Showing posts with label black history month. Show all posts
Showing posts with label black history month. Show all posts

Saturday, February 04, 2023


February is Black History Month. Today, February 1st, the first day of the month long observance, the People’s Organization For Progress (POP) is calling for a “Ban On Black History Protest,” Saturday, February 25, 2023, 12 noon, at the Lincoln Statue, 12 Springfield Avenue, in Newark, New Jersey.

“The purpose of this protest is to demonstrate our opposition to attempts in Florida, Virginia, and other states, municipalities, and school districts across the United States to ban and censure the study of black history in our educational institutions and society,” stated Lawrence Hamm, Chairman, People’s Organization for Progress.

“As we begin Black History Month, we must confront the fact that today there are racist and fascist forces in our country who are trying to change the way black history is taught, eliminate it from school curriculum, or prohibit its introduction,” Hamm said.

“Here we are in the twenty-first century, and legislation, executive orders, and policies are introduced and laws are passed that would criminalize the teaching of black history. Books about black historical figures and events written by black and white authors are being banned,” he stated.

“The attempts to revise and eliminate black history must stop and we must stand up to those who are attempting to carry them out,” Hamm said.

“It is outrageous that the The College Board would bow to the demands of Governor Ron DeSantis and strip down it’s A.P. curriculum for African American studies. Attempts to impose a racist white supremacist revisionist history of black people upon us must be resisted,” Hamm said.

“American history that does not reflect the breadth, depth, and truth of the Black historical experience is mythology. Black history should be taught in all of our schools and educational institutions,” he said.

For more information please call People’s Organization For Progress (POP) at (973)801-0001.

Thursday, February 02, 2023

As Black History Month Begins, Booker, Bowman Reintroduce African American History Act

 U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). and U.S. Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY-16) reintroduced the African American History Act. This legislation provides important resources to help educate the American public about the richness and complexity of African American history and the impacts of racism, white supremacy, and the struggle for justice on the fabric of America.  

Black Americans and those of the African Diaspora have made countless contributions since the founding of the United States. Unfortunately, throughout history, there have been attempts to purposefully revise or remove African American history within our school curriculums. As recent as this year, those attempts are still being pursued after news of the state of Florida attempting to ban an AP course on African American studies.

“The story of Black people in America is inextricably linked to the story of America. The fullness of this rich history must be told -- both its dark chapters and the light brought by generations of people determined to overcome and make our country better through an ongoing quest for justice,” said Senator Booker. “We have seen this happen far too many times throughout history – where some dismiss our important stories and intentionally change the way history is told to fit political agendas. As we begin Black History Month, I am proud to reintroduce this legislation that will invest in initiatives to make African American history education programs more accessible to the public, help educators incorporate these programs into their curriculum, and develop additional resources focused on Black History for students and families to engage with.”

“It is our moral imperative to tell the truth about our past to finally reconcile with this nation’s history of racism and white nationalism, and our legislation will serve as a vital component in our fight to do just that,” said Representative Jamaal Bowman Ed.D (NY-16). “The truth is under attack by white supremacists attempting to ban Black history at all levels of education, but we know that a democracy cannot exist without access to truth. As a Black man and an educator, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for this nation to collectively commit to learning from our past. Senator Booker’sand my legislation invests $10 million over 5 years to support African American history education programs that will be available for students, parents, and teachers. The moment we are in requires a clear-eyed effort to ensure that everyone has access to resources and education that accurately recount African American history – including how the Black struggle for freedom has strengthened our society for all Americans, and brought us closer to realizing the potential of our democracy.”

Booker and Bowman’s legislation invests $10 million over 5 years in the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to support African American history education programs that are voluntarily available for students, parents, and educators. 

This bill will help the NMAAHC expand and improve upon their work in a variety of ways, including:

  • Developing and maintaining a variety of accessible resources to promote an understanding of African American history. This includes a collection of digital content, housed on the NMAAHC website, to assist educators, students, and families across the country in teaching about and engaging with African American history
  • Engaging with the public through programming, resources, and social media to increase awareness of African American history through a social justice and anti-bias lens
  • Convening experts and creating and disseminating scholarly work
  • Translating new and existing NMAAHC work into multiple languages

Further, the bill supports the NMAAHC’s work to increase national capacity for African American history education, including:

  • Developing and disseminating high-quality pedagogy related to teaching African American history
  • Providing opportunities for Professional Development for early childhood, elementary, and secondary teachers
  • Designing and implementing a teacher fellowship program
  • Engaging with local and state leaders interested in incorporating these resources in curricula

The Original Co-sponsors of this legislation in the Senate include Senators: Menendez (D-NJ), Feinstein (D-CA), Padilla (D-CA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Murphy (D-CT), Van Hollen (D-MD), Sanders (I-VT), Welch (D-VT), and Brown (D-OH).

The full text of the legislation can be viewed here.

For a section-by-section on the legislation, click here.

Friday, February 04, 2022

First Black congressman honored at U.S. Capitol Building

Rep. Joseph H. Rainey, born into slavery in 1832, was honored Thursday for being the first Black member of the House by formally having a room in the Capitol named after him.

No. 3 House Democratic leader James Clyburn, Rainey's great-granddaughter Lorna Rainey and others used the event to say the battle for racial justice and voting rights that Joseph Rainey championed must continue.

“I have children. I have grandchildren," said Clyburn, who like Rainey did represents a district in South Carolina. “I want them to feel as proud of this country as I am."

Clyburn noted that eight African Americans were elected to the House from his home state during the 19th Century but said, “The problem is there's 95 years between No. 8 and No. 9," who is Clyburn himself, first elected in 1992. “Anything that's happened before can happen again."

“If Joseph Rainey could accomplish so much during his time, then certainly you can be the ones to get the people’s work done," his great-granddaughter told the small audience, which included lawmakers. “As we honor this man, please let us remember what he stood for, what he put his life in danger for and why his legacy endures today."

The brief event featured speeches delivered beside a portrait of Rainey, sitting with legs crossed in the Capitol and sporting prominent mutton-chop sideburns and a dark suit.

The modest room now bearing Rainey's name is on the first floor of the Capitol and was used by the House Committee on Indian Affairs, on which he served. A plaque in his honor was placed outside the room.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Pamela A. Smith is now the first African-American woman to be US Park Police chief

Pamela A. Smith, a 23-year veteran of the United States Park Police (USPP), is the first African American woman to lead the 230-year-old agency.

During her decorated law enforcement career, Smith has served as a patrol officer, field training officer, canine handler, academy instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, executive lieutenant to the chief of police, assistant commander of the San Francisco Field Office, commander of the New York Field Office, acting deputy chief of the Homeland Security Division, and deputy chief for the Field Operations Division. She was also the first woman to lead the New York Field Office as its Major.

Smith has received many awards and honors, including the Women in Federal Law Enforcement Public Service Award, United States Marshal Service Distinguished Law Enforcement Career and the National Park Service Equal Employment Opportunity Program Recognition of Outstanding Excellence. In many of her leadership roles, on and off the Force, Smith serves as a mentor and an advocate for personal and professional development. She is an active member of her church, has volunteered as a youth mentor and has coached youth sports.Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. She is a graduate of the FBI National Academy (Session 265) and a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and International Association of Chiefs of Police. She is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Milwaukee Fire Department's Sharon Purifoy makes history as first African-American female Deputy Chief

The promotion of Sharon Purifoy signals change in the Milwaukee Fire Department. For the first time in its history, Milwaukee has an African-American female deputy chief.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Cory Booker and Tim Scott Introduce Resolution Celebrating Black History Month

U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced a bipartisan resolution celebrating Black History Month and the important contributions made by Black Americans throughout United States history.

The resolution “acknowledges that all people of the U.S. are recipients of the wealth of history provided by Black culture” and “recognizes the importance of Black History Month as an opportunity to reflect on the complex history of the U.S., while remaining hopeful and confident about the path ahead.”

It also “acknowledges the significance of Black History Month as an important opportunity to commemorate the tremendous contributions of African Americans to the history of the U.S.” and “encourages the celebration of Black History Month to provide a continuing opportunity for all people in the U.S. to learn from the past and understand the experiences that have shaped the U.S.”

Full text of the resolution can be viewed here.

The resolution is cosponsored by: Dick Durbin (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tina Smith (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D- CT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), John Ossoff (D-GA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), James Risch (R-ID), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Todd Young(R-IN).

Thursday, February 04, 2021

Statement by President Joe Biden On Black History Month

President Joe Biden released the following statement on Black History Month:

This February, during Black History Month, I call on the American people to honor the history and achievements of Black Americans and to reflect on the centuries of struggle that have brought us to this time of reckoning, redemption, and hope.

We have never fully lived up to the founding principles of this nation that all people are created equal and have the right to be treated equally throughout their lives. We know that it is long past time to confront deep racial inequities and the systemic racism that continue to plague our nation.

A knee to the neck of justice opened the eyes of millions of Americans and launched a summer of protest and stirred the nation’s conscience.

A pandemic has further ripped a path of destruction through every community in America, but we see its acute devastation among Black Americans who are dying, losing jobs, and closing businesses at disproportionate rates in the dual pandemic and economic crises.

We are also less than a month after the attack on the Capitol by a mob of insurrectionists and white supremacists that shows that we are very much in a battle for the soul of America.

In the Biden-Harris Administration, we are committed to finishing the work left undone and fulfilling the promise of America for Black families and communities and for all Americans.

We bring to our work a seriousness of purpose and urgency to contain the pandemic, deliver economic relief to tens of millions of Americans, and advance racial justice and equity across the board in health care, education, housing, our economy, our environment, our justice system, and in our electoral process.

We do so not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it is the smart thing to do and benefits all of us in this nation.

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Deborah Archer To Become First African American To Lead ACLU Board of Directors

The American Civil Liberties Union announced today that its national board elected Deborah Archer as its new president. Archer replaces Susan Herman, who stepped down after serving 12 years leading the organization’s board through watershed moments, including the Trump administration and the emergence of civil liberties and privacy concerns in the digital age.

An established civil rights lawyer, scholar, and teacher, Archer began her career as the Marvin M. Karpatkin Legal Fellow at the ACLU. She has been a member of the ACLU board since 2009, and a general counsel and member of the executive committee of the board since 2017. She also serves on the board of directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union. In this new role, she brings with her a wealth of experience on racial justice and constitutional matters. The election of Deborah Archer marks the first time a Black person will lead the ACLU’s board of directors.

“After beginning my career as an ACLU fellow, it is an honor to come full circle and now lead the organization as board president,” said Deborah Archer. “The ACLU has proven itself as an invaluable voice in the fight for civil rights in the last four years of the Trump era, and we are better positioned than ever to face the work ahead. This organization has been part of every important battle for civil liberties during our first century, and we are committed to continuing that legacy as we enter our second. I could not be more excited to get to work.”

The board met virtually on Saturday to cast the vote for its next president. The ACLU National Board is made up of 69 members, including 51 directly elected by ACLU affiliate boards as their representatives, and 18 elected by all affiliate and national board members. The ACLU National Board votes to set matters of organizational policy and substantive civil liberties policies. It also oversees issues related to general financial management and the relationship between the national ACLU and its affiliates, including the provision of resources and support to the affiliates, as well as other responsibilities.

“As the country enters the post-Trump era, it is essential that those in leadership intimately understand the history that brought us to this inflection point, and the work ahead,” said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU. “There is no one better equipped, who best personifies or is more capable to helm the future battles for civil rights, civil liberties, and systemic equality than Deborah Archer.”

For both the country as a whole and the ACLU, 2020 was a watershed year. The country struggled with its history of white supremacy and racism, a protest movement that rivaled only by the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s, the COVID-19 pandemic, and one of the highest turnout elections in history. The ACLU celebrated its centennial year, filed its 413th legal action against the Trump administration, took over 100 legal actions in response to the pandemic, continued its work to protect protestors, and filed more than 37 lawsuits to ensure access to the polls.

Deborah Archer is a tenured professor of clinical law and director of the Civil Rights Clinic at New York University School of Law, and co-faculty director of the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law at NYU Law. Professor Archer previously served as the inaugural dean of diversity and inclusion and as associate dean for academic affairs and student engagement at New York Law School. She has served as chair of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, and on numerous nonprofit boards, including the Legal Aid Society and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice. In recognition of her work, the New York Law Journal named her one of its 2016 Top Women in Law. Previously, Archer was assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and an associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

University of Dayton names building to honor Jessie Hathcock, first African-American woman graduate

The University of Dayton on Jan. 22 announced that its newly renovated computer science academic building will be named in honor of Jessie Hathcock ‘30, the first African American woman to graduate from the University, a noted educator and humanitarian in the Dayton community.

"Jessie Hathcock's life includes an extraordinary record as an educator and community leader, achieving success through courage and perseverance," said President Eric F. Spina. "She was a true pioneer and dedicated to serving others with empathy and compassion.

"Jessie S. Hathcock Hall will be an exciting educational facility, housing our fastest growing academic program, equipped to offer students the classroom and experiential learning opportunities they need for success in this dynamic field," Spina said. "It is a fitting tribute to a quintessential educator and truly distinguished UD alumna.

"Naming the building for this trailblazing woman will make her life and her story visible to generations of UD students, inspiring them to continue her legacy of educational excellence, humanitarianism and community activism," Spina said.

Hathcock graduated from UD with a bachelor's degree in education in 1930. She taught in Dayton public schools for 34 years, and was Dean of Girls and an English teacher at Dunbar High School. At Dunbar, she touched the lives of thousands of students, organizing the Dunbar PTA, and serving for many years as faculty sponsor of the student council, Junior Council on World Affairs, and the Junior Red Cross.

In addition to serving the Dayton community through education, she worked with the City Beautiful Council, the Wegerzyn Garden Board and the American Association of University Women. A global citizen, she traveled the world extensively, was active in the Dayton Council on World Affairs, and founded the Dayton and Miami Valley Committee for UNICEF.

She also was a charter member of Beta Eta Omega, Dayton, Ohio, chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and served as its first president in 1934. Selected as one of the Ten Top Women in Dayton in 1966 for her humanitarian efforts and civic pride, she was a longtime member of St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Dayton.

In 1978, she received an honorary doctorate in humanities from the University of Dayton, the first African American woman to be so honored. In her words of thanks to the university, she stated, “May the University of Dayton continue to grow in influence for the betterment of our city and may its doors of learning be forever open to all races, creeds and nationalities, for the Glory of God, who taught us the meaning of brotherhood and the oneness of mankind.”Hathcock's family — granddaughter Beverly Hathcock Robinson and her husband, Leonard, grandson Lloyd Hathcock and his wife, Barbara — said the entire family, including many cousins, are pleased and honored.

"We are simply delighted and thrilled. As an educator for many years, our grandmother would be particularly pleased that the building named in her honor is a place of learning," the family said.

The Jessie V. Scott Hathcock Memorial Scholarship was established in her honor in 2004 to assist either traditional or non-traditional students, with first preference given to female, African American students majoring in education or English, with a preference for residents from the City of Dayton. Candidates must represent the qualities of leadership and service illustrated by Hathcock's life. Click here for information on the scholarship or to make a gift.

The University also announced the department chair office suite will be named to honor Father Thomas Schoen, S.M., who helped found the University's computer science program in 1961, one of the first such programs in the nation.

As a Marianist brother, Schoen led the development of the computer science department as chair from 1961 to 1978, Although he had a successful ministry as a teaching brother at UD, he always felt called to the priesthood. After his ordination in 1987, he returned to UD to teach computer science until 2006. In 2009, Fr. Thomas was named professor emeritus for his instrumental role in bringing UD into the computer age, after serving the University for more than 50 years.

Hathcock Hall, the former Music/Theatre Building, will be the new home for the growing Department of Computer Science. The 58,000-square-foot project includes new classroom, laboratory and office spaces, as well as an enclosed walkway to connect the facility to Kettering Labs. View a video about the building and how it will support computer science learning.

A formal dedication and blessing will be held in the fall, should pandemic conditions permit.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Kerwin Danley to be named first African-American MLB crew chief

Major League Baseball announced has announced that umpire Kerwin Danley will be promoted to crew chief. Danley will be the first African-American crew chief in MLB.

Danley, 58, called his first game in the majors in 1992 as a minor league fill-in and was hired as a full time big league up in 1998. He has worked two World Series and has worked ten other postseason rounds. He has also called two All-Star Games.

Danley called his first game in the majors in 1992 as a fill-in and was hired to the MLB staff in 1998.

FedEx appoints first African American Woman CEO in company's history

Ramona Hood is the newest CEO at Fedex. She is the first African American woman to become CEO in the company’s history.

Ramona Hood is president and chief executive officer of FedEx Custom Critical, a leading North American transportation provider located in Green, Ohio. The company provides a range of transportation capabilities for expedited ground and air shipments, temperature-controlled shipments, and industry-specific solutions. The company provides 24/7 service throughout the United States, Canada and internationally, delivering hundreds of thousands of shipments per year.

Hood oversees the FedEx Custom Critical executive leadership team and is responsible for the performance and strategic direction of the company.

She brings more than 28 years of FedEx experience to her role, having most recently served as vice president of operations, strategy, and planning for FedEx Custom Critical. Hood started her career at FedEx Custom Critical in 1991 in an entry-level position and worked her way up to various executive leadership positions at FedEx Custom Critical and FedEx Supply Chain. Her career path evolved through many areas of the company, including operations, safety, sourcing, sales, and marketing.

Over time, she began offering innovative and strategic ideas that distinguished her from her peers. Hood not only brought unique approaches to the business, but she did so in a way that brought out the best in others. These leadership characteristics and values are ingrained through her past and current leadership roles at FedEx Custom Critical and FedEx Supply Chain.

Throughout her career, Hood has been recognized for her exemplary excellence in leadership, responsibility, and passion-driven results in the industry. Hood was recognized by the Greater Akron Chamber with the 30 for the Future award (2010) and acknowledged by Sales & Marketing Executives International with a Distinguished Sales & Marketing Award (2013). And she received the Woman of Inspiration Award from Walsh University (2013).

In 2010 and 2016, Hood received the FedEx Five Star Award, which is the highest recognition team members can receive at FedEx.

Additionally, in 2016, Hood received the Women of Note award from Crain’s Cleveland Business, Progressive Woman award from Smart Business, and Influential Woman in Trucking award from the Women in Trucking Association. Most recently, Hood was recognized in 2019 by the MEECO Leadership Institute with the International Thought Leader of Distinction award.

Outside of the office, Hood is actively involved in several civic engagements. She serves on the Summit Education Initiative, a nonprofit committed to the academic success of Summit County students, and is a business advisor for Welty Building Co., a construction consulting company in Akron, Ohio. Hood is also chairman of the Technology Committee for the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) and was appointed to serve on its Board of Directors. Most recently, Hood was appointed to the Board of Directors for Walsh University in 2018.

Hood earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Walsh University and an Executive MBA from Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management. Currently, she resides in Copley, Ohio, with her two daughters, Mariah and Kayla.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Samuel Lee Gravely Jr: First African American to command a U.S. Navy ship

Samuel Lee Gravely Jr., June 4, 1922 – October 22, 2004) was a United States Navy officer. In 1961, he became the first African-American officer to command a U.S. Navy ship, the USS Theodore E. Chandler (DD-717). When he took command of the destroyer escort USS Falgout (DE-324) in January 1962, he was the first African-American officer to command a combat ship. During the Vietnam War he commanded the destroyer USS Taussig (DD-746) as it performed plane guard duty and gunfire support off the coast of Vietnam in 1966, making him the first African American to lead a ship into combat.

He was also the first African American in the U.S. Navy to become a fleet commander, and the first to become a flag officer, retiring as a vice admiral.

Gravely's military decorations include the World War II Victory Medal, the Korean Service Medal with two service stars, the United Nations Korea Medal, and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.

In Richmond, the street on which Gravely grew up was renamed "Admiral Gravely Boulevard" in 1977. The destroyer USS Gravely (DDG-107), commissioned in 2010, was named in his honor.

Phillis Wheatley: First African American woman to publish a book of poetry

Phillis Wheatley, also spelled Phyllis and Wheatly (c. 1753 – December 5, 1784) was the first African-American woman to publish a book of poetry.

Born in West Africa, she was sold into slavery at the age of seven or eight and transported to North America. She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write and encouraged her poetry when they saw her talent.

On a 1773 trip to London with her master's son, seeking publication of her work, she was aided in meeting prominent people who became patrons. The publication in London of her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral on September 1, 1773, brought her fame both in England and the American colonies.

Critics consider her work fundamental to the genre of African-American literature,and she is honored as the first African-American woman to publish a book of poetry and the first to make a living from her writing.

Monday, February 17, 2020

First Black owned bank: Capital Savings Bank

The first bank organized and operated by African Americans was Capital Savings Bank in Washington, D.C. which opened in 1888. Just four years after it opened, its deposits had grown to over $300,000.

Capital Savings Bank provided the capital essential to the growth of black businesses, capital that white-owned banks were unwilling to lend. The community proudly deposited its money in Capital Savings Bank. The public's confidence in Capital was rock solid in the early days, enabling the bank to exert a strong, positive economic impact on the community it served. During the Panic of 1893, the bank rode out the tide and was able to honor every obligation on demand. Capital Savings Bank helped many African-American businesses and property owners until it closed in 1902.

*NOTE: Although the Capital Savings Bank was the first black-owned bank to open in the United States, The Savings Bank of the Grand Fountain United Order of True Reformers was the first bank to be chartered in the United States. That bank opened in 1889.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

John Thompson: First Black coach to win the NCAA Basketball Tournament

In 1984 John Thompson, of Georgetown University, became the first Black coach to win the NCAA basketball tournament. His Georgetown University Hoyas beat the University of Houston in the NCAA final, 84-75, to win its only national championship.

Thompson won seven Coach of the Year awards: Big East (1980, 1987, 1992), United States Basketball Writers Association and The Sporting News (1984), National Association of Basketball Coaches (1985) and United Press International (1987). Thompson coached many notable players, including Patrick Ewing, Sleepy Floyd, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo and Allen Iverson. Under Thompson, 26 players were chosen in the NBA Draft, eight in the first round including two players selected first overall, Ewing by the New York Knicks in 1985 and Iverson by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1996.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Brave. Black. First.: 50+ African American Women Who Changed the World

Published in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, discover over fifty remarkable African American women whose unique skills and contributions paved the way for the next generation of young people. Perfect for fans of Rad Women Worldwide, Women in Science, and Girls Think of Everything.

Harriet Tubman guided the way.

Rosa Parks sat for equality.

Aretha Franklin sang from the soul.

Serena Williams bested the competition.

Michelle Obama transformed the White House.

Black women everywhere have changed the world!

Published in partnership with curators from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, this illustrated biography compilation captures the iconic moments of fifty African American women whose heroism and bravery rewrote the American story for the better.

They were fearless. They were bold. They were game changers.


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Charles Vernon Bush: First African American to graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy

Charles Vernon Bush was the first African American to graduate, in 1963, from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Bush entered the Academy with two African American classmates, reporting as a cadet in June 1959.

Even before entering the Academy, Bush was making history. In 1954, he was selected by Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Earl Warren for appointment as the first African American page of the court.

He distinguished himself as a squadron commander, a member of the Academy’s debate team, and a member of the Cadet Wing champion rugby team.

Having received academic course credits from Howard University, Bush was accepted into a special joint Academy/Georgetown University master’s program, commencing with graduate courses in his senior year, which included his oral comprehensives in the Russian language. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1963, Bush received his Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Georgetown University in June 1964, and was inducted into the Georgetown chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society.

He then attended Air Intelligence Officers School, and served at Westover Air Force Base, Mass., where, among his other activities, he taught undergraduate political science courses at American International College. After becoming fluent in the Vietnamese language at Sanz Language School in Washington, D.C., he was assigned to Vietnam in 1967 as an intelligence officer.

In Vietnam, he was responsible for the deployment and operations of six intelligence teams operating from a number of sites, including Saigon, Bien Hoa, Nha Trang, Pleiku, Da Nang and Can Tho. The teams were involved with significant intelligence operations, particularly involving the attack on Tan Son Nhut Air Base during the Tet Offensive of 1968, and the defense of the Marines and South Vietnamese at the Battle of Khe Sanh.

Returning to the United States in May 1968, Bush was again assigned to Headquarters Air Force Special Projects Production Facility, at Westover AFB, Mass., as chief of the technical analysis division. He resumed teaching political science courses at American International College. In 1970, Bush resigned his commission and then attended Harvard Business School, majoring in finance. Bush received many accolades in both his military and civilian careers. While in the Air Force, he received the Bronze Star Medal, Joint Services Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.

Bush passed away at his Montana home on Nov. 5, 2012.

Then-Academy commandant, Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, said “A member of the Class of 1963 and the first African-American graduate, Mr. Bush’s courage and commitment to enhancing diversity in the United States military will pay itself forward for many generations.” Gould continued, “The Academy family is truly proud to call Mr. Chuck Bush one of our own.”

Black History Month Person Of The Day: Martin Kilson

Martin Kilson Jr. was an American political scientist. He was the first black academic to be appointed a full professor at Harvard University, where he was later the Frank G. Thomson Professor of Government from 1988 until his retirement in 1999.

Kilson returned to Harvard and accepted a lectureship at the university in 1962; he was appointed assistant professor in 1967. Two years later, he became Harvard's first fully tenured African-American academic. Kilson was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1975 and became the Frank G. Thomson Professor of Government at Harvard in 1988. At the start of his academic career, Kilson became known for his research into African American studies, and became an adviser for the Association of African and Afro-American Students at Harvard. Kilson also compiled works relating to comparative politics, focusing within the field on African studies.Kilson's 1966 book, Political Change in a West African State: A Study of the Modernization Process in Sierra Leone, was reviewed extensively.

After retiring from teaching in 1999, Kilson continued to write and occasionally lecture. In 2002, he wrote a review for The Black Commentator critical of Randall Kennedy for the title of his book, Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word. In 2010, Kilson was featured in Harvard's annual W. E. B. DuBois lectures. He also wrote his final book, The Transformation of the African American Intelligentsia, 1880–2012, which was published in 2014.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Brenda Robinson: Navy’s first African American female pilot to earn her wings

In 1980 Brenda Robinson became the Navy’s first African American female pilot.

She successfully completed 155 aircraft carrier landings and flew seven types of aircraft, touching the skies from the East Coast to Guam, Germany, the Middle East, and Italy.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Dominique Dawes: First African American Olympic gymnastics medalist

Before Simone Biles and Gabby Douglass there was Dominique Dawes.

Born on November 20, 1976, in Silver Spring, Maryland, Dominique Dawes began taking gymnastics lessons at age 6. She participated in the Olympic Games as part of the U.S. women's gymnastics team in 1992, 1996 and 2000, winning a team medal each time. In 1996, Dawes's team won Olympic gold and Dawes won an individual bronze medal—becoming the first African American to win an individual Olympic medal in women's gymnastics. She retired from gymnastics after the 2000 Games.