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20th Century

Silva, Tatiana (1985- )

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Tatiana Silva Braga Tavares is best known as the woman who was crowned Miss Belgium in 2005 and who represented Belgium in the Miss World competition in Sanya, China later that year.  Silva was born in the Brussels suburb of Uccle on February 5, 1985.   She was born into a middle class family.  Her mother is from Belgium and her father is Cape Verdean.  

Nineteen-year-old Silva was studying to be a personal assistant (secretary) and working as a shop attendant at the time of the contest.  Silva was crowned Miss Belgium because of her appearance, her talent in dance, and her knowledge of a number of languages including French (her native language), Dutch, English, Portuguese, and Cape Verdean.

Sources: 
Catherine Delvaux, “Stromae et Tatiana Silva ont rompu,” http://www.7sur7.be/7s7/fr/1527/People/aticle/detail/1622464/2013/04/26Stromae-et-Tatiana-Silva-ont-rompu.dhtml; Anaïs Lefebure, Miss France: l’histoire d’un mythe (Paris: JOL Press, 2014).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Emeritus Professor, University of Paris

Young, Coleman A. (1918-1997)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Coleman Young arrived in Detroit, Michigan with his family when he was five.  The Colemans settled in the working class neighborhood of Black Bottom (East Detroit), where his father operated a dry cleaning business and his mother was a schoolteacher.  Early in his life Coleman suffered various forms of racial discrimination from denial of scholarships to a racially motivated firing at an automobile plant.
Sources: 
Wilbur C. Rich, Coleman Young and Detroit Politics: From Social Activist to Power Broker (Detroit: Wayne State University, 1998); The Coleman Young Foundation, http://www.cayf.org/; A Life Remembered, http://drnissani.net/MNISSANI/elephant/young.htm.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Montgomery College (Maryland)

Redding, J. Saunders (1906-1988)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
James Thomas Saunders Redding was born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1906 to Lewis Alfred Redding and Mary Ann Holmes.  Redding earned a bachelor of philosophy (Ph.B.) in 1928 and later a master of arts (M.A.) in 1932 from Brown University.  Redding also earned the right to Phi Beta Kappa honors but the racial climate of the time did not permit him to receive the distinction until 1943.  He later attended Columbia’s graduate school from 1933-34.  
Sources: 
Steven J. Leslie and Alexis Walker, “Redding, Jay Saunders,” in Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History (Detroit, 2006); Helen R. Houston, “J. Saunders Redding,” in Notable Black Men in America (Detroit, 1999); Saunders Redding, No Day of Triumph (1942), and On Being Negro in America (New York, 1951).
Affiliation: 
Los Angeles City College

Republic of Biafra (1967-1970)

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History
Sources: 
Kevin Shillington, Encyclopedia of African History (New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2004); J. O. G. Achuzia, Requiem Biafra (Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishing Co., 1986); A. A. Madiebo, The Nigerian Revolution and the Biafra War (Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishing Co., 1980).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Herndon, Angelo (1913 - ?)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Angelo Herndon was the defendant in one of the most publicized and notorious legal cases of the 1930s. In 1932, nineteen-year-old Herndon was arrested under an obscure 19th century servile insurrection law for attempting to organize a peaceful demonstration of unemployed workers in Atlanta. Largely due to the efforts of the Communist Party-affiliated International Labor Defense, the arrest and subsequent trial ignited a firestorm of protest that, alongside the Scottsboro case, helped expose the gross injustice of the southern legal system and introduced African Americans on a broad scale to the militant anti-racism of the Communist Party.  

Herndon was born on May 6, 1913 in Wyoming, Ohio, outside of Cincinnati. As a teenager he migrated to Kentucky and then Alabama in search of employment. It was in Birmingham in 1930 that he was first introduced to the Communist Party. Impressed by the Party's uncompromising avowal of interracial unity, Herndon joined and began working with the local Unemployed Council. In 1931, Herndon briefly worked for the International Labor Defense on its campaign to free the Scottsboro defendants.
Sources: 
Charles H. Martin, The Angelo Herndon Case and Southern Justice (Baton Rouge:  Louisiana State University Press, 1976); Angelo Herndon, Let Me Live (New York:  Random House, 1937).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Gillespie, Dizzy (John Birks Gillespie) (1917-1993)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Jazz great Dizzy Gillespie had a long and distinguished musical career as a trumpeter, composer, and bandleader. Unlike many jazz musicians whose lives were cut tragically short, Gillespie’s career spanned the 1930s to the 1980s, from the big band swing era of the 1930s, through 1940s bebop, the Afro-Cuban jazz of the 1950s, to the recording in 1989 – when he was 72 – of his United Nations Band performance “Live at Royal Festival Hall.” He is one of the most influential musicians in the history of jazz, is considered one of the founders of modern jazz, and with Charlie Parker is credited with the invention of bebop.  
Sources: 
Susan Altman, The Encyclopedia of African American Heritage, pp. 100-01 (New York: Facts On File, Inc., 1997); Charlotte Greig, Icons of Black Music, p. 55 (San Diego: Thunder Bay Press, 1999); Paul de Barros, Jackson Street After Hours, pp. 25, 108, 113, 175 (Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 1993); http://www.allaboutjazz.com; http://www.afrocubaweb.com; www.pbs.org/jazz.
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Federal Theatre Project (Negro Units)

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Harlem Federal Theatre Project Production of MacBeth
Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress
Sources: 
Anthony Duane Hill, ed., An Historical Dictionary of African American Theater (Prevessin, France: Scarecrow Press, 2008).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Ohio State University

Butterfield, George Kenneth, Jr. (1947– )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

North Carolina Congressman George Kenneth Butterfield Jr. was born in Wilson, North Carolina on April 27, 1947 to a father who was a dentist and civic leader as well as the first black elected official in eastern North Carolina in the 20th century; and a mother who was a classroom teacher for 48 years.

Butterfield attended Charles H. Darden High School and graduated in 1967 before going to North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. He graduated with a sociology and political science degree in 1971. In 1974, he received his J.D. from North Carolina Central University School of Law. After serving in the United States Army for two years, Butterfield became a successful lawyer known for helping the poor people who had extraordinary legal problems. In 1988, Butterfield was appointed Superior Court Judge in Wilson County.  In 2001 he was appointed to the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Carter, Ben (1907-1946)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Actor-turned casting agent Ben Carter often portrayed an obliging domestic in Hollywood films, but later became one of the few African American agents in the movie capital dedicated to promoting and enhancing the careers of some of Hollywood’s most celebrated actors and actresses of color – including Hattie McDaniel, Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson, Lena Horne, and the Dandridge Sisters.

Born in 1907, the Fairfield, Iowa native began his career as a comedian and Broadway performer in New York.  He relocated to Los Angeles in the early 1930s and first worked as an unbilled player in movies. By the mid-1930s, Carter had become one of the first African American performers to sign a seven-year contract with 20th Century-Fox studios. Known for his wiry hair and bugged eyes, Carter appeared in several movies over a two-decade period, including Gone With the Wind (1939), Maryland (1940), Tin Pan Alley (1940), and several of Monogram Studio’s Charlie Chan series. In addition to frequently appearing in films, Carter earned a less than reputable name for himself due to his demeaning film roles.

Sources: 

Susan McHenry, “The Black Side of the Early Silver Screen,” Essence, April 2001; Anonymous, “Notables Attend Final Rites of Ben Carter, Noted Actor,” Pittsburgh Courier, December 28, 1946; Donald Bogle, Dorothy Dandridge: A Biography (New York: Amistad Press Inc., 1997.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Fletcher, Benjamin Harrison (1890-1949)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Sources: 
Peter Cole, Ben Fletcher: The Life and Writings of a Black Wobbly (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, 2007); Peter Cole, Wobblies on the Waterfront: Interracial Unionism in Progressive-Era Philadelphia (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007); William Seraile, "Ben Fletcher, I.W.W. Organizer." Pennsylvania History 46:3 (July 1979).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Western Illinois University

Leighla Frances Whipper (1913-2008)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of Carole Ione Lewis
Leighla Frances Whipper, author, songwriter, and restaurateur, was born on September 22, 1913 in Athens, Georgia into a prestigious family that encompassed the wide ranging areas of literature, theater, medicine, and social activism.  Leighla was the daughter of the noted Hollywood actor Leigh Whipper and Virginia Eva Wheeler, a talented dancer in the chorus lines of Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s. She was the niece of Dr. Ionia Rollin Whipper, founder of the Ionia Rollin Whipper Home in Washington, DC.

Her grandmother, author Frances Anne Rollin, was the author of the earliest published diary by a black southern woman, and the author of the first full-length biography –  The Life and Public Services of Martin R. Delaney which appeared (1868) – by an African American.   

Leighla was a graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C. and a member of the prestigious social and literary organization, the Stylus Club there. In 1942 she moved to New York City where she worked as a journalist and literary editor for The People's Voice and other periodicals. Subjects among her memorable interviews in Washington, D.C. and New York City were actors Mary Pickford and Lon Chaney, dancer Josephine Baker and spiritual leader Father Divine.
Sources: 
Lelia Frances Whipper, The Pretty Way Home (New York: iUniverse, 2003), Carole Ione, Pride of Family; Four Generations of American Women of Color (New York: Random House Books: 2004).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Comer, James P. (1934- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy
Michael Marsland/Yale University
James Pierpont Comer, a leading black child psychiatrist and educational reformer, was born into a working class family in East Chicago, Indiana on September 25, 1934.  Although his parents, Maggie and Hugh Comer, had little education themselves, they strongly supported their children's education.  All five children graduated from college, earning 13 degrees collectively.  

Comer graduated from Indiana University in 1956 with an A.B.  Three years later in 1959, he married Shirley Arnold, with whom he had two children.  He received his M.D. from Howard University in 1960 and his M.P.H. from the University of Michigan in 1964.  Throughout the 1960s, Comer worked in different medical fields.  He was a staff member of the U.S. Public Health Service, worked with the National Institute of Mental Health and interned at Saint’s Catherine’s Hospital in East Chicago.   Comer also volunteered at the Hospitality House in Washington D.C.  During this time, Comer found his interest and passion in child development and education, particularly among disadvantaged students.        
Sources: 
George White, Jr., "Comer, James," Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-first Century, edited by Paul Finkelman, Oxford African American Studies Center, http://www.oxfordaasc.com/article/opr/t0005/e0287; James P. Comer, Maggie’s American Dream (New York: NAL Books: 1988); Mark F. Goldberg, “Portrait of James P. Comer,” Education Leadership (September, 1990); Pamela Cross Young, “Comer, James P.," Encyclopedia of Educational Reform and Dissent, edited by Thomas C. Hunt, James C. Copper, Thomas J. Lasley II and C. Daniel Raisch, (Los Angeles: Sage Publications, Inc.: 2010).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Williams, Marion (1927-1994)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership, Public Domain
Marion Williams, an American gospel singer, was born in Miami, Florida on August 29, 1927.  Her father, originally from Nassau, Bahamas, worked as a butcher, a barber, and a music teacher while her mother, born in South Carolina, worked as a laundress.  One of 11 siblings, she was one of only three who survived past the first year.  She grew up attending two adjacent Pentecostal churches, the Church of God and the Church of God in Christ.  Her father died when she was nine.  By the age of 14, she had left school to help support the family by working as a maid, a child nurse, and a laundress, becoming the family’s chief supporter after her mother lost both legs to diabetes.  She sang at church, tent revivals, and on street corners.  In 1943, she joined the Melrose Gospel Singers, a 10-member group that accompanied Rev. Jerry Pratt in churches throughout Florida.
Sources: 
D. Antoinette Handy, “Marion Williams,” Notable Black American Women, Book II, edited by Jessie Carney Smith (New York: Gale Research, 1996); Bill Carpenter, “Marion Williams,” Uncloudy Days: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia (San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2005); Robert Darden, “Marion Williams,” Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music, vol.2, edited by W.K. McNeil (New York: Routledge, 2005); Sharon Fitzgerald, “The glorious walk of Marion Williams,” American Visions 8:6 (Dec. 1993 – Jan. 1994).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Smythe-Haith, Mabel Murphy (1918-2006)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Future Ambassador Mabel Murphy Smythe
With Her Husband, Hugh Smythe, in Damascus,
Syrian Arab
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
The daughter of college graduates, Mabel M. Smythe-Haith is so far the only black American woman who was named a U.S. ambassador after her husband had earlier served in the same capacity.  Mabel Murphy was born into a family of four siblings on April 3, 1918 in Montgomery, Alabama. At age 15 she entered Spelman College, then an all-black school for women in Atlanta, Georgia, where she was soon named an editor for the Campus Mirror and a choir member.

Murphy transferred to Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and completed her bachelor’s degree there in 1937. Two years later she married Hugh H. Smythe, whom she had first met in Atlanta. Their union produced a daughter, Karen Pamela Smythe.
Sources: 
Cathal J. Nolan (Ed.), Notable U.S. Ambassadors Since 1775: A Biographical Dictionary (Greenwood Press, 1997); Patricia Sullivan, “Mabel Smythe-Haith; Envoy, State Department Official,” Washington Post (February 25, 2006); http://socialarchive.iath.virginia.edu/xtf/view?docId=smythe-mabel-m-mabel-murphy-cr.xml.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
San Diego State University

Jenkins, Bonnie Denise (ca.1960– )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Bonnie Jenkins is a retired U.S. Naval Reserve officer, diplomat, and expert in international security, arms control, treaty laws, and nonproliferation and disarmament of weapons of mass destruction.

Born in Queens, New York, and growing up in the Bronx, New York, Jenkins was the child of a day care worker (her mother) and a store manager (her father). She attended a private all-girls high school in New York where she excelled at academics and athletics, and graduated in 1978. After graduation, Jenkins moved to Massachusetts to attend Amherst College.

Jenkins graduated from Amherst in 1982 and later enrolled in law school at Albany Law School. While in law school, she wanted a greater challenge, so she enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserves in 1986. She served for six years as a paralegal at bases in Massachusetts and at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C. In 1992 she applied for a direct officer commission into the U.S. Naval Reserve for which she was accepted and ultimately rose to lieutenant commander.

Sources: 
Official State Department Bios; Bonnie Jenkins “Inside the 9/11 Commission; Nichole Chi. 2012. The Amherst Student, “Fearless Ambassador Ensures National Security.” http://amherststudent.amherst.edu/?q=article/2012/11/12/fearless-ambassador-ensures-national-security.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Omar, Ilhan (1982– )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Ilhan Omar is a Somali American politician from Minnesota.  She is the director of policy and initiative of the Women Organizing Women Network which encourages women from East Africa to take on civic and political leadership roles. In 2016 she was elected a Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party legislator in the Minnesota House of Representatives, becoming the first person of Somali ancestry in the United States to serve in a state legislature.

Omar was born in 1982 in Somalia. Her father, Nur Omar Mohamed, a Somali, worked as a teacher trainer. Her mother was from Yemen and died when IIhan was a child. She was raised by her father and grandfather, Abukar Omar, director of Somalia’s National Marine Transport.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Harris, David Ellsworth (1934- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public domain

Pioneering African American airline pilot David E. Harris, a native of Columbus, Ohio, was born December 22, 1934, the son of Walter R. Harris and Ruth A. Estis Harris. He graduated from Ohio State University in 1957 with a degree in education.  While at the university he was initially rejected twice for the advanced Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) program because of his race, he was eventually accepted and rose to cadet colonel. Harris joined the Air Force in 1958 and was assigned to bases in Florida, New York, and Texas, flying B-17 and B-52 bomber jets for the Strategic Air Command (SAC), reaching the rank of Captain.

Sources: 
Betty K. Gubert, et al., Distinguished African Americans in Aviation and Space Science (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002); Who’s Who Among African Americans (Gale Research Inc., 2008); “Black History in Aviation - Cpt. Dave Harris, First African American to fly for major airline” video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9vnrzodzmQ.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Coleman, James H. (1933- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership:
Public domain

James H. Coleman, Jr., is an American lawyer, judge, and the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Born on May 4th, 1933, in Lawrenceville, Virginia, Coleman is the son of a poor southern sharecropper. While Coleman has since retired his position as an associate justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court, he is still recognized for his lifelong judicial career and adamant fight for racial equality, most recently receiving the New Jersey Law Journal's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, the Best Lawyers in America’s Newark Best Lawyers Arbitration Lawyer of the Year award in 2015, and a nomination to the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

Sources: 
Kimberly McLarin, “Judge Named By Whitman To Top Court,” The New York Times (October 4, 1994); James H. Coleman, Jr., https://www.ourcampaigns.com/CandidateDetail.html?CandidateID=9435; “The Honorable James H. Coleman, Jr.'s Portrait to be Displayed in the New Jersey Supreme Court,” Porzio, Bromberg & Newman P.C., April 27, 2016.
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Ball, Alice Augusta (1892-1916)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Alice Augusta Ball, a pharmaceutical chemist, was born in Seattle, Washington in 1892 to Laura and James P. Ball, Jr. Her grandfather was J.P. Ball, the well known daguerreotype photographer and her father was a promising lawyer. James P. Ball, Sr. moved to Hawaii for health reasons in 1903 with his family and opened a studio.  He died less than a year later and the family returned to Seattle in 1905.  

Alice Ball entered the University of Washington and graduated with two degrees in pharmaceutical chemistry in 1912 and pharmacy in 1914. In the fall of 1914, she entered the College of Hawaii (later the University of Hawaii) as a graduate student in chemistry.  On June 1, 1915, she was the first African American and the first woman to graduate with a master of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Hawaii. In the 1914-1915 academic year she also became the first woman to teach chemistry at the institution.
Sources: 
Paul Wermager, “Healing the Sick” in They Followed the Trade Winds (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2005) pp. 171-17; "Instructor Dies," The Belllingham Herald, Jan. 1, 1917, https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=107564660.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Hawaii

Guinn, Dr. Edward W. (1925- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Dr. Edward W. Guinn was the first African American elected to the Fort Worth, Texas, City Council. He served two terms, from 1967 to 1969 and 1969 to 1971. Guinn was born in 1925 in Fort Worth to a prominent African American family. He attended James E. Guinn School, which was named for his grandfather (the first African American Fort Worth native to serve as a principal in the school district), and graduated from I.M. Terrell High School n 1943. He then attended Prairie View A&M College in Prairie View, Texas, and earned his degree in absentia while serving in the armed services during World War II. Guinn received a medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in 1956 and trained at Pennsylvania hospitals before returning to Fort Worth his wife, Addie Little whom he married in 1955.  The couple eventually had eight chidren.
Sources: 
Gary Cartwright, “Community – Edward W. Guinn,” Texas Monthly (September 1999), http://www.texasmonthly.com/content/community-%E2%80%A2-edward-w-guinn; Cecil Johnson, "Making Progress-Blacks and the City Council," Fort Worth Star-Telegram (16 April 2000).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Sherman, Richard Kevin (1988– )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Courtesy of Richard Sherman"
Richard Kevin Sherman is currently the American football cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Stanford University both as a wide receiver and as a cornerback, and he was drafted by the Settle Seahawks in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Sherman was born on March 30, 1988, in Compton, California, to Kevin and Beverly Sherman. He attended Dominguez High School where he starred in football and track and field.

In 2005 Sherman, as a high school football player at Dominguez Hills, accounted for 1,030 all-purpose yards, including 870 yards on twenty-eight catches and three punt returns for touchdowns. He recorded forty-five tackles, eight pass breakups, and one interception as a defensive back, which also helped Dominguez High School to a CIF Southern Section Division III title with a win over Sherman Oaks’s Norte Dame High School in the championship game. Sherman was a scholar-athlete. When he graduated from Dominguez High School in 2006 with a 4.2 GPA, classmates voted him male student most likely to succeed.

Sources: 
“Richard Sherman,” Richard Sherman.com, http://www.richardsherman25.com/pages/i-am-richard-sherman; “Richard Sherman,” ESPN, http://www.espn.com/nfl/player/_/id/14086/richard-sherman; “Richard Sherman,” CBS Sports, http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/richard-sherman-is-the-most-interesting-person-in-football/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Interahamwe (1992- )

Entry Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
Global African History
Mass Grave, Rwandan Genocide, 1994
Image Ownership: Public domain

Interahamwe, translated from Kinyarwanda to English as “those who work/ fight together,” is an African paramilitary and terrorist group currently based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. Composed mainly of young Hutu men, Interahamwe was one of the major belligerents against the Tutsi in Rwanda, leading the mass genocide of Tutsi civilians and Hutu political enemies during the Rwandan Genocide in 1994. Since fleeing Rwanda after the end of the genocide, most western and African nations have classified the group as a radical terrorist organization.

Interahamwe officially began as the small youth wing of the larger Hutu ruling party of Rwanda, the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), led by the then president of Rwanda, Juvénal Habyarimana. Very few of these original members had any paramilitary training.

Sources: 
Filip Reyntjens, “Rwanda’s Untold Story. A reply to ‘38 scholars, scientists, researchers, journalists and historians’,” African Arguments (October 21, 2014); “TALKING ABOUT GENOCIDE - GENOCIDES,” http://www.ppu.org.uk/genocide/g_rwanda1.html; “Rwandan Genocide,” http://worldwithoutgenocide.org/genocides-and-conflicts/rwandan-genocide.
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Lewis, Sir William Arthur Lewis (1915-1991)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Image Ownership: Public Domain

William Arthur Lewis was a public intellectual in the field of development economics, who in 1979 became the first African American to receive a Nobel Prize in category other than peace.  Lewis was honored for his work in economics.  Lewis was the author of 12 books and more than 80 technical works in developmental economics.

William Arthur Lewis was born in St. Lucia in the British West Indies in 1915, the fourth of five children, to schoolteacher parents George and Ida Lewis. He finished high school at the age of fourteen, enabling him to win a government scholarship to study in Great Britain.  At 18 he entered the London School of Economics to work for a degree in commerce.

Sources: 

Colin A Palmer, Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History: the Black Experience in the Americas. 2nd Edition (Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2006) Michael W. Williams, The African American Encyclopedia (New York: Marshall Cavendish Corp. 1993).

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Sussex, England

Martin, Sallie (1895-1988)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain
 

A gospel singer and arranger, Sallie Martin was born near Atlanta, Georgia.  In her early twenties she began singing in a church choir in Cleveland, and, by 1929, had moved to Chicago and joined a chorus directed by Thomas Dorsey, later known as the Father of Gospel Music.  With him, in 1933, Martin co-founded the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses.  During the remainder of the 1930s, she served as Dorsey’s song demonstrator and bookkeeper, singing and selling his compositions at churches and conventions.  In some churches Martin encountered resistance, “because, you see, they didn’t like the idea of you having rhythm…but I got saved patting my feet…it would be impossible for me to just absolutely stand still and sing.” 

Sources: 
Darlene Clark Hine, ed. Black Women in America: an Historical Encyclopedia (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing Inc., 1993); James Standifer,  Interview with Sallie Martin, 1981. African American Music Collection, University of Michigan School of Music, at http://www.umich.edu/~afroammu/standifer/martin.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Whitworth College

Spivey, Victoria (1906-1976)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Victoria Spivey grew up in a musical family where her father, Grant, played in a string band while sisters, Addie and Elton, sang the blues. But it was Victoria who became the star with a beginning that took her moaning style of singing into honky tonks, bordellos, men’s clubs and gin mills all over Texas. In 1926, she left for St. Louis and acquired a recording contract with OKeh records but found her stride in New York where she continued to record but performed in all the elite nightclubs, appeared in the musical, Hellzapoppin’ Revue, took a lead role in Hallelujah, the first musical feature film with an all black cast, and sang with the big bands in the 1940s. The crossover into the big band jazz genre allowed her to join Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, and Benny Goodman on stages across the country. As the country’s musical tastes changed in the 1950s, she became an organist and choir master in her church and then in the 1960s she enjoyed a revival of her blues career.
Sources: 
David Dicaire, Blues Singers: Biographies of 50 Legendary Artists of the Early 20th Century (Jefferson, North Carolina, McFarland & Company, Inc., 1999); Anna Stong Bourgeois, Blueswomen: Profiles of 37 Early Performers, with an Anthology of Lyrics, 1920-1945 (Jefferson, North Carolina, McFarland & Company, Inc., 1996); http:/www.geocities.com/theblueslady.geo/Victoria.html
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Kigali City, Rwanda (1907-- )

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History
Image Ownership, Public Domain
Situated over several hills and valleys, Kigali is the capital city of Rwanda and is home to the main administrative and commercial centres of the nation as well as over one million people.

In pre-colonial times Mount Kigali was a site of magical renewal overseen by the Bami (kings) as well as being an important stopover on cross-African caravan trade routes.  In 1907 the city was officially founded by the Germans, who had been granted the colonial concession of Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi at the Berlin Conference of 1885.  After World War I, the Belgians gained control of Rwanda-Burundi through the mandate system of the League of Nations; however, since the administrative tasks for the region were centred in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, Kigali grew slowly throughout this period.

After independence on July 1, 1962, Kigali became the capital city of the Republic of Rwanda.  Because of its central location and its good transport links, industry and trade blossomed and the city began to grow.
Sources: 
www.kigalicity.gov.rw; www.unhabitat.org; Dickson Eyoh and Paul Tiyanbe Zelaza, eds., Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century African History (New York; Routledge, 2003).
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Holiday, Billie (1915-1959)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public domain

Billie Holiday is considered by many critics and fans to have been one of the most important jazz vocalists of the twentieth century. Her difficult life of poverty, abusive relationships, and drug abuse helped give her voice a deep, raw emotion that was expressed in the music she sang.   

Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan on April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to teenaged unmarried parents, Sarah Julia “Sadie” Fagan and Clarence Holiday.  Not long after Eleanora’s birth, Clarence Holiday abandoned his family to pursue a career as a jazz banjo and guitar player. 

Because her mother worked as a maid on passenger railroads, Holiday was raised by her half-sister’s mother-in-law, Martha Miller. Holiday frequently skipped school and was often brought before juvenile court. By the age of eleven, Holiday had dropped out of school. After she fought off an attempted rape in 1926, she was held in protective custody and released in 1927 at the age of twelve.

By the age of fourteen, Holiday was a prostitute in New York’s Harlem. After a brief period when she and her mother were in jail for prostitution, Holiday escaped that life by singing in Harlem nightclubs. She changed her name, choosing her first name after a favorite movie actress Billie Dove, and adopting the surname of her absent musician father Clarence Holiday. 

Sources: 
Billie Holiday with William Dufty, Lady Sings the Blues (New York: Penguin Books, 1956); Robert O’Meally, Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday (New York: Da Capo Press, 1992): David Margolick, Strange Fruit: Billie Holliday, Café Society, and an Early Cry for Civil Rights (Philadelphia: Running Press, 2000);  http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/database/holiday_b.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Fuller, Charles Henry, Jr. (1939- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of Center for Program in
Contemporary Writing, University of Pennsylvania
  
Charles Fuller was born on March 5, 1939 to parents Charles H. Sr. and Lillian Anderson Fuller of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Fuller was the oldest of three children, but would see his parents welcome some twenty foster children into their home over the years.  Fuller attended Philadelphia’s Roman Catholic High School and graduated in 1956.  During his high school years, Fuller spent countless hours in the school library, and competed with a friend, Larry Neal, to become the first to read every book in the school’s collection.  This experience helped spawn Fuller’s dream of becoming a writer.   

After graduation from high school, Fuller attended Villanova University in Pennsylvania between 1956 and 1958.  He then enlisted in the U. S. Army and spent the next four years stationed in Japan and Korea.  Fuller returned to civilian life in 1962 and in August of that year he married Miriam A. Nesbitt.  
Sources: 
Thadius M. Davis and Trudier Harris, eds., Dictionary of Literary Biography, volume 38: Afro-American Writers After 1955: Dramatists and Prose Writers (Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1985); www.whyy.org/about/pressroom/documents/CharlesFullerbio.doc 
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Webster, Milton P. (1887-1965)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
A. Philip Randolph & Milton P. Webster (right) at
AFL-CIO Convention, 1961
Image Courtesy of the A. Philip Randolph Institute
Milton Price Webster is best known as one of the founders and long-time Vice President of the International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Maids (BSCP) Union. He helped organize the BSCP’s local in Chicago, one of the largest in the nation with over 15,000 Pullman porters in the 1930s.

Milton P. Webster was born in 1887 in Clarksville, Tennessee.  Little is known about his childhood.  He claimed his family had been chased “up north” by racial violence.  After holding a series of jobs, Webster began working as a porter for the Pullman Company in 1906, a position he would retain until 1928 when he became a full-time organizer for the BSCP.  

While working for the railroad, Webster became involved in Chicago politics, supporting the black Republican machine then emerging on the city’s south side.  Webster eventually became the GOP leader of Chicago’s Sixth Ward.  In 1924, with the help of Bernard Snow, chief bailiff of the Chicago Municipal Court, Webster obtained employment as an assistant bailiff and during that time studied law. Webster also supported himself with the rents from two south side Chicago apartment buildings.
Sources: 
Jervis Anderson, A. Philip Randolph: A Biographical Portrait (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1972); William H. Harris, Keeping the Faith: A. Phillip Randolph, Milton P. Webster and the Brotherhood of the Sleeping Car Porters (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1978); Beth Tompkins Bates, Pullman Porters and the Rise of Protest Politics in Black America, 1925-1945 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Preer, Evelyn (1896-1932)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

Evelyn Preer, one of the first African American silent screen actresses to transition into sound Hollywood films, was born on July 21, 1896 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. After her father’s death, Preer and her mother relocated to Chicago, Illinois where she completed high school before pursuing acting.

Preer’s big break came when she landed a role in Oscar Micheaux’s first film, The Homesteader (1919), in which she played a tragically unhappy woman abandoned by her husband for a mulatto woman whom he believed to be white. Impressed with her talent, Micheaux cast Preer in several roles in which she generally played dramatic characters, challenging many of the prevailing black film stereotypes. Preer expanded her acting abilities into the area of theater, frequently alternating between the screen and stage as she became a staple for Micheaux’s dramatic films and an esteemed actress for the Lafayette Players.

Preer met and married stage actor Edward Thompson while traveling with the players and the duo headlined productions for the traveling section of the Lafayette Players throughout the early 1920s. Preer’s impressive theatricality led her to Broadway where she recorded with the legendary musical composer Duke Ellington, performed with Ethel Waters, and won acclaim for her role as Sadie Thompson in the revival of Somerset Maugham’s classic melodrama Rain.

Sources: 

Pearl Bowser, Oscar Micheaux, His Silent Films and His Circle: African-American Filmmaking and Race Cinema of the Silent Era (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2001); Thomas Cripps, Slow Fade to Black. The Negro in American Film, 1900-1942 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977); Francesca Sr. Thompson, Drop me off in Harlem, http://www.artedge.kennedy-center.org/exploring/harlem/themes/lafayette.html.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Little Richard (Richard Wayne Penniman) (1932- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Little Richard with the Beatles, 1963
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Sources: 
Charles White, The Life and Times of Little Richard: The Quasar of Rock  (New York: Da Capo, 1994); Bob Gulla, Icons of R&B and Soul: An Encyclopedia of the Artists Who Revolutionized Rhythm (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2008); Kandia Crazy Horse, Rip It Up: The Black Experience in Rock'n'roll (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Sun Ra (Le Sony’r Ra) (1914-1993)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Jazz pianist, bandleader, composer, and cosmic philosopher Le Sony'r Ra, or Sun Ra, remains an influential and controversial figure in jazz history. He is largely remembered for his Astro Black Mythology that incorporated aspects of ancient Egyptian philosophy and science fiction, as well as his contributions to avant-garde jazz and afrofuturism.

Sources: 
John F. Szwed, Space is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra (NY: Pantheon Books, 1997); Graham Lock, Blutopia: Visions of the Future and Revisionist of the Past in the Work of Sun Ra, Duke Ellington, and Anthony Braxton (Durham: Duke University Press, 1999); John Corbett, Pathways to Unknown Worlds: Sun-Ra, El Saturn and Chicago's Afro-futurist Underground 1954-68 (Chicago: White Walls, 2006).
Contributor: 

Crenchaw, Milton Pitts (1919-2015)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Tuskegee Airmen Pilots in Training, ca. 1942,
Milton Crenchaw is in the Cap in the Middle
Image Courtesy of Edmund Davis
Milton Crenchaw was the only civilian flight instructor (of the first class) for the Tuskegee Airmen. He was the first Arkansas African American to be called a Tuskegee Airman.

Milton Pitts Crenchaw was born on January 13, 1919 in Little Rock, Arkansas to Ethel Pitts Crenchaw, a beautician, and Reverend Joseph C. Crenchaw. Milton Crenchaw studied auto mechanics at Dunbar Junior College and in 1939 enrolled in the mechanical engineering program at Tuskegee Institute in 1939. He was in the school’s pilot training program and did not continue his studies after earning his pilot’s license.  

Sources: 

Robert A. Rose, D.D.S., Lonely Eagles, (California: Tuskegee Airmen Incorporated, Los Angeles Chapter, 1976); Charles Dryden,  A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman, (Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 1997); Edmund Davis, Pioneering African American Aviators Featuring the Tuskegee Airmen (Little Rock: Aviate Through Knowledge Productions, 2012); http://www.lwfaam.net/ww2/aaf_66th_ftd/66th.htm; http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=4925; http://earlyaviators.com/eanderso.htm; http://www.central.aero/about-us/.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Arkansas Baptist College

McDonald, Norris (1958- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of The African American
Environmentalist Association

Norris McDonald, a leading black environmentalist, is the founder and president of the African American Environmental Association (AAEA), an organization dedicated to protecting the environment, enhancing human, animal and plant ecologies, and increasing African American participation in the environmental movement.

Norris McDonald was born to parents Sandy Norris McDonald Sr. and Katie Louvina Best in 1958 in Thomasville, North Carolina.  Norris McDonald Sr. was a high school principal and Katie Louvina Best worked for the local public school system. She died of breast cancer at the age of 26.

McDonald attended Wake Forest University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1977. After college, McDonald moved to Washington, D.C. hoping to find a job as a Congressional staffer.  Instead, he was hired as a staffer at the Environmental Policy Institute in 1979 (now called Friends of the Earth) where he worked for the next seven years. McDonald’s primary duties included media relations, public education, researching, lobbying, and fund raising. During this time, McDonald was introduced to environmental issues across the nation.  He also noticed that there were no black professionals working for environmental groups in the Washington, D.C. area. The absence of black professionals in those organizations inspired him to create the AAEA in 1985.

Sources: 
http://grist.org/article/norris/; http://meldi.snre.umich.edu/node/12335; Norris McDonald, Norris McDonald: Diary of an Environmentalist (Washington, D.C.: Privately Published, 2010).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Wright, Nathan Jr. (1923-2005)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Black Power advocate Nathan Wright, Jr. was born on August 5, 1923 in Shreveport, Louisiana. He and his brother and sisters grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. Wright attended St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1941 and 1942 and then transferred to Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1943 and 1944. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Administrative Corps during World War II.
Sources: 
“Negro Spokesman. Nathan Wright Jr.,” New York Times, July 22, 1967;
Chuck Stone, “The National Conference on Black Power,” in The Black Power Revolt: A Collection of Essays, ed. Floyd B. Barbour (Boston: Porter Sergeant, 1968); Jon Thurber, “Nathan Wright Jr., 81: Minister Was Figure in 1960s Black Power Debate,” Los Angeles Times, March 4, 2005; Margaret Alic, “Gale Contemporary Black Biography: Nathan Wright, Jr.,” Contemporary Authors Online, October 26, 2005.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
California State University, Los Angeles

Shirley, George Irving (1934- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
George Shirley is an educator, lecturer, and internationally acclaimed tenor whose leading roles in 28 operas with the Metropolitan Opera (“Met”) for 11 seasons helped push open doors on operatic stages for many African American tenors. In 1956 Shirley became the first African American member with the U.S. Army Chorus where, after being urged by his fellow choristers, Shirley decided on a career in opera.  Following Robert McFerrin Sr.’s win of Metropolitan Opera’s “Auditions of the Air” in 1953, Shirley became the second black male to perform there after he won first prize at the Met’s National Council Auditions in 1961. That same year Shirley became the first African American placed under contract with the Met and the first black tenor to sing leading roles there.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion (1945–1946)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Members of the 6888th Central Postal Battalion Taking Part
in a Ceremony in Honor of Joan d’ Arc, in Rouen, France, May 1945
Image Courtesy of the U.S. Army
The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was an all-black battalion of the Woman’s Army Corps (WAC). The 6888th had eight hundred and fifty-five enlisted African American women and officers. The battalion was commanded by Major Charity Edna Adams Early, who became the highest-ranking African-American woman in the military at the end of the war. It was the only all-black, all-female battalion overseas during World War II. The group was nicknamed “Six Triple Eight” and their motto was “No mail, no morale.” The battalion was organizing into five companies—Headquarters Company, Company A, Company B, Company C, and Company D. Most of the 6888th worked as postal clerks, cooks, mechanics, and in other support positions.
Sources: 
Charity Adams Early, One Woman’s Army a Black Officer Remembers The WAC (College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press.1995); “Peg Trout,” Sisters in War (Indianapolis: Dog Early Publishing, LLC, 2008); “6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion,” African-Americans in the U.S Army, http://www.history.army.mil/html/topics/afam/6888thPBn/index.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Broyard, Anatole Paul (1920-1990)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public domain

New York Times literary critic, author, and teacher Anatole Broyard was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on July 16, 1920, the son of carpenter Paul A. Broyard and Edna Miller, two light-skinned African Americans. With the nation in the throes of the Great Depression his family moved from the city’s historic French Quarter to a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. It was then that his father decided to pass for white in order to secure a job.

Sources: 
Henry Louis Gates Jr., “White Like Me,” The New Yorker (June 17, 1996); Herbert Mitgang, Broyard’s obituary in The New York Times (October 12, 1990); Farai Chideya, “Daughter Discovers Father’s Black Lineage” at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14896871.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Lyles, General Lester (1946- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
General Lester Lyles at U.S. Defense
Department Press Briefing
Image Ownership: Public domain

Air Force General Lester Lyles was born on April 20, 1946, in Washington, D.C. He attended public schools in the District and then in 1968, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University. While at Howard he joined the Air Force ROTC program and upon graduation in 1968, became a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.  Lyles then went to New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, to receive a Master of Science degree in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering in the Air Force Institute of Technology Program. In 1980, he attended the Defense Systems Management College in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia, in 1981, and then the National War College of Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, D.C. in 1985.

Sources: 
“General Lester Lyles,” U.S. Air Force, Official United States Air Force Website, 2003, http://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/106412/general-lester-l-lyles/; “General Lester L. Lyles,” NASA, Official National Aeronautics and Space Administration Website, Aug. 6, 2017, https://www.nasa.gov/offices/nac/members/lyles-bio.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Webb, Wellington E. (1941- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Wellington Webb was born in Chicago in 1941.  He came to Denver at a very early age and before entering politics he was a forklift operator. Webb’s public service career began in 1972 when he was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives. In 1977, he was selected by President James Carter to serve as regional director of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Then in 1981, Colorado Governor Richard Lamm appointed Webb to his cabinet as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. In 1987, he was elected as the Denver City Auditor.

In 1991, Webb became the first African American mayor of Denver.  He won reelection twice, serving a total of twelve years. During his tenure he named the first Hispanic police chief, the first African American fire chief and the first Hispanic Clerk and Recorder.  He also oversaw the construction of Denver International Airport and ensured that many of its concessions would be operated b women and minority entrepreneurs.  Mayor Webb hosted nearly 200,000 people from around the world to celebrate World Youth Day with Pope John Paul II on August 11-15, 1993, and in 1997 welcomed President Clinton and eight world leaders at the Denver Summit of the Eight, the annual economic summit.

Sources: 
Wallace Yvonne Tollette, Colorado Black Leadership Profiles (Denver: Western Images Publications, 2001); Wellington E. Webb: A Tribute to 12 Years. (A Commemorative Booklet), Urban Spectrum Newspaper, 2003.
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Glover, Danny (1946- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Danny Lebern Glover, actor, producer, and humanitarian was born in San Francisco, California on July 22, 1946 to Carrie (nee) Hunly and James Glover.  His parents, United States postal workers, fought for equal rights as members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a fight that Glover has continued throughout his adult life.

Glover graduated from George Washington High School in San Francisco in 1964 and from San Francisco State University in 1968 with a B.A. in Economics.  As a college student and member of the Black Students Union, Glover participated in the five-month student-led strike, the longest student walkout in U.S. history, which led to the establishment of the first School of Ethnic Studies program in the United States. Glover's response to a New York Times reporter inquiring about students missing class during the strike was that students could always go back to school, as the most important thing to him is to end racism everywhere.

After college, Glover took a position as a Model-Cities Program Manager with the Office of Community Development in San Francisco, where he solidified his philosophy that people are the architects of change.  During this time he began studying acting at the Shelton Actors Lab, long recognized as a top professional actors training program.  Deciding he wanted to become an actor, he resigned his managerial position and moved to Los Angeles.
Sources: 
Dave Sommers, "Lethal Lesson," http://zwire.com/site/Danny_Glover.html; “Grades: a Worry in Campus Strike; Problem for Coast Students Who Still Attend Class,” New York Times, Jan 19, 1969, p. 25; Kevin Yeoman, "Fox’s  ‘Touch’ Adds Danny Glover & Young Lead David Mazouz," http://screenrant.com/danny-glover-touch-fox-david-mazouz-yman-119121; Danny Glover’s Story,  http://www.un.org/works/goingon/danny_story.html; Danny Glover  Foundation. http://www.dannyglover.org; Gloria Blakely, Danny Glover (Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2001).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Paine College

Price M. Cobbs (1926- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
William H. Grier (left) and Price Cobbs
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Price M. Cobbs is a psychiatrist, author, and management consultant best known for co-authoring the book Black Rage, regarded by the New York Times as “one of the most important books on blacks,” with fellow psychiatrist William H. Grier. Detailing the ambiguities in the psychological makeup of black people in America caused by racism and white supremacy, Black Rage was published in 1968 after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and subsequent riots. These social events led to an intense interest in the book, opening national dialogue and leading to the ABC TV special in 1969 titled To Be Black.
Sources: 
"Price M. Cobbs, M.D," Diversity Collegium, http://diversitycollegium.org/profiles/price_cobbs.php; Price Cobbs, My American Life: From Rage to Entitlement (New York: Atria Books, 2005); "Dr. Price Cobbs," The HistoryMakers http://www.thehistorymakers.com/biography/dr-price-cobbs-40.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Oliver, Nikkita (1986- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Ownership, Nate Gowdy

Nikkita Oliver is an attorney, teacher, poet, and social activist. She is well-known for her 2017 run for mayor of Seattle, Washington where she came in a surprising third in a field of twenty-one candidates which included many established politicians.  Oliver was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and grew up in a biracial household there. Oliver credits the experience of seeing her father go in and out of jail for failure to pay child support as one of the reasons she is so adamant about making the public aware about the injustice that exists in the legal system.

Sources: 
“About Nikkita Oliver,” Seattle Peoples Party, https://seattlepeoplesparty.com/about-nikkita-oliver/; Hayat Norimine, “What’s Next For Nikkita Oliver?” Seattle Met, Jan. 1, 2018, https://www.seattlemet.com/articles/2018/1/31/what-s-next-for-nikkita-oliver; David Kroman,  “Activist, Attorney Nikkita Oliver Is Running For Mayor” Crosscut, March 7, 2017, https://crosscut.com/2017/03/nikkita-oliver-activist-seattle-mayor; Norimine Hayat, “Candidate Profile: Nikkita Oliver” Seattle Met, July 24, 2017, https://www.seattlemet.com/articles/2017/7/24/candidate-profile-nikkita-oliver; Mahroo Keshavarz, “Nikkita Oliver Connects Art, Activism, and Education” The Seattle Globalist, March 21, 2016, http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2016/03/21/seattle-nikkita-oliver-youth-speaks-arts-corps/48973.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Ferst, Deise Nunes (1968– )

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
In 1986 eighteen-year-old Deise Nunes became the first woman of visible African descent to be named Miss Brazil in the competition’s thirty-two-year history.  As the Brazilian winner, she automatically went on to compete in the Miss Universe competition held in Panama City, Panama, in July 1986.  Nunes placed sixth in the international competition.

With curly, natural, and voluminous hair, she became the controversial symbol of Brazilian beauty. Nunes’s triumph coincided with the 98th Anniversary of the freeing of Brazil’s slaves, descendants of Africans forcibly imported by Portuguese colonial masters to cut sugar cane, starting in the sixteenth century.  It would be thirty years before another black woman, Raissa Santana, would claim the title of Miss Brazil in 2016.

Sources: 
“2016 Miss Brazil: Record Number of Black Candidates -plus55”,plus55.com/culture/2016/09/miss-brazil-2016-record-number-black-candidates; “Gaúcha, negra e Miss Brasil - Moda e Beleza - Raça”, raca.digisa.com.br/moda-e-beleza/gaucha-negra-e-miss.../1902/; “Deise Nunes celebra nova Miss Brasil negra: "Já estava mais do que...revistadonna.clicrbs.com.br/..
“DEISE NUNES FERST",supertalentosas.com.br/site/index.php?page=dica&codigo=2
“Brazil – The World Factbook – Central Intelligence Agency”, https//https// www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/br.htm
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Armstrong, Henry (1912-1988)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Henry Jackson Jr., better known as Henry Armstrong, was born on December 12, 1912, in Columbus, Mississippi to a sharecropper of black, Indian and Irish descent, and a mother who was a full-blooded Iroquois Indian. At age four his family moved to St. Louis, where he was raised by his grandmother and father after his mother died. It was on the streets of St. Louis that young Henry learned to defend himself from gangs and first displayed a natural affinity for fighting.

While Henry dreamed of going to college to become a doctor he was forced to become the head of the household at the young age of 18 when his father’s health deteriorated and he was no longer able to work. Turning to boxing, Henry failed to qualify for the upcoming Olympics, and began his professional boxing career in 1931 under the name of Melody Jackson. He later adopted the last name of a friend, and changed his last name to Armstrong.

Sources: 
www.henryarmstrong.net; www.hbhof.com/armstrong.htm; http://coxscorner.tripod.com/armstrong.html; Bert Sugar, 1982 ‘100 Years of Boxing’, 2002 Ring Magazine Annual (Vol. 2).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

University of the Virgin Islands (1962-- )

Entry Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
Global African History
University of the Virgin Islands
Image Ownership: Public Domain

The University of the Virgin Islands  (UVI) is a public university located on the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix, the United States Virgin Islands. It was established in 1962  In 1986 it officially became one of the 117 U.S. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). It remains the only HCBU not on the mainland of the United States.

The University of the Virgin Islands was founded on March 16, 1962, as the College of the Virgin Islands.  Its founding legislation authorized the campus as a publicly funded, coeducational, liberal arts institution. According to that legislation, Act No. 862 of the Fourth Legislature of the U.S. Virgin Islands, the college's prime objective was to provide for “...the stimulation and utilization of the intellectual resources of the people of the Virgin Islands and the development of a center of higher learning whereby and where from the benefits of culture and education may be extended throughout the Virgin Islands.” The institution changed its name in 1986 to the University of the Virgin Islands to reflect the growth and development of its academic programs.  

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Hamer, Fannie Lou (1917-1977)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public domain
Fannie Lou Hamer was a grass-roots civil rights activist whose life exemplified resistance in rural Mississippi to oppressive conditions. Born on October 6, 1917 in Montgomery County, Mississippi, to a family of sharecroppers, she was the youngest of Lou Ella and Jim Townsend’s twenty children.  Her family moved to Sunflower County, Mississippi in 1919 to work on the E. W. Brandon plantation.

Hamer’s activism began in the 1950s when she attended several annual conferences of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership organized by Dr. T.R.M. Howard, a wealthy businessman and civil rights leader in the all-black town of Mound Bayou, Mississippi.  There, Hamer encountered prominent civil rights leaders such as Thurgood Marshall of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Michigan Congressman Charles Diggs.
Sources: 
Chana Kai Lee, For Freedom’s Sake: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1999); Kay Mills, This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer (New York, New York: Dutton, 1993); http://www.fembio.org/english/biography.php/woman/biography/fannie-lou-hamer/.
Affiliation: 
Tuskeegee University

Brown, Lee P. (1937- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Lee Patrick Brown, known as “The Father of Community Policing,” became the first African American Mayor of Houston, Texas in 1997.

Brown was born to sharecropper parents Andrew and Zelma Brown in the town of Wewoka, Oklahoma in 1937.  He received a B.A. in criminology from Fresno State University in California in 1960 and four years later earned an M.A. from San Jose State University in the same field.  In 1970 he received a Ph.D. in criminology from the University of California, Berkeley.
Sources: 
Alston Hornsby Jr. and Angela M. Hornsby, From the Grassroots: Profiles of Contemporary African American Leaders (Montgomery, Alabama: E-Book Time LLC, 2006); Charles M. Christian, Black Saga: The African American Experience (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1995); http://www.thehistorymakers.com/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Morrison, Chloe Anthony Wofford "Toni" (1931- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of Timothy
Greenfield-Sanders
Born Chloe Anthony Wofford on February 18, 1931 in Lorain, Ohio to parents George and Ella Ramah Wofford, novelist Toni Morrison grew up in a working class family.  She received a B.A. degree from Howard University after majoring in English and minoring in the classics.  Wofford earned an M.A. degree in English from Cornell University and then taught at Howard University and Texas Southern University, before entering the publishing world as an editor at Random House. She married (and later divorced) Harold Morrison and gave birth to sons Ford and Slade Kevin. Morrison taught at Yale, Bard College, Rutgers University and the State University of New York at Albany.  She later held the Robert F. Goheen Professorship in the Humanities at Princeton University.
Sources: 

Nellie Y. McKay, ed. Critical Essays on Toni Morrison (Boston: G.K. Hall & Co., 1988); Philip Page, Dangerous Freedom: Fusion and Fragmentation in Toni Morrison’s Novels (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1995); Wilfred D. Samuels and Clenora Hudson Weems, Toni Morrison (Boston: G.K. Hall & Co., 1989).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Utah

Owens, Major Robert (1936- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of the U.S. HOuse of
Representatives Photography Office
Former New York Congressman Major Robert Owens was born on June 28, 1936 in Collierville, Tennessee.  He graduated from Hamilton High School in Memphis in 1952 at the age of 16.  Owens received a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College in 1956, and an M.S. in Library Science from Atlanta University in 1957. He then moved to Brooklyn, New York where he worked as a librarian.

During this time Owens became active in the Brooklyn community. In 1964 he served as the chair of the Brooklyn Congress of Racial Equality and vice president of the Metropolitan Council of Housing for New York City.  He was also the community coordinator of the Brooklyn Public Library from 1964 to 1966, served as the executive director of the Brownsville Community Council from 1966 to 1968.  From 1968 to 1973 Owens was commissioner of the Community Development Agency in New York City.  Between 1973 and 1975 he served as director of the community media library program at Columbia University, NY.

Major Owens was elected to the New York State Senate as a Democrat in 1974.  He remained in the State Senate until 1982 when he was elected to New York’s Eleventh Congressional District, replacing the retiring Shirley Chisholm.  With his election Owens became the only professional librarian ever elected to Congress.
Sources: 
“Major Owens – Congresspedia” http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Major_Owens; “Members of Congress: Major Owens (Biographical Information),” http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/o000159/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Mitchell, Abbie (1884-1960)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Sources: 
Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York: W.W. Norton, 1982).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Smith, Damu (1952–2006)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Damu Smith at the United For Peace and
Justice Conference, Chicago, 2003
Image Courtesy of Diane Greene Lent, Photographer

Leroy Wesley Smith was born in St. Louis Missouri on December 6, 1951, and became a late 20th Century social activist for justice. Son of a fireman and a licensed practical nurse, Smith spent his childhood growing up in a St. Louis housing project.  He participated in an after school program for disadvantaged male youth which gave him the opportunity to travel to Cairo, Illinois where he heard other activists and community organizers for the first time.  Impressed by their passion and their organizing skills, Smith was influenced to follow a similar path.

After graduating high school in 1970, Smith entered St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota where he became the leader of The Organization of Afro-American Students.  Through this organization, Smith fought for a Black Studies program that would hire more black professors.

Sources: 

Sharon Melson Fletcher, “Damu Smith Biography” African American Biographies. (Net Industries, 2009) http://biography.jrank.org/pages/2880/Smith-Damu.html Retrieved 2009-03-06; Sara Powell, “In Memoriam: Damu Smith 1951-2006” Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs. (Jul 2006). http://www.wrmea.com/archives/July_2006/0607080.html Retrieved 2009-03-04.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Jefferson, William J. (1947-- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
William J. Jefferson is a former Democratic politician who represented Louisiana’s Second Congressional District from 1991 to 2009. He was the first African American congressman elected from the state since Reconstruction. His career ended in a bribery scandal that resulted in his conviction in November 2009. 

William Jefferson was born in 1947 in Lake Providence, Louisiana. He was one of ten children in his family, one of the few black landowning families in an area inhabited mostly by black sharecroppers and white plantation owners. Jefferson earned a BA degree from Southern University A & M College in 1969, and then earned a JD from Harvard Law School in 1972. From 1973 to 1975 he was a legislative assistant to Louisiana Senator J. Bennett Johnston.  

In 1978, Jefferson ran for a seat representing New Orleans’ Uptown section in the Louisiana State Senate, defeating a white incumbent candidate. He remained in the State Senate for twelve years, although twice he ran unsuccessfully for mayor of New Orleans. In 1990 Jefferson ran for and won the hotly-contested congressional seat of retiring Representative Corinne (Lindy) Boggs.
Sources: 
United States House of Representatives, Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007 (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 2008); Jonathan Tilove, "William Jefferson Sentenced to 13 years in Prison,” Louisiana Politics & Government (November 13, 2009); “William Jefferson Verdict: Guilty on 11 of 16 counts,” New Orleans Times-Picayune (August 5, 2009).
Contributor: 

Albany State University (1903- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Albany State University is a historically black university in Albany, Georgia. It was founded in 1903 by Joseph Winthrop Holley, a native of South Carolina.  This son of former slaves was inspired by the writings of W.E.B. DuBois to try to improve conditions for the South’s African American population by offering industrial and religious education. The first incarnation of the school was the Albany Bible and Manual Training Institute, and initially the school‘s goal was to offer primary and secondary education and to train teachers. In 1917, the school gained state funding and a board of trustees and was renamed the Georgia Normal and Agricultural College.  Also in 1917 it began offering two year post-secondary degrees.

In 1932 the school gained affiliation with the Georgia University System and in 1943 the school’s name was again changed, this time to Albany State College. This name change marked the development of the school into a four year university.  The same year Albany State College awarded its first baccalaureate degree. In 1996 the institution adopted its current name in recognition of the school’s autonomous graduate programs.
Sources: 
Albany State University Official Website, www.asurams.edu; “Albany State University,” New Georgia Encyclopedia Online, University of Georgia Press, 2006,  www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-1420; Toni Hodge-Wright, ed., The Handbook of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Seattle: Jireh & Associates, 1992); Julian B. Roebuck, and Komanduri S. Murty, Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Their Place in American Higher Education (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers, 1993).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Brazile, Donna (1959 - )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Donna Brazile, author, campaign manager, adjunct professor, political analyst, and current vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was born December 15, 1959 in New Orleans, Louisiana to Lionel and Jean Brazile. Brazile was the third of nine children, and her father (a janitor) and mother (a domestic worker) often had a hard time making ends meet. Brazile became interested in politics at age nine when she heard that a local candidate for city council had promised to build a playground in her neighborhood. The young Brazile volunteered for the campaign and passed out pamphlets to her neighbors. The candidate won, the neighborhood got a playground, and Brazile discovered her new passion for political activism.  At age 17 Brazile volunteered for the Carter-Mondale campaign in 1976, stuffing envelopes at the local campaign headquarters.

Brazile attended Louisiana State University where she earned her degree in industrial psychology in 1981. After graduation Brazile worked as a lobbyist for the National Student Education Fund in Washington, D.C. During the same time period Brazile was hired by Coretta Scott King to help plan a re-enactment of the 1963 civil rights march on Washington in 1983. Brazile worked with the Dr. Martin Luther King Foundation to help establish Dr. King’s birthday as a national holiday.
Sources: 
Donna Brazile, Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in America (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005); Ashyia Henderson, “Donna Brazile,” in Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 25 (Farmington Hill: Thomson/Gale, 2004); http://www.democrats.org/about/bio/donna_brazile
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Forde, George Patrick Alphonse (1882-1967)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
George Patrick Alphonse Forde was an important physician in early 20th century Houston, Texas. Forde was born in Barbados in September 1882.  Educated in the Caribbean, Forde first became aware of the possibility of a medical profession while he worked in a Panama Canal hospital.  

Forde immigrated to the United States and attended Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, and subsequently he graduated from the school at the top of his class in 1913. He did his medical residency in Muskogee, Oklahoma. In Muskogee Forde was introduced to the United States’ Jim Crow restrictions when he was refused hospital privileges at all-white hospitals.  Forde’s training was thus compromised because there was no hospital in the community where an African American physician could practice medicine.

Sources: 
Bernadette Pruitt, The Other Great Migration: The Movement of Rural African Americans to Houston, 1900-1941 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2013); http://www.history.uh.edu/cph/tobearfruit/resources_bios_forde.html; http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/aalgs/00013/00013-P.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Adams, Samuel Clifford, Jr. (1920-2001)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Samuel Clifford Adams, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to Niger was born in Waco, Texas on August 15, 1920, to Samuel Clifford Adams and Sarah Catherine (née Roberts) Adams. He grew up in the Fourth Ward section of Houston, Texas.

In 1936 Adams graduated as valedictorian of Booker T. Washington High School in Houston. He won a scholarship to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he intended to study music. Charles Johnson, the president of Fisk University, however, influenced him to switch his major to sociology. Adams worked in the summers at the Henry Ford Trade School in Detroit, Michigan as a machinist to pay for school.
Sources: 
“Former Ambassador Samuel Adams dies at 79,” Houston Chronicle, August 3, 2001;
“Interview with Samuel Clifford Adams, Jr.,” http://www.loc.gov/item/mfdipbib000006/ “Samuel Clifford Adams Jr. (1920-2001) Profile,” http://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/people/adams-samuel-clifford.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
California State University, Fullerton

Lynk, Beebe Steven (1872–1948)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

Beebe Steven Lynk was one of the earliest black women chemists in the United States. She was born Beebe Steven, the daughter of Henderson and Judiam (Boyd) Steven, in Mason, Tennessee, on October 24, 1872. Little is known about her early life, her parents, or whether she had siblings.

Lynk attended Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, and graduated with a degree in 1892 at the age of twenty. It is unclear if this was a two-year degree or if she began college at the age of sixteen.  Nearly a year later on April 12,1893, she married Dr. Miles Vandahurst Lynk who was the founder, editor, and publisher of Medical and Surgical Observer, the first medical journal edited by an African American. Miles Lynk was also the first African American to establish a medical practice in Jackson.  

In 1900, Beebe Steven and her husband founded the University of West Tennessee in Jackson. One year later, she took up the study of pharmaceutical chemistry at the university and in 1903 she earned a PhC (Pharmaceutical Chemist) degree. In the early 1900s, when Lynk earned the PhC, the degree required two years of study. Although she earned this degree after her bachelor’s degree, it was considered a pre-bachelor’s degree that was required if one wished to become a pharmaceutical chemist (pharmacist) or if one wanted to teach chemistry and pharmacy as Lynk did. Almost immediately after being awarded the degree, Lynk became the professor of medical Latin botany and materia medica at the university’s new medical school. She joined another woman to become the only two female faculty members at the medical school. There were eight men on the faculty at the University of West Tennessee.

Sources: 
America Pink, “Beebe Steven Lynk,” http://america.pink/beebe-steven-lynk_610956.html; “Beebe Steven Lynk,” http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=60390520; Jeannette E. Brown, African American Women Chemists (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012); Wini Warren, Black Women Scientists in the United States (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Lunceford, Jimmie M. (1902-1947)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Jimmie Lunceford and his Orchestra
Image Ownership: Public domain

James Melvin “Jimmie” Lunceford, a popular band leader during the swing era, was born near Fulton, Mississippi, in Itawamba County to James Leonard and Beulah Idella Tucker Lunceford in June, 1902. His grandparents, Daniel and Gracie Lunceford, had arrived in Mississippi as slaves from North Carolina in 1860.

The Lunceford family moved to Oklahoma around 1910 and then to Denver, Colorado, where they maintained a home for many years. There, Lunceford studied music under Wilberforce Whiteman, the father of Paul Whiteman, a prominent white musician and band leader of the 1920s and 1930s.

Sources: 
Eddy Determeyer, Rhythm Is Our Business: Jimmie Lunceford and the Harlem Express (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2006); Leo Walker, The Big Band Almanac (Pasadena: Ward Ritchie Press, 1978); http://itawambahistory.blogspot.com/2007/06/orchestra-leader-jimmie-luncefords.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Chisum, Gloria Twine (1930- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public domain

ENTRY SPONSOR: Juli Farris

An experimental psychologist, Gloria Twine Chisum is primarily known for developing protective eyewear for pilots in extreme conditions.

Chisum was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma in 1930. She grew up in Muskogee but then attended Howard University where she earned an undergraduate degree in psychology in 1951 and completed an MS in psychology in 1953. Chisum pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority during her undergraduate years and was involved with the Howard University Players, a student-run dramatic group.

Sources: 
Anjali Patel, “23 Black Female Scientists Who Changed The Damn World: I Got 99 Problems But Black Women Will Cure All Of Them Someday,” https://www.buzzfeed.com/anjalipatel/she-blinded-me-with-science; “Gloria Twine Chisum, Ph.D., G’60, Hon’94, and Melvin J. “Jack” Chisum, M.D., C’43, M’52,” University of Pennsylvania, http://giving.upenn.edu/profile/chisums; “Dr. Melvin J. Chisum, 92, Retired Physician,” The Philadelphia Tribune, http://www.phillytrib.com/obituaries/dr-melvin-j-chisum-retired-physician/article_29e5cabb-eede-5774-a1f8-40f5e3cf334d.html; “Chisum, Gloria Twine,” Oklahoma Hall of Fame: Gaylord Pickens Museum, https://oklahomahof.com/member-archives/c/chisum-gloria-twine-1984.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Bankhead, Lester Oliver (1912-1997)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Lester Oliver Bankhead was among a handful of pioneering black architects in Los Angeles in the 1950s.  Although he faced the racial prejudice of his time, he was able to obtain work from Hollywood celebrities, such as actor Lorne Greene of the television series Bonanza; Kelly Lang, a well-known Los Angeles, California news anchor; and H.B. Barnum, noted music producer and arranger for Frank Sinatra and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles.

Lester Bankhead, the eldest of six children, was born on April 20, 1912, in Union, South Carolina.  His parents were John Hayes Bankhead and Pearl Eugenia Eskew.  Bankhead had hoped to attend Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, but the lack of financial support forced him to seek training elsewhere.  He wrote to Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina, and was later enrolled in 1937.  Bankhead stated that he graduated from Voorhees with a degree in agriculture and a certificate in carpentry in 1941.  
Sources: 
Interview with Lester Bankhead by Wesley Henderson, Los Angeles, California, 1992, University of California at Los Angeles Oral History Program; Wendel Eckford, “Lester O. Bankhead,” in African American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary 1865-1945, Dreck Spurlock Wilson, Editor (New York, 2004).
Affiliation: 
Los Angeles City College

Barton, Katie D. Morgan (1918-2010)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Ownership: Public Domain
When thirty-year-old Katie Barton followed her husband to the small town of Pasco in Washington State in 1948, she did not foresee that she would embark on a life of fighting for black equality and serving her community, nor did she envision becoming the first black woman to serve on the Pasco City Council.

Barton was born Katie D. Morgan to parents Isam and Carrie Morgan in Gonzalez, Texas in 1918.  In 1948, Katie Barton joined her husband Marion Barton in Pasco, Washington.  He had left Texas several months earlier to work on the Hanford Engineering Works, part of the federal government’s top secret Manhattan Project. Marion Barton was one of 15,000 black workers who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II.  Instead of acceptance, these black workers encountered hostile, racist attitudes from the white residents of the Tri-Cities, named for the three cities of Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco. In fact Pasco was the only city that allowed black residents, and only under the condition that they live east of the railroad tracks. Living conditions were appalling.  The city did not provide water or regular garbage service for most of the black residents in east Pasco. Segregation was not only limited to housing, but also extended to transportation, and many businesses refused to serve blacks.
Sources: 
Interview of Mrs. Katie Barton by Shu-chen Lucas and Robert Bauman, Pasco, Washington, March 20, 2010; Robert Bauman, "Jim Crow in the Tri-Cities, 1943-1950," Pacific Northwest Quarterly 96: 3 (Summer 2005), 124-131.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Washington State University, Tri-Cities

Scott, Benny (1945–2009)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
William Benjamin Scott, known in the racing world as “The Professor” because of his other career as a college instructor and administrator, was a second-generation African American race car driver.  He was born on February 4, 1945 in Los Angeles, California. Scott’s father, Willie (Bill) “Bullet” Scott, raced midget cars in Southern California in the 1930s and later became a mechanic.  Benny Scott, while in high school, worked on cars with his father and raced go-carts.  
Sources: 
“Racer, Benny Scott plans to become first black driver at Indy 500,” Ebony Magazine, December 1972;  “Benny Scott,” Encyclopedia of African American Popular Culture, Jessie Carney Smith, editor, (California, Greenwood, December 2011);  “Black American Racers Inc.” https://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/documentstore/n/y/j/v//nyjv0084/nyjv0084.pdf: Leonard T. Miller, Racing while black, how an African-American Stock Car Team Made its mark on NASCAR (New York: Seven Stories Press, February 2011); Lacy J. Banks, “The Black American Racers: Breaking in on a fast track,” Chicago Tribune, Feb. 9, 1975.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Hunter’s Point, San Francisco Uprising (1966)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Women Flee the Hunter’s Point Riot Area, 1966
Image Ownership: Public domain

The Hunter’s Point Uprising in 1966 began September 27 and lasted for three days.  At that time, it was the largest riot in San Francisco, California since the anti-Chinese riots almost 90 years earlier.  The uprising began when police chased and attempted to arrest three teenagers—Darrell Mobley, 14; Clifton Bacon, 15; and Matthew “Peanut” Johnson, 16—who were joyriding in a stolen car in Hunter’s Point, a mostly black neighborhood at the southeast corner of San Francisco.  After their car stalled, the teenagers split up and ran from police.  Police officer Alvin Johnson gave chase and, according to an official city report, told Matthew Johnson to “Stop! Hold it, or I’m going to shoot!”  Unarmed, Matthew Johnson continued to run and Officer Johnson shot him four times killing him almost immediately.

Sources: 
Gary Kamiya, “Officer’s ’66 killing of black teen sparked Hunter’s Point riots,” SFChronicle.com, September 16, 2016, http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Officer-s-66-killing-of-black-teen-sparked-9228042.php; Tim O’Rourke, “Chronicle Covers: 50 years after the Hunters Point riots,” SFChronicle.com, September 28, 2016, http://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Chronicle-Covers-50-years-after-the-Hunters-9242856.php; “1966 Hunters Point riots,” SFGate.com, September 23, 2016, http://www.sfgate.com/news/slideshow/1966-Hunters-Point-riots-135252/photo-10974548.php.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Southern New Hampshire University

The Second Italo-Abyssinian War (1935–1936)

Entry Type: 
Events
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
The Second Italo-Abyssinian War was Italy’s conquest of Ethiopia, a process it began after the 1885 Partition of Africa. Italy was defeated in its first attempt at conquest at the battle of Adwa in 1896, allowing Ethiopia to become the only African nation to remain free of European control. Italian colonial forces however still remained in neighboring Eritrea and Somalia, and it was only a matter of time before the two nations would clash again.

The prospect of war increased dramatically after the fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini, took control of Italy in 1922. He sought Ethiopia for its resources but also to salvage the pride of the only European nation defeated by an African country. Taking Ethiopia would have also completed the Italian domination over the Horn of Africa.

Sources: 
Michael C. Anderson, “Italo-Ethiopian War, 1935-1936,” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2015; George W. Baer, “Test Case: Italy, Ethiopia, and the League of Nations,” Hoover Institute Press, Stanford University, 1976; Anthony Mockler, Haile Selassie’s War: The Italian-Ethiopian Campaign, 1935-1941 (New York: Random House, 1984).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

O'Reilly, Salaria Kee (1913-1991)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 


Salaria Kea in Spain
(ALBA Collection, Tamiment Library,
New York University) 

Born 13 July 1913 in Akron, Ohio, Salaria Kee was orphaned in her infancy and raised by family and friends.  After high school, she resolved to become a nurse but was denied by three nursing schools on account of her race.  Leveraging connections to Eleanor Roosevelt, the Harlem Hospital School of Nursing accepted her application and Kee moved to New York City.  Graduating in 1934, she worked as head nurse in the terminal ward of the Sea View Hospital for the treatment of tuberculosis.

When Italy invaded Ethiopia in late 1935, Kee joined a group of Harlem nurses collecting medical supplies for the Ethiopians.  Like many other African American anti-fascists, Kee shifted her support to the Spanish Republic with the rise of Franco.  Her efforts to join the Red Cross in Spain were rejected, again due to her race, but she soon found a place in the American Medical Bureau contingent in support of the International Brigades and departed the United States in March 1937.

Sources: 
Bob August, “Salaria Kea and John O’Reilly: Volunteers Who Met and Wed in Spain, 1938,” Cleveland Magazine (1975); Danny Duncan Collum (editor) and Victor A. Berch (chief researcher), African Americans in the Spanish Civil War: “This Ain’t Ethiopia, But It’ll Do” (New York, New York: G.K. Hall & Co, 1992); John Gerassi, The Premature Anti-Fascists: North American Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939: an Oral History (New York, New York: Praeger Publishers, 1986). William L. Katz, Fraser M. Ottanelli, and Christopher Brooks, “African Americans in the Spanish Civil War,” Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives at New York University (<https://www.alba-valb.org >, November 2006).
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Dawson, William Levi (1898-1990)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
William Levi Dawson was an African American composer, choir director, and professor specializing in black religious folk music.  He was born on September 26, 1899, in Anniston, Alabama to Eliza Starkey and George Dawson, the first of their seven children.  His father, a former slave, was an illiterate day laborer.  In 1912, Dawson ran away from home to study music full-time as a pre-college student at the Tuskegee Institute (now University) under the tutelage of school president Booker T. Washington.  Dawson paid his tuition by being a music librarian and manual laborer working in the school’s Agricultural Division.  He also participated as a member of Tuskegee’s band and orchestra, composing and traveling extensively with the Tuskegee Singers for five years; he had learned to play most of the instruments by the time he graduated from the high school division in 1921.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Syracuse University

Motown Records

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History
Kim Weston (with microphone) and Other Early
Motown Entertainers, 1963
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Founded in 1959 by former auto-worker and songwriter Berry Gordy, Jr. in Detroit, Michigan, Motown Records would become the most successful black-owned record label in history. After co-writing hits for Smokey Robinson and Jackie Wilson, Gordy purchased a house at 2648 West Grand Boulevard and began operating Tamla Records (later Motown). The home served not only as a recording studio but also as label headquarters. "Hitsville USA," as it was called, would serve as Motown's headquarters until 1968.

The first hit for Motown was Money (That's What I Want), by Barrett Strong, co-written by Gordy. From there Motown signed many up and coming artists including Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and Stevie Wonder. The Supremes, led by Diana Ross, was the most successful Motown group, and in fact was the most successful female singing group in the history of the recording industry.  
Sources: 
Eleanora E. Tate, African American Musicians (New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2000); Adam Woog, From Ragtime to Hip-Hop: A Century of Black American Music (Detroit: Lucent Books, 2007); Steve Kurutz, "Berry Gordy Jr."  Allmusic.com, 7 Mar. 2007: http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:g96jtr29klox~T1 "Motown." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 7 Mar. 2007:  http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9001781.
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Zuma, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa (1942-- )

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, the fourth president of post-apartheid South Africa, was elected to that post by the nation's parliament after the African National Congress (ANC) swept to victory in the 2009 general election.  Zuma was born on April 12, 1942, in Inkandla, South Africa, and is an ethnic Zulu member.  Zuma did not attend school and taught himself to read and write while spending his childhood in Zululand and Durban, South Africa.

In 1959, at the age of 17, Zuma joined the ANC, South Africa's largest political party, which at the time was a non-violent party campaigning against apartheid.  When the party was banned in 1961, it went underground, and Zuma became a member of the ANC's militant armed resistance wing.  He also joined the South African Communist Party in 1963.

Sources: 
"South Africa's divided ANC elects Zuma as new party president," Facts on File: Weekly World News Digest with Cumulative Index 67 (2007); “Jacob Zuma Biography”; Barry Bearak, "Waiting to Helm South Africa: President or Convict? Or Both?,” The New York Times (March 10, 2009)
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Barthé, Richmond (1901-1988)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Photograph by Carl Van Vechten,
courtesy of The Van Vechten Trust
Born in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi in 1901, Richmond Barthé moved to New Orleans, Louisiana at an early age. Little is known about his early youth, except that he grew up in a devoutly Roman Catholic household, he enjoyed drawing and painting, and his formal schooling did not go beyond grade school. From the age of sixteen until his early twenties, Barthé supported himself with a number of service and unskilled jobs, including house servant, porter, and cannery worker. His artistic talent was noticed by his parish priest when Barthé contributed two of his paintings to a fundraising event for his church. The priest was so impressed with his art that he encouraged Barthé to apply to the Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois and raised enough money to pay for his travel and tuition. From 1924 to 1928, Barthé studied painting at the Art Institute, while continuing to engage in unskilled and service employment to support himself.
Sources: 
Mary Ann Calo, Distinction and Denial: Race, Nation, and the Critical Construction of the African American Artist, 1920-1940 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007); A. D. Macklin, A Biographical History of African-American Artists, A-Z (Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 2001); Margaret Rose Vendryes, “The Lives of Richmond Barthé,” in The Greatest Taboo: Homosexuality in Black Communities, ed. Delroy Constantine-Simms (Los Angeles: Alyson Books, 2000).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Texas at Austin

Cummings, Elijah E. (1951- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
U.S. Congressman Elijah E. Cummings was born in Baltimore, Maryland on January 18, 1951. He received a B.A. degree from Howard University (Washington, D.C.) in 1973 and a J.D. degree from the University of Maryland (College Park) in 1976. Cummings, one of seven children of working-class parents who had migrated from a farm in South Carolina, grew up in a rental house, but often recalled the family “scrimping and saving” to buy their own home in a desegregated neighborhood. When the family moved into that home in 1963, when Cummings was twelve years of age, he recalled that he had “never played on grass before.”
Sources: 
Alton Hornsby, Jr. and Angela M. Hornsby-Gutting, From the Grassroots: Profiles of Contemporary African American Leaders (Montgomery: E-BookTime LLC, 2006).
Contributor2: 
Affiliation: 
University of Mississippi

Tony Dungy (1955- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Tony Dungy, a former professional football player and current coach for the Indianapolis Colts, is the first African American coach to win the Super Bowl.  Dungy has been hailed as a coaching genius, changing losing organizations into winners.   Despite overwhelming personal and professional obstacles, he continues to be the picture of humility, simultaneously earning respect both on and off the field because of his strong convictions and high personal standards of ethics and behavior.

Tony Dungy was born on October 6, 1955, in Jackson, Michigan to Wilbur and CleoMae Dungy, both of whom were educators.  Early on, his family placed a great deal of emphasis on academics and intellectual achievements as much as athletic ones.  However, even in a household where the focus was on education, Dungy was drawn to sports, particularly football. He attended Jackson’s Parkside High School, where he played guard for the basketball team and quarterback for the football team. Dungy excelled as an athlete and was even featured in the Sports Illustrated section, “Faces in the Crowd,” in 1970.  His immense talent and numbers would not go unnoticed by colleges and recruiters around the nation.
Sources: 
Tony Dungy and Nathaniel Whitaker, Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life (Carol Stream: Tyndale House, 2007); http://www.colts.com
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Washington, Forrester B. (1887-1963)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
The Urban League of Detroit, 1923
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Forrester Blanchard Washington was a African American pioneer in social work first with the Detroit Urban League and later with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration. Washington was born in1887 in Salem, Massachusetts.  He graduated from Tufts College (University)  in 1909 and received graduate degrees from Harvard University in 1914 and Columbia University in 1917.  Washington also studied at the New York School of Social Work.

Washington began his career as the first Executive Secretary of the Detroit Urban League in 1916.  He led the Detroit League when the city experienced the rapid growth of its black population during the World War I era migration.  Washington called for equal employment opportunities in Detroit while urging the black migrants to adjust to urban life.  

Washington also led the National Urban League affiliate in Philadelphia between 1923 and before moving to the Atlanta School for Social Work in 1926. While in Atlanta, Washington also became president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1936 and used the post to challenge and publicize examples of the inequalities faced by African Americans.

Sources: 

Frederica H. Barrow, "Forrester Blanchard Washington and His Advocacy
for African Americans in the New Deal," Social Work 52: 3 (July 2007);
1900-1949 Timeline, Detroit African American History Project, Wayne
State University, www.daahp.wayne.edu/1900_1949.html

Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Ali, Laila (1977- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Laila Ali, Reach, Finding Strength, Spirit, and Personal Power (New York: Hyperion, 2002);http://www.boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=14260&cat=boxer
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Broonzy, William Lee Conley “Big Bill” (1893-1958)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Although he struggled throughout his life to produce a sufficient income, Big Bill Broonzy played an integral role in launching the global popularity of Southern blues.  Born to sharecropper parents on June 26, 1893 in Scott, Mississippi, Broonzy grew up in Mississippi and Arkansas.  As a child he experimented with homemade guitars and fiddles and by the age of 15 proved he was skilled enough to play at special occasions.  During the next five years he mastered his unique vocal techniques and guitar skills that would assist him in his career which began after a stint in the U.S. Army in World War I.  

In 1920 Broonzy moved to Chicago to work as a professional musician. He had some luck landing live performances for mostly black crowds at Chicago nightclubs.  In 1926 he made his first recording with Paramount Records, playing backup guitar for local blues artists Cripple Clarence Lofton and Bumble Bee Slim.  By the early 1930s Broonzy was finally given the opportunity to record under his own name for the Melotone, Oriole, and Champion labels.  By the end of the decade he was the top selling male blues vocalist on the Perfect and Vocalion labels and established the widely known Bluebird Beat Chicago Blues sound while recording with the Bluebird label.  By this time Broonzy was no longer a solo performer.  He began to play with small groups that incorporated the piano, trumpet, saxophone, and sometimes a rhythm section.
Sources: 
Charles Alexander, Masters of Jazz Guitar (London: Balafon Books, 1999); Kwame Anthony Appiah & Henry Louis Gates, Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 1999); Leonard Feather, The New Edition of the Encyclopedia of Jazz (New York: Horizon Press, 1955); Yannick Bruynoghe, Big Bill Blues (New York: Grove Press, 1957).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Arizona State University

Evans, Harold Bethuel (1907-1995)

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People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Harold Bethuel Evans, research chemist, was born on October 31, 1907 in Brazil, Indiana.  Evans attended Michigan State University for his undergraduate degree beginning in 1927; he majored in applied science and graduated in 1931. In 1932 he received his master’s degree in science from Michigan State, with his thesis on the Benzylation of Thymol, a chemical process. That same year he married and later had one child. After graduating, Evans sought a teaching position at an all-black college, as many educated blacks did at this time. He taught chemistry at Georgia State Normal College (now Georgia College) for the 1935-1936 school year.

Evans held a series of odd jobs between 1936 and 1941 when he moved to Illinois and was hired by the federal government’s Kankakee Ordnance Works (otherwise known as Illinois Ordnance Works).  He stayed there until 1943 working as a chemist on projects designed to support Great Britain until the U.S. officially entered World War II on December 8, 1941. From 1941 to 1943 he worked on U.S. military projects.
In 1943 Evans was hired as an associate chemist at the University of Chicago's Metallurgical Lab, which after World War II evolved into the Argonne National Laboratory. It later relocated west of Chicago.  While with the Met Lab, Evans worked on nuclear fission projects as part of a 400-man team of scientists for the Manhattan Project, which produced the world's first atomic bombs.

Sources: 
Vivian Ovelton Sammons, Blacks in Science and Medicine (New York: Hemisphere Publishing corporation, 1990); American Men of Science (New York: R. R. Bowker, 1965); “Atom Scientists,” Ebony Magazine (Sept. 1949).

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

SNCC Freedom Singers (1962-1966)

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Freedom Singers were a musical group primarily active between 1962 and 1966, singing “freedom songs” in order to fundraise and organize on behalf of SNCC.

The Freedom Singers emerged out of the Albany Movement of 1962. After witnessing the Albany Movement’s mass movement musical culture, folksinger Pete Seeger suggested to SNCC executive secretary James Forman that a group could perform songs arising out of the civil rights movement in order to raise money for SNCC, educate young northerners on the events of the movement, and organize people to involve themselves. Eventually, the idea reached Albany Movement leader (and SNCC field secretary) Cordell Reagon in October 1962.  By the end of the year, a group was organized consisting of Reagon, Bernice Johnson, Rutha Harris, and Charles Neblett, occasionally joined by Bertha Gober. They were all trained musicians as well as SNCC field secretaries.
Sources: 
Ronald Cohen, Rainbow Quest: The Folk Music Revival & American Society, 1940-1970 (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2002); Casey Graham, “Fighting for My Rights: The SNCC Freedom Singers and the Sixties,” unpublished manuscript (2010); Bernice Johnson Reagon, “Songs of the Civil Rights Movement 1955-1965: A Study in Culture History,” Ph.D. diss., Howard University (1975).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Walker, Howard Kent (1935- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Howard Kent Walker is a military veteran, diplomat, and educator who was born on December 3, 1935 in Newport News, Virginia. His father was a high school chemistry and mathematics teacher and his mother a homemaker. Upon graduation from high school Walker enrolled at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan where he studied until 1958.

During his time in Ann Arbor Walker eventually majored in political science and was also part of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), which meant he would have a three-year obligation to the U.S. Air Force after graduation, which he fulfilled (1962-1965). After his military service and a brief stint as an analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Walker passed the Foreign Service exam, becoming a Foreign Service Officer in 1969.  His first assignment was in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Inter-Africa Affairs, working on Africa-United Nations issues.
Sources: 
Interview with Ambassador Howard K. Walker: Charles Stuart Kennedy, November 11, 2001,The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) Foreign Affairs Oral History Project: http://www.adst.org/OH%20TOCs/Walker,%20Howard%20K.toc.pdf; ADST Country Reader on Togo: http://www.adst.org/Readers/Togo.pdf; American Foreign Service: http://www.afa.org.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training

Hemphill, Brian O’Harold (1969– )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Dr. Brian O’Harold Hemphill is the tenth and current president of West Virginia State University, having been inaugurated in July 2012. Since his arrival at the university, Hemphill has been committed to creating a culture of excellence and accountability, and to making West Virginia State the most student-centered research and teaching university in the state. Ever committed to supporting student achievement, Hemphill has challenged his university to grow its infrastructure, and has encouraged his students to advocate for diversity and equity.
Sources: 
Radford University, “Radford University welcomes Dr. Brian O. Hemphill to campus,” News and Events, January 27, 2016, https://www.radford.edu/content/radfordcore/home/news/releases/2016/january/radford-university-welcomes-dr--brian-o-hemphill-to-campus.html; Radford University, “Board of Visitors selects Dr. Brian O. Hemphill as next Radford University president,” December 16, 2015, https://www.radford.edu/content/radfordcore/home/news/releases/2015/december/dr-brian-o-hemphill-selected-as-next-radford-university-president.html; “West Virginia State University, “President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.,” September 2013, http://www.wvstateu.edu/getattachment/Administration/Office-of-the-President/Inauguration/About-the-Inauguration/BOH_Inauguration_Program_Final.pdf.aspx.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

A. Philip Randolph Institute (1965- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
The A. Philip Randolph Institute was founded by and named for labor leader Asa Philip Randolph, who was the longtime president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters union. Randolph and his friend and fellow activist Bayard Rustin founded APRI in 1965 after their successful 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and the passages of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. The national headquarters is located in Washington, D. C.

Randolph believed that the black community shouldn’t solve its problems in isolation from the overall labor movement. APRI’s mission statement includes encouraging black involvement in unions and working with the labor movement on key sociopolitical issues such as employment, education, healthcare, and housing. Soon after its founding, and throughout the decades since, APRI showed solidarity for various unions by supporting demonstrations such as the Memphis, Tennessee, sanitation workers’ strike in 1968, the General Electric strikers in 1969, the Mississippi catfish workers in the 1980s, and the Institute allied with Greyhound and Eastern Airlines workers picketing in the 1990s.

Sources: 
The A. Philip Randolph Institute Collection 5903-001. Boxes 1-3, 1964-2014. A. Philip Randolph Institute. (University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections); A. Philip Randolph Institute Webpage, http://apri.org. 
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Flint, Michigan Riot (1967)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
The Flint Journal, July 27, 1967
Image Ownership: Public domain

The 1967 Flint, Michigan Riot was among the over 150 urban disturbances that arose during what has been coined as the “long hot summer” of 1967. Prior racial tensions and underlying resentments were an unfortunate common theme shared in many of these instances of civil unrest.

In Flint, as with many other cities in Michigan and around the United States, blacks were locked out of better housing due to discriminatory laws and were restricted to residing in certain areas of town. In addition, the housing that was available for African Americans was noticeably inadequate when compared to the residences of their white counterparts.

Sources: 
Dominic Adams, “See How Riots in Detroit 50 Years Ago Spread to Flint,” Mlive.com, http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2017/07/see_how_riots_in_detroit_50_ye.html; Lauren Gibbons, “Racial Tensions That Led to 1967 Detroit Riot Were Felt in Several Michigan Cities.” Mlive.com, http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/07/how_other_cities_in_michigan_r.html; Sidney Fine, “Michigan and Housing Discrimination 1949-1968,” Michigan Historical Review, vol. 23, no. 2, ser. 81-114; https://web.archive.org/web/20130504011411/https://www.law.msu.edu/clinics/rhc/MI_Housing_Disc.pdf.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Kansas

Ireland, Roderick L. (1944- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Roderick Ireland At Courthouse
Dedication, Nov. 10, 2017
Image Ownership: Public domain

Roderick L. Ireland was appointed to serve as Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in 1997, becoming the court’s first justice of African American descent.  In December 2010, Justice Ireland was appointed to serve as Chief Justice of the court.  Justice Ireland retired from the court in 2014.

Justice Ireland started his legal career in 1969, as a Neighborhood Legal Services attorney.  In 1971, he and Wallace Sherwood founded the Roxbury Defenders Committee, a public defender program in Roxbury, a low income and predominantly minority neighborhood in Boston.  In 1975, Ireland became the Assistant Secretary and Chief Legal Counsel for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance, and in 1977, he became the Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Appeals on Motor Vehicle Liability Policies and Bonds. Ireland’s judicial career started in 1977, when he was nominated as a judge on the Boston Juvenile Court.  In 1990, he was nominated to the Massachusetts Appeals Court, where he served until 1997.

Sources: 
“Roderick Ireland,” Ballotpedia, https://ballotpedia.org/Roderick_Ireland: Roderick Ireland – College of Social Sciences and Humanities,” Northeastern University, https://www.northeastern.edu/cssh/faculty/roderick-ireland.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Jackson-Lee, Sheila (1950 - )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Sheila Jackson-Lee was born on January 12, 1950 in Queens, New York.   She graduated from Jamaica High School in Queens, New York in 1968.  She then graduated from Yale University in Connecticut with a B.A. in political science in 1972 followed in 1975 by a J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School.     

After graduating from law school Jackson-Lee moved to Houston, Texas after her husband, Dr. Elwyn C. Lee accepted a job offer from the University of Houston.  Dr. Lee is currently Vice Chancellor and Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Houston.  Jackson-Lee was in private practice from 1975 to 1987 when she was elected a Houston municipal judge.  Jackson-Lee then ran for a seat on the Houston City Council in 1990.  In 1994 Shelia Jackson-Lee was elected as a Democrat to represent the 18th Congressional District of Texas.  She currently holds that seat. 

Sources: 
Congressional Biography:  http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=j000032; Jim Doyle, “Five members of Congress arrested over Sudan protest,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 28, 2006:  http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Five-members-of-Congress-arrested-over-Sudan-2498797.php; Tim Fleck, “What's Driving Miss Sheila?” Houston Press, February 20, 2007: http://www.houstonpress.com/1997-02-20/news/what-s-driving-miss-shelia/Sheila; Jackson’s Campaign website:  http://www.sheilajacksonlee18.com/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Joseph, Emmanuel Francis (1900–1979)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Emmanuel Francis (E.F.) Joseph was the first professional African American photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. Born on November 8, 1900 on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, Joseph would later move to the United States and attend the American School of Photography in Chicago, Illinois. After graduation in 1924, Joseph moved to Oakland, California, where he apprenticed in a photography studio.

In the early 1930s, Joseph began his career as a photojournalist. Over his lifetime, he worked for numerous Bay Area newspapers, including the California Voice, The Oakland Post, San Francisco Examiner, and the nationally distributed Pittsburgh Courier from Pennsylvania.  
Sources: 
African American Museum and Library at Oakland, http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/c8930w8p/;  “Careth Reid Saves Black History Photographs from Destruction,” Oakland Post, May 5, 2012, http://content.postnewsgroup.com/author/admin/page/16/; Lincoln Cushing, “Picturing the workers of Kaiser Permanente,” http://kaiserpermanentehistory.org/latest/picturing-the-workers-of-kaiser-permanente/; Tom Debley, “In Memory of Lena Horne and Launch of the SS George Washington Carver Liberty Ship,” http://kaiserpermanentehistory.org/latest/in-memory-of-lena-horne-launch-of-the-ss-george-washington-carver-liberty-ship/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

The Robert Nero Controversy (1983- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Black Descendant of Cherokee Freedman
Image Ownership: Public domain

The Robert Nero controversy refers to a late 20th Century case involving the issue of Indian identity among Cherokee Freedmen, the blacks who culturally identify with the Cherokee Nation.  The controversy began with a legal class action lawsuit brought before the U.S. District Court in Oklahoma as Nero v. Cherokee Nation in 1983.

The issues surrounding the Robert Nero controversy dated back to the Reconstruction period when the U.S. Government required that the Cherokee Nation and other major tribes in Indian Territory incorporate the Freedmen, former slaves of the Cherokee, Creeks, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole nations, into their tribes as equal citizens.

Sources: 
Barbery, Marcos. "Slave descendants seek equal rights from Cherokee Nation." Salon. Accessed May 01, 2017. http://www.salon.com/2013/05/21/slave_descendants_seek_equal_rights_from_cherokee_nation_partner/; Sturm, Circe. "Blood Politics, Racial Classification, and Cherokee National Identity: The Trials and Tribulations of the Cherokee Freedmen." American Indian Quarterly 22, no. 1/2 (1998): 230-58. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1185118.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Élizé, Raphaël (1891-1945)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Raphaël Élizé was an early 20th century French politician and the first black mayor of a metropolitan town in France: Sablé-sur-Sarthe (Sarthe). He was born in 1911 in Martinique into a racially mixed family: Augustin, his father, a tax collector and active Freemason, and his mother, Jeanne, had eight children.

In 1902, the family who lived in Saint-Pierre moved to Fort-de-France just before the Mount Pelée explosion.  As Saint-Pierre refugees they resettled in France.  Raphaël was 11 when he entered the French school system.  He attended the best high schools in Paris (Lycée Montaigne and Saint-Louis) where he completed his studies and then enrolled in veterinary school in Lyons, graduating in the summer of 1914 just before the beginning of World War I.

Twenty-three-year-old Élizé joined a colonial infantry regiment, first as private and then he was later assigned as the regiment’s veterinarian.  During the war he received the Croix de Guerre.
  
Sources: 
M. Agulhon, L. Girard, and J. Robert, Les maires en France du consulat à nos jours  (Paris : Publications de la Sorbonne, 1986); Simple Passé, Raphaël Élizé (1891-1945) Premier maire de couleur de la France métropolitaine. Des Antilles au Maine: Itinéraire entre politique et art de vivre (Paris : Éditions du Petit Pavé, 2010).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Emeritus Professor, University of Paris

Donowa, Arnold Bennett (1896-196?)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

Trinidad-born dental surgeon and Spanish Civil War veteran Arnold Donowa was born in December 1895 and earned his D.D.S. from Howard University in 1922.  Donowa worked at the Royal College of Dental Surgeons in Toronto as well as the child-oriented Fosythe Clinic in Boston before returning to Howard in 1929 as dean of its new College of Dentistry.  After two years, Howard resigned to start a private practice in Harlem.

Sources: 
Danny Duncan Collum (editor) and Victor A. Berch (chief researcher), African Americans in the Spanish Civil War: “This Ain’t Ethiopia, But It’ll Do” (New York, New York: G.K. Hall & Co, 1992); Clifton O. Dummett, “The Negro in Dental Education,” The Phylon Quarterly, 13.2 (4th Quarter, 1959); William L. Katz, Fraser M. Ottanelli, and Christopher Brooks, “African Americans in the Spanish Civil War,” Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives at New York University (https://www.alba-valb.org >, November 2006); William R. Scott, “Black Nationalism and the Italo-Ethiopian Conflict 1934-1936,” The Journal of Negro HistoryMississippi to Madrid (Seattle, Washington: Open Hand Publishing, 1989). 63.2 (April, 1978); James Yates,
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Baldwin, James (1924-1987)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain

James Arthur Baldwin, fiction writer, essayist, dramatist, and poet, was born on August 2, 1924 in Harlem, New York during the Harlem Renaissance. After graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx in 1942, he began his formal career as a writer.  Baldwin was inspired by Richard Wright, despite his being called to the ministry at age fourteen in the Pentecostal faith and church dominated by his father, David Baldwin. 

Sources: 
Warren Carson, “James Baldwin.” Encyclopedia of African American Literature. Edited by Wilfred D. Samuels (New York: Facts on File, 2007); David Leeming, James Baldwin (New York: Knopf, 1994).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Utah

Maji Maji Uprising (1905-1907)

Entry Type: 
Events
History Type: 
Global African History
Sources: 
John Iliffe, "The Organization of the Maji  Maji Rebellion,"  Journal of African History, Vol. 8, No. 3 (1967); Thomas Pakenham, The Scramble for Africa: The White Man's Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912 (New York: HarperCollins, 1992); Robert Gellately and Ben Kiernan, The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003); Molefi Kete Asante, The History of Africa: The Quest for Eternal Harmony (Florence, Kentucky: Routledge, 2007).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Sussex, England

Powell, Colin (1937- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Colin Powell is a retired Four-Star United States Army General who was the first African American to serve as National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff and Secretary of State.

Colin Powell was born in 1937 in the Bronx, New York to Jamaican immigrant parents.  He attended public schools in the Hunts Point area of South Bronx and was eventually accepted to New York University.  Lacking the funds to attend this private university, Powell instead enrolled at the City University of New York, where he joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), graduating with a degree in geology and as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry. Taking his first post abroad in West Germany, Powell soon realized that the advanced racial integration of the armed forces would yield tremendous upward opportunities and he decided to make a career in the Army.
Sources: 
Karen DeYoung, Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell (Knopf, New York, NY 2006);  Jim Haskins, The Black Stars: African American Military Heroes (John Wiley and Sons Inc., New York, NY 1998);  Colin Powell, My American Journey (Ballantine Books, New York, NY 1995);  Kai Wright, Soldiers of Freedom (New York: Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers, 2002).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Watts, Andre (1946- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Andre Watts is the subject of one of the more memorable stories in American music. In 1963, the 16 year old high school student won a piano competition to play in the New York Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concert at Lincoln Center, conducted by Leonard Bernstein.  Within weeks of the contest the renowned conductor tapped Watts to substitute for the eminent but ailing pianist Glenn Gould, for a regular performance with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. The performance was televised nationally, with Watts playing Liszt’s E-flat Concerto, and his career was launched. From this storied beginning, Watts went on to become the first internationally famous black concert pianist.

Watts was born in Nuremburg, Germany on June 20, 1946 to an African American soldier, Herman Watts, who was stationed in Germany, and a piano-playing Hungarian refugee mother, Maria Alexandra Gusmits. His early childhood was spent on military bases, until at the age of eight his family moved to Philadelphia.
Sources: 
Susan Altman, The Encyclopedia of African-American Heritage, pp. 272-73; www.cmartists.com/artists/andre_watts.htm; http://info.music.indiana.edu. 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Davis, Ossie (1917-2005)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee
Image Ownership: Public Domain
A veteran actor, playwright and film director, Ossie Davis, grew up in Waycross, Georgia and attended Howard University for three years before leaving to pursue an acting career in New York City with the Rose McClendon Players (1941-1942). Within a year he was inducted into the military (1942). While stationed in Liberia in the Medical Corps and Special Services, he wrote several musicals. Upon his return to civilian service in 1945, he landed a role on Broadway in Jeb giving a performance that launched his professional career.  He also met fellow performer Ruby Dee, his future wife and lifetime mate of over 50 years. Davis and Dee became legendary for their involvement in theatre and civil rights and for their contribution to the American stage, television, and film industry. In black theatre circles, they became known affectionately as “the first couple of black theatre.” Davis and Dee worked together as actors on stage, screen, television (often appearing in the same shows), hosted television shows, starred in Broadway plays, and had fulfilling film careers. For five years they had their own radio series, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee Hour.
Sources: 
Anthony Duane Hill, ed., An Historical Dictionary of African American Theater (Prevessin, France: Scarecrow Press, 2008).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Ohio State University

Bishop, Sanford Dixon, Jr. (1947--)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

Simms, Hilda (1918-1994)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Hilda Simms was born Hilda Moses to Emile and Lydia Moses in 1918 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She briefly studied teaching at the University of Minnesota before relocating to New York where she met and married William Simms and gained professional acting experience at Harlem's American Negro Theater.

In 1943, two years after dissolving her marriage to William, Simms made her debut in the title role of the theatrical play Anna Lucasta, becoming the first leading African American actress to appear in the Broadway hit production. Originally written for an all-white cast, Simms portrayed a middle-class woman struggling to regain her respectability after falling into a life of prostitution. The theatrical version of Anna Lucasta is considered the first drama featuring African American actors to explore a theme un-related to racial tensions. When the play toured abroad, Simms maintained the title role while enjoying a dual singing career in Paris. During the British tour of the play, Simms met and married actor Richard Angarola.  

The couple returned to the states in the 1950s and Simms embarked on a brief film career.  Her first role was as co-star to heavy-weight boxing champion Joe Louis.  She played the boxer' wife in The Joe Louis Story (1953). Her only other movie role was that of the hatcheck girl in Black Widow (1954).

Sources: 

Hilda Simms Papers, New York Public Library Schomburg Center for Research; William Grimes, “Hilda Simms, Actress, Dies at 75; Broadway Star of Anna Lucasta,” New York Times, February 8, 1994; “U.S. Refuses Actress Passport; ‘I’m No Benedict Arnold,’ Cries Hilda Simms on Ban,” Pittsburgh Courier, September 10, 1960.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Robinson, Jo Ann (1912-1992)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Sources: 
Jo Ann Robinson, The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It (Knoxville, Tennessee: University of Tennessee Press, 1987); Russell Freedman, Freedom Walkers: the Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott (New York: Holiday House, 2006).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Berea College

Gayle, Addison, Jr. (1932-1991)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Courtesy of the University
of Illinois Press

Literary critic Addison Gayle, Jr., born in Newport News, Virginia in 1932, was educated in the local public schools before he attended City College of New York, where he earned a B.A. degree in 1965; and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), where he completed an M.A. degree in English in 1966. He began his career as an educator at Bernard M. Baruch College where he distinguished himself as a professor of English until his death in October 1991.

During the 1960s, a juncture in African American history associated with political, literary and cultural upheaval, militancy, and Black Nationalism, Gayle passionately felt compelled to call for a new Black Aesthetics that radically differed from the standard Eurocentric approach to literature. To advance his new theory Gayle outlined, in controversial public lectures and essays, his vision.  In 1972, he published Black Aesthetic, a collection of essays with contributors such as Darwin Turner, Maulana Karenga, Larry Neal, and Hoyt Fuller.  This important work revisited previous approaches to African American literary criticism and called for new theoretical frameworks that complemented the then ebullient socio- political Black Power Movement.  

Sources: 
Addison Gayle, Jr., ed. The Black Aesthetic  (New York: Anchor Books, 1972); Ervin, Hazel. ed. Africa American Literary Criticism 1773 to 2000  (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1999); Deidre Raynor, “Addison Gayle, Jr.” Encyclopedia of African American Literature, Wilfred D. Samuels, ed., (New York: Facts on File, 2007): 200-201.
Affiliation: 
University of Utah

Paige, Myles Anderson (1898-1983)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Myles Anderson Paige, the first African American to be appointed a New York City Criminal Court Judge, was born on July 18, 1898 in Montgomery, Alabama. Paige was a star football player at Howard University, graduating from the Washington D.C. institution with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1921. While at Howard he joined Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Paige served in the United States Army during the World War I as captain of the 369th regiment. Paige’s ascension to captain was swift and impressive considering he began his military career as a corporal in September of 1917 and was promoted to second lieutenant a week later. The following week he became first lieutenant and before the end of September he was captain and company commander.  

In 1921 Paige entered the Columbia University Law School and received his LLB degree in 1924. In 1926 he was a founding member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity’s Alpha Gamma Lambda graduate chapter as well as its first chapter president from 1927 to 1930.  Paige later served as 19th General (national) President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity from 1957 to 1960. Also in 1940 Paige received an honorary doctor of law degree from Howard University, rounding out his education.

Sources: 
“M. A. Paige, First Black to Be a City Magistrate,” The New York Times, April 1, 1983; Charles H. Wesley, The History of Alpha Phi Alpha : A Development in College Life (Chicago: The Foundation Publishers, 1979), Martha Biondi, To Stand and Fight: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Postwar New York City (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003). 
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Coates, Dorothy Love (1928-2002)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership, Public Domain
Dorothy Love Coates was an American gospel singer, songwriter, and composer.  She was born Dorothy McGriff on January 30, 1928 in Birmingham, Alabama.  Her minister father, Lillar McGriff, moved to the North when Coates was six, and her parents soon divorced.  Thereafter, Lillar McGriff raised their six children in Birmingham.  By the age of 10, Coates had begun playing piano at Evergreen Baptist Church in Birmingham.  As a teenager, she performed with the Royal Travelers and with her siblings in the McGriff Singers, who had a weekly live radio broadcast on WJLD.  She left school after the tenth grade to help support her family as a maid and a clerk.  In 1946, she married her first husband Willie Love (1925-1991) of the Fairfield Four, and the couple divorced a few years later.
Sources: 
Bill Carpenter, “Dorothy Love Coates,” Uncloudy Days: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia (San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2005); Robert Darden, “Dorothy Love Coates,” Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music, edited by W.K. McNeil (New York: Routledge, 2005); Anthony Heilbut, “‘I Won’t Let Go of My Faith’: Dorothy Love Coates,” The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times (New York: Proscenium Publishers, [1971] 2002), and Dave Marsh, “Dorothy Love Coates,” All Music Guide to the Blues, edited by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Vladimir Bogdanov, and Chris Woodstra (San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2003).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Abercrombie-Winstanley, Gina Kay (1957- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the first woman diplomat to lead a U.S. consulate in the gender conservative Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, also serves as the U.S. Ambassador to Malta (appointed in 2011). Gina Kay Abercrombie was born in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, where her mother was a secretary and her father an attorney.  She developed international interests early. Around her neighborhood, Hebrew was commonly spoken by the local Jewish population, so she decided to study the language. This interest also led to participation in an international exchange program in Israel (1978-1979), while in college, followed by joining the U.S. Peace Corps as a volunteer in Oman.
Sources: 
AllGov.com: http://www.allgov.com/news/appointments-and-resignations/ambassador-to-malta-who-is-gina-abercrombie-winstanley?news=843565; “Arab Women Should Not Give in to the Restrictions of their Cultural Environment,” Interview with Arab News, March 1, 2004, by Khaled M. Batarfi, Al-Madinah.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Association for Diplomatic Studies & Training

Wood, Robert A. (ca. 1966– )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Place Your Caption Text Here
Robert A. Wood is a diplomat who has spent his career in public affairs, helping to shape the image of the United States, and in roles that guide the country’s relations with multilateral organizations.
Sources: 
U.S. Department of State, Official Bio (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/231689.htm); Introductory Statement by Ambassador Robert A. Wood at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) Plenary, Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Holland, Milton Murray (1844-1910)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public
Domain"
Milton Murray Holland was a Union Army solider during the American Civil War and a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his action in the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm. Murray was born on August 1,1844 in Austin, Texas, the son of Bird Holland, a white slave owner, and Holland’s slave whose name is unknown.   In the 1850’s, Bird freed Milton and two of his brothers, James and William H. Holland, and sent them to Albany, Ohio, to receive their education at the Albany Manual Labor Academy, a school operated by free African Americans.

When the Civil War started in 1861, Holland, who was 16, tried to enlist in the Union Army but was rejected due to his race.  Meanwhile he worked as a shoemaker for the Quartermaster Department of the army. In June 1863 Holland joined the Fifth United States Colored Troops, in Athens, Ohio, commanded by General. Benjamin F. Butler. He fought in the battle of the Crater in the Petersburg campaign in Virginia during 1864 and at Fort Fisher, North Carolina in January 1865.

Sources: 
“Milton Murray Holland,” General Charles H. Grosvenor Civil War Round Table, http://grosvenor-cwrt.org/our-moh-recipients/more-about-master-sergeant-milton-holland/; “Milton Murray Holland,” Texas State Historical Association, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhobt; Edwin S. Redkey, A Grand Army of Black Men: Letters from African-Americans  Soldiers in the Union Army 1861-1865 (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. 1992)
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

The Prison Abolition Movement (1985- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Incarcerated Americans, 1920-2006
Image Ownership: Public domain

The Prison Abolition Movement is a social campaign to eliminate prisons. The movement began in the 1980s following the War on Drugs whose consequence was to increase the U.S. prison population from 500,000 in 1980 to 1.3 million in 1990 and 2 million in 2000. The leaders of this movement felt that too many non-violent people were being sent to prison, that the majority of the people being incarcerated were locked away because they were too poor to hire an attorney, and that a disproportionate number of them were men and women of color.

The goal of the prison abolitionists is to reform the criminal justice system and to offer alternatives to incarceration for those who commit a crime. Prison abolitionists believe that imprisoning human beings is not justified, that the focus should be on the needs of the individual who committed the crime rather than his or her punishment by society.  They also believe that most crime is a consequence of economic circumstances such as poverty and racial discrimination and as such the underlying causes should be addressed rather than exacerbated by imprisonment.

Sources: 
Dayton Martindale, “A Brief Case for Prison Abolition” In These Times, Dec. 27 2017, http://inthesetimes.com/article/20764/a-brief-case-for-prison-abolition-racism-classism; “Prison Abolition Syllabus” Black Perspectives, Nov. 20 2016, https://www.aaihs.org/prison-abolition-syllabus/; “Angela Davis on Prison Abolition, The War on Drugs and Why Social Movements Shouldn’t Wait on Obama” Democracy Now, March 6 2014, https://www.democracynow.org/2014/3/6/angela_davis_on_prison_abolition_the; “Prison Abolition Movement: History and Organization” Study.com, https://study.com/academy/lesson/prison-abolition-movement-history-organizations.html; Daniel Yadin, “More Than Reform: Prison Abolition” The Politic, Oct. 22 2017, http://thepolitic.org/more-than-reform-what-is-prison-abolition/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Williams, Paul R. (1894-1980)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Architect Paul Williams in Front of His Most Famous
Project, the Theme Building, Los Angeles Airport
Paul R. Williams was one of the most well known 20th Century African American architects. Early in his career, Williams designed mostly houses, but in the 1950s and 1960s he designed some of the most distinctive public buildings in Los Angeles. Williams’s best-known building is probably the Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport, which he designed with William Pereira.

Paul Williams was born in Los Angeles in 1894, a few years after his parents had moved to Southern California from Tennessee. Williams’s father died in 1896, and his mother died two years later. Williams grew up in the home of C.D. and Emily Clarkson. He graduated from Polytechnic High School and studied at the Los Angeles School of Art, the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, and the engineering school at the University of Southern California. While he pursued his studies in the 1910s, Williams also worked in the offices of several different Los Angeles architects. In 1917 he married Della Mae Givens. They had two daughters, Marilyn and Norma.
Sources: 

Karen E. Hudson, Paul R. Williams, Architect: A Legacy of Style (New York: Rizzoli, 1993); “Architect Paul R. Williams,”    http://www.paulrwilliamsproject.org/about/paul-revere-williams-architect/


Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Western Washington University

Rector, Sarah (1902–1967)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Sarah Rector at Age 12
Sarah Rector received international attention at the age of eleven when The Kansas City Star in 1913 publicized the headline, “Millions to a Negro Girl.” From that moment Rector’s life became a cauldron of misinformation, legal and financial maneuvering, and public speculation. 

Rector was born to Joseph and Rose Rector on March 3, 1902, in a two-room cabin near Twine, Oklahoma on Muscogee Creek Indian allotment land.  Both Joseph and Rose had enslaved Creek ancestry, and both of their fathers fought with the Union Army during the Civil War. When Oklahoma statehood became imminent in 1907, the Dawes Allotment Act divided Creek lands among the Creeks and their former slaves with a termination date of 1906.  Rector’s parents, Sarah Rector herself, her brother, Joe, Jr., and sister Rebecca all received land. Lands granted to former slaves were usually the rocky lands of poorer agricultural quality. Rector’s allotment of 160 acres was valued at $556.50.

Sources: 
Tonya Bolden, Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America, (New York: Abrams Books, 2014); http://african-nativeamerican.blogspot.com/2010/04/remembering-sarah-rector-creek.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Broady, Earl C. Sr. (1904–1992)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Police officer, attorney, and judge Earl C. Broady Sr. was born in Los Angeles, California, to Wiley T. Broady and Lillie A. Broady on December  24, 1904. He became a janitor at age thirteen and worked several years to help his family. After graduating from Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, he organized a dance orchestra. For six years, he delivered mail during the day and led his band at night.

Broady joined the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in 1929. He was appointed acting sergeant in 1936. Four years later, he became a lieutenant, one of the first African Americans to hold this rank. He served as watch commander in charge of the entire shift at the Newton station.

While a policeman, Broady attended night school at the University of Southern California and Los Angeles College of Law. He earned a degree from Los Angeles College of Law and passed the California Bar in 1944. Resigning from the LAPD, he worked as a trial court attorney in the late 1940s and 1950s, successfully defending mostly black residents.

In April 1962, several white policemen raided Muhammad Temple 27, killed one black Muslim, wounded several others, and arrested fourteen of them. Broady and civil rights attorney Loren Miller defended the Muslim prisoners before an all-white jury in 1963. One was let go because the jury failed to agree, two were found not guilty, and eleven were convicted for resisting arrest.
Sources: 
Negro Who’s Who in California (Los Angeles, 1948); Myrna Oliver, “Earl C. Broady Sr.; Judge Started Out as a Janitor,” Los Angeles Times, June 9, 1992; Yussuf J. Simmonds, “(Judge) Earl C. Broady Sr.,” Los Angeles Sentinel, September 20, 2007; Martin Schiesl, “Behind the Shield: Social Discontent and the Los Angeles Police since 1950,” in Martin Schiesl and Mark Morrall Dodge, eds., City of Promise: Race and Historical Change in Los Angeles (Claremont, CA: Regina Books, 2006);  Amina Hassan, Loren Miller: Civil Rights Attorney and Journalist (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2015).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
California State University, Los Angeles

Habyarimana, Juvénal (1937-1994)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Image Ownership:
Public domain

Juvénal Habyarimana, President of Rwanda, was born on March 8, 1937, in Gasiza, in the Gisenyi province of what was at this time the Ruanda-Urundi mandate, controlled by Belgium. Habyarimana was an Hutu, whose parents, Jean-Baptiste Ntibazilikana and Suzanne Nyirazuba, were Christians. He went to a Catholic primary school, but then left to study mathematics at St. Paul College, and medicine at Lovarium University in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa).

Habyarimana returned to Rwanda on November 10, 1960 and joined the government of Dominique Mbonyumutwa, who in 1961 became the first president of independent Rwanda. A member of the Rwandan National Guard, on December 23, 1961 when he was promoted to Second Lieutenant, he became the first black officer in the Guard. He rose quickly, becoming Chief of Staff to the Commander of the National Guard in 1963, Minister of Defense and Chief of the National Police in 1965, and finally General in 1973.

Sources: 
Paul Quilès, Pierre Brana et Bernard Cazeneuve, « Rapport d’information sur les actions militaires menées par la France, d’autres pays, et l’ONU, au Rwanda entre 1990 et 1994 », Décembre 15, 1998. http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/11/dossiers/rwanda/telechar/r1271.pdf; « Juvénile Habyarimana biography », Editors, October 29, 2017, https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/juvnal-habyarimana-5719.php; Gaspard Musabyimana, « Biographie du Président Juvénal Habyarimana », May 17, 2010, http://www.musabyimana.net/20100511-biographie-du-president-juvenal-habyarimana-1/; « Habyarimana Juvénile – (1937-1994) », Encyclopeadia Universalis, https://www.universalis.fr/encyclopedie/juvenal-habyarimana/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Sciences Po, Paris

Reggae

Entry Type: 
Misc
History Type: 
Global African History
Toots and the Maytals Performing in 1978
Image Ownership: Public Domain



Reggae
, which originated in Kingston, Jamaica in the late 1970s, is a by-product of ska and rocksteady music.  While ska tends to be a more upbeat tempo and rocksteady slower, they come together to form reggae.  Reggae’s distinctive sound incorporates the piano, guitar, drums, and bass.  These tempered instruments come together to create a rhythmic and melodic pattern that remains steady throughout the complete song.  While drums create the imbricate rhythms and sliding pitches in reggae songs, the artists tends to use their own voice to create such an effect.

In the late 1970s, Jamaica was going through difficult times both politically and economically.  These conditions inspired reggae as the new genre of music, reggae.  Reggae is said to be an optimistic answer to the numerous years of oppression Jamaica has experienced.  Its upbeat melody was intended to lift the spirits of the poverty stricken and oppressed.  At the beginning of its time, reggae caused much controversy because of its reference to politics and religion; its philosophical and opinionated lyrics caused a worldwide dissemination.

Sources: 

David Katz, Solid Foundation: An Oral History of Reggae (New York: Bloomsbury, 2003); http://lastfm.com.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Langford, Sam (1886-1956)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History

 

Image Courtesy of Clay Moyle

Sam Langford was one of the greatest fighters in boxing history. Born in Weymouth Falls, Nova Scotia on March 4, 1886, the 5’ 7” dynamo migrated to Boston, Massachusetts, and engaged in close to 300 officially recorded professional contests from 1902 to 1926. He was an exceptionally courageous and intelligent fighter with long arms and an impressive upper torso. He also packed a tremendous wallop in both hands and knocked out many of the much larger and talented boxers of his day. In 2003, Ring Magazine’s writers listed him second on their list of the 100 greatest pound for pound punchers of all-time.

Sources: 
Jack Dempsey (as told to Bob Considine and Bill Slocum), Dempsey, By the Man Himself (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960); Clay Moyle, Sam Langford: Boxing's Greatest Uncrowned Champion (Seattle: Bennett & Hastings, 2008).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Wallace, Sippie (1898–1986)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
 Beulah “Sippie” Thomas Wallace sang and recorded her best work for Okeh Records between 1923 and 1927 when she was the most frequently recorded female blues singer in the country. Not only did she have a unique style and sound, Wallace wrote many of her songs, sometimes collaborating with her musical partners and brothers George and Hersal. Additionally, she played the piano.
Sources: 
David Dicaire, Blues Singers: Biographies of 50 Legendary Artists of the Early 20th Century (Jefferson, North Carolina, McFarland & Company, Inc., 1999); http:/www.redhotjazz.com/wallace.html; http:/www.southernmusic.net/sippiewallace.htm
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Hall, Stuart (1932-2014)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Stuart Hall was a leading 20th Century cultural theorist and a sociologist. Hall, widely known as a founder of British Cultural Studies and the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies, pioneered theories of multiculturalism. He is generally credited with expanding the field of cultural studies to incorporate theories about race and gender.  Hall was widely recognized for his work and from 1995 to 1997 he was president of the British Sociological Association.

Stuart Hall was born on February 3, 1932 in Kingston, Jamaica to parents of mixed-race African, Indian, and British descent. From an early age he was made very aware of race and color. While his parents were successful in Jamaican society, Hall himself identified as anti-imperialist, a position that made him an uncomfortable outsider in the colony which would not receive its independence from Great Britain until 1962. Hall studied at Jamaica College until he was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to attend Oxford University in 1951 where he obtained an M.A. degree. He began work on a Ph.D. at Oxford in 1956 but abandoned his work in 1957 when he joined the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.  From 1958 to 1960 Hall taught at a London secondary school.
Sources: 
Helen Davis, Stuart Hall: An Introduction (London: SAGE, 2003); Stuart Hall and David Morley, Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies (London: Routledge, 1996); Larry J. Ray and Anthony Elliott, Key Contemporary Social Theorists (London: Blackwell, 2002).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Monk, Thelonious (1917-1982)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Jazz pianist Thelonious Monk became one of the 20th Century’s most influential and innovative jazz musicians.  Born on October 10, 1917 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, the son of Thelonious and Barbara Monk, young Thelonious Monk grew up in New York City after the family moved there in 1922 and began playing the piano without formal training.  Monk, who was raised in the midst of gospel traditions and street music, later studied at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City.  

At age 17, Monk toured the United States as an organist with a traveling evangelist.  By the early 1940s he began working as a sideman with New York City jazz groups.  Eventually he became the house player (regular performer) at Minton's Playhouse, a legendary Manhattan nightclub. While there Monk came into contact with other musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins and Milt Jackson.  Along with these artists, Monk became one of the creators of the bebop jazz tradition.  
Sources: 
Amiri Baraka, (Leroi Jones), Blues People: Negro Music in White America (New York: William Morrow, 1963); Leslie Gourse, Straight, No Chaser: The Life and Genius of Thelonious Monk (New York: Schirmer Books, 1997).  
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Seattle University

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (1960–1973)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
SNCC-Organized Mass Meeting on Voter Registration,
Greenwood, Mississippi, April, 1963
Image Ownership: Public Domain
On February 1, 1960, four black college students in Greensboro, North Carolina, demanded service at a Woolworth’s lunch counter. When the staff refused to serve them, they stayed until the store closed. In the following days and weeks this “sit-in” idea spread through the South.  At first several hundred and then several thousand students participated in protest against this form of segregation.
Sources: 
Clayborne Carson, In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981); Emily Stoper, The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee: The Growth of Radicalism in a Civil Rights Organization (New York: Carlson, 1989); Kevern Verney, Black Civil Rights in America (New York: Rutledge, 2000); Howard Zinn, SNCC: The New Abolitionists (Cambridge: South End Press, 2002).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Augsburg

Sullivan, Leon Howard Jr. (1922-2001)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Reverend Leon Howard Sullivan Jr. was a successful minister, civil rights advocate, humanitarian and corporate leader known for his creation of the Opportunities Industrialization Centers of America and the Sullivan Principles to promote political reform in South Africa.  

Leon Sullivan was born in Charleston, West Virginia on October 16, 1922.  He attended racially segregated schools in Charleston and then received a basketball and football scholarship at predominately black West Virginia State College.  A foot injury ended his athletic career and forced Sullivan to work in a steel mill to pay for college tuition.

At the age of 18, Leon Sullivan became a Baptist minister. Three years later Sullivan met Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., who convinced him to move to New York City to attend the Union Theological Seminary.  Sullivan was enrolled there between 1943 and 1945.  Two years later he received a Master’s degree in Religion from Columbia University.  Rev. Sullivan served briefly at Rev. Powell’s assistant at Abyssinian Baptist Church and then became pastor of First Baptist Church of South Orange, New Jersey.  In 1950 Sullivan became pastor of Philadelphia’s Zion Baptist Church, remaining there until 1988.  While at Zion the church’s membership increased from 600 to over 6,000.
Sources: 
The Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, http://www.thesullivanfoundation.org/gsp/default.asp; OIC of America Inc, http://www.oicofamerica.org/; Rev. Leon Sullivan: A Principled Man, www.revleonsullivan.org.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Galindo, Maykel (1981- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Born on January 28, 1981 in Villa Clara, Cuba, the Cuban born player Maykel Galindo has made a name for himself among the American soccer ranks over the last several years.  Galindo started playing soccer when he was eight years old.  He soon became an exceptional youth player and was selected to play on the Cuban national soccer team.  

Galindo made his youth national team debut in January of 2002 in a match against Guatemala.  Three years later he was on the senior squad which competed in the 2005 Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Gold Cup which was to be played in the United States.  On July 9, 2005 when Cuba played Costa Rica at Quest Field in Seattle, Washington, Galindo scored Cuba’s only goal in a losing contest.  Later that evening in his hotel, Galindo contacted American officials and defected to the United States.

Sources: 

Beau Dure, “Cuba's Maykel Galindo finds USA, MLS to his liking,” USA Today, August 22, 2007; Elisa Han, “Cuban Defector talks about his Ordeal,” King 5 News, July 15, 2005; Maykel Galindo Bio, http://chivas.usa.MLSnet.com.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Lewis, Hylan Garnet (1911-2000)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Courtesy of Carole Ione Lewis"
Hylan Garnett Lewis was a distinguished sociologist and pioneer in the field of community studies whose work helped guide the study of American race relations for more than half a century. Throughout his life, Lewis analyzed, and sought remedies for, the problems of the poor and unemployed. He also studied discrimination against people of color in corporate employment, foster care, and schools.

Hylan Lewis was born on April 4, 1911 in Washington, DC, one of five children of Ella Wells and high school principal Harry Whythe Lewis. His early years were spent in Washington and Hampton, Virginia; and in1932 he received a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Union University.

He was an Instructor of economics at Howard University, switching to sociology after meeting E. Franklin Frazier there in 1935. That year, he married Leighla Frances Whipper, a writer and Graduate Student at Howard. The couple had one child, Carole Ione. The marriage ended in divorce, and a second marriage to Audrey Carter produced a son, Guy Edward.

Lewis earned his masters in 1936 at University of Chicago and was a Rosenwald Fellow from 1939-1941. He subsequently worked for the Office of War Information and had appointments at Talladega University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Hampton University.
Sources: 
Hylan Lewis; Blackways of Kent (University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, S.C., 2008); Carole Ione; Pride of Family; Four Generations of American Women of Color (New York: Harlem Moon Classics, 2004).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Clark Atlanta University (1988- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History

Bentley, Gladys (1907-1960)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Sources: 
James T. Wilson, Bulldaggers, Pansies, and Chocolate Babies: Performance, Race, and Sexuality in the Harlem Renaissance (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2010); Irene Monroe, “Honoring Notorious Gladys,” The Huffington Post Blog (February 12, 2010), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/irene-monroe/honoring-notorious-gladys_b_459929.html; http://www.queerculturalcenter.org/Pages/Bentley/BentleyBio.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Williams, Franklin Hall (1917-1990)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Longtime civil rights organizer and later U.S. Ambassador, Franklin Hall Williams was born on October 22, 1917, in Flushing, New York. His mother died in 1919. Williams was raised by his maternal grandparents. He graduated from Lincoln University in Chester County, Pennsylvania in 1941. After serving in the United States Army, he completed Fordham University Law School in New York City in 1945, passing the New York State bar examination before receiving his degree.
Sources: 
Glenn Fowler, “Franklin H. Williams Dies at 72; Lawyer and Former Ambassador,” New York Times, May 22, 1990; “Franklin H. Williams Dies; Was Ambassador, Lawyer,” Washington Post, May 22, 1990; Guide to Franklin Hall Williams Papers, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
California State University, Los Angeles

Polk, Prentice Herman (1898-1985)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Prentice Herman Polk, acclaimed photographer, was born November 25, 1898 in Bessemer, Alabama, to Jacob Prentice Polk, a miner, and Christine Romelia Ward, a seamstress.   Mr. Polk was a portraitist who was especially adept with the effects of light and dark.  He was the official photographer for Tuskegee University for nearly 50 years from 1939 to 1985.  Mr. Polk’s collection includes the educated and privileged class of black people as well as the rural, working class black people in the Alabama Black Belt.  

In 1917 at the age of 18 Polk entered Tuskegee Institute, later known as Tuskegee University, hoping to study art.  At the time, Tuskegee did not have an art program.  He instead studied photography under noted black photographer C. M. Battey.  In 1924, Polk graduated from Tuskegee and moved to Chicago, Illinois where he apprenticed with photographer Fred Jensen.  Polk returned to Tuskegee in 1927, where he opened his first studio and joined the Photo Department Faculty at the Institute in 1928.  He became the Head of the Department in 1933.  From 1939 until his death he was the official photographer for Tuskegee Institute.

Sources: 
John Dorsey, “Polk portraits show black life, photographic achievement,” Baltimore Sun,  Jan. 14, 1991, http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1991-01-14/features/1991014070_1_polk-photographer-tuskegee-institute;  P.H. Polk, http://www.bhamwiki.com/w/P._H._Polk; Malaika Kambon, “P.H. Polk, one of ‘10 essential African-American photographers’,” San Francisco Bay View, Feb. 10, 2015, http://sfbayview.com/2015/02/p-h-polk-one-of-10-essential-african-american-photographers/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Greensboro Massacre (1979)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
Death to the Klan Poster
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
On November 3, 1979, in Greensboro, North Carolina, a “Death to the Klan” rally and march organized by the Communist Workers Party which was previously known as the Workers Viewpoint Organization (WVO), was planned to occur in Morningside Home, a predominantly black housing project.
Sources: 
Amilcar Cabral/Paul Robeson Collective, The Greensboro Massacre: Critical Lessons for the 1980’s (Raleigh, North Carolina: Amilcar Cabral/Paul Robeson Collective, 1980; Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Final Report: Examination of the Context, Causes, Sequence and Consequence of the Events of November 3, 1979, Presented to the Residents of Greensboro, the City, the Greensboro Truth and Community Reconciliation Project and Other Public Bodies on May 25, 2006 (Greensboro, North Carolina: Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 2006); Signe Waller, Love and Revolution: A Political Memoir—People’s History of the Greensboro Massacre, Its Setting and Aftermath (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2002); Elizabeth Wheaton, Codename GREENKIL: The 1979 Greensboro Killings (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1987).
Affiliation: 
North Carolina A&T University

Haney, Cecil Eugene Diggs (1955- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public domain

Navy Admiral Cecil Haney was born into a struggling family in “humble surroundings” in Washington, D.C., on December 1, 1955. After graduating from the city’s Eastern High School he left for Annapolis, Maryland, where he was a distinguished midshipman at the United States Naval Academy, graduating there in 1978 with a degree in ocean engineering.

His assignments onboard submarines as engineer, radiological control officer, executive officer, and squadron deputy began with duty on the USS John C. Calhoun (SSBN), followed by duty on the USS Frank Cable (AS 40), USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 709), USS Asheville (SSN 758), and submarine Squadron (SUBRON) 8, and, as Commander, on the 5,700-ton nuclear-powered USS Honolulu (SSN 718) with a crew of 110.

Sources: 
William T. Eliason, “An Interview of Cecil D. Haney” at http://ndupress.ndu.edu/Media/News/Article/979753/an-interview-with-cecil-d-haney/; United States Biography: Admiral Cecil D. Haney” at http://www.navy.mil/navydata/bios/bio.asp?bioID=317; U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing of the nomination of Adm. Haney  to head U.S. Strategic Command at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-113shrg87878/pdf/CHRG-113shrg87878.pdf.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi (1977- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public domain

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian-born writer who is best known for her published works that have garnered internal acclaim. Adichie, the fifth of six children, was born on September 15, 1977, in Enugu, Nigeria, to James Nwoye Adichie and Grace Ifeoma. Her father was the first professor of statistics at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka and would later become the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the institution. Her mother worked as a registrar at the same university and was the first woman to hold that position. At the University’s school, Adichie obtained her secondary education while earning multiple academic related prizes. She then studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half. While at the university, Adichie edited the Catholic medical student magazine, The Compass.

Sources: 
Daria Tunca, “Biography.” The Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Website, University of Liège, http://www.cerep.ulg.ac.be/adichie/cnabio.html; Haverford College, “2017 Honorary Degrees.” Honorary Degrees | Commencement, https://www.haverford.edu/commencement/honorary-degrees; Nuala Del Piccolo, “Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.” The Women of Hopkins, http://women.jhu.edu/adichie.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Kansas

Rumford, William Byron, Sr. (1908-1986)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Born in Courtland, Arizona, William Byron Rumford, Sr., the younger of the two sons of a housemaid, arrived in Los Angeles, California with his mother and stepfather in 1915.  His family returned to Arizona where he shined shoes, sold newspapers, and graduated from a segregated George Washington Carver High School in Phoenix in 1926.  After finishing his studies at Sacramento Junior College, in 1931 he earned his pharmacy degree at the University of California at San Francisco.  His marriage to Elsie Carrington in 1932 produced two sons and a daughter.
Sources: 
Lawrence P. Crouchett, William Byron Rumford, The Life and Public Services of a California Legislator (El Cerrito, CA: Downey Place Pub. House, 1984); “Legislator for Fair Employment, Fair Housing, and Public Health: William Byron Rumford” (Earl Warren Oral History Project), http://www.oac.cdlib.org/view?docId=hb8n39p2g3&query=&brand=oac4.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
San Diego State University

St. Martin De Porres Club (1947- )

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History in the West
The De Porres Club, 1951
Image Courtesy of Creighton University Library

The St. Martin De Porres Club was founded in 1947 by Father John P. Markoe, S.J., a  priest, and Creighton University students interested in local civil rights issues in Omaha, Nebraska.   Father Markoe was assigned to St. Benedict the Moor Parish at 2423 Grant Street in Omaha earlier that year after leaving a Parish in St. Louis, Missouri where his civil rights activism had been heavily criticized.  His new Omaha Parish, St. Benedicts, served 500 African American Catholics among Omaha’s predominately Protestant black population of 14,000.

While the local Catholic Church hierarchy saw the role of St. Benedict primarily to “to lead [black] people to Christ,” Father Markoe focused on white racism which he felt was the major problem facing his parishioners and predominately black North Omaha.  Naming the club after an early 17th Century Afro-Peruvian priest who dedicated his life to helping the poor of Lima, Markoe and the university students of the De Porres Club used various tactics such as boycotts and picketing to challenge residential segregation and job discrimination more than a decade before similar tactics would be employed by Southern civil rights activists.  

Sources: 
Lowrie J. Daly, S.J., “Backyard Mission in Omaha," Jesuit Missions (September 1949); De Porres Club, “You for the Black and White Story,” Flyer, April 10, 1949, “Bulletin” Omaha De Porres Center, July 14, 1949; “As advertised, Pickets March to Make Point About Negro Teachers,” Omaha and Dundee Sun, July 9, 1959; Jeffrey Harrison Smith, "The Omaha De Porres Club," M.A. Thesis, Creighton University, 1967.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Salem College, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Foster, Marcus A. (1923–1973)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Marcus Foster was an educator who gained national prominence for educational excellence while serving as a principal in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and as the first black superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District in California. Known as a titan in the areas of urban school reform, compensatory education, and community-shared responsibility in education, he is however best remembered by his death, having been ambushed and murdered by members of the Symbionese Liberation Army on November 6, 1973.
Sources: 
John P. Spencer, In the Crossfire: Marcus Foster and the Troubled History of American School Reform (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014); Michael Taylor, “FORGOTTEN FOOTNOTE / Before Hearst, SLA Killed Educator,” SFGate, November 14. 2002, http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/FORGOTTEN-FOOTNOTE-Before-Hearst-SLA-killed-2754621.php.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Neal, Joseph (Joe) (1935- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Ownership:
Public domain

Joseph Neal, the first African American elected to the Nevada state senate, was born in Mounds, Louisiana on July 28, 1935. He attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and graduated in 1963 with a B.A. in political science and history as well as doing postgraduate work in law. He also graduated from the Institute of Applied Science in Chicago, Illinois. There he studied civil identification and criminal investigation.  From 1954 to 1958 Neal served in the United States Air Force and was honorably discharged. He moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1964.

Sources: 
Nevada Legislature, “legislative biography -- 71st (2001) session” 2017, https://www.leg.state.nv.us/71st/legislators/Senators/NEAL.cfm: Biography of Joe Neal, http://senjoeneal.org/neal98/biog.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Tshisekedi, Etienne / Tshisekedi wa Mulumba, Etienne (1932–2017)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
"image Ownership: Public Domain"
Etienne Tshisekedi (wa Mulumba) was a statesman of the opposition in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He built and presided over the party of opposition, Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS: Union pour la Démocratie et le Progrès Social). He was the prime minister of Zaire under Joseph-Désiré Mobutu (Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga) a bit more than one month in 1991, three months in 1992, and eight days in April 1997.

Etienne Tshisekedi (wa Mulumba) was born on 14 December 1932 in Luluabourg in the Belgium Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Tshisekedi grew up in a modest family. In 1960 the year the Belgium Congo became independent, he was twenty-eight. In the same year, he became the first Congolese student in his country to graduate from law school.  Five years later, he began his career in government in 1965 when General Joseph-Désiré Mobutu took over the country and renamed it Zaïre.  President Mobutu ruled Zaire from 1965 until he was ousted in 1997.

Sources: 
“ L’opposant congolais Etienne Tshisekedi appartient désormais à l’Histoire » http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2017/02/01/etienne-tshisekedi-l-opposant-historique-de-rdc-est-mort_5073043_3212.html; Dieudonné Ilunga Mpunga, Étienne Tshisekedi : le sens d'un combat, (Paris : l'Harmattan, 2007) ; Évariste Tshimanga Bakadiababu, Tshisekedi ou Le combat pertinent pour libérer le Congo-Zaïre ?: questions à l'UDPS, (Paris : l'Harmattan, 2006).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Sciences Po Paris

Julian, Hubert Fauntleroy (1897-1983)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Hubert Fauntleroy Julian, nicknamed the Black Eagle, was born in Trinidad on January 5th, 1897. In 1922, when he was 25 years old, he flew over parades in support of Marcus Garvey. He subsequently took flying lessons from Air Service, Inc., and purchased a plane to fly to Africa. After flying to Roosevelt airfield, when he attempted to depart in July 1924, the plane crashed and burned. He survived and spent the next month in a Long Island hospital. In 1929, he did succeed in a Trans-Atlantic flight two years later than Charles Lindberg.

In 1930 after flying to Ethiopia, Emperor Haile Selassie granted him Ethiopian citizenship and made him a Colonel. One year later, in 1931, he became the first black man to fly coast to coast over the American continent and also broke the world record for endurance flying with a non-stop non-refueling flight of 84 hours and 33 minutes.

Sources: 
Elliot Bastien and Sandra Bernard-Bastien, World Class Trinidad & Tobago: An Area of Abundance—Profiles of Performance (Sekani Publications: Port of Spain, 2006); http://www.worldclasstnt.com/ [under construction].
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historians

Movimento Negro Unificado (1978-- )

Entry Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
Global African History
Movimento Negro Unificado March, ca. 2000
Image Ownership: Public Domain

The Movimento Negro Unificado (MNU) or Unified Black Movement, the most notable black civil rights movement in Brazil, was founded in São Paulo, Brazil in 1978 by Thereza Santos and Eduardo Oliveira de Oliveira. The founders along with other black activists in Brazil found influence in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States and the anti-colonial movements in Africa during the previous decade. The MNU was also influenced by an earlier organization, the Grupo Evolução (GE) or Evolution Group, which was created in 1971. The GE used cultural performances such as dance, plays, and poetry to raise racial consciousness among Afro-Brazilians. Their performances would educate and set the stage for future MNU leaders Hamilton Cardoso, Vanderei Jose Maria, and Rafael Pinto.

Sources: 
David Covin, The Unified Black Movement in Brazil: 1978-2002 (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2006); Shamika Ann Mitchell, “Movimento Negro Unificado” in the Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, and Culture, Carole Boyce Davies, ed. (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2008); Michael George Hanchard,  Orpheus and Power: The Movimento Negro of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil, 1945–1988 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994); Robin E. Sheriff, Dreaming Equality: Color, Race, and Racism in Urban Brazil (New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2001).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Parks, Gordon (1912-2006)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public domain

On November 30, 1912, in Fort Scott, Kansas, Sarah and Andrew Parks welcomed their fifteenth child, Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks, into their home. Though struggling against poverty and racism in Fort Scott, young Gordon was nurtured there. His mother was especially influential, and her early lessons sustained him throughout his remarkable life. Because of Parks’s vast intellectual and artistic accomplishments, he was described as a “Renaissance man.” He accomplished many firsts, including the distinction of being the first black photographer at Vogue, Glamour, and Life magazines. He worked at Life for nearly 25 years and completed over 300 assignments. He was a documentary and fashion photographer; a film director, writer, producer; a poet, novelist, essayist; and a composer. Among his notable films are Shaft and The Learning Tree.

Sources: 
John Edgar Tidwell “Gordon Parks and the Unending Quest for Self-fulfillment,” in Virgil W. Dean, ed., John Brown to Bob Dole: Movers and Shakers in Kansas History; http://www.pdngallery.com/legends/parks/.
Affiliation: 
University of Kansas

Dinkins, David N. (1927- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
In 1989, David N. Dinkins defeated his challenger, former federal prosecutor Rudolph (Rudy) Giuliani, to become the first African American mayor of New York City.

David Norman Dinkins was born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1927. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Marine Corps at 18 and served briefly in World War II.  After the war, he attended Howard University, graduating with a B.A. in Mathematics in 1950.  Dinkins moved to New York City and received a law degree from the Brooklyn Law School in 1956.  Dinkins is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

David Dinkins’s political career began when he joined the Carver Club headed by a charismatic politician, J. Raymond Jones who was known as the Harlem Fox.  Dinkins befriended three up and coming black New York politicians; Charles Rangel, Basil Paterson, Sr., and Percy Sutton.  In 1965, Dinkins won his first electoral office, a seat in the New York State Assembly. Shortly afterwards Dinkins was offered the position of deputy mayor of New York by then Mayor Abraham Beam.  Dinkins could not accept the post when it was revealed he had not paid income taxes for the past four years.
Sources: 
Kwame Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 1999); Alston Hornsby Jr. and Angela M. Hornsby, From the Grassroots: Profiles of Contemporary African American Leaders  (Montgomery, Alabama: E-Book Time LLC, 2006); www.answers.com
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Stokes, Louis (1925-2015)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of the U.S. House of
Representatives Photography Office

Ohio’s first African American Congressman, Louis Stokes was born to Charles and Louis Stokes on February 23, 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio, where he attended its public schools before joining the United States Army in 1943. Stokes served in the army for three years and then attended Western Reserve University from 1946 to 1948 where he earned a B.A.  In 1953 he received a Doctor of Law degree from Cleveland Marshall Law School of the Cleveland State University. Stokes was admitted to the Ohio bar the same year and began practicing law in Cleveland.

Sources: 
Bruce A. Ragsdale, Black Americans in Congress, 1870-1989 (Washington: U.S. Government) Printing Office, 1990; www.bioguide.congress.gov; Alton Hornsby, Jr. and Angela M. Hornsby, “From the Grassroots”: Profiles of Contemporary African American Leaders (Montgomery, Alabama: E-BookTime LLC, 2006).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Walker, George (1873-1911)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of The Kansas Collection
University of Kansas 
George Nash Walker was born in 1873 in Lawrence, Kansas. He left at a young age to follow his dream of becoming a stage performer and toured with a traveling group of minstrels. After performing at shows and fairs across the country, Walker met Bert Williams in 1893 and they formed the duo known as Williams and Walker. During this time, white men performing in minstrel shows blackened their faces to pose as black performers. As a counter, Williams and Walker billed themselves as “Two Real Coons,” a descriptor that marked the two as black men and a reference to the derogatory term “coon” used to describe people of African descent in the United States.  While performing as a vaudeville act throughout the United States, George Walker and his partner Bert Williams popularized the cakewalk, an African American dance form named for the prize that would be earned by the winners of a dance contest.
Sources: 
Louis Chude-Sokei, The Last “Darky”: Bert Williams, Black-On-Black Minstrelsy, and the African Diaspora (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006); James Haskins, Black Theater in America (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1982); Loften Mitchell, Black Drama: The Story of the American Negro in the Theatre (New York: Hawthorn Books, 1967); Allen Woll, Black Musical Theatre: From Coontown to Dreamgirls (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989).
Affiliation: 
California State University, Monterey Bay

Swanson, Howard (1907-1978)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of Howard Swanson
Papers
Amistad Research Center
New Orleans, LA

Howard Swanson was an African American composer best known for his art songs based on the poetry of Langston Hughes and Paul Lawrence Dunbar.  Swanson was born in Atlanta, Georgia on August 18, 1907.  Born in a middle class home, Swanson's family sent his two older brothers to college which was for the time unusual.

Swanson’s music career started after the family relocated to Cleveland, Ohio in 1916.  As a young boy he often sang in his church, sometimes performing duets with his mother. In 1925 when he was 18, Swanson's father died which immediately and dramatically changed the family's circumstances.  Howard Swanson now had to earn money to support the family.  After high school graduation he worked in the Cleveland Post Office. 

In 1927, as his circumstances improved, Swanson decided to continue his education.  He attended the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied piano, eventually graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in music theory a decade later.  In 1939 he received a Rosenwald Fellowship which allowed him to study in Paris, France with famed music instructor Nadia Boulanger.  Swanson had planned to pursue graduate studies in Paris but in 1940 he was forced to evacuate Paris as the German Army overran France.

Sources: 

Samuel A. Floyd, International Dictionary of Black Composers (Chicago; London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1999}; http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com; http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-2699.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Bond, J. Max, Jr. (1935-2009)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Jack Travis, African American Architects in Current Practice (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1991); Thomas A. Dutton, Voices in Architectural Education: Cultural Politics and Pedagogy (New York: Bergin & Garvey, 1991); J. Max Bond, Jane Logan, Charles A. Spears, and Arthur L. Symes, Harlem News (New York, N.Y.: Architect's Renewal Committee in Harlem, 1967); David W. Dunlap, "J. Max Bond, Jr., Architect, Dies at 73," New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/19/arts/design/19bond.html
Contributor: 

Fort Valley State University (1939- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History
Computer Lab at Fort Valley State University
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Fort Valley State University, in Fort Valley, Georgia, is a four year liberal arts land grant school that is part of the University System of Georgia. It was formed in 1939 when Fort Valley Normal and Industrial School merged with the State Teachers and Agricultural College of Forsyth.

The Fort Valley High and Industrial School had received a charter to establish a public school for children in 1895 and over the next thirty years it grew into a secondary school that offered general and industrial education to African American students. In 1932 it was renamed the Fort Valley Normal and Industrial School. The State Teachers and Agricultural College of Forsyth had been established nearby in 1902, also with the goal of educating African American students, to be teachers. As both schools grew, they looked to gain affiliation with the University System of Georgia Schools. The State Teachers and Agricultural College of Forsyth became a unit of that system in 1932, and seven years later Fort Valley Normal and Industrial School combined with the State Teachers and Agricultural College as Fort Valley State College and the school began educating students for four year degrees. Three years later, in 1941, Fort Valley State College granted its first baccalaureate degree.
Sources: 
Fort Valley State University Official Website, www.fvsu.edu; Toni Hodge-Wright, ed.,  The Handbook of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Seattle, Washington: Jireh & Associates, 1992); Julian B. Roebuck and Komanduri S. Murty, Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Their Place in American Higher Education (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers, 1993).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Baker, Thomas Nelson, Sr. (1860-1940)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
In 1903,Thomas Nelson Baker, Sr. became the second African American to receive a Ph.D. in philosophy, following Patrick Healy who was awarded the doctorate in 1866 from the University of Louvain in Belgium. Baker was a writer, orator, ethicist, and advocate for a positive black cultural identity.  Baker was born a slave on August 11, 1860 to Thomas Chadwick and Edith Nottingham Baker on Robert Nottingham’s plantation in Northampton County, Virginia.  Baker’s mother taught him to read the Bible and he attended public school from 1868 to 1872.  He left school at the age of 12 to help support his family.  Even while working as a farmhand, he continued his studies privately and in 1881 at the age of 21, he enrolled in the Hampton Institute High School program.  Baker graduated in 1885 as valedictorian of his class.

Determined to prepare for college entrance, in May of 1886 Baker enrolled in the Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts, where despite being one of only two black students in attendance he acted as substitute principal in the summer months.  He graduated from Mount Hermon in June 1889.  
Sources: 
George Yancy, “Thomas Nelson Baker: Toward an Understanding of a Pioneer Black Philosopher,” Newsletter on Philosophy and the Black Experience American Philosophical Association 95:2 (Spring 1996); Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (Va.), The Southern Workman (Hampton, Virginia: Hampton Institute Press, 1938); Alexander McConnell, William Revell Moody, Arthur Percy Fitt, Record of Christian Work Vol. 23 (East Northfield, Massachusetts: Record of Christian Work Co., 1904).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Atlantic Beach, South Carolina (1966- )

Vignette Type: 
Places
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Atlantic Beach, South Carolina was one of the last all-black resorts to be developed along the Atlantic Coast.  Formed two years after the 1964 Civil Rights Act opened beach resorts to all visitors regardless of race, Atlantic Beach never had the opportunity afforded older black Atlantic coast resorts to build a loyal following among African American beach going vacationers.  

The roots of Atlantic Beach stretch back to 1934 when men and women of mostly Gullah/ Geechee ancestry, who were the descendants of slaves who had lived along the South Carolina and Georgia coast for three centuries, opened small tourist motels, restaurants, night clubs, and novelty shops in the area. A few of them also chose to live year round in the beachfront community.  In 1936, the Intracoastal Waterway, which formed the western boundary of the community, opened to pleasure boats and commercial shipping, bringing far more attention to the region.  Two years later North Myrtle Beach was incorporated and soon became a regional family vacation destination.    

Sources: 
“The Town of Atlantic Beach,” http://townofatlanticbeachsc.com/Home_Page.html; “Atlantic Beach,” http://www.discoversouthcarolina.com/products/26695.aspx; “Black Genesis, Myrtle Beach and Atlantic Beach,” in SoulOfAmerica, http://www.soulof america.com/myrtle-beach-black-genesis.phtml.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Ohio University

Peete, Calvin (1943–2015)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Calvin Peete at the 1983 Bob Hope Desert
Classic Golf Tournament, Palm Springs, California
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Professional golfer Calvin Peete was born in Detroit, Michigan on July 18, 1943. Toward the end of the 20th Century Peete had become the most successful African American golfer on the PGA Tour, with 12 wins, a record that would be surpassed only by Tiger Woods who turned professional in 1996 at age 20.  In 1983, dubbed “Mr. Accuracy” by fellow golfers for his ability to hit the ball consistently onto the fairway, Peete hit a staggering 84.55 percent of fairways in 87 PGA Tour rounds.

In 1984, he won the Professional Golf Association’s (PGA) “Vardon Trophy,” for PGA Tour leaders with the lowest scoring average.  He was a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup teams in 1983 and 1985 and among the “top 10” in the “Official World Golf Ranking” for several weeks, during the rankings’ 39-week inaugural year, 1986.

Calvin Peete was the eighth of nine children born to Irenna (Bridgeford) Peete and Dennis Peete, a Detroit auto factory worker. A childhood tree-climbing accident left him with a permanently bent left arm. At age 12, he fell from a cherry tree near his grandmother’s house in Haiti, Missouri, breaking his left elbow in three places.  It was set badly and fused permanently.

Sources: 
Dolly Ness, For Pete’s Sake (Lakewood, Florida: Rushford & Associates, 2008); Pete McDaniel and Craig Bowen, “Calvin Peete,” in Martin Davis and Geoff Russell, eds., Uneven Lies: The Heroic Story of African-Americans in Golf (Greenwich, Connecticut: The American Golfer, 2000); Thomas Warren, An Old Caddie Looks Back: Reflections from a Town that Loves Golf and Tiger (Bloomington, Indiana: iUniverse Publishing, 2009).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Hyman, Phyllis (1949–1995)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Phyllis Linda Hyman was an American singer-songwriter and actress. She was best known for her singles from the late 1970s through the early 1990s including: You Know How to Love Me, Living All Alone, and Don’t Wanna Change the World. Hyman was born on July 6, 1949 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Philip Hyman, a World War II veteran and Louise Hyman, a waitress at a local night club, but raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Hyman was the eldest of seven children.
 
Her music training started when she received a music scholarship to attend Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh but she dropped out after one year there.  She performed on a national tour with the group, New Direction. Later she joined All the People while working with another group, The Hondo Beat. She made her acting debut in 1974 in the film Lenny. Hyman also led a group called Phyllis Hyman and the P/H factor.
Sources: 
Jason Michael, Strength of a Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story (Detroit: JAM Books LLC. 2007); “Phyllis Hyman,” All Music, http://www.allmusic.com/artist/phyllis-hyman-mn0000333447;“Phyllis Hyman,” IMDb, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0405198/; “Phyllis Hyman,” Pittsburgh Music History, https://sites.google.com/site/pittsburghmusichistory/pittsburgh-music-story/pop/phyllis-hyman/. 
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Jackson, Milton/ Milt or Bags (1923-1999)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public domain

Milton Jackson, also known as Milt or Bags because of the bags under his eyes, the leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet, was born on January 1, 1923, in Detroit, Michigan, to Manley Jackson and Lillie Beaty Jackson. He started playing the guitar at the young age of seven and then picked up the piano at age eleven. During his teenage years, he began playing the xylophone and vibraphone.

In his first public performance, he sang tenor as a member of a touring gospel quartet, and in 1945 he played at a concert in Detroit as a part of a local jazz group where Dizzy Gillespie also played. Gillespie liked Jackson and wanted to record with him, which helped Jackson become better known. Jackson then worked with artists like Charlie Parker, Howard McGhee, Thelonious Monk, and The Woody Herman Orchestra from 1948–1949 and played in Gillespie’s sextet from 1950–1952.

Sources: 
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

The 1967 Grand Rapids Uprising (1967)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
Grand Rapids Uprising, 1967
Image Ownership: Public domain

The 1967 Grand Rapids Uprising occurred on July 25, 1967 in a predominantly black and impoverished neighborhood in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The uprising came only days after the much larger uprising in Detroit, Michigan but a post-riot official report titled “Anatomy of a Riot” written by the city’s Planning Department in November 1967, did not believe the two were related and that it was only a matter of time before the African American community in Grand Rapids would have exploded.

The official report detailed extreme poverty, joblessness, poor schooling and segregation as the causes for the frustration and unrest in the African American community.  Many African Americans complained of poor housing conditions which was exacerbated by “redlining,” a hidden practice to deny mortgages to people of color to keep them out of white neighborhoods. They also blamed poor educational conditions in the public schools and a lack of educational opportunity.  In addition, employment discrimination was rampant since many of the white-owned businesses in the area refused to hire black people.

Sources: 
Garret Ellison, “Riot of 1967: As Detroit burned, Grand Rapids experienced its own civil unrest,” mlive.com, April 28, 2015, http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2015/04/1967_grand_rapids_riot.html; John Ager, “Grand Rapids 1976 riot: When anger, oppression erupted into ‘chaos,’” mlive.com, July 19, 2017, http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2017/07/grand_rapids_67_race_riot_ange.html; Grand Rapids City Planning Department, “Anatomy of a Riot,” November 8, 1976, https://grpeopleshistory.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/1967-report-anatomy-of-a-riot.pdf.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Southern New Hampshire University

Ragsdale, Lincoln J., Sr. (1926-1995)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Dr. Lincoln J. Ragsdale, Sr. was a leading activist in the battle for civil rights in Arizona.  After graduating from Tuskegee flying school in Alabama in 1945, he relocated to Luke Air Field in Litchfield Park, Arizona, becoming one of the first black pilots to serve at that installation.  

Ragsdale believed that it was his “Tuskegee experience” that emboldened him and gave him direction.  “It gave me a whole new self-image,” he maintained.  He “remembered when we [Tuskegee Airmen] used to walk through black neighborhoods right after the war, and little kids would run up to us and touch our uniforms.  ‘Mister, can you really fly an airplane’ they’d ask.  The Tuskegee airmen gave blacks a reason to be proud.”  Their service also gave the 2.5 million black veterans of World War II incentive to believe that they could achieve much more in their communities and the nation.
Sources: 
Matthew C. Whitaker, Race Work: The Rise of Civil Rights in the Urban West  (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005); Lincoln Ragsdale, Sr., interview by Mary Melcher, April 8, 1990, Phoenix.  Tape recording. Arizona Historical Foundation, Hayden Library, Arizona State University, Tempe; Lincoln Ragsdale, Sr. and Eleanor Ragsdale. Interview by Dean E. Smith, April 4 and November 3, 1990, Phoenix. Transcript. Arizona Collection, Hayden Library, Arizona State University, Tempe.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Arizona State University

Coleman, Gary (1968-2010)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West

 Gary Coleman and Conraid Bain from
"Different Strokes" tv show
Image Courtesy of ©Bettmann-Corbis
Gary Coleman, best known for his child star status from the hit television sitcom Diff’rent Strokes, was born on February 8, 1968, and raised in Zion, Illinois. A talent scout for TV producer Norman Lear spotted Coleman in a Chicago bank commercial, and at the age of 10 he was cast in the role of Arnold Jackson, the younger of two African American brothers adopted by a wealthy white man in New York City. Diff’rent Strokes, which premiered in 1978, ran for seven seasons on NBC and one season on ABC.  The last episode aired in 1986. During the show’s tenure, Coleman became famous for his signature catch-phrase, “What’chu talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?,” and his impeccable comedic timing. Between 1980-1984, Coleman won four consecutive People’s Choice Awards as Favorite Young TV Performer for his portrayal of the character Arnold Jackson.

Adopted by W.G. “Willie” and Edmonia Sue Coleman at four days old, Coleman was born with a congenital kidney disease for which he would later receive two transplants, one at age 5 and one at age 16, as well as recurrent dialysis throughout his life. These treatments permanently affected Coleman’s growth patterns, leaving his height as an adult at 4 feet 8 inches tall.
Sources: 
Jim Cheng, “Gary Coleman dies at age 42,” USA Today (5/28/2010); Anita Gates, “Gary Coleman, Diff’rent Strokes Star, Dies at 42,” New York Times (5/28/2010); Dennis McLellan, “Gary Coleman dies at 42; child star of hit sitcom Diff’rent Strokes,” Los Angeles Times (5/29/2010)
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Lovie Yancey (1912–2008)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Lovie Louise Yancey was the African American founder of the Fatburger restaurant chain. She was born in Bastrop, Texas, on January 3, 1912, one of eight children of Clayborn and Minnie Yancey. Very little is known about her early life in Texas. Yancey and Rawlings Colquitt Green had daughter, Gwendolyn Green, in 1931.

Yancey and her daughter moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1940s. At the age of thirty-five, she and her friend, Charles Simpson, decided to partner in a business venture. Simpson built a three-stool hamburger stand on Western Avenue, near Jefferson Boulevard in South Central Los Angeles in 1947, with scrap materials from his place of employment. They called the business Mr. Fatburger.

That first burger stand became so successful that Yancey and Simpson opened three more locations over the next five years. In 1952 when the two decided to end their partnership, Simpson and his wife took control of the other Mr. Fatburger locations while Yancey retained ownership of the original business.  She dropped the “Mr.” and the original Fatburger was born. From the beginning, Yancey was a daily part of the business. She worked up to sixteen hours a day at times to ensure things ran smoothly and the burgers were cooked “just right.”

Sources: 

“Lovey Yancey Obituary,” 2008, Legacy.com (http://www.legacy.com/ns/lovie-yancey-obituary/102443099; Nefertiti Rasool, “Lovie Yancey; Ms. Fatburger!” Secrets Confidential.com, August 22, 2013, http://secretsconfidential.com/2013/08/lovie-yancey-ms-fatburger/; Dorothy Pomerantz, “A Juicy Tale,” Forbes.com, August 28, 2007, http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2007/1015/046.html.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

White, Joseph L. (1932-2017)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Ownership: Public domain

Joseph L. White, known as the “Father of Black Psychology,” for exposing the implicit whiteness in the field of psychology, including education, research, and professional training, was a clinical psychologist, professor, and researcher who challenged the American Psychological Association (APA) by helping to found the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) in 1968 within its ranks. White worked closely with colleagues to build a bibliography of works on black psychology; but his 1970 article for Ebony magazine, “Toward a Black Psychology,” had the most impact. It confronted the 78-year-old APA on its history of defining blacks as deviant and lacking in intelligence.  His challenge took White to the forefront of the movement for a cross-cultural psychology which focuses on the interrelationship between culture and psychological processes.

Sources: 
Anna M. Phillips, Los Angeles Times, “Joseph White pioneering black psychologist who mentors students at UC Irvine, dies at 84,” December 21, 2017; http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-joseph-white-20171130-story.htmlhttp://abcnews.go.com/amp/US/wireStory/father-black-psychology-joseph-white-dies-84-51473714; “Obituary of Dr. Joseph L. White: Trailblazing Founder of `Black Psychology,’” the new black magazine, December 21, 2017.
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Mazrui, Ali Al’amin (1933–2014)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Ali Al’amin Mazrui was a Kenyan intellectual in the fields of political science, African studies, and Islamic studies. The father of the African Liberalism ideology (an economic perspective on Africa critical of western powers and Marxism/Socialism) was an often controversial figure due largely to his favorable view of political Islam and staunch criticism of the state of Israel. Mazrui was the Albert Schweitzer professor in the Humanities and the director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York. Other notable positions include special advisor to the World Bank and president of the African Studies Association, an American organization.
Sources: 
Hatem Bazian, “An Intellectual Giant: Ali Mazrui (1933–2014),” Al Jazeera English. Al Jazeera, October 18, 2014, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/10/an-intellectual-giant-ali-mazru-201410177120665454.html; “Ali Al'Amin Mazrui 1933–2014,” Africana, Cornell University, http://www.asrc.cornell.edu/people/mazrui.cfm; “Ali Mazrui—Biography,” Reform of Islamic Thought, International Institute of Islamic Thought, http://iiit.org/Research/IIIT%20Scholars/AliMazrui%20Biography/tabid/394/Default.aspx.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Garland, Walter Benjamin Stephen (1913-197?)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

Veteran of the Spanish Civil War and World War II, Walter Garland was born in New York City on 27 November 1913.  After serving in the U.S. Army for two years, he enrolled at Brooklyn College where he studied mathematics.  Garland joined the Communist Party in 1935 and became active in the National Negro Congress.  When the International Brigades formed to fight for Republican Spain, Garland volunteered , sailing for France in January 1937.

Sources: 
Danny Duncan Collum (editor) and Victor A. Berch (chief researcher), African Americans in the Spanish Civil War: “This Ain’t Ethiopia, But It’ll Do” (New York, New York: G.K. Hall & Co, 1992); William L. Katz, Fraser M. Ottanelli, and Christopher Brooks, “African Americans in the Spanish Civil War,” Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives at New York University (<https://www.alba-valb.org >, November 2006); James Yates, Mississippi to Madrid (Seattle, Washington: Open Hand Publishing, 1989).
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Trotter, William Monroe (1872-1934)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
William Monroe Trotter was a major early twentieth century civil rights activist known primarily for launching the first major challenge to the political dominance of Tuskegee Institute founder Booker T. Washington and as an inspiration for the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).  Trotter was also the founder of the Boston Guardian (1901), the National Negro Suffrage League (1905), the Niagara Movement (1905), and the Negro American Political League (1908).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Syracuse University

Bolin, Jane (1908-2007)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of Schomburg Center
for Research in Black Culture,
The New York Public Library
Jane Bolin was the first black women graduate of Yale Law School and the first black female judge in the United States. Bolin was born in Poughkeepsie, New York on April 11, 1908. From her earliest days in her father’s law office, Bolin knew she wanted to be an attorney. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1928 and earned her J.D. degree at the Yale Law School in 1931.

Bolin clerked in her father's law office until she passed the New York bar exam in 1932. She married fellow attorney Ralph E. Mizelle a year later, and together they opened up a practice in New York City. In 1937, Bolin was named Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of New York, serving on the Domestic Relation Court. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia appointed Jane Bolin Judge of the Domestic Relations Court in 1939, where she served for 40 years. During her tenure with two other judges she achieved two major changes: the assignment of probation officers to cases without regard for race or religion, and a requirement that publicly funded private child-care agencies accept children without regard to ethnic background.
Sources: 
Jacqueline A. McLeod, “Persona non-grata: Judge Jane Matilda Bolin and the NAACP, 1930-1950,” Afro-Americans in New York and History, January 2005;  www.wellesley.edu/Anniversary/bolin.html
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Church, Robert Reed, Jr. (1885-1952)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of 
Tennessee State University
Robert Reed Church, Jr. was born on October 26, 1885 in Memphis, Tennessee.  He was the youngest son of Robert Church Sr., a prominent African American businessman in the city and his second wife, Anna Wright Church. Like his father, he became an important businessman, political activist, and politician during the 1920s.

Robert Church, Jr. was educated at Morgan Park Military Academy in Illinois. After high school he earned a B.A. from Oberlin College in Ohio and an M.B.A. from the Packard School of Business in New York. He also spent two years working on Wall Street. When he returned to Memphis he managed one of the family businesses, Church Park and Auditorium on Beale Street. Afterwards, he became cashier of the Solvent Savings Bank and Trust Company, a bank founded by his father.  Church became its President upon his father's death in 1912.  Church also presided over the family’s extensive real estate holdings in Memphis.  On July 26, 1911, Robert Church, Jr., married Sara P. Johnson of Washington, D. C. They had one child, Sara Roberta.  
Sources: 
Annette E. Church and Roberta Church, The Robert R. Churches of Memphis: A Father and Son Who Achieved in Spite of Race (Memphis: A. E. Church, 1974); Gloria B. Melton, “Blacks in Memphis, Tennessee, 1920-1955: A Historical Study” (Ph.D. diss., Washington State University, 1982); Lester Lamon, Black Tennesseans, 1900-1930 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1977); The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/; Shirelle Phelps, ed., Contemporary Black Biography, various volumes. (Detroit: Gale Research, 1999).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
East Tennessee State University

Rush, Bobby L. (1946- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of the U.S. Congress
Bobby Lee Rush was born in Albany, Georgia on November 23, 1946. He graduated from Marshall High School in that city at the age of seventeen and soon afterwards enlisted in the United States Army.  Rush served in the Army from 1963 to 1968 when he was honorably discharged.

Rush relocated in Chicago where he attended Roosevelt University.  He received a B.A. degree with honors in 1973. Twenty-one years later (1994) he received a master’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 1998 Rush received a second master’s degree in theological studies from McCormick Seminary and soon afterwards became an ordained Baptist minister.

While in college Rush became a political activist and soon devoted himself to Chicago’s civil rights movement.  He first joined the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1968 but soon afterwards became a co-founder of the Illinois Black Panther Party.  Rush ran the Panther Party’s Free Breakfast for Children program and also organized a free medical clinic.  The clinic developed the nation’s first mass testing program for sickle cell anemia while simultaneously raising awareness of the disease’s impact on African Americans in Chicago.
Sources: 
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Washington, Harold (1922 – 1987)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Harold Washington and Colleague
Image ©Bettmann/Corbis
Harold Washington, the first African American mayor of Chicago, Illinois, was born on April 15, 1922, to Roy Washington, a lawyer, Methodist minister and one of the first black precinct captains in Chicago.  Washington’s mother Bertha Washington was a well-known singer in the city.

Washington attended segregated public schools including the newly completed DuSable High School where he set records as a track star.  Despite that success, Washington dropped out of high school at the end of his junior year and worked in a meat packing plant until his father helped him obtain a job at the U.S. Treasury office in Chicago.  There he met Dorothy Finch, his future wife.  The couple married in 1941 when Harold Washington was 19 and Dorothy was 17.  They divorced ten years later.
Sources: 
Bruce Ragsdale, Black Americans in Congress, 1870-1989 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1990); Florence Hamlish Levinsohn, Harold Washington: A Political Biography, (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 1983); “Biographical Directory of the Harold Washington,”   http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=W000180.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Dexter Avenue Baptist Church [Montgomery] (1883-- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain

The Dexter Avenue Baptist Church was built in 1883 on the corner of Dexter Avenue and Decatur Street in Montgomery, Alabama.  The church served as a meeting place and planning hub for some of the most influential actions of the Civil Rights movement throughout the first half of the twentieth century.  

The Dexter Avenue Church was built on a lot facing the Alabama State Capitol, on the site of a former slave trading pen. The choice of location, and the church’s refusal to move despite consistent threats from the white community, marked a tacit defiance of Jim Crow segregation and an early bend towards activism.

Sources: 

Samuel C. Hyde Jr., ed., Sunbelt Revolution: The Historical Progression
of the Civil Rights Struggle in the Gulf South, 1866-2000
(Gainesville:
University Press of Florida, 2003); Charles E. Fager, Selma, 1965: The
March that Changed the South
(Boston: Beacon Press, 1974); Adam
Fairclough, Better Day Coming: Blacks and Equality 1890-2000 (New York:
Viking, 2001); Irwin T. Sanders and Rhoda Lois Blumberg, eds., Social
Movements Past and Present: Civil Rights: The 1960s Freedom Struggle

(Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1984)

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Berea College

Fauset, Crystal Bird (1894–1965)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Crystal Bird Fauset with Eleanor Roosevelt
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Sources: 
Eric Ledell Smith, "Crystal Bird Fauset Raises Her Voice for Human Rights," Pennsylvania Heritage 13: 1 (Winter 1997)34-39; Nancy Joan Weiss, Farewell to the Party of Lincoln: Black Politics in the Age of FDR (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983); American Friends Service Committee website, afsc.org (Philip Clark); Explorepahistory.com (2009, WITF).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Sussex (England)

Erving, Julius Winfield II (1950 - )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Julius Erving with the New York Nets
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Professional basketball player Julius Winfield Erving II, respected by teammates and the fans alike, is best known for his on-court flair and inventive movements, introducing the slam dunk into the game of professional basketball.  Erving, nicknamed “Dr. J,” was born on February 22, 1950 in Roosevelt, New York.  He began his professional career in the American Basketball Association (ABA) for the Virginia Squires (1971-1973) and later the New York Nets (1973-1976).  From 1976 to 1987 he played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Philadelphia 76ers.

While playing basketball at Roosevelt High School, Erving's teammates nicknamed him “The Doctor”, which later was changed to “Dr. J”.  Erving attended the University of Massachusetts for his college career under Coach Jack Leaman. After two years of NCAA College Basketball, Erving averaged 26.3 points and 20.2 rebounds per game.

In 1971, he left college and joined the Virginia Squires in the ABA. After two seasons with the Squires, Erving entered the NBA Draft where he was picked 12th by the Milwaukee Bucks. However, Erving tried to sign with the Atlanta Hawks but due to legal issues Erving was required to play another season in the ABA. The Virginia Squires sold Erving's contract to the New York Nets before the 1973 season.

Sources: 
Vincent Mallozzi, Doc: The Rise and Rise of Julius Erving (New York: Wiley, 2009); http://www.nba.com/history/players/erving_summary.html; http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/erv0bio-1
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Republic of New Africa (1968- )

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain

The Republic of New Africa (RNA) is a black nationalist organization that was created in 1969 on the premise that an independent black republic should be created out of the southern United States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, which were considered “subjugated lands.” The group’s manifesto demanded the United States government pay $400 billion in reparations for the injustices of slavery and segregation. It also argued that African-Americans should be allowed to vote on self-determination, as that opportunity was not provided at the end of slavery when the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution incorporated African-Americans into the United States.

Sources: 
Chokwe Lumumba, “Short History of the U.S. War on the Republic of New Africa,” Black Scholar 12 (January-February 1981);  William L. Van Deburg, Modern Black Nationalism: From Marcus Garvey to Louis Farrakhan (New York: New York University Press, 1997).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Black Belt Republic (1928-1934)

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History
Black Belt Republic Poster, 1932
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
The Black Belt Republic was a proposed black autonomous state in the American Deep South proposed by African American communists and for a time endorsed by the Soviet Union and the international communist community. The Black Belt itself is a crescent shaped band of predominately African American counties stretching from eastern Virginia to eastern Texas.  The term was also used to describe the rich, almost black soil prevalent across the region.
Sources: 
Erik S. Gellman, "Communist Party and African Americans," Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates Jr., eds. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008); Susan Campbell, "Black Bolsheviks" And Recognition of African-America's Right To Self-Determination…" Science & Society 58.4 (1994): 440.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Burroughs, Jr., John Andrew (1936–2014)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
John Andrew Burroughs, Jr. was an equal opportunity advocate and diplomat who was born in Washington, D.C. on July 31, 1936. He spent his youth in Washington, D.C. before moving to the Midwest to attend the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.  While there he played on the varsity football team, helping it win two conference championships and two Rose Bowl games. He graduated with his Bachelor’s Degree in 1959. After graduation, Burroughs returned to Washington, D.C., where he became a social sciences teacher in the city’s public school system.

In 1960 Burroughs left teaching to become an employee in the U.S. Department of State. His first job was as an employee in the passport examiner’s office from 1960 to 1963. In 1963 he was promoted to Assistant Chief of Special Services Branch of the Passport Office, a post he held until 1964.  
Sources: 
Jet magazine, May 20, 1985 and October 20, 1986; “Ambassador Nomination,” http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=36008; Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) Country Reader on Malawi: http://adst.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Malawi.pdf; Obituary Notice, Washington Post, September 26, 2014.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Campbell, Jr. George (1945– )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Physicist George Campbell Jr. was born on December 2, 1945, in Richmond, Virginia, to Lilia and George Campbell. George’s parent divorced when he was in elementary school. Because of the disappearance of his father’s financial support and his mother’s low-paying domestic job, Campbell grew up in dire poverty. After the family moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Campbell was labeled a “disruptive” child and often got in trouble in class and with the police. But his mother was convinced that he acted out because he was bored by unchallenging schoolwork, so she had him apply for the gifted students’ program at Philadelphia’s Central High School. He was accepted and was exposed to a whole new caliber of academics.

It was there that Campbell met representatives from Bell Telephone Laboratories, who visited the school to give science demonstrations to encourage students to consider careers in science and technology. Campbell was fascinated by these demonstrations, and when he won the four-year Simon Guggenheim Scholarship in 1963 (which would pay tuition and fees at the university of his choice), he decided to attend Drexel University to pursue a degree in engineering.
Sources: 
James K. Kessler, Distinguished African American Scientists of the 20th Century, (Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996); Jonah Kokodyniak, “George Campbell Jr. PhD, Board of Trustees,” Institute of International Education, http://www.iie.org/en/Who-We-Are/Governance/Board-of-Trustees/george-campbell-jr; “George Campbell Jr. Biography,” The HistoryMakers, May 17, 2001, http://www.thehistorymakers.com/biography/george-campbell-jr.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Prysock, Arthur (1924–1997)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Arthur Prysock was an important multi-genre vocalist born in Spartanburg, North Carolina, in 1924. During the Second World War, Prysock moved from his home to Hartford, Connecticut, in order to work in the aircraft manufacturing industry. It was during this time that he realized his impressive singing talent. He ended up leaving the aircraft industry after he was offered $3 a day to sing at a nightclub. His deep baritone voice is said to rival Billy Eckstine, and many consider him one of the best jazz singers of the mid-twentieth century.

In 1944 bandleader Buddy Johnson heard Prysock sing and offered him a position as vocalist in his touring jazz band. From this point on, he became a regular performer on the jazz circuits throughout the country. Although Prysock had more success in live performances than in his recording career, he was featured on a number of successful records produced by Decca Records in the 1940s for the Buddy Johnson Orchestra. Among these are “They All Say I’m the Biggest Fool” (1946), “Jet My Love” (1947) and “I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone” (1948). He would never reach the same success on the charts again after this period.

Sources: 
“Arthur Prysock,” https://www.findagrave.com/cgibin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Prysock&GSfn=Arthur&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=68362651&df=all& ; “Artist Biography: Arthur Prysock,” http://www.allmusic.com/artist/arthur-prysock-mn0000933262/biography ; “Obituary: Arthur Prysock,” http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-arthur-prysock-1246852.html
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Philadelphia Race Riot (1964)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
Columbia Avenue During the Philadelphia Riot, 1964
Image Ownership: Public domain

On August 28, 1964, a black couple, Rush and Odessa Bradford, engaged in a domestic dispute while driving through the intersection of 22nd Street and Colombia Avenue in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a predominantly black neighborhood. While this was the event that sparked the uprising, it was certainly not the cause. Black Philadelphia citizens had been victimized by police officers for much longer than the evening of 1964. But on that day, Odessa Bradford had come to an abrupt stop in the intersection, interrupting normal traffic flow.

The couple was approached by black police officer Robert Wells and white police officer John Hoff. Odessa Bradford and police officer Wells began to argue after she allegedly refused to follow his commands. Wells then dragged Bradford out of her vehicle and arrested her.

The police officers were immediately attacked by bystanders who believed they used excessive force against a woman. A rumor quickly spread that a pregnant black woman had been beaten and killed by police officers. Before officers Wells and Hoff could leave the scene, hundreds of people arrived at 22nd Street and Columbia Avenue and began throwing bricks, bottles, and other projectiles at the officers.

Sources: 
Courney Anne Lyons, “Burning Columbia Avenue: Black Christianity, Black Nationalism, and ‘Uprising Liturgy” in the 1964 Philadelphia Race Uprising,” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, 77:3 (2010), https://journals.psu.edu/phj/article/viewFile/59939/59756; Nicole Maurantonio, “Standing by Police Paralysis, Race, and the 1964 Philadelphia Uprising,” Journalism History 38: 2 (2012), https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/7aad/d84ddde1c84dadc88f3746359bae8f1ecbb6.pdf.
Affiliation: 
Syracuse University

TLC (1991- )

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public domain

TLC, a three-member American R&B girl group which incorporates elements of hip-hop and pop, was formed in 1991 in Atlanta, Georgia. Two of the members, Tionne Watkins and Lisa Lopes, were originally part of group called 2nd Nature with Crystal Jones.  The group’s name was TLC-Skee with TLC being an acronym for the three girls’ first names. Due to conflicts within the group, Crystal Jones left and as a two-member group, TLC-Skee was featured on a track for Damian Dame’s 1991 self-titled album. In 1991, Rozonda Thomas, a part-time backup dancer for Damian Dame was chosen to be the third member of the group.

After Thomas was signed the group’s name shortened to TLC. In order to keep the acronym relevant to the girls’ names each member was given a new stage name. Tionne Watkins became “T-Boz,” Lisa Lopes became “Left-Eye,” and Rozonda Thomas became “Chilli.” On February 25, 1992, TLC released their debut album, Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip. The album was a commercial success with three singles making it into the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified as quadruple-platinum in the United States meaning it sold four million copies.

Sources: 
Steve Huey, “TLC Artist Biography,” All Music; https://www.allmusic.com/artist/tlc-mn0000007689/biography; “List of awards and nominations received by TLC,” Wikipedia; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_awards_and_nominations_received_by_TLC; “Greatest Trios of All Time,” Billboard, April 30, 2008; https://web.archive.org/web/20080430084126/http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/greatesttrios/2006/tlc.jsp.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Lee, Barbara J. (1946 - )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Congresswoman Barbara Lee Arrested at the Sudanese
Embassy Protest, Washington, D.C., April 2006
Image Ownership: Public Domain
California Congresswoman Barbara Jean Lee, a self-described “Army brat,” has consistently been one of the most outspoken critics of the Iraq War.  She has also called for the creation of a Department of Peace as a cabinet level agency in the federal government.  

Barbara Jean Lee was born on July 16, 1946 in El Paso, Texas.  In 1960 she moved to Los Angeles, California following the reassignment of her parents who were in the military.  Lee graduated from San Fernando High School in San Fernando, California in 1964 and enrolled in Mills College in Oakland.  Lee, a single parent raising two children, also got involved in the local civil rights movement.  She volunteered for the Black Panther Party’s Community Learning Center in Oakland in 1968.  She also worked on the Oakland mayoral campaign of Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale in 1973.  After receiving her B.A. from Mills College in 1973 she entered the University of California, Berkeley where she received a Master’s in Social Work in 1975.
Sources: 
Bill Hogan, “Alone on the Hill,” Mother Jones, 20 September 2001, interview with Barbara Lee; Congressional Biography: http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=L000551
Official House Website: http://www.barbaraleespeaksforme.org/meet-barbara/
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Sue K. Brown (1948- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Ambassador Sue Katherine Brown is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister Counselor.  In 2011 President Barack Obama nominated her to become the U.S. Ambassador to Montenegro, the first African American to hold this post and only the second U.S. ambassador since Montenegro declared its independence from Serbia on June 3, 2006.  Brown’s nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and she presented her credentials to the President of Montenegro, Filip Vujanovi?, on Thursday, May 12, 2011.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

East Pasco Co-op (1965- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Art Fletcher, Founder of the East Pasco Co-op
Image Ownership: Public domain

The East Pasco African American community emerged quickly during World War II when thousands of black workers were recruited to help construct the Hanford Atomic Energy Complex just north of neighboring Richland, Washington. African American workers and their families were confined to the area called East Pasco which, although prosperous during and immediately after World War II, eventually became an economically depressed area of Pasco by the late 1960s.

The East Pasco Self-Help Cooperative, founded by Arthur Fletcher who arrived in the town in 1965, was a major attempt to address the poverty of the community. Fletcher, a Republican, believed that a mixture of self-help and self-reliance, rather than government assistance, was the key to fighting poverty. He employed this strategy in East Pasco when he founded the East Pasco Co-op.

Sources: 
“From Pasco, Washington to Washington, DC: Arthur A. Fletcher and the American Dream, 1965-1968,” https://aha.confex.com/aha/2014/webprogram/Paper14014.html; David Hamilton Golland, Constructing Affirmative Action: The Struggle for Equal Employment Opportunity (University Press of Kentucky, 2011); “Arthur Fletcher,” http://www.encyclopedia.com/african-american-focus/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/fletcher-arthur; “Watchdog of Labor,” Ebony (April 1971); Joshua D. Farrington, Black Republicans and the Transformation of the GOP (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016); “Pasco, Wash.,” The Eagle (July 1968).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Yamgnane, Kofi (1945- )

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain
Kofi Yamgnane is a Franco-Togolese politician. Born in Togo in 1945, he went to France at the age of 19 and later became an elected official in Brittany before joining the French government as integration secretary in 1991.  In 2002 he entered politics in Togo and ran for the presidency of that nation.   

Yamgnane was born into a middle class family in the city of Bassar, Togo on October 11, 1945.  He attended a private Catholic school where a French missionary recognized his intelligence and arranged for him to complete his education in France.  He arrived in Brest in Brittany, entered the local university in 1964 and graduated five years later with a degree in mathematics. He found his first professional job in 1973 as an engineer for Quimper Community Facilities and later worked as an engineer for the French Roads and Bridges Administration.  In 1979 he entered the Mining School of Nancy, completing studies in 1981.

In 1975, Yamgnane married Anne-Marie from Brest, a mathematics professor at the local university.  They had two children.  The same year Yamgnane became a French citizen but kept his Togolese citizenship.

Sources: 
Hervé Quemener, Kofi, histoire d’une intégration (Paris: Payot, 1991); Ariane Laroux, Entretien et portrait de Kofi Yamgnane (Paris: L'Age d'Homme, 2006); Kofi Yamgnane, Europe Afrique, nous grandirons ensemble (Paris: Laffont, 2002); and Kofi Yamgnane, Afrique, introuvable démocratie (Paris: Dialogues, 2013).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Emeritus Professor, University of Paris

Davis, Benjamin, Jr. (1903-1964)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

A major figure in Harlem community politics and the Communist Party during the 1930s and 1940s, Benjamin Davis, Jr. was born into a prominent African American family in Atlanta, Georgia in 1903. He migrated north to Massachusetts to attend college at Amherst, where he was an all-American football player, and in 1932 graduated from Harvard Law School. After returning to Atlanta to practice law, Davis rose to national prominence as the lead attorney for Angelo Herndon, a black Communist charged under an archaic slave law with inciting insurrection after he attempted to organize unemployed workers. The experience radicalized Davis, who was impressed with the Communist Party's commitment to racial justice and joined the Party during the trial.

Amid threats on his life in the aftermath of the Herndon trial, Davis moved to Harlem in 1934 where he replaced Cyril Briggs as editor-in-chief of the Harlem Liberator. Davis' arrival was part of a larger transition in Harlem Communist Party leadership as the first generation of black Communists, led by West Indian-born nationalist revolutionaries like Briggs and Richard Moore, gave way to American-born blacks like Davis and James Ford who advocated more rigid Party discipline and closer, more pragmatic alliances with white workers.

Sources: 
Mark Naison, Communists in Harlem during the Depression (Chicago:  University of Illinois Press, 1983), 109-111, passim; Naison, "Davis, Benjamin, Jr.," in Mary Jo Buhle, Paul Buhle, and Dan Geogakas, eds. Encyclopedia of the American Left (New York:  Garland Publishing, 1990), 183-184; Mark Soloman, The Cry Was Unity:  Communists and African Americans, 1917-1936 (Jackson:  University of Mississippi Press, 1998), 219-220, passim.
Contributor2: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Lu Valle, James E.(1912-1993)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Olympic athlete and scientist James Ellis Lu Valle was born in San Antonio, Texas on November 10, 1912 but grew up in Los Angeles where he made use of a library card even before entering elementary school.  Academics was always uppermost in his mind despite the fact that as a track star at the University of California at Los Angeles – and not on athletic scholarship - he won the bronze medal in the 400-meter dash at the historic 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Upon graduating Phi Beta Kappa, Lu Valle was elected the first president of UCLA’s Graduate Student Association and earned his master’s degree in chemistry.  Studying under the renowned Linus Pauling, Lu Valle obtained his doctorate at the California Institute of Technology in 1940 then briefly taught chemistry at Fisk University.  
Sources: 
American Men & Women of Science. 16th Ed. Vol. 4. (New York: Bowker, 1986); http://www.aafla.org/6oic/OralHistory/OHLuValle.pdf
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
San Diego State University

Rawlings, Jerry (1947- )

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Sources: 

"Jerry J. Rawlings," Encyclopedia Britannica, 2009; Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 07 Jun. 2009 http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/492337/Jerry-J-Rawlings; Kevin Shillington, Ghana and the Rawlings Factor (New York: St Martin's Press, 1992).

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Dean, Mark (1957- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Three of the nine patents on the original personal computer (PC) by International Business Machines (IBM) are registered to Dr. Mark Dean, making him a key contributor in the development of the PC.  

Dean was born on March 2, 1957 to Barbara and James Dean in Jefferson City, Tennessee.  He attended an integrated school, Jefferson City High School, where white teachers and classmates were amazed by his intellect and straight-A grades.  Dean earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tennessee in 1979 and an M.S. from Florida Atlantic University in 1982.  
Sources: 
Ray Spangenburg and Kit Moser, “Mark Dean” in African Americans in Science, Math, and Invention (New York: Facts on File, 2003); http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/bldean_moeller.htm.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Norton, Ken (1943-2013)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Sources: 
Ken Norton, Going the Distance (Champaign, Illinois: Sports Publishing, 2000); www.ibhof.com; www.boxrec.com.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Ellison, Keith M. (1963- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison was born on August 4, 1963 in Detroit, Michigan.  He was raised Catholic in a middle class family which included five sons to a father who was a psychiatrist and a mother who was a social worker.  Since childhood Ellison was involved with the civil rights movement and briefly worked with his grandfather in Louisiana for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

In 1981 Ellison graduated from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy.  Six years later he graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit with a B.A. in economics.  While attending Wayne State University, Ellison converted from Catholicism to Islam.  After graduation Ellison attended the University of Minnesota Law School, graduating in 1990.

Ellison began his professional career at the Minneapolis law firm of Lindquist and Vennum.  He worked there for three years as a litigator specializing in criminal defense, civil rights, and employment.  After leaving Lindquist and Vennum Ellison he became executive director of the nonprofit Legal Rights Center in Minneapolis.  He then returned to private practice by joining Hassan & Reed where he specialized in trial practice.

Sources: 

Martiga Lohn, “Islamic Convert Wins House Nomination,” The Associated Press, September 14, 2006; Frederic J. Frommer, “Rep. Ellison Wants Forces Out of Iraq,” The Associated Press, January 10, 2007; Congressional Biography:
http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=E000288

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Christensen, Donna Marie (1945–)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Courtesy of the
U.S. House of Representatives
Photography Office

Donna Marie Christian-Christensen, the non-voting delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands to the United States House of Representatives, was born in Teaneck, Monmouth Country, New Jersey on September 19, 1945 to the late Judge Almeric Christian and Virginia Sterling Christian. Christensen attended St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, where she received her Bachelor of Science in 1966. She then earned her M.D. degree from George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. in 1970. Christensen began her medical career in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1975 as an emergency room physician at St. Croix Hospital. Between 1987 and 1988 she was medical director of the St. Croix Hospital and from 1988 to 1994 she was Commissioner of Health for the Virgin Island.  During the entire period from 1977 to l996 Christensen maintained a private practice in family medicine.  From 1992 to 1996 she was also a television journalist.

Christensen also entered Virgin Island politics.  As a member of the Democratic Party of the Virgin Islands, she has served as Democratic National Committeewoman, member of the Democratic Territorial Committee and Delegate to all the Democratic Conventions in 1984, 1988 and 1992.  Christensen was also elected to the Virgin Islands Board of Education in 1984 and served for two years.  She served as a member of the Virgin Islands Status Commission from 1988 to 1992. 

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University Of Washington

Edwards, James (1918-1970)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

One of the first African American actors to receive critical acclaim, James Edwards was born in Muncie, Indiana in 1918. He majored in psychology at Knoxville College in Tennessee and continued his education at Northwestern University where he received a master’s degree in drama.

Sources: 

Bruce A. Douglas, “Tribute to Jimmy: Decade after death, honors coming to Muncie black actor,” The Muncie Star, March 23, 1980; Bruce A. Douglas, “Black film series to honor Muncie actor Jimmy Edwards,” The Muncie Star, April 10, 1982; Phyllis Klotman, Interview with Fred and J. C. Edwards, March 6, 1982.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Carey, Archibald J., Sr. (1868-1931)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Rev.
Sources: 
Allan Spear, Black Chicago: The Making of a Negro Ghetto, 1890-1920 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967); Christopher Robert Reed, Black Chicago's First Century (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2005); http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/4159/Carey-Archibald-J-Sr-1868-1931.html
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Woodruff, Hale Aspacio (1900-1980)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Sources: 
Donald David, “Hale Woodruff of Atlanta: Molder of Black Artists,” Journal of Negro History 69:3/4 (Fall 1984); Romare Bearden and Harry Henderson, A History of African-American Artists: From 1792 to the Present (New York: Pantheon Books, 1993).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Rogers, Timmie (1914-2006)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Timmie Rogers was a popular black comedian and entertainer from the 1940s through the 1990s. He was one of the first African American entertainers who refused to wear blackface or to dress in dirty tattered clothing while performing. Rogers also was one of the first entertainers to speak directly to the audience in his own voice.  Previous black performers beginning in the Jim Crow era had always affected some variation of the Sambo and Coon type characters up to the mid-20th Century routine of Amos and Andy.

Rogers was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1914. His grandfather was a slave and his father  ran away from home at the age of 12, finding a job as dishwasher in a kitchen on an Ohio River steamboat.  Rogers’ mother ran a boarding house in Detroit where she sold liquor during Prohibition.

As a child, Rogers began dancing and performing on the street corners in Detroit  for change and later took a job cleaning ashtrays at a ballroom where he was allowed to perform his acts before the main entertainment. By the 1940s Rogers was performing one of his first, which incorporated an anti- segregation theme titled, I’ve Got a Passport from Georgia. He also wrote a song for Nat King Cole called If You Can’t Smile and Say Yes.
Sources: 
Denise Watson Batts, “Timmie Rogers: a side-splitting revolutionary,” The Virginian Pilot and The Ledger-Star, Norfolk, VA. (February 3, 2008); Louie Robinson, “Why Negro Comics Don’t Make It Big,” Ebony Magazine 110 (October 1960); Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory of Prime Time Network TV Shows (New York: Ballantine Books, 1992); Alex McNeil, Total Television (New York: Penguin Books, 1996).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
UC Santa Barbara

Dee, Ruby Ann Wallace (1922-2014)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain

Broadway performer and film actress, Ruby Dee was born Ruby Ann Wallace in Cleveland, Ohio on October 27, 1922 to Gladys Hightower and Marshall Edward Wallace. Her mother was a domestic and her father worked as a cook, waiter, and porter. After her mother left the family, Dee's father married Emma Amelia Benson, a schoolteacher.

Desperate for better job opportunities, the family moved to New York City, New York, and settled in Harlem. Determined not to allow their children fall victim to drugs, crime, and other vices of urban life, the parents introduced Dee and her siblings to the arts, including music and literature. Young Ruby became a passionate student of poetry and as a teenager began submitting poetry to The Amsterdam News.  

Ruby Wallace attended the academically rigorous Hunter High School and while there decided to pursue an acting career.  After graduating from Hunter High in 1940, she enrolled in Hunter College, graduating with a degree in French and Spanish in 1944. While at Hunter College, she became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and married blues singer Frankie Dee.  The couple soon divorced but Dee kept the last name and made it her career name.

Sources: 
Ruby Dee, My One Good Nerve: Rhythms, Rhymes, Reasons (Chicago: Third World Press, 1986); Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together (London: It Press, 1998); http://www.biography.com/people/ruby-dee
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
East Tennessee State University

Reinhardt, John Edward (1920- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"

John Edward Reinhardt, ambassador and diplomat, was born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1920. After serving in World War II, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Knoxville College in 1939, a Masters degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1947, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin in 1950. Reinhardt was the first African American to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation. He was assigned there from 1971 to 1975.

Sources: 
"John Reinhardt," http://www.academyofdiplomacy.org/members/bios/Reinhardt.htm; U.S. Diplomacy, An Online Exploration of Diplomatic, Historical, and Foreign Affairs, http://www.usdiplomacy.org/history/service/history_johnereinhardt.php; National Council for International Visitors (NCIV), http://www.globaltiesus.org/; U.S. Institute of Peace Organization, NNBD Notable Names Database, http://www.nndb.com/people/598/000120238/; Glenn Urban, “A Country Must Tell its Story, Ex-Diplomat Says,” Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, May 10, 1989.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Seattle Central College

Jason Riley (1971– )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Jason L. Riley is a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute, a columnist, and member of the editorial board at the Wall Street Journal, a Fox News commentator, and a frequent contributor to National Review. Riley has authored two very popular books on the subject of politics and race. Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders (2008) allowed Riley to set himself apart from almost all other conservatives with his persuasive argument for a more open U.S. immigration policy. His argument was based upon his consistent support for globalization and capitalism, and the vital role that immigration plays both contexts. The book was applauded for its ease in readability, along with the effectiveness in which it counters common misconceptions about the impact of immigration.
Sources: 
Ian Blair, “The Right’s Favorite New Race Guru: Why You Should Know Jason Riley.” http://www.salon.com/2014/07/11/the_rights_favorite_new_race_guru_why_you_should_know_jason_riley/ RSS, July 11 2014; “Jason Riley Bio.”  http://topics.wsj.com/person/R/jason-riley/5678 (Wall Street Journal); “Black Americans Failed by Good Intentions: An Interview with Jason Riley,”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zorEMP8GxBA, ReasonTV, Sept. 3, 2014; http://video.foxnews.com/v/3676171739001/the-foxhole-wsjs-jason-riley-on-obama-race-and-politics/http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/23/style/weddings-celebrations-naomi-schaefer-jason-riley.html “WEDDINGS/CELEBRATIONS: Naomi Schaefer, Jason Riley,” Style. New York Times, May 23, 2004.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Nashville’s Streetcar Boycott (1905–1907)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
Union Transportation Company Vehicle in Use During the
Nashville Streetcar Boycott
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
The 1896 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Plessy vs. Ferguson made segregationist laws permissible anywhere in the United States as long as railroads, streetcars, and other public conveyances provided equal accommodations for black and white races. The decision, which served as the constitutional underpinning for the nation’s Jim Crow system, was resisted by black civil rights leaders across the United States. One example of resistance emerged in Nashville, Tennessee.   

Taking advantage of the Supreme Court ruling, Tennessee General Assembly in 1999 attempted to expand the existing scope of segregation mainly in railroads by proposing legislation to make segregation laws apply to streetcars. Although the proposal died the same year in the Tennessee House Judiciary Committee, it was revived two years later in 1901 and was defeated by a 48-30 vote in the House of Representatives.

Sources: 
“Nashville Street Boycott,” Tennessee State University Archives, http://ww2.tnstate.edu/library/digital/nashv.html; “Nashville Street Boycott,” Nashville Public Radio,  http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/50-years-rosa-parks-bold-nashville-streetcar-protest-defied-segregation#stream/0; Bobby L. Lovett, Walden University (1868-1925) A Profile of African Americans in Tennessee History (Nashville: Tennessee State University, 1996).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Via, Dennis L. (1958- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public domain

Army 4-star General Dennis L. Via was born in 1958 in the industrial town of Martinsville, Virginia, the son of Henry Via, a house painter and small-contract repairman, and Margaret Via, a homemaker. He had worked in a local textile mill and intended to skip college and become a building contractor until a high school teacher who taught him masonry convinced him to enroll at his alma mater, Virginia State University, a historically black school in Petersburg, Virginia, founded in 1882. At the end of his sophomore year, Via entered Army ROTC training and in 1980 graduated as a distinguished cadet with an office’s commission.

Sources: 
Jamal Eric Watson, “General Via’s Success Inspires Next Generation,” in Diverse Issues in Higher Education (October 19, 2015); Guv Callahan, “Army Bids Farewell to Gen. Dennis L. Via,” http://www.dcmilitary.com/pentagram/news/local/army-bids-farewell-to-gen-dennis-l-via/article_0b0ce5a7-7e2f-5dde-a6c8-288fce77b171.html; “Meet Your Army: Gen. Dennis L. Via, Army Materiel Command,” https://www.army.mil/article/172911/meet_your_army_gen_dennis_l_via_army_materiel_command.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Lucas, Frank (1930- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Frank Lucas Mug
Shot, January 1975
Image Ownership:
Public domain

As one of the country’s most notorious gangsters and drug kingpins, Frank Lucas has led a very public life, even having his story depicted in the film American Gangster. Lucas was born to Mahalee Jones Lucas and Fred Lucas, on September 9, 1930 in La Grange, North Carolina. As a young boy, his family lived the typical poverty of the Great Depression. Lucas took to a life of petty crime as a teen. He began by stealing food but later escalated to robbing people outside of bars. Eventually, while dating the daughter of his boss at the time, Lucas attacked the father and stole money from the company before setting the business on fire. Fearing jail time, Lucas fled to New York following these attacks.

Sources: 
“Frank Lucas,” Biography.com, April 2017, https://www.biography.com/people/frank-lucas-253710; Alexi Friedman, “Newark’s ‘American Gangster’ Frank Lucas gets probation for stealing over $17K from federal government,” NJ.com, July 2012, https://www.biography.com/people/frank-lucas-253710; Mark Jacobson, “Return of the Superfly,” New York Metro, April 2000, https://web.archive.org/web/20060525040715/http://www.newyorkmetro.com/nymetro/news/people/features/3649/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Watts Rebellion (August 1965)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History in the West
103rd Street, Watts Riot, 1966
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Following World War II, over 500,000 African Americans migrated to West Coast cities in hopes of escaping racism and discrimination. However they found both in the west. For many black Los Angeles, California residents who lived in Watts, their isolation in that community was evidence that racial equality remained a distant goal as they experienced housing, education, employment, and political discrimination. These racial injustices caused Watts’ African American population to explode on August 11, 1965 in what would become the Watts Rebellion.

Sources: 
Gerald Horne. Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995); Josh, Sides. L.A. City Limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the Present (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003; Governor’s Commission on the Los Angeles Riots.  Violence in the City—an End or a Beginning? (Los Angeles: Governor’s Commission on the Los Angeles Riots, 1965).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Colley, Nathaniel Sextus (1918-1992)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
(Image Courtesy of  the Bancroft Library,
University of California, Berkeley)
Nathaniel Sextus Colley, the first African American attorney in Sacramento, California, was born on November 21, 1918 in Carlowsville, Alabama. The youngest of six brothers, Colley grew up in Snow Hill, Alabama, and graduated from Tuskegee Institute in 1941. During World War II he served in the United States Army, attaining the rank of captain. Colley enrolled at Yale Law School in 1946, where, upon his graduation with honors in 1948, he received the Benjamin Sharp Prize for the best original essay written by a third-year law student.
Sources: 
“Testimonial Dinner in Honor of Nathaniel S. Colley,” Sacramento, January 13, 1968, box 29, folder 2, Loren Miller Papers, Huntington Library, San Marino, California; Bruce Lambert, “Nathaniel S. Colley, 74, Lawyer Who was a Leader in N.A.A.C.P.,” New York Times, May 25, 1992; “Nathaniel Colley Sr.; Lawyer, NAACP Activist,” Los Angeles Times, May 25, 1992; Center for Sacramento History, Guide to the Nathaniel S. and Jerlean J. Papers, c. 1941-1992 (Sacramento: Center for Sacramento History); Mark Brilliant, The Color of America Has Changed: How Racial Diversity Shaped Civil Rights Reform in California, 1941-1978 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
California State University, Los Angeles

Sims, Lydia Teresa (1920–2012)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
James and Lydia Sims
"Image Courtesy of Ron Sims"
Lydia Teresa Sims, civic and civil rights leader in Spokane, Washington, was born November 18, 1920, in Penn’s Grove, New Jersey, to Clifton and Helen Elvira Williams. Lydia’s family, including her five sisters, lived most of their childhood in Summit, New Jersey. Lydia graduated from Summit High School in 1938. On August 2, 1941, she married James McCormick Sims and relocated to Newark, New Jersey.  Soon thereafter, James joined the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II.

During the war, Lydia moved to Spokane because her husband was stationed at Geiger Airfield.  When her husband left the Air Force in 1947, the Sims family decided to remain in Spokane where they raised their sons, James McCormick, and twins Ron and Donald. James Sims became an ordained minister serving as assistant pastor at Cavalry Baptist Church for ten years and pastor of New Hope Baptist Church for more than twenty-five years.

Lydia Sims’s political activism began in the 1960s while a member of the Spokane National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a student at Eastern Washington University when she participated in a successful movement to desegregate public schools in Cheney, Washington. She graduated from Eastern Washington University in 1977.
?

Sources: 
Lydia Sims Interview by the Author, Edmonds, Washington, July 2, 2000; Dwayne A. Mack, Black Spokane: The Civil Rights Struggle in the Inland Northwest (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Berea College

Keita, Salif (1949- )

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Image Ownership: Public domain

Salif Keita is a Malian musician and singer, born in Djoliba, Mali on August 25, 1949. He claims descent from the founder of the Mandingue Empire, Sundiata Keita. His albinism (absence of melanin in his skin) influenced his youth as he was partially rejected by other children.  Moreover, he was not able to become a teacher because of the poor eyesight caused by his depigmentation. His desire to become a musician led his father to reject him since a member of a noble family wasn’t supposed to live as an artist.

In 1968, Keita left for Bamako, the capital of Mali and there began his first band, the Rail Band de Bamako, which became the orchestra of the train station’s hotel. In 1973, he founded a new band, Les Ambassadeurs, but in 1978, he left Bamako for Abidjan, the capital of Cote d’ Ivoire, and recorded his first album there, Mandjou, in which he praises the Mandingue culture as well as the Guinean president of the time, Sekou Touré, who decorated him few months before. This album was a major success in Western Africa and led to Keita’s first significant international recognition.

Sources: 
George Varga, “Salif Keita, Legendary “Golden Voice of Africa”, set for a rare San Diego concert”, The San Diego Union Tribune, March 5, 2017, http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/entertainment/music/sd-et-music-artscal-keita-20170301-story.html; “Salif Keita, Biographie”, RFI Musique, January 2010, http://musique.rfi.fr/artiste/musiques-monde/salif-keita; The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Salif Keita, Malian Singer-Songwriter”, Encyclopaedia Britannica, September 16, 2014, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Salif-Keita-Malian-singer-songwriter.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Sciences Po, Paris

Touré, Ahmed Sékou (1922-1984)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Ahmad Sekou Toure in Bamako
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Ahmed Sékou Touré, first president of Guinea, trade unionist, Pan-Africanist and authoritarian leader, was born on January 9, 1922 at Faranah, Guinea, a town on the banks of the Niger River. His parents, Alpha Touré and Aminata Fadiga, were peasant farmers of the Malinké ethnic group. Sékou Touré was first educated at the local Koranic school and pursued further studies at the regional school of Kissidougou, south Guinea. In 1938, he was expelled from school in Conakry, Guinea’s capital, for leading a hunger strike. He continued educating himself through correspondence courses while taking on various jobs.

Sources: 

Hakim Adi and Marika Sherwood, Pan-African history: political figures from Africa and the Diaspora since 1787 (New York: Routledge, 2003); Ibrahima Baba Kaké, Sékou Touré: le héros et le tyran (Paris: Jeune Afrique livres, 1987).

Affiliation: 
University of Nantes, France

Drake, John Gibbs St. Clair (1911-1990)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain

John Gibbs St. Clair Drake was an American anthropologist and sociologist and the founding Director of Stanford University’s African and African American Studies Department in 1968.  Drake was born in Suffolk, Virginia on January 2, 1911.  Drake’s father immigrated to the United States from the Barbados in 1904, and studied at the Virginia Theological Seminary and College in Lynchburg, and upon graduation became a Baptist Preacher. Drake’s mother, Bessie, was a devout churchwoman born in Virginia. When his parents divorced Drake moved to live with his father in Staunton, Virginia.  A few years later Drake accompanied his father to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1916 when the Rev. Drake continued ministering to his African American congregants who migrated north.  Drake later returned to Staunton, Virginia to live with his mother, who had separated and later divorced his father in 1924.

Sources: 
George Clement Bond, "A Social Portrait of John Gibbs St. Clair Drake: An American Anthropologist," American Ethnologist (November 1988); Fourteenth Census of the United States, Schedule No. 1.; Kwame Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African & African American Experience (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).
Affiliation: 
Los Angeles City College

Young, Willis Lester ("Pres") (1909-1959)

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People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Lester (Willis) Young, known as "Pres," was born in Woodville, Mississippi and died in New York City. Named Willis Lester at birth, he dropped "Willis" at an early age. Young developed a light tone and swinging style as a member of "territory bands," such as the Oklahoma City Blue Devils, whose members gave him the nickname "Pres" short for President of the Tenor Saxophone -- around 1932. By 1936 he played in Count Basie's Kansas City band and became one of the leading tenor saxophonists of the swing era. Basie's orchestra moved to New York City and Young performed and recorded not only with Basie, but also with most of the leading jazz musicians for three decades. Known mainly for his velocity and swinging style with Basie, in 1937 he recorded several ballads with singer Billie Holiday and pianist Teddy Wilson.
Sources: 
Douglas Henry Daniels, Lester Leaps In: The Life and Times of Lester "Pres" Young (Boston: Beacon Press, 2002); Lewis Porter, Lester Young (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1985)
Affiliation: 
University of California, Santa Barbara

Project 100,000 (1966-1971)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Project 100,000 was a program devised by the U.S. Department of Defense in 1966 to ease recruitment standards for the United States Army.  While the project was ostensibly promoted to allow inner city youth and poor young men from rural areas to join the military services as part of their climb out of poverty, it was eventually criticized for making them a significant segment of the combat personnel fighting in Vietnam.   

Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara, faced with the escalating demands for American soldiers in Vietnam, noted that the U.S. Marine Corps’ program of “repetition of training and special remedial efforts” turned low-aptitude inductees into effective marines.  On August 23, 1966, he announced at the Veterans of Foreign Wars annual convention that a similar plan would be enacted for the U.S. Army. He called it Project 100,000 stating that due to “appalling and tragic poverty in the United States,” over 100,000 young men per year did not qualify under Department of Defense fitness standards for active duty.  He then argued that with the military’s advanced education and medical techniques, those men could have successful military careers and later be productive members of society.

Sources: 
Edward J. Drea, McNamara, Clifford, and the Burdens of Vietnam, 1965-1969 (Washington, D.C.: Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 2011); "ERIC - Effects of Military Experience on the Post-Service Lives of Low-Aptitude Recruits: Project 100,000 and the ASVAB Misnorming. Final Report 89-29., 1989-Dec." ERIC - Effects of Military Experience on the Post-Service Lives of Low-Aptitude Recruits: Project 100,000 and the ASVAB Misnorming. Final Report 89-29., 1989-Dec., http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED366751.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Run-D.M.C.

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Pioneer rap group Run-D.M.C. was formed in the Hollis section of Queens, New York in the early 1980s.  Rappers Run (born Joseph Simmons on November 14, 1964), D.M.C. (born Darryl McDaniels on May 31, 1964), and DJ Jam Master Jay (born Jason Mizell on October 30, 1965), created the first rap group to achieve both critical and mass success in the emerging genre of rap music.
Sources: 

Stacy Gueraseva, Def Jam, Inc. (New York: One World, 2005); Ronin Ro, Raising Hel. (New York: Amistad, 2005).  

Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Smith, Moranda (1915–1950)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Moranda Smith was a union organizer and rank-and-file leader of tobacco workers in North Carolina, who throughout the 1940s initiated a challenge to the racial discrimination, disfranchisement, and economic exploitation of workers in the South. The first African-American woman to sit on an international union’s executive board, Smith’s life marks the development of an integrated, civil rights–focused tradition of unionism in America.

Born in Dunbar, South Carolina to a sharecropping family, Smith moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, when she was five years old.  After graduating from high school in 1933, Smith began working at R.J. Reynolds, the manufacturer of Camel cigarettes and one of the largest tobacco corporations in the world. The Winston-Salem factory, with a workforce that was 40% black and majority female, represented the largest concentration of industrial workers in the region.  Paid little more than minimum wage, subject to arbitrary discipline, and, like every factory in the South, segregation with the plant, workers formed the Tobacco Workers Organizing Committee (TWOC) in 1942 to challenge these conditions.  They were assisted by Communist Party (CP) which had long sought to build multiracial unions in the South.
Sources: 
Robert Rodgers Korstad, Civil Rights Unionism: Tobacco Workers and the Struggle for Democracy in the Mid-Twentieth-Century South (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2003).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Patterson, William L. (1891-1980)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of Steve Trussel
William L. Patterson, born in San Francisco on August 27th, 1891, was a Marxist lawyer, author, and civil rights activist. His mother had been born a slave on a Virginia plantation in 1850 and lived there until she was ten. Before the outbreak of the Civil War, Patterson’s mother was liberated and sent west to California, where she met James Edward Patterson, William’s father. Although his family was forced to move from home to home and often struggled with poverty, William L. Patterson managed to graduate from Tamalpais High School at the age of 20 in 1911. Patterson then attended the University of California on and off until he was forced to leave because of irregular attendance.

In 1915, Patterson enrolled at the Hastings College of Law of the University of California in San Francisco. While attending law school, Patterson began to read The Crisis, the official magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and became interested in various Marxist and Socialist publications such as The Masses, and The Messenger. After graduating from Hastings with a law degree in 1919, Patterson joined the NAACP.
Sources: 
William L. Patterson, The Man Who Cried Genocide (New York: International Publishers, 1991); Spartacus Educational, William L. Patterson Bio. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USApattersonW.htm.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Hill, Thomas Arnold (1888-1947)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

Thomas Arnold Hill, early leader of the National Urban League, was born in 1888 in Richmond, Virginia to Reuben and Irene Robinson Hill.  He studied at Richmond Business School and received his Bachelor of Art degree at Virginia Union University in 1911.  Hill then studied sociology and economics at New York University.

In 1914, Hill was hired by the New York City branch of the National Urban League (1912) where he worked as personal secretary of Eugene Kinkle Jones. He soon joined forces with Jones and fellow League workers to create additional leagues in neighboring cities.

With the onset of the Great Migration during World War I, Hill recognized the need for a local affiliate in Chicago, a common destination for many of the migrants.  In 1917, he opened the Chicago Urban League and served as its first executive secretary.  During the bloody Chicago Race Riot (1919), Hill transformed the Chicago office into an emergency center to help mollify anger, improve race relations, provide assistance to those adversely affected, and disseminate information.

Sources: 

Nancy Weiss, The National Urban League, 1910-1940 (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1974), p. 176-201; “T. Arnold Hill,” The Journal of
Negro History, Vol. 32, No. 4
(Oct. 1947), pp. 528-529; Rayford Logan
and Michael R. Winston, eds., Dictionary of American Negro Biography
(New York: W.W. Norton, 1982); Arvah E. Strickland, History of the
Chicago Urban League
(Urbana and London: The University of Illinois
Press, 1966), p. 26-28.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Dickerson, Earl Burrus (1891-1986)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Earl Dickerson in His Law Office, 1921
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Earl Burrus Dickerson was a member of President Roosevelt’s Fair Employment Practices Commission between 1941 and 1943 and a prominent civil rights attorney in Chicago.  He was also one of the founders of the Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. 

Dickerson was born in Canton, Mississippi in 1891.  He attended the University of Illinois and served during World War I as an infantry lieutenant with the American Expeditionary Forces. In 1920 he became the first African American to receive a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.  The following year Dickerson helped found Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company and became its general counsel.  By the early 1940s Supreme Life, as it was then known, was the largest African American owned business in the North.  Part of its success stemmed from the still segregated American society.  White insurance companies generally refused to insure African Americans or employ them.  Supreme Life filled that void.  The company was particularly helpful to African Americans in the Great Depression when it provided mortgage loans to struggling families.  Dickerson became the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Supreme Life in 1955 and remained in that position until 1971 when he became chairman of the Board of Directors. 

Sources: 
Robert J. Blakely and Marcus Shepard, Earl B. Dickerson: A Voice for Freedom and Equality (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2006); 1,000 Successful Blacks, The Ebony Success Library, v.1 (Chicago, Johnson Pub. Co., 1973); Ebony (Chicago: Johnson Pub. Co., 1946 & 1947); Jet (Chicago: Johnson Pub. Co., 1979).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Robert R. Taylor Homes, Chicago, Illinois (1959-2005)

Vignette Type: 
Places
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
D. Bradford Hunt, Blueprints for Disaster (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2009); Adam Cohen & Elizabeth Taylor, American Pharaoh: Mayor Richard J. Daley: his Battle for Chicago and the Nation (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 2000); Arnold R. Hirsch, Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 1940-1960 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983); Sudhir Venkatesh, Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets (Penguin Books: London, 2008). 
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Gibson, Truman (1912-2005)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Truman Gibson Testifying Before a U.S. Senate Committee,
1948
Image ©Bettmann/Corbis 
Truman Gibson was an African American businessman, attorney, government advisor, and boxing promoter. Gibson, the son of an insurance executive, was born on January 22, 1912 in Atlanta, Georgia. A few years after he was born, Gibson’s family moved to Columbus, Ohio. Gibson graduated high school in Columbus in 1928 and the University of Chicago four years later.  He then decided to attend law school at University of Chicago, graduating from there in 1935.

Gibson remained in Chicago and began a law practice.  By 1936 he represented the boxer Joe Louis in negotiations with other fighters and fight promoters and because of Louis's success, soon became wealthy and prominent.  In 1940, Gibson became an assistant to William Hastie, who was then an advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt. Gibson assisted Hastie in investigating issues of discrimination against black soldiers and sailors during the early part of World War II.   
Sources: 
Steve Huntley, Knocking Down Barriers: My Fight for Black America (Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 2005);
http://www.thehistorymakers.com/biography/biography.asp?bioindex=288&category=Lawmakers
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/02/national/02gibson.html
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Miles, William (1931-2013)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
William Miles was a self-taught documentary filmmaker who has produced several documentaries on the history of black Americans.  Miles was born in Harlem, New York on August 19, 1931.  He grew up in Harlem on 126th Street near the Apollo Theater.  His mother ran a boarding house there that often provided accommodation for out-of-town entertainers performing at the Apollo.  Miles first learned about film from the Apollo’s projectionist.

In 1948 at the age of 17 Miles joined the 369th U.S. Infantry Regiment, ultimately reaching the status of Sergeant.  His film career began at Killiam Shows, a company that worked with archival films. There he began in the shipping department and moved up to editor.  

William Miles produced his first film, Men of Bronze, in 1977.  It chronicled the achievements of the 369th   Infantry Regiment during World War I.  The film was the culmination of 12 years of research beginning in the 1960s.  Miles interviewed several surviving members of the historic all-black regiment popularly known as the “Harlem Hellfighters,” including one of its white officers, Hamilton Fish III, who later became a prominent Republican Congressman from New York. Although originally relegated to non-combat duties by the United States military, this regiment eventually fought with the French Army at the battles of Champagne-Marne and Meuse-Argonne alongside Moroccan, Senegalese, and French soldiers.
.  
Sources: 
Candace Ming, “Bill Miles: Independent Producers and the State of the Archive,”  (Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program, Spring 2011),  URL:<www.nyu.edu/tisch/preservation/program/.../11s_thesis_Ming.doc>;  
“William Miles Collection,”  Washington University in St. Louis,  Washington University Libraries, Department of Special Collections, URL:<http://library.wustl.edu/units/spec/filmandmedia/collections/william-miles-collection/index.html>;  
“Tribute to documentary filmmaker Bill Miles,” New York Amsterdam News, 103.39 (September 27, 2012); “272 to Share $5.9 Million in Guggenheim Awards,” New York Times (April 13, 1986).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Todman, Terence A. (1926-2014)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Named Career Ambassador, a title equivalent to a four-star general, U.S. ambassador to six different countries, Terence A. Todman was an outstanding diplomat in the service of the United States. He challenged the racial prejudice he encountered at the State Department, paving the way for hiring of more people of color there and he was a pioneer in integrating human rights issues into foreign policy.

Clarence Alphonso Todman was born on March 13, 1926, in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands to parents Alphonso and Rachael Todman, grocery clerk/stevedore, and laundress/maid. He attended the local university for one year and then was drafted into the US Army.  He served four years in the Army and when stationed in post-World War II Japan, he helped organize that defeated nation’s first post-war elections.
Sources: 
Emily Langer, “Terence A. Todman, U.S. ambassador to six nations, dies at 88,” The Washington Post (August 16, 2014); “Being Black in a ‘Lily White’ State Department,” Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training http://adst.org/oral-history/fascinating-figures/being-black-in-a-lily-white-state-department/; Arnold Highfield, “Virgin Islander Terence Todman, ambassador extraordinaire,” Virgin Island Daily News, March 11, 2011; Douglas Martin, “Terence Todman, Envoy to 6 Nations, Is Dead at 88,” The New York Times, August 20, 2014.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Thompson, John Robert, Jr. (1941- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Born in Washington, D.C. on September 2, 1941, legendary basketball coach-emeritus John Thompson, Jr., arose from segregated public-housing and asphalt playground-courts to the polished hardwoods of collegiate and professional basketball, becoming the first African American head coach -- in any major college sport-- to win a national title. Best known for leading the 1984 Georgetown University “Hoyas” to the coveted National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, as well as the iconic white towel draped over one shoulder, Thompson guided the Hoyas for 27 seasons to a distinctive record of 596-239 (.714), just four games shy of college basketball’s elite list of coaches with 600 or more career wins. Between 1972 and 1999, the Hoyas won seven “Big East” conference championships and reached postseason play 24 times, earning 20 NCAA and four National Invitational Tournament (NIT) bracket-berths. Named "Coach of the Year" seven times, between 1980 and 1987, Thompson retired in January 1999. Barely ten months later, at the age of 58, he was inducted into the “Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.” His student-athletes’ 97%-graduation rate (76 of 78 received degrees) was highlighted among his most impressive achievements.
Sources: 
Leonard Shapiro, Big Man on Campus: John Thompson and the Georgetown Hoyas (New York: Henry Holt & Company, 1991); Bruce Lowitt and Ira Rosenfeld, "A Firm Hand at the Helm," Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, Vol. 101, No. 64 (March 1985); Carolyn Maguire, “IAC (Intercollegiate Athletics Center) Named for Thompson Jr.,” The Georgetown University Hoya (March 2014).  
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian