July 13, 2008
BlackMissouri.com spoke with James “Lee Lee” Pike today regarding the 2008 Springfield Park Day Annual Reunion that will be held August 1, 2, and 3 2008 in Springfield, Missouri.
For those who do not know, Park Day traditionally takes place the first weekend in August. It is not just one day as the name suggests, but rather three full days of events, fun, seeing old friends and meeting new ones. The event started as a result of the flight of the Black population from Springfield following the 1906 lynching of three black men in which the Springfield police were founded to be culpably responsible for their murders. At one point, Springfield’s black population was 35% of the total population but it dwindled down to 3% to 4% almost overnight where it stays to this day.
I spoke with Lee Pike, who has been the President of the Springfield Reunion Club for more than 20 years. He said that there are many activities for everyone. See the schedule below.
Mr. Pike says that he is the youngest person on the committee and is looking for some young people to come on board so that he can mentor on keeping this tradition alive.
Springfield Reunion Club, Inc.
August 1, 2, 3, 2008
Teens $7 John Q Hammons Room featuring DJ “Pretty Tony” from
8:00 a.m. GOLF TOURNAMENT
Contacts: Robert “Bevo” Looney
9:00 a.m. TENNIS TOURNAMENT
Contacts: Randy Smith
Contacts: Sidney Needem
$15.00 in advance ~ $20.00 at the door
Go To The Church Of Your Choice
3:00 p.m. GOSPEL SINGING IN
Contact: Samuel Knox
MISS SILVER SPRINGS BEAUTY PAGEANT
Contact: Jane Pike
Springfield’s own, Sterling Macer wrote and directed a movie based in a Missouri town and the setting was Park Day. Buy it now at Amazon and add to your Springfield Black history collection.
July 12, 2008
The exhibit Imaging Blackness, 1915-2002: Film Posters from the Indiana University Black Film Center/Archive, at The Kansas City Public Library from March 29 – June 22, 2008, features posters from over forty movies. The library owns over 25 of these films.
An exhibit that reflects the peaks and valleys of the African American experience in film in the 20th century will be on display at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Imaging Blackness, 1915-2002: Film Posters from the Indiana University Black Film Center/Archive presents 43 posters from almost a century of movies that feature legendary actors including Lena Horne, Sidney Poitier, Herb Jeffries, Danny Glover, James Earl Jones, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jada Pinkett Smith. Curated by Audrey T. McCluskey, Ph.D., associate professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University, the exhibit serves as a visual timeline that tracks early cinematic stereotyping of black culture to modern day acceptance of big-budget productions depicting a more positive image.
The exhibit was on display from March 29 – June 22.
The exhibit is organized and toured by Mid-America Arts Alliance through its ExhibitsUSA national program.
Films on file at the Kansas City Public Library
Films from the 1930s & 50s
Zou Zou (1934)
In this French musical, a talented laundress (Josephine Baker) takes the place of a star on opening night and saves the show.
Princess Tam Tam (1935)
This French film features a mischievous shepherd girl (Josephine Baker) who rises through society to become a pretend princess and the toast of Paris nightlife.
Native Son (1950)
Based on the classic novel by Richard Wright, this movie also stars Wright as the lead character Bigger Thomas, a young black man in Chicago who accidentally murders his employer’s daughter.
The Member of the Wedding (1953)
Starring Ethel Waters, this drama based on the Carson McCullers’ novel of the same name follows a motherless 12-year-old girl who runs away from home after her older brother gets married.
Island in the Sun (1957)
Four different love affairs simultaneously wreak havoc in the lives of the inhabitants of a Carribbean community. Based on the novel by Alex Waugh, this film stars Harry Belafonte, James Mason, Dorothy Dandridge, and Joan Fontaine.
Odds Against Tomorrow (1959)
Three men (Ed Begley, Robert Ryan, and Harry Belafonte) plan a bank robbery, but racial tensions get in the way of this heist. Watch this film on March 31, 2008 in the Stanley H. Durwood Film Vault at the Central Library.
Films from the 1960s & 70s
Lilies of the Field (1963)
An ex-G.I. (Sidney Poitier) takes a job on a farm in Arizona run by five German refugee nuns and helps them build a chapel. Poitier won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in this film.
Black Jesus (1968)
Based on actual incidents in the Congo, Woody Strode plays a revolutionary leader betrayed by one of his followers. He is imprisoned and tortured while a new military regime takes control, but his demise could turn him into a martyr – and cause problems for the new dictator.
The Learning Tree (1969)
Produced, written, and directed by Gordon Parks and based on his book of the same name, this film traces one year in the life of Newt, a black teenager in 1920s Kansas, in which he witnesses a murder and must deal with the situation.
Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970)
Ossie Davis directed this comedic action movie in which cops (Raymond St. Jacques and Godfrey Cambridge) investigate a preacher (Calvin Lockhart) swindling a Harlem community with a “Back to Africa” campaign.
The Great White Hope (1970)
Based on the life of boxer Jack Johnson, James Earl Jones plays a boxing champion who battles the institutionalized racism of his day and must flee the U.S. with the white woman he loves (Jane Alexander). James Earl Jones and Jane Alexander were nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress Oscars for their roles in this film.
Buck and the Preacher (1972)
Sidney Poitier starred in and directed this western set in the 1860s at the end of the Civil War. A wagon train of black settlers head west, but vigilantes try to stop them.
A cocaine dealer (Ron O’Neal) proposes a million dollar deal to his partner Eddie (Carl Lee) so they can get out of the drug business. As they work on selling this enormous amount of cocaine, the cops become involved and want to become partners. Directed by Gordon Parks and with music by Curtis Mayfield.
Coffy (Pam Grier) takes the law into her own hands after drugs ruin her 11-year old sister’s life. By infiltrating the drug ring responsible, she exacts her vengeance.
The Harder They Come (1973)
In this Jamaican film, a boy (reggae musician Jimmy Cliff) goes to the big city of Kingston to become a reggae singer, but finds himself exploited by a record company producer. He then turns to dealing pot and kills several cops.
Cooley High (1975)
This film recalls high school life in 1964 in Chicago. Friends Preach (Glynn Turman) and Cochise (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs) deal with life as seniors, love problems, and trouble with the law.
The Wiz (1978)
Based on the Broadway musical, this movie is a retelling of the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Dorothy (Diana Ross) is a Manhattan kindergarten teacher who is swept away in a storm to the land of Oz, a decaying megalopolis that resembles New York City. She is accompanied by a scarecrow (Michael Jackson), a tin man (Nipsey Russell), and a cowardly lion (Ted Ross) on her journey to see the Wiz (Richard Pryor).
Films from the 1980s – 2000s
Say Amen, Somebody (1982)
This documentary follows gospel singer Willie Mae Ford Smith and also features her mentor, Thomas A. Dorsey, a gospel composer who is known as the father of gospel music.
A Soldier’s Story (1984)
Nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, this film follows a black army attorney (Howard E. Rollins, Jr.) sent to investigate the murder of a black sergeant (Adolph Caesar) at Fort Neal, Louisiana in the 1940s. Writer Charles Fuller adapted his Pulitzer Prize-winning play into the screenplay for this movie.
The Color Purple (1985)
Directed by Steven Spielberg, this film is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker. It relates the life of Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), a woman living in the rural American south of the early 20th century who was raped by her father and forced to marry a brutal sharecropper (Danny Glover). Celie becomes friends with two women (Oprah Winfrey and Margaret Avery) who help her gain the strength to stand up to her husband. This film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards.
To Sleep with Anger (1990)
A drifter (Danny Glover) from the Deep South appears at an old friend’s house in Los Angeles who takes him in. When the friend has a stroke, the drifter takes control of the household to disastrous results.
Jungle Fever (1991)
In this film directed by Spike Lee, a black architect (Wesley Snips) has an affair with his Italian secretary (Annabella Sciorra). Their relationship leads to trouble with their friends, families, and neighbors.
The Glass Shield (1995)
J.J. (Michael Boatman) becomes the first African American at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and discovers racism and corruption throughout the precinct. He lies to cover up a fellow officer’s illegal search of Teddy’s car, and then must decide what to do when he finds out Teddy (Ice Cube) could be erroneously sentenced to death.
Get on the Bus (1996)
One year after the 1995 Million Man March, Spike Lee released this film which follows a group of African American men traveling from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. for this event. The men are strangers when they get on the bus, but become like brothers by the time they arrive in Washington.
Based on Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, this movie follows Paul D. (Danny Glover) who moves in with his old slave friend Sethe (Oprah Winfrey) and her daughter Denver (Kimberly Elise). A strange girl appears who goes by the name “Beloved” (Thandie Newton) and is taken in by Sethe and Denver. Supernatural occurrences take place as the past is revisited.
Written and directed by Spike Lee, this comedy starring Damon Wayans, Savion Glover, and Jada Pinkett-Smith parodies American television and the racism found there.
Jim Brown: All-American (2002)
Spike Lee’s documentary of Jim Brown examines his days in the spotlight, first making football history as one of the 20th century’s greatest athletes, and later as the star of numerous Hollywood features.
February 9, 2008
The Great Debaters is a drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school’s first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.
February 1, 2007
Black History Month Event #1: “Dime on the Vine,” a celebration of black film in Kansas City’s historic jazz district The American Jazz Museum in the Historic 18th and Vine district in Kansas City is a true testament to the African American influence on music in this country. In addition to the interactive exhibits that change four times each year and are inspired by jazz, baseball and African American life, the American Jazz Museum has a working jazz club (The Blue Room) and the Gem Theater, a 500-seat performing arts venue that hosts jazz concerts, theater productions and community events. In honor of black history month this year, the American Jazz Museum is sponsoring a film series called “Dime on the Vine” every Sunday at 2 and 4 p.m. When the Gem Theater originally opened in 1913, cost for admission was 10 cents, as it will be for the film series showcasing black films during black history month. For 10 cents, come see such classic films as “Carmen,” “Stormy Weather” and “Watermelon Man.” The double feature includes a “new school” black film as well, such as “Love Jones” and “Piano Blues.” Come experience true African American culture during black history month in the birthplace of American Jazz, Kansas City.