The inestimable Lena Horne finds a home in Manhattan

Horne, Lena

For Lena Horne, a Home at Last

She was one of the most famous performers in the country, a recording star, a Hollywood actress and a nightclub sensation.

But in the late 1950s, Lena Horne still struggled to find property owners in Manhattan who were willing to sell co-ops or condominiums to African-Americans, even very wealthy ones.

So how exactly did she snare the penthouse apartment, featured in this photograph, at 300 West End Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side? With the help of a good friend, Harry Belafonte… (read the rest here)

source: The New York Times

Lena Horne at home by Sam Falk, The New York Times

Lena Horne at home by Sam Falk, The New York Times

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Horne was long involved with the Civil Rights movement. In 1941, she sang at Cafe Society and worked with Paul Robeson. During World War II, when entertaining the troops for the USO, she refused to perform “for segregated audiences or for groups in which German POWs were seated in front of African American servicemen”, according to her Kennedy Center biography. Because the U.S. Army refused to allow integrated audiences, she wound up putting on a show for a mixed audience of black U.S. soldiers and white German POWs. Seeing the black soldiers had been forced to sit in the back seats, she walked off the stage to the first row where the black troops were seated and performed with the Germans behind her. She was at an NAACP rally with Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, the weekend before Evers was assassinated. She also met President John F. Kennedy at the White House two days before he was assassinated. She was at the March on Washington and spoke and performed on behalf of the NAACP, SNCC, and the National Council of Negro Women. She also worked with Eleanor Roosevelt to pass anti-lynching laws.

source: Lena Horne – Wikipedia

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Singer and wartime pin-up girl Lena Horne, in cockpit, poses with cadets at the Tuskegee Airbase in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1945. (AP Photo)

Singer and wartime pin-up girl Lena Horne, in cockpit, poses with cadets at the Tuskegee Airbase in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1945. (AP Photo)

Harry Belafonte and friends (Rita Moreno, Anthony Franciosa, Steve Cochran, Marlon Brando, James Garner, and Frank Silvera) board a flight in Burbank to attend the Civil Rights March in Washington in 1963.

Photo credit: Larry Leach

1963 charter to civil rights march

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