The Voice is a reality television singing competition based on the original The Voice of Holland. The concept of the series is to find currently unsigned singing talent. The winner is determined by the votes of television viewers.
The first official symphonic concert tour celebrates the 15th anniversary of the multi-million selling video game series.
Stevie Wonder is one of the most celebrated and prominent figures in popular music. He has received numerous awards and honors including 25 Grammy Awards, the prestigious Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award. His humanitarian efforts are world known. Stevie has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and he is a designated U.N. Messenger of Peace with special focus on persons with disabilities.
“Stayin’ Alive: A Grammy Salute to the Music of the Bee Gees” marks the 40th anniversary of the album that spent 24 weeks atop the Billboard sales chart in 1977-78.
New York's famed Apollo Theater and Spike TV host a gathering of friends and colleagues paying tribute to Alec Baldwin.
12-year-old classical crossover prodigy Jackie Evancho’s second television special Jackie Evancho: Music of the Movies was recorded in the opulent splendor of one of Los Angeles’ most venerable landmarks, the newly restored Orpheum Theatre.
The mission of Operation Wellness is to inspire veterans to make the same commitment to their health and wellness that they have to their country. Rock the Troops 2016 commemorates the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and takes place at the historical Pearl Harbor-Hickam military base.
Fame is an American television series (1982–1987) based on the 1980 motion picture of the same name. Using a mixture of drama and music, it followed the lives of the students and faculty at the fictional New York City High School for the Performing Arts.
A Grammy recognizes outstanding achievement in the music industry. The annual telecast features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have popular interest. It recognizes achievement in the music industry like the Emmy Awards for television, the Tony Awards for theater, and the Academy Awards for motion pictures.
Divas Simply Singing is an annual World AIDS Day event, and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.
The Academy Awards, or "Oscars", is an annual American awards ceremony hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to recognize excellence in cinematic achievements in the United States film industry as assessed by the Academy's voting membership. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a statuette, officially called the Academy Award of Merit, commonly known by its nickname "Oscar".
Natural Wonder is a live album by American musician Stevie Wonder, released in 1995 and recorded in Osaka, Japan. It is an edited version of a televised concert Wonder performed with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Dolly Parton, Luther Vandross, Pat Benatar and Maria Conchita Alonso are among celebrities who salute female notables.
World premiere at Kennedy Center who commissioned the musical.
World premiere at Kennedy Center who commissioned the musical. The Queen, a fading pop star, can’t take the success of her beautiful stepdaughter Pearl.
A reimagined fairytale is contemporized, funkified and stylized for a new generation.
Peer of Einstein and Buckminster Fuller, Jacque Fresco is considered by many to be a modern day Da Vinci.
Monthly publication written by and for adult emerging readers working toward family reunification and sobriety.
The Library of Congress established the Gershwin Prize in 2007 to recognize “living musical artists whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with George and Ira Gershwin, by promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations.”
Dreamgirls, a Broadway musical, with music by Henry Krieger and lyrics and book by Tom Eyen, opened on December 20, 1981 at the Imperial Theatre, and was nominated for 13 Tony Awards, including the Tony Award for Best Musical, and won six.
Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, rock band The Eagles, screen and stage actor Al Pacino, gospel and blues singer Mavis Staples and musician James Taylor are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture.
Greatest Hits is a music series featuring hitmakers of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Each episode highlights a five-year period celebrating the biggest hits from that time, hosted by Arsenio Hall and Kelsea Ballerini. Iconic music artists, as well as today's music chart-toppers, take the stage and perform the songs that defined the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child is an American anthology animated television series that premiered March 12, 1995 on HBO. Narrated by Robert Guillaume. Each episode details a classic story from a different culture, and features characters voiced by famous actors, comedians, singers, political activists, and celebrities.
Benefit concert broadcast live by the four major American television networks and all of the cable networks in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001. Done in the style of a telethon, it featured a number of national and international entertainers performing to raise money for the victims and their families. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine selected this concert, along with the later The Concert for New York City, as one of the 50 moments that changed rock and roll.
Backstreet's Back Tour was a concert tour by the Backstreet Boys that began in 1997 and concluded in 1998. The set list included songs from their second album Backstreet's Back and several songs from their debut album Backstreet Boys.
The annual Miss America Competition and telecast is a scholarship pageant that is held annually and is open to women from the United States between the ages of 17 and 24. Originating in 1921 as a "bathing beauty revue", the contest is now judged on competitors' talent performances and interviews in addition to their physical appearance. Miss America travels about 20,000 miles a month, changing her location every 24 to 48 hours, touring the nation and promoting her particular platform of interest.
According to International Cinematographers Guild, two-time Academy Award-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler was one of the ten most influential cinematographers in movie history. His unwavering commitment to social justice led his documentary work that includes Brazil: Report on Torture; Underground; and Bus Riders’ Union.
"Jungle Fever" is Stevie Wonder's soundtrack album to Spike Lee's 1991 movie.
"Shot of Love" is Bob Dylan's twenty-first studio album. It was released on August 10, 1981 by Columbia Records.
Bumps Blackwell, best known for producing Little Richard's most celebrated recordings, supervised recordings of "Trouble", "Magic" and "Shot of Love". Dylan would later reveal that the experience gave him an enormous amount of satisfaction.
Bunny Briggs was an American tap dancer born in 1922 in Harlem, New York. At one point he thought about becoming a Catholic priest but instead began performing as a tap dancer and singer. He performed with Duke Ellington's Orchestra. He was the sixth husband of Olivette Miller, the celebrated swing harpist who performed with both Lena Horne and a young not-yet-a-superstar Dorothy Dandridge in the 1940s.
The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon was an annual telethon held each Labor Day in the United States to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). The telethon was held annually on Labor Day weekend beginning in 1966, and would raise $2.45 billion for MDA from its inception through 2009.
Motown Live is an American television series that showcased live performances by music artists in the areas of rhythm & blues, hip hop and popular music. The show ran for 13 episodes during 1998-1999.
Lionel Brockman Richie, Jr. is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer and actor. Beginning in 1968, he was a member of the musical group Commodores, signed to Motown Records. Richie made his solo debut in 1982 with the album Lionel Richie, and the number one hit "Truly". He has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the world's best-selling artists of all time.
Four contemporary artists singing with a full orchestra and gospel choir.
The Into the Millennium Tour was a world concert tour by the Backstreet Boys in support of their 1999 album, Millennium. The tour comprised 123 shows in 84 cities spanning three legs. The North American legs featured concerts at arenas and stadiums. Into the Millenium became the fastest selling tour of all time.
VH1 debuted the first annual VH1 Divas concert in 1998. VH1 Divas Live was created to support the channel's Save The Music Foundation and subsequent concerts in the series have also benefited that foundation.
An Emmy Award, or simply Emmy, recognizes excellence in the television industry, and corresponds to the Academy Award (for film), the Tony Award (for theater) and the Grammy Award (for music).
Special that features ordinary people experiencing extraordinary things–psychics, seances, spoon-bending, telekinesis and other "stranger than fiction" occurrences–as well as experts who claim they can give rational, earthly explanations.
The No Strings Attached Tour was the third concert tour by American boy band, NSYNC. Primarily visiting North America, the tour supported the band's second studio album, No Strings Attached. Beginning in May 2000, the tour sold out all dates within the first day of the ticket sale. It became the second highest grossing tour in North America, earning more than $70 million.
Anastacia Lyn Newkirk established herself as one of the top selling international female pop-singers of the 2000s, and made a significant impact in Europe and Oceania. Anastacia has sold over 30 million records worldwide and has topped the US dance chart on two separate occasions.
Celebrities pay tribute to the 70th anniversary of the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York.
An orchestra performance and practice opportunity for elementary school children and their families. Bucket drumming, singing, dancing, orchestral instrument performance of classical, world and pop music, and family involvement were the cornerstones of this innovative community development tool designed and facilitated in Lennox, California.
The Soul Train Music Awards is an annual award show that previously aired in national television syndication. It honors the best in Black music and entertainment.
A Home for the Holidays is an annual CBS network primetime special. It shares stories of foster care and adoption, and features performances from some of America’s most popular musical artists.
The Cosby Show is an American television sitcom that aired on NBC from September 20, 1984 until April 30, 1992. According to TV Guide, the show "almost single-handedly revived the sitcom genre and NBC's ratings.” Entertainment Weekly stated that The Cosby Show helped to make possible a larger variety of shows with a predominantly African-American cast.
The Backstreet Boys sang the national anthem as part of the pre-game ceremonies at Super Bowl XXXV.
98 Degrees is an American pop and R&B boy band consisting of four vocalists: brothers Nick and Drew Lachey, Justin Jeffre and Jeff Timmons.
Multimedia audience experiences in New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, Charleston and Washington DC empower families facing conflict, and focus on building resilience and the skills to recover from crisis.
The BET Awards were established in 2001 by the Black Entertainment Television network to celebrate African Americans and other minorities in music, acting, sports, and other fields of entertainment over the past year. The awards are presented annually, and are broadcast live on BET. The live presentation ceremony features performances by artists, and some of the awards of more popular interest are presented in a televised ceremony.
An Image Award is an accolade presented by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to honor outstanding people of color in film, television, music and literature.
The Disco Ball was a 2003 television special featuring a wide array of celebrities performing disco songs. The concert was taped on October 13, 2002 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California.
The Stripped Tour (also known as Stripped Live) was the third concert tour by American recording artist Christina Aguilera. It was launched in support of her fourth studio album, Stripped (2002). A continuation of her Justified and Stripped Tour with Justin Timberlake, it reached Europe, Asia and Australia.
Cedric the Entertainer hosts and performs in a variety series that takes it cue from the big comedy variety shows of the 1950s.
Stevie Wonder's annual House Full Of Toys benefit concert is one of the most anticipated Southern California holiday events.
While Emmys recognize TV shows in current production, the TV Land Icon Awards is an American television awards ceremony that commemorates shows now off the air.
Legendary performers and contemporary artists who have been influenced by Charles’ music perform in this concert extravaganza. Presented by Quincy Jones, Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman and Regina King, to honor a true genius with real soul.
Ray is a 2004 American biographical film focusing on 30 years in the life of rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles.
America's favorite young married couple, Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, multi-platinum artists known from their hit MTV series Newlyweds, star in their first television special, a fun-filled variety hour of music and comedy.
VH1 is bringing back and putting a contemporary spin on the classic hit The Partridge Family. Get on board for this behind-the-scenes look at their nationwide search to cast contestants to battle it out for the sitcom leads.
The Onyx Hotel Tour was the fifth concert tour by American recording artist Britney Spears. It showcased her fourth studio album, In the Zone and visited North America and Europe. The Onyx Hotel Tour was commercially successful, grossing $34 million. Showtime broadcast live the March 28, 2004 show at the American Airlines Arena, in a special titled Britney Spears Live From Miami.
Music special commemorating the 45th anniversary of Motown Records. Featuring Motown recording artists as well as celebrities who have been influenced by the Motown sound.
The Billboard Music Award is an honor given by Billboard, a publication and music popularity chart covering the music business.
American Idol began airing on June 11, 2002, and ended on April 7, 2016. For an unprecedented eight consecutive years, from the 2003–04 television season through the 2010–11 season, either its performance or result show had been ranked number one in US television ratings. The series concluded after 15 seasons.
UNCF An Evening of Stars® is a celebrity-packed event that raises money and awareness for minority education. The show is full of performances and scholarship presentations to inspire and support students attending historically black colleges and universities.
Live from the Wiltern in Los Angeles, California, actor/comedian Cedric the Entertainer performs his first solo HBO Comedy Special.
Dreamgirls star Jamie Foxx launched an eight-week concert tour in support of his new CD Unpredictable at the San Diego Civic Center. He played 20 cities, including Chicago, St. Louis, Boston, New York, Orlando and Cleveland, before the tour concluded in Las Vegas.
Fantasia Barrino overcomes sexual abuse, illiteracy and other setbacks, and becomes the winner of American Idol in 2004.
Celebrity Duets was an American television game show that combined celebrities of different backgrounds with professional singers in a weekly elimination competition.
High School Musical: The Concert is a concert tour performed by members of the cast of the popular teen/romantic comedy musical TV film series, High School Musical. The concert toured cities in the US, Canada and Latin America.
America's Got Talent is an American talent show that features singers, dancers, magicians, comedians and other performers of all ages, competing for the advertised top prize of one million dollars. The show debuted in June 2006 for the summer television season.
The producers of American Idol embark on a search to find the next great American music group.
Spotlight is a scholarship and training program that encourages personal and artistic growth while exploring new possibilities in the arts.
Best of Both Worlds Tour was the debut concert tour by American recording artist Miley Cyrus. The tour was launched to promote the double-disc album Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus. The tour began in October 2007 and concluded in March 2008, visiting cities in the United States and Canada. One dollar from each ticket was donated to the City of Hope National Medical Center, an organization devoted to the fight against cancer. The Best of Both Worlds Tour raised over $2 million USD for the organization.
Don't Forget the Lyrics! is an international game show in the United States and United Kingdom in which a contestant is prompted to complete song lyrics for increasing amounts of money. The primary difference between Don't Forget the Lyrics! and other music-based game shows is that artistic talent (such as singing or dancing) is irrelevant to the contestant’s chances of winning. In the words of one of the commercials prior to the first airing, "You don't have to sing it well. You just have to sing it right."
CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute is an award-winning television special created by CNN to honor individuals who make extraordinary contributions to humanitarian aid, and make a difference in their communities. In 2012, the program received a Peabody Award for its 2011 campaign and show. CNN Heroes has also been nominated for News & Documentary Emmy Awards, and is the winner of three Gracies (award for exemplary programming created by women, for women and about women in all facets of media).
The GRAMMY Foundation's signature music industry camp for U.S. high school students is an interactive summer music experience focusing on all aspects of commercial music.
Participation in out-of-school-time (OST) programs can help keep middle and high school youth engaged in their education at a time when many students are beginning to disengage from school. Hip Hop Orchestra is a program with high participation and retention rates. Program characteristics provide useful strategies for organizations endeavoring to support and improve family involvement.
Formerly called School of David, Founders Academy provides educational opportunities to the older children of families affected by substance abuse. Founders Academy is also a professional development institute dedicated to recruiting and training qualified individuals to effect positive change in underserved communities.
In Performance at the White House began in 1978 with an East Room recital by the legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz. The series was created to showcase the rich fabric of American culture in the setting of the nation’s most famous home.
Charity single recorded by the supergroup Artists for Haiti in 2010. Remake of the 1985 hit song We Are the World, written by American musicians Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, and recorded by USA for Africa to benefit famine relief in Africa.
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno is an American late-night talk show hosted by Jay Leno that initially aired from May 25, 1992 to May 29, 2009, and resumed production on March 1, 2010 until its ending on February 6, 2014.
Written and recorded by American will.i.am in commemoration of the landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars. Broadcast live from the planet after a journey of more than 300 million miles. First song in history to be broadcast from another planet. Second song to be broadcast in space.
Annual Christmas tree lighting celebration in Hollywood, California.
Formerly the BR!CK Awards, inaugurated in 1996 to recognize people 25 and younger who have done outstanding work in their communities and the world. Do Something Awards highlight the efforts of young people making social change, and individuals from the entertainment industry who have dedicated their time to activism and charity.
Tower of Power is an American R&B-based horn section and band, originating in Oakland, California. In the summer of 1968, then known as The Motowns, founders Emilio Castillo and Stephen "Doc" Kupka began playing around Oakland and Berkeley, their soul sound relating to both minority and rebellious listeners.
The Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles uses orchestra music as its primary means of developing strong, productive young citizens in the inner city communities of Los Angeles. Music instruction provides ancillary benefits: problem solving skills, critical thinking, self-reliance, self-confidence, self-discipline, and the crystallization and pursuit of meaningful purpose.
A musical tracing the careers of the three sisters who make up the real-life singing trio The Emotions, and their climb to stardom.
Dianne Reeves is an American jazz singer who has been one of the leading exponents of the genre since the 1980s and has won five Grammy awards.
The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual event honoring those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture. The Honors have been presented annually in the Kennedy Center Opera House since 1978.
Dottie Rambo was an American gospel singer and songwriter. She was a Grammy and multiple Dove Award-winning artist. She penned more than 2500 songs. Many have been recorded by a virtual "who's who" in the music industry. In 2000, Rambo was awarded the ASCAP Lifetime Achievement Award.
Nancy Wilson has been labeled a singer of blues, jazz, R&B, pop and soul, a "consummate actress", and "the complete entertainer". The title she prefers is "song stylist".
Singer/songwriter Stevie Wonder, the awardee of the second Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, premieres "Sketches of a Life," a sprawling, hybrid pop-classical concerto, written between 1976 and 1994. The work was unveiled through a commission for the Library of Congress in the Coolidge Auditorium.
Special celebrating the 50th anniversary of "Ebony" magazine. Starring Muhammad Ali, Debbie Allen, Halle Berry.
Millennium Park Presents is a series of one-night-only performances showcasing opera, dance, Broadway hits, classical and house music, mariachi and more, performed by some of Chicago’s best-loved cultural institutions.
Musical based on the 1996 movie of the same name.
In December 2013, Stevie Wonder performed the entire Songs in the Key of Life album at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles with some of the original singers and musicians from the 1976 double-album. The start of the tour coincided with the 38th anniversary of the release of Songs in the Key of Life.
Toto is an American rock band formed in 1977 in Van Nuys in Los Angeles. Known for a musical style that combines elements of pop, rock, soul, funk, progressive rock, hard rock, R&B, blues and jazz, the band has released a total of 17 albums and have sold over 40 million albums to date. The group was honored with several Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009.
Tony Award winner Heather Headley is Andrea Bocelli's special guest during his concert tour launched at Madison Square Garden.
Any Aretha Franklin performance in Los Angeles is a special occasion if only because her aversion to flying makes visits to the West Coast from her Detroit home relatively few and far between.
International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda. Every year, the United Nations organizes commemorative events at its Headquarters in New York and at United Nations offices around the world.
Rikers Island is New York City's main jail complex, as well as the name of the 413.17-acre island on which it sits. The island is home to one of the world's largest correctional institutions and mental institutions.
The 2000 Democratic National Convention was a quadrennial presidential nominating convention for the Democratic Party.
Recorded at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. The biggest names in music join together for performances, including a once-in-a-lifetime series of duets, in a two-hour special to begin A+E Networks’ campaign to confront issues of race, and promote unity and progress on racial equity.
Proceeds from the annual benefit gala held during GRAMMY Week provide essential support for MusiCares which provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need.
The 2016 Democratic National Convention is the gathering at which delegates of the United States Democratic Party chose their nominees for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States in the 2016 national election.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is a Smithsonian Institution museum whose building, designed by David Adjaye, is on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The museum seeks to understand American history through the lens of the African American experience.
Amy Grant invited 98 Degrees, Tony Bennett and CeCe Winans to Banff, Alberta to celebrate the holidays.
Peavey's engineers took the award-winning technology of their DPM3 synthesizer and added sample editing capabilities, along with other enhancements, to make the DPM 3 SE both a high performance synthesizer and sampler.
Jacque Fresco (born March 13, 1916), is an American futurist and self-described social engineer. Fresco is self-taught and has worked in a variety of positions related to industrial design. Fresco writes and lectures his views on sustainable cities, energy efficiency, natural-resource management, cybernetictechnology, automation, and the role of science in society, and advocates global implementation of a socioeconomic system which he refers to as a "resource-based economy."
Marian Wright Edelman (born June 6, 1939) is an American activist for the rights of children. She has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans her entire professional life. She is president and founder of the Children's Defense Fund.
Galileo Galilei (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642) was an Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher and mathematician who played a major role in the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. He met with opposition from fellow astronomers, and the Roman Inquisition which concluded, in 1615, that heliocentrism was "foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture." He was tried and found "vehemently suspect of heresy", and forced to recant. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest. While under house arrest, he wrote one of his best-known works, Two New Sciences, in which he summarized work he had done some forty years earlier on the two sciences now called kinematics and strength of materials.
Jaime Alfonso Escalante Gutierrez (December 31, 1930 – March 30, 2010) was an educator known for teaching students calculus at Garfield High School, East Los Angeles, California.
Escalante was born to two teachers of Aymara ancestry on in La Paz, Bolivia. He was proud of his Aymara heritage and as an adult would proudly proclaim, "The Aymara knew math before the Greeks and Egyptians". He taught mathematics and physics for 12 years in Bolivia before emigrating to the US. In the US, he had to work many odd jobs, teach himself English and earn another college degree before he could return to the classroom. In 1974, he began teaching at Garfield High School.
Shortly after Escalante came to Garfield High, the school’s accreditation became threatened. Instead of gearing classes to poorly performing students, Escalante offered AP Calculus. He had already earned the criticism of an administrator who disapproved of his requiring the students to answer a homework question before being allowed into the classroom. "He told me to just get them inside," Escalante reported, "but I said, there is no teaching, no learning going on”.
Determined to change the status quo, Escalante persuaded the first few students who would listen to him that they could control their futures with the right education. He promised them that the jobs would be in engineering, electronics and computers. They would, however, have to learn math to succeed. He said to his students, "I'll teach you math and that's your language. With that you're going to make it. You're going to college and sit in the first row, not the back, because you're going to know more than anybody."
Marva Delores Collins (née Knight; August 31, 1936 – June 24, 2015) was an American educator who started Westside Preparatory School in the impoverished Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago in 1975.
Collins grew up in Atmore, Alabama, a small town near Mobile, Alabama, during the time of segregation in the American South. When she was young, Collins went to a strict elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse in Atmore, Alabama. She graduated from Clark College (now known as Clark Atlanta University) in Atlanta, Georgia.
Collins taught school for two years in Alabama, then moved to Chicago in 1959, where she taught as a full–time substitute teacher in inner–city Chicago Public Schools system for fourteen years.
Dismayed at the low levels of learning that she felt some students were experiencing in particular areas, Collins took $5,000 (a large sum of money at that time) from her own teacher's retirement fund and started a private school in the top floors of the brownstone in the West Garfield Park neighborhood where she lived in 1975.
The school she started was called Westside Preparatory School. Westside Prep became an educational and commercial success. Collins created her low-cost private school specifically for the purpose of teaching low income black children whom Collins felt the Chicago Public School System had labeled as being learning disabled. Collins said she had the data to prove that students were teachable and were able to overcome obstacles of learning via her teaching methods, which she said eliminated behavioral issues and allowed students to flourish.
The one-room schoolhouse of her elementary years influenced her methods. At home her father gave her assignments she believed built her confidence and gave her a sense of responsibility. She felt time spent with students was more valuable than distance-creating audio visual information.
Leonardo da Vinci was many things: a painter, an engineer, a creative thinker. He was also the inventor of the first man-made plastic, says Alessandro Vezzosi, director of Italy’s Museo Ideale. Vezzosi was flipping through some of the Renaissance man’s notes when he came across recipes for several mysterious mixtures. These mixtures would harden into a material that could be used to make nearly unbreakable knife handles, chessboards, jewelry, or cups and vases, Leonardo claimed.
Intrigued, Vezzosi tried out the recipes and ended up with a compound resembling Bakelite, one of the first synthetic polymers, which was widely used in the early 1900s. But whereas the production of Bakelite involves intricate molds and chemical processing, making Leonardo’s natural plastic required nothing more than painting layers of pigmented animal or vegetable glue onto various templates, including cabbage leaves, lettuce, and ox tripe. “It is ‘plastic material’ in the classical meaning of the word,” Vezzosi says. “It is extraordinary on an aesthetic, scientific, and technological level—and this was over 500 years ago.”
By Jocelyn Selim, May 29, 2004
Science for the Curious
Mary McLeod Bethune was an educator, political leader and social visionary who mobilized Americans to organize and challenge racial injustice and demand first class citizenship.
Mary Jane McLeod was born on July 10, 1875, the 15th of 17 children of former South Caroline slaves. Unlike her parents and all but two of her siblings, Bethune was born free, and was formally educated. After teaching and working among South Carolina blacks, she realized that her “life work lay not in Africa but in my own country.”
In 1904, a single mother, she opened a high school, hospital, and the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls. Daytona Normal later merged with the Cookman Institute for Men in Jacksonville, FL and became the Bethune-Cookman College.
In 1917, Bethune began decades of leadership among women’s groups, steering them beyond traditional self-help and moral uplift toward the politics of agitation for integration as organizations with explicit civil rights agendas attacking racial discrimination and segregation in the Federal government.
She led an organization that trained tens of thousands of black youth for skilled positions that eventually became available in defense plants during World War II. She made sure black colleges participated in the Civilian Pilot Training Program which graduated some of the nation’s first black pilots.
Bethune was instrumental in integrating the Red Cross, increasing public awareness of lynching, voter discrimination in federal elections, and segregation on interstate trains and buses.
She was the first African American woman to be involved in the White House, assisting four different presidents.
It is our pledge to make a lasting contribution to all that is finest and best in America, to cherish and enrich her heritage of freedom and progress by working for the integration of all her people regardless of race, creed, or national origin, into her spiritual, social, cultural, civic, and economic life, and thus aid her to achieve the glorious destiny of a true and unfettered democracy.
Mary McLeod Bethune
Hedy Epstein (née Wachenheimer, August 15, 1924 – May 26, 2016) was born in Freiburg to a Jewish family. She was rescued from Nazi Germany by the Kindertransport in 1939.