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Bernard Demczuk

Ben's Chili Bowl (1213 U Street, NW) is a family-owned and -operated restaurant in the historically African American community of Shaw/Cardozo, Washington, DC. The restaurant sits on the former, yet famous, “Black Broadway,” so named by Pearl Bailey in the 1940s as the premier African American entertainment strip in America. During the Jim Crow Era of segregation, Black Broadways appear in urban centers across the United States but the U Street corridor, just blocks from Howard University, cultivated a sense of its own blackness with hundreds of African American businesses, churches, social clubs, banks, hotels, barbershops, beauty salons, and entertainment venues, including one of the premier African American performing arts venue in America—The Howard Theatre—established in 1910 Ben s Chili Bowl sits at the epicenter of the Black Broadway strip close to the theater that rocked with blues jazz gospel R B doo wop soul funk go go ...

Article

Shennette Garrett-Scott

carnival performer, snake handler, and blues musician was born in Augusta Georgia Her parents names and occupations are not recorded Her mother passed away when she was eleven years old By age fourteen she had run away from home and was performing in the chorus lines of traveling minstrel shows and carnivals She changed her last name to Brown to escape notice by her family and went on to do other types of entertainment in carnivals from lying on beds of nails to swallowing swords At age twenty one she learned to play the piano she took up the guitar in her mid thirties After singing and playing the piano in a band at carnivals she sometimes performed striptease dances in after hours racially segregated shows on Fridays and Saturdays known as the Midnight Ramble because they took place after midnight in the show tent long after ...

Article

Douglas Fleming Roosa

parachutist and pilot, was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Nothing is known about her parents, childhood, or education. She was attracted to flying by the career of Bessie Coleman, aviation's first African American female licensed pilot and an inspiration to many blacks and women who dreamed of pursuing a career in aviation, even after her untimely death in 1926. Darby, along with Willie “Suicide” Jones, was one of the few blacks to make a living as a barnstorming daredevil. In 1932 Darby took flying lessons at the Curtiss-Wright Aeronautical University in Chicago, a flight school and aeronautical engineering training ground named after American aviation pioneers, Glenn Curtiss and the Wright brothers. She made her first parachute jump in the summer of 1932 and quickly embraced the activity, performing exhibition jumps. One such jump in October of 1932 in St Louis Missouri ended badly when she broke both ...

Article

Cara Grace Pacifico

actor and film producer, was born Noble Mark Johnson in Marshall, Missouri, to Perry Johnson, a nationally renowned horse trainer, and Georgia Reed. Their first child, Virgel, was born in Indiana in 1879. They had relocated to Missouri before Noble Mark was born, however they soon moved permanently to Ivywild, a suburb of Colorado Springs, Colorado, where Perry built his own facilities to train the horses of gold mining millionaires. Colorado Springs is often mistakenly listed as Johnson's birthplace but is, rather, the birthplace of his siblings Iris Hazel (1883) and George Perry (1885). Georgia Johnson died two days after George's birth. As a result the infant George was turned over to Mrs. Nancy Turner a servant in the home of the Johnson s neighbors Virgel largely took responsibility for Noble and Iris The Johnson children attended public schools in Colorado ...

Article

Joel Gordon

Egyptian movie star and bridge master, was born Michel Dimitry Chalhoub in Alexandria on 10 April 1932 to parents of Lebanese Catholic origin. Joseph Chalhoub, his father, a successful lumber merchant, moved the family to Cairo when Michel was four. During World War II his business expanded. The family moved into an upscale apartment in the exclusive Garden City neighborhood. As a teen, Michel attended the Cairo branch of the prestigious English-language Victoria College. His parents frequented the fashionable clubs and casinos with the glitterati of Egyptian society. His mother, Claire, became a frequent gambling partner—Sharif has called her a “mascot”—of the notorious King Faruq, who would summon her at all hours to play by his side and who regularly visited the family flat.

Young Michel showed little aptitude for academics He was drawn to sports Via an uncle he developed an attraction to French culture and language He also ...

Article

Mary Krane Derr

a singer, was born Levi Stubbles II in the north end of Detroit, Michigan, one of eight children born to foundry worker Levi Stubbles and his homemaker wife, Daisy. For a time, the family resided in a short-lived, ill-constructed development at Dequindre and Six Mile, nicknamed “Cardboard Valley.” Brother Joe Stubbs, a member of the Falcons, Contours, and Originals singing groups, and cousin Jackie Wilson paved Levi's way into music.

At Pershing High School in Detroit, Levi befriended and sang with Abdul “Duke” Fakir. At a mutual friend's birthday party in 1954, the two young men harmonized in an impromptu quartet with Northern High students Lawrence Peyton and Renaldo “Obie” Benson. They launched a group together, the Four Aims. By 1956 Levi changed his surname to Stubbs The group renamed themselves the Four Tops to avoid confusion with the Ames Brothers The Tops declined ...

Article

Kenyatta D. Berry

laborer, entrepreneur, and celebrity procurer was born in Valdosta, Georgia, the son of Reverend Arthur Zanders and Ethel Smith Zanders. His family relocated to Youngstown, Ohio, where he attended public school. In 1930, Zanders was employed as a locker room attendant at the Mahoning Valley Country Club. He roomed with Pink and Irene Ward, who also worked at the club as a steward and cook, respectively. In 1943, Zanders was working as a construction engineer on the Alcan Highway in Alaska when he developed the concept of offering combined limousine and concierge services. This idea was inspired by his difficulty in obtaining simple things that were not readily available.

Zanders moved to New York in 1935 More than a chauffeur Zanders ran a highly regarded concierge service that catered to local and visiting celebrities in New York City He started Zanders Auto Rental Service in ...