Image by Archibald J. Motley

Image by Archibald J. Motley

In the 20s and 30s New York’s Harlem was rockin’ despite prohibition or economic woes.  Though people were struggling and Blacks even more so, because of Jim Crow laws.

During the Harlem Renaissance, if you were a Black artist, or musician, or an actor or a dancer, you were known nationally, and you could make money.  The gentleman who painted the above picture was one of these artists.  I, myself, have never heard of him until two days ago while researching my father, Eddie Green. Mr. Motley was born in 1891, same year as my father.  I have looked at some of his other paintings and I have decided what will be my next obsession.  His depictions of everyday life are bright and beautiful, in most cases.  Seems like times were good.

.Eddie was still with Minsky’s, and he was also busy with a new project:


Liberty Theatre
Opening Date: April 4, 1932
Closing Date: April 23, 1932
Performances: 24
Opening night production credits
Eddie Green Book
Lee Posner Book
Donald Heywood Music
Tom Peluso Music
Donald Heywood Lyrics
Tom Peluso Lyrics

Also, Eddie appeared in “Brighton Follies of 1932” at the New Brighton Theater, with Watson and Cohan, in 1933 he was in “Red Hot Tots” in Brooklyn, and in “Temptations of 1933” with Shorty McAllister.  In ’34 Eddie was back at the Apollo with Pigmeat Markham, Jimmie Baskette and Ralph Cooper.  The struggle was there, but people were working through their troubles.

Just like today, unless they were rich, people struggled monetarily.  And rich folks had their struggles also.  My education on the history of the United States and it’s people is expanding dramatically.


In 1930 Eddie had a new wife.  I think she was wife number three.  I only know, so far, that her name was Anna, she was born in 1901 in England, of Russian parents who had emigrated to the United States in 1905.  Anna was an entertainer in a nightclub in 1930 and Eddie was working as an actor in a show when they met.  Anna’s family probably came here to escape their economic woes and to have a better life in the USA.

untitled (4)

In March, 1932 Charles Lindbergh, Jr. was kidnapped and later murdered.  There were songs written about this tragedy.  Eddie and three other men collaborated and wrotre “Find that darling baby”.  Words were written by Frank Ceints and W. A. Wright, music by Morton Levine and Eddie Green, copyrighted on April 14, 1932. The Lindberghs were devastated.  Just like any average everyday parent.

voting 2008-Googe Advanced Images
voting 2008-Googe Advanced Images

Roosevelt became president in 1932, but the average American Black person had to struggle if they wanted to vote in those days. I n 1952, however, a Black woman was nominated for Vice-President.  Charlotta Amanda Spears Bass (February 14, 1874– April 12, 1969) was an American educator, newspaper publisher-editor, and civil rights activist. Bass was probably the first African-American woman to own and operate a newspaper in the United States; she published the California Eagle from 1912 until 1951.  In 1952, Bass became the first African-American woman nominated for Vice President, as a candidate of the Progressive Party.  Today women can run for President, and, well, you know the rest.

The California Eagle printed the first blurb about Eddie in Los Angeles in 1936, saying in part that Eddie Green was a fine comedian who appears occasionally on the Rudy Vallee hour.

I saw an article yesterday about a survivor of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the lady was celebrating the fact that she has finally received a prosthetic ear and can now wear an earring!

Average everyday people just looking to have a good life.




  1. I’ve gotta say Elva, your dad really got around. I wonder if the man was ever able to sit still. 😀 I love that painting and I’ve seen work by this artist before – you’re right so beautiful and colorful, makes you want to be there in that place. You can almost hear the music, the buzz of voices and the sound of ice clinking in glasses.

    Glad the lady got her ear – jeeze 20 years for that, huh? That’s what I call progress.


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