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Famous African Americans 1996 Honorees – Henry Aaron.

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Presentation on theme: "Famous African Americans 1996 Honorees – Henry Aaron."— Presentation transcript:


2 Famous African Americans

3 1996 Honorees – Henry Aaron

4 On April 8, 1974 at the Atlanta Braves Ball Park, the night seemed charged with human electricity. In the fourth inning, the Los Angeles Dodgers were leading 3 to 1, but the Braves had a man on base and Henry Aaron was batting. Al Downing threw a slider and Aaron blasted it into the stands for home run number 715. Hank Aaron had broken Babe Ruth's career home run record. For Aaron, this was the high point in a long journey begun in 1952 when, at 18, he left home in Mobile, Alabama to join the Indianapolis Clowns in the Negro League. Sometime that year, the Milwaukee Braves purchased his contract and sent him South to one of its farm teams to gain experience. Two years later, he returned to Milwaukee. In 1957, the Milwaukee Braves won the World Series and Aaron was chosen the League's Most Valuable Player (MVP). OHHH…… H E N R Y ! ! !

5 Continued….. During 1973 & 1974 as Aaron attempted to break Ruth's record sportswriters called the era, "The Chase." This created unwanted anxiety and frustration for him (930,000 pieces of mail alone). Most of it was encouraging, but many expressed racial taunts and death threats if he dared surpass Ruth's record. As a precaution, his lifestyle changed & the Braves hired bodyguards to protect him. While reflecting about his life and baseball Aaron expressed these concerns: "I wonder if I really need baseball anymore...and if it really needs me. But whenever I wonder about it, I usually come to the conclusion that I do, and it does -- at least for the time being. Baseball needs me because it needs somebody to stir the pot, and I need it because it's my life. It's the means I have to make a little difference in the world." Hank Aaron retired from baseball in 1976 & became an Atlanta Braves executive. He is currently a senior vice president for Turner Broadcasting.

6 James Earl Jones ~ Actor Best Known As Voice of Darth Vader of Star Wars

7 James Earl Jones was born on 17 January 1931, in Mississippi. He is of African-American, American Indian (Choctaw and Cherokee) & Irish ancestry. His paternal great-great-grandmother, Parthenia Connolly, was from Ireland & worked as an indentured servant. She married a former slave named Brice (no surname) & he took his wife's name Connolly. To help correct his stuttering, he wrote poetry & read it in front of class. He also took dramatic lessons to calm himself. It appeared to work -- he has starred in many films over a 40-year period, beginning with the classic Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964).Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Jones is probably best known for his role as Darth Vader (voice only). He has also appeared on "The Simpsons" (89) & played Mufasa in The Lion King (94)."The Simpsons"The Lion King His "death" was erroneously announced during a live broadcast of an NBA playoff game in 1998. The deceased was actually James Earl Ray, the convicted assassin of Martin Luther King.James Earl RayMartin Luther King

8 Richard Wright

9 1908–60: American Author Wright was an African American born on a Mississippi plantation. He struggled through a difficult childhood & worked to educate himself. He moved to Chicago in 1927 & in the 1930s joined the city's Federal Writers' Project & wrote Uncle Tom's Children (1938), a collection of four novellas dealing with Southern racial problems. His novel Native Son (1940), which many consider Wright's most important work, concerns the life of Bigger Thomas, a victimized African American struggling against the complicated political & social conditions of Chicago in the 1930s. In 1932, Wright joined the Communist party but, later left it in disillusionment. After World War II, Wright moved to Paris. His Black Boy (1945), also regarded as one of his finest works, is an account of his childhood and youth. Other works include Twelve Million Black Voices (1941), a folk history of African Americans; American Hunger (1977), among others. Originally censored by his publishers due to their racial, political, or sexual candor, Wright's works were reissued unexpurgated in 1991.

10 Langston Hughes Writer, Poet, Author James Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. He was raised by his grandmother until he was thirteen, when he moved to Lincoln, Illinois, to live with his mother and her husband. It was in Lincoln, Illinois, that Hughes began writing poetry. Following graduation, he spent a year at Columbia University & travelled to Africa and Europe working as a seaman. In November 1924, he moved to Washington, D.C. Hughes's first book of poetry, The Weary Blues in 1926. He finished his college education at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania three years later. In 1930 his first novel, Not Without Laughter, won the Harmon gold medal for literature. One his most famous poems is…………….. Theme for English B.

11 Theme for English B by Langston HughesLangston Hughes The instructor said, Go home and write a page tonight. And let that page come out of you-- Then, it will be true. I wonder if it's that simple? I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem. I went to school there, then Durham, then here to this college on the hill above Harlem. I am the only colored student in my class. The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem, through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas, Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y, the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator up to my room, sit down, and write this page: / It's not easy to know what is true for you or me at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I'm what I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you: hear you, hear me--we two--you, me, talk on this page. (I hear New York, too.) Me--who? Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love. I like to work, read, learn, and understand life. I like a pipe for a Christmas present, or records--Bessie, bop, or Bach. I guess being colored doesn't make me not like the same things other folks like who are other races. So will my page be colored that I write? / Being me, it will not be white. But it will be a part of you, instructor. You are white-- yet a part of me, as I am a part of you. That's American. Sometimes perhaps you don't want to be a part of me. Nor do I often want to be a part of you. But we are, that's true! As I learn from you, I guess you learn from me-- although you're older--and white-- and somewhat more free. / This is my page for English B.

12 Arthur Mitchell DANCEDANCE

13 Arthur Mitchell was born in New York City on March 27, 1934. When his father left him, his mother & 4 siblings, Arthur started shining shoes for money to support the family. He learned to tap dance at the Police Athletic League glee club & at the age of 13, Arthur was encouraged to audition for the New York High School of Performing Arts. For his audition Mitchell performed Fred Astaire's Top Hat, White Tie and Tails and got a full scholarship. Most dance teachers encouraged Mitchell to pursue modern dance (more accepted for black dancers), but his ballet teachers encouraged him to go that route pursue ballet. Arthur auditioned for the Katherine Dunham School of Dance for more ballet classes & won a scholarship. Upon Arthur Mitchell's high school graduation in 1952 he won the school's annual dance award, being the first male student to do so & at the age of 18, he got a scholarship to attend the School of American Ballet. Upon his arrival at the School of American Ballet Mitchell was told by Lincoln Kirstein that to succeed, he would need to work twice as hard as any other dancer. He was very dedicated and worked extremely hard even though parents complained of his presence in class & him partnering their daughters. After two years of study and an appearance on Broadway in Truman Capote's House of Flowers Arthur Mitchell joined the New York City Ballet in 1955.

14 Mitchell's debut with the NY City Ballet was in Western Symphony but his big break wasn't until Balanchine choreographed the Agon pas de deux for him and Alegra Kent in 1957. Audience members complained about Mitchell partnering a white woman but Balanchine never payed much attention. In 1959 Arthur became a soloist & soon after a principal dancer making him the first black principal dancer of a major ballet company. Mitchell's best performance was as Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1964. In 1968, Arthur Mitchell and Alegra Kent were finally allowed to perform the Agon pas de deux on television on the Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show. The U.S. Govt asked Mitchell to help create the National Ballet of Brazil but after learning of Martin Luther King Jrs. assassination, Mitchell was so shaken by the news that he decided to help the black community of his childhood through dance & he got the opportunity when soprano singer Dorothy Maynor invited him to start a dance program at her Harlem School of the Arts. In 1968 the dance program had 30 students. Mitchell left the doors open so that people walking by could look in and see the classes. In just a few months attendance rose to 400 students & the facilities could no longer support those classes. Arthur remodeled a garage with his own money and funds found with the help of Balanchine and Kirstein and started his own dance school, the Dance Theatre of Harlem. His former ballet teacher Karel Shook helped direct the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

15 Maya Angelou, real name Marguerite Johnson (1928- ), is a multitalented American poet and memoirist, also known as a dancer, actress, and screenwriter. She received the National Medal of Arts for the year 2000. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1998. Angelou has become a renown poet and autobiographer: "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" (1070), "Wouldn't Take Nothing for my Journey Now"(1993), and "And Still I Rise" (1978), to cite a few works. At William Jefferson Clinton's inauguration in 1992, Angelou read her poem, "On the Pulse of Morning." Her poetic style includes metaphor, alliteration, assonance, consonance, synecdoche, and internal rhyme.

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