APRIL 20, 1946
HYDE PARK, Friday—The other afternoon, I held a small meeting of business men in the hope of getting some help on the benefit which the board of the Wiltwyck School in New York is going to give on May 21st. We have secured Melvyn Douglas' musical production, "Call Me Mister," for that night and we hope that the public will buy tickets and pack the house. But that alone would not give us enough support for the school, so we hope to have a souvenir program to acquaint the public with Wiltwyck and bring us in considerable revenue through advertising.
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Next Thursday and Friday evenings, April 25th and 26th, the African Academy of Arts and Research is giving its annual festival of dance and music at Carnegie Hall. On both evenings, a noted exponent of these African arts, Asadata Dafora, will appear with a company of fifty in "A Tale of Old Africa," devised by himself and Etuka C. Okla Abuta, African writer who is now in this country.
Many other well-known artists who have been touring the country or appearing in New York City will take part in this festival. Among them are Princess Orelia, Randolph Scott, Clementine Blount and Bernice Samuels, all of whom are dancers. Among the drummers, they have Norman Coker, Alphonse Cimber, Moses Mianns and Sylvanus Cole. On the night of the 26th, a special feature will be Katherine Dunham's dance group presenting "Rites de Passage," dealing with primitive rituals.
The festival proceeds will go into the regular work of the Academy during the coming year. The Academy has gradually established itself as doing valuable work both among people in Africa and our own colored people here.
It has slowly gained the backing and sponsorship of many people in this country who are interested in the development of better race relations. Purely selfishly, we must realize that, in the continent of Africa, there is a vast market in the future for our products, but only as their people begin to want some of the things which we produce.
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Yesterday morning, in New York City, I went to Douglas Chandor's studio to see a sketch of an historical painting which he is hoping to complete and which someday should hang in our Capitol in Washington. It will show the three great war leaders, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Premier Stalin, consulting together. In preparation for the final painting, Mr. Chandor has done a portrait of my husband and did one of Mr. Churchill when he was last here. He is hoping to do one of Premier Stalin from life, and then he will be able to undertake the finished painting.