DCS: sandy west

From the time she was nine years old, when her grandfather bought her a drum kit, Sandy West had been rocking. Using every spare minute to practice, Sandy became the drummer in her Long Beach, California elementary school band. Later, she was the only female drummer who played in local bands. Fifteen-year-old Sandy met flamboyant …

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DCS: paige young

As Bill Cosby’s sexual harassment and assault retrial begins, the story of his relationship with Paige Young remains a forgotten footnote to the list of Mr. Cosby’s accusers. A naïve budding model named Paige Young was presented as “Miss November” in the penultimate issue of Playboy magazine for the year 1968. The pretty and petite …

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DCS: shirley hemphill

Born in North Carolina, Shirley Hemphill was an aspiring comedian while she supported herself with a job in a factory. She sent a cassette recording of her routine to popular comedian Flip Wilson. Impressed by the tape, Wilson sent Shirley a new cassette recorder, a dozen roses and an invitation to visit the set of …

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DCS: tammi terrell

A teenage Tammi Terrell, still using her birth name of Montgomery, signed on as a back-up singer with soul legend James Brown in 1963. While on tour, she entered into a sexual, yet physically abusive, relationship with the singer. Tammi eventually left Brown after he beat her for not watching his entire performance. Following a …

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IF: olympics

At the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in Nazi-controlled Berlin, Germany, Jesse Owens single-handedly crushed Adolf Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy. Jesse, an African-American son of sharecroppers, won four gold medals in track and field in Berlin before an astonished crowd. Despite his achievements and the accolades he received, he was not offered an invitation to …

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DCS: lorraine hansberry

When A Raisin in the Sun opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theater in 1959, it was the first Broadway show written by an African-American playwright. Lorraine Hansberry, at 29, was also the youngest to win a New York Critics’ Circle award. Lorraine grew up in Chicago’s South Side, where her father, a successful real estate …

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DCS: recy taylor

Recy Taylor died on December 28, 2017 at the age of 97. In September 1944, Recy Taylor, a newly married 25-year old sharecropper was walking home from church with her friend Fannie Daniel and Daniel’s teenage son. The trio was accosted by a car with Hugo Wilson behind the wheel. One of the passengers, US Army Private Herbert …

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DCS: jean porter

Jean Porter was one of those actresses that appeared in over three dozen films but you never knew her name. The button-cute, petite blonde was fourteen when she made her motion picture debut in an uncredited role in Song and Dance Man with Claire Trevor. She went on to land bit parts in numerous films throughout the …

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DCS: france gall

France Gall won the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest with “Poupée de cire, poupée de son,” penned by French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg.  It was the first non-ballad song to win the competition. The song, a sort of double meaning of the phrase “rag doll,” implied a Svengali-like power Gainsbourg possessed over his young protege, as well …

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DCS: jerry van dyke

Despite a surprisingly successful career, Jerry Van Dyke spent most of it in the shadow of his older brother Dick. His talents were often compared to Dick’s successes. Granted, Jerry made some questionable career choices, but he was an in-demand, working actor for the better part of six decades. A budding stand-up comedian in his …

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