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“But You See Now Baby, Whether You Have A Ph.d., D.D. Or No D, We’re In This Bag Together. And Whether You Are From Morehouse Or Nohouse, We’re Still In This Bag Together.”-Fannie Lou Hamer

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Fannie Lou Hamer Quote

But you see now baby, whether you have a ph.d., d.d. or no d, we’re in this bag together. And whether you are from Morehouse or Nohouse, we’re still in this bag together.

-Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer (born Fannie Lou Townsend; October 6, 1917 – March 14, 1977) was an American voting rights activist, civil rights leader, and philanthropist.

Annie Lee: African American Artist Who Captured Black Americana Through Her Paintings

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Artist Annie Frances Lee (1935-2014) was born in Gadsen, Alabama and grew up in Chicago, IL. She began painting as a young girl and won her first art competition at age 10. Lee was offered a four year scholarship to Northwestern University after high school. However, she married instead and began to raise a family. Tragedy struck Lee with the death of her 1st and 2nd husbands with whom she had 2 children; a daughter and a son respectively. It would not be until age 40 that she would begin to pursue a career as an artist. Lee took night classes for 8 years to earn her masters degree in Interdisciplinary Arts Education from Loyola University. She also worked full time at Northwestern Railroad while going to school. Her employment with Northwestern Railroad inspired one of her most popular paintings, Blue Monday. The painting features a woman struggling to get out of bed on a Monday morning. Lee described Blue Monday as her “self portrait’.

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Blue Monday

 

Lee held her first gallery show in 1985 at age 50. The show was highly successful for Lee and she sold all her available pieces at the show within 4 hours. In addition to artwork, Lee also had some of her most popular paintings produced as figurines, dolls, and housewares. A hallmark of Lee’s artistic style, was that faces in her artwork were painted without features. Following the death of her son in 1986, Lee decided to pursue an art career full time. She eventually opened her own gallery, “Annie Lee and Friends Gallery”. Her own artwork as well as the artwork of friends was displayed there. Several of her paintings were part of the sets for popular shows and films such as 227, Coming To America and A Different World. The appearance of her work on these shows greatly increased her exposure. Lee died in Las Vegas on November 14, 2014 at the age of 79.

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You Next Sugar
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Melody

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Joseph Cottrell, Jr.: The African American Entrepreneur Who Brought The Jheri Curl Into Black Homes

Black History: Special Delivery!!

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The “Jheri Curl” will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most popular hairstyles of its time. Learn more about the Joseph Cottrell, Jr, the African American entrepreneur who took the Jheri Curl out of the salon and into the homes with his $8 Curly Kit.

Entrepreneur Comer Joseph Cottrell, Jr. was born in Mobile, Alabama on December 7, 1931. Cottrell became fascinated with business at an early age. As a youth, he joined with his brother, James, in a rabbit meat and fur selling business. After completing High School, Cottrell attended the University of Detroit during 1947 and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1948 to 1952. Cottrell eventually settled in Los Angeles in 1956.   In 1968, with an initial investment of $600.00, Cottrell a friend and his brother got into the black hair care business manufacturing strawberry scented oil sheen for Afro hairstyles and founded Pro-Line Corporation in 1970. By 1973, he made his first million dollars in sales. In 1979, Cottrell took the $75-$200.00 “Jerry Curl” out of the beauty shop and into black homes with his $8.00 Pro-Line “Curly Kit”, which increased his sales from one million dollars a year to ten million dollars in the first six months. (The Jheri Curl was invented by Jheri Redding, a Caucasian hairdresser and entrepreneur). By the end of 1981, Pro-Line had become a leading African American haircare products company with about $22 million in revenue. Cottrell sold Pro-Line to Alberto-Culver, a U.S. cosmetics firm, for $80 million in 2000.

In 1989, Cottrell became the first African American part-owner of a U.S. major league baseball franchise, the Texas Rangers. Comer Joseph Cottrell died on October 3, 2014 at the age of 82 in Dallas, Texas. He was an important member of a selected line of African American entrepreneurs who used the African American hair care market to amass sizeable wealth, some of which was later employed to support African American community institutions.

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