Black History Month and Famous Banjos

I found this radio interview with Rosa Parks just 4 months after she refused to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, AL. Her interview goes from 12:39-18:50.

And here is an interview from the 1957 with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Which naturally caused me to search for Dr. Martin Luther King’s I have a Dream speech from the rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. Here is the audio recording of that speech:

I remembered that Pete Seeger performed at that rally. So I discovered this short video of Pete Seeger discussing how Dr. King and Rosa Parks inspired him.

Notice the skin head on his banjo. It was on his banjo for over 35 years and is famous among banjo players and folk enthusiasts. On it are written these words “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender”.  Seeger recently put it up for auction on eBay to donate the funds for earthquake relief for Haiti. With the bid over $6,000, and expected to go much higher, he reluctantly withdrew it at the insistence of his family in order to donate it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Instead he is raising funds for Haiti through donations.  -Jeff Kaplan

29 thoughts on “Black History Month and Famous Banjos

  1. Deborah Gordon

    you need more african american movies of the 30s and 40s I love those movies there are not enough of them put on the internet are the TV screen. I love the old black actors they were the best.

    1. Larry Wolfe

      Problem is, as I noted to a poster re: Oscar Micheaux, it’s very difficult to find such material – I have a pretty good collection but, based on the reference books it’s well under 10-12% of the actual output – and that leaves out much material for which there is little to no record prior to the mid 20’s. We know there were a number of Black production companies, but their output has not, so far, showed much indication of survival.

    1. Larry Wolfe

      Hi Sahar! – I assume you refer to political science – they have material on that in other parts of this site – and, of course, aspects of political science apply to much of this area of concern!

  2. Matthew Paul Argall AKA "The_Emperor_Of_Television"

    Yeah, agreed with another reply-poster that more African-American movies of the 30s and 40s would be great to have on the Internet Archive.

  3. taylorwebstuff

    Lovely site you’ve created. I visit the Internet Archive quite regularly and think it is commendable that you gather all these artifacts and make them available to us. My mother and I were just discussing an old radio show within the past few weeks, so I’m really pleased to see them highlighted.

    I hope your blog is not overrun with sp*m. That would really be awful! Could you add a RSS feed widget so we can grab your feed? Thanks for being here.

  4. Julius Seasaw

    thanks for a great site and blog.
    i have recently come to this site, and have greatly enjoyed the old movies and audio collects ( still going through them). Regular broadcast television and radio just doesn’t interest anymore.


    This site was a gr8 find. Unfortunately the MLK interview from 1957 does not have sound. I tried it twice ans also had someone else try on their computer. Hope you can correct that. Thjs is a gr8 site!!!

    1. Titus O'Neill

      How about we have had enough of that. If you want patriotic white historical films, check the prelinger archive. Dont impress us with your CAPS LOCK.

      Have you ever considered how rude it is to come yelling in for white patriotic history in the Black Historical Film thread? It isnt even getting a chuckle. It is just proving that you are a disrespectful and selfish fool.

      And btw, here is your great patriotic historical films you so eagerly requested.

  6. Jeanne Milliard

    It would be great if there were some old Oscar Micheaux films on this site. Will look into it. Hmmm

    1. Larry Wolfe

      It would also be great if Metropolis, IL took a tenth of the interest they do in Superman with the location where Oscar was born and lived awhile – or in him generally. Last I checked, the town website does not even mention him. That’s pathetic.

      Unfortunately, not that much of his product is known to have survived – I’ve picked up all I could on video/DVD and keep looking for new stuff from any Black film producers and related I can find. Used to teach Black media History (specifically US and from the introduction of film with minor excursions to the preliminaries of performance) in a high school as a co-item with media (television) production.

      1. Titus O'Neill

        Are the films under re assigned copyright? If not by all means upload them to the archive yourself. Much of what we purchase in stores is actually public domain when it includes old media. the onyl people who ever had enough money and power to create a death grip on their content were the Disney and a couple of studios. Even still much of what was theirs has slipped into public domain through ignorance and neglect to file the pointless extensions they issue.

  7. marilyn

    I am very pleased to have found this website & hear Dr.Martin Luther King’s”I Have a Dream”
    Thankyou for your efforts.One thing though,
    I think ‘Kent’ should be removed from your
    comments. What a rude person! All the best.

  8. DeeDeeDee

    I found your site about five months ago and am loving it. The OTR Mystery’s are my fav’s. I haven’t explored the whole site yet but so far I think its great. I agree with Jeanne M. that it would be nice to see some of Oscar Micheaux films but I then it’s hard to find them anywhere online……thank you for this site.

  9. lorain

    thanks for being here! I can think of many other things I wish were available online but I wanted to say thank you for what you do have and not what you don’t. After all I get so much more than what I paid for.

  10. Pingback: 12 sites to watch films online for free | blog

  11. Thelma

    I was blessed to purchase quite a few African American movies a few yrs ago on just pue in the search engine that you are looking for old african american movies whether they be silent, or 20, 30 or 40’s or whatever and amazon located some or me even ones by Oscar Micheaux and others
    Good luck they are out there

  12. Pingback: Black History Month and Famous Banjos | Internet Archive Blogs « METHINKS SHE DOTH PROTEST

  13. Nun Wotsoevah

    “Sharecroppers in the 21st century”

    “John Henrik Clarke – A Great and Mighty Walk”

    “Claude Barnett in Ghana (1957)”

    “Martin Luther King Jr Clip Reel”

    “Negro Colleges in Wartime (1944)”

    “African American Legacy Project – California: oral history sample”

    “Bill Cosby On Prejudice (1971)”

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