Showing posts from February, 2022

Where Was James Baldwin's Boyfriend?

James Baldwin As we are nearing the end of Black History Month, I find myself reading and listening to the words of James Baldwin. He became one of the most articulate voices of the Civil Rights Movement, yet it is hard to find any description or discussion - in his own words - of his life as a gay man. One could guess that he describes some of his gay life in the novel Giovanni's Room , which can easily be dismissed as a work of fiction. We know that he met the man who became the love of his life, Lucien Happersberger, in Paris in 1949, when Lucien was 17 and James was 25. The fact that Lucien was white could have served as proof that, at least in Baldwin's mind, black men and white men could love each other. But unfortunately, Baldwin chose to remain in the closet, using references to "... my wife" and "... my woman, my children..." in his interviews. The truth is, the most significant woman in his life was his mother, and the children he referred to were

Nina Kennedy Participates in Panel Discussion on the Negro Spiritual

  Nina and Matthew Kennedy On February 24th, the Church of the Holy Spirit of Lake Forest, Illinois presented a panel discussion on "The History and Evolution of the Negro Spiritual." Panelists included former Fisk Jubilee Singers Delano O'Banion, George Cooper, Robert Denson, and E.J. Murray. Nina Kennedy was the only non-Jubilee Singer panelist, as her father served as director of the group from 1957 to 1986. The Reverend Mother Jihan Murray-Smith, Associate Rector at the Church of the Holy Spirit, - and also a former Fisk Jubilee Singer - served as moderator. The conversation included much history of the Negro Spiritual starting with its origins on American plantations during slavery, and the importation of African melodies during the Middle Passage. Several recordings were heard including those of Paul Robeson and Marian Anderson. Delano O'Banion While the famous portrait of the Fisk Jubilee Singers commissioned by Queen Victoria was on the screen, Nina Kennedy sh