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102-Year-Old Former Chorus Line Dancer Sees Herself On Film For First Time (VIDEO)

via Alice’s website:

The Wikipedia article for the Harlem Renaissance is a great place to start learning about the time period and cultural movement that Alice was a part of in the beginning of her career.

From YouTube:

Alice Barker was a chorus line dancer during the Harlem Renaissance of the the 1930s and 40s. She danced at clubs such as The Apollo, Cotton Club, The Zanzibar Club, and on Broadway—with legends including Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Although she danced in numerous movies, commercials and TV shows, she had never seen any of them, and all of her photographs and memorabilia had been lost over the years.

After years of searching we found three “Soundies” Alice appeared in and were finally able to show them to her — she had never seen herself in motion in her life! 

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The Zanzibeauts, Alice is third from the right. via alicebarkernotbaker.com

Description continued:

Alice passed away peacefully on Wednesday, April 6th, 2016. She spent the last day of her life in good spirits, enjoying listening to music and having her mail read to her. Thank you to all the thousands of fans who sent in cards, flowers, and art. You truly gave her deep joy and meaning in the last years of her life!

You can learn more about Alice at the little website we’ve set up for her: http://www.alicebarkernotbaker.com/

All of Alice’s films from this video are collected here: https://youtu.be/rpg5D0AAA2w

For more info about the dancers of the Harlem Renaissance, we recommend the lovely documentary “Been Rich All My Life” —several of the women in the film danced with Alice back in the day!

A little more about the who’s who here: “We” are friends of Alice who searched for the films and made this video. I’m David Shuff, a volunteer who visits the home with my therapy dog Katie, and have known Alice for 8 years. The woman in the video is Gail Campbell, a recreation therapist (and an amazing one at that!). She never gave up on finding Alice’s films, and uncovered the first piece of the puzzle that lead to us finding them — which was Alicia Thompson; a historian of black female performers who had been looking for Alice for years (her site is http://forclassicmovieloversonly.trip… and her YouTube channel is “MusicandDancing4Ever”). She told us that Alice was in films called ‘soundies’. 

Using that clue I found jazz historian Mark Cantor of http://jazz-on-film.com and he was able to send us three of Alice’s soundies from his collection. Shortly afterwards Alicia got us a few more films. 

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Written by Tiffany Willis Clark

Tiffany Willis Clark is a fifth-generation Texan, a proponent of voluntary simplicity, a single mom, and the founder and editor-in-chief of Liberal America. An unapologetic member of the Christian Left, she has spent most of her career actively working with “the least of these" -- disadvantaged and oppressed populations, the elderly, people living in poverty, at-risk youth, and unemployed people. She is a Certified Workforce Expert with the National Workforce Institute, a NAWDP Certified Workforce Development Professional, and a certified instructor for Franklin Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. She also has a grossly neglected personal blog, a  Time Travel blog, a site dedicated to encouraging people to  read classic literature 15 minutes a day, and a literary quotes blog that is a labor of love. Find her somewhere and join the discussion.

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