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Mystery Manor and the National Negro Opera Company
WQED’s OnQ airs a special segment on The National Negro Opera Company and the landmark building in which it began.


Segment airs Thursday, Feb. 26th at 7:30pm

PITTSBURGH – As part of Black History Month, WQED’s OnQ will air a special feature report on The National Negro Opera Company, the landmark building in which it began, and the efforts to preserve the now-dilapidated Victorian-style house on the border of Homewood and Lincoln-Lemington.

The program airs on WQED-TV on Thursday, February 26 at 7:30pm.

Mary Cardwell Dawson formed the National Negro Opera Company in 1941 then expanded to include chapters in New York, Chicago and Washington, DC. Her efforts opened new doors and launched careers for African-Americans who had little or no access to classical or opera music training.

The house also has a rich history beyond Dawson. William “Woogie” Harris, brother of famed photographer “Teenie” Harris, bought the house in 1930 and hosted prominent black entertainers (Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughn, Cab Calloway) and athletes (Joe Louis, Roberto Clemente) who were denied Pittsburgh hotel accommodations. Neighbors dubbed the house “Mystery Manor” because of the famous comings and goings.

The OnQ story focuses on new efforts to restore the home, features rare archival images, and an interview with Dawson’s niece and former secretary, Barbara Edwards Lee, who now lives in a nursing home.

Hosted by Michael Bartley, OnQ is WQED’s nightly newsmagazine broadcast, the only one in the region and one of five in the country. In its 10th year, OnQ features stories about the region’s culture, business, history and human interest topics. A multiple Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Award winning program, OnQ was the first news and information program to broadcast in high-definition (HD) in the Pittsburgh market.

WQED Pittsburgh, honored with the 2007 and 2006 Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Award for Station Excellence, was founded in 1954 as the nation’s first community-supported broadcaster. WQED creates, produces and distributes quality programs, products and services to engage, inform, educate and entertain the public within its community and around the world. WQED Pittsburgh is one of the first broadcasters in the country to be fully high-definition (HD) in its studio and field production capabilities. It is the parent company of WQED-TV (PBS); WQED: The Neighborhood Channel; WQED: The Create Channel; WQEX-TV (A ShopNBC affiliate); WQED-FM 89.3/Pittsburgh; WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; a publishing division that includes PITTSBURGH MAGAZINE; local and national television and radio productions; WQED Interactive (www.wqed.org); and The WQED Education Department.

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