Savion Glover is the reason years ago that I started enjoying the arts. I joined Dance Umbrella and had season tickets until they went out of business.
In reading this article (“Glover’s ‘SoLe Sanctuary’ honors artistic ancestors,” Bay State Banner, Jan. 17, 2013) I was so saddened to see Dianne Walker had passed.
This article reminded me of a few things. How fortunate I was to see Jimmy Slyde, Gregory Hines and Dianne Walker perform and also to meet with them after the show! Thank you to all who have given so many so much pleasure.
February is Black History Month and the birth month for both President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809; Douglass, whose birth date is unknown, chose to celebrate his birthday on February 14, 1818 because he was his mother’s “little valentine.”
While Douglass campaigned to elect Lincoln to the presidency in 1860 using his celebrity and leadership in the Abolitionist Movement, the two had never met and yet both shared a genuine admiration and respect for each other. The first meeting between the two American “self-made” men was in the midst of the Civil War on August 10, 1863 at the White House. Their friendship, as described in John Stauffer’s Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, was strictly “utilitarian”: Lincoln needed Douglass to help destroy the Confederacy and Douglass needed Lincoln to help end slavery.
Douglass was the chief recruiter of black troops from the north and traveled to Washington to speak with the President to demand equal pay and the opportunity to serve as officers for the Massachusetts 54th and 55th Regiments. Douglass, standing in line with several others requesting an audience with the President, sent his card forward and the President saw him immediately.
These American giants felt at ease and an immediate friendship. After the meeting, Douglass and Lincoln both shared their growing and extraordinarily high regard for one another. Douglass stated: “I at once felt myself in the presence of an honest man — on whom I could love, honor and trust without reserve or doubt.”
Remember these two great men as we celebrate black history this month and throughout the year. Like the amazing stories we share at the Museum of African American History, and the people in them, we need to work together, to remember the different and intricate American legacies that built and move this nation.
Beverly A. Morgan-Welch
Museum of African American History