artist to ever receive the prize, to advise on a local exhibition about race and representation. He has also worked with the University of Central Lancashire to promote the study of Black Atlantic culture in the UK, bridging the gap between academia and the local community.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

They were a gay, interracial couple in an age of relentless bigotry. The two Harolds didn’t flinch.


An assortment of wedding photos of Harold Mays and Harold Herman. Though they recently died — within a year of each other — their untold story lives on in their extensive collection of African American and LGBT paraphernalia, being sold piecemeal out of their D.C. home. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)
October 16 at 5:51 PM

Estate agent Verna Clayborne takes a seat in the dining room of an expansive 16th Street Heights home and sighs.

The two Harolds have tired her out.

It’s Clayborne’s job to get rid of the stuff of the deceased. The couple who lived in the house for more than half a century — Harold Herman, a white man who died in 2016 at 87, and Harold Mays, a black man who died almost exactly a year later at 81 — had a lot of it.

These aren’t your typical finds in the home of retirees. Clayborne is sitting amid a pile of antiques and memorabilia — paintings, LPs, books, coins, stamps, personal correspondence — worth, she estimates, $500,000. These objects, curated lovingly by two collectors in love for over five decades, offer glimpses of what it was like to be black and gay in America when it was dangerous to be either.

“They knew how to live and lived well,” she said of the Harolds.

The Harolds met in New England before moving in together in post-integration, pre-riot Washington in 1965. One was a black Army veteran from St. Louis, the other a white college professor from Pennsylvania. Though family and acquaintances say they were a private couple, they could not help being pioneers.

They later ran Two Harolds Antiques in Alexandria for more than a decade and owned a collection of thousands of signed first editions so extensive that they kept an in-house card catalogue. The books are varied — works by gay raconteur Quentin Crisp amid Janet Evanovich thrillers.

Much of what’s left in the Harolds’ home doesn’t explicitly bear their mark. There’s large black-and-white prints of the last century’s black royalty: Harry Belafonte, Jesse Jackson, Lou Rawls, Cicely Tyson. Another photo includes two faces lesser known outside the Beltway in the 1960s and 1970s, but inescapable within it: Marion Barry and his first wife, Blantie Evans, on a beach.

But every collection reveals the collector, and in other ephemera the Harolds left behind, they come into sharper focus. One snapshot shows Mays shaking Belafonte’s hand at a Politics and Prose. Another shows their modest wedding, held in 2013 at what looks like a courthouse following the legalization of same-sex marriage — after they had already been a couple for almost 50 years.


A selection of photographs from the Harolds’ home featuring famous people such as Harry Belafonte, Jesse Jackson, President Nixon, Cicely Tyson, Josephine Baker and Marion Barry. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Mays was also a diligent correspondent, pounding out letters to authors he admired on a manual typewriter left behind on the home’s second floor. He would read a book by, say, acclaimed poet Nikki Giovanni, then strike up a correspondence with her. There are notes from Fanny Ellison, the widow of “Invisible Man” author Ralph Ellison, and famed black poets Rita Dove and Gwendolyn Brooks.

More substantial letters the Harolds received speak directly to the struggles of black artists in America.

In a 1990 letter, novelist Raymond Andrews — whose work offered a vision of “a world in which blacks and whites sometimes hate and mistreat one another but ultimately arrive at an understanding,” according to a 1983 review in The Washington Post — effused about his career.

In another letter dated two years later, Andrews’s brother Benny wrote to say Andrews was dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at 57.

“I’m writing to say that my brother, Raymond, committed suicide,” the letter read. “It is always good to hear that people liked Ray’s works.”

Another exchange was with Audrey Lee, a little-known black author who wrote two novels, “The Clarion People” and “The Workers,” in the 1960s. The books have since gone out of print: Mays apparently wrote Lee to ask what she was up to two decades after their publication.

In a 1995 letter, Lee responded, opening up about her medical problems and troubles with “race discrimination, evictions, hunger and an alarmingly dishonest judiciary.”

“I have spent years brooding about my experiences,” she wrote. “I am awakening to the waste of years that I spent in a crawl space contemplating my wounds.”

Half a set of correspondence, of course, tells only half a story, and Clayborne said she’s yet to uncover diaries or other writing from either Harold. But their lives are detailed in the work of E. Patrick Johnson, chair of the African American studies department at Northwestern University, who interviewed Mays for his 2011 book “Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South.”

Johnson, who wrote a play that included the Harolds’ story and is producing a documentary about them, said they were “renegade figures” when they moved into their home in 1965 and lived openly as a couple.

“Even in D.C. in the ’60s, they were dealing with discrimination on two fronts,” he said. “They were truly remarkable.”

In a 2005 interview for “Sweet Tea,” Mays told Johnson he met Herman, a professor at the University of Maryland, in Providence, R.I., in 1965. The couple initially settled in Herman’s D.C. apartment but moved to 16th Street Heights because other residents didn’t want a black man in the building.

Their new home across from Carter Barron Amphitheatre in Rock Creek Park was in a “mostly white” neighborhood, Mays said, that would become “totally black” after the riots. Mays recalled police officers following him when he got off a bus near his home, asking for identification. When he produced ID, they still didn’t believe he lived in the neighborhood and followed him home to watch him let himself in.


Harold Mays and Harold Herman’s home in 16th Street Heights. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Meanwhile, Mays said, he was criticized by black men for choosing a white partner.

“I remember someone telling me, ‘Oh I didn’t know you dealt in snow,’ ” he told Johnson.

Still, he said: “I don’t feel as torn up inside as I was when I was young.”

“Sometimes I stop and think about all the turmoil of … being black and gay in America,” he said. “And it has not been as traumatic as it sounds. And I’m not sugarcoating this either. It happened and you move on. I also have to tell you that now I feel much more confident in who I am.”

Agnes Jackson, Mays’s 79-year-old sister, said the Harolds’ relationship was accepted by both of their families. She recalled the couple showing her around Washington during a visit when she was treated like “royalty.”

“They lived there so long,” she said. “I guess they were accepted into the neighborhood.”

Ernest Hopkins, director of legislative affairs for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and a neighbor of the Harolds, said gay men like them are rarer in the District these days. HIV devastated their generation. Now, gentrification and old age are taking a toll on those who remain.

“There were any number of older black gay men in town available to get to know,” he said. “They would tell you stories, give you a sense of their lives in the ’40s and ’50s and ’60s. Those men are largely no longer with us. … They were an example of a couple that really was available.”


Jim Hill, right, examines a framed image to appraise as Verna Clayborne, center, and Reginald Cromer walk through the Harolds’ collection. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Now that the Harolds are gone, crate-diggers and estate-sale enthusiasts are left to sort out who they were. Jim Hill, an 84-year-old former Howard University professor Clayborne brought in to help appraise the couple’s extensive art collection, rested after combing through yet another box.

The estate game is getting harder, Hill said. Millennials — “millenniums,” he calls them — don’t have much interest in dusty old stuff.

“They’re interested in the here and now,” he said.

But while Hill didn’t know the Harolds, he can speak to the impulse that apparently ruled their lives and their home.

“While we’re collecting, we’re hoping someone on the other end will be interested,” he said. “I’m sure they were hoping it would provide a story.”

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Sears’s ‘radical’ past: How mail-order catalogues subverted the racial hierarchy of Jim Crow

October 16 at 6:39 AM

In an undated file photo, Ruth Parrington, librarian in the art department of the Chicago Public Library, studies early Sears Roebuck catalogues in the library’s collection in Chicago. (AP Photo/File)

A Columbia Gramophone Grand, pictured in a Sears Roebuck catalogue from 1902, is shown in this photo from Chicago, Aug. 26, 1948.  (AP Photo/Edward Kitch)

Monday’s announcement that Sears would file for bankruptcy and close 142 stores came as little surprise to anyone who has followed the retail giant’s collapse in recent years. Still, the news inspired a wave of nostalgia for a company that sold an ideal of middle-class life to generations of Americans.

A lesser-known aspect of Sears’ 125-year history, however, is how the company revolutionized rural black southerners’ shopping patterns in the late 19th century, subverting racial hierarchies by allowing them to make purchases by mail or over the phone and avoid the blatant racism that they faced at small country stores.

“What most people don’t know is just how radical the catalogue was in the era of Jim Crow,” Louis Hyman, an associate professor of history at Cornell University, wrote in a Twitter thread that was shared over 7,000 times Monday in the wake of the news of Sears’ demise. By allowing African Americans in southern states to avoid price-gouging and condescending treatment at their local stores, he wrote, the catalogue “undermined white supremacy in the rural South.”

As historians of the Jim Crow era have documented, purchasing everyday household goods was often an exercise in humiliation for African Americans living in the South. Before the advent of the mail-order catalogue, rural black southerners typically only had the option of shopping at white-owned general stores — often run by the owner of the same farm where they worked as sharecroppers. Those store owners frequently determined what African Americans could buy by limiting how much credit they would extend.

While country stores were one of the few places where whites and blacks routinely mingled, store owners fiercely defended the white supremacist order by making black customers wait until every white customer had been served and forcing them to buy lower-quality goods. “A black man who needed clothing received a shirt ‘good enough for a darky to wear’ while a black family low on provisions could have only the lowest grade of flour,” historian Grace Elizabeth Hale wrote in an essay published in Jumpin’ Jim CrowSouthern Politics from Civil War to Civil Rights.”

In 1894, Sears, Roebuck and Company began sending out 322-page illustrated catalogues. The year before, Congress had passed the Rural Free Delivery Act, making it possible for the Chicago-based retailer to easily reach communities across the rural South. Notably, the company made an effort to accommodate customers who were barely literate, enacting a policy that the company would fill any order it received regardless of the format.

“So, country folks who were once too daunted to send requests to other purveyors could write in on a scrap of paper, asking humbly for a pair of overalls, size large,” Bitter Southerner explained this summer. “And even if it was written in broken English or nearly illegible, the overalls would be shipped.”

But even more importantly, the catalogue format allowed for anonymity, ensuring that black and white customers would be treated the same way.

“This gives African-Americans in the southeast some degree of autonomy, some degree of secrecy,” unofficial Sears historian Jerry Hancock told the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast in December 2016. “Now they can buy the same thing that anybody else can buy. And all they have to do is order it from this catalogue. They don’t have to deal with racist merchants in town and those types of things.”

Even though white store owners wanted black customers’ business, many were uncomfortable with the idea of blacks having money. Mamie Fields, a black woman who was born in segregated South Carolina in 1888, wrote in her memoir: “Some of them did think colored people oughtn’t to have a certain nice thing, even if they had enough money to buy it. Our people used to send off for certain items. That way, too, the crackers . . . wouldn’t know what you had in your house.”

The company has even been credited with contributing to the development of a unique genre of black southern music —  the Delta blues. “There was no Delta blues before there were cheap, readily available steel-string guitars,” musician and writer Chris Kjorness wrote in Reason, a libertarian magazine, in 2012. “And those guitars, which transformed American culture, were brought to the boondocks by Sears, Roebuck & Co.” By 1908, anyone could buy a steel-string guitar from the catalogue for $1.89, roughly the equivalent of roughly $50 today. It was the cheapest harmony-generating instrument available on the mass market, Kjorness noted.

There isn’t enough data available to determine exactly how much black customers contributed to Sears’ bottom line during the Jim Crow years. And historians have noted that purchasing from the catalogues was only an option for African Americans who had access to a phone and enough cash on hand to place an order.

Still, southern merchants clearly felt threatened by the competition from mail-order department stores: As catalogues for Sears and Montgomery Ward made their way into more and more homes, local storekeepers began circulating rumors that the companies were run by black men.“The logic, of course, was that these fellows could not afford to show their faces as retailers,” Gordon Lee Weil wrote in his 1977 history of the company, “Sears, Roebuck, U.S.A.: The Great American Catalog Store and How it Grew.”

By the turn of the century, some merchants were even encouraging people to bring in their catalogues for Saturday night bonfires, and offering bounties of up to $50 for people who collected the most “Wish Books,” historians Stuart and Elizabeth Ewen wrote in “Channels of Desire: Mass Images and the Shaping of American Consciousness.” In response, Sears published photos of its founders to prove that they were white, while Ward offered a $100 reward in exchange the name of the person who had started a rumor that he had mixed black and white ancestry.

Meanwhile, in the ensuing decades, Julius Rosenwald, who had become a part-owner of the company after Alvah Roebuck sold his share of the business in 1895, became a well-known philanthropist to the black community. He donated $4.3 million — the equivalent of more than $75 million today — to open nearly 5,000 “Rosenwald schools” in the rural South between 1912 and 1932, when he died.

“These schools were in very, very rural areas, where many African American kids did not go to school. If they went to school, they went to a very ramshackle building,” writer Stephanie Deutsch, who published a book on the history of the schools, told The Washington Post in 2015. “These schools were new and modern, with big tall windows, and lots of light streaming in. They felt special, because they were new and they were theirs.”

Though most Rosenwald schools shut down after Brown v. Board of Education mandated an end to segregation, one of every three black children in the South attended a Rosenwald school during the 1930s, The Post’s Karen Heller reported in 2015. Among the schools’ notable alumni were poet Maya Angelou and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)

Rosenwald, the son of Jewish immigrants from Germany, became a friend of Booker T. Washington and served on the board of the Tuskegee Institute. He also helped fund black YMCAs and YWCAs. And he provided financial support to black artists and writers, including opera singer Marian Anderson, poet Langston Hughes, photographer Gordon Parks, and writer James Baldwin.

Sears only went so far in subverting racial norms. Up until the middle of the twentieth century, the company followed Jim Crow laws in its Atlanta department store, Bitter Southerner noted, meaning that black employees could only work in warehouse, janitorial and food service positions. Still, the company allowed both blacks and whites to shop there, which wasn’t the case for other stores in the area at the time.

And for a significant portion of American history, the Sears catalogue offered black shoppers something that they couldn’t find anywhere else: Dignity.

More from Morning Mix:

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Jeff Sessions attacks judges thwarting Trump agenda. Blasts order for Wilbur Ross deposition.

Jewish prayer book annotated by Marilyn Monroe, who converted in 1956, could fetch thousands in auction

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Trump painting: Dogs playing poker or Kennedy with a combover?

Updated October 16, 2018 16:57:21

Many people may not realise that the White House is a museum, as well as the home of the American president and a place of government business.

Its rooms and hallways contain a heralded collection of furniture, china, statues, and most of all, paintings, both works of art, and depictions of history.

Every president and first lady is commemorated with a portrait, commissioned toward the end of their time in the White House, and hung a few years after they leave.

But Donald Trump, it seems, is not waiting to make sure his face hangs in the White House.

This weekend, the nation learnt through an interview on 60 Minutes that he is already on the wall of his private office.

Mr Trump appears in a fanciful grouping, enjoying cocktails with former presidents from the Republican party. (A teetotaller, his glass contains his favoured Diet Coke.)

The painting, called The Republican Club, is by artist Andy Thomas. He told NBC News that he was shocked to see it hanging in the White House.

Reagan, Nixon, Eisenhower, Lincoln … Trump?

I was pretty gobsmacked, too, given what I know about the building’s carefully curated decor.

The group includes Ronald Reagan, and both presidents Bush. Gerald R. Ford looks over Mr Trump’s shoulder, while Richard M. Nixon sits nearby.

Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and last but not least, Abraham Lincoln, all smile admiringly as Mr Trump beams.

It’s an image that you’d think was a joke, the presidential equivalent of those paintings on black velvet of dogs playing poker. Here in the States, we sometimes call that “art sold by the side of the road”, since vendors set up in tents next to petrol stations or highway exits.

In fact, the grouping is part of a series, according to Mr Thomas, who has painted Republican as well as Democratic presidents playing poker and pool.

And, it’s a copy, since Mr Thomas owns the original.

As Mr Thomas explained to NBC, the print was a gift to Mr Trump from Darrell Issa, a California Republican congressman. Mr Thomas said Mr Trump called to thank him after he received it.

Trump didn’t look this good in the ’90s

And no wonder he’d be pleased.

For one thing, his portrayal is artfully flattering. I met Mr Trump in his youthful prime in the 1990s, and he didn’t look this good back then.

Nor were his television producers able to bring off such glowing good health during his years on The Apprentice, no matter how many filters or camera angles they tried.

On Twitter, the joke was that he’d been painted to look like “a Kennedy with a combover”, and clearly, he has a vision in his head of looking something like this. Think of all the times he’s said that news organizations take terrible photographs of him.

And, Mr Trump isn’t the only dignitary who prefers to see himself painted at his best. There’s a legendary story about Winston Churchill’s displeasure with a portrait by Graham Sutherland, meant to be a tribute from the British Houses of Parliament on his 80th birthday.

The Netflix series The Crown shows Churchill’s rage at the too-accurate painting, although it fudges the circumstances under which it was banished from view.

It was actually Churchill’s wife, Clementine, who ordered it destroyed after his death because her husband disliked it. (A study for it still is in the possession of the National Portrait Gallery.)

White House reflects president who lives there

Since the president gets to choose both the artist and the scene for his official portrait, it’s likely sometime in the 2020s that Mr Trump’s likeness will be at least as flattering as what Mr Thomas has already painted.

Moreover, it’s likely to stand out from the other official portraits, and the other artwork in the White House offices and hallways, just as Mr Trump’s protocol-smashing tenure has been a vivid contrast to the behaviour of other presidents.

I can’t help but think, however, about the famed artists whose work has been displayed in the White House.

They include Gilbert Stuart, famed for his full-length depiction of George Washington and Dolley Payne Madison, the wife of James Madison.

One of my favourites is John Singer Sargent’s portrait of Theodore Roosevelt, which makes the famous Rough Rider look as if he is about to bolt off the canvas.

Among the 45 pictures chosen by the Obamas for the White House were paintings by Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keefe, as well as African-American artists such as Jacob Lawrence and William H. Johnson.

In every way, a White House reflects the president who lives there. And its current occupant apparently enjoys seeing himself on a wall, having a Diet Coke with his predecessors.

At least we won’t be surprised once his official portrait is unveiled.

Micheline Maynard is a journalist and author.

Topics: donald-trump, politics-and-government, government-and-politics, world-politics, united-states

First posted October 16, 2018 16:37:01

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Trump’s head-scratching portrait

Updated October 16, 2018 16:57:21

Many people may not realise that the White House is a museum, as well as the home of the American president and a place of government business.

Its rooms and hallways contain a heralded collection of furniture, china, statues, and most of all, paintings, both works of art, and depictions of history.

Every president and first lady is commemorated with a portrait, commissioned toward the end of their time in the White House, and hung a few years after they leave.

But Donald Trump, it seems, is not waiting to make sure his face hangs in the White House.

This weekend, the nation learnt through an interview on 60 Minutes that he is already on the wall of his private office.

Mr Trump appears in a fanciful grouping, enjoying cocktails with former presidents from the Republican party. (A teetotaller, his glass contains his favoured Diet Coke.)

The painting, called The Republican Club, is by artist Andy Thomas. He told NBC News that he was shocked to see it hanging in the White House.

Reagan, Nixon, Eisenhower, Lincoln … Trump?

I was pretty gobsmacked, too, given what I know about the building’s carefully curated decor.

The group includes Ronald Reagan, and both presidents Bush. Gerald R. Ford looks over Mr Trump’s shoulder, while Richard M. Nixon sits nearby.

Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and last but not least, Abraham Lincoln, all smile admiringly as Mr Trump beams.

It’s an image that you’d think was a joke, the presidential equivalent of those paintings on black velvet of dogs playing poker. Here in the States, we sometimes call that “art sold by the side of the road”, since vendors set up in tents next to petrol stations or highway exits.

In fact, the grouping is part of a series, according to Mr Thomas, who has painted Republican as well as Democratic presidents playing poker and pool.

And, it’s a copy, since Mr Thomas owns the original.

As Mr Thomas explained to NBC, the print was a gift to Mr Trump from Darrell Issa, a California Republican congressman. Mr Thomas said Mr Trump called to thank him after he received it.

Trump didn’t look this good in the ’90s

And no wonder he’d be pleased.

For one thing, his portrayal is artfully flattering. I met Mr Trump in his youthful prime in the 1990s, and he didn’t look this good back then.

Nor were his television producers able to bring off such glowing good health during his years on The Apprentice, no matter how many filters or camera angles they tried.

On Twitter, the joke was that he’d been painted to look like “a Kennedy with a combover”, and clearly, he has a vision in his head of looking something like this. Think of all the times he’s said that news organizations take terrible photographs of him.

And, Mr Trump isn’t the only dignitary who prefers to see himself painted at his best. There’s a legendary story about Winston Churchill’s displeasure with a portrait by Graham Sutherland, meant to be a tribute from the British Houses of Parliament on his 80th birthday.

The Netflix series The Crown shows Churchill’s rage at the too-accurate painting, although it fudges the circumstances under which it was banished from view.

It was actually Churchill’s wife, Clementine, who ordered it destroyed after his death because her husband disliked it. (A study for it still is in the possession of the National Portrait Gallery.)

White House reflects president who lives there

Since the president gets to choose both the artist and the scene for his official portrait, it’s likely sometime in the 2020s that Mr Trump’s likeness will be at least as flattering as what Mr Thomas has already painted.

Moreover, it’s likely to stand out from the other official portraits, and the other artwork in the White House offices and hallways, just as Mr Trump’s protocol-smashing tenure has been a vivid contrast to the behaviour of other presidents.

I can’t help but think, however, about the famed artists whose work has been displayed in the White House.

They include Gilbert Stuart, famed for his full-length depiction of George Washington and Dolley Payne Madison, the wife of James Madison.

One of my favourites is John Singer Sargent’s portrait of Theodore Roosevelt, which makes the famous Rough Rider look as if he is about to bolt off the canvas.

Among the 45 pictures chosen by the Obamas for the White House were paintings by Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keefe, as well as African-American artists such as Jacob Lawrence and William H. Johnson.

In every way, a White House reflects the president who lives there. And its current occupant apparently enjoys seeing himself on a wall, having a Diet Coke with his predecessors.

At least we won’t be surprised once his official portrait is unveiled.

Micheline Maynard is a journalist and author.

Topics: donald-trump, politics-and-government, government-and-politics, world-politics, united-states

First posted October 16, 2018 16:37:01

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Opinion: Trump painting: Dogs playing poker or Kennedy with a combover?

Updated October 16, 2018 16:57:21

Many people may not realise that the White House is a museum, as well as the home of the American president and a place of government business.

Its rooms and hallways contain a heralded collection of furniture, china, statues, and most of all, paintings, both works of art, and depictions of history.

Every president and first lady is commemorated with a portrait, commissioned toward the end of their time in the White House, and hung a few years after they leave.

But Donald Trump, it seems, is not waiting to make sure his face hangs in the White House.

This weekend, the nation learnt through an interview on 60 Minutes that he is already on the wall of his private office.

Mr Trump appears in a fanciful grouping, enjoying cocktails with former presidents from the Republican party. (A teetotaller, his glass contains his favoured Diet Coke.)

The painting, called The Republican Club, is by artist Andy Thomas. He told NBC News that he was shocked to see it hanging in the White House.

Reagan, Nixon, Eisenhower, Lincoln … Trump?

I was pretty gobsmacked, too, given what I know about the building’s carefully curated decor.

The group includes Ronald Reagan, and both presidents Bush. Gerald R. Ford looks over Mr Trump’s shoulder, while Richard M. Nixon sits nearby.

Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and last but not least, Abraham Lincoln, all smile admiringly as Mr Trump beams.

It’s an image that you’d think was a joke, the presidential equivalent of those paintings on black velvet of dogs playing poker. Here in the States, we sometimes call that “art sold by the side of the road”, since vendors set up in tents next to petrol stations or highway exits.

In fact, the grouping is part of a series, according to Mr Thomas, who has painted Republican as well as Democratic presidents playing poker and pool.

And, it’s a copy, since Mr Thomas owns the original.

As Mr Thomas explained to NBC, the print was a gift to Mr Trump from Darrell Issa, a California Republican congressman. Mr Thomas said Mr Trump called to thank him after he received it.

Trump didn’t look this good in the ’90s

And no wonder he’d be pleased.

For one thing, his portrayal is artfully flattering. I met Mr Trump in his youthful prime in the 1990s, and he didn’t look this good back then.

Nor were his television producers able to bring off such glowing good health during his years on The Apprentice, no matter how many filters or camera angles they tried.

On Twitter, the joke was that he’d been painted to look like “a Kennedy with a combover”, and clearly, he has a vision in his head of looking something like this. Think of all the times he’s said that news organizations take terrible photographs of him.

And, Mr Trump isn’t the only dignitary who prefers to see himself painted at his best. There’s a legendary story about Winston Churchill’s displeasure with a portrait by Graham Sutherland, meant to be a tribute from the British Houses of Parliament on his 80th birthday.

The Netflix series The Crown shows Churchill’s rage at the too-accurate painting, although it fudges the circumstances under which it was banished from view.

It was actually Churchill’s wife, Clementine, who ordered it destroyed after his death because her husband disliked it. (A study for it still is in the possession of the National Portrait Gallery.)

White House reflects president who lives there

Since the president gets to choose both the artist and the scene for his official portrait, it’s likely sometime in the 2020s that Mr Trump’s likeness will be at least as flattering as what Mr Thomas has already painted.

Moreover, it’s likely to stand out from the other official portraits, and the other artwork in the White House offices and hallways, just as Mr Trump’s protocol-smashing tenure has been a vivid contrast to the behaviour of other presidents.

I can’t help but think, however, about the famed artists whose work has been displayed in the White House.

They include Gilbert Stuart, famed for his full-length depiction of George Washington and Dolley Payne Madison, the wife of James Madison.

One of my favourites is John Singer Sargent’s portrait of Theodore Roosevelt, which makes the famous Rough Rider look as if he is about to bolt off the canvas.

Among the 45 pictures chosen by the Obamas for the White House were paintings by Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keefe, as well as African-American artists such as Jacob Lawrence and William H. Johnson.

In every way, a White House reflects the president who lives there. And its current occupant apparently enjoys seeing himself on a wall, having a Diet Coke with his predecessors.

At least we won’t be surprised once his official portrait is unveiled.

Micheline Maynard is a journalist and author.

Topics: donald-trump, politics-and-government, government-and-politics, world-politics, united-states

First posted October 16, 2018 16:37:01

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment