A centerpiece of our exhibition, Arthur Mitchell: Harlem’s Trailblazer, is a dazzling, eight foot long puzzle.
Handcrafted and painted from wood, the puzzle details the DTH’s history, Mitchell’s influence, luminaries who’ve supported the company, landmark performances and homages to ballet casts.
As puzzle maker Frank Bara notes in a video tour of the puzzle, shot a number of years ago, the puzzle celebrates the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s 20th anniversary. He completed it in 1989.
Visitors to RBML discuss the Dance Theatre of Harlem finds in this puzzle.
Close up with Frank Bara’s Dance Theatre of Harlem puzzle.
In this short video clip, Bara also explains the many “easter eggs” contained in the puzzle, if you’re lucky enough to get up close and personal with it.
There’s still time to see the puzzle in the Wallach Gallery at the Lenfest Arts Center. The exhibition runs through March 11th. After that the puzzle goes back into careful storage at the RBML. Don’t miss your chance to see this artistry up close.
Since the 1990s, with social historians looking back on how we’ve told the history of the Civil Rights Movement, Bayard Rustin has come to the fore as a central leader in the movement. Specifically, for decades, he was the unsung hero behind the conceptualization of the 1963 March on Washington. But more than that, this civil rights strategist’s life was intersectional before intersectional identities were theorized in academia’s scholarship.
A Black History Month salute to Bayard Rustin through oral history. Gif credit: Sundance DocNow/@FOXADHD via Giphy
In this wide-ranging oral history from our collection, Rustin sat down with an interviewer in 1987 and shared his reflections on everything from trade unionism to the seeds of Black politics in Garveyism to the struggles of the day, such as bringing down the apartheid regime in South Africa.
For anyone unable to attend Jan. 29th’s event, the inaugural “Live from the Columbia Archives” talk is now available for online viewing. Click below to watch Professor Eric Foner discuss his new book, Gateway to Freedom, and the remarkable archival document that helped him to rediscover the Hidden History of the Underground Railroad.
This online exhibit explores the efforts of Alexander Gumby to create a documentary history of African-American achievement in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. An influential figure during the Harlem Renaissance, Gumby compiled a scrapbook collection of approximately 300 volumes in support of his project, filled with news clippings, photographs, pamphlets, handbills, original artwork, manuscripts, and ephemera, pages from which are on display here.