Propelling Pioneers and Trailblazers

eddiegreenblogbannerI’m mortified. I have not posted for almost two weeks. Periodically, my depression gets the better of me, plus it’s been as high as 117 degrees where I live, so, I have isolated. When up I have focused on gaining followers to my other social media sites. This month it has been two years since the biography I wrote about my father, Eddie Green, was published. Approximately one year since I won the Foreword INDIES 2016 Bronze Book Award for the book. I set up this blog in 2014 for the specific purpose of chronicling my book writing journey and to have a “platform” as those in the know suggested.

Lafayette-Theatre-Macbeth-1936-2I began the research for the book in the late 1990s. It has all been worth it. And then some. Since the book was published I have begun getting all sorts of new information about Eddie. People have sent me never before seen pictures of Eddie. They have sent me new newspaper articles. I have heard new stories from old timers who showed up at my library presentations. I have met thee nicest, helpful, caring people. Gaining new information and meeting new people has spurred me on to further research about Eddie. The information I have found is adding up to me being able to possibly write another book. For instance, in regard to a play titled Playing The Numbers to be shown at the Lafayette Theater in New York, 1925: “Therefore Eddie Green who had been an Important comedian in the Apollo cast was commissioned to organize a miniature stock company that each week will present a 45 minute performance that will consist of musical numbers and burlesque comedy bits. The bits, however, will be revised by Eddie to conform to the special requirements of the neighborhood.” I knew Eddie had been a part of the play but now I’ve learned how big of a part he really played.

brendaleeIn order to not share too much of the new stuff here and also to phase out of sharing stories from the first book, I will be posting additional information on little known and sometimes well-known pioneers of the entertainment industry and/or pioneers of civic issues. Earlier this morning on a news site I saw “Today in History”. Out of 24 items listed, only 2 were about Black people. One item was: 1960 Fifteen-year-old Brenda Lee earns a #1 hit with “I’m Sorry”. As you can see she actually also recorded my father’s song! The SECOND item about a Black person was: 1995 Barack Obama’s “Dreams from My Father” is published. Yay!!

Lemuel_HaynesI am adding one more which kind of goes with today’s climate: Lemuel Haynes, first Black to serve as minister to a White congregation, born July 18 1753 to a White mother and an African-American father. At the age of five months, Lemuel Haynes was given over to indentured servitude. He was freed in 1774 when his indenture expired. Haynes was ordained in 1785 and settled at Hemlock Congregational Church in Torrington, Connecticut. He was the first African American ordained in the United States. On March 28, 1788, Haynes left his pastorate at Torrington to accept a call at the West Parish Church of Rutland, Vermont (now West Rutland’s United Church of Christ), where he served the mostly white congregation for 30 years. Fun Fact: Haynes himself was known to say that “he lived with the people of Rutland thirty years, and they were so sagacious that at the end of that time they found out that he was a (insert N-word here), and so turned on him”. (https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part2/2p29.html). Looking at this gentleman’s picture I can see how he could have been considered White. And, it seems as if he may have been trying to pass if it took 30 years for the congregation to realize he was a Black man.

Anyhow, the one thing I truly like about writing this blog is doing the research. Sharing it with others is my way of Cheering For Trailblazers. Thanks for joining me on this journey.

And thanks, for stopping by.

Alike – Dying in Service of Our Country

This photo absolutely suits my mood in regard to Memorial Day. I would probably rather “celebrate” Veteran’s Day seeing as I intended to write a post about my father, Eddie Green, and his experience as an African American who enlisted in WWI. Then it dawned on me that Eddie was not one who died in service. I was going to talk about how Eddie was working in a theater in Philadelphia before winding up at a Chicago Training Camp. I wanted to add information about how African Americans had to tear off a piece of their Registration Card to signify their race. After I realized I needed to re-direct my idea for a post, I stumbled across an article in the Pennsylvania York Daily Record newspaper. The article was posted on this date May 27, 2018 earlier in the morning. So I have chosen to share this information instead, as it will do nicely to get my point across.

York County Afro-American veteran George A. Wood was killed in action September 29th 1918 during World War I. Private First-Class Wood is honored on the bronze memorial tablets flanking Gate 4 at the York Fairgrounds. His surname is incorrectly spelled “Woods” among the 197 York Countians honored on the World War I panels, fronting four columns, at the York County Administration Center, located at 28 East Market Street in York, PA. (Stephen H. Smith, York Daily Record, May 27, 2018.)

It seems to me that we don’t really hear enough about our Black soldiers who died defending this country. But while they were serving we sure made it clear they were not White. Even though they too died. Has anything changed?

Thanx, for stopping by.

And thank you Stephen H. Smith; York Daily Record for allowing sharing of your research efforts.

We Are Family-Connected

My family is connected with an important part of history. In the book I have written about my father I included a chapter on my mother, Norma. I don’t write about her often, except on Mother’s Day and when the date of her death comes around or the date of her birthday, which is on November 17th. This is Norma about 4 years before she married my father. But the history I want to write about started with my maternal grandmother.

 

My mother’s mother was born in 1896, her name was Sinclaire White. In 1912 Sinclaire got a mention in The Crisis magazine for her skills as a violinist. The second photo here is the cover of that 1912 issue.  The lady on the front is not Sinclaire. I only ever saw one picture of my maternal grandmother and I do not remember her as she died when I was a year old. My siblings never knew her or even saw a picture. Nor was she ever talked about as we grew up. As a violinist she was magnificent. Later in life she taught violin. Inside this magazine in the MUSIC AND ART section is this article about my grandmother:

” Miss Sinclair White of Chicago, Ill., who graduated June 18 from the Chicago Musical College, took part in the commencement program, playing the first and second movements of Sitt’s concertina in A minor. Miss White, who is a violinist, was the winner of the diamond medal awarded in the “teachers’ certificate class.” Accompanied by her mother she leaves shortly for Russia, where she is to have the advantage of five years’ study.”

At the time The Crisis was a very influential magazine. Published by W. E. B. DuBois who was also a co-founder of the NAACP. William Edward Burghardt “W. E. B.” Du Bois (February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963) was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor. Due to current racial issues he and the NAACP have been in the news more often, lately. I love his picture. It’s possible Sinclaire knew DuBois.

By the 1930s Sinclaire was living in Pasadena with her husband and my mother. She was now Sinclaire White Murdock and she was the head of the Sinclaire White Murdock Music Arts Association. The meetings would proceed with musical selections and a reading of stories such as, “The Immortal Story of Enoch Ardin,”, by Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson. Sometimes, the meetings were held in the Second Baptist Church; other times meetings were held at the Sojourner Truth Home in Los Angeles.

Sojourner Truth (1797 – November 26, 1883) was an African-American abolitionist and women’s rights activist born into slavery in Swartekill, Ulster County, New York. We didn’t talk much about Sojourner Truth when I was growing up, but they obviously recognized her in Pasadena back in the day and Sinclaire had the good sense to hold her meetings in a building named after a woman who would become  a force in 2017. As of today Truth’s statue will stand on the Empire State Trail in Ulster County.

My family history is very much Black history. Though for some reason Sinclaire listed herself as Spanish in my mother’s school records.

My family history is also Italian as Sinclaire also married Guiseppe Amato (or Joe) and had my mom, Norma. Joe’s parents emigrated from Italy to New York in the early 1900s.  Joe became a barber and gave my brother’s their first haircuts. It’s more difficult to find Italian records but that is on my to do list.

I love my family. And I love connecting with you, too.

Thanks, for stopping by. And, KCB.

https://www.facebook.com/EddieGreenBook/

https://www.facebook.com/elvagreenbookpage/

 

 

 

 

 

YES, you can.

yesyoucan2Inspire someone today. I chose to write a book “Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer” to inspire my grandson. He was six when I came up with the idea, he is twenty-six today and the book just published in July of this year.

My very first post talked about the words “I can’t” because I heard that from my grandson a lot when he was little. Just so happens my father, who died when I was three, found success through talent and determination to escape the poverty he was born into. I figured his story would show my grandson that “you can” despite seeming obstacles.

Eddie’s rise from poverty played out mostly in the world of entertainment, with offshoots into the restaurant business. And the book became not only a book to inspire my grandson but a book about the entertainment business in the 1900s. Because Eddie was Black the book is also filled with information about other Blacks prominent in show business back in the day. It became sort of a Black Entertainment history book. So it became a book  about a Black man in America, as well as an inspirational book. People have told me the book should be required reading for young people in schools. So could also be seen as educational. My main group has proven to be people who follow entertainment nostalgia. Old time Hollywood, Old Time Radio shows, old all-black cast movies. A wide variety of folks, young and not so young.

yesyoucanMy desire to inspire my grandson with his great-grandfather’s story morphed into wanting to inspire any person who thinks “they can’t .” So I was blown away with the interest generated by this book in the Nostalgia field. I have discovered that a lot of people knew about, remembered and have actually seen my father perform. I have been made aware of the fact that there are young people  who are fascinated with success stories from the 1900s, for the very reason I wrote the book, inspiration. Also, I have happily realized the interest this book can garner in the Black community as a success story of a Black man, both personally and professionally, in a time of great racial discord.

I am going to put more energy also into sharing Eddie’s rags-to-riches story with as many people as possible, such as The young adult (YA) age group, or teen-group.  Because they are the future. They need to have access to stories that will give them hope. I hope to make this book available to younger children although it doesn’t have any colorful pictures. I also want to market to Black Ancestry sites because genealogy is a big deal today.

Sure, I want to sell a million books. My father’s first song sold a million copies in one year in 1919 (A Good Man is Hard to Find), and people are still recording it, imagine that! But this book began out of love for my grandson and grew into something I could share with people everywhere which makes me happy. And if I make lots of money I will be able to say that I am self-supporting through my own contributions.

In the late 1930s my father told a reporter that in his opinion “radio was a very, very difficult field for Negroes to get into, but the benefits were worth the try.” If he could see how effort has worked toward America having it’s first black President, I know he would be very proud.

Thanks, for stopping by.

 

 

Find Something You Like To Do & Spread The Love

dowhatyoulike

I like to gather knowledge. I like to read. I like to go to the Library. So the next phase of my book writing venture should bring me pleasure. I will be contacting libraries in Cali to inquire about whether they would be interested in having me visit their library to discuss my book with their patrons and/or if they would allow me to post my brochures, bio or bookmarks at their facility. My publisher says do California first then if I want branch out to other states. I must spread the word about the biography I have written on my father “Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer.” I am also currently in the process of arranging some kind of presentation here in California at a local museum.

The research I have done has shown me how knowledge provides a real connection to other people and places. I have recently discovered two people, miles apart, who found what they liked to do and did it the best they knew how which enabled them to find success and happiness in life. And both of these people connect directly back to me socially. The first person is a woman by the name of Mayme Clayton, the second is a man named Charles I. D. Loof. Hopefully Worpress will work with me and leave my pictures where I place them, if not I am sure the reader will be able to tell who’s who. (the photo at the top of this post is a copy of an album cover from Taio Cruz from 2015, I love the red.)

Mayme A. Clayton, Ph.D. (1923-2006) founded MCLM in 1975 as the Western States Black Research Center (WSBRC). Dr. Clayton, a university librarian, collector, and historian, believed that preserving and sharing the scattered and often neglected history of Americans of African descent was vitally important for current and future generations.

220px-mayme_agnew_clayton

Dr. Clayton liked collecting African-America memorabilia. The collection was initially housed in a renovated three-room garage at the rear of Dr. Clayton’s home, located in the Los Angeles community of West Adams. Over time the collection began to outgrow the garage.

Today The Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum (MCLM) is home to the Mayme Agnew Clayton Collection of African-American History and Culture. The collection contains over two million rare books, films, documents, photographs, artifacts, and works of art related to the history and culture of African Americans in the United States, with a special focus on Southern California and the American West. The collection is one of the most important collections chronicling the history and culture of Americans of African descent in the United States of America. I discovered a 1938 autographed photo of my father at this museum in 2015. Hopefully, I will do a presentation about my father’s filmmaking, at this facility. Dr. Mayme Clayton achieved success in the pursuit of what she liked to do. And provided me pleasure.

Charles I. D. Looff was an American master carver and builder of hand-carved carousels who was born in Denmark in 1852 and emigrated to the United States in 1870. After working in a furniture factory all day, he took scraps of wood home to his apartment and began carving them into carousel animals. Young Looff assembled his wooden horses and animals onto a circular platform and created his first merry-go-round. In 1876, he installed his ride at Lucy Vandeveer’s Bathing Pavilion at West Sixth Street and Surf Avenue. This was Coney Island’s first carousel and first amusement ride. charles_i-_d-_looff

In 1909, Charles I. D. Looff built a beautiful carousel with 54 horses and presented it to his daughter, Emma, as a wedding present, when she married Louis Vogel. The ride was installed at Natatorium Park in Spokane, Washington. This ride has been restored and operates today at Riverfront Park in Spokane. When I went to Spokane to visit my brother’s family on November 16th of this year, they took me on a mini-tour and I saw this carousel. I decided to research Charles Loof.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that in 1916, Looff with his son, Arthur, came to California and designed and built Looff’s Santa Monica Pier along the south side of the city’s long, narrow, municipal pier. They constructed a large Byzantine-Moorish style “Hippodrome” building to house one of their ornate carousels, now known as the Santa Monica Looff Hippodrome. The Looffs also erected the Blue Streak Racer wooden roller coaster on their new pleasure pier, along with The Whip and the Aeroscope thrill ride.

In addition to Santa Monica and the Pike, Looff built and operated amusement parks and carousels at Ocean Park, Redondo Beach, Venice Beach, and Santa Cruz, as well as Griffith Park in Los Angeles (still in operation)
Did I used to go to the Pike back in the day and the Santa Monica Pier? Have I been on the Santa Monica carousel? You bet I have. Did I used to Love to go on the Griffith Park carousel and try to grab the golden ring? You bet I did!
Mr. Loof liked to work with wood. He liked making wooden animals for his carousels. He was the best he could be at what he liked to do and he became a successful man. He provided me with hours of pleasure as a child when my mom would take me to Griffith Park.
The search for knowledge provided me with a new, relevant connection in Los Angeles, a loving visit in Spokane (with tour) and connected me back to happy memories in Los Angeles. Strangers, relatives and friends blending together. I love it!
Thank you so much, for stopping by.

 

 

 

A WONderful Event!

familygathering

This is the beginning of a new phase of publishing a book. For those new to my blog, I have written a book about my father. The title is Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer which has been published by BearManorMedia, and can be found at their website or on Amazon.

I have now had my first book signing event. It was at Book Soup in West Hollywood, California. Of course my fambly were there to support me. Brad Beasley (my brother), Tanisha Beasley Harrison (my neice), Brian Beasley (my brother), and Melony Green (my lovely daughter). Plus friends and fans showed up. Unfortunately, the person to whom I dedicated this book, Edward Nathaniel Green, my grandson, was unable to attend the event as he is currently hard at work in Reno, Nevada. With his beautiful lady and their cat.  I am too proud. Of my family. And, of myself.

Since this was a first book signing I brought snacks (too much) and we had a raffle (my brother Brian won!).

I was surprised and delighted when a gentleman by the name of Miles Kreuger introduced himself to me as a long time fan of my father. Mr. Kreuger was actually in the audience as a child of five when my father was on stage performing as Koko in the Mike Todd production of Hot Mikado at the 1939 World’s Fair. He told me he had been interested in Eddie ever since. Mr. Kreuger is an aficionado on American musicals, and owns a vast amount of memorabilia, some of which he brought with him to show me. Such as an original playbill from Hot Mikado. He is going to share a recording of my father singing “Titwillow” from the 1939 stage play as soon as I correct an error I made on my business card-no phone number. He specifically said he would call me. Actually today I sent him my telephone number in a Thank you note.

Meanwhile I have been trying to set up my site here to include reviews I have received on the book, but I have not gotten very far. I have to read WP instructions over and over, then when I add something to my menu I cannot remember how I did it! I will continue to post on my activities in regard to writing this book and any other articles I write, and I will begin to incorporate other subjects that I feel are relevant to a theme of positivity in human progress. And I will probably begin to include more of my own observations on the state of this world! Just kidding. But I am sure some of my opinions will show up here. This blog and my book venture have opened up a whole new world to me. I have met many cool people and have learned to express myself as I really am.

Here is the last line I read at my book signing event: When Eddie was questioned about his recipe for success, he said “The best recipe for success that he has, is to find something you like to do, and do that the best you know how.”

Thanx, for stopping by. KCB

 

BOOK REVIEWS: YESTERDAYUSA

yesterdayusa

In September of 2016 I was interviewed on Walden and Patricia’s Open House on the above named internet radio program. Patricia sent me an email after the interview and following is a portion:

QUOTE FROM PATRICIA (Walden and Patricia’s Open House) INTERVIEWER FOR YESTERDAYUSA INTERNET RADIO, SEPTEMBER, 2016:
“We have had calls and emails from listeners telling us how much they enjoyed you and were feeling so good about learning about your father, his work, the culture at the time, the people in the entertainment industry who would otherwise be forgotten So from them, too, thank you.

I tried to explain to Walden (her husband) – and probably didn’t do a very good job of it – what a remarkable and seamless blend of personal thoughts and feelings you captured (which added such warmth and life to the book) while at the same time maintaining an objective distance that made the book impartial and educational and Eddie Green captivating. I will add my comments on the Amazon site this week.

I have a hard time helping people grasp how much I love and appreciate American history, overt and obscure, but most especially the stories and experiences we would never know about except for people like you who put in the time and love to share it. What you share in your book is more than a gift for all of us.”
It is so good to receive messages such as this one and I want to thank Patricia and Walden again for having me on their program.
Thanks for stopping by and may you be inspired.

 

 

SPREAD THE INSPIRATION

6765541_1_lThis movie, written, directed and produced by my father, Eddie Green, in which he also starred, prompted one journalist to refer to Eddie as the “comic movie making mogul”, because the movie proved to be quite popular.

Dress Rehearsal (1939) was Eddie’s first movie that was released under Sepia-Art Pictures Co. (which Eddie owned) at the 125th Street Apollo in New York on October 21, 1939. The film was also shown in the Lichtman chain of theaters in the South. Eddie’s sales manager reported that after the first showing of the movie the “White as well as the Black audiences grabbed at it greedily.” And that due to this unexpected phenomenon “the entire plant had to be reorganized.” The “plant” being Eddie’s movie studio in Palisades, New Jersey.

The next “first” for Eddie is that in December of 1939 the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) picked Dress Rehearsal for broadcast over their television station in New York, making this movie the first Black (Negro in those days) motion picture to be sent out over the air.

Unfortunately, I have yet to locate copies of this film, although I do have copies of a script. The original script is kept in the Margaret Herrick Museum which is a non-circulating reference and research collection devoted to the history and development of the motion picture.

Today, I am looking forward to my first “First,” my upcoming book signing event. On November 9, 2016 at 7:00PM PST I will be at Book Soup in Los Angeles signing Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer. When I started this book writing venture I concentrated only on research and writing. I intended to present this book to my grandson as inspiration to go forward with his life. It turns out that my father’s story has provided inspiration for me and a lot of other people who have read the book or seen this blog. During this process, however, it never dawned on me that I would have book signings.

To paraphrase Norma Desmond, after this book signing there will be another one and another one! I already have two invites. This first one though has become a sort of celebration for me so I am having snacks, and a comedy clip and a reading and a raffle. And of course my marketing continues. I have become a part of a couple of social media sites and I am beginning to be a bit more outgoing in regard to “selling” the book.

One thing I know is that if I have a desire to do something, I can. And if the something I want to do gives me pleasure I will take the necessary steps to get it done. My father was a good example of that. Anyone can do the same. I appreciate my followers on this site because they help me to keep writing.  I hope you will mention this blog to others so that we can spread the inspiration.

Thanks, for stopping by and KCB.

 

Book Reviews – so far so good

importfromphonejuly-151
L to R: My mom, Atty. Walter Gordon, Jr., Kay Seeley, Eddie, Mrs. William Dickerson, unidentified guest, Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Rev. Clayton Russell and Rev. George Garner (oh, and I am in the middle!)

When I began this post I got a little teary eyed, and I think it is because it is just beginning to soak in that I have actually had a book published. Me. A book about my father (with a chapter on my mom). People have read the book and have posted reviews in newsletters, online and have sent their thoughts through email. So far the reviews are good.

For those new to this blog I have written a rags-to-riches biography about my father, the legendary Eddie Green, filmmaker, movie and Broadway star, old time radio icon and composer, who died when I was three.  Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer. The idea occurred to me back in 1996. With help from my mom, a lot of research and determination and love, the book was published in July, 2016.

Below is a excerpt from an email I received from Patricia, the lady that interviewed me during my second appearance on the YesterdayUSA internet radio program:

What a remarkable and seamless blend of personal thoughts and feelings you captured (which added such warmth and life to the book) while at the same time maintaining an objective distance that made the book impartial and educational and Eddie Green captivating.

Kudos are marvelous, darling! So I am trying with this post to learn a bit more about setting up a site that includes more than just my posts. I am attempting to have Category pages, for instance: Reviews, Book Info, Events.

When I started out my idea of writing a book was small. With time the idea and my realizations grew.

Maybe Eddie was thinking about the future of his daughter as he looked at me at my christening. He looks very contemplative. Bet he never thought I would grow up and write a book about his life that would bring him from out of the shadows back into the light of acknowledgement he deserves.

Book reviews were not something I considered during this book writing process, but, boy and I glad to see them, so far. But even if I only get one star instead of five stars, this journey continues to lift my spirits. I hope you are inspired, uplifted and encouraged to soar.

Thanks, for stopping by.

 

 

Keeping my eye on the Beauty of the World

millicent-and-eddie
Millicent Roberts receiving award from Eddie; with Miss Futter and Miss Graves.

Article in the Norfolk Journal and Guide: Some of Harlem’s most beautiful girls turned out for Eddie Green’s Second Annual “Night of Glamour”, last Thursday night at the Renaissance Casino when the popular comedian offered valuable prizes plus a movie contract with his Sepia Art Pictures Company. Eddie is standing next to the winner Millicent Roberts Miss Glamour.

 

As well as being a filmmaker, stage star, old time radio icon and composer, Eddie was also well-known for holding beauty contests, usually in Harlem, that featured beautiful Black women. He even put together the Miss Sepia America contest which was held at the 1939-40 World’s Fair in New York. There was a pavilion at the fair that showcased exhibits for and about Black people (though today it is difficult to find mention of this). 5814421775_46ea0e10b6_b

As I have mentioned in former posts Millicent (Miss Glamour) is still with us. She is a living testament to the fact of Black beauty contests. I don’t think we have those anymore.

My father believed in promoting Black people. Through beauty contests or in his movie studio and in his office. His letterhead from his movie studio read “Producing the best in Moving Pictures, of, by and with Negroes.” (We were negroes back in Eddie’s day and proud of it.)

Eddie possessed the ability to get along with people though, be they Black or White, men or women. It’s what helped propel him through his career as a comedian. It helped him work at the Apollo drilling white chorus girls for 45 weeks, and this was such a big deal it was written about in the local newspaper.

Lately, I have found it difficult to write upbeat posts because of the recent shootings of Black men. Eddie must have been extremely upset though back in the early 1900s. But he focused on the goals he wanted to achieve. He was a good husband to my mom. He was all-business when he was supposed to be. And he was a funny, if droll, comedian. People liked to see him coming. Eddie lived a good life through hellish times for Black people. Eddie lived through the depression, hellish times for everybody. And he just kept going.

I feel for all those who are losing loved ones to violence. And I know that positivity exists.

Thanx for stopping by and don’t forget to check out my book Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer

http://www.bearmanormedia.com