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"CAKEWALK" | It's origins in slavery, the cakewalk mocked the rich folks in the "Big House," and southern high-society. Bowing, bending and a high-stepping promenade were characteristic of the dance. In many instances the Cakewalk was performance, and even competition. The dance would be held at the master’s house on the plantation and he would serve as judge. The dance’s name comes from the cake that would be awarded to the winning couple.

Aida Overton Walker dazzled early-twentieth-century theater audiences with her original dance routines, her enchanting singing voice, and her penchant for elegant costumes. One of the premiere African American women artists of the turn of the century, she popularized the cakewalk and introduced it to English society. In addition to her attractive stage persona and highly acclaimed performances, she won the hearts of black entertainers for numerous benefit performances near the end of her…

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LOOK: Proof 'Thriller' Existed In 1903

The Cakewalk was a dance that was performed by slaves at get togethers on plantations. There are many theories as to its origin, one being that slaves borrowed the dance from the Seminole Indian tribe. The dance caught on in society in the late 1800's and at the end the couple who performed it best was awarded a cake. First performed only by men, it became the fashion to have women participate in the 1890's at which time the dance reached epic and ridiculous proportions.

Millie and Christine McCoy (1851-1912) were conjoined twins born into slavery. They and their mother were sold to a showman, Joseph Smith. Smith and his wife educated the girls; they eventually could speak five languages, dance, play music, and sing. They were known as 'The Two Headed Nightingale'. In the 1880s they retired and purchased a small farm. Millie died of tuberculosis at age 61, with Christine following hours later. They remain one of the oldest-lived set of conjoined twins.

Elderly slave couple from New Bern, NC. 1890, black, man and woman, photo, black and white, history, never forget, portrait

Gladys Vanderbilt married Hungarian Count László Széchenyi on 1908. The couple visited Hungary almost every summer with their five daughters.She inherited about $25 million from her father's estate. along with the Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island. She inherited another 5 million from her mother's estate. In 1948 as a widow she leased the Breakers to the Preservation Society of Newport County for one dollar a year. She continued to maintain an apartment in the Breakers until her death.

Vintage photo African American couple 1960's by Treasurehunter7181, $5.99

Sharp dressed couple sitting for a full length portrait shot taken at the Daisy Studio. Memphis, TN, 1942. Vintage African American photography courtesy of Black History Album.

Battle Hymn of the Republic author, Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) was born in New York City to Samuel Ward, Jr., a stockbroker, and Julia Rush, a poet who died of tuberculosis when Julia was five. Howe was educated at schools for young ladies and tutored at home until the age of 16. Her father died in 1839, and five years later Julia married Samuel Gridley Howe, head of the Perkins Institute for the Blind. The couple had six children, the last of whom was born in 1859.

Catching Up :: This photo was taken at the FSIN Pow Wow in Saskatoon Saskatchewan. These ladies in their Ladies Traditional Dance regalia found a some time to catch up and share a moment with each other among the huge crowd of dancers :: by CindyLouPhotos