(Left to right): Z. Louis Finney, Emani Spence, Andrew R. Cooksey, Travis Baird and Paule Aboite perform “Tell Me Again.” The play is based on southern black folk tales gathered by several Harlem Renaissance writers of the 1920s. Many of the folk tales were based on original African tales. Black History Month was celebrated in Rockaway last Saturday as the Peninsula Library hosted a performance of Harlem On My Mind – A Celebration of the Harlem Renaissance. Performed by the Xoregos Performing Company, it was a production of four short plays – “How the Cookie Crumbles,” “Silence of the Land,” “Tell Me Again” and “Grimké’s Shadow”; poems by writers from the era – Georgia Douglas Johnston, Angelina Grimké, and Langston Hughes; and music by Duke Ellington, Fats Waller and Irving Berlin.
Aboite performs “Harlem On My Mind,” which was written by Irving Berlin for Ethel Waters. The song pays tribute to Josephine Baker, who despite living well as an expatiate in France, still had Harlem On Her Mind.
Spence, left, and Cooksey recite Langston Hughes’ poem “Hold Fast the Dreams.” Right: Finney tries to get Aboite’s attention in “Grimké’s Shadow.” Photos by Miriam Rosenberg