• Authors to discuss A.C. casino industry book
    Aug. 1 at Historical Museum

    Just One More HandStockton University professors Dr. Ellen Mutari and Dr. Deborah M. Figart will discuss their book, Just One More Hand: Life in the Casino Economy, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Atlantic City Historical Museum. The book explores life stories of individual Atlantic City casino workers in the context of the history of the city and the now-global gaming industry. Click here to read more.
  • Philadelphia Eagles Book Mobile to visit Aug. 11

    eaglesThe Philadelphia Eagles Book Mobile will stop by the Atlantic City Free Public Library for a special story time at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11. The story time will be held at the Main Library, located at One North Tennessee Ave. The Eagles’ Storybook Man will read a book to the children. Each child will have the opportunity to pick out a free book to keep following the reading. Click here to read more.
  • Library starts local Hispanic history project

    Hispanic Heritage Month photoOn Cinco de Mayo – Tuesday, May 5 – the Atlantic City Free Public Library launched a project to collect the history of the Hispanic community in Atlantic City. Through this project, the library is looking to develop a collection of materials which future generations of students, writers and genealogists can use to script a community history. Click here to read more.
  • Need help with your reading or writing skills?

    Literacy VolunteersThe Atlantic City Free Public Library and Literacy Volunteers Association Cape-Atlantic are offering a basic adult literacy class for individuals who need help with their reading and writing skills. The class is for adults on a fifth grade reading level or lower. Click here to read more.
  • Atlantic City Historical Museum
    hosts crew from NJTV show

    Talking Miss AmericaAn NJTV show scheduled to debut this fall visited the Atlantic City Historical Museum on June 20 to film an episode focused on the city’s history. “Drive By History” show co-hosts Ken Magos and Cindy Perman interviewed Atlantic City Library and Atlantic City Historical Museum archivist Heather Perez about some of the moments, people and places that have helped define Atlantic City. Click here to read more.
  • Walk-in Job Skills Lab held at library

    job skillsThe Atlantic City Free Public Library offers free weekly Walk-in Job Skills Labs to library members who need help with job-related tasks. We’ll provide refresher tips for your job search. Click here to read more.
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Joanna LaSane

lasane crop

Marker is located on the southwest corner of Hummock Avenue and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

Marker text:

1935-
An Atlantic City native, LaSane devoted her life to the Arts and was the first African-American Woman appointed to the New Jersey State Council of the Arts. She served as Director of the Atlantic City Children's Theatre and Drama Consultant for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Complex, the Center for Early Childhood Education and the Atlantic City Board of Education. Beginning a career as a high fashion model, Joanna was the first Atlantic County female to model internationally. She appeared in Vogue, Redbook, Look, Life, Ebony and Glamour, and was the first black model to do a prime time commercial seen coast to coast. Mrs. LaSane served on the Board of Directors of the Atlantic County Cultural and Heritage Commission and the Atlantic City Arts Commission. She received numerous awards such as being listed in the Who's Who Among Black Americans, the N.J. State Senate Cultural Arts Award and was inducted into the Atlantic County Women's Hall of Fame in 1996.

 

Additional information:

Joanna LaSane's performing and modeling career has brought her international acclaim, but not always without resistance. LaSane's mother was a graduate of Madame Sarah Spencer Washington's Apex Beauty School, an institution which promoted an increasingly-dated concept of African-American beauty which included many products to straighten and take out the natural crimping of black hair. Joanna, conversely, preferred to keep her hair looking natural. Her mother asserted that this would be a detriment to her career, but, as advertising agencies began to portray African-Americans in a truer and less stereotypical sense, Joanna's look was exactly what they wanted. Joanna's appearance in a Pepsi advertisement launched her modeling career, but the original passion which she later returned to as a theatre director was dance. LaSane attended the American School of Ballet in New York, and the International School of Dance at Carnegie Hall. She also received training from Lloyd Richards, the Dean of Yale University's School of Drama. LaSane has called dancing "The ultimate in physical fitness," and has stated that "the most important part of education is to tie everything in with the arts." Joanna is married to Karlos LaSane, the first black man to be elected to a public office in Atlantic City.

For more information, see these resources in the Atlantic City Free Public Library, Atlantic City Heritage Collections:
Johnson, Nelson: The Northside
Atlantic City Press, article from May 9, 1989
"Black History Month 2008: A Title of Respect" Heston Coll. 305.874985

 

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