Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #16

Contents

A MOTHER’S TRIBUTE

DIMOCK HEARS WORDS FROM AN ANGEL

CAROLINE, OR CHANGE

BOSTON WOMEN’s FUND TAKES A STAND

LOST CITY CAPTURES GARCIA’s PASSION

SISTERS IN LAW’s FINAL SCREENING TONIGHT

QUALITY INDEPENDENT FILMS THRU TCOF

THE FIRST WEEKEND CLUB – NOW IN BOSTON

JOHN WITHERSPOON AT THE COMEDY CONNECTION

UPCOMING EVENTS

THE ZION TRAIN HITS DORCHESTER

SAVE THESE DATES!!


A MOTHER’S TRIBUTE

by Kay Bourne

c.1950, brush & ink drawing © Allan Rohan Crite. Crite grew up in Lower Roxbury which is the setting of many of his drawings and paintings.

3c8eed4a3a72ed339aa13d9aa39032df.93.124 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #16What more fragrant and long-lasting bouquet for Mother’s Day, than words memorializing the Black mother, written by Black authors:

“Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair” chides the mother as she encourages her child to climb on! in one of the most beloved poems in all of literature, LANGSTON HUGHES’ “Mother to Son.” In 1927, Countee Cullen published an anthology of verse, including the Hughes poem, every one of them by African American poets entitled “Caroling Dusk.” The decorations on its title page are by Aaron Douglas.

Your mom keeps being your mom, whatever happens to you. In BEBE MOORE CAMPBELL’s page-turner of a novel “72 Hour Hold” (Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), a mother desperately tries to rescue her manic-depressive daughter from the maw of a mental illness. Along the way, in this heartrending and fascinating story, Keri, the owner of a successful LA designer clothing store, grows wise – and accepting – about the downward spiral in her only child, Trina’s life.

Should you stray, your mom tries her best to snatch you back from harm. It only occurred to rapper TUPAC SHAKUR when he was serving time, how diligently his mother, Afeni, had tried to keep him from this ignominious moment. In his song “Dear Mama,” he relates his appreciation for her efforts: “One day running from tha Police, that’s right – Momma catch me – put a whoop’en to my backside and even as a crack fiend mama, ya always was a black queen mama. I finally understand for a woman it ain’t easy—trying ta raise a man”

Tenor ROLAND HAYES bought his mother a farm, the 600 acre place in Curryville, Georgia where she’d been a slave and where he’d been born. That’s a Mother’s Day gift beyond compare. Hayes who first came to Boston with the Fisk Jubilee Singers in 1911 and made this city his home, achieved international acclaim as a singer of the very spirituals he’d heard at his mother’s knee. Their relationship is so key to Hayes’ success in his life and career that biographer Mackinley Helm entitled his book about Roland Hayes “Angel Mo’ and Her Son.” (Little Brown, 1942).

When playwright ED BULLINS was growing up in the 40′s and 50′s in his mother’s house in Philadelphia, he was made conscious of three Black figures she regarded as important. His mother kept photographs of singer Marian Anderson, boxer Joe Lewis, and artist/activist Paul Robeson in pride of place, on the mantle.

“They were a triumvirate of Black excellence,” explains Bullins, who currently lives in Roxbury and is an artist-in-residence at Northeastern University.

Ed’s mother was “a very private person,” he describes. She earned a living as a federal garment worker for the Quartermaster Corps. and for extra money to augment a skimpy wage, she also ran a power sewing machine in laundries.

As to the people displayed in her shrine, she talked about Marian Anderson and played her records. She and Ed listened to every Joe Lewis boxing match on the radio. She didn’t mention Paul Robeson, however, as Ed recalls, perhaps feeling that her admiration of him could threaten her job with the government, considering Robeson’s association with the Communist Party. Yet she must have played records of his singing at demonstrations because years later when Ed heard these recordings he recognized the voice and realized he had heard Robeson back in those Philadelphia days.

She read every novel by Richard Wright she could find and passed them along to Ed and she did the same with Ralph Ellison. But their pictures never made it to the mantle. In later life, when Ed came home from the service, the trio of Black inspirational figures had been replaced by a White Jesus with flowing, brown hair.

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