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1956 was an annus mirabilis for Nat King Cole.

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Brazilian masterpieces small and humongous.

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Fiercely intelligent, race-conscious yet jovial comedy.

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He fought against “the little men of War and Bias.”

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“It is our purpose to overthrow the capitalist system.”

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Jackie vs. the House Un-American Activities Committee.

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He was country when country wasn’t cool.

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“Life is rhythm.”

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A pioneering scholar of African American history.

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His obsessions: Christian theology, art, authenticity.

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The greatest, funniest cartoons of New York’s gutter age.

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Brian Berger on Grandmaster & Melle Mel’s “White Lines (Don’t Do It)” (1983)

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His wild sounds set off waves of enthusiasm.

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The visionary electronic composer who wrote the DR. WHO theme.

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“SCHOOL DAZE sets race back 200 years.”

Federal Bureau of Prisons mugshot, c. 1944

“Physically, sexually he was the most compelling man I have ever seen.”

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“I left Memphis to spread the news / Memphis women don’t wear no shoes”

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“The greatest blues singer that I ever knew.”

Godowsky and admirer.

“The fingering and pedaling are often of a revolutionary character.”

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Forget everything you thought you knew about “Half-Pint” Jaxon.

He preserved and disseminated oral culture.

Twisting, wry and dolorous laments.

An anthropologist who studied “the muck.”

The painter’s substantial literary achievement is less well-known.