Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Sign in to follow this  
hattack

Lagniappe : 1934 SS Majestic

Recommended Posts

I am doing research on the above two transatlantic voyages that carried African American Cyclist Major Taylor to Paris and his 1st International Tour & the 1936 Summer Olympic Team to the Berlin Olympics which included 18 African American Olympic Team Members (including Jesse Owens ) & 1934 SS Majestic that Cab Calloway's Band sailed on for their 1st European Tour

 

any assistance (photos, articles etc) you could offer to help my project would be greatly appreciated 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, hattack said:

I am doing research on the above two transatlantic voyages that carried African American Cyclist Major Taylor to Paris and his 1st International Tour & the 1936 Summer Olympic Team to the Berlin Olympics which included 18 African American Olympic Team Members (including Jesse Owens ) & 1934 SS Majestic that Cab Calloway's Band sailed on for their 1st European Tour

 

any assistance (photos, articles etc) you could offer to help my project would be greatly appreciated 


You would need to do your research at the South Port Sea Museum in New York City...probably your best bet.  
 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you so much for responding...I actually reached out to them this afternoon thru their website and hopefully since it is closed due to the Public Health crisis, someone will be monitoring their traffic ..I also reached out to Cruise Travel Magazine and contacted my Jazz Cruising friend that lives in Germany to do some research at his end 

 

watching the documentary "Olympic Pride, American Prejudice" and reading books about Cyclist Major Taylor & Musician Cab Calloway & Black Jockeys have exposed me to a greater appreciation of how famous & well of African Americans were subject to Jim Crow Laws which restricted travel and lodging access within the United States especially below the Mason Dixon Line and yet encountered fewer obstacles when travelling transatlantic to Europe during the Post Reconstruction Jim Crow Era (1865-1939) 

 

In Cab Caloway's case he and his big band actually chartered a luxurious private rail car to travel to engagements thru the deep South and would arrange to have the rail car parked in the rail yard to provide housing and meals to avoid Jim Crow restrictions 

 

The White Mainstream Press (Film Media)  accompanying the 1936 Summer Olympic Team freely boasted of the victories of the 18 African American Athletes over the German Olympic Team with Hitler in attendance but was tone deaf silent when only the White team members were invited by FDR to the White House in 1936 for a celebration , a snub that was not corrected until 2008 by POTUS Obama

 

Major Taylor booked 1st Class passage both ways in 1901 and according to written reports mingle freely and ate at the Captain's Table without incident ..the rules changed when he was disembarking at the Pier in NYC

 

Sheltering in Place affords me the luxury of doing research ...will advise you if they respond 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking forward to your research.  The Olympic Games of 1936 is a very interesting historical study.  Hitler was so incensed by the black American victories that he stormed out of the colosseum before the medals were awarded.  

 

I would think that the black athletes were treated well while onboard Majestic.  The way the Olympic committee treated the black athletes was a disgrace.  I remember reading Jesse Owen’s account of the games and post games.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if you have a chance view the documentary "Olympic Pride, American Prejudice " ..I suspect you are correct on how the Black Olympic team members were treated on board the SS Manhattan (especially on the return crossing ) but an entirely different story once the vessel docked in NYC

 

Remember Max Schmeling had just defeated Joe Louis in their 1st match in June 1936 at Yankee Stadium (great PBS Frontline Documentary "The Fight" ) and had return to Berlin with a hero welcome from Hitler who was feeling rather full  about himself and his efforts to showcase his vision of Germany to the World and racial superiority ..to have the 18 American Black Athletes shattered that persona on the world platform only 2 months later was devastating ..in 1938 in the rematch Louis pounded Schmeling to the canvas in the 1st round put a ribbon & bow  on the smashing of the myth 

 

the White Press build up Hitler snubbing the Black Athletes at the award ceremonies, but not a peep about FDR snubbing them by not inviting them to the White House celebration that same year ( that affronted was corrected by POTUS Obama in 2008 ) 

 

to keep with the Cruising theme of this Board it demonstrated that up to the introduction of the Jet  Airplane that could cross the Atlantic, ocean liners were the primary form of transportation and I suspect that as long as one could afford the 1st Class Cabin Fare , the major Steam Ship companies that represented National Interest didn't care as long as the tab was paid in cash 

 

in the early 70's (when i started cruising ) ocean liners were converted to more a vacation mode ( i.e. the SS France converted into NCL Norway ) in the United States and when the 3 class system of cruising was beginning to be replaced by Vessels  being built reflecting less class distinction that the marketing geo politics came into play 

 

I'm thinking the SS Manhattan return sailing from the Summer Games was like a rock star Sports Theme Cruise but when the passage ended life went back to the Jim Crow Era 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

You are correct.  The First Class accommodation was color blind to any race issues at that time.  If the passenger paid the fare they were entitled to all the benefits...regardless of race.  You might reference John Maxtone Graham in one of his books.  I think it might have been in “Crossing and Cruising”.  He recounts the voyage of Josephine Baker onboard the NORMANDIE.  

Edited by CGTNORMANDIE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

will do, thanks ..when I first started Cruising in 1974 , there were very few if any People of Color that Cruised as Guests ..(nor did the cruise lines market towards minority markets at the time due to "offending' their target demographics ) ..I still have not so pleasant memories of being made to feel not welcome by some fellow passengers (crews treated us great) _..in 1982 we cruised to Greece for the 1st time on Greek own Royal  Olympic Cruise Lines Stella Maris and was amazed on how well we were treated 

fortunately as the Cruise Industry exploded in popularity and vessels being built, to fill cabins cruise line have expanded their marketing efforts and onboard product offerings to attract a more diverse demographic 

 

would love to have access to the SS Manhattan manifest (especially the press/media/Hollywood Film Crew on board to cover Hitler's Olympics)  each way on the Transatlantic Crossings that carried the 1936 Summer Olympic team ..ironically 16 of the 18 African American teammates were attending Northern Colleges (including Fritz Pollard Jr at University of North Dakota ) and must have understood the extra burden of redeeming the Honor of the United States & Democracy following Schmelling defeating Joe Louis in their 1st match 

 

SS Manhattan was a flag United States vessel at the time that the Post Reconstruction Jim Crow Era Laws were in full effect but by all signs were not practice on the Transatlantic Crossing ..who knew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I started crossing and cruising in 1965.  There were many people of color who I met or saw along the way.  Not once did I ever see any instance of discrimination or refusal of service.  There was always an attitude on those transatlantic crossings of acceptance and joi de vie.  It was like a fancy house party and everyone was invited.  We met people from Africa, India, and other far off places and the party roared on.  I remember a young man on the SS France who was a sax player and was going for a tryout in Paris.   We crossed both ways with him and there wasn’t a night that we didn’t get together and party or axxs off.  Many times he would end the evening by performing an incredible set of jazz pieces with the house band....he had the entire room on their feet...wow...what great memories.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

which validates both of our perceptions of transatlantic crossings ..my not so warm memories were on cruises out of NYC to Bermuda in the late 70's ( overt vs covert ) ..ironically when Carnival started cruising in the late 70's, early 80's it became much  fun because they were out to break the stereotypes of who would enjoy cruising ( The Fun Ships reputation was well earned ) 

 

My Grandfather was a proud member of the 369th  Infantry Regiment (Harlem Hell Fighters ) during WW 1  and a member of the famed Hell Fighters Marching Band (which ironically the Band Master was from New Orleans ) ..they did on deck daily concerts during the transatlantic crossing when the weather permitted ..upon arriving in Paris, General Pershing refused to have his front line units integrated but the French embraced the Negro Troops and it became one of the most decorated American Units during WW 1 ..Pershing also refused to have African American soldiers who died on foreign soil buried in the same National  Military Cemetery , the French proudly buried them at their National Military Cemetery with full honors (I've visited there which was a very moving experience ) 

 

ironically as a small child, my Grandfather never talked about the fighting in WW 1  but had extensive memories about the Band performing in Paris and on board the Troop Transport

 

if you love Jazz the next time you travel to Paris I can recommend a self tour of great Jazz Clubs that can linked back to WW 1 when the Negro Troops elected to stay after the War rather than return home to Jim Crow Laws 

 

in Cab Calloway's auto biography he speaks fondly of their 1st transatlantic crossing to perform in Europe during the 30's ..they were treated like the celebrities they were and the Captain ask them to perform in a special concert for the guests 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am very aware of the history of black Americans in WW I and WW II.  I am an historian...love 20th Century history...especially ocean liner and military.  I also know of the black musicians in Paris after WW I.  Ken Burns “History of Jazz” on PBS was very good on illustrating that piece of history.   The French were very proud and grateful for the role the Harlem Hell Fighters played in aiding the them in WW I.  Unfortunately the failure of Reconstruction reverberated for 100 years.


I know what you mean about cruising in the 70’s.  The cruises out of N.Y. were fairly staid affairs until Home Lines and The Italian Line got going.  Cruising from Boston was also a more raucous affair at that time.  For some reason the people from Boston were heavier party types compared to New York.  Carnival started in Florida and made their profits on booze sales which translated into party time.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I noticed you are posting from Somerville,, last October I drove from Worcester MA to Saco Maine and remember the exit sign ( I was born and raised in Litchfield County CT ) 

 

hopefully you have had the opportunity to visit the WW 2 Museum in New Orleans that frequently has excellent special exhibits regarding the role of the Port of New Orleans and the role of African Americans during WW 2 ..when the Public Health Crisis passes, I look forward to visiting with the Historians to see if they can help with my project 

 

we had planned on visiting the Smithsonian African American Museum this Fall , which of course will now be rescheduled for 2021 where I am sure I will be able to learn more about this topic ..my German Smooth Jazz Cruising friend has invited me to visit next year to retrace the steps of the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics and the 1901-1903 World Tour of Cyclist Major Taylor

 

what continues to fascinate me is the role of the Press (both White & Negro ) in the Post Reconstruction Jim Crow Era (1865-1939) coverage of World  Sporting events ( Thoroughbred Racing, Cycling, Marathoners, Boxing, 1936 Summer Olympic Team ) 

 

Ocean Liners just serve as the conduit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Best of luck on your quest.  The NOLA WW II Museum is on my bucket list.  
All the best,

 

CGT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks...how far are you from Saratoga (NY) National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame ? part of my  proposed project is hosting a Media Summit event (now in July 2022) in conjunction with the NYRA Cab Calloway Division Championship Promotion Day...would love to invite Yourself & Bride 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, hattack said:

thanks...how far are you from Saratoga (NY) National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame ? part of my  proposed project is hosting a Media Summit event (now in July 2022) in conjunction with the NYRA Cab Calloway Division Championship Promotion Day...would love to invite Yourself & Bride 


Thanks so much.  I am in Dialysis so I don’t get out too much.  
I loved Cab Calloway.  I actually got to see him perform live at Symphony Hall...fantastic performer.  
 

All the best,

Edited by CGTNORMANDIE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

will let you know if we do a Virtual  Reality component ..fyi pretty sure if you check the New Orleans WW 2 Museum web page they have a virtual tour of the Museum along with podcast of special events 

 

several members of Cab Calloway's Band were from New Orleans and there is an annual Danny Barker Banjo & Guitar Festival in January that we hopefully will be involving in our Project...Cab was a regular on the Race Track Circuit in New York State in his heyday that resulted in the NYRA naming a Race in his Honor 

 

my Mom (when she was under aged ) was a dancer in the chorus line at the Cotton Club for about a year when Cab's and Peg Legs Bates were the "house band" when Duke Ellington was on tour ( she passed in 2013 when I found this out) ..just finished his biography Hi-De-Ho 

 

be safe will keep you updated as I make progress on this effort 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance w/ Steve Dasseos of the TripInsuranceStore.com June 2020
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...