Tag Archives: Bajan

June is Caribbean-American Heritage Month!

 

Caribbean Americans, like all immigrant groups, have made profound contributions to the U.S. The diversity of Caribbean people is seen through language, religion, race, and traditions. The Anacostia Community Museum collection includes works done in and about the Caribbean as well as work from and about notable Caribbean Americans.

It is this same diversity that has drawn many artists and scholars from the U.S. To the Caribbean. Our collection includes prints from my fellow Duke alum, U.S. born  Titus Brooks Heagins, who documented people of color throughout the world including the Carolinas, Belize, and with extensive work in the Caribbean nations of Cuba and Haiti.

This drawing, “Untitled,” is from famous Harlem Renaissance artist Ernest Crichlow (1914-2005).

Untitled by Ernest Crichlow charcoal, cardboard
Untitled by Ernest Crichlow
drawing: charcoal, cardboard , Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Collection

 

Although often referred to as an African-American artist, Crichlow is a Brooklyn born child of Bajan immigrants. That is not to say ‘African-American’ is an inaccurate identifier for him or his work; it is simply incomplete.

A strength of the Anacostia Community Museum’s collection is making international and national connections to everyday life in the D.C. area community. A perhaps lesser known but no less remarkable person in the ACM collection is Jamaican born Percival Bryant.

Bryant left Jamaica at the age of 18. He went first to New York, then, after 5 years, moved to Washington, D.C. where he settled east of the River in NE DC. He lived in DC until his death on January 27, 1996, just two days after his 90th birthday. Finding Aid for Pervical Bryant Collection

Percival Bryant poses with golf clubs in 1948. Percival Bryant Collection, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Archives
Percival Bryant poses with golf clubs in 1948. Percival Bryant Collection, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Archives
Percival Bryant holding a baby, circa 1951. Percival Bryant Collection, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Archives
Percival Bryant holding a baby, circa 1951. Percival Bryant Collection, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Archives

 

One of his first jobs in D.C. was as a driver for Attorney General Homer Cummings. Of the many jewels in this collection, his autograph book from his time as a taxi-cab driver holds over 160,000 signatures from his passengers!

Percival Bryan Autograph Albums, 1941 - 1993, Percival Bryant Collection, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Archives
Percival Bryant Autograph Albums, 1941 – 1993, Percival Bryant Collection, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Archives

 

Happy Caribbean-American Heritage Month from the Anacostia Community Museum!

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About Caribbean-American Heritage Month from: http://www.caribbeanamericanmonth.org

In June 2005, the House of Representatives unanimously adopted H. Con. Res. 71, sponsored by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, recognizing the significance of Caribbean people and their descendants in the history and culture of the United States. On February 14, 2006, the resolution similarly passed the Senate, culminating a two-year, bipartisan and bicameral effort.

Since the declaration, the White House has issued an annual proclamation recognizing June as Caribbean-American Heritage Month…