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black history

BLAC Inc. director to receive Creative Women of Oklahoma Award

Anita Arnold

Anita G. Arnold, executive director of Black Liberated Arts Center (BLAC) Inc. in Oklahoma City, OK, has been chosen to receive the Creative Women of Oklahoma Award at noon on Saturday, June 9 by Delta Kappa Gamma of the International Society for Key Women Educators.


Arnold learned in a letter that she would receive the Gamma State award as the author of “Oklahoma City Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond.” The award is given in recognition of Oklahoma women who excel through an expression of creativity that encourages, inspires and reaches children. According to the letter, “the extraordinary story of the place and people of Deep Deuce is exemplary of these qualities.


Delta Kappa Gamma Society of International Society for Key Women Educators is a professional honorary society of 150,000 women from 14 different countries. It is a membership by invitation only society. Among their several purposes are 1) To unite women educators of the world in a genuine spiritual fellowship and 2) To honor women who have given or who evidence a potential for distinctive service in any field of education.


Arnold, who is in the field of arts education, said she is thrilled to have been recognized by the international organization for the work that she has done. 


“It is reflective of the great music history, traditions and African Americans in Oklahoma City. It is wonderful to know that others in our state and across the world think so highly of this history,” she said in a news release. “I am just an instrument to bring that awareness to Oklahoma. It is an honor, indeed, and an humbling experience to find myself in this place at this time.”


The affair will be held at Yukon High School. Arnold will do a book signing of “Oklahoma City Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond” at the event. She is an author of three other books.

Ruby Dee to perform on Mother’s Day at the Apollo Theater in Harlem

Ruby Dee

The Dallas-based Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL) is presenting Ruby Dee at 5 p.m. EST on Sunday, May 13, 2012. Dee will perform in a special evening of spoken word at the historic Apollo Theater, 253 West 125th Street in Harlem, N.Y. 


“Ms. Dee is a shining example of African American culture and history,” says TBAAL Founder and President Curtis King in a news release. “It excites me to see her still performing so masterfully, and I am certain the audience will be just as excited to be in the presence of one of our country’s foremost living legends.”
 
The legendary actress was raised in Harlem and began her career there as a member of the American Negro Theatre. Over the years, Dee has appeared in such stage productions as “South Pacific” (1943), “Anna Lucasta” (1944), “Purlie Victorious” (1961) and “Checkmates” (1989). However, it’s her 1959 portrayal of Ruth, the long-suffering, inner-city wife of Sidney Poitier’s character, in the original Broadway production of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” that made her a star. It ran on the great White Way for two years and was then made into a 1961 film for which Dee won a National Board of Review Award as Best Supporting Actress.
 
In the ’60s, Dee co-starred in several television series ranging from dramas to the primetime soap opera “Peyton Place” and the daytime soap, “Guiding Light.” In the years since, she (often with her late husband, actor Ossie Davis), has appeared in dozens of motion pictures such as Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” and episodic television shows like “Golden Girls.” She’s earned seven Emmy Award nominations, including a win for a 1993 performance on Burt Reynolds’ “Evening Shade” sitcom and for a 1991 role in the telefilm, “Decoration Day.” Dee’s 2007 role as Mama Lucas in the 2007 film, “American Gangster,” starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, earned her an Oscar nomination as best supporting actress.  In 2004, Dee and Davis were recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors, and she shared a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album with Ossie Davis for “With Ossie and Ruby: In this Life Together.” 



Tickets are available online at www.Ticketmaster.com or by calling the Apollo Theater Box Office at (212) 531-5305

Shirley Murdock to sing at two Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Dedication events this weekend

Shirley Murdock

Legendary soul singer Shirley Murdock (best known for her 1986 gold-selling classic, “As We Lay”), is coming to the nation’s capitol to sing her new radio hit “Dream” (from her forthcoming CD “Live: The Journey”) on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011, at two official Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Dedication events.
The powerhouse vocalist will be backed by The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Dedication Choir at the Pre-Dedication Concert Ceremony (also featuring Patti LaBelle, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Jennifer Holliday, Donnie McClurkin and Mary Mary) taking place 9-11 a.m. EST on the National Mall. Later that day, Murdock will be backed by the “Sing for a King” Community Choir as she performs “Dream” at the Lift Every Voice Gospel Extravaganza taking place 4-6 p.m. EST at the Washington Convention Center. That event features The Sounds of Blackness, Bryan Wilson, Earnest Pugh and the Duke Ellington High School of the Arts Students and Orchestra. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Dedication Choir was birthed through a partnership of Desho Productions and NEWorks Productions. The Rev. Nolan Williams Jr., music director, assembled a multi-generational, multi-racial group of vocalists that will sing Williams’ composition “I Am The Dream” during the pre-service and “We Shall Overcome” at the unveiling program where President Obama will speak.
Coming to Washington to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy is important to Murdock who vividly recalls the day he was assassinated. “I was almost 11 yrs old,” she said in a news release. “I remember all the adults being absolutely grief stricken, as if a family member had died.  There was a lot of hurt, disbelief and anger after Dr. King died. My Mother was a praying woman, so as she placed her worries into God’s hands, I drew my peace from her peace. I heard him being referred to, as the ‘Moses’ of our time.  Like Moses, he didn’t make it to the promised land, but he let us know he’d been to the mountaintop and that his eyes had seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” 
Murdock and her husband, Dale DeGroat, wrote her new radio hit “Dream” (#33 on BDS) with Bishop T.D. Jakes. 
“My song is a reminder that God is the giver and the fulfiller of all the dreams He places in our hearts,” she said. “The dream is a glimpse of our future selves being more and doing more. It’s us at our BEST… fulfilling our PURPOSE … to loving one another, serving one another …celebrating and embracing our diversity and uniqueness.”

“Oklahoma Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond” is subject of research project

Evelyn Larue Pittman

According to Oklahoma City author Anita G. Arnold, research is being conducted by researchers on radio in the 1940s, and included in the information being collected is the 1940s WKY radio program, “Southern Rivers.”
The program featured Evelyn Larue Pittman of Oklahoma City. Pittman had an active career in composing, teaching and choral composition during the 1930s and 1940s. A book, “Oklahoma Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond,” written by Arnold, led researchers to Oklahoma seeking information. Pittman was mentioned in Arnold’s book. Researcher Karl Schadow stated in a letter that he has been able to find only one copy of Pittman’s show in the NBC Collection at the Library of Congress.
“Here is another example of the rich music history of Oklahoma City’s African Americans that is highly valued and sought after by others outside our state. It has been my pleasure and joy to have documented some of this history in this book,” Arnold said in a news release.
“Oklahoma Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond” was published and released in June 2010. Arnold continues to accept invitations to speak about history and sign books. Her next book signing will be Sunday, August 28, 2011, at St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church, 5700 N. Kelley, Oklahoma City, OK, before and after the morning worship service.
Books may be purchased at Black Liberated Arts Center Inc., Barnes & Nobles bookstore, Borders bookstore, Capitol Square Station, Charlie’s Jazz, Rhythm & Blues Store, Dean’s Typesetting Service, Full Circle Book Store, Hastings Books, Music & Videos, Walgreen’s and online through Arcadia Publishing or Amazon.com.
For more information, call BLAC Inc. at (405) 524-3800.

Black Methodists meet for historic “Gathering” on March 1-3 in South Carolina

The country’s three largest African-American Methodist denominations (the African Methodist Episcopal-AME, African Methodist Episcopal Zion-AME Zion, and Christian Methodist Episcopal-CME) are convening as a body for the first time in 45 years from March 1-3 at the Carolina Coliseum, 701 Assembly St. in Columbia, SC
“It appears that we could do more together than we can apart,” said Senior Bishop George W.C. Walker, one of the organizers for the historic Great Gathering. 

According to a news release, the purpose of the Great Gathering meeting is to address how illiteracy, unemployment, crime, personal responsibility and other issues are affecting African-American men’s ability to be good providers and role models in their communities.
 “Together, all our denominations represent a people and a community with many ills and problems,” Senior Bishop John R. Bryant said. “But we feel strongly that we can overcome all that might separate our churches so we can all focus collectively on what we can do to make things better for our people.” 
Over the course of three days, some of the country’s leading thinkers from the fields of education, religion and politics will discuss and collaborate on an initiative to solve the problems that the Great Gathering will define. Among the confirmed participants are Princeton University professor scholar Cornel West; Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund; philosopher Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu; platinum recording gospel artist Marvin Sapp; singer Byron Cage, and Grammy winner artist Bishop Hezekiah Walker.
AME Zion pastor Dr. Staccato Powell, who is also the CEO of Grace in the City, a community development corporation that is redeveloping the blighted College Park neighborhood in Raleigh, NC; is the chairman for this groundbreaking summit. All activities will take place at the Carolina Coliseum in Columbia, SC. For more information, go to http://www.greatgathering.org/ for registration details.

View “Song for Coretta” at Tulsa Performing Arts Center Feb. 26-28

Theatre North presents the production “Song for Coretta ” by Pearl Cleage at 8 p.m. Feb. 26-27 and 3 p.m. Feb. 28 at Liddy Doenges Theater in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, 

110 E 2nd St. Tulsa, OK.

Tickets are $15 general admission; groups of 10 or more $ 12.50 per ticket, and $12.50 for students. Tickets are available for sale online at http://www.tulsapac.com/index.asp.
“Song for Coretta” is based on event of Feb. 6, 2006, when people began lining up at dawn outside of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church to pay their respects to the late Mrs. Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose body lay in state in the small sanctuary. By mid-morning, the crowd wound down the street and around the corner of the old red brick building. People of all ages stood patiently for hours, waiting to say goodbye. Sometimes they murmured to each other quietly. Sometimes they shared memories of Mrs. King’s extraordinary life and expressed sorrow at her passing. When a cold rain began to fall at sunset, those who had thought to bring umbrellas shared them with those whose resolve was the only thing not dampened by the drizzle. At close to midnight, the crowd had dwindled to a determined few. The five fictional characters in this play are at the end of that long line of mourners.
The production is sponsored by the Oklahoma Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, go to http://www.tulsapac.com/calendar.asp?id=1318&task=display or call (918) 596-7109.

41 years later … a look back at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Of all the times to come out now, apparently there are never-before-seen photos on the day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. died. Posted on its Web site, http://www.life.com/image/first/in-gallery/24651, Life states “On April 4, 1968, LIFE photographer Henry Groskinsky and writer Mike Silva, on assignment in Alabama, learned that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had been shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. They raced to the scene and there, incredibly, had unfettered access to the hotel grounds, Dr. King’s room, and the surrounding area. For reasons that have been lost in the intervening years, the photographs taken that night and the next day were never published. Until now.”

Amazing. Wonder what kept these photos from public view after so many years? Only time will tell.