Vancouver Foundation

Fall 2013

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Page 11 of 31

Creative Cultural Collaborations Society The fabulous – but largely forgotten – black history of Vancouver's Strathcona neighbourhood Some of the names almost everyone knows: Jimi The Harlem Nocturne – owned by trombonist Ernie King (pictured here and in inset, posing with dancers) and his wife, showgirl Marcella "Choo Choo" Williams – was Vancouver's only black nightclub when it opened in 1957. (inset top, centre) Strathcona resident Barbara Howard, the fastest woman in the British Empire in 1938. p12-13 Blk Strathcona.indd 12 Hendrix, Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole. Others might ring a few bells: Vie's Chicken and Steakhouse, Marcella "Choo Choo" Williams, the Harlem Nocturne. Still others, like Barbara Howard, are virtually unknown. What they have in common is they're all part of the fabulous – but largely forgotten – black history of Vancouver's Strathcona neighbourhood. "This is such a hidden history," says Esther Rausenberg. "That's why we really wanted to bring it to life." As co-artistic director of the Creative Cultural Collaborations Society, Rausenberg, with the support of Vancouver Foundation and other funders, is working to revive memories of the black community's presence through Black Strathcona, an interactive new media project. Black Strathcona will create 10 three-minute videos about the key locations and figures of Strathcona's black community from the 1920s to the 1970s, when Vancouver's black population was concentrated in that neighbourhood. by dorothy bartoszewski photos courtesy of esther rausenberg 13-10-11 1:32 PM S

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