Hi there!! The above picture is me working on the proofing and editing of the first draft of the book about my father, Eddie Green, Star of Stage, Screen and Radio from the 1920s through 1950.
It’s hard work! And very time consuming! And in the process of verifying information, I keep finding new information that just must go in the book!
For instance, I found my father’s 1917 WWI registration card and on the card where it says “Race”, Eddie wrote in “African”. So I started reading about Africa and how Blacks first came to America and what happened after they got here, and I wound up on a site discussing Billie Holiday and her singing of the song “Strange Fruit.” So I looked up “Strange Fruit” and found the story of the man who wrote the song.
Mr. Abel Meeropol (February 10, 1903-October 30, 1986), was a writer, teacher and song-writer. Mr. Meeropol wrote this song after seeing a photo of the hanging of a black man because the photo affected him so profoundly, in regards to the inhumanity of racism. Billie Holliday received the song through another source and recorded the song and Mr. Meerepool became well-known through this song.
Mr. Meerepol was a man of compassion. He cared about people. He was at the house of W. E. B. DuBois one evening and he met the orphaned sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Mr. Meerepol and his wife got to know the boys and began to care for them and eventually adopted the boys. Mr. Meeropol passed away due to complications of pneumonia at a Jewish Nursing Home in Massachusettes when he was 83 years old.
Mr. Meerepol was the type of person I would like to know. His thought process is what attracts me and somehow ties in with what I have been trying to incorporate into my posts. That even though there are awful things that happen in the life, there are people who genuinely care about others, no matter what their “color”. It’s people working together.
Ok, then I was thinking about all the help I have had since I began my book project from people who don’t know me from Adam. I have received legal help, help with radio scripts, cd’s, free books. I talk with people in the U.K. I have been feeling really grateful for the help I have received. And just wishing the race question could be a little simpler.
So then I start thinking about what to put in my post today. My last post dealt with Eddie’s first movie in 1939, so I decided to write about the fact that Eddie, while working in the “Hot Mikado”, and contemplating his next movie, was also in charge of “The Miss Sepia Beauty Contest” at the 1939 Worlds Fair. But when I went on-line to get information, I could find nothing about Miss Sepia or Eddie at the World’s Fair.
However, at the New York Public Library there is archived information about:
All correspondence, speeches, exhibition material, pass and address lists, and financial records relating to the planning and presentation of “Negro Week” at the New York World’s Fair, 1940, became the property of the growing Schomburg Collection in New York.
“Negro Week” consisted of festivals, exhibitions, song and dance recitals, choral and symphonic music, concerts, religious services, guest speakers and a children’s program. Noted events during the week included a dramatic sketch of the “Life of Booker T. Washington” performed by the Rose McClendon Players and performances by the Karamu Dancers, Eubie Blake, W. C. Handy, James P. Johnson, Cecil Mack and Philippa Schuyler. There were speeches by W.E.B. DuBois and L. D. Reddick relating to various aspects of black contributions to American culture.
There was also a beauty contest. The Pittsburgh Courier printed “South Carolina Beauty Wins
“Miss Sepia America Crown”, with a picture and this blurb under the picture: ” Helen Lewis, wins first prize honors in nation-wide beauty contest in New York. The second photo presents “Miss (Sepia) America” and her running mates. “New York is a great place,” Helen agrees in final photo, as she goes on sight-seeing tour with Eddie Green, master-mind behind contest.”
Back in the day, news about Black endeavors only made it into Black newspapers. Things have changed. We, people, make the changes together.
NPR music, E. Blair npr.org 2012
Pittsburgh Courier, 1940