Theatre/the Arts

Those who serve as Black examples in dance, painting, sculptor, stage performance, and more.

First Tony Award for dramatic lead goes to a Black woman

Phylicia Rashad
(as Lena Younger)

On this date in 2004, the first Black actress won a “Tony Award” for a leading dramatic role.

Phylicia Rashad made the theatrical history. She received the prize for her portrayal of Lena Younger, the tough-minded matriarch in a revival of "A Raisin in the Sun."

Isaac Hathaway, a pioneer in sculptor

Isaac Hathaway

*The birth of Isaac Hathaway in 1872 is marked on this date. He was an African- merican Sculptor, Ceramicist, Illustrator, and Teacher.

Scipio Moorhead, an early artist in America

*The birth of Scipio Moorhead around 1750 is celebrated on this date. He was a Black portrait engraver.

Etta Moten Barnett, Broadway and White House singer

Etta M. Barnett

On this date in 1901, we mark the birth of Etta Moten Barnett. She was an African American vocalist and theater artist.

She was born in Weimar, TX, the daughter of Freeman (a Methodist minister) and Ida Norman Moten. During her senior year at the University of Kansas, Moten was discovered while singing in a recital, and she was invited to join the prestigious Eva Jessy Choir in New York, which she promptly did after graduation. She was married in the 1920s, and divorced six years later.

Charles Fuller, playwright with sensitivity

Charles Fuller

*Charles Fuller was born on this date in 1939. He is an African American playwright.

From Philadelphia, Fuller is the son of Charles H., a printer, and Lillian (Anderson) Fuller. From 1956-1958, young Fuller attended Villanova University, and from 1965-1968, LaSalle College where he earned a D.F.A..

The Frogs Club, artists with style

The Frogs Club Members

On this date in 1908, The Frogs Club was organized in New York. The Frogs was a group of African American theatrical professionals.

She could "Do It All," Elisabeth Welch

Elisabeth Welch

*Elisabeth Welch was born on this date in 1904. She was a African American chanteuse singer and dancer.

Karamu House, first Black Theater Company in America

The founding of the Karamu House in 1915 is celebrated on this date. Located in Cleveland, OH, the Karamu house is the oldest Black Theater Company in America.

Gwendolyn Knight, sculptorist and more

Gwendolyn Knight

On this date we celebrate the birth of Gwendolyn Knight in 1913. She was an African American sculptor.

From Barbados, West Indies, she came to the United States with her family when she was seven. She lived in St. Louis until she was in her early teens, when she moved again with her family to New York. She cannot remember when she first decided to become an artist but recalls completing her first paintings when she was eight or nine years old. Harlem helped raise her. It was a rich time in that part of New York.

Leimert Park, a cultural haven in LA

Leimert Park, an area is considered the center of the African American arts scene in Los Angeles, CA, is celebrated on this date's Registry.