Jimmy "Wink" Winkfield squeezed every last drop of life out of his 92 years on this planet. Born in 1882, in Chilesburg, Kentucky, Jimmy grew up working on a horse farm where his father sharecropped. Wink found his way onto one of those horses, winning the Kentucky Derby in 1901 at age 19 (as well as 160 other races that year) repeating the feat a year later in 1902. He narrowly lost in 1903, losing by 3/4 of a length. But he would be blacklisted after he dishonored a contract by racing for another owner. Paired with violence by white jockeys, big money betting and Klan intimidation, he made the decision to take his talents to Europe. With nothing but a Russian/Polish/English dictionary, he bought a steamer ticket to Russia. He won the Emperor's Purse, the Moscow Derby twice and the Russian Derby thrice. He also gobbled up wins in France, Germany and Poland. Needless to say, this little brotha was doing big things across the pond. He made $100K a year, lived in the luxe National Hotel in Moscow (with his personal white valet), and ate caviar and drank champagne daily while hobnobbing with Russian millionaires and aristocrats. In 1917 the Bolsheviks rose to power, soon shutting horse racing down. Jimmy led 250 outlawed thoroughbreds, Polish noblemen and riders across the Transylvanian Alps to Poland. This arduous journey was so hellish, they wound up eating several of the horses to stay alive, enduring the robberies by locals as well. Today, the bloodlines of some of those same horses he saved are some of the greatest stallions in Europe. Wink jump started his career before moving to Paris. He was the toast of the town soon after, opening a stable and speaking fluent French as he hung with Hemingway and Josephine Baker. In 1961, Wink returned to the States for one last time to attend the Kentucky Derby for the first time since 1903. Winkfield and his daughter were invited to a reception hosted by Sports Illustrated to honor the two-time winner. Still segregated, the black doorman wouldn’t allow him to enter through the front door. Wink stood his ground. Eventually they were admitted only to be ignored the whole time. Returning to France to live out his ...
Sylvester James was born on September 6, 1947 in Watts Los Angeles, California, into a middle-class family.
Sylvester and his family were intricately tied to the Pentecostal church. This is where Sylvester fell in love with the rich sounds of gospel music. Sylvester was aware of his sexual orientation at an early age and after a sexual encounter with a male congregational member, the church shunned him and Sylvester ceased regular attendance at the age of 13. Leaving home as a teenager, Sylvester was homeless for the next decade; depending on the help of friends and relatives. At age 15, he began frequenting local gay clubs and built up a group of friends from the local gay black community, eventually forming themselves into a group which they called the Disquotays. The group held lavish house parties, sometimes (without permission) at the home of their friend, rhythm and blues singer Etta James, in which they dressed up in female clothing and wigs, constantly trying to outdo one another in appearance. By the end of the decade, the Disquotays had begun to drift apart, with a number of them abandoning cross-dressing and others recognizing that they were trans women and undergoing sex reassignment surgery. Sylvester always considered himself male and began to tone down the feminine nature of his clothing, aiming for a more androgynous look.
In the 70s Sylvester moved to SF to join The Cockettes, an avant-garde performance art drag troupe. The Cockettes parodied popular culture, were involved in the Gay Liberation movement, and were influenced by the ethos of the hippie movement, living communally, embracing free love, and consuming mind-altering substances. Sylvester was known for his staggering falsetto and piano capabilities through which he gained his own following; imitating several of his musical idols like Billie Holiday and Josephine Baker. Adding to his image, Sylvester used the pseudonym "Ruby Blue" & described himself as "Billie Holiday's cousin once removed." Fascinated by black musical heritage, he became a collector of "negrobilia"; in some of his Cockette performances, he played up to racial stereotypes of African-Americans in order to ridicule...
did you know February also black history month #blackhistory #blackhistorymonth
accorning to @history
It was 50 years ago when nearly 1,000 Memphis Sanitation workers refused to report to work demanding higher wages, safer work conditions, and the recognition of their union. However, despite organizing boycotts, sit-ins, and marches almost daily, the sanitation workers were initially unable to lock down concessions from Memphis’ municipal officials. Martin Luther King, Jr. agreed to come to Memphis and lead a nonviolent demonstration in support of the sanitation workers, and on March 29 over 5,000 demonstrators, carrying now –iconic signs which read "I Am A Man," participated. However, things took a turn for the worse when some participants began breaking storefront windows. The ensuing violence resulted in the death of 16 year-old Larry Payne, who was killed by Memphis police officers. The city then imposed a curfew, and mobilized the National Guard. MLK was deeply troubled by the violence and promised to return to Memphis and lead a peaceful demonstration. On April 3rd King returned to Memphis and delivered what would be his last public speech, the following evening he was assassinated. Nearly two weeks later on April 16, the Memphis sanitation workers' strike ended when the city agreed to issue raises to African-American employees and recognize their union.