Nina Simone at Black Woodstock (8/17/1969)

The Harlem Cultural Festival (also known as Black Woodstock) was a series of music concerts held in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City during the summer of 1969 to celebrate African American music and culture and to promote the continued politics of black pride. Notable participants included Nina Simone, B.B. King, Sly & the Family Stone, Chuck Jackson, Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach, The 5th Dimension, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Stevie Wonder, Mahalia Jackson, and Moms Mabley, among many others. For the concert featuring Sly & The Family Stone on June 29, 1969, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) refused to provide security, and it was instead provided by members of the Black Panther Party.

 

Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America

In the final years of the nineteenth century, small groups of Muslim peddlers arrived at Ellis Island every summer, bags heavy with embroidered silks from their home villages in Bengal. The American demand for “Oriental goods” took these migrants on a curious path, from New Jersey’s beach boardwalks into the heart of the segregated South. Two decades later, hundreds of Indian Muslim seamen began jumping ship in New York and Baltimore, escaping the engine rooms of British steamers to find less brutal work onshore. As factory owners sought their labor and anti-Asian immigration laws closed in around them, these men built clandestine networks that stretched from the northeastern waterfront across the industrial Midwest. Continue reading