The Capitol Ballet Company Founded in Washington DC/ Raven Wilkinson Leaves the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo


In 1961, Doris W. Jones and Claire H. Haywood established the Capitol Ballet Company, a multiracial performing company, as an extension of their Jones-Haywood school. 


Doris Jones served as the company’s artistic director until 1982. Today, the Capitol Ballet Company holds the distinction of being the oldest predominately African American ballet company in the United States. In 1980, Jones also formed the Jones-Haywood Youth Dancers in order to provide more opportunities for younger dancers. The company performed classic works including Swan Lake as well as original pieces by Jones, including Ebony Concerto  and the Rachmaninoff Concerto. Notable company members were Sylvester Campbell, Sandra Fortune Green and Hinton Battle. 







Sandra Fortune Green

Sylvester Campbell

Hinton Battle

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Raven Wilikinson Leaves the Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo


After six years with the Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo Raven Wilkinson is forced to resign after being outed for being Black.








While on tour with the company she encountered issues concerning “whites only” hotels in the American South. When on stage, Wilkinson was asked to wear white makeup. Wilkinson never denied her race when asked. She was forbidden to perform in certain towns that were considered unsafe. She was eventually advised that should would not go much further with the company and left after six years.



Raven Wilkinson


Other Happenings in 1961:


  • Jan 25th 1st live, nationally televised presidential news conference (JFK)
  • Mar 1st US President JFK establishes the Peace Corp
  • Mar 8th US nuclear submarine Patrick Henry arrives at Scottish naval base of Holy Loch from SC in a record underseas journey of 66 days 22 hrs
  • May 1st 1st US airplane hijacked to Cuba
  • May 25th JFK announces US goal of putting a man on Moon before the end of decade
  • Aug 30th J B Parsons is 1st African American judge of a US District Court
  • Sep 5th JFK begins underground nuclear testing


  • Apr 12th Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first person to orbit Earth (Vostok      1)
  • Apr 17th 1,400 Cuban exiles land in Bay of Pigs in a doomed attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro
  • Jul 14th Pope John XXIII publishes encyclical Mater et magistrate
  • Dec 2nd Fidel Castro declares he’s a Marxist & will lead Cuba to Communism

Arts and Sciences

  •  Jan 12th “Show Girl” opens at Eugene O’Neill Theater NYC for 100 performances
  • Jan 15th Supremes signed with Motown Records
  • Jan 25th Walt Disney’s “101 Dalmations” released
  • Feb 7th Jane Fonda made her acting debut in the NBC drama “A String of Beads”
  • Feb 13th Frank Sinatra launches Reprise label under Warner Bros Records
  • Apr 5th Barbra Streisand appears on “Jack
  • Apr 8th “Show Girl” closes at Eugene O’Neill Theater NYC after 100 performances
  • Apr 17th 33rd Academy Awards – “Apartment” wins best film, Burt Lancaster & Elizabeth Taylor win best actor/actress
  • May 1st Pulitzer prize awarded to Harper Lee for her novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”
  • Jun 16th Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev defects to West at Le Bourget Airport in Paris
  • Jun 24th Beatles record “If You Love Me Baby
  • Jul 24th Edwin Newman becomes news anchor of Today Show
  • Aug 31st Amsterdam National Ballet forms
  • Sep 17th Samuel Beckett’s “Happy Days,” premieres in NYC
  • Sep 23rd 1st movie to become a TV series-How to Marry a Millionaire
  • Sep 23rd Ernie Banks ends 717 consecutive-games-played streak
  • Oct 18th “West Side Story”, the film adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical, starring Natalie Wood, is released (Best Picture 1962
  • Dec 4th Floyd Patterson KOs Tom McNeeley in 4 for heavyweight boxing title
  • Dec 8th Wilt Chamberlain scores the 2nd highest total in the NBA – 78

Human and Civil Rights

  •  Jan 3rd Adam Clayton Powell elected Chairman of House Education
  • Jan 11th Racial riot at University of Georgia
  • Feb 11th Robert Weaver sworn in with then highest federal post by a black
  • Mar 27th Black demonstrators in Charleston staged ride-ins on street cars
  • Mar 29th After a 4½ year trial Nelson Mandela is acquitted of treason in Pretoria
  • May 4th CORE begins freedom rides from Washington, D.C.
  • May 14th Bus with 1st group of Freedom Riders bombed & burned in Alabama
  • May 20th White mob attacks “Freedom Riders” in Montgomery, Alabama
  • May 24th 27 Freedom Riders arrested in Jackson, Mississippi
  • May 26th Freedom Ride Coordinating Committee establishes in Atlanta
  • Aug 9th James B Parsons is 1st black appointed to Federal District Court
  • Aug 16th Martin L King protests for black voting rights in Miami
  • Sep 20th James Meredith refused access as a student in Mississippi
  • Nov 29th Freedom Riders attacked by white mob at bus station in Miss
  • Dec 12th Martin Luther King Jr. & 700 demonstrators arrested in Albany Ga


  • Feb 12th Celtic Bill Russell grabs 40 rebounds to beat Warriors 136
  • Mar 13th Floyd Patterson KOs Ingemar Johansson in 6 for heavyweight boxing title
  • Apr 30th SF Giant Willie Mays hits 4 HRs in a game
  • Jun 8th Milwaukee sets record of 4 consecutive HRs (Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe     Adcock & Frank Thomas)
  • Jun 19th NY Yankee Roger Maris hits his 25th of 61 HRs
  • Sep 10th Mickey Mantle becomes 7th to hit HR # 400

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