A dancer and actor, Barbara Ann Teer quickly landed roles in 1960s Broadway shows like Kwamina and Where's Daddy? after she arrived in New York City. But she yearned for parts that would celebrate her heritage instead of further perpetuating stereotypes. So in 1968, Teer founded the National Black Theatre in Harlem, where she became a staunch advocate for African and African-American artists. Under Teer's stewardship, the institution evolved into a cornerstone of black culture. She was 71.

He was known as the "Little Giant" because of his diminutive stature, but Johnny Griffin was a musical talent of towering proportions....

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