Beatrice Arthur was born Bernice Frankel. She became known as Bea Arthur, actress, comedian. These days she gets a lot of notice as one of The Golden Girls, a TV sitcom from 1985-1992. However, this post and my new book are putting a light on Bea and her TV Sitcom, Maude, which ran from 1972-1978. Bea Arthur is no longer with us in person, but you can catch her in re-runs and read about her here over the next months as I post about my ongoing book writing journey.
The theme song of Maude mentions such women as Lady Godiva and Joan of Arc, but then it says: And then there’s Maude. Maude was evidently something else, something bigger, something more formidable; and to top it off, she was funny. Bea Arthur was given her own TV sitcom after she appeared as Edith Bunker’s Cousin Maude in the TV sitcom All in the Family. Her character was meant as the antithesis role to the Archie Bunker character and she was so good in that role, well, I’m sure you get the point.
Maude was a larger-than-life liberal broad. Bea Arthur, other than being tall, was not. According to a video Bea did which can be seen on Youtube her one great desire had been to not be so tall, to be a small, blond marvelous actress. Of course, her height was an asset to her career and once she realized how funny she could be her career blossomed.
In 1954 Bea Arthur performed as Lucy in Three Penny Opera, a German Musical by Kurt Weill and Bertold Brecht. Yep, she was a singer. Her deep voice was great for those low notes. There is a Bea Arthur Pirate Jenny video on Youtube if you want to see her singing.
Bea Arthur was a professional at work. She was an actress. She became her character. Bea Arthur at home was a private person. You might say she was a homebody. I’ve been able to talk with a few people as part of my book research. What I am learning about the successful person is that they put in a lot of work to earn that success. Home ought to be a place where you can let your hair down, take your shoes off (which she did) and just be yourself.
Hey, I love you guys, thanks, for stopping by.
And don’t forget to buy my first book for yourself or a friend, adults and young people, Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer. My Jeffersons book is being finalized.
In the photo above my father is the man seated to the left, leaning forward, with a smile on his face, Eddie Green. Eddie loved what he did. He loved the people he met. He was known as a “regular fellow.” To my knowledge, Eddie got along with most people. If trouble brewed in his presence, he moved on. I’ve been asked if I have any idea about his feelings about the racial hardships during his years in the entertainment industry. I can’t know his feelings, but I do know that he progressed through the early 1900s at a steady pace and always had a smile. According to newspaper articles he could be counted on to attend benefits at a moments notice and was always happy to oblige. Radio programs (White programs mostly, as there were not too many Black programs allowed in those days) called him back again and again. Rudy Vallee did ask for Louis Armstrong to do a summer radio stint for him on which Eddie and his comic partner, Gee Gee James, provided the comedy-so we did have that in 1937. The hosts loved him and the audience loved his humor. My mom never said a bad word about him. My god-father said when he blew into town from New York he took everyone’s breath away. He was my godfather’s bosom buddy. I believe Eddie had a plan to remove himself from the poverty of his childhood to pursue a better , happier life. He did not let societies ills get in his way. He did what was necessary and kept his focus on his goals and made sure he did the best job he could. And he prospered. In song writing, on the stage, in vaudeville, Vitaphone talkies, moviemaking, and early television. In St. Louis, New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. From 1909 through 1950. Racial trouble did not stop Eddie. The fact that he was a Negro gave him much pride. It never gave him a reason to dislike people or to limit himself.
My last book is about the 70s TV sitcom “The Jeffersons,” an almost all-Black show, and I’ve been thinking about the race issue a lot. I’ve just noticed that I typed “all-black.” In Eddie’s day we were known as Negro. There was even a Negro Week at the World’s Fair in 1940. Eddie was at the World’s Fair Hosting the Miss Sepia America Beauty Contest.
In 1946 Eddie’s add in the newspapers read:
So, today, for some reason I started a conversation with myself on what I consider myself to be, race wise. On the 1940 Census my then sixteen year old mother was listed as “White.” My mother looked White, had an Italian father, but her mother, though she tried to pass, was a Negro according to HER parents 1920 census.
Eddie was listed in a news article once as “Ethiopian.” Yep, he was also a dancer. I imagine in this instance Ethiopia was another way of saying Black. On the 1940 Census he is listed as “Negro (Black).”
According to the African American Registry: Negro means “black” in both Spanish and Portuguese languages, is derived from the Latin word niger of the same meaning. The term “negro”, was used by the Spanish and Portuguese to refer to Black Africans. From the 18th century to the mid-20th century, “negro” (later capitalized) was considered the correct and proper term for African Americans. It fell out of favor by the 1970s in the United States. So if Eddie had still been alive would he have thought of himself as out of favor? Or would he have become “Black.”
Why did it fall out of favor if Negro literally means Black. Of course, when James Brown came out with the song “I’m Black and I’m Proud” I was all over that! I identify now as Black. But I could identify as Negro. Or Negro with Italian lineage. My maternal grandmother was so light she passed for White for quite a while. When Eddie courted my mom, my grandmother made him go around to the back door. Sounds sad. And there probably is some White blood in my grandmother’s past, back there in Virginia. Maybe I should identify as Ethiopian – it sounds regal. Yes, Queenly. That’s the thing now on t-shirts, social media – Black women are seeing themselves as Queens. Which is also a part of African history.
In this Jubilee 1943 Review online by arwulf arwulf, they are talking about Erskine Hawkins: When the “house band” was as hip as Erskine Hawkins & His Orchestra, sparks really flew! The great non-musical bonus is the appearance of Eddie Green, a comedian who first achieved notoriety as a performer in the Hot Chocolates stage show in 1929, appearing on the cast recording Big Business with Fats Waller at the piano. By 1943 Green had become famous as a character on the radio program Duffy’s Tavern. Some nice person sent me this album, by the way.
Eddie, that guy in the top photo, became famous. He was a recurring character on the Amos n Andy radio program as Stonewall, the lawyer, while appearing on every episode of Duffy’s Tavern from 1941 to 1950
Hi!!!!! I’m working with a new wordpress screen here, so please bear with me. I love sharing information about people who have contributed their skills to society, to life, but may have been forgotten or even pushed back out of sight over the years. I received a photo of a grocery store celebration for “Aunt Jemima” – it showed a grocer, a line of customers, and “Aunt Jemima” standing by to sign autographs. I cannot post it because I don’t know who owns it, but it got me to thinking about the recent actions of a pancake flour brand to re-name its product, I believe due to something called “cancel culture.” I do not believe in the concept. I believe that we cannot cancel a happening. What has been done still exists somewhere, even if it’s only in our memories. The image of Aunt Jemima will always bring back great memories, for me as a child especially, of when I would see that box on mom’s kitchen table. Yay!! Pancakes!! Meaning as much syrup as I could get away with and lots of butter. Of course, as a child it never occurred to me that Aunt Jemima may have been a real person with a life away from that box. But she was. Over the years she was more than one person, with various looks meant to keep up with the times. However, the original Aunt Jemima was a lady by the name of Nancy Green (I wonder if we are related). She was born a slave in 1834. She was born a person in 1834. She became a wife, a mother, a cook, and a nanny for the Walker family of Kentucky and later Chicago.
On the recommendation of Judge Walker she was suggested to the R. T. Davis Milling Company to be a spokesperson for their Aunt Jemima brand. This marked the beginning of a major promotional push by the company that included thousands of personal appearances. She appeared at fairs, festivals, flea markets, food shows, and local grocery stores. People loved her. She used her money and her stature as a spokesperson to advocate against poverty and in favor of equal rights for individuals in Chicago. Another woman would become “Aunt Jemima” during the early 1900s, and Nancy would go on to live a quiet life residing with relatives. She died in 1923, the same year my mother was born. It really was not that long ago. She ought to be remembered and mentioned now and then.
And Why remove her image from a pancake box. After all, she, Nancy Green, was a chubby woman. And, hell, I wear scarfs (some would call them head rags) all the time. And, she was probably happy to be able to make some extra money and get out of the house. I believe society has chosen to play into her image as degrading. Why can’t we look at her picture and see a female who rose from slavery to adulthood with a personality that allowed her to travel all over the US, to help people where she could and to be able to share that bright smile with little kids sitting at their mom’s breakfast table. We cannot cancel people or their contributions.
“We all want to be remembered. This was even touched on in an episode of The Jeffersons. Here is an excerpt from my book: Staying at the top is not easy. Every member of an audience must be satisfactorily entertained. Death may not normally lend itself as entertainment in a situation comedy, but death is a part of living that cannot be ignored. After George almost drowns in a boating accident, he realizes he does not want to die as a nobody. He wants headlines to read “George Jefferson Dies!”. (Florence quips, “I heard that.”) George decides that he wants to be remembered as a somebody after he is gone. “The House that George Built” was an excellent episode. George builds a museum dedicated to himself showcasing his life over the years. Pictures highlight his early years as a child, the lean years, and the filthy rich years. Peter Lawford voiced the museum guide. “George Jefferson, a man, a legend, a dude with a lotta bucks.”
Hey, thanks for hanging in here with me. I appreciate all of you who follow me and I welcome comments as well as “Likes”. Stay safe, and thanks, for stopping by. 🙂
My book: Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer (2016)
Maude, starring Bea Arthur, was an American sitcom that aired from 1972 until 1978. Maude was married to her 4th husband, Walter Findlay, played by Bill Macy. Her next door neighbor Arthur, played by Conrad Bain, called her Maudie. Sounds like she would have been a “little” woman. But she was not. Maude was a tall, outspoken, overbearing and sometimes domineering, politically liberal woman with a deep voice. Bea Arthur once said when talking about her height: “My dream was to become a very small blonde movie star.” I loved that her sitcom buddy called her Maudie.
I tuned into Maude quite often. I was a Bea Arthur fan and a Bill Macy fan, but for some reason I really liked Conrad Bain, and this was before Diff’rent Strokes, where he played the father of two adopted African American boys. I just thought he seemed like a nice, calm person even in real life, though I had no clue about his “real” life.
My next book is going to be about this sitcom. My Jeffersons book will be off to my publisher for scrutiny soon and I am anxious to delve into this next book writing adventure. This adventure started off as a journey and because of the people I have met, the interviews I have conducted and been the subject of, and even because of the days I had my doubts, I now see this as a life adventure. Almost every day something happens as a direct result of my writings that causes me to smile. A new follower, someone sends me a hi five on social media, someone finally decides to buy my first book, a “special” person I have reached out to actually replies – I love this.
I have already spoken with people involved in the making of Maude, such as the writer of the theme song. But I have much more to do. I will share here about this and I will probably still share about my father and the biography that I wrote about him, because it is the closest to my heart.
We look forward to your visits.
You are always welcome. 🙂 and thanx, for stopping by.
Greetings! In 2014 I started this blog to write about my first book writing journey. The book was a biography of my father, Eddie Green. He died when I was 3 so I had to wander through libraries and museums and old newspaper archives because he was an Entertainer and mom, 30 years his junior, had not told me much about his history. I discovered much. I kept finding new stuff. I researched the book for over ten years. In 2010 when mom died, I put my whole self into the research. I wrote the book. It published in 2016. I won an award. Five years later I am still finding out new things about my father.
These past five years I have been interviewed on radio programs about the book my father, I’ve been interviewed about myself and my writing journey and about my father, on podcasts and I have had articles written about me and my book. I never even considered this might happen. I am now working on a 2nd and 3rd book. Because of the book about my father.
About a week ago an interviewer asked me a question I had not anticipated. Today I realized the answer was readily available in the book. I also realized that interest in Eddie’s life story will continue, even as I go on to other stories, so I had better continue to keep a focus on that which got me to where I am today. (Which reminds me: I need to add a “buy” button like I have on my FB book page.)
The interviewer’s question was, what I thought Eddie might say about Black progress in the Entertainment or filmmaking business today. We were discussing movies but I immediately thought of an article in which Eddie was talking about Blacks getting into television: Eddie Green’s Firm Aids Show Business Through Television: “The fast growing field of television offers a fertile one for Negro performers.” “Colored performers have their niche in the television picture and they should demand that their agents establish contacts with those that handle the shows in order not to be left out in the cold when the infant industry attains maturity.” Eddie pointed out that “the decline of vaudeville witnessed many good Negro acts going out of business and little hope for the birth of new talent was anticipated until television offered vast potentialities.” This was in 1947.
Eddie was very much aware of the difficulty of Black people getting into the various forms of entertainment. Eddie was quoted as saying, also in 1947, “Radio for Negroes is a very hard field to get into…very hard! But the returns are so great that it’s worth the try.”
Eddie died 3 years later. He had been contacting television producers to sell them ideas for commercials. I did not have to think too hard on what Eddie might think about the progress Blacks have made today. If Eddie could appear in 2021 I think he would be displeased with the progress in the Entertainment field. If only because of the fact that he, a Black man born in 1891 into absolute poverty was able to rise to the top of his profession through his determination, his talent and his hard work.
Today Eddie is an old time radio Icon. At the time of his death he owned his 3rd movie studio and was making TV spots. Using his own money. His movies used Black actors only. He directed, starred in, produced and wrote his own movies. Yes, he was broke when he died. I’m sure he used the money he made on his radio program, and the movies he appeared in to stay afloat. But Eddie was all about staying relevant in the industry. Especially as a Black man. I think he envisioned other “Negroes” (back in those days “Negroes” was who we were, and proud about it) pushing for their chance to get ahead in this new “television” thing and in all the entertainment avenues.
It has not been easy. People like say, Lena Horne, could have had a starring role in a motion picture, if she had not been Black. She was happier as a singer, per articles I’ve read. And she refused to take roles as a maid or a prostitute (Desert News, 2010). She was proud of the color of her skin.
In 1952 Josephine Baker was feeling positive: “I have a very good feeling about Hollywood, I think it is growing up. I think the time is coming when the movie industry will be making movies with more colored actors. Think of the audiences of colored people through out the world 500 or 600 million, I think the studios would more than make up for whatever loss they might suffer in the South. and I think the day is coming when the South will go for such pictures, too.” Salamanca New York Republican, J Baker
Today I read in Wikipedia that:
Tyler Perry Studios is one of the largest film studios in the nation and established Tyler Perry as the first African-American to outright own a major film studio.
It says he prefers to write his work himself. That’s what my father did.
I believe Eddie would write an article today, if my some miracle he came back, like the one he wrote to the Negro Hour radio show in 1938: In regard to their theme song: “Find a brilliant work of some of our great Negro composers. There are many. Or you might even pick a suitable stanza from the pen of our poets (Dunbar and others), set it to music. Brilliant, forceful music.” Further along he tells them “And now in closing, USE THE NEGRO NEWSPAPERS to tell the people that you have a program.”
I think Eddie’s thoughts then could very well be his thoughts today in championing progress for Blacks in Entertainment. In other words, have a positive belief in your ability to succeed, the will to push through, even though obstacles block you time and again and watch what happens.
Those new to this site or you longtimers – My book can still be purchased through Amazon: Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer.
Is there ANY good news out there? Of course! Somewhere. I could focus on my own good news. I am helping to market an exciting new book-and getting paid. This is a big deal because I am retired from my 30 year secretarial career and have begun a whole new career as a writer. My first book was published in 2016 and I had to learn how to market the book and myself. Now others are trusting me to help their books sell. I did not plan this new career. I never really made “retirement” plans. Now I make interviewing plans and proofing plans and which project to work on today plans. If you get this book and like it we would appreciate a review on Amazon.
The biography I wrote about my father has added significantly to my well-being. He died when I was 3. Until I was grown I had a teeny resentment against him for leaving me. We were a show biz family but after he died things changed. Money got spent, show biz friends no longer hung out at our house, and mom focused her energies on getting by as best she could. Consequently, it was not until I began doing research for the book that I found out what a helluva guy Eddie was. And it was during this time that my mom shared something with me that literally poked me in the chest and let me know that my father loved me. Now, that was good news. There are great reviews on Amazon for this book. Check it out!
Writing that biography has led to me writing a book about the 1970s TV sitcom The Jeffersons. I’ve interviewed cast members, writers, Norman Lear, cable pullers, secretaries, guests and I’ve loved it. However, it has been a learning experience. I am currently re-writing portions of the book which is actually a good thing because I have to concentrate and pay attention to what goes on the page. I’ve learned to write what I want to say rather than quoting others. Coming soon.
My next book is gonna be a doozy. It’s about the TV sitcom Maude, starring Bea Arthur, Bill Macy, Conrad Bain, Rue McClanahan and Adrienne Barbeau. Given the Maude character’s liberal views and outspokenness, the controversial issues and the comedic scenes between these actors, I’m looking forward to having a ball writing this book. And, yes, I will have experienced help.
I’ve even made tremendous progress in understanding the Copyright issues that have popped up regarding my father’s songs (his first being “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” with the help of some great folks across the pond. I wrote a post about it early on-I Want My Daddy’s Records! I got the idea from an episode of Sanford and Son. Talking about the Blind Mellow Jelly Collection. Fred’s trying to help his (supposedly) blind friend get his dad’s records.
This has been a good news post from Yours Truly. Stay safe and thanks, for stopping by. 🙂
Welcome to the beginning of my posting about a subject new to me, but one that I am already having fun with. I will be starting a new Blog for this subject as soon as I figure out how to do it. Mr. Yoran Ben-Ami, writer, producer, director, and actor has had his newest book published and I love the cover. Not because there is a wild lady on a zebra but because it looks exciting! My Adventure with Sheena, Queen of the Jungle is the story of Ben-Ami’s time spent in Africa in 1984 working behind-the-scenes with the star of the movie, Tanya Roberts.
As you may have heard, Tanya Roberts died just days after this book was finished. Her death was sad for many, however, Ms. Roberts had quite a life and an exciting career. As an actress, producer, and model, she was best known for playing Julie Rogers in the final season of the television series Charlie’s Angels (1980–1981), Stacey Sutton in the James Bond film A View to a Kill (1985), Sheena in Sheena (1984). Share their adventure.
This will be a short post however I do want to tell you a bit more about Ben-Ami. He is known for his producing skills in movies like Lone Wolf McQuade (1983), Stone Cold (1991), and 3 Ninjas-High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998) with Hulk Hogan and Loni Anderson. My favorite today though is the 1982 movie Swamp Thing. Funny enough, this movie stars an actor (Adrienne Barbeau) who starred in the TV Sitcom Maude, which is the subject of my 3rd book. I love connections! They let me know I am on the right track.
I see this as quite an honor for me because Yoran Ben-Ami is agreeable with me writing about his book writing venture because I write well and this is a way for me to become better at what I do.
I will be posting more about this and of course my Jeffersons book writing adventure will still be shared here. The Jeffersons book is a bit overdue (in my brain) because of rewrites. But thankfully, I have helpful friends and followers and family. Stay Safe, Wear your masks, get a vaccine when you can, Don’t panic, Be happy, Love your neighbor.
My Adventure with Sheena, Queen of the Jungle is published by BearManor Media and can be purchased from BearManor and on-line at Barnes and Noble.
One thing I like about posting on WordPress is that I can write any way I choose. I can start a sentence with the word “and” or I can use “I’ve” instead of “I have”. I can even place my commas or periods in the wrong place. We are informal. So, let me begin. The other day a Twitter friend posted an Amos n Andy 1951 television broadcast on Youtube, titled “The Young Girl’s Mother”. It seemed familiar and I remembered that in 1951 the same story had been performed on the Amos n Andy radio program and my mother, Norma Green and Dorothy Dandridge were two of the characters in the episode: “The Amos ‘n’ Andy Show. February 25, 1951. CBS net. “Andy Meets Girl’s Mother”. Rexall. Andy has proposed to twenty-two year-old Brenda Thompson, not realizing she’s the daughter of Madame Queen! Madame Queen is willing to settle for Andy as a son-in-law, if not a husband. The opening is slightly upcut. Bill Hay does one of the commercials. Bob Ross (writer), Griff Barnett (commercial spokesman), Bill Hay, Jeff Alexander and His Orchestra (music), Ken Niles (announcer), Bob Mosher (writer), Joe Connelly (writer), Freeman Gosden, Charles Correll, Johnny Lee, Lillian Randolph, Dorothy Dandridge,Norma Green.” Radiogoldin.library
I was too surprised when I found this out in 2015 since my mother hadn’t bothered to tell me about it. Anywho, I watched the television episode. The episode was funny, however, I could see why the NAACP tried successfully to get it off prime time television (I think it ran a while in re-runs). The Andy and Kingfish characters, Spencer Williams and Tim Moore, had been instructed and coached on how to be the voices of Andy and Kingfish. So they both spoke like this: “I done popped the question and she done accepted”. And this: “You gone with a lot of girls since I knowed you”. And this: “what is I gonna do?”
As I watched this show today, I cringed at the way they talked. I wondered if we as Black people really talked that way back then. Or did Correll and Gosden, the show’s creators, just want them to talk that way because that was how Correll and Gosden talked when they pretended to be Black men when the show was on the radio. I do believe Williams and Moore went along with the script because that was one of the only ways a Black man could make a decent amount of money. Racism was rampant in 1951 in the entertainment business.
But racism was present also in Black families. Take my family, for instance. My maternal grandmother looked White. She listed herself as Spanish on my mother’s elementary school papers. She was not Spanish. Her mother and father were lightskinned Black people. My maternal grandfather was Italian, so my mother looked White. When my father, Eddie, started courting my mother, (here they are on the left) my grandmother would make Eddie come around to the back door as opposed to letting him in the front. Yes, because Eddie was dark-skinned. Fast forward to 1980, the rumor was that I was asked by an older family member to live in and take care of “nana’s” house because I am light-skinned as opposed to asking one of our darker skinned family members. The same person who requested this of me would not even entertain the thought of having a dark-skinned grandchild. Even though her own mother was dark-skinned.
Racism exists everywhere. Still. Today. It is not surprising to me from whence it comes. It exists. As a lightskinned person I have been accused of ignoring a man who spoke to me at a bus stop because I thought I was “too good” because I was light. I have friends today who speak about me as being “high-yellow”. Why do they mention the color of my skin when they see me? Who knows. Everyone has an opinion on something. We cannot censure the thoughts that run through people’s heads and if these thoughts pop out of their mouths, we can’t stop that either.
There has been some so-called “shocking” news in the world today, which makes me believe that people are refusing to live in the world of reality. They seem to want to believe in a fictional world. Which is why I have written this post. I try and find a way to express my opinions without being nasty, and because if I say nothing these thoughts just keep me awake at night.
The thing is, in my opinion, is that not everybody is going to be ok with everybody. Not just in the area of skin color, but in what school you attend, or whether you say tomato or tomawto. Or whether you mention your religious beliefs online. Some people will not have it. There was a time when I let that stop me from sharing my thoughts on how I worship, now I know that other people’s opinions are their opinions and that the reality is their opinions have nothing to do with how my life is lived.
In writing my books about The Jeffersons and about the TV sitcom Maude, I have had to figure out how to connect the fiction of a television program’s scripts with real life in order to be able to write an interesting, relevant and entertaining book. And believe you me, some of these shows dealt with some serious and controversial reality issues, even while providing laughs. For instance, in the Maude episode “The Kiss”, Maude catches her next door neighbor, Vivian kissing her (Maud’s) husband, Walter. Walter gives her an explanation about how Vivian and Maude are such good friends and how that spills over to Walter and somehow they were just consoling each other as friends. And Maude seems to go along with the explanation. Of course, I’m sitting there watching this and screaming at my laptop BS!! I don’t know too many women who would go for THAT explanation in real life!
I appreciate your stopping by and spending some time with me and my thoughts. Until next time, thanx. 🙂 Tell your friends about me. Share the love. Comments and shared experiences are always welcome. Stay safe.
Good Evening! I wish Black History Month was longer, there’s just so much to write about. I love every member of my family, but today I am going to focus on one younger female family member who really impressed me this past week. Meeko is my niece’s daughter, my great niece. Over the years as our families grew, grew up and spread out, we did not spend a lot of time together. Until my mom died in 2010 we used to gather at mom’s place for holidays and whatnot. On special occasions we would take day trips to a relatives house, say for a baby shower. My point is that I did not see a lot of Meeko as she grew up. And after mom died I did not get to see her at all unless pictures or videos were posted on social media. When her parents posted about Meeko it was usually to share about the fact that Meeko loved softball. And she was good. She got into the sport at about age 4. Over the years she continued to excel in the sport. Her parents were always there to take her to games in and out of town. It was cool to watch her progress.
Today I went online and I found mention of Meeko and her dad from 2013. According to DAVE SHOWALTER Fontana Herald News July 18, 2013: The Fontana Pony Softball 10U All Stars won the Pony Zone Tournament last Sunday in Redlands. Meeko Harrison pitched four strong innings, striking out five. Manager Mike Harrison (Meeko’s father) was very proud of their accomplishments and thanked not only all the players, but also his coaches and parents for all their support. This is the first time I have seen this article. It impresses me.
Today Meeko is a member of the uksoftball (University of Kentucky) team. Her father is there in Kentucky, visiting, watching his daughter play after eight months or so of not seeing her due to the pandemic. According to the school’s news team, the Kentucky Softball team is off to its best start in program history at 13-0, after winning games against Stetson and New Mexico State on day two of the 2021 Spring Games at Legend’s Way Ballfields in Clermont, Florida. The school paper listed stats for Meeko from past years:
Has lettered in softball four years at Etiwanda High School Has hit .495 and .490 in her last two years of high school softball Received the team MVP award in 2019
In my mind, Meeko has always been about softball. Or baseball. I would wonder what is she going to do when she grows up? Are there grown-up women softball teams? Will she make money that way? Of course, I never asked her or her father or her mother. They were just random thoughts. A few days ago I came to the realization that Meeko is not all about just softball. She is now an 18 year old female with thoughts and dreams and opinions. She is someone who has studied life and has come to conclusions. She is a beautiful Black woman who has studied and is knowledgeable about the Black women who have come before her. She is proud of herself and of her people. And she just happens to love and excel at softball. I am proud of my great-niece.
In the photo above she quotes Marian Anderson. Marian Anderson performed a wide range of music, from opera to spirituals. She performed with renowned orchestras in major concert and recital venues throughout the United States and Europe between 1925 and 1965. Anderson was an important figure in the struggle for African-American artists to overcome racial prejudice in the United States. She participated in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, singing at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Anderson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963. She died in 1993 at age 96. Her story is worth looking into.
Meeko evidently read up on Ms. Anderson. She says that the above quote is her favorite quote. I’m sure she has read quotes from many other women and men. She has a desire to share her own thoughts through the words of women like Marian Anderson, and has done so. She has shown me that there are many young Black women today who have educated themselves and are ready to speak out and be heard. And they are right here within our families. I find that I am quite proud of Meeko Harrison.
Also, I was happy to be able to inform her that my mother, her great-grandmother, Norma, studied voice with Mme. Sara Cahier, Ms. Anderson’s voice coach. How cool is it that Meeko’s favorite quote came from a woman who shared the same voice coach with her great-grandmother back in the 1940s. This is our Black Family History. Ongoing and fantastic. Every day.
Welcome, welcome back, hi! I am going to post with Black History in mind as this is February. When I started this blog my focus was on my father, a Black man. It was his biography as opposed to being about Black history. In writing Eddie’s story it was not possible to only write about other Black people. I wrote about how Eddie succeeded during a time when Blacks had to struggle to come up in a world that included White people. History is about, to my mind, the story of Life before the Present. And my father’s story is definitely Black history. The sitcom Maude is a part of Black History, too.
I have begun researching a book about the TV sitcom Maude, staring Bea Arthur, from the 1970s. Connecting this show with Black History never crossed my mind until a few days ago when I received a request regarding a woman who played the third maid during the 1977-1978 seasons of Maude. Her name is Marlene Warfield and she is a Black woman. Ms. Warfield is alive and well and enjoying life well away from the spotlight these days, as are others I’ve tried to contact who were associated with the show. During my research, I have become fascinated with Ms. Warfield’s involvement in the entertainment business. It is just amazing to me when I discover new information about people that ought to be shared with others, in my opinion, simply because of the inspiration it could provide. Which is why I wrote my father’s story. Happily, a lot of these people happen to be Black.
Before appearing on Maude, Ms. Warfield won the Clarence Derwent Award in 1969 for Outstanding Broadway Debut Performance for the role of Clara in The Great White Hope, which she reprised in the 1970 film version. The Clarence Derwent Awards are theatre awards given annually by the Actors’ Equity Association on Broadway in the United States and by Equity, and the performers’ union, in the West End in the United Kingdom. Clarence Derwent (23 March 1884 – 6 August 1959) was an English actor, director, and manager. His will stipulated that two $500 prizes were to be given out annually to the best individual male and female supporting performances on Broadway and a £100 prize to the best supporting performances in the West End according to an online site History for Sale.
Her co-star was Mr. James Earl Jones. James Earl Jones was so good in this movie that I hated him in real life for the next few years. What a movie! He actually won a Tony award in 1969 for his role in the play. Of course my younger readers may remember James Earl Jones was the voice of “Luke, I am your father.”
Ms. Warfield appeared in many more roles on TV and in movies, such as Across 110th Street (1972), Network (1976) written by Paddy Chayevsky, she played Laureen Hobbs with Faye Dunaway and William Holden (ooh la la), Maude, The Jeffersons,Little House on the Prairie, Perry Mason, In The House, and ER.
Black History is woven into our lives. Sometimes we have to search for it. In the case of my father, Eddie Green, born in 1891, though he became a a well-known personality by the time of his death in 1950, his presence had somehow been overshadowed and hidden from recognition-until I wrote the book: Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer. My Black History for sure.