African-American musicians, singers, and actors have contributed enormously to America’s history. The remarkable achievements of African Americans in the arena of performing arts have strongly shaped the culture of American music, film, and theater. African Americans have used music, film, and theater to showcase their artistic talents, convey their lived experiences, and create a distinct Black aesthetic. One of Amistad’s primary collecting areas has always been the papers of performing artists. Many of the artists represented in Amistad’s collections are diverse and include operatic singers, jazz musicians, film actors and actresses, and theater troupes. Amistad expanded its collecting focuses on performing arts and added the genre of hip-hop and Bounce music when it acquired the Where They At collection in 2013 and launched the NOLA Hip-Hop and Bounce Archive in 2014.
Our final blog series of the year will feature Amistad’s collections that highlight the histories of Black performing artists. Many of these individuals achieved national and international acclaim and some were stars in the local New Orleans community. The series will run from May 7, 2018 until August 27, 2018.
Image from the Henderson Family papers. Images from Amistad’s website, newsletters, and blogs cannot be reproduced without permission.