Tuesday, November 27, 2007
My parents Wedding Day
This is a very, very special day for me. On November 28th, the, late Congressman from New York City, Adam Clayton Powell,Jr., performed the ceremonies that resulted in my mother and father becoming man and why. My parents, though from Los Angeles, California, were married in New York City. My mother was a dancer and was dancing at the Apollo Theatre and the Cotton Club. Shortly before all of this happened,
while cleaning out her bedroom, I found a book of matches that were given out to patrons of the Cotton Club. The match book had her picture on the back.
She danced for all of the Jazz greats--Duke Ellington, Billie Holliday, Cab Calloway to name a few. She was a member of the Rockettes, dancing group and my mother's picture is on the wall of the Dunbar Hotel, on Central Ave. in Los Angeles.
My mother's uncle, Bill Taylor, operated the Club Alabam which was inside of the hotel. Central Ave was the hot spot in Los Angeles in the 40's like Harlem was.
Blacks and whites would socialize at night, comfortably, New York's Harlem and
Los Angeles's Central Avenue. However, during the day, they could not be seen together. My parents talked to me about Harlem all of the time.
"Walter, Central Ave. was fun. Blacks and whites got along. There was no prejudice at night. The prejudice was during the day when people had to hide that they knew each other. There were consequences, in some circles, if it was known that blacks and whites were close friends. The funny thing was, your father and I went to Manual Arts High School. There were only a handful of blacks at the school. There were not that many blacks in Los Angeles. Everybody we knew were white. "
Indeed, a great many of my parents friends who came to the house when I was a child were their white friends from Manual Arts High School, and Chapman College where my father played basketball.
These pictures are at the all Black Firehouse station on 14th and Central avenue. It was the first All Black Fire House Station in the City of Los Angeles.
This was the last place I was with my father. He took pictures of it and the Coca cola bottling company. My father built a wide angle camera himself. He studied photography after he retired from teaching for the LAUSD system for over 50 years.
My mother received her initial training at the Club Alabam being a book keeper.
She was an Auditor for the County of Los Angeles for over 40 years.
I will devote and dedicate the next few blogs to my parents and the history of those times. IT is funny that the curator of the Museum graduated from Manual arts in 1936. He started as a fireman at that location 67 years ago. I will be talking to him next week.
I do not know if my mother is thinking of this date. I think she probably is.
Adam Clayton Powell, Jr had a famous saying, "Keep the faith, baby".
Mom, "keep the faith". "We shall overcome this nonsense."