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"Don't Know Why There's No Sun Up In The Sky"

May 11, 2010 1:43 PM | 0 comments


 This past Sunday, May 9th, legendary singer, actress and activist Lena Horne, passed away.  She was born in Brooklyn and as a child lived at 189 Chauncey Street in Bedford Stuyvesant.  Lena attended P.S. 35 and then Girls High School on Nostrand Avenue.


She only stayed there for a few years, leaving to work at the renowned Cotton Club in Manhattan. She made it into the chorus line there, and the rest, as they say, is history.  Hollywood and the world would soon come knocking at her door.  

But Brooklyn never forgot Lena, and from the time that she became famous, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle proudly chronicled her life in its pages. From its reviews of her singing engagments and movie roles, to her private life, her international influence and her encounters with racism, the Eagle kept Brooklynites informed about her.  Here are some of the articles we found about the beautiful and extraordinarily talented Lena Horne.    


       In his review  of her show at the Copacabana Lew Scheaffer wrote in the Brooklyn and Broadway section. 

Miss Lena Horne-the warm, exciting cafe-au-lait beauty with the warm exciting cafe-au-lait voice ought to sue the Hollywood cameras. Potent stuff on the screen, the Brooklyn girl is more, much more, in person.

 When she went to the Netherlands on behalf of "Brooklyn-Adopts Breukelen" project the Eagle reported on her journey there. 


Her career was often a reflection of what was happening in the larger society which helped to shape her civil rights activism.


                 From the "Eagle" article of July 24th 1946

 "The picture "Ziegfield follies of 1946" has been censored here to cut out scenes in which Negro night club singer Lena Horne appears.  It was announced today. Emil Bernstecker, manager of a theatre chain now showing the film, said the negro artist's singing number "might prove objectionable to some people in Knoxville."  Her name has also been blacked out on all advertising posters here.

One of the biggest tributes paid to Lena Horne by the borough was on August 21st, 1947, which was designated Lena Horne Day at a ceremony on the steps of Borough Hall. Borough President Cashmore, a band, a Girls High School contingent, and countless others paraded up Fulton Street to her hometown vicinity of Stuyvesant Avenue where she reviewed the festivities. 


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle would close its doors in 1955, depriving Brooklynites of their own special view of the world. But Lena blazed on, conquering film, television, music and Broadway.

Finally, we note proudly that Ms. Horne was among the first group of honorees at Brooklyn Public Library's premiere Gala in November 1997.  With intelligence, beauty, talent and an indominable spirit--our Lena Horne was truly one of a kind.    



Genealogy Group Tonight Wed May 5, 6 p.m.

May 5, 2010 1:29 PM | 0 comments

Come and join our genealogy group with Wilhelmena Kelly tonight at 6 p.m. in the Brooklyn Collection. All welcome.

The Diary of Arthur Lonto Pt 2

May 4, 2010 11:33 AM | 0 comments

At the end of April and the beginning of May, Arthur Lonto repeated rituals taking place all over Brooklyn--he planted his garden, and he enjoyed the beginning of the baseball season with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was never idle. Here are a few more extracts from the busy realtor's journal.

"Wednesday, April 30, 1947 Dodgers lose 1st game at Ebbets Field to Chicago. Jerome & I took Jitterbug lesson at 6 p.m.--Miss Young.

Thursday, May 1, 1947 New family moves into 1431 E. 7th St from Park Slope. Called Rickerman, man, wife and young daughter

Saturday, May 3, 1947 Father & I drove to Sears & Roebuck & bought 5 rosebushes. I planted them in afternoon. 2 pink, 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 red-yellow...Driving to Sears we saw the yellow new leaves on the trees.

Tuesday, May 6, 1947 Bklyn-7, St. Louis-6. Painted rose arch in yard. Wednesday May 7, 1947  I GOT MY BROKERS LICENSE IN MAIL

Thursday, May 8, 1947 Record COLD for the day. Evening: Went down to Day's house & helped Joey Day shellack his new work bench and listened to St. Louis shellack B'klyn. 8:30 p.m. night game St. Louis-5 Bklyn-1 1st series that the last place Cards won this year against their Bklyn "cousins" the 1st place Dodgers.

Monday, May 12, 1947 Planted grass seed in front. Dodgers beat Boston 8-3. 5-ALARM FIRE IN CONEY ISLAND. Jerome is one of first firemen on hand

Tuesday, May 13, 1947 AM took BMT #5 to CONEY ISLAND saw FIRE damage. Mother and I met new neighbors the Rickermans. Evening worked in garden. Night game Cincinnati-7 Brooklyn-5

Wednesday, May 14, 1947 RAIN 10 AM Dance lesson w/Miss Carroll. Cincinnati-2 Bklyn-0. Uncle came. Drove him to Brighton Station Bought drills at McVeigh's bought turpentine, paint remover, fertilizer at Gluck's."

So passed a peaceful two weeks for Mr Lonto.  The May 12 fire at Coney Island, according to an online history of Engine 245, "started in rubbish behind 1228 Surf Avenue. This fire burnt through a dozen or so building[s] between Surf Avenue to Bowery Street, and Henderson Walk to W. 12th Street....The fire...injured forty five people, mostly firemen."