Appropriately perhaps, on the day of Lincoln’s 200th birthday, the NAACP marked its 100th anniversary earlier this week on February 12th.
I had jotted this info down in my daytimer weeks ago, and can’t recall just now what the source was at the time. Yet nonetheless, with such a significant date smack-dab in the middle of this year’s Black History Month, I couldn’t just let it slide by without marking the occasion in some fashion. In doing a little reading, I was surprised to learn that the U.S.’s National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People was founded not from within the black community as I had perhaps naively assumed, but largely by a panel of white guys: of the 60 individuals who comprised the original committee that founded the NAACP, apparently only three were black.
Okay, so it’s late on that Thursday night and I still haven’t got my act together, but I’m as resolved as ever to make a salutation with my humble flute…somehow…somewhere. Just past midnight I realize that I still have time to make it to a local TTC station before it closes, where I know there is a wonderful echo-chamber.
As 1 a.m. rolled around, in the middle of sorting through soundfiles and archived photos, I pulled up the TTC hours of operation, and to my pleasant surprise discovered that the Spadina Station, just a few blocks away, is actually open until 1.30 in the morning. As I grabbed my 1948 Schirmer edition of Marian Anderson’s Album of Songs and Spirituals and headed out the door, I reminded myself that if this is good enough to be considered TTC’s ‘Thursday hours of operation’, well surely it can still be considered officially the 100th birthday of the NAACP, even though it was well past midnight!
Upon arrival, the doors magically yielded, still not barred for the night. Toronto’s TTC system would likely do Rosa Parks proud.
Here are the random sounds of the deserted subway entrance in the wee hours of the morning, along with the first piece that I randomly turned to in the collection of songs that Anderson made famous as she toured Europe and the Continental U.S. back in the 30’s and 40’s. This is the first time I had ever encountered Faure’s evocative song ‘Automne’ – and I call myself a musician! Yet I can’t think of more poignant circumstances to revel in this haunting vocal line, and can only imagine what this acclaimed singer might have sounded like singing this haunting song.
Happy Birthday, NAACP…who knows what the next 100 years might accomplish!
And here is a more complete rendition of Automne pulled from YouTube…thanks, Jimmy, for your fine performance, as well as the complete text of the song that you have tucked in on the right-hand sidebar so that listeners might fully appreciate the poetry of the music.