Community Gathering & Celebration
of Black, Afro-Latinx and the African-Diasporic Togetherness & Resistance in the Americas
TOGETHER WE CAN RESIST ALL EVIL
An African-American holiday, celebrated by enslaved and free Black people, including African music, song and dance.
A variation of the Dutch word 'Pinksteren' meaning Pentecost. Dutch colonizers in present-day New York State brought the celebration of Pinkster to North America in the 17th century. However, by the 19th century, Pinkster had evolved into a primarily African-American holiday, celebrated by enslaved and free Black people, including African music, song and dance.
Some time between 1811 and 1813 despite or perhaps because of its popularity, the city of Albany, New York passed an ordinance banning the drinking and dancing associated with Pinkster. White leaders were concerned that the congregation and socialization of large groups of African Americans could provide them with the opportunity to plot or plan revolution. This law was only repealed in 2011.
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Celebrating the Black and African-diasporic Community of Harlem
Harlem has long since been a space for the black and African-diasporic community to gather. According to the Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture:
"With the end of the Civil War in 1865, hundreds of thousands of African Americans newly freed from the yoke of slavery in the South began to dream of fuller participation in American society, including political empowerment, equal economic opportunity, and economic and cultural self-determination. Unfortunately, by the late 1870s, that dream was largely dead, as white supremacy was quickly restored to the Reconstruction South. White lawmakers on state and local levels passed strict racial segregation laws known as “Jim Crow laws” that made African Americans second-class citizens... Hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) perpetrated lynchings and conducted campaigns of terror and intimidation to keep African Americans from voting or exercising other fundamental rights.
With booming economies across the North and Midwest offering industrial jobs for workers of every race, many African Americans realized their hopes for a better standard of living—and a more racially tolerant environment—lay outside the South. By the turn of the 20th century, the Great Migration was underway as hundreds of thousands of African Americans relocated to cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, Philadelphia, and New York.
The Harlem section of Manhattan, which covers just three square miles, drew nearly 175,000 African Americans, giving the neighborhood the largest concentration of black people in the world. Harlem became a destination for African Americans of all backgrounds. From unskilled laborers to an educated middle-class, they shared common experiences of slavery, emancipation, and racial oppression, as well as a determination to forge a new identity as free people.
The Great Migration drew to Harlem some of the greatest minds and brightest talents of the day, an astonishing array of African American artists and scholars. Between the end of World War I and the mid-1930s, they produced one of the most significant eras of cultural expression in the nation’s history—the Harlem Renaissance... Alain Locke, a Harvard-educated writer, critic, and teacher who became known as the “dean” of the Harlem Renaissance, described it as a “spiritual coming of age” in which African Americans transformed “social disillusionment to race pride.” T
he Harlem Renaissance encompassed poetry and prose, painting and sculpture, jazz and swing, opera and dance. What united these diverse art forms was their realistic presentation of what it meant to be black in America, what writer Langston Hughes called an “expression of our individual dark-skinned selves,” as well as a new militancy in asserting their civil and political rights."