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Val Gray Ward

Val Gray Ward, actress, producer, cultural activist and internationally known theatre personality, was born Q. Valeria Ward on August 21, 1932 in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, America's oldest all black town. As the daughter of a successful minister, Ward showed an interest early on in performance. She eagerly read poems and did readings for her father's congregation and eventually won various oratorical competitions in school. Above all, she was keenly interested in African American literature.

After graduating from Mound Bayou High School in 1950, Ward dreamed of going to college. Instead, she moved to Chicago in 1951, got married and became Val Gray and a mother to five children. When the marriage failed, Ward went back to school and became active in Chicago's African American cultural activities. She was a regular at the South Side Community Arts Center and the DuSable Museum of African American History as she developed friendships with Dr. Margaret Burroughs, Gwendolyn Brooks, Don L. Lee, Haki R. Madhubuti and Abena Joan Brown.

In 1965 Val Gray met and married journalist, Francis Ward as she continued to make a name for herself as an actress, television host and cultural consultant. Now known as Val Gray Ward, Ward was recognized as part of Chicago's activist Black Arts Movement. In this context Ward founded the nonprofit Kuumba Theatre in 1968. Kuumba is Kiswahili for clean up, create, and build and was dedicated to the revitalization of the black community through the arts.

With Kuumba, Ward has produced and directed such plays as The Amen Corner by James Baldwin, Welcome To Black River by Samm Art Williams, and Five On The Black Hand Side by Charles Fuller. Touring has also been important. Ward took the cast and crew of Useni Eugene Perkins' play, The Image Makers to Lagos Nigeria as part of the FESTAC '77, an international African arts festival. Ward brought Kuumba's musical production, The Little Dreamer: The Life of Bessie Smith to Japan in 1981 and produced Buddy Butler's In The House of The Blues in Montreal, Canada. Ward and the company received Emmy Awards for the PBS television production of Precious Memories: Strolling 47th Street in 1988.

When she is not producing, Val Ward performs one woman shows in the United States and abroad. Performances include Harriet Tubman by Francis Ward, Sister Sonji by Sonia Sanchez and I Am A Black Woman which includes the poetry of Mari Evans.

Over the years, Ward has provided opportunities in the arts for hundreds of inner city youth and adults. All five of her children were or still are active in theatre. Ward currently lives in Syracuse, New York.

Accession Number

A2002.077

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/2/2002

Last Name

Ward

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Mound Bayou High School

John F. Kennedy Memorial High School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Val Gray

Birth City, State, Country

Mound Bayou

HM ID

WAR02

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

No Preference

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $500 - $1,000

Favorite Season

All Seasons

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: plus travel and lodging expenses

Preferred Audience: No Preference

State

Mississippi

Favorite Quote

As We Go Into Ourselves, We Come To Ourselves Naturally.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/21/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fish, Greens

Short Description

Artistic director, stage actress, stage director, and stage producer Val Gray Ward (1932 - ) is the founder of the nonprofit Kuumba Theatre, and was dedicated to the revitalization of the black community through the arts. Over the years, Ward has provided opportunities in the arts for hundreds of inner-city youth and adults.

Employment

Kuumba Theatre

Favorite Color

Black, Earth Tones

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72645">Tape: 1 Slating of Val Gray Ward's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72646">Tape: 1 Val Gray Ward lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72647">Tape: 1 Val Gray Ward describes her father's background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72648">Tape: 1 Val Gray Ward talks about her father's upbringing in Mound Bayou, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72649">Tape: 1 Val Gray Ward talks about her father's family's origins in Port Gibson, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72650">Tape: 1 Val Gray Ward describes her maternal family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72651">Tape: 1 Val Gray Ward talks about her maternal grandmother, Anna Mae Moten</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72652">Tape: 1 Val Gray Ward talks about how her maternal family ended up in Mound Bayou, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72653">Tape: 1 Val Gray Ward describes her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72654">Tape: 1 Val Gray Ward describes her earliest memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72655">Tape: 2 Val Gray Ward describes the sights, smells, and sounds of growing up in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72656">Tape: 2 Val Gray Ward describes the sights, smells, and sounds of growing up in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72657">Tape: 2 Val Gray Ward talks about the history of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72658">Tape: 2 Val Gray Ward talks about the history of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72659">Tape: 2 Val Gray Ward describes herself as a youth</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72660">Tape: 2 Val Gray Ward talks about attending the private Alice Morris preschool and B.O. Felder elementary school, and the public Mound Bayou High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72661">Tape: 2 Val Gray Ward talks about the encouragement she received growing up in Mound Bayou, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72662">Tape: 2 Val Gray Ward describes her role in her family growing up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72663">Tape: 3 Val Gray Ward describes growing up as a minister's daughter</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72664">Tape: 3 Val Gray Ward describes herself as a strong-willed child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72665">Tape: 3 Val Gray Ward talks about the uniqueness of Mound Bayou, Mississippi as an all-black Southern town</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72666">Tape: 3 Val Gray Ward describes her move to Chicago, Illinois, where she was molested and became pregnant in 1950</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72667">Tape: 3 Val Gray Ward talks about her first marriage to John Gray from 1951 to 1957</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72668">Tape: 3 Val Gray Ward describes meeting her now husband, HistoryMaker Francis Ward</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72669">Tape: 3 Val Gray Ward describes her Civil Rights activism in the 1950s and 1960s in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72670">Tape: 3 Val Gray Ward talks about her early performances in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72671">Tape: 4 Val Gray Ward talks about the people involved the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72672">Tape: 4 Val Gray Ward describes founding Kuumba Theater in 1968, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72673">Tape: 4 Val Gray Ward describes founding Kuumba Theater in 1968, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72674">Tape: 4 Val Gray Ward describes the Black Arts Movement in Chicago in the 1960s, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72675">Tape: 4 Val Gray Ward describes the Black Arts Movement in Chicago in the 1960s, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72676">Tape: 4 Val Gray Ward talks about creating Kummba Theatre to address issues in the black community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72677">Tape: 4 Val Gray Ward describes Kuumba Theater's Twelve Principles</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72678">Tape: 4 Val Gray Ward talks about creating The Ritual at Kuumba Theater</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72679">Tape: 5 Val Gray Ward describes early performances of The Ritual at Kuumba Theater</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72680">Tape: 5 Val Gray Ward talks about developing The Ritual at Kuumba Theater</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72681">Tape: 5 Val Gray Ward describes a performance of The Ritual at Kuumba Theater in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72682">Tape: 5 Val Gray Ward talks about the influence of Kuumba Theater performances to the Black Arts Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72683">Tape: 5 Val Gray Ward talks about the various places that housed Kuumba Theater in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72684">Tape: 5 Val Gray Ward describes the significance of Kuumba Theater, including attending the FESTAC World Festival of Black Arts in Nigeria in 1977</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72685">Tape: 5 Val Gray Ward talks about the support that African American business leaders provided Kuumba Theater</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72686">Tape: 6 Val Gray Ward talks about the support Kuumba Theater received from publisher and HistoryMaker John H. Johnson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72687">Tape: 6 Val Gray Ward describes the launch of 'The Amen Corner' at Kuumba Theater in 1989</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72688">Tape: 6 Val Gray Ward talks about producing 'Precious Memories' at Kuumba Theater and on PBS in 1988</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72689">Tape: 6 Val Gray Ward talks about the financial support that Kuumba Theater recieved</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72690">Tape: 6 Val Gray Ward talks about Kuumba Theater's role in black theater</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72691">Tape: 7 Val Gray Ward talks about her friendship with Hoyt Fuller</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72692">Tape: 7 Val Gray Ward talks about losing her friend, Hoyt Fuller, when he passed away in 1981</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72693">Tape: 7 Val Gray Ward talks about losing her friend, Gwendolyn Brooks, when she passed away in 2000</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72694">Tape: 7 Val Gray Ward describes her friendships with HistoryMakers Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72695">Tape: 7 Val Gray Ward talks about the status of Kuumba Theater and black theater</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72696">Tape: 7 Val Gray Ward reflects on the significance of black theater</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72697">Tape: 8 Val Gray Ward reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72698">Tape: 8 Val Gray Ward reflects on the significance of Kuumba Theater and its ritual</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72699">Tape: 8 Val Gray Ward describes the beauty of black people</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72700">Tape: 8 Val Gray Ward narrates her photographs, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72701">Tape: 8 Val Gray Ward narrates her photographs, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72702">Tape: 8 Val Gray Ward narrates her photographs, pt. 3</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72703">Tape: 9 Val Gray Ward narrates her photographs, pt. 4</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

7$2

DATitle
Val Gray Ward describes Kuumba Theater's Twelve Principles
Val Gray Ward talks about developing The Ritual at Kuumba Theater
Transcript
So what were Kuumba's twelve principles?$$Oh, now you would ask me. One is not to--enough to show a black reality, that we must tell why our art exists, its effect or offer some necessary alternatives. Meaning that, for instance, during black exploitation films, lot of people say, oh, '[Sweet] Sweetback' is revolutionary and we say yeah, really, what is revolution and what is revolutionary about it? Let's look at it. Kuumba had a newspaper. We had forums and we would analyze what made--how was it revolutionary and somebody running from here to Mexico or wherever and having a young boy exposed to older women, how is that revolutionary? What do you mean by revolutionary? So those are the serious things we did. And we brought in--we had panels, up to the time of Colored Girls with the sociologists and psychologists. We'd bring people from Lake Forest [College, Illinois], Northwestern [University, Illinois], [HM] Vernon Jarrett and oooh, I'm sure that you've--Herbert Martin, who's also from Mound Bayou [Mississippi]. You know, and we would talk about it and analyze it and then bring in the playwrights and bring in the people, you know, and that's why we had discussions. But we did, you know, plays that were like [Useni Eugene Perkins] 'The Image Makers'. Their reviews--I was just looking over some reviews at the [Chicago] Tribune did twelve pages, way back when and that was about black exploitation films. So it was not enough to talk about 'em because people would say, oh, these militants--or these troublemakers and I--my house was fire bombed. Oh Jesus, there's all kind of stuff and because of this art, right? And Chicago [Illinois] had a red squad and [HM] Margaret Burroughs said, will you and [HM] Francis [Ward] sign this thing with me 'cause I'm getting dossiers--you getting' what? Dossiers, so she got 'em. And what would it have? I was at the Packing House [Chicago, Illinois] and Stokely [Carmichael, Kwame Ture] would say, I said, for instance, "What shall I tell my children who's black," and I was wearing whatever a description of that on there, and if the three of us, Paul, you and Paul--I mean other people were there--they would just cross out, and you tryin' to think, who else was there and that's all you were doing, creating art. And there were as many whites involved as there were blacks in terms of, you know, the struggle of our people coming, you know, getting involved and so forth.$Let's talk about how The Ritual--how did The Ritual develop and what was The Ritual?$$The Ritual developed out of exactly what I do in the one woman show today. I was doing it prior to the founding of Kuumba, starting off with, you taking my blues notes on commercial theater, with the blues and the spiritual and then the things that I'm tellin' you about either prose and/or poetry or just the story that had taken place in the news--out of the newspaper. You had to--I mean in workshop, I mean we'd work on it and create that. So that you could hold the people while you were telling it--they didn't know you were tellin' a story--and then you give credit to the or whomever had the by-line.$$But The Ritual--was it broken down into a certain number of parts?$$Yeah, it was always--it was 'Destruction or Unity,' that was the name of it. But under 'Destruction and Unity,' we would do church. We would do current events, what was happening. And when I say church, the old church and some of the songs like, we used to take songs like, and this is how we got a lot of the church people involved in it. "Were You There", I don't know if you ever heard (singing)-"were you there when they crucified my Lord?" Well, we would change it, (singing)-"were you there when they shot poor Malcolm [X] down," and Fred Hampton or whatever and we would do all the (singing)-"oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble"--people would just be crying and we'd, you know. You know, we would sing well and we would put it together and so we would take what people already knew and then you could always bring anybody, young or old, black or white, and you didn't have to worry about all that cursing. Because a lot of people wouldn't go to--they say I don't want to go to this black theater because first thing they're doing is shooting their momma and their daddy and they're putting down the church and everybody. No, we would just take the forums that people already knew and create from that and so originally when it's time to change it, somebody change it, you know. Change it, if you're the changer, you're the thing from--I mean to blues and gospel or whatever. It was wonderful.

Etta Moten Barnett

Singer and community leader Etta Moten Barnett was born on November 5th, 1901, in Weimar, Texas, the only daughter of Reverend Freeman F. Moten and Ida Norman Moten. Before attending the University of Kansas Etta Moten married Lieutenant Curtis Brooks and they had three children. Unhappy in her marriage Moten chose to attended college and divorce her husband, while caring for her children on the weekends.

After her graduation from the University of Kansas, Etta Moten set out for New York City and more specifically, Broadway. She went on to achieve stardom in the theater, performing in legendary Broadway productions of Sugar Hill, Lysistrata and Porgy and Bess, joining the ranks of African America's most elite talent. Etta Moten also appeared in many films including Flying Down to Rio, with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

In 1934 Etta Moten married Claude Barnett, founder of the Negro Associated Press. Their marriage also represented a change in the scope of Barnett's influence. Barnett and her husband began to focus on more philanthropic efforts. Together they enjoyed a special bond, traveling during the late 1950s as members of a U.S. delegation to Ghana. She also represented the United States at the independence ceremonies of Nigeria, Zambia and Lusaka. After her husband's death in 1967, Etta Moten Barnett became more active in domestic affairs, including working with the Chicago's DuSable Museum and Lyric Opera. Her many distinctions included honorary degrees from Spelman College, Lincoln University and the University of Illinois; an award for her Contributions to American Music by Atlanta University; and the establishment of a scholarship in her name for minority students at the Chicago Academy for the Performing Arts.

Barnett passed away on January 2, 2004 at age 102.

Accession Number

A1999.005

Sex

Female

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

2/4/1993

12/16/1999

Last Name

Barnett

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

Moten

Organizations
Schools

Paul Quinn College

University of Kansas

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Etta

Birth City, State, Country

Weimar

HM ID

BAR02

Sponsor

McCormick Tribune Foundation

State

Texas

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/5/1901

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Death Date

1/2/2004

Short Description

Singer and community leader Etta Moten Barnett (1901 - 2004 ) performed in Broadway’s legendary productions of "Sugar Hill", "Lysistrata" and as Bess in "Porgy and Bess", her signature role. Barnett was the first African American to sing at the White House and also served as an United States representative on cultural missions to ten African nations.

Main Sponsor
Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2986">Tape: 1 Slating of Etta Moten Barnett interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2987">Tape: 1 Etta Moten Barnett talks about her parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2988">Tape: 1 Etta Moten Barnett talks about her grandparents origins</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2989">Tape: 1 Etta Moten Barnett talks more about her grandparents' origins</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2990">Tape: 1 Etta Moten Barnett recalls her favorite childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2991">Tape: 1 Etta Moten Barnett talks about her early talent for singing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2992">Tape: 1 Etta Moten Barnett recalls her childhood and her early music career with the Jackson Jubilee Singers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2993">Tape: 1 Etta Moten Barnett talks more about the Jackson Jubilee Singers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2994">Tape: 1 Etta Moten Barnett recalls the United States' bad impression of Africa</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2995">Tape: 1 Etta Moten Barnett recalls her first marriage and her experiences at the University of Kansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2996">Tape: 2 Etta Moten Barnett talks about her experiences at the University of Kansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2997">Tape: 2 Etta Moten Barnett recalls her first teaching job</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2998">Tape: 2 Etta Moten Barnett talks about her move to New York and her first acting jobs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2999">Tape: 2 Etta Moten Barnett recalls her courtship with Claude Barnett</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3000">Tape: 2 Etta Moten Barnett talks about meeting Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3001">Tape: 2 Etta Moten Barnett recalls famous black leaders and her role in 'Porgy and Bess'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3002">Tape: 2 Etta Moten Barnett talks about her singing career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3003">Tape: 2 Etta Moten Barnett recalls her life with Claude Barnett</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3004">Tape: 3 Etta Moten Barnett talks about her husband Claude Barnett and his journeys to Africa</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3005">Tape: 3 Etta Moten Barnett recalls why she feels the arts are important to society</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3006">Tape: 3 Etta Moten Barnett talks about her views on the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3007">Tape: 3 Etta Moten Barnett talks about the importance of black history and her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3008">Tape: 3 Etta Moten Barnett refuses to sing a song</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3009">Tape: 3 Etta Moten Barnett talks about her father's college diploma and prepares to talk about her other photos</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3010">Tape: 3 Photo - Etta Moten Barnett as the Carioca Singer from the movie 'Flying Down to Rio,' 1933</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3011">Tape: 3 Photo - Etta Moten Barnett as "Bess" in George Gershwin's stage version of 'Porgy and Bess,' 1940s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3012">Tape: 3 Photo - Etta Moten Barnett with her daughters, Sue Brooks-Ish and Etta Vee Brooks-Traylor, ca. 1990s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3013">Tape: 3 Photo - Etta Moten Barnett's grandfather Moten, 1800s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3014">Tape: 3 Photo - Etta Moten Barnett and her family at her granddaughter Etta Sue Ish's christening, 1951</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3015">Tape: 3 Photo - Color photo of Etta Moten Barnett, ca. 1990s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3016">Tape: 3 Photo - Black-and-white photo of Etta Moten Barnett, ca. 1990s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3017">Tape: 3 Photo - Etta Moten Barnett and Claude Barnett, 1930s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3018">Tape: 3 Photo - Etta Moten Barnett outside her Bronzeville home, Chicago, Illinois, 1985. Photo by Judith Sedwick</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3019">Tape: 3 Photo - Etta Moten Barnett's father, Rev. Freeman Franklin Moten</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3020">Tape: 3 Photo - Etta Moten Barnett's mother, Ida Mae Norman Moten</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3021">Tape: 3 Photo - Etta Moten Barnett with a cheetah, Africa, 1960s. Photo by Moneta Sleet for 'Jet' magazine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3022">Tape: 3 Photo - Etta Moten Barnett in a pose, 1920s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3023">Tape: 3 Photo - Etta Moten Barnett in New York, 1920</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3024">Tape: 3 Photo - Advertisement in 'Musical Courier' for Etta Moten Barnett's concert at Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois, February 7, 1949</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3025">Tape: 3 Photo - Etta Moten Barnett, 1982. Photo by James VanDerZee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3026">Tape: 3 Photo - Etta Moten Barnett's husband, Claude Barnett, founder of the Associated Negro Press, 1940s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3027">Tape: 3 Photo - Etta Moten Barnett and her parents, Rev. Freeman Franklin Moten and Ida Mae Norman Moten, Los Angeles, California, September 15, 1915</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3028">Tape: 4 Sue Ish talks about memories of her mother, Etta Moten Barnett</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3029">Tape: 4 Sue Ish reflects on being raised by her grandparents and their response to her mother's career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3030">Tape: 4 Sue Ish talks about the racism her mother encountered while on tour with 'Porgy and Bess'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3031">Tape: 4 Sue Ish recalls stories of her great-grandparents, the Motens</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3032">Tape: 4 Sue Ish talks about her grandmother's personality and her mother's advice to her regarding religion</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3033">Tape: 4 Sue Ish talks about her mother's voice and life with her step-father, Claude Barnett</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3034">Tape: 4 Sue Ish talks about her mother's role in the entertainment world</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3035">Tape: 4 Sue Ish recalls her mother's theatrical roles and trips to Africa with her husband, Claude Barnett</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3036">Tape: 4 Sue Ish talks about the Associated Negro Press and its demise after her father's death</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/3037">Tape: 4 Sue Ish reflects on her mother, Etta Moten Barnett's legacy</a>

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Etta Moten Barnett talks more about the Jackson Jubilee Singers
Etta Moten Barnett recalls her life with Claude Barnett
Transcript
Did you perform [with the Jackson Jubilee Singers] all around--around the South, or was it Texas? Where did you--.$$No, all around the South, all--and mainly all of the black Negro colleges--all of the Negro colleges that were throughout the South because you had separate colleges in those days. And so all of those colleges--all would have the [Robert] Jackson Jubilee Singers come, and whites' colleges would have the Jackson Jubilee Singers come. And with the Jackson Jubilee Singers was this lecturer who was white, and from Africa. And they learned something from both sides, the white colleges did. So it was one of those educational things. In fact, you--and you knew what you were doing, and you were always taught what you were doing, but you weren't taught to dislike them for it. You taught them because nobody had been able to--nobody had taught them before. And they didn't know any better then.$$Now, after that--so you were performing--do you remember any of the songs at that time? Do you remember the African song?$$Did I ever tell you about an African song, [daughter] Sue [Ish]?$$During the Jackson Jubilee Singers? No.$$Well, now--$$(Sings) "Porque bebe tanto es sirapage shay gaja e dimaj." Now, I don't know what that was, nor when that was. "Porque bebe tanto es sirapage." That's why--why--.$$That was from your radio program on (unclear)--.$$Well then, I had learned it from--I brought it from something out of my own repertoire. (Sings) "Porque bebe tanto es sirapage--." Yes, I remember some of that African song, some of the African things in it.$Mrs. Barnett, what about your life with Claude--Claude Barnett? What--what was that whole experience like? What was (unclear)--.$$(Simultaneously) That was like a--let me see--'34 [1934] 'til--when did he die--'67 [1967]. How many years is that? That's 34--33 years. It was like a thirty-three year love affair with Claude Barnett. A love affair--a legal (with emphasis) love affair. It was--we had a wonderful (with emphasis) marriage, wonderful marriage, and so much so that it's (pause) indescribable. Because you see, he was too busy to bore me, and I was too busy to bore him. And each of our--and he--and I was a part of his business in a way because he could go from the Associated Negro Press--ANP--to the guy that was Marion Anderson's agent--manager, 'cause he would book me whenever I wanted--and wanted him to.$$That's what I read, that he was your--he actually took over being your agent.$$Well, he--,$$A little bit.$$--he did. He did. He did.$$But let me--why would--what impact do you think that he and Associated Negro Press had on the black community?$$On the black what?$$On the black community. Why was it so important what Claude Barnett did with the Associated Negro Press?$$Because he had that type of reputation with people. He was a--was honest. He was influential with Republican and Democrat [political parties]. He was non-political, actually, so that people knew it, but he was a very marvelous person to see what's was what, and what was coming up. And so therefore he--he was well thought of. I think very much what this Bladley--Bradley is going to be, that we have now. He reminds me sort of--of--.$$Of--of Claude Barnett. Okay.