Love is Always Relevant

Hi there. This is me sitting in the “green” room at an NPR station (National Public Radio) waiting to go on the air for an interview with In Black America. I will let you know when it will be aired. My daughter, Melony, is my photographer. So the interview was about my father, Eddie Green and my experiences with researching and writing this book. But I started out with this photo for a specific reason which I will get to further on.

Racism exists. Unfortunate but true. When I started this blog I had no intention of using this space as a place to address racism. The intent was to share what I see as my father’s rags-to-riches story in the absolute presence of racism. To show how Eddie dismissed the obstacles and became a favored comedian, actor, composer and filmmaker in the early 1900s. I hoped to be able to inspire others with his story. Besides, I think our troubles today are more about hate as opposed to all about race.

Given recent events here in America, and given that my father was a Black man I feel a need to I chime in with my two cents on the issue of color. Which for me as a light-skinned Black woman is a bit different in how I have been treated through my life.

In 1917 when Eddie signed up for WWI his Registration Card listed the following:

 

Name Edward Green
Race African
Birth Date 16 Aug 1891
Birth Place Maryland, USA
Street Address 1405 Tenpin alley
Residence Place Baltimore, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland, USA

If you notice his race is listed as African even though he was born in Baltimore. On the card it is listed on the bottom half of the left side of the card, which is also torn as a way to identify the Blacks from the Whites. Since then he’s been colored, and he’s been a Negro. He died before he could become Black or African-American.

No matter. Eddie went on his merry way and became successful. Successful on stage, with other greats like Jackie “Moms” Mabley, “Pigmeat” Markham, the sixteen Apollo Rockettes and actor Ralph Cooper (whose nickname was “The Dark Gable”).  “Moms” Mabley was still Jackie at that time and James Baskette had yet to become “Uncle Remus”.

 

Then there was Tam O’Shanter. He did a one man show about an Irish poem writen by Robert Burns, a Scottish poet and lyricist. He recited the poem on stage. I would have loved to see that.  This was in 1930. I don’t think Eddie had any problem being African. Or Negro. When he became a filmmaker his letterhead read Of, By and With Negroes. But Eddie was an entertainer and an artist. He wanted to be in show business. As a person. Eddie worked well with everyone according to the articles I found. He was likeable.

 

Eddie found fame through Duffy’s Tavern. Seen here with the crew about 1942 or so, left to right, Charles Cantor,  Eddie, Ed Gardner (Archie) and creator of the show, Florence Halop and Alan Reed. Eddie began with the first radio episode in 1941 and as Eddie, the waiter became a household name. Two tapings a day for east and west coast during the season until 1950.

 

Now, back to me. My mother, Eddie’s fourth wife, was light-skinned. Her father was Italian. I did not grow up with the same color issues as Eddie. My Black friends called me “High-Yellow” when I was a kid and one or two still call me that today. When I was young my friends would laugh at me and say I danced like a White person. Yes, they meant it as an insult. There is so much emphasis on being Black today I have begun to feel left out. There is a lot of talk about “melanin”. Twitter got upset because a light-skinned Black woman was chosen the winner of a Black beauty contest. There is a sense of displeasure there. Where’s the love?

Anywho, don’t be surprised as I begin a slow transition into sharing thoughts and feelings that are important to me today, while I also continue to show my father’s life and times as being relevant and inspirational in today’s world.

With love. Thanx, for stopping by.

Visit me at https://www.facebook.com/elvagreenbookpage/

 

 

 

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I AM WRITING FOR POSITIVITY

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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.

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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.

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The Perisphere NYWF 1939-40

However, at the New York Public Library there is archived information about:

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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.

imagesThank you so much for stopping by.

NPR music, E. Blair npr.org 2012

Pittsburgh Courier, 1940