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Men Near Donaldson Orlando Community Center

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Men Near Donaldson Orlando Community Center, 1948. Photographic image of two men standing in front of a black board in front of the Donaldson Orlando Community Center. The board reads: "Debate..." and other related information, like the time and subject of the debate. At the Donaldson Community Center in Orlando, men and women pay a subscription fee of 50 cents per year and enjoy the recreational and sports facilities including boxing and classes in domestic science. Photograph by Constance Stuart Larrabee, 1948.

In 1945, Constance Stuart returned from her assignment as the first female South African war correspondent in World War II. Her reputation as a photographer grew. She maintained a photographic studio in Pretoria and Johannesburg. This series of images, which she entitled "Johannesburg Black Man" depict life in downtown Johannesburg and in parts of the city, where Black South Africans lived, such as Sophiatown, Pimville, and Newclare. A second series of images focuses on Father Huddleston's work in Sophiatown. In 1948-1949, in the early days of apartheid, Stuart documented the building of the South Western townships (Soweto) and the way Africans adjusted to this new environment.

There are no prints of this negative in the Constance Stuart Larrabee Collection. EEPA produced an 8x10 study print for reference purposes.

The cataloging of the Constance Stuart Larrabee Collection was supported by a grant from The Smithsonian Women's Committee.

Men Near Donaldson Orlando Community Center

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Men Near Donaldson Orlando Community Center, 1948. Photographic image of two men standing in front of the Donaldson Orlando Community Center. At the Donaldson Community Center in Orlando, men and women pay a subscription fee of 50 cents per year and enjoy the recreational and sports facilities including boxing and classes in domestic science. Photograph by Constance Stuart Larrabee, 1948.

In 1945, Constance Stuart returned from her assignment as the first female South African war correspondent in World War II. Her reputation as a photographer grew. She maintained a photographic studio in Pretoria and Johannesburg. This series of images, which she entitled "Johannesburg Black Man" depict life in downtown Johannesburg and in parts of the city, where Black South Africans lived, such as Sophiatown, Pimville, and Newclare. A second series of images focuses on Father Huddleston's work in Sophiatown. In 1948-1949, in the early days of apartheid, Stuart documented the building of the South Western townships (Soweto) and the way Africans adjusted to this new environment.

There are no prints of this negative in the Constance Stuart Larrabee Collection. EEPA produced an 8x10 study print for reference purposes.

The cataloging of the Constance Stuart Larrabee Collection was supported by a grant from The Smithsonian Women's Committee.

Men Near Donaldson Orlando Community Center

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Men Near Donaldson Orlando Community Center, 1948. Photographic image of three men standing in front of the Donaldson Orlando Community Center. At the Donaldson Community Center in Orlando, men and women pay a subscription fee of 50 cents per year and enjoy the recreational and sports facilities including boxing and classes in domestic science. Photograph by Constance Stuart Larrabee, 1948.

In 1945, Constance Stuart returned from her assignment as the first female South African war correspondent in World War II. Her reputation as a photographer grew. She maintained a photographic studio in Pretoria and Johannesburg. This series of images, which she entitled "Johannesburg Black Man" depict life in downtown Johannesburg and in parts of the city, where Black South Africans lived, such as Sophiatown, Pimville, and Newclare. A second series of images focuses on Father Huddleston's work in Sophiatown. In 1948-1949, in the early days of apartheid, Stuart documented the building of the South Western townships (Soweto) and the way Africans adjusted to this new environment.

There are no prints of this negative in the Constance Stuart Larrabee Collection. EEPA produced an 8x10 study print for reference purposes.

The cataloging of the Constance Stuart Larrabee Collection was supported by a grant from The Smithsonian Women's Committee.

Design as a Tool for Community Action

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
In this two-week summer academy/interdisciplinary unit, students apply design solution to problems within their community. Students use the five stages of design to identify and solve any problems they find in their community. Along the way, students learn creative problem solving, critical evaluation, persuasive speaking, and the importance of community action as they go from identify and creating solutions to actually trying to implement and sell those solutions to community decision makers.

Latino Chicago: Music and the Community

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
This webpage features recordings of the music of Latin American communities in Chicago. Contextual information accompanies the selections. Includes movie clips of live performances.

Anthropology Teaching Activities: Studying Community Festivals

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Classroom activity explains the anthropological importance of studying festivals. Includes guiding questions to help students observe and report on a community festival.. Example observation and further reading also included.

From "rag" doll to community riches

National Museum of American History
A small, 11" cloth doll might seem like an incongruous object for discussing the issues of the American Great Depression. Yet enduring the depression required ingenuity and a community's collaborative effort—a story this doll tells.
 
A photograph of Portia Sperry holding a Nancy Hanks rag doll, taken in 1934.
Americans had lived with painful business cycles throughout their history, but the Great Depression was unprecedented in breadth, depth, and duration. After her husband lost his job with RCA in Camden, New Jersey, Portia Howe Sperry moved with her husband and four children to rural Indiana—a place they had only driven through on previous vacations. Sensing they could eke out a living in the countryside, the family rented a small shack without running water or electricity.
 
Portia found a part-time job in the Nashville House Inn's gift shop selling handmade objects from the area. Hoping to generate more income for the family, the entrepreneurial Portia Sperry decided to design and market a doll based on native crafts and local skill. Having no experience in such an endeavor, Portia’s project took many months and lots of experimentation with the help of local artists and handy farmwives. With aplomb, Perry convinced the large Chicago department store, Marshall Fields, to carry the first doll (called Abigail) and the Quaker Oats Company to donate boxes to ship them in. Portia then organized local women to make the cloth doll bodies and craft the clothes.
Photograph of Abigail doll.
A photograph of curator Nancy Davis preparing “Abigail” doll for display in the “American Enterprise” exhibition.
The Abigail doll was a big marketing success at Marshall Fields, putting $2,000 in the hands of Browne County, Indiana, women during the 1932 Christmas season. A year later, Sperry created the Nancy Hanks doll named after Abraham Lincoln's mother. That too did well.
 
By 1934 the inn's little gift shop was on the map. While touring the Midwest to encourage a depressed rural populace, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited the gift shop, touted the cooperative nature of the crafts activities as a national self-help model, and purchased a Nancy Hanks doll (though not the one featured on this blog).
Photograph of “Nancy Hanks” doll, 1930s.
So the community prospered, but how did Portia and her husband Ralph fare? The story of Portia's entrepreneurial efforts spread. She gave talks to local groups, wrote an article on her families' depression experiences for the 1934 Woman's Home Companion, and in 1938 published a popular children's book entitled Abigail. In 1934 the Wurlitzer Piano Company offered Ralph a job designing their new upright spinet piano. The little craft shop remained in family hands until 1984.
 
With the generous assistance of Sperry's descendants, the museum was able to collect an original "Abigail" doll. Visitors to American Enterprise, opening July 1, will be able to see Abigail and learn more about how everyday Americans weathered the Great Depression.
 
An earlier version of this blog post appeared on the American Enterprise pre-exhibition website in May 2011. For further reading: Dirks, Barbara J., "'Doing It Together': The Sperry Family of Brown County, Indiana," Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History 13 (Fall 2001), 34–43.
 
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Pinback button in support of Community Action Programs

National Museum of African American History and Culture
A pinback button for Save Our Services. The button has a white background with blue and red text throughout that reads [Support Community Action Programs / SOS / Save Our Services]. The back of the button has a metal pin with a clasp.

Pinback button for the CDA Community Staff Action Committee

National Museum of African American History and Culture
A white pinback button for the CDA / Community Staff Action Committee. At the center of the button black text reads [Community]. Above and below the text are etched drawings of people. Text at the bottom of the button reads [CDA / Community Staff Action Committee]. The exterior edge of the button has a manufacturer's stamp printed in black ink. The back of the button has a metal pin with a clasp.

communications system

National Museum of American History

Earth Day 2013 at Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum

Anacostia Community Museum
Fox 5's Derek "The Garden Guy" Thomas give great planting tips at the container garden workshop featured during the Anacostia Community Museum's Earth Day celebration on April 22, 2013.

Rake used by community members to clean-up after Baltimore protests

National Museum of African American History and Culture
A red plastic fan rake with a wood handle used in clean up efforts after the Baltimore riots in 2015. The wood handle inserts into the plastic head of the rake. the tines are curved. A label is still adhered to the head.

Photograph of sculpture class, Harlem Community Art Center

Archives of American Art
1 photographic print : b&w ; 21 x 25 cm. Photograph of unidentified children in a sculpture class at the Harlem Community Arts Center.
Inscription (stamped and handwritten): Federal Art Project W.P.A. Photographic Division 235 East 42nd Street, New York City; Location Community Art Center; Date 11/29/37; 125 St. Lenox An.[?] Sculptors Class; Negative No. 2620-2; Photographer Hoin [?]

Children at Lynchburg Community Art Center, Lynchburg, Virginia

Archives of American Art
1 photographic print : b&w ; 20 x 26 cm.

Luce Unplugged Community Showcase with The Sea Life

Smithsonian American Art Museum
Video from the Luce Unplugged Community Showcase on July 18, 2014. Visitors enjoyed sets by local bands Pygmy Lush and The Sea Life, which were selected with the help of the Washington City Paper's Managing Editor Jonathan L. Fischer. Presented with Washington City Paper. #LuceUnplugged || http://americanart.si.edu/luce/unplugged

Oliver Wang: Music as Community and Social Power

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Music journalist and scholar Oliver Wang talks about music as a source of community-building in this interview at the 2016 Folklife Festival. Wang had accompanied hip-hop artists from Los Angeles and the Bay Area as part of the "Sounds of California" program. Videography: John Wetmore Production: Elisa Hough Sound Recordist: Helen Lehrer Editing: Alexis Ligon [Catalog No. CFV10848; Copyright 2016 Smithsonian Institution]

SUCCM: Artists' Community Workshops with Local Indigenous Artists

National Museum of the American Indian
In 2014, the Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum in Ignacio, Colorado, coordinated a series of community workshops for local Indigenous artists. Part of the National Museum of the American Indian's Artist Leadership Program for Museums and Cultural Organizations, the workshops were led by Conrad Thompson (Southern Ute), Morningstar Tapia (Pojoaque), Patrick Tso (Navajo), and Esther Belin (Navajo). Workshop topics included painting mini hand drums, collage as a medium for self-expression, creating ledger drawings that evoke the goodness in life, and a working together to write a series of linked poems called renga. Video produced and directed by Avatu-napach (Tallas Cantsee). To learn more about the Artist Leadership Program, see /http://americanindian.si.edu/conn…/artist-leadership-program.

Colombia Dispatch 4: Palenque: An Afro-Colombian Community

Smithsonian Magazine

Centuries ago, escaped slaves built isolated forts in the jungles that surround Cartagena, once Colombia's main port for incoming slaves. Today, the Afro-Colombian inhabitants of San Basilio de Palenque, a village just over an hour from Cartagena, have preserved many of the customs of their African ancestors.

I wander around the dusty streets and of the small town on a scorching hot day, listening to residents speaking a local Creole tongue. A mixture of African languages with Spanish and Portuguese, it sounds a lot like the Bantu languages of central Africa. Although the town now has electricity and running water in most homes, locals still gather at the creek to wash clothes, chat and bathe. In the center of town there's a statue of town founder Benkos Bioho breaking out of chains. Locals say he established Palenque in 1603 with 36 other escaped slaves.

While most other strongholds for escaped slaves eventually fell, this one survived because of its isolation among the hills and swamps about 30 miles outside Cartagena. Locals claim that in 1713 the inhabitants declared it the first independent community in the Americas. Escaped slaves would head to Palenque, knowing that was their chance at freedom. But several decades ago, that same isolation led residents, called Palenqueros, to leave the village for big cities in search of work.

Today, colorfully dressed Palenquera women commute to Cartagena to sell candy and fruit on the streets, while many men work in construction and paving roads. But when Palenqueros first arrived in the cities they encountered racism and were mocked for their strange language. Out of embarrassment, many refrained from observing their traditional customs.

Near the town square, I sat down with Edwin Valdez Hernandez, a charismatic young instructor at the Batata Dance and Music School in Palenque. He tells me that in the 1980s and ‘90s a new generation of young, educated Palenqueros fostered a resurgence in pride in the community's African roots.

"We defend our values with a shout," Valdez says. "We are black, and we are defending our culture."

He believes this pride is essential to combating the racism he says still flourishes on the Colombian coast. His friend, Enrique Marques, agrees, "If you lose your culture, you become a slave again."

The town's public school now teaches Palenque's traditional language to all students.

For the past 10 years, a group of dance enthusiasts has scraped together enough donations to run a Batata school in a small blue concrete house a few blocks from the town center. Valdez says the school's 150 students, from elementary school age to teenagers, meet Monday through Friday afternoons to practice Palenque's traditional dances, passed down through the centuries from Africa. They've performed at festivals across the country, including Palenque's famous yearly drum festival in October. I walk down to the school with Valdez and a dozen of his students and head out into the hot dirt courtyard where they practice. Students pound on wooden drums of all shapes and sizes while Valdez leads chants about the town's history.

Teenage boys and girls wearing yellow, blue and red costumes (Colombia's national colors) perform highly charged dances inspired by their African roots. At the end of the 10-minute song, sweat drips off everyone and dust covers the dancers. I shake their hands as they file out. Determined to keep his culture alive, Valdez yells out toward them with the command of a football coach as they leave.

"I want everybody back here for practice at 5:30 sharp."

Image by Kenneth R. Fletcher. Students at Palenque’s Batata Dance and Music School perform a traditional dance with African roots. (original image)

Image by Kenneth R. Fletcher. Students at Palenque’s Batata Dance and Music School perform a traditional dance with African roots. (original image)

Image by Kenneth R. Fletcher. Students at Palenque’s Batata Dance and Music School perform a traditional dance with African roots. (original image)

Image by Kenneth R. Fletcher. Students at Palenque’s Batata Dance and Music School perform a traditional dance with African roots. (original image)

Image by Kenneth R. Fletcher. A boy stops along a dusty Palenque street. (original image)

Image by Kenneth R. Fletcher. A street in Palenque. (original image)

Image by Kenneth R. Fletcher. A statue of town founder Benkos Bioho sits in Palenque’s main square. (original image)

Cross-Border Community Station: A Reciprocal Knowledge Platform

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
How do we raise awareness of the common interests between divided cities? This video is featured in the exhibition 'By the People: Designing a Better America,' on view at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum September 2016–February 2017. Learn more at /www.cooperhewitt.org/channel/by-the-people. Video by Estudio Cruz + Forman. Courtesy of Estudio Teddy Cruz + Forman. THIS VIDEO HAS NO SOUND.

Benceslado Faninango, Governor of Community, Wearing Poncho n.d

National Anthropological Archives
Black and white photoprint
97-120 of 124,685 Resources