The Old Invalid of Black Show Business

Foreword to Directory of Blacks in the Performing Arts by Edward Mapp

To the unknowing, “Show business” can be an illusive invalid as well as a glamorous occupation. There was a time, however, when for the black performer, it was not too illusive nor was it an invalid. For many years, being in show business was fabulous and most times glamorous. It was fabulous in 1821 when the African Company, with John Hewlett as its star, presented the classics at Brown’s Theatre on Bleecker and Mercer Sts., in what was later to become Greenwich Village. The company was so successful that they graciously made a partition in the back of the house to accommodate the whites. It was fabulous when Ira Aldridge was world famous for his portrayals of Othello and the Moor in “Titus Andronicus”; when the black performer decided to make some of the big money being made by the minstrel shows that imitated him by imitating the imitators; and when the Lafayette Players sent two acting companies a season with such stars as Laura Bowman, Abbie Mitchell, Clarence Brooks, Frank Wilson, Rose McClendon and many others.

When Harlem had little theatre groups like the Allied Re players, the Rose McClendon Players, The American Negro Theatre, The Suitcase Theatre and various church groups — these groups were the proving grounds for Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Frederick O’Neal, Earle Hyman, Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Alice Childress Continue reading


The Holy Piby Speaks of Henrietta Vinton Davis

The Holy Piby Speaks of Henrietta Vinton Davis

In the Holy Piby Henrietta Vinton Davis is identfied as one of the “Apostles” apointed to “to save Ethiopia and her generations from everlasting downfall” with Marcus Garvey and Robert Lincoln Poston.



Therefore, Athlyi yielded him a copy of the map, and declared Marcus Garvey an apostle of the Lord God for the redemption of Ethiopia and her suffering posterities.


Now when Marcus Garvey, God’s foremost apostle, heard the voice of his colleague, apostle Robert Lincoln Poston, preaching in the city of Detroit, Michigan, United States of America, he knew that this was his colleague for the lord God hath revealed, notwithstanding the three apostles had met in the spirit before they came to administer the law Gospel for the full salvation of Ethiopia’s posterities.

Now when the amalgamation of their apostleship was verified, apostle Poston came to New York City, United States of America, and then teamed with apostle Garvey in the work for the redemption of Ethiopia and her trodden posterities, whom through the oppression of the nations and the ignorance of the Negro ministers of Christian faith, were hanging over the bridge of death, both body and soul.



“Moreover, behold at thy side is the noble woman Henrietta in whom the whole heaven adore because of her greatness of faith and the loyal way in which she fights to save Ethiopia and her generations from everlasting downfall. Place her at the side of thy colleague, for great is her wisdom, saith the Lord, and send ye also another that they go and prepare a home for mine anointed.”