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Abdul Karim Bangura

Abu Nasr Muhammad ibn al-Farakh al-Farabi, or Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Tarkhan ibn Uzalagh al-Farabi, was born in 870 c.e in Kazakhstan or Persia or Afghanistan Also known in the West as Alpharabius he is considered by many to be the greatest philosopher scientist and musicologist of his era and perhaps one of the greatest Muslim philosophers in all of history As a political philosopher al Farabi sought out answers to many of the most difficult questions facing the Islamic world during his lifetime He questioned the relations between humankind and God the role of the intermediary the influence of the divine law in private life and the limitations of the human mind He went beyond the divine law and searched for humankind s place in the universe and our relationship with nature society and the divine law He inquired about the different types of political institutions ...

Article

Shennette Garrett-Scott

Revolutionary War soldier and fifer, was born in Africa and brought to work in the British colonies as a slave. Some sources assert that he was a free man when he enlisted in the Continental Army, but it is more likely that he secured his freedom in exchange for enlistment. His name does not appear on the list of enslaved recruits to the First Rhode Island Regiment compiled by historian Lorenzo Greene in his seminal 1952Journal of Negro History article Some Observations on the Black Regiment of Rhode Island in the American Revolution which may explain why historians and writers consider Cozzens a free person Greene admits that the primary source records are incomplete In addition like other enslaved recruits Cozzens would be emancipated if he passed muster and then served through the end of the war Cozzens may have been enslaved by members of the distinguished ...

Article

crystal am nelson

community leader and musician, was born Occramer Marycoo in West Africa. Although his country of origin is unknown, a 1757 ship manifest shows that he was brought to America at the age of fourteen. He was on one of that year's seven slaving voyages that brought a total of 831 African slaves to Rhode Island. Gardner was one of the 106,544 slaves brought to Newport, Rhode Island, between 1709 and 1807. Caleb Gardner, a white merchant and member of the principal slave-trading team Briggs & Gardner, bought the teenage Marycoo and baptized him into the Congregational faith as Newport Gardner.

The forced exposure to Christianity aided Gardner s rise to a leadership position in the New World He quickly learned English from daily Bible studies with his master who freed Gardner after overhearing him pray for emancipation Upon gaining his freedom Gardner combined his new religious fervor with ...

Article

David Bradford

guitarist, teacher, composer, arranger, and civil rights advocate, was born in Norfolk County, Virginia, to Exum Holland a farmer. His mother's name is not recorded.

Justin Holland recognized at an early age that rural Virginia offered few opportunities for an ambitious young African American. Born on a farm in Norfolk County to free parents in 1819, Holland was only fourteen when he set out for Boston. Massachusetts was the first state to abolish slavery (in 1783 and Boston had a small but comparatively thriving black population Holland found work that provided in his words a good living in nearby Chelsea and became immersed in the energetic cultural life of the city He had shown a knack for music from a young age but farm life provided little opportunity to develop musical talent Now inspired by the performances of Mariano Perez one of the ...

Article

Allen J. Fromherz

Egyptian playwright, was an eye doctor originally from Mosul, Iraq, and possibly of Christian background. He was most famous for his lightly veiled satirical shadow plays, especially for those aimed at the moralist Mamluk Sultan al-Zahir Baybars (r. 1260–1277) in Cairo.

Although some scholars have wrongly claimed that Islam lacked a theatrical tradition because of various religious proscriptions, the art form of shadow puppetry has a long history. Shadow plays, called Khayal al-Zill in Arabic were very popular during the month of Ramadan as a form of entertainment to wile away the late night hours Beginning as early as the tenth century and perhaps before the popularity of shadow play as an art form reached its peak just as Ibn Daniyal began writing Ibn Daniyal was especially creative with his shadow characters including the popular Sahib al Dabbus Man with a Club referring to a man with an oversized ...

Article

Andy Gensler

bandleader, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and teacher, was probably born in Philadelphia to parents whose names are unknown. Early scholarship suggested he was born in Martinique in the West Indies. By 1812 he was known to be a professional musician in Philadelphia. While there is little historical record of Francis “Frank” Johnson's early life, it is known that three key figures helped young Francis hone his prodigious music skills: Matt Black, an African American bandleader from Philadelphia; P. S. Gilmore, “the father of the American band”; and Richard Willis, the director of the West Point military band.

That Johnson played many instruments is clear from a student's observations of his studio, which housed “instruments of all kinds…. Bass drum, bass viol, bugles and trombones” (A Gentleman of Much Promise: The Diary of Isaac Mickle, 1837–1845 196 While Johnson was an accomplished French horn ...

Article

Timothy M. Broughton

slave and freeperson, storyteller, and community organizer, was born in what is now Benin, Africa. He was smuggled into Mobile, Alabama, aboard the schooner Clotilda in July 1860, over fifty years after the abolition of the North Atlantic slave trade in the United States. The Clotilda was the last known slave ship, and Lewis and the others were the last known Africans brought to America as slaves. Although Lewis's grandfather owned land, livestock, and a few slaves in Africa, his father Oluale and mother Nyfond-lo-loo lived humble lives. Nyfond-lo-loo was Oluale's second wife and Lewis their second child. Nyfond-lo-loo had five other children. Oluale also had nine by his first wife and three by his third wife.

As a young boy Lewis enjoyed playing with his siblings and playing the drums At the age of fourteen he began training to become a soldier learning how to ...

Article

Charlie T. Tomlinson

ventriloquist and magician, was born in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, the son of Dinah Swain (often called Black Dinah), a slave. Potter's mother was kidnapped by Dutch slave traders during her childhood, sold at an auction, and taken to Boston as a slave by Sir Charles Henry Frankland, a tax collector for the Port of Boston. She had five children while serving in Frankland's household. The identity of Potter's biological father remains a mystery. According to speculation, Potter's father was Frankland. Early church records indicate that Potter's father was a white man by the name of George Simpson. The origin of Potter's name is another mystery.

Potter spent his early years on the Frankland estate in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. At the age of ten, in 1793 he took work on a ship as a cabin boy His travels took him to England where he came across a Scottish ...

Article

David Dabydeen

Elizabethan and Jacobean drama saw the proliferation of African images, contexts, and characters. Contact between Britain and Africa, which began as early as the 14th century, became more prevalent in the 16th century and led to an interest in travel, discovery, and the dramatic representations of ‘Moors’. Before the publication of contemporary travel accounts by sailors and travellers, writers often used Scripture and philosophy to construct ideas of Africa and its people. In the 13th century Roger Bacon utilized this blend to fashion geographical knowledge of Africa. Similarly, Geoffrey Chaucer's interpretation of African contexts was an amalgamation of fact and fantasy. Writers of the 16th century, besides deriving knowledge from travellers' accounts, maintained travel tales of the ancients as one of their prime sources of notions about Africa.

In the second half of the 16th century numerous publications on Africa which ranged from histories to travelogues contributed to the escalating ...

Article

Terence  

Sander M. Goldberg

Roman comic dramatist. The biographer Suetonius, writing in the second century CE, reports that Publius Terentius Afer, to give him his full Roman name, was born at Carthage and came to Rome as slave of the senator Terentius Lucanus. Intellectual talent and dark good looks secured his freedom. He produced six comedies at Rome in the course of the 160s, winning along the way the friendship of leading Romans like Scipio Aemilianus and Gaius Laelius before drowning in a shipwreck on his way back from Greece with a collection of Greek plays to adapt for the Roman stage. Terence left a small estate on the Appian Way and sufficient money for his daughter to marry into the mercantile class.

So elaborate a biography is itself a mark of the poet s stature Terence wrote early in the history of Latin literature and exerted a major influence on the developing language ...