Thelma “Butterfly” McQueen (1911-1995)

Actress Thelma “Butterfly” McQueen was born in Tampa, Florida on January 8, 1911. Her father, Wallace McQueen, worked as a stevedore and her mother, Mary Richardson, was a housekeeper and domestic worker. After McQueen’s parents separated, her mother moved from job to job and McQueen … Read MoreThelma “Butterfly” McQueen (1911-1995)

Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris (1963- )

Image Ownership: Public Domain Rennie Harris, hip hop dancer, artist, teacher, artistic director, choreographer, and founder of Rennie Harris Puremovement (RHPM), was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1963. At the age of 15, Harris began teaching workshops and classes at universities around the country, educating … Read MoreLorenzo “Rennie” Harris (1963- )

William Henry/Master Juba Lane (1825-ca. 1852)

William Henry Lane is credited as one of the most influential figures in the creation of American tap dance. Lane developed a unique style of using his body as a musical instrument, blending African-derived syncopated rhythms with movements of the Irish jig and reel. Lane’s … Read MoreWilliam Henry/Master Juba Lane (1825-ca. 1852)

Negro Actors Guild of America (1937- )

The Negro Actors Guild of America was founded by African American actors in 1937.  The organization was established to try to eliminate the stereotyping of African Americans in theatrical and cinematic performances.  It also stressed the need for more realistic roles for people of color, … Read MoreNegro Actors Guild of America (1937- )