Michelle Black Smith

A.B.C.D. Cultural Arts Center – a Creative Community Response

October 27, 2017

By Michelle Black Smith

On July 6, 1970, under the agency leadership of Charles B. Tisdale, the A.B.C.D. Cultural Arts Center (hereafter Art Center) welcomed Bridgeport youth and young adults to explore a variety of creative expression at an office building in downtown Bridgeport.  Free of charge and located at 1188 Main Street, the inhabitants of this converted art space were unique tenants among the doctors, lawyers, and dentists who shared the building.  The CT Commission on the Arts (hereafter Commission) was established in 1965, the same year that A.B.C.D. received official designation as a regional anti-poverty agency.  (more…)

African American Heritage, Art, Education, Organizations and Associations

Black Bridgeporters

July 27, 2011

by Michelle Black Smith

In 1977, a dedicated group of African American teachers decided to record the history of Black Bridgeporters in the residents’ own words. The Afro-American Education Association (hereafter AAEA) petitioned the CT Humanities Council for funds and technical support. The introduction to the AAEA recorded history states “This project is a study of the changes in Bridgeport neighborhoods from the viewpoint of selected Black residents during the historical periods of World War I, the Depression, World War II, and the 1960’s.” (more…)

African American Heritage

Three Women

June 27, 2018

By Michelle Black-Smith

In the spring of 2018, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with three unique, creative, and insightful people.  These individuals inhabit all four spaces – Black, Woman, Artist, Bridgeport Native – and they do so with great pride, expression and articulation through their various art forms and discussion.  We watched a vocal interpretation of Nina Simone’s tour de force Four Women performed by Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo, Lizz Wright and Nina’s daughter, Simone before the start of our discussion.  This article might have been titled Two Women.  I had to convince Wendy Bridgeforth that despite her near twenty-year hiatus from the professional art scene, she belonged in the circle.  (more…)

African American Heritage, Art, Women