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

Pompey Factor (1849–1928)

  Image Ownership: Public Domain Pompey Factor, former slave, scout for the United States Army and Congressional Medal of Honor winner, was born in Arkansas in 1849 to Hardy Factor, a black Seminole chief and an unknown Biloxi Indian woman. By the end of that … Read MorePompey Factor (1849–1928)

Billy Bowlegs/Holata Micco (1810-1864)

Holata Micco is widely considered a descendant of the “Seminole” founding Hitchiti-speaking Oconee family of “Cowkeeper” of Cuscowilla Town on the Alachua Pains of Spanish Florida. The name that Holata was best known by, “Billy Bowlegs,” uniquely united the whole experience of the three “Seminole … Read MoreBilly Bowlegs/Holata Micco (1810-1864)

Five Points District, New York City, New York (1830s-1860s)

Five Points by George Catlin, 1827 Image Ownership: Public Domain Originally the site of New York City’s first free black settlement, by 1850 the Five Points district in lower Manhattan had instead become infamous for its dance halls, bars, gambling houses, prostitution, and for its … Read MoreFive Points District, New York City, New York (1830s-1860s)