Signed in as:
Signed in as:
Leroy Burgess may not be a household name, but there’s a good chance that he had something to do with your favorite disco tune or house music jam. As writer, producer, arranger, vocalist,
Burgess’s special touch can be felt on hits like “Mainline,” “Let’s Do It,” “Moment of My Life,” and going way, way back, “You and I” and many, many more. Burgess, a Harlem native, is steeped in the traditions of various manifestations of Black Music, from jazz to gospel, and received part of his musical education at the City College of New York with the likes of Herbie Jones, a colleague of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.
Leroy Burgess talks about how the club classic was created and Discussing Some Of His Vast Musical History
Dr. Kenneth Bancroft Clark and Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark, the infamous married African American psychologist team responsible for “the doll test” that held great influence in the US Supreme Court Case Brown vs. Board of Education, were a driving force for racial justice through science. Together they founded the Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited and the Northside Center of Child Development.
They were expert witnesses in two major supreme court cases on the effects of negative racial psychology on children.
Mamie Clark, born Mamie Phipps in Hot Springs, Arkansas, was a child of immigrants from the British West Indies. She attended Howard University as a physics and mathematics major, but felt the need early in her college career to change majors due to the lack of support by the institution as a woman in the field.
Phipps met the man that would eventually be her husband and research partner, Kenneth Clark in school. Clark began his journey at Howard University as a political science major, but after working with mentor Francis Cecil Sumner, the first African American to receive a doctorate in psychology, he returned to school to receive a doctorate in psychology. Clark, himself a student of psychology, had convinced Mamie to change her major to the same field of study, and from that point on the pair became unstoppable.
After completing her undergraduate degree, Mamie and Kenneth were married and took residence in Harlem, where Kenneth had grown up with his family after immigrating from the Panama Canal Zone. The Clarks continued their education in psychology at Columbia University in the 1940s, where Mamie Phipps Clark became one of the first African American women to earn a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University, and the second at Columbia to receive a doctorate in psychology – her husband Kenneth being the first.
As a Black woman in psychology, it was difficult for Mamie to enter the field. Therefore her first job after graduation was working in a law office. She later worked for the American Public Health Association, and moved on to work at the United States Armed Forces Institute.
After a challenging start in professional psychology, Mamie followed her passion for working with children, and began working to improve social services for troubled youth in Harlem, She did psychological testing at the Riverdale Children's Association. She and her husband eventually opened their own children’s psychological centers in Harlem.
Kenneth Clark quickly landed a job at the City College of New York. He became the first fully tenured African American professor at the school. He later started a psychology department at Hampton Institute in 1942, became the first African American to be appointed to the New York State Board of Regents (1966), and became the first African American to be president of the American Psychological Association.
Joseph Louis Barrow, born May 13, 1914 outside of Lafayette, Alabama, emerged in the 1930s as an African American boxing legend with fifty wins in fifty-four matches, and forty-three wins by knockout. He maintained the title of championship winner for close to twelve years.
Louis, nicknamed the “Brown Bomber,” began boxing after moving to Detroit with his family, and paid for boxing lessons at the Brewster Recreation Center with money that his mother gave him to pay for violin lessons.
Louis, hard-working and determined, trained vigorously until he won Detroit’s Golden Gloves light-heavyweight title and the national Amateur Athletic Union championship. He gained global fame as heavyweight champion on June 22, 1937 in his fight against James J. Braddock.
Outside of the ring, Louis was a generous victor and donated a portion of his money to military relief funds, as well as enlisted in the U.S. Army demonstrating his support. Louis formally retired in 1949 but returned to the ring shortly after to combat financial struggles.
Louis underwent heart surgery in 1977, and four years later died of cardiac arrest. He was, posthumously, awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in 1982.
Alexander’s mastery and depth of knowledge regarding classical ballet and other dance forms have transformed him into a highly sought-after dance educator. He is also a seasoned arts administrator and consultant, as well as an activist and choreographer.
In addition to the National Ballet of Canada, Alexander, a Washington, D.C. native, has performed on international stages with the Iranian National Ballet, the Frankfurt and Hamburg Dance companies, and the Metropolitan Opera Ballet.
He has choreographed for numerous schools, colleges, and dance companies, including the Clark Center for the Performing Arts, the Ailey School, the Harlem School of the Arts, Boys and Girls Harbor Conservancy, Alpha-Omega Theatrical Dance Company, and the Nanette Bearden Dance Company. His vast teaching experiences includes his tenures at the Harlem School of the Arts, Marymount and Adelphi University Dance Departments, Clark Center for the Performing Arts, the Restoration Arts Youth Arts Academy, Ailey, and others.
Alexander has an MFA in Dance, from the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. He was the subject of Five Teachers, Five Venues, an article in Dance Magazine. He is currently on faculty at the following: The Ailey School, Stella Adler School of Acting, and the Black Arts Institute. He is on the board of the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable and a member of the New York Dance and Performance Award, the Bessies.
MDD continues its new Interview Series with an interview with Ronald K. Alexander, an arts consultant, administrator, educator, choreographer, activist, and an advocate for the arts based in New York City. The interview series is designed to broaden and deepen understanding of creativity and creative practice across transcultural transdisciplinary fields and domains. MDD will broadcast the series on a biweekly basis, Fridays at 1pm ET (U.S.).
Since the 1970s, June has called 555 Edgecombe Avenue home. She is a veteran organizer for UAW Local 2110 and has devoted many decades of her life to ensuring that workers are treated equitably.
Her dedication was recognized by Assemblywoman Diana C. Richards and 100 Blacks In Construction as a Labor Trailblazer.
Tulani Kinard holds many titles, but she is best known as an ordained interfaith minister, vocalist, and author. Kinard in her role as an interfaith minister speaks motivation, growth, and empowerment into her community and has become known to captivate an audience with her words of wisdom. Like her spiritual leadership, Kinard’s poetry and music tell fierce stories of love, peace, transformation, activism, and enlightenment. Her music takes the power of words and interlocks them with strong and smooth tones with intent to change lives.
Kinard is best known in her musical career as a former member of Sweet Honey in the Rock— three-time Grammy Award nominated a cappella ensemble of Black women who express their history through song, dance, and sign. As an author, Tulani Kinard broke out with her beauty-culture how-to book, No Lye! The African American Woman’s Guide to Natural Hair Care.
As a natural beauty pioneer, and owner of the first natural Black hair salon in Brooklyn, NY, Kinard is dedicated to the growth of coils, curls, and locks, as well as the growth for the people that have them. Her commitment to ensuring the success of the natural hair community led her to write legislation to protect the rights of hair braiders, lockticians, and other stylists.