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World War II

From The New York Times:
Love and Black Lives, in Pictures Found on a Brooklyn Street
A discarded photo album reveals a rich history of black lives, from the
segregated South to Harlem dance halls to a pretty block in Crown Heights.
By ANNIE CORREAL
JAN. 27, 2017

One night six years ago, on a quiet side street in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, I came across a photo album that had been put out with the trash. I lived around the corner, and I was walking home when I saw it sitting beneath a streetlamp on Lincoln Place.
It looked handmade, with a wooden cover bound with a shoelace. But it had been tied up with twine, like a bunch of old newspapers, and left atop a pile of recycling.
After hesitating a moment, I picked it up and took it home.
The pages were fragile, and they cracked when I turned them, as if the album hadn’t been opened in a long time, but the photos were perfectly preserved. They seemed to chronicle the life of a black couple at midcentury: a beautiful woman with a big smile and a man who looked serious, or was maybe just camera-shy, and had served in World War II.
As I turned the pages, the scenery changed from country picnics to city streets and crowded dance halls in what appeared to be Harlem, and the couple went from youth to middle age. Looking at the album, I was struck by how joyful the photos were — and by the fact that as fabled as this era was, I had never seen a black family’s own account of that time.
I wondered who these neighbors were, and who had thrown the album out.
For decades, this part of Crown Heights had been mostly black. When I arrived in the neighborhood, several years before, I was one of the few nonblack residents on the block. The neighborhood was changing, though; newcomers were arriving and longtime residents were moving out.
I went back to Lincoln Place, hoping to find the album’s owner; it had surely been thrown out by mistake. Lincoln Place was the very image of old Brooklyn promoted by real estate agents. On other blocks, the houses were carved up or crumbling. Or they had been torn down and replaced by big buildings with spotlights and no-loitering signs. But on Lincoln Place, the stately rowhouses were still intact and well loved. The block was preserved in amber.
I knocked on doors and left my number, but I never heard from anyone. So I put the album on my bookshelf. A few years later, my landlords got an offer they couldn’t refuse, and my short time in Crown Heights was up. I stumbled upon the album while packing and pulled it off the shelf. Now I really had to reckon with it.
Gentrification was transforming the neighborhood — soon there might be no one left who recognized the world in these pictures. And the album was literally falling apart in my hands.…

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You may have never heard of a newspaper called PM. But it was one of several daily newspapers which New York City used to support in the mid-20th century. Surviving issues, some of which feature now well-known writers and photographers, provide a window into the lives and concerns of people during the 1940s, when the paper ran.

According to Untapped Cities, “the Steven Kasher Gallery in Chelsea is pulling the paper back into the spotlight with the exhibition “PM New York Daily: 1940-48.” Until February 20th, the gallery will show pictures from PM, taken by the biggest photographers of the ’40s including Lisette Model, Margaret Bourke-White and Weegee.

The paper was founded by Ralph Ingersoll, the managing editor of Time-Life publications who was known for his daring and defiant character. In 1941, when Stalin made an interview with Ingersoll off-the-record, the editor ran a detailed illustration of the Kremlin and pointed out the gate where Ingersoll had entered – proof that the interview had indeed happened.

In an age of press corruption, Ingersoll was adamant that PM would not publish ads. It survived on donations and subscriptions alone. Or rather it limped by. In 1946, its owner, Chicago bank millionaire Marshall Field, declared that the paper would begin accepting ads. Ingersoll resigned.

But PM‘s first five years were glorious. The paper supported President Roosevelt’s New Deal and preached the plight of the working class. From abroad, it exposed the fascism of World War II. PM reporters were writing about the mass murder of Jews as early as 1941.

You can see these articles at the gallery, where each photo is paired with a copy of the newspaper page that it appeared on. The white walls are a medley of pristine prints in elegant black frames and taped-up photocopies of newspaper articles. It’s the best and biggest scrapbook you’ve ever seen.”

I’m going to go to the exhibit if I can.…

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Denny Daniels’ newsletter for the Museum of Interesting Things has the following information to impart: “As I mentioned, save Sept 13th for the Nautical/Prohibition Speakeasy. This week I got this 16mm film on old sailing boats just for that event! Our collection of vintage 16mm films is over 300 and has nearly every subject. From Nasa to Old cartoons to WW2 footage, circus footage and Bouncing Ball singAlong footage. I even got one vintage film on Arctic Ice and a 1940’s German one on how to make shoes. My dad was a big shoe designer.”…

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Link to slideshow of past historic Daily News photos and headlines below shared from the NY Daily News depicts events surrounding the enactment of Prohibition and the celebration of Repeal as they affected New York City. While I knew the late Mayor Jimmy Walker has been no fan of Prohibition (and that enforcement was lax, and he himself was said to have frequented speakeasies), I had no idea that there had been a Beer Parade through city streets, with floats urging that beer be re-legalized and taxed to get the economy out of a slump. Talk about history repeating itself!

http://nydn.us/http://nydn.us/1fcz6PD

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