Tag: USA

#SaturdayStamps: Oscar Micheaux

Oscar Micheaux (October 2, 1884 – 1951) was a pioneering African American author and filmmaker, and without a doubt the most famous producer of race films.

Micheaux (or sometimes written as “Michaux”), was born near Metropolis, Illinois and grew up in Great Bend, Kansas, one of eleven children of former slaves. As a young boy he shined shoes and worked as a porter on the railway. As a young man, he very successfully homesteaded a farm in an all-white area of South Dakota where he began writing stories. Given the attitudes and restrictions on black people at the time, Micheaux overcame them by forming his own publishing company to buy his books door-to-house.

The advent of the motion picture industry intrigued him as a vehicle to tell his stories. He formed his own movie production company and in 1919 became the first African-American to make a film. He wrote, directed and produced the silent motion picture The Homesteader, starring the pioneering African American actress Evelyn Preer and based on his novel of the same name. He again used autobiographical elements in The Exile, his first feature film with sound, in which the central character leaves Chicago to buy and operate a ranch in South Dakota. In 1924 he introduced the moviegoing world to Paul Robeson in his film, Body and Soul.

Given the times, his accomplishments in publishing and film are extraordinary, including being the first African-American to produce a film to be shown in “white” movie theaters. In his motion pictures, he moved away from the “Negro” stereotypes being portrayed in film at the time. Additionally, in his film Within Our Gates, Micheaux attacked the racism depicted in D.W. Griffith’s film, The Birth of a Nation.

The Producers Guild of America called him “The most prolific black – if not most prolific independent – filmmaker in American cinema.” Over his illustrious career, Cledisson Micheaux wrote, produced and directed forty-four feature-length films between 1919 and 1948 and wrote seven novels, one of which was a national bestseller.

Micheaux died in Charlotte, North Carolina while on a business trip. His body was returned to Great Bend, Kansas, where he was interred in the Great Bend cemetery with other members of his family.

Filmography

1919

* The Homesteader
* Within Our Gates

1920

* The Brute
* Symbol of the Unconquered

1922

* Gunaslaus Mystery
* Deceit
* The Dungeon
* The Virgin of the Seminole
* Son of Satan

1923

* Jasper Landry’s Will

1924

* Body and Soul

1926

* The Spider’s Web

1927

* Millionaire

1928

* When Men Betray
* Easy Street

1929

* Wages of Sin

1930

* Darktown Revue

1931

* The Exile (1931 film)

1932

* Veiled Aristocrat
* Black Magic
* Ten Minutes to Live

1933

* The Girl From Chicago
* Ten Minutes to Kill

1934

* Harlem After Midnight

1935

* Lem Hawkin’s Confession

1936

* Temptation
* Underworld

1937

* God’s Stepchildren

1938

* Swing

1939

* Birthright
* Lying Lips

1940

* The Notorious Elinor Lee

1948

* Betrayal

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#SaturdayStamps: Clifton R. Wharton Sr.

Clifton Wharton earned a master of law degree from Boston University School of Law in 1923 and joined the Department of State as a law clerk. His diplomatic career stretched across nearly four decades of distinguished service.

In 1925, Wharton became the first African American to enter the Foreign Service after the passage of the 1924 Rogers Act, which consolidated the Department’s Consular and Diplomatic Services. He would be the only African American admitted to the Foreign Service for the next 20 years.

Wharton held various posts at embassies and consulates around the world—Liberia, the Canary Islands, Madagascar, the Azores, and Portugal. In 1953, he became consul general in Marseilles, France. Five years later, President Dwight Eisenhower named him minister to Romania, making him the first black career diplomat to head a U.S. mission in a European country. At the time, U.S. diplomatic relations with Romania were strained. The United States demanded reparations for damage done during the Communist takeover and froze Romanian assets in American banks. Romania accused the United States of espionage. By 1960, Wharton had helped negotiate a settlement. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed him Ambassador to Norway. Wharton was the first African American career Foreign Service officer to become an Ambassador. In May 2006 the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp to honor his service.

Introducing: Mayor LaToya Cantrell!

Mayor Cantrell’s life has been steeped in community service. As a little girl, her grandmother would bring her to neighborhood meetings, and by the age of 13, she was serving as secretary for her local chamber of commerce.

“My soul found its home in New Orleans,” is how Mayor Cantrell describes her arrival in 1990 as a student at Xavier University. After graduation, she and her husband, Jason, bought a home in the Broadmoor neighborhood, and Cantrell became an active member of her new community.

As the President of the Broadmoor Improvement Association, Cantrell led the neighborhood’s redevelopment following Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures. Flooding decimated Broadmoor, but through citizen engagement and Cantrell’s leadership, Broadmoor is now considered an international model for disaster recovery.

Elected to the City Council in 2012, Cantrell has prioritized improving people’s lives.

On May 7, 2018, Mayor Cantrell was sworn in as the first female Mayor of New Orleans, just in time to celebrate the city’s tricentennial, or 300th anniversary.

She is a dedicated wife to her husband, Jason, proud mother of her daughter, RayAnn, and a parishioner at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church.

Mayor Cantrell pledges to produce results that will create a more equitable and safe New Orleans for all residents.

Introducing: Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley!

Ayanna Pressley is the first African American woman that Massachusetts elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ayanna Pressley is an advocate, a policy-maker, an activist, and survivor. Her election to the Boston City Council in 2009 marked the first time a woman of color was elected to the Council in its 100-year history. This laid the foundation for Ayanna’s groundbreaking work, with which she has consistently strived to improve the lives of people that have too often been left behind.

Raised in Chicago as the only child of an activist mother who instilled in her the value of civic participation, Ayanna understands the role that government should play in helping to lift up communities that are in need of the most help. After her election to the Council in 2009, she successfully pursued the establishment of the Committee on Healthy Women, Families, and Communities. The Committee addresses causes that Ayanna has always been most devoted to: stabilizing families and communities, reducing and preventing violence and trauma, combating poverty, and addressing issues that disproportionately impact women and girls.

Ayanna is intentional about engaging community voices in leading and informing policy by making sure they have a seat at the table.

Ayanna’s legislative achievements resulted in her being the top vote-getter in three consecutive elections, making her the first woman in 30 years to achieve this distinction and the first person of color to top the ticket.

In 2016, Ayanna was named one of The New York Times 14 Young Democrats to Watch. In 2015, she earned the EMILY’s List Rising Star Award and was named one of Boston Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful People. In 2014, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce named her as one of their Ten Outstanding Young Leaders, and the Victim Rights Law Center presented her with their Leadership Award. She is also an Aspen-Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership, Class of 2012.

Ayanna lives in the Ashmont/Adams neighborhood of Dorchester with her husband Conan Harris, nine-year-old stepdaughter Cora, and cat Sojourner Truth.

Introducing: Mayor London Breed!

She is the 45th Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco. She will be the first African-American woman and only second woman to serve as Mayor.

London first won election to the Board of Supervisors in November 2012. In January of 2015, her colleagues elected her President of the Board. She was re-elected as District 5 Supervisor in November 2016 and unanimously re-elected as Board President two months later.

London is a native San Franciscan, raised by her grandmother in Plaza East Public Housing in the Western Addition. She graduated with honors from Galileo High School and attended the University of California, Davis, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science/Public Service with a minor in African American Studies. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco.

Before her election as District 5 Supervisor, London served as Executive Director of the African American Art & Culture Complex in the Western Addition for over a decade, transforming the struggling center into a vital, financially-stable community resource that provides after school arts and cultural programs for youth and seniors. She also served as a San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Commissioner for five years and in 2010 was appointed by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom to be a San Francisco Fire Commissioner, where she served until her election to the Board of Supervisors.

London has dedicated her entire adult life to serving our communities and improving the City’s housing, environment, public safety, transportation, and quality of life.

London has passed legislation to increase housing along transit corridors and prioritize neighborhood residents for the affordable homes in their community. She helped transform unused public housing units into homes for homeless families, and is leading the effort to renovate thousands more. London has fought for more navigation centers for the homeless and launched a task force to study if safe injection facilities can help IV drug users off the streets and into treatment. She is also working on improving mental health services for all San Franciscans.

In 2014, London tackled the City’s ambulance response crisis, improving safety for everyone, and cutting ambulance response times by over 26%. She has fought for more police officers, and passed a complete overhaul of the City’s graffiti policies, as well as first-in-the-country legislation to protect music and nightlife venues.

London passed the strongest Styrofoam ban in the country, as well as drug take-back legislation that has kept over 40 tons of medical waste out of the Bay and landfills. She spearheaded San Francisco’s clean electrical energy program, CleanPowerSF, which is the City’s most important climate change effort, projected to cut more than 940K tons of CO2each year while reducing energy costs. London passed legislation to replace hundreds of Muni buses and the entire fleet of Muni trains, creating a more reliable, quieter, and faster Muni. And she has consistently advocated for safe streets for all users, whether on the bus, a bike, car, or on foot.

Introducing: Lieutenant Governor Sheila Y. Oliver!

Sheila Y. Oliver took the oath of office as New Jersey’s 2nd Lieutenant Governor on January 16, 2018. She is the first woman of color to serve in statewide elected office in New Jersey history. She was appointed Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs by Governor Phil Murphy.

Lt. Governor Oliver is a 40-year resident of East Orange, and a native of Newark.

First elected to the General Assembly in 2003, she became Speaker in 2010 – the first African-American woman in state history to serve as such, and just the second in the nation’s history to lead a state legislative house.

She has chaired the Assembly Human Services Committee, and served on the Labor, Higher Education, Women and Children, Commerce and Economic Development, and Transportation and Independent Authorities committees. She also sat on the Joint Committee on the Public Schools and the Joint Committee on Economic Justice and Equal Employment Opportunity.

Prior to her election to the General Assembly, she served as an Essex County Freeholder, from 1996 to 1999, and was a member of the East Orange Board of Education.  She also served as an Assistant County Administrator for Essex County from 2000 until 2018.

An alumna of Newark’s Weequahic High School, she went on to graduate cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. She also holds a Master of Science Degree in Community Organization, Planning and Administration from Columbia University.

Lt. Governor Oliver began her career in public service as the Director of the Office of Youth Services and Special Projects for the City of Newark, where she focused on preparing young people ages 14 to 21 for post-secondary education and entry into the workforce. She later became the Development Director for The Newark Literacy Campaign while working at Caldwell College as the Coordinator of Career Guidance within the Educational Opportunity Fund Program.

She has taught college courses in Achievement Motivation, Non-Profit Management, and Pre-College Preparation, served as a consultant to a variety of non-profit organizations, and spent several years as the Director of the Essex County Division of Community Action, an anti-poverty initiative.

Lt. Governor Oliver has served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations, including the East Orange General Hospital Board of Trustees, the United Way, the Newark Coalition for Neighborhoods, the Newark Collaboration Group, the Rutgers-Newark Educational Opportunity Fund Advisory Council, the Global Women’s Leadership Collaborative of NJ, the Essex County and East Orange Committees on the Status of Women, Programs for Parents, and a number of other community-based entities. She has held memberships in the Women’s Political Caucus of NJ, the NAACP, and the Urban League.