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Happy National Tap Dance Day!

GIF Credit: gypsyastronaut – Tumblr
Happy Monday!

I know for most of you, today is just Memorial Day, and that’s fine. Happy Memorial Day! However, today is also occupied by another, lesser-known holiday….

National Tap Dance Day!

Now if you’re like me, you’re probably thinking:

“May 25? That’s such a random day!”

But it’s not just any day, my friends! May 25th was picked because it was the birthday of the famous dancer, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.

He’s probably best known for his dances with Shirley Temple:

Image Credit: Richmond  Times- Dispatch
Image Credit: Wikipedia
Image Credit: The Shake

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson actually was born Luther Robinson on May 25, 1878 in Richmond, Virginia. By the time he was 7 years old, both of his parents passed away. Bojangles and his brother Percy were raised by his grandmother as a result.

Although he was born into tragedy, Bojangles was always talented. Performing since the age of 5, Bojangles danced in numerous troupes and comedy performances. Later in 1928, Bojangles got his big break in the musical revue, Blackbirds. After that, his career took off! He starred in 14 movies and continued to perform publicly, even into his sixties.

Bojangles was also a humanitarian and activist. He founded The Negro Actors Guild of American, co-founded The New York Black Yankees baseball team, and he generously donated to numerous charities. He passed away at the age of 71 from heart failure.

During his life, Bojangles broke a number of racial barriers. He was the highest-paid African American performer of the 21st century, the first African American to headline an interracial Broadway production, and the first African American to appear in a movie in a mixed dance team(this being his dances with Shirley Temple), just to name a few. He really was an interesting man.

President George Bush signed National Tap Dance Day into law as an official holiday on November 7, 1989.

Now that you have learned about a new holiday, go out and celebrate! 

For more information about Bill “Bojangles” Robinson:
  • http://www.biography.com/people/bill-bojangles-robinson-9460594#personal-life
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Robinson
  • http://atdf.org/awards/bojangles.html
  • http://black-face.com/Bill-Bojangles-Robinson.htm

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