Playlist Black History Month

Black History Month

Hazel Johnson with Vice President Al Gore at the White House

The Chicago Woman Who Fought to Clean Up the Southeast Side

Daniel Hautzinger

Hazel Johnson described her Southeast Side community as existing within a "toxic donut," surrounded by landfills, industrial facilities, incinerators, and more. Her activism on behalf of marginalized communities led her to the White House and the title of the "mother of environmental justice."
Brochures advertising events organized by Vivian Harsh at the Hall Branch of the Chicago Public Library

The Chicago Librarian Who Created a Lauded Collection of African American History and Literature

Daniel Hautzinger

Vivian Harsh helped make Bronzeville's library a center for African American writers and intellectuals, hosting speakers such as Gwendolyn Brooks and Zora Neale Hurston and amassing a collection of books and manuscripts by the likes of Langston Hughes and Richard Wright.
Etta Moten Barnett singing "My Forgotten Man" in "Gold Diggers of 1933"

The Many Pioneering Lives of Etta Moten Barnett

Daniel Hautzinger

She went from being a young mother from Texas to becoming one of the first black women to appear onscreen not as a stereotype and the first to sing at the White House. Gershwin wanted her for Porgy and Bess – and later she became a liasion to Africa and a Chicago cultural patron.
Baldwin Ice Cream factory

The Black- and Woman-Led Success of a Chicago Ice Cream Company

Daniel Hautzinger

Baldwin Ice Cream began as a parlor opened by seven African American postal workers on the South Side and eventually grew to offering ice cream in major Midwestern grocery stores and at O'Hare, thanks in part to Jolyn Robichaux, its president for more than two decades.
A statue of Queen Njinga outside the Fortaleza de São Miguel in Luanda, Angola. (Courtesy of Cécile Fromont)

Africa's Global Objects: Cécile Fromont at the Art Institute

Daniel Hautzinger

Cécile Fromont is a professor of Art History at the University of Chicago specializing in Central Africa and Brazil who appears in the new, three-part documentary Africa's Great Civilizations
Maya Angelou, circa late 70s, early 80s. (Courtesy of Getty)

"Her Life is History": The Universality of Maya Angelou

Daniel Hautzinger

Maya Angelou was beyond prolific, and her life touched on many of the most significant people and events of the twentieth century. The creators of a film about the great woman discuss the difficulty of capturing her multi-faceted life on film, why they admire her, and what she was like.
(Library of Congress)

DuSable to Obama: Chicago's Black Metropolis

Daniel Hautzinger

DuSable to Obama: Chicago's Black Metropolis explores the incredible history of African Americans in Chicago and their indelible influence on the city. Discover extensive web-exclusive content here.
Esperanza Spalding, Smokey Robinson, Corinne Bailey Rae, Gallant, Cee-Lo Green. (Courtesy of: the artist; Nick Spanos; Library of Congress, Photo by Shawn Miller; the artist; Cable Risdon Photography)

Meet the Musicians Who Paid Tribute to Smokey Robinson

Daniel Hautzinger

Cee-Lo Green, Esperanza Spalding, Corinne Bailey Rae, and many others saluted Smokey Robinson with performances when he received the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack.

"Where Is The Love": Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway's Collaborations

Daniel Hautzinger

Roberta Flack - Killing Me Softly explores the career of singer and pianist Roberta Flack. Made famous by hits like "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," "Killing Me Softly With His Song," and "Feel Like Makin' Love," Flack is almost equally known for her collaborations with Chicago singer, arranger, and musician Donny Hathaway. The two recorded some of the most adored duets of all time, like "Where Is The Love" and "The Closer I Get To You." 

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