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Mississippi

Allensworth, Allen (1842-1914)

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People
History Type: 
African American History in the West

 

Sources: 
Source: Charles B. Alexander, Battles and Victories of Allen Allensworth, A. M., Ph. D., Lieutenant-Colonel, Retired, U. S. Army (Boston: Sherman, French and Company, 1914).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Davis Bend, Mississippi (1865-1887)

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Places
History Type: 
African American History

Davis Bend, Mississippi was an all-black town near Vicksburg, sometimes referred to as Davis Bend colony. It was a 4,000-acre cooperative community made up of former enslaved African Americans seeking equality, justice, and race pride in a society they called their own. In 1865, this community was one of the first black towns to develop after the Civil War. The architect of Davis Bend was African American Benjamin Montgomery. Prior to 1865, when Davis Bend was simply referred to as the “Joseph Davis plantation,” an enslaved Montgomery functioned as its overseer and owned the plantation store. After the war, Davis sold the land that his plantations rested on to Montgomery for $300,000 in gold at a 6 percent interest rate.

The largest plantation at Davis Bend was Hurricane. In 1872, Benjamin Montgomery’s son, Isaiah, ran Hurricane as its property manager, informal counsel, and diplomat to white neighbors, agents, and suppliers from Vicksburg, Cincinnati (Ohio), New Orleans (Louisiana), and St. Louis (Missouri).

Sources: 
Leon Litwack and August Meier (eds.), Black Leaders of the Nineteenth Century (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1991); and David H. Jackson, A Chief Lieutenant of the Tuskegee Machine: Charles Banks of Mississippi (Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 2002).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Syracuse University

Montgomery, Isaiah T. (1847-1924)

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People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership, Public Domain
Isaiah Thornton Montgomery was an African American leader best known for founding the all-black town of Mound Bayou, Mississippi and for his public endorsement of black disenfranchisement.  Montgomery was born enslaved on May 21, 1847 to Benjamin Thornton and Mary Lewis Montgomery on the Hurricane Plantation at Davis Bend, an area along the Mississippi River near Vicksburg, Mississippi.  Hurricane Plantation was owned by Joseph E.
Sources: 
http://mshistorynow.mdah.state.ms.us/articles/55/isaiah-t-montgomery-1847-1924-part-I; Leon Litwack and August Meier (eds.), Black Leaders of the Nineteenth Century (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1991); David H. Jackson, A Chief Lieutenant of the Tuskegee Machine: Charles Banks of Mississippi (Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 2002).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Syracuse University

Bell, James ["Cool Papa"] (1903-1991)

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People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

James Thomas Bell was born May 17, 1903, in Starkville, Mississippi. Playing baseball as a 19 year-old rookie Bell earned the nickname “Cool Papa” after proving to his older teammates that he was not intimidated by playing professionally in front of large crowds. Signing with the St. Louis Stars in 1922, Bell entered professional baseball as a pitcher, reportedly throwing a wicked curveball and fade-away knuckleball.

The speed of Bell would become apparent when he beat the Chicago American Giants Jimmy Lyons in a race for the title of “fastest man in the league.” He immediately switched to center field, where he would play shallow and always manage to run down long hits. Bell stayed with the Stars until 1930 when the league disbanded, and led them to league titles in 1928 and 1930.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Mound Bayou (1887- )

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Places
History Type: 
African American History
Mound Bayou Residents in Front of Store, Late 1930s
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Mound Bayou was an all black town in the Yazoo Delta in Northwest Mississippi. It was founded during the spring of 1887 by twelve pioneers from Davis Bend, a fledgling black colony impacted by falling agricultural prices, natural disasters, and hostile race relations. This migration movement was led by Isaiah Montgomery, former patriarch of Davis Bend. Purchased from the Louisville, New Orleans, and Texas Railroad (L, NO & T), Mound Bayou bordered a new rail line between Memphis, Tennessee and Vicksburg. From 1890 to 1915, Mound Bayou was a land of promise for African Americans. Encapsulated in this “promise” were self-help, race pride, economic opportunity, and social justice, in a self-segregated community designed for blacks to have minimum contact with whites until integration was a viable option to black freedom.

Sources: 
Leon Litwack and August Meier (eds.), Black Leaders of the Nineteenth Century (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1991); and David H. Jackson, A Chief Lieutenant of the Tuskegee Machine: Charles Banks of Mississippi (Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 2002).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Syracuse University

Rose, Edward (c. 1780- c. 1833)

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People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"

Edward Rose, also known by the names Five Scalps, Nez Coupe and “Cut Nose,” was the son of a white trader father and a Cherokee and African American mother.  Little else is known about his early life including where he was born. He may have spent some years working on the Mississippi River between southern Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana

Sources: 
Bruce E. Johansen and Donald A. Grinde, Jr., The Encyclopedia of Native American Biography (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1997); Daniel F. Littlefield,   Cherokee Freedmen  (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1978); Carl Waldman and Alan Wexler, "Rose, Edward," Encyclopedia of Exploration, Vol 1 (New York: Facts on File, Inc, 2004; LeRoy R. Hafen, ed., The Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West, Vol. IX (Glendale, California: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1966).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
State University of New York at Buffalo

Moore, Archie (1913-1998)

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People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Courtesy of Tracy Callis

One of the great light heavyweights of all time, Archie Moore, a.k.a., the “Old Mongoose,” was born under the name of Archibald Wright on December 13, 1913 in Benoit, Mississippi. Archie turned professional in 1936, originally operating in the middleweight ranks, but ultimately moving up into the light heavyweight class by 1945. He fought a total of 222 recorded bouts over more than 27 years in the ring. He campaigned against most of the toughest men in the business during his long career, posting 187 wins, including 132 knockouts, against only 23 losses and 11 draws.

Moore campaigned for 16 years before gaining an opportunity to fight for a world championship. On December 15, 1952 he became the Light Heavyweight Champion of the World at age 39, defeating Joe Maxim by a decision in fifteen rounds, thereby becoming the oldest light heavyweight champion in history. He defeated Maxim twice in rematches and was nearly unbeatable as a light heavyweight, successfully defending the title nine times, and holding it for almost a decade before finally being stripped of it in February of 1962 for failing to defend the title within the required period of time.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Bontemps, Arna (1902-1973)

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People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Hoping for a much better life outside the racially oppressive South and Alexandria, Louisiana where Arnaud Wendell Bontemps was born, the middle class Bontemps family moved to the Watts community just south of Los Angeles.  They soon abandoned Catholicism and became devout Seventh Day Adventists.  Bontemps’ mother was a schoolteacher and his father, a bricklayer, was determined to have the family assimilate into the dominant white culture.  In 1923, Bontemps graduated from Pacific Union College, an Adventist school in California, and found work in the US Post Office.  He next used his church connections to secure a teaching job at the Harlem Academy in New York City in 1924.
Sources: 
Kirkland C. Jones, Renaissance Man from Louisiana: A Biography of Arna Wendell Bontemps (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992); Robert E. Fleming,“ Arna Wendell Bontemps (1902-1973): http://www.blacksdahistory.org/arna-bontemps.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
San Diego State University

Holland, Endesha Ida Mae (1944-2006)

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People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Dr. Endesha Ida Mae Holland was born into abject poverty in Greenwood, Mississippi. She experienced extreme racism, lack of options, and little support to change her life. As a teenager she quit school, turned to prostitution and theft as a way to make it in the world she knew – a world that included being raped by a neighbor, multiple “fathers” and broken dreams.

Her first time in jail was as a teenager having dropped out of school and turned towards a life of prostitution and theft. She was sentenced to thirty days in the county jail – but this wouldn’t be the last time. She went to prison on assault and battery charges after having married, given birth, and found her husband cheating. When she was released from prison, her options were narrow and she returned to “streetwalking” – the life she knew.

This time, the man she pursued was active in SNCC. Holland pursued him all the way back to SNCC offices where she was introduced to the Civil Rights Movement. Ms. Holland would go to jail many times in her future, not for streetwalking but for protesting with the Movement. One these trips included the state penitentiary with other Civil Rights activists. After thirty-three days, she was released and shortly thereafter met Dr. Jackson and Dr. King.

Contributor2: 
Affiliation: 
Seattle University, Antioch McGregor University

Flake, Green (1828-1903)

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People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Born enslaved on January 6, 1828 on the Jordan Flake Plantation in Anson County, North Carolina, Green Flake at the age of ten was given as a wedding gift to James Madison Flake, Jordan’s son who married Agnes Love in 1838 in Anson County, North Carolina.  The couple moved shortly thereafter to Mississippi with their three-year-old son as well as Green and their other slaves.  In 1844 the Flake family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) after begin converted by missionary Benjamin Clapp.  The baptism included Green and the other slaves on April 5, 1844 by Elder Clapp.

Shortly afterwards the James Flake family made the decision to leave Mississippi to participate in the largest religious migration in American history, the gathering of LDS members from across the United States to what is now Utah.  They migrated first to Nauvoo, Illinois, where the church accepted Green’s labor as part of the Flake family tithing.  
Sources: 
John Zimmerman Brown, Journal of Pioneer John Brown (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1941); Margaret Blair Young and Darius Aidan Gray, Standing on the Promises (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2000-2003); HistorytoGo.com, http://historytogo.utah.gov/utah_chapters/pioneers_and_cowboys/thosepioneeringafricanamericans.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Brigham Young University

Gong Lum v. Rice (1927)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History

In this constitutional case, the U.S. Supreme Court, composed entirely of Bok Guey (whites), adjudged Hon Yen (Chinese) to be in the same social classification as Lo Mok (blacks).  The Supreme Court’s decision permitted the state of Mississippi to define Martha Lum as a member of the “colored races” so that “white schools” could remain segregated.  The origins of “Lotuses among the Magnolias” involved southern planters’ fears that emancipation had spoiled their newly freed slaves.  The question posed by planters was whether the freed people would work without the sting of the lash. Planters answered by recruiting Chinese labor and by 1900 the majority of coolie labor came from the “Sze Yap” or Four Counties district southwest of Canton in South China. 

Sources: 
Malik Simba, “Gong Lum v. Rice: The Convergence of Law, Race, and Ethnicity,” in American Mosaic: Selected Readings on America’s Multicultural Heritage, eds. Young I. Song and Eugene C. Kim; James Loewen, Lotus among the Magnolias: The Mississippi Chinese, Jackson, MI; Mississippi University Press, 1960.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
California State University, Fresno

Barnett, Ida Wells (1862-1931)

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People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Sources: 
Linda O. McMurry, To Keep the Waters Troubled: the Life of Ida B. Wells, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998); John Hope Franklin and August Meier, Black Leaders of the Twentieth Century (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

McAllister, Jane Ellen (1899-1996)

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People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Dr. Jane McAllister was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on October 24, 1899. Born into a time of overt racism that severely limited black opportunity, McAllister’s family managed to escape poverty’s grip and join the small percentage of middle-class African American families in early 20th century Mississippi. Her father’s work as a mail carrier, and her mother’s position as a school teacher, enabled the McAllister family to avoid the cyclic economic problems of the occupations that most African Americans were forced to pursue like sharecropping and domestic service.

Dr. McAllister flourished in school, graduating from high school at age 15 and from Talladega College in Alabama in 1919 where she became the youngest Talladega graduate by earning her degree at the age of 19. This groundbreaking pattern continued into 1929 when Jane Ellen McAllister became the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. from Columbia University. From there, Dr. McAllister chose to share her wealth of knowledge with others, teaching psychology and education at Southern University, Grambling State, Fisk College, Virginia State and Dillard among others until her retirement in 1970. Dr. McAllister died in January 1996, at the age of 96.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Seattle University

Washington, Jr., James (1909-2000)

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People
History Type: 
African American History in the West

 

"Image Ownership: Public Domain"

The painter and sculptor James Washington, Jr. was a leading member of the Northwest School, a group of artists, writers, and sculptors who became internationally prominent in the mid-20th Century. Washington was born and raised in Gloster, Mississippi, one of six children of Baptist minister James Washington and his wife, Lizzie.  While Washington was a child, his father fled Mississippi due to threats of violence and the two never met again. 

Washington's mother encouraged his talents. He began to draw around the age of 12, becoming an expert pavement chalk-artist, making random marks by other children into figures and faces. In 1938 at the age of 29 he became involved with the Federal Works Progress Administration when he was employed as an assistant art instructor at the Baptist Academy in Vicksburg, Mississippi.  Excluded from shows in Mississippi that featured white artists, he organized the first WPA-sponsored exhibition for black artists in the state. 

Sources: 
HistoryLink.org Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, "Washington, James Jr.: Art as Holy Land" (by Deloris Tarzan Ament), http://www.historylink.org/essays/output.cfm?file_id=5328; Paul Karlstrom, The Spirit in the Stone: The Visionary Art of James W. Washington, Jr. (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1989).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
HistoryLink.org

Gayton, John T. (1866-1954)

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People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Ownership: Public Domain
John T. Gayton, one of Seattle, Washington’s earliest black residents, a community leader, and patriarch of one of the city’s most outstanding black families, came to Seattle in 1889.  He was born in Benton, Mississippi to former slaves.  With little formal education, he moved to Yazoo City, Mississippi, and made the fortuitous decision to work for a physician, Dr. Henry Yandell, as servant and coachman.  It brought him to Seattle when Dr. Yandell joined the movement to the new state of Washington. 

Soon after his arrival in Seattle he tried his hand as painter, painting contractor, barber, and bellboy.  He worked as a waiter at the Arctic Club and later at the Rainier Club, where he was promoted to headwaiter.  In 1901 he became the first black steward at the Rainier Club, overseeing the servants and the preparation of food.   Before long, he was called upon to cater large parties and banquets.  He also catered everyday for a downtown restaurant.
Sources: 
Historylink.org Online Encyclopedia of Washington State “John T. Gayton” (by Mary T. Henry) http://www.historylink.org/ accessed January 25, 1999-updated September 2005.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

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

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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

Still, William Grant (1895-1978)

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People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Considered by many as the dean of African American composers, William Grant Still, the son of educators, was born in Woodville, Mississippi on May 11, 1895.  His father, a musician who once taught music at Alabama A&M College, died when he was an infant; his mother, a schoolteacher, moved to Little Rock, Arkansas.  Those nearest to him encouraged his early fascination with music and musical instruments, particularly the violin.  At age 17 his stepfather, a railway office worker, introduced him to opera via a record and phonograph, which for him was a transformative experience.  At M.W.
Sources: 
Catherine P. Smith, William Grant Still: A Study in Contradictions (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000); Verna Avery, In One Lifetime (Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas Press, 1984); “William Grant Still (1895-1978),” on AfriClassical.com website at: http://chevalierdesaintgeorges.homestead.com/Still.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
San Diego State University

Till, Emmett Louis (1941-1955)

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People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Emmett Till was a fourteen year-old African American boy who was tortured and killed in Money, Mississippi in 1955 after allegedly insulting a white woman.  Born in Chicago, Illinois, Till lived with his mother, Mamie Till. His father, Louis Till, died while serving in the U.S. Army in Italy in 1945. In the summer of 1955, Till went to visit with his 64-year-old great-uncle Mose Wright and family. Before leaving home, Till’s mother instructed him to follow Southern customs and mind his manners, but having grown up in a Northern city like Chicago, Till was unaware of the legacy of lynching and the rigid social caste system in the South. 
Sources: 

“The Murder of Emmett Till,” The American Experience, pbs.org; Ruth Feldstein, “I Wanted the Whole World to See’: Race, Gender, and Constructions of Motherhood in the Death of Emmett Till” in Not June Cleaver: Women and Gender in Postwar America, 1945-1960, Joanne Jay Meyerowitz, ed., (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994); Mamie Till Bradley, “Speech given at Bethel A.M.E. Church, Baltimore, Maryland, Oct. 29, 1955,” in Women and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965, eds., Davis W. Houck and David E. Dixon, (Oxford: University Press of Mississippi, 2009).

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Adams, Victoria Jackson Gray (1926-2006)

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People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Born in Hattiesburg, Virginia on November 5, 1926, Victoria Jackson Gray Adams became one of the most important Mississipians in the Civil Rights Movement.  Her activities included teaching voter registration courses to domestics and sharecroppers, opening of the Freedom Schools during Mississippi’s Freedom Summer of 1964, and serving as a National Board Member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  Ms. Gray began service as the field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1962.  
Sources: 
The Victoria Jackson Gray Adams Papers in the Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archives; http://www.childrensdefense.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=8001.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Antioch McGregor University

York (1770-1832)

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People
History Type: 
African American History in the West

York was an African American slave best known for his participation in the (Meriwether) Lewis and (William) Clark Expedition of 1804-1806. York was born in Caroline County, Virginia in 1770.  York, his father, mother (Rose), and younger sister and brother (Nancy and Juba) were all owned by the Clark family of Caroline County. York at 14 became William Clark’s slave, passed down by a will from Clark’s father.  When the Clark family moved to Kentucky in 1784 York was Clark’s “manservant,” a position he held into adulthood. When Clark and Meriwether Lewis selected men to go on what would be known as the Lewis and Clark Expedition, commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Clark selected York to accompany him.  

Sources: 
Robert Betts, In Search of York: The Slave Who Went West to the Pacific With Lewis and Clark (Niwot, Colorado: Colorado Associated University Press, 1985); “York,” Online Encyclopedia Britannica, http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/4530/York-c-1772.html; “York,” Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), http://www.pbs.org/lewisandclark/living/idx_5.html; Walter Hazen, Hidden History: Profiles of Black Americans (Dayton, Ohio: Milliken Publishing Company, 2004).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Winfrey, Oprah (1954 - )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Repeatedly on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world, Oprah Winfrey is a television host, media mogul – in television, radio, film, and print – and philanthropist.  Forbes magazine included her in its 2003 list of America’s billionaires, the first African American woman to become one.

The “Oprah Winfrey Show” is in its 22nd season, and is syndicated to 214 United States stations, and 139 countries. Launched in April 2000, O, The Oprah Magazine, has a current circulation of 2.3 million monthly readers, and is considered one of the most successful magazine launches in publishing history. In 2004, a companion publication, O at Home, made its debut.  
Sources: 
Susan Altman, The Encyclopedia of African-American Heritage, Facts on File, Inc., p. 277 (New York, 1997); William Andrews, et al., The Concise Oxford Guide to African American Literature, Oxford University Press, pp. 31, 209-12, 389, 444 (New York, 2001); www.oprah.com; www.biography.com; www.achievement.org; www.freshthinkingbusiness.com/oprah-winfrey 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Hamer, Fannie Lou (1917-1977)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress
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

DuSable, Jean-Baptiste-Point (1745-1818)

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People
History Type: 
African American History

Jean-Baptiste-Point DuSable, a frontier trader, trapper and farmer is generally regarded as the first resident of what is now Chicago, Illinois. There is very little definite information on DuSable’s past. It is believed by some historians that he was born free around 1745 in St. Marc, Saint-Dominique (Haiti). His mother was an African slave, his father a French mariner. DuSable traveled with his father to France, where he received some education. It was through this education and the work that he performed for his father on his ships, that he learned languages including French, Spanish, English, and many Indian dialects.

Sources: 
Shirley Graham, Jean Baptiste Point De Sable, Founder of Chicago (Chicago: Julian Messner, 1953); Thomas A Meehan, “Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, the First Chicagoan,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 56:3 (1963); Christopher R. Reed, “In the Shadow of Fort Dearborn: Honoring De Saible at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1933-1934,” Journal of Black Studies 21:4 (June 1991); and Dominic A. Pacyga, Chicago: A Biography, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Seattle University

Evers, Medgar (1925-1963)

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People
History Type: 
African American History
 Medgar Evers, at the time of his assassination in 1963, was the Field Secretary for the Mississippi NAACP and thus one of the leaders of the civil rights movement in that state. Evers was born on July 2, 1925 in Decatur, Mississippi. Evers was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1943 and served in Normandy in the following year. After his discharge from the service, Evers enrolled at Alcorn College.
Sources: 
Medgar Wiley Evers, The Autobiography of Medgar Evers: a Hero’s Life and Legacy Revealed Through His Writings, Letters, and Speeches (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2005); http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/english/ms-writers/dir/evers_medgar/
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Seattle University

Meredith, James (1933 - )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
James Meredith withU.S. Marshals,
University of Mississippi, 1962
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Sources: 

James Meredith, Three Years in Mississippi (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1966); http://www.olemiss.edu/mwp/dir/meredith_james/.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Seattle University

Cayton, Horace Roscoe (1859-1940)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Horace Roscoe Cayton spent nearly all his life combating racism. The child of a Mississippi slave, Cayton came of age during the Reconstruction, and post-Reconstruction eras and had already cultivated strong opinions on human, political, and civil rights by the time he settled in Seattle, Washington in 1890. Using his weekly newspapers The Seattle Republican (1894-1913) and Cayton’s Weekly (1916-1920) as major weapons, he fought ferociously for the rights of African Americans. Because of his fearless reporting, Cayton faced threats on numerous occasions, including an arrest in 1901 ordered by Seattle Chief of Police W.L. Meredith, and a 1918 “visit” by a U.S. Special Prosecutor for supposedly seditious editorials published during World War I.
Sources: 
Ed Diaz, ed., Horace Roscoe Cayton: Selected Writings - Volumes 1-2 (Seattle: Bridgewater-Collins, 2002)
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Association for African American Historical Research and Preservation (AAAHRP)

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

Cooke, Sam (1931–1964)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Sam Cooke has been described as one of the most influential rhythm and blues singers to emerge in the 20th Century.  Cooke could exude soul stirring sensuality that went from the sacred to the profane in the same breath.  

The son of a Baptist minister, Sam Cooke was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi on January 22, 1931 but grew up in Chicago.  He joined a Chicago gospel group called the Highway QC’s and became their lead singer at the age of 15.  He later became the lead singer for the Soul Stirrers.  

Influenced by Ray Charles, Cooke was the pioneer cross-over artist from gospel to rhythm and blues.  Aretha Franklin, Al Green, and others would eventually follow.  With the support of record producer Bumps Blackwell, Cooke left the Soul Stirrers to record rhythm and blues.  He was also the first African American popular singer to manage his own record label (SAR).  Cooke’s label, which he formed while still in his twenties, produced other R&B artists such as Bobby Womack, Billy Preston, and Johnny Taylor.
Sources: 
Peter Shapiro, Rough Guide to Soul and R&B (London: Penguin Press, 2006); Charlotte Greig, Icons of Black Music (San Diego: Thunder Bay Press, 1999); Kwame A. Appiah & Henry Louis Gates, Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African & African American Experience (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 1999); African American Almanac (Detroit: Gale Research Group, 1994).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Forman, James (1928-2005)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Civil rights leader and political activist James Forman was an instrumental leader in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), sending demonstrators to the South for the Freedom Ride protests. Forman, who was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 4th, 1928, lived with his grandmother in Mississippi until the age of six when he returned to live with his mother and stepfather in Chicago. Forman used his stepfather’s surname Rufus until, as a teen, he met his real father Jackson Forman, a cabdriver.
Sources: 
James Forman, Making of Black Revolutionaries (Open Hand Publishing, Inc., 1985); Joe Holley, “Civil Rights Leader James Forman Dies,” The Washington Post (January 11, 2005); http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A1621-2005Jan11.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Walker, A'Lelia (1885–1931)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Sources: 
A’Lelia Bundles, On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker (New York: Scribner, 2001); Nancy Kuhl, Intimate Circles:  American Women in the Arts (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003; http://www.madamcjwalker.com/bios/alelia-walker/
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Shockley, Dolores Cooper (1930- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Dolores Cooper was the first African American woman in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in pharmacology.   She was also the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Purdue University.  Cooper was born in 1930 in Clarksdale, Mississippi to a successful family of professionals.  Her parents responded to her expressed interest in science at a young age by purchasing chemistry sets. Later she was inspired to become a pharmacist because the segregated Clarksdale black community lacked a pharmacy. 

Cooper attended an out-of-town private Presbyterian school in order to take the chemistry classes she needed to earn an advanced degree in science.  After high school she earned a B.S. in pharmacy in 1951 from Xavier University in New Orleans.  Having been accepted into eight graduate schools, Cooper chose to continue her studies at Purdue University.  After earning her Ph.D. in pharmacology in 1955, Cooper received a Fulbright Fellowship to the Pharmacology Institute in Copenhagen which allowed her to hone her research skills.
Sources: 
Diann Jordan, Sisters in Science: Conversations with Black Women Scientists on Race, Gender and Their Passion for Science (West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press, 2006); http://www.student-orgs.purdue.edu/bga/banquet/history/presidential.html
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Howard, Perry Wilbon (1877-1961)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Perry Wilbon Howard was one of the shrewdest and most enduring Southern black politicians of the early 20th Century.  Howard was a dominant figure in Mississippi Republican politics for half of the twentieth century.  For thirty-five years between 1924 until shortly before his death in 1961 at the age of eighty-four, Howard served as Republican national committeeman from Mississippi.  
Sources: 
Sources: McMillen, Neil, “Perry W. Howard, Boss of Black-and-Tan Republicanism in Mississippi, 1924-1960,” The Journal of Southern History 80:2 (May 2004).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Sellers, Cleveland (1944- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of Cleveland L. Sellers, Jr.
Cleveland Sellers was born on November 8, 1944 in Denmark, South Carolina.  Cleveland became interested in the Civil Rights Movement with the murder of Emmett Till in 1955.  In 1960 at 15, he organized his first sit-in protest at a Denmark, South Carolina lunch counter, just two weeks after the infamous Woolworth’s sit-in in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Sellers’s enthusiasm for the movement was tempered by his father’s adamant opposition to his participation.  Sellers entered Howard University in 1963 and concentrated on his studies in compliance with his father’s wishes until his sophomore year.  In 1964 he returned to protest activity and joined Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)  In 1965, Sellers became the program director of SNCC after his successful work with the voter registration in Mississippi.
Sources: 
Cleveland Sellers, The River of No Return (New York: William Morrow & Company, Inc., 1973); http://www.depauw.edu/news/index.asp?id=13829.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Height, Dorothy Irene (1912-2010)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Sources: 
Darlene Clark Hine, Elsa Barkley Brown, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, eds., Black Women in America: an Historical Encyclopedia (Carlson Publishing Company, 1993); http://www.naswfoundation.org/pioneers/h/height.htm; www.ncnw.org/about/height.htm; Dorothy Height Obituary, Seattle Times, April 21, 2010.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History
Miss. Freedom Democratic Party State Convention,
Jackson, Mississippi, July 1964
Image Courtesy of David Walters, Holt Labor Library,
Labor Studies and Radical History
The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) was founded on April 26, 1964 as part of a voter registration project for African Americans in the state.  For over half a century Mississippi blacks had attempted to attend regular Democratic Party meetings and conventions but were continually denied entry.  They formed the MFDP, which welcomed both whites and blacks, to run several candidates for the Senate and Congressional elections on June 2, 1964.  
Sources: 
Clayborne Carson, In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981); http://www.ibiblio.org/sncc/mfdp.html; http://www.watson.org/~lisa/blackhistory/civilrights-55-65/missippi.html; http://www.jofreeman.com/photos/mfdp64.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Espy, Mike (1953- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress
Alphonso Michael Espy in 1986 became the first black Congressman elected from Mississippi since John R. Lynch, who served during Reconstruction.  He was also the first African American to hold the post of Secretary of Agriculture.  Mike Espy was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi. He received a B.A. from Howard University in 1975 and then attended law school at the University of Santa Clara where he received his J.D. degree in 1978. Espy returned to Mississippi after law school and worked as an attorney for Central Mississippi Legal Services from 1978 to 1980.  Between 1980 and 1984 Espy served as assistant secretary of the Public Lands Division for the State of Mississippi and then took the post of assistant State Attorney General for Consumer Protection, a position he held until 1985.
Sources: 
Charles Christian, Black Saga: The African American Experience (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1995); bioguide.congress.gov; www.answers.com
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Blackwell, Unita (1933- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of Washington University Libraries,
Film and Media Archive
Unita Blackwell, a civil rights activist and the first black female mayor in the state of Mississippi, was born the daughter of sharecropping parents in Coahoma County, Mississippi on March 18, 1933. She worked throughout the civil rights era urging and recruiting blacks to register to vote, while holding positions in numerous organizations to fight for black civil rights in the United States.

Blackwell began her education by attending a school in West Helena, Arkansas, because of the lack of educational opportunities for African Americans in Mississippi.  She received an eighth grade education and then joined her parents as sharecroppers. In the early 1960s, with determination and willfulness, she chopped cotton for $3 per day while she patiently began her work in civil rights.

By 1964, Blackwell was teaching Sunday School at a church. When the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) visited her hometown of Mayersville, Mississippi, Blackwell signed up to be a field worker.  Her assignment was to persuade her neighbors to register and vote.  
Sources: 
Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Africana: Civil Rights: an A-Z Reference of the Movement that Changed America (New York: Running Press, 2005).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Brown, Hallie Quinn (1850-1949)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Sources: 
Hazel V. Carby, Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987); Darlene Clark Hine, Black Women in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Juneteenth: The Birth of an African American Holiday

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History in the West
General Order No. 3, Texas Emancipation
Proclamation, June 19, 1865
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Sources: 
Quintard Taylor, "The Juneteenth Celebration, 1865-1992," Eugene Register-Guard, June 8, 1992, pp. 1D, 4D.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Ferebee, Dorothy Celeste Boulding (1898–1980)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Physician, educator, and social activist Dorothy Celeste Boulding Ferebee led efforts to improve the health care of African Americans.  As a member of several civic organizations, she fought to lower the mortality rate among African Americans in southern rural communities.  She also used these organizations as a vehicle to promote civil rights.

Dorothy Celeste Boulding Ferebee was born in Norfolk, Virginia, to Benjamin and Florence Boulding on October 10, 1898. When her mother became ill, Dorothy’s parents sent her to live with her great aunt in Boston, Massachusetts.  Between 1904 and 1908, Boulding attended school in Boston and in 1915 graduated at the top of her class from English High School.  Five years later she graduated from Simmons College in Boston and then immediately entered Tufts University School of Medicine, graduating with top honors in 1924.  
Sources: 

Ruth Edmonds Hill, ed., The Black Women Oral History Project (Westport, Connecticut: Meckler, 1991); Rayford W. Logan, Howard University: The First Hundred Years, 1867-1967 (New York: New York University Press, 1967); http://www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/physicians/biography_109.html

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Berea College

Mason, Bridget “Biddy” (1818–1891)

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

Bridget “Biddy” Mason, born a slave in Mississippi in 1818, achieved financial success that enabled her to support her extended family for generations despite the fact that she was illiterate. In a landmark case she sued her master for their freedom, saved her earnings, invested in real estate, and became a well-known philanthropist in Los Angeles, California.

Although born in Mississippi, Mason was owned by slaveholders in Georgia and South Carolina before she was returned to Mississippi.  Her last owner, Robert Marion Smith, a Mississippi Mormon convert, followed the call of church leaders to settle in the West.  Mason and her children joined other slaves on Smith’s religious pilgrimage to establish a new Mormon community in what would become Salt Lake City, Utah.  At the time Utah was still part of Mexico

Sources: 

Tricia Martineau Wagner, African American Women of the Old West (Guilford, Connecticut: TwoDot, an imprint of The Globe Pequot Press, 2007); Quintard Taylor, In Search of the Racial Frontier African Americans in the American West 1528-1990 (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1998; Dolores Hayden, The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1995); Jessie Carney Smith, (editor). Epic Lives One Hundred Black Women Who Made a Difference (Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1993).

Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Freedom Rides (1961)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
Freedom Riders Bus Burned near Anniston, Alabama, 1961
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Sources: 
Paula Giddings, When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America (New York: Perennial, 2001); David Halberstam, The Children (New York: Random House, 1998); and Lynne Olson, Freedom’s Daughters: The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement From 1830 to 1970 (New York: Scribner, 2001).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Berea College

Bruce, Josephine Beall Willson (1853-1923)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
A clubwoman, teacher, society leader, and race activist, Josephine Beall Willson Bruce was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 29, 1853, to Dr. Joseph Willson, a prominent dentist, and Elizabeth Harnett Willson, a singer and musician. In 1854 the family moved to Cleveland, Ohio where Josephine Willson received her education. An accomplished linguist, she enjoyed literature and classical music.

On June 24, 1878, she married Republican senator Blanche K. Bruce, a political leader and plantation owner from Mississippi and the only black United States senator.

Sources: 
Bruce A. Glasrud, "Josephine Beall (Willson) Bruce," in African American Women: A Biographical Dictionary, edited by Dorothy C. Salem, 75-77 (New York: Garland Publishing, 1993); Willard B. Gatewood, “Josephine Beall Willson Bruce,” in Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, edited by Darlene Clark Hine, Elsa Barkley Brown, and Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, vol. I, 187-188 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Reed, George Robert (1939- )

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

Born on October 2, 1939 in Vicksburg, Mississippi, George Robert Reed is a former American College football and Canadian Football League (CFL) player. Reed is considered one of the premier fullbacks to play in the CFL. Reed played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders for 13 seasons, from 1963 until his retirement in June of 1975.

Reed, whose family moved to Renton, Washington, played football at Washington State University both as fullback and linebacker between 1959 and 1963.  After his graduation in 1963 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, he came to Canada to play professional football with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina, Saskatchewan. As a professional football player George Reed amassed numerous awards such as the Schenley Award for the Most Outstanding Player and set records including most rushing yards (16,116) for all of professional football.  His jersey, # 34, is permanently retired in the Canadian Hall of Fame and Museum in Hamilton, Ontario.

Sources: 
CFL.ca Network: Official site of the Canadian Football League; Graham Kelly, The Grey Cup (Red Deer, Alberta: Johnson Gorman, 1999); Graham Kelly, Green Grit: The Story of the Saskatchewan Roughriders (Toronto: HarperCollins, 2001) Canadian Football League facts, figures and records (Toronto: Canadian Football League, 2006).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

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

Church, Robert Reed, Sr. (1839-1912)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of
Tennessee State University
Robert Reed Church, Sr., was a millionaire business leader and philanthropist in Memphis, Tennessee.  Born in Holly Springs, Mississippi, on June 18, 1839, he was the product of an interracial union. His father was a steamboat captain, Charles B. Church, and his mother, Emmeline, was an enslaved seamstress who died when Robert was twelve years old.
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); Mary C. Terrell, A Colored Woman in a White World (Amherst, NY: Humanity Books, 2006; Lester Lamon, Black Tennesseans, 1900-1930 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1977); Robert A. Sigafoos, Cotton Row to Beale Street: A Business History of Memphis (Memphis: Memphis State University Press, 1979); The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
East Tennessee State University

Freedom Summer (June–August 1964)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Mississippi Freedom Summer Volunteers singing
We Shall Overcome, 1964
Image Courtesy of Herbert Randall Freedom Summer Photographs,
McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi
By 1964, the civil rights movement had scored numerous victories through boycotts, student sit-ins, and mass marches. The state of Mississippi, seen as the “stronghold of segregation,” was the next testing ground. In Mississippi, activists faced an entrenched system of segregation and white supremacy upheld by both vigilante violence and state-sanctioned repression.
Sources: 
Clayborne Carson et al, eds., The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader: Documents, Speeches, and Firsthand Accounts from the Black Freedom Struggle (New York: Penguin, 1991); Doug McAdam, Freedom Summer (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988); The online curriculum of the Freedom Schools and primary source documents from Freedom Summer: http://www.educationanddemocracy.org/ED_FSC.html
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Johnson, Robert (1911-1938)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Robert Johnson was the eleventh child of Julia Major Dodds.  Born out of wedlock, Johnson did not take the Dodds name. He grew up with his mother in Hazlehurst, Mississippi but soon moved up to live with his father, Charles Dodds, in Memphis. Charles Dodds changed his last name to Spencer and so Robert was known in his younger years as Robert Spencer. Around 1918, Johnson moved to an area around Robinsonville and Tunica, Mississippi to rejoin his mother who had remarried. Not much is known about Johnson’s childhood other than he was always interested in music. People in the Delta who knew Johnson claimed played the diddley bow when he was younger. A diddley bow is wire attached to nails sticking out of houses. A person could then hit the wire with a stick and use an empty bottle that slides along the wire to change the pitch.
Sources: 
Peter Guralnick, Searching for Robert Johnson (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1989); Barry Lee Pearson and Bill McCulloch, Robert Johnson: Lost and Found (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004); Patricia R. Schroeder, Robert Johnson: Mythmaking and Contemporary American Culture (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004); Elijah Wald, Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2004).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Congress of Racial Equality (1942)

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History
Freedom Riders Bus Burned near Anniston, Alabama, 1961
The Congress of Racial Equality pioneered direct nonviolent action in the 1940s before playing a major part in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.  Founded by an interracial group of pacifists at the University of Chicago in 1942, CORE used nonviolent tactics to challenge segregation in Northern cities during the 1940s.  Members staged sit-ins at Chicago, Illinois area restaurants and challenged restrictive housing covenants.  Early expansion beyond the University of Chicago brought students from across the Midwest into the organization, and whites made up a majority of the membership into the early 1960s.  
Sources: 
Charles Jones, “From Protest to Black Conservatism: The Demise of the Congress of Racial Equality,” Ollie Johnson and Karin Stanford, eds., Black Political Organizations in the Post-Civil Rights Era (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2002), 80-99; Harvard Sitkoff, The Struggle for Black Equality, 1954-1992 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1993); CORE, “The History of CORE,” http://www.core-online.org/History/history.htm .
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Hawkins, Augustus (1907–2007)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Courtesy of the US House of
Sources: 
Pamela Lee Gray, “Hawkins, Augustus Freeman,” in African American National Biography (New York: Oxford, 2008); Dona L. Irvin, “Augustus F. Hawkins,” in Notable Black American Men (Detroit: Gale, 1999); Biographical Directory of the United States Congress:  http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=H000367.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
San Diego State University

Evers, James Charles (1922- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
James Charles Evers was born on September 11, 1922 in Decatur, Mississippi to parents Jesse Wright and James Evers.  Growing up in Mississippi during the era of Jim Crow, Evers witnessed the effects of racial discrimination and prejudice firsthand.   At the age of ten, he witnessed a horrific lynching of a black man who had been accused of insulting a white woman.  This lynching left a lasting impression on Evers, who vowed, along with his younger brother, Medgar, to exact change for the blacks of Mississippi.  
Sources: 
Charles Evers, Evers (New York: World Publishing Company, 1971); Charles Evers and Andrew Szanton, Have No Fear: The Charles Evers Story (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1997); http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/stories_people_evers.html
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Lynch, John Roy (1847-1939)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress

John Roy Lynch, congressman, soldier, and author was born in Concordia Parish, Louisiana on September 10, 1847 to Patrick Lynch, an Irish immigrant and Catherine White, a slave.  Lynch’s father died soon after his birth.   Lynch and his mother were then traded to a plantation in Natchez, Mississippi.  During the Civil War, Lynch became free when he fled the plantation and to serve as a cook for the 49th Illinois Volunteer Regiment.

During Reconstruction, Lynch joined the Republican Party in Mississippi.  After working as assistant secretary for the Republican State Convention, Lynch became the Justice of the Peace in Natchez County, Mississippi.  In November 1869 at the age of 22, Lynch was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives.   Three years later, in 1872 he was named Speaker of the House.

Sources: 
Office of History and Preservation, Office of the Clerk, Black Americans in Congress, 1870–2007.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2008); John Hope Franklin, ed., Reminiscences of an Active Life: The Autobiography of John Roy Lynch (Chicago, 1970).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Berea College

Lynch, James D. (1838-1872)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

James D. Lynch, a Reconstruction era politician, is best known for his position as Secretary of the State of Mississippi from 1869 to 1872. Lynch was the first African American to hold a major political office in that state. Born in 1838 in Baltimore, Maryland, his father was white merchant and minister and his mother was a slave.

Lynch received an early education at an elementary school taught by the Reverend Daniel Payne of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, and was then send to Meriden, New Hampshire to attend the Kimball Union Academy. After studying for only two years he moved to Indianapolis and began preaching at a small church in the town of Galena, Indiana.

After the Civil War, Lynch joined other religious missionaries in South Carolina. As an official of the Methodist Episcopal Church, North, he helped establish churches and schools for African American adults and children between 1865 and 1866.  

Lynch eventually turned to politics believing that the freedmen’s political rights equally important as the development of their religious faith. In 1867 he was elected the Vice President of the first Republican State Party Convention in Mississippi. By 1869 he had become the most prominent African American politician in Mississippi and, after his nomination by the Republican Party and an exhaustive campaign; Lynch was elected Secretary of State.

Sources: 
George Alexander Sewell, Mississippi Black History Makers (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1977); http://library.msstate.edu/content/templates/?a=137&z=129 ; http://www.galenahistorymuseum.org/lynch.htm .
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Hickman, Robert T. (1831-1900)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Robert Thomas Hickman, born enslaved in Missouri in 1831, is most noted for the group of slaves including his wife and young son, whom he led to freedom in Minnesota in 1863, and helping to establish the first African American church in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Hickman was born and reared near Boone, Missouri.  At a young adult Hickman worked near Boone as a rail splitter.  He was, however, allowed by his owner to learn to read and write.  Hickman also became a slave preacher for the people held in bondage in the area.  

In 1863 Hickman led a group of Boone County slaves to their freedom.  Hickman and other fugitive slaves constructed a crude raft which they hoped would take them to freedom.  When Hickman and 75 black men, women and children were discovered adrift near Jefferson, Missouri, they were rescued and towed up river to St. Paul, Minnesota by the steamboat Northerner.  The “contrabands” arrived in St. Paul on May 5, 1863.  
Sources: 
Pilgrim Baptist Church Website, http://pilgrimbaptistchurch.org/history/; David Vassar Taylor, “The Blacks” in June D. Holmquest, They Chose Minnesota: a Survey of the State’s Ethnic Groups (St. Paul:  Minnesota Historical Society Press 1982).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Black Genealogy Research Group

Revels, Hiram Rhoades (1827?–1901)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Hiram Rhoades Revels was the first African American United States Senator, filling the seat left vacant by Jefferson Davis in 1861 when Mississippi seceded from the Union.

Born in the 1820s in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Hiram Revels was the son of free parents of mixed African American and Native American ancestry. Revels moved with his family to Lincolnton, North Carolina in 1842, where he became a barber. Two years later he left the South and enrolled at Beech Grove Seminary, a Quaker institution near Liberty, Indiana. In 1845 he entered Darke County (Ohio) Seminary for Negroes.  The same year Revels was ordained a minister in a Baltimore African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. In the early 1850s he married Phoebe A. Bass of Zanesville, Ohio, and together they had six children.
Sources: 
“Hiram Rhoades Revels,” in Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, eds., Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York: W.W. Norton, 1982);
“Hiram Rhoades Revels,” in Encyclopedia: The State Library of North Carolina, http://statelibrary.dcr.state.nc.us/nc/bio/afro/revels.htm; Kenneth H. Williams, "Revels, Hiram Rhoades" in Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, eds.,  African American National Biography Oxford African American Studies Center, http://www.oxfordaasc.com.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/article/opr/t0001/e0482.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

King, B.B. (1925-2015)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of B.B. King

Legendary blues singer B.B. King was born Riley B. King on September 16, 1925 in Itta Bena, Mississippi.  King spent his childhood in the Mississippi Delta, but in 1946 left to pursue a music career in Memphis, Tennessee.  While in Memphis, King was employed as a singer and disc jockey at radio station WDIA where he was given the radio name “Beale Street Blues Boy” which he shortened to B.B.  In 1949 while at WDIA he recorded many of his early singles for RPM records in Los Angeles, California.

King began to have significant success as a blues artist in the 1950s with a string of recordings such as “Please Love Me,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “Every Day I Have the Blues,” and “Ten Long Years.”  His hits brought him to the attention of Paramount Records which signed the blues performer in 1962.  In November 1964 he recorded Live at the Regal at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois, at that point one of the most successful blues albums ever produced.

Sources: 
B.B. King and David Ritz, Blues All Around Me: The Autobiography of B.B. King (New York: Avon Books, 1996); Sebastian Danchin, Blues Boy: The Life and Music of B.B. King (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1998; B.B. King Website, www.bbking.com.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Paige, Roderick Raynor (1933- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Roderick Raynor Paige, the first African American and the first school superintendent to serve as the U.S. Secretary of Education, was born on June 17, 1933 in Monticello, Mississippi. The eldest of five children, Paige was born to his mother Sophie, a librarian, and father, Raynor C. Paige, a school principal and barber.

Roderick Paige attended segregated schools in Monticello where he saw the stark differences between the education and opportunities offered to white children and black children.  In 1951, Paige graduated from high school and enrolled at Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi. He was an honor student and football player there. In 1955, after he graduated with a B.A. in physical education, Paige began teaching at a high school in Clinton, Mississippi. However, not long after he started, he was drafted and joined the U.S. Navy. Before he left for Okinawa (Japan) to work as a medical corpsman, Paige married his college sweetheart, Gloria Crawford.
Sources: 
Roderick Paige, The War Against Hope: How Teachers’ Unions Hurt Children, Hinder Teachers, and Endanger Public Education (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006); Donald R. McAdams, Fighting to Save Our Urban Schools—and Winning!: Lessons from Houston. (New York: Teachers College Press, 2000).
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Price, Mary Violet Leontyne (1927- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Photograph by Carl Van Vechten,
courtesy of The Van Vechten Trust
Born to James and Kate Price on February 10, 1927, in Laurel, Mississippi, Leontyne Price became one of the world’s leading opera sopranos and among the first African Americans to gain prominence in major performance halls in that musical genre. Her parents were amateur musicians and instilled in their daughter a love of music from an early age. In 1944 she attended the College of Education and Industrial Arts (now Central State College) in Wilberforce, Ohio with the intention of becoming a music teacher. Her teachers soon encouraged her to pursue voice instead.  In 1949 Price moved to New York to study at the Juilliard School of Music on a four year, full-tuition scholarship. Her performance as Mistress Ford in the school’s production of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Falstaff caught the eye of composer Virgil Thomson. He offered her the role of Cecilia in the 1952 revival of his 1934 opera Four Saints in Three Acts and her professional career took off.
Sources: 
Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, eds., African American Lives (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004); Darlene Clark Hine, ed., Black Women in America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005); Jeffrey Lehman, ed., The African American Almanac (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2003); Colin A. Palmer, ed., Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History (Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2005); Eileen Southern, The Music of Black Americans: A History (New York: W.W. Norton, 1997).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Morton, Ferdinand Joseph La Menthe “Jelly Roll” (1885-1941)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Ferdinand Joseph La Menthe Morton, more popularly known as “Jelly Roll” Morton, was an influential early 20th Century composer and pianist. Jelly Roll, the son of Creole parents, E.P. La Menthe and Louise Monette, was born in Gulfport, Mississippi in 1885. His father, E.P. Morton, was a trombonist who encouraged his son’s musical abilities. Morton’s early childhood was somewhat turbulent as he spent much of his time with his wandering father, who had deserted Louise Monette.

Morton showed fairly prodigious musical talent, gaining proficiency in many instruments quickly. He learned the harmonica at age 5, and his repertoire grew to include the violin, drums, trombone, and his claim to fame, the piano. Jelly Roll’s bohemian lifestyle under his father’s influence continued until his father’s disappearance. Jelly Roll returned to Gulfport to live with his mother and step-father, Willie Morton, until his mother’s death when he was 14. At that time, he and his two sisters were in the care of his godmother, Eulalie Echo, and his Aunt Lallie. Like many poor youth, he quickly found menial employment for 3 dollars a week. \
Sources: 
Alan Lomax, Mister Jelly Roll: The Fortunes of Jelly Roll Morton, New Orleans Creole and Inventor of Jazz (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973); Rayford Logan and Michael R. Winston, eds., Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York: W. W. Norton, 1982); Peter Hanley, “Jelly Roll Morton: An Essay in Genealogy,” http://www.doctorjazz.co.uk/genealogy.html
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Diddley, Bo (1928-2008)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Boxer and singer Bo Diddley (birth name Ellas Bates McDaniel), was born on December 30, 1928 in McComb, Mississippi. He was adopted by his mother’s cousin when the mother’s husband died in the mid 1930s.  McDaniel moved her family to Chicago where young Ellas took violin lessons from Professor O.W. Frederick at the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church. He studied the violin for twelve years and composed two concertos. In 1940 his sister bought McDaniel an acoustic guitar for Christmas. He soon started to play the guitar, largely duplicating his actions on the violin.  Soon afterward he formed his first group of three named The Hipsters and later known as The Langley Avenue Jive Cats. It was during this time that band leaders gave him the nickname, Bo Diddley.

Diddley recorded his first single “Bo Diddley”/”I’m A Man on March 2, 1955 on Checkers Records. It topped the R&B chart for two weeks.  Soon afterwards Diddley began to tour, performing in schools, colleges, and churches across the United States.  Regardless of the venue he taught people the importance “of respect and education and of the dangers of drugs and gang culture.”

Bo Diddley was known for many new musical styles and innovations. He was one of the first musicians of the 1950s to incorporate woman musicians including Lady Bo. He hired her full-time to play all of his stage performances whereupon she became the first female lead guitarist in history to be employed by a major act.
Sources: 
“Bo Diddley- The Originator.” David Blakey. 1998-2008, http://members.tripod.com/~Originator_2/history.html; “Bo Diddley” Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum, http://www.rockhall.com/inductee/bo-diddley; Ben Ratliff. “Bo Diddley, Who Gave Rock His Beat, Dies at 79,” New York Times,
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/03/arts/music/03diddley.html?scp=1&sq=Bo+Diddley+dies&st=nyt
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Barry, Marion Jr. (1936-2014)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Marion Barry Jr., a civil rights activist and later three term mayor of Washington D.C., was born on March 6, 1936, in Itta Bena, Mississippi. His parents, Marion Barry and Mattie Barry, were sharecroppers; the family lived in relative poverty. When Marion was eight years old, his mother took the family to live in Memphis, Tennessee.

Barry graduated from high school in Memphis and then in 1958 earned his bachelor’s degree at Le Moyne College, a small black college in the city. He received a master’s degree in organic chemistry from Le Moyne College in Nashville in 1960.  Barry then completed three years of a doctoral program in chemistry at the University of Tennessee.

Sources: 

Jonetta Rose Barras, The Last of the Black Emperor: The Hollow Comeback of Marion Barry in the New Age of Black Leaders (Baltimore: Bancroft Press, 1998); Councilmember Ward 8, http://www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us/BARRY/about/default.htm; The Washington Post, “Marion Barry: The Making of a Mayor,” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/local/longterm/library/dc/barry/barry.htm. "Marion Berry 4-Time Mayor of D.C., dies at 78," The Washington Post, Nov 23, 2014.

 

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

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

Henry, Aaron (1922-1997)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Sources: 

Aaron Henry and Constance Curry, Aaron Henry: The Fire Ever Burning (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2000); Charles M. Payne, I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995); John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1995).

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Tacoma

Wood, Robert (1844 - ?)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Natchez, Mississippi in the 1870s
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Robert Wood is believed to be one of the first African American mayors in the United States.  He served as mayor of Natchez, Mississippi in the early 1870s.  Wood was born in 1844 to Susie Harris, an African American housekeeper, and Dr. Robert Wood, a white doctor from Virginia.  His parents never married, but lived side by side.  According to oral histories, Wood was never a slave and lived mostly with his father, a former mayor of Natchez himself.  

Mississippi Governor James L. Alcorn appointed Robert Wood as mayor of Natchez, Mississippi in 1869.  He later was elected mayor in 1870.  His election was part of the “Black and Tan Revolution,” a short-lived political shift in Mississippi in which citizens of Mississippi elected many African Americans to state offices between 1868 and 1875.  At its peak in 1873, half of Mississippi's state elected officials were black.  

Sources: 

David Duncan Collum, Black and Catholic in the Jim Crow South: The
Stuff that Makes Community.
(Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 2006);
Mike Brunker, “Race, Politics and the Evolving South: A Black Mayor,
130 Years Later,” http://www.nbcnews.com/id/5676325/, Aug. 17, 2004.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Robinson, Ruby Doris Smith (1942-1967)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Ruby Doris Smith Robinson, born in Atlanta, Georgia on April 25, 1942, was a civil rights leader.  Robinson, the second oldest of seven children born to Alice and John T. Smith, was raised in Atlanta’s black middleclass neighborhood of Summerhill.  She graduated from Price High School in 1958 and earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Spelman College in 1965.  Robinson’s exposure to racial discrimination in her city, the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the Greensboro, North Carolina sit-ins in February 1960, all influenced her to become involved in the civil rights movement.  

Sources: 

Cynthia Griggs Fleming, Soon We Will Not Cry: The Liberation of Ruby Doris Smith Robinson (Lanham, Md: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1998).  Bettye Collier Thomas, and V.P. Franklin, Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement (New York: New York University Press, 2001). Howard Zinn, SNCC, the New Abolitionists (Boston: Beacon Press, 1964); James Forman, The Making of Black Revolutionaries (Washington, DC: Open Hand Publishing, 1985).

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Berea College

Graves, Letitia A. (1863-1952)

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Payton, Walter Jerry (1954-1999)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Sources: 

Jane Mersky Leder and Howard Schroeder, Walter Payton (Mankato, Minn.: Crestwood House, 1986); Walter Payton and Don Yaeger, Never Die Easy: The Autobiography of Walter Payton (New York: Villard, 2000); http://www.bearshistory.com/lore/walterpayton.aspx

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Black and Tan Republicans

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History
Sources: 

Hanes Walton, Black Republicans: The Politics of the Black and Tans (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1975); Caroline Goeser, Picturing the New Negro: Harlem Renaissance Print Culture and Modern Black Identity (Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2007).

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

House, Edward James (“Son”), Jr. (1902-1988)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Sources: 
Daniel Beaumont, Preachin' the Blues: The Life and Times of Son House (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011); Robert Palmer, Deep Blues (New York: Penguin Group, 1981); Gayle Dean Wardlow, Chasin’ That Devil Music (San Francisco: Miller Freeman Books, 1998).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Hurt, “Mississippi” John Smith (c. 1892-1966)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of Mary Hurt-Wright,
Mississippi Hurt Museum/Foundation
Born in Teoc, Mississippi in 1892 but raised in Avalon, Mississippi, "Mississippi" John Hurt spent the majority of his life employed as a farm hand. Though he briefly recorded in the 1920s, it was not until the 1960s that his music was widely distributed and recognized. Hurt was known for his humble nature and his unique, soft style of blues.
Sources: 
Stefan Grossman, ed., Mississippi John Hurt (Los Angeles: Alfred Publishing, 2007); http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:wifuxq95ldke~T1; http://www.nps.gov/history/DELTA/BLUes/people/msjohn_hurt.htm

 

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Thompson, Bennie G. (1948- )

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

Bennie G. Thompson, United States Representative from Mississippi's Second Congressional District, is the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee and as such is one of the most influential African American members of Congress.

Thompson was born in Bolton, Mississippi on January 28, 1948 to Will Thompson, an auto mechanic, and Annie Lauris Thompson, a teacher.   He earned a BA in political science from Tougaloo College in 1968, and then earned MS and MA degrees from Jackson State University in 1972.  He worked for one year as a school teacher in Madison, Mississippi after graduating from Tougaloo.

Sources: 
Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 2008); Dave Oblender, ed., Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 26, “Bennie G. Thompson,” (Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 2005); “Bennie Thompson, Representing the Second District of Mississippi,” http://benniethompson.house.gov/
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Tougaloo College (1869-- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Tougaloo College is one of the United States' premier historically black colleges and universities. The American Missionary Association (AMA) founded Tougaloo in 1869. Early in that year the AMA had commissioned Allen P. Huggins, a former Union officer, to look for land for a normal-agricultural school. He found the former plantation of John Boddie about seven miles north of Jackson, Mississippi and negotiated to buy it from its owner, George McKee, for $10,500.
Sources: 
Clarice T. Campbell and Oscar Allan Rogers, Jr., Mississippi: The View From Tougaloo (Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 1979); Tougaloo College (official website), https://www.tougaloo.edu/about-tougaloo-college/our-history; Soul of America: Tougaloo College, http://www.soulofamerica.com/tougaloo-college.phtml; US NEWS Best Colleges 2010: Tougaloo College, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/tougaloo-college-2439.
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Alcorn State University (1871-- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History
Oakland Chapel, Alcorn State University
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Founded in 1871, Alcorn State University is the oldest historically black land-grant institution in the United States and the second oldest state supported institution in the state of Mississippi.  The college is located outside of Lorman in Claiborne County.  Alcorn was founded in vacated Oakland College, a school for white students that was closed during the Civil War.  The campus was purchased by the state of Mississippi in 1871 and opened as Alcorn University after then-governor of Mississippi, James L. Alcorn (1816-1894).  It was the first black land-grant institution to receive federal funding under the 1862 Morrill Act.
Sources: 
A Brief History, http://www.alcorn.edu/about/default.aspx?id=559 (Official Site);
Josephine McCann Posey, Against Great Odds: The History of Alcorn State University (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1994); Joy Ann Williamson, Radicalizing the Ebony Tower: Black Colleges and the Black Freedom Struggle in Mississippi (New York: Teachers College Press, 2008).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Mississippi Valley State University [Itta Bena] (1950- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) is a public institution located in Itta Bena, Mississippi.  MVSU is the nation’s youngest historically black public university.  In 1946 the Mississippi legislature passed an act authorizing the establishment of a new institution to be named Mississippi Vocational College.  The purpose of the school was to educate teachers for rural and elementary schools and to provide vocational training.  

Ground was broken for the new school in February of 1950, and the first classes were held that summer when 250 teachers came to campus to attend in-service classes.  The first academic year began in the fall of 1950 with 14 students and seven faculty members.  That year the college offered bachelor’s of science degrees in 14 areas and provided extension services.  In 1964 the college was authorized to offer liberal arts, education, and science degrees, and changed its name to Mississippi Valley State College.  Mississippi governor William Waller signed a bill granting university status to the school in 1974.  At that time the institution became known as Mississippi Valley State University.  MVSU offered its first master’s degrees two years later.

Sources: 
Addie Louise Joyce Butler, The Distinctive Black College: Talladega, Tuskegee and Morehouse  (Metuchen, N.J.: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1977); Toni Hodge-Wright, The Handbook of Historically Black Colleges and Universities  (Seattle: Jireh and Associates, 1992);  Mississippi Valley State University Webpage, http://www.mvsu.edu/index.php.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Jackson State University (1877- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

A historically black college located in on a 125-acre campus near downtown Jackson, the capital city of the state of Mississippi, Jackson State University (JSU) has been the designated urban university of the state’s higher education system since 1979.  The school was founded in 1877 by the American Baptist Home Mission Society as Natchez Seminary “for the moral, religious, and intellectual improvement of Christian leaders of the colored people of Mississippi and the neighboring states.”  

The institution was originally located in Natchez, Mississippi, but was moved to Jackson in 1882.  In 1899 the curriculum was expanded and the school’s name was changed to Jackson College.  The American Baptist Home Mission Society withdrew its support for the College in the 1930s, prompting the administration to seek state support to continue its operation.  The State of Mississippi assumed support of the college in 1940, and mandated that the school’s primary purpose should be the training of teachers.  In 1942 the Board of Trustees instituted a four year teacher education program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Education degree.  Between 1953 and 1956 the curriculum was again expanded to include a graduate program and bachelor’s programs in the arts and sciences.  In 1956 the institution became known as Jackson State College.  Jackson State achieved university status in 1974.

Sources: 
Toni Hodge-Wright, The Handbook of Historically Black Colleges and Universities  (Seattle: Jireh and Associates, 1992); Faustine C. Jones-Wilson, Charles A. Asbury, Margo Okazawa-Rey, D. Kamili Anderson, Sylvia M. Jacobs & Michael Fultz, Encyclopedia of African-American Education  (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996); Jackson State University Webpage, http://www.jsums.edu/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Massey, Walter E. (1938 - )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Prominent educator Walter Eugene Massey was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on April 5, 1938.  His father, Almar, was a steelworker and his mother, Essie, a teacher.  Massey had an exceptional mind, even at an early age.  By the time he finished 10th grade, his skills in mathematics were strong enough to earn him a college scholarship.  Massey enrolled at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and graduated with a BS in math and physics in 1958.

While working on his master’s and doctorate degrees at Washington University in St. Louis, Massey conducted research on the quantum of liquids and solids.  He received a PhD in 1966.  Massey began his teaching career as an associate professor at the University of Illinois then moved to Brown University in 1970, becoming a full professor five years later.  

Sources: 
Douglas Lyons, “Pathfinders” Ebony (August 1989); Stephen Richards Graubard, The American Academic Profession (New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1997);  http://www.morehouse.edu/about/bio-wmassey.html
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Rust College [Holly Springs] (1866- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History

 

Sources: 
Rust College website, http://www.rustcollege.edu; Toni Hodge-Wright, The Handbook of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Seattle: Jireh and Associates, 1992); U.S. News and World Report website, http://www.usnews.com.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Freeman, Morgan (1937- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Porterfield Freeman, Jr. was born June 1, 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of Morgan Porterfield, Sr. a barber, and Mayme Edna Morgan.  Throughout his childhood the Freeman family moved often, living in Mississippi, Indiana and Chicago.  Freeman showed early promise as an actor but turned down a partial drama scholarship from Jackson State University to enter the United States Air Force in 1955.

Throughout the early 1960s, after leaving the Air Force, Freeman studied acting and dance in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City.  It was in New York that Freeman made his professional theater debut with The Nigger Lovers, a 1967 off-Broadway play about the Civil Rights Era Freedom Riders.  In 1971 Freeman broke into television, becoming widely known on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) children’s show The Electric Company, where he worked from 1971 to 1976.

Sources: 
Sabrina Fuchs, “Morgan Freeman,” Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, Volume II., Colin A. Palmer, ed. (New York: Thompson Gale, 2006); "Morgan Freeman," Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 62 (Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2008); Eleanor Clift, "Freeman, Obama and Hollywood Immortality,” Newsweek, April 2, 2008; "Freeman Replaces Cronkite on CBS," Boston Globe, January 5, 2010; Revelations Entertainment official website: http://www.revelationsent.com/index.php.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Knight, Etheridge (1931-1991)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Etheridge Knight took a very unconventional path on his way to becoming one of the most popular poets during the Black Arts Movement.  America’s first introduction to Knight’s literary skills came with his first book publication, Poems from Prison in 1968.  Mr. Knight’s troubled past and time in prison led to an unorthodox style of “street” language, drug culture vocabulary, and black slang that immediately separated him from other poets of the era.

Sources: 
Linda Cullum, Contemporary American Ethnic Poets (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2004); Joyce Pettis, African American Poets (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood, 2002).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Johnson, Robert Louis (1946 - )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Robert Louis Johnson, founder, chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Black Entertainment Television (BET), is also the majority owner of the Charlotte (North Carolina) Bobcats of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the first African American billionaire. He was born in Hickory, Mississippi in 1946 as the ninth of 10 children.  After his family relocated to Freeport, Illinois, Johnson earned a Bachelor of Arts in History at the University of Illinois in 1968. He also received a Masters in Public Administration from Princeton University in New Jersey in 1972.

Sources: 
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Sessions, Lucy Stanton Day (1831-1910)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Educator and abolitionist Lucy Stanton Day Sessions is believed to be the first African American woman to graduate from college, completing a Ladies Literary Course from Oberlin College in 1850. For over a century the Ohio college has recognized its early Literary Course program as equivalent to a degreed program even though it did not award graduates with a bachelor’s degree. In 1862 Oberlin College formally awarded the first bachelor’s degree to an African American woman when Mary Jane Patterson graduated with a B.A.
Sources: 
Jessie Carney Smith, Notable Black American Women: Book II (Detroit: Gale Research, 1996); Allison Keller, “Sessions, Lucy Stanton Day," Oxford African American Studies Center (Oxford University Press: 2006); Ellen N. Lawson,: "Lucy Stanton: Life on the Cutting Edge,” Western Reserve Magazine 10(1983): 9-10.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Hedgeman, Anna Arnold (1899–1990)

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

Political activist and educator Anna Arnold Hedgeman was the first African American woman to serve on the cabinet of a New York mayor when she worked during the term of New York City Mayor Robert Wagner from 1957-1958. Her career spanned more than six decades as an advocate for civil rights. In 1963 she helped A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin plan the March on Washington and was the only woman among the key event organizers.

Anna Arnold was born on July 5, 1899 in Marshalltown, Iowa to William James Arnold II and Marie Ellen Arnold. When Anna was a child, the family moved to Anoka, Minnesota where the Arnolds were the only black family in the community. Her father created an environment that prioritized education and a strong work ethic. Arnold learned how to read at home and was not allowed to attend school until she was seven years old.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Smith, Bessie (1894-1937)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Along with Ma Rainey and Mamie Smith, singer Bessie Smith helped pioneer the genre of blues music and propel it into popular culture. Her early death at the age of 43 cut short a career that influenced the direction of American music and contributed to the success of African Americans in the performing arts.

Smith was born into poverty most likely on April 15, 1894 in Chattanooga, Tennessee to William Smith, a preacher, and Laura Smith. Both parents died when Bessie was young. To help support her orphaned siblings, Bessie began her career as a Chattanooga street musician, singing in a duo with her brother Andrew to earn money to support their indigent family.
Sources: 
Chris Albertson, Bessie (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003); Angela Y. Davis, Blues Legacies and Black Feminism (New York: Random House, 1998); Nanette de Jong, “Smith, Bessie (15 Apr. 1894-26 Sept. 1937),” American National Biography Online (New York: Oxford University Press, February 2000).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Hurricane Katrina (2005)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Hurricane Katrina began as a Category 1 hurricane in Florida, before striking the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005. By the time Katrina had run its course, more than 1,700 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of others displaced. Causing billions of dollars of damage, Hurricane Katrina ranks as one of the costliest storms in American history. The damage took place in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

On Monday, August 29, Katrina made landfall in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana as a Category 3 hurricane backed by 145-mile-an-hour winds. From there, Katrina pounded New Orleans, as water poured over the levees and eventually they were breached. By the afternoon, parts of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward were inundated by floodwaters of up to 12 feet, rising to the rooftops. By Wednesday, August 31, the flood waters had crested with parts of the city under as much as 20 feet of water.
Sources: 
Jed Horne, Breach of Faith: Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City (New York: Random House, 2006); http://www.nola.com/katrina/; http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/h/hurricane_katrina/index.html?scp=1-spot&sq=hurricane%20katrina&st=cse.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of New Orleans

Scott, Timothy (1965- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Former Congressmen Tim Scott Being Sworn in as U.S. Senator
from South Carolina, January 2, 2013
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Sources: 
"Guide to the New Congress," CQ Roll Call  (accessed February 8, 2011); "Representative Timothy E. "Tim" Scott," South Carolina Legislature, http://web.archive.org/web/20090331212301/http://www.scstatehouse.gov/members/bios/1646306621.html (accessed February 8, 2011);  Alex Isenstadt, "Palin backs Scott," Politico, June 19, 2010, National Public Radio's It's All Politics, Frank James, “Black GOP Lawmakers Face Tricky Relations With Democrats,” January 4, 2011; Robert Behre,  "Assignments please Scott," Charleston Post Courier, December 17, 2010; Katherine Seelye, "South Carolina Candidate Shrugs Off History’s Lure," New York Times, June 25, 2010; "Nikki Haley appoints Rep Tim Scott to the Senate," Washington Post, December 17, 2012.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of North Texas

Bevel, James (1936-2008)

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

James Bevel was one of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most trusted advisors during the American Civil Rights campaigns of the mid-20th century.  Bevel was born on October 19, 1936 in Itta Bena, Mississippi. During his childhood years, he resided in both Itta Bena and in Cleveland, Ohio working as a plantation laborer in the Mississippi town and as a steel mill worker in the Ohio metropolis.

In 1957 Bevel attended the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee. Bevel dropped out of the seminary in 1961 to work in the civil rights movement. He also attended Highlander Folk School during this time where he met several other prominent civil rights leaders including his future wife, Diane Nash.
Bevel’s civil rights activism began in 1960 when he joined the student sit ins in Nashville. One year later he participated in the Freedom Rides across the Deep South.  In 1962 Bevel met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and joined King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) as Director of Direct Action Campaigns and Director of Nonviolent Education.

Sources: 
Randy Kryn, "James L. Bevel, The Strategist of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement," in David Garrow, We Shall Overcome, Vol. 2 (Brooklyn: Carlson Publishing Company, 1989); Frederic O. Sargent,  The Civil Rights Revolution: Events and Leaders, 1955-1968 (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland Publishing, 2004); The New York Amsterdam News December 2008, pg 33 & 39; New York Times December 23, 2008, pg 10; USA Today April 30, 2008.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Naylor, Gloria (1950-2016)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Gloria Naylor, a major 20th century writer of African American literature, was born on January 25, 1950 in New York City, New York to Roosevelt and Alberta Naylor. She was born just six weeks after her parents moved to the city from Robinsville, Mississippi, to escape the racially segregated South.  It is that combination of her family's Southern roots and her on upbringing in the urban North that influenced her writing.

Sources: 
Charles E. Wilson Jr. "Gloria Naylor: A Critical Companion" in Kathleen Klein, ed., Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers (New York: Greenwood Press, 2001);  "Gloria Naylor" in Darlene Clark Hine, ed., Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, Volumes 1 &2, (Brooklyn, New York: Carlson Publishing ,1993); https://aalbc.com/authors/gloria.htm.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Juneteenth: The Growth of an African American Holiday (1865-- )

Former Texas Slaves Celebrating Juneteenth in Austin, ca. 1900
Image Ownership: Public Domain
In the article below, historian Quintard Taylor describes the origins and evolution of the Juneteenth holiday sine 1865.  
Summary: 
In the article below, historian Quintard Taylor describes the origins and evolution of the Juneteenth holiday since 1865. 
Sources: 
The Texas Emancipation Proclamation, Archives of the Dallas Historical Society, Dallas, Texas; Alwyn Barr, Black Texans: A History of Negroes in Texas, 1528-1971 (Austin, 1973); James M. Smallwood, Time of Hope: Time of Despair: Black Texans During Reconstruction (Port Washington, NY, 1981); Merline Pitre, Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares: The Black Leadership of Texas, 1868-1900 (Austin, 1985); "Felix Haywood Remembers the Day of Jublio," in Quintard Taylor, ed., From Timbuktu to Katrina: Readings in African-American History, Volume 1, (New York: Thomson Wadsworth, 2008), National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, http://www.njof.com/; National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign, http://www.juneteenth.us/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Burnett, Chester Arthur/Howlin' Wolf (1910-1976)

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

Chester Arthur Burnett, better known by his stage name Howlin’ Wolf, was a blues performer and bandleader born in White Station, Mississippi to Leon "Dock" and Gertrude Young Burnett. He was married to Lillie Burnett and is survived by two stepchildren, Barbra Marks and Bettye Kelly.

After hearing and meeting Charlie Patton (sometimes spelled Charley), the most popular Delta blues performer at the time, Burnett decided to take up guitar and became a student of Patton. Burnett studied Patton’s music as well as his showmanship, and later traveled throughout the Delta performing with Patton, Son House, Robert Johnson, Willie Brown and other well-known Delta blues performers of the period. He was also influenced by Jimmie Rodgers, Tommy Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson, among other performers.

Sources: 
Robert Palmer, Deep Blues (New York: Penguin Group, 1981); Gayle Dean Wardlow, Chasin’ That Devil Music (San Francisco: Miller Freeman Books, 1998); Don McGlynn, Dir., The Howlin' Wolf Story – The Secret History of Rock & Roll (RCA/Historic Films Inc, 2003).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Case Western Reserve University

Robert Charles Riots (1900)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
Drawing of Robert Charles in the
New Orleans Daily Picayune, July 27, 1900
Image Ownership: Public Domain

The Robert Charles Riots began when whites in New Orleans, Louisiana became infuriated after Robert Charles, an African-American, shot several white police officers on July 23, 1900. A manhunt for Charles began after he fled after an altercation with New Orleans police officers. The race riots lasted over four days and claimed 28 casualties, including Charles.

Robert Charles came to New Orleans from Mississippi and was a self-educated, articulate activist.  He believed in self-defense for the African-American community and encouraged African-Americans in the United States to move to Liberia to escape racial discrimination.

Sources: 
William Ivy Hair, Carnival of Fury: Robert Charles and the New Orleans Race Riot of 1900 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1976); Joel Williamson, The Crucible of Race: Black-White Relations in the American South Since Emancipation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Prince Hall Masons (1784- )

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History
Dedication of the Prince Hall Masons Monument at
Cambridge Massachusetts, September 13, 2008
Image Ownership: Public Domain
The Prince Hall Masons are the oldest and largest group of Masons of African origin in the world.  Today there are forty Grand Lodges of Prince Hall Freemasonry in the United States, Canada, the Bahamas, and Liberia.  These Grand Lodges preside over more than 5,000 lodges.  All of them claim descent from the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts which is traced back to the African Lodge No. 459.
Sources: 
William H. Grimshaw, Official History of Freemasonry (New York: Negro Universities Press, 1969); William A. Muraskin, Middle Class Blacks in a White Society: Prince Hall Freemasonry in America (London: University of California Press, 1975); Prince Hall Freemasonry by Bro. George Draffen, Deputy Master, Grand Lodge of Scotland, http://fosterglenn.tripod.com/prince_hall_freemasonry.htm.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Fighting for Freedom on Both Sides of the American Revolution

 

Fighting for Emancipation in the War
of Independence
Image Courtesy of University of Chicago
Press

Alan Gilbert, University of Denver political scientist and anti-racist activist, is the author of Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War for Independence, one of the few works that examines the free and enslaved blacks who joined the American Patriots and the British during the American Revolution and the anti-racist whites who supported them.  In the account below he describes the book and why he wrote it.

Summary: 
<i>Alan Gilbert, University of Denver political scientist and anti-racist activist, is the author of  <u>Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War for Independence</u>, one of the few works that examines the free and enslaved blacks who joined the American Patriots and the British during the American Revolution and the anti-racist whites who supported them.  In the account below he describes the book and why he wrote it.</i>
Sources: 
Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War for Independence (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012).
Contributor: 
Affiliation2: 
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Black-Patriots-and-Loyalists-by-Alan-Gilbert/284675318252714
Affiliation: 
University of Denver

McMillian, Marco (1979-2013)

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

Marco McMillian was known primarily as the first openly-gay African American male to seek mayoral office as a Democrat in his hometown of Clarksdale, Mississippi. On February 26, 2013, McMillian was found dead the age of 34, having been beaten, dragged, and burned.

Little is known about his family history.  McMillian was born to Patricia Unger in Clarksdale in 1979.  He graduated from Clarksdale High School in 1997 and went on to graduate magna cum laude from the W.E.B. DuBois Honors College at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. McMillian also earned a graduate degree from Saint Mary’s University in Minnesota in the area of philanthropy and development.

While living in Washington, D.C., McMillian served as an international executive director of the historically black Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. where he was responsible for securing the first federal contract to raise the awareness of the adverse impact of HIV/AIDS on communities of color. He also served as executive assistant to the President of Alabama A&M University and as assistant to the vice president at Jackson State University.

Sources: 
http://newsone.com/2254245/marco-mcmillian-dead-clarksdale-mississippi/ http://marcomcmillian.com/about.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/28/marco-mcmillian-dead_n_2780698.html
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Dixon, William James ["Willie"] (1915-1992)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership, Public Domain
Willie Dixon was a pioneering Chicago blues musician, bandleader, songwriter, arranger, producer, and philanthropist.  He was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1915 to Anderson Bell and Daisy Dixon, was married to Marie Booker, and had 12 children (five with wife Marie, and seven with Eleanora Franklin).  His grandchildren include blues musician Alex Dixon.
Sources: 
Robert Palmer, Deep Blues (New York: Penguin Group, 1981); Gayle Dean Wardlow, Chasin’ That Devil Music (San Francisco: Miller Freeman Books, 1998).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church [Natchez, Mississippi] (1854- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History
Photo Courtesy of Susan C. Allen
Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church of Natchez, Mississippi traces its origins as far back as 1837 in a shared legacy with First Baptist Church and later Wall Street Baptist Church, two predominantly white congregations in Natchez in 1850.  It is however recognized as the oldest organized black Baptist congregation in Mississippi and the oldest African American church in Natchez.  A deed filed in the Adams County Courthouse in 1858 documented a separate Baptist chapel for enslaved blacks under the auspices of the Wall Street Baptist Church. The document claimed that this black church was formed in 1854. Early enslaved members continued to maintain dual membership with the predominantly white Wall Street Baptist Church until after the Civil War. But the establishment of an all-black congregation with its own building in Antebellum Mississippi was particularly distinctive at the time.
Sources: 
Mimi Miller, "Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church" (Natchez: Historic Natchez Foundation, 2014; Sherry Pace, Historic Churches of Mississippi (Jackson: The University Press of Mississippi, 2007); Vershall Hogan, “Walking Tours of Historic Churches Part of Conference,” The Natchez Democrat, Feb. 19, 2014.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Younge, Samuel (“Sammy”) Leamon, Jr. (1944-1966)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Samuel (“Sammy”) Leamon Younge Jr. was a young civil rights activist who was shot to death on January 3, 1966 when he attempted to use a whites-only restroom at a gas station in Macon County, Alabama. He was 21 years old.  Younge was killed 11 years after and 40 miles from where the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott began. At the time of his death he was a military veteran and Tuskegee Institute political science student.  

Younge was born on November 17, 1944 in Tuskegee, Alabama. His parents were educated professionals; Samuel Sr. was an occupational therapist, and Younge’s mother, Renee, was a schoolteacher. Unlike most black men in Macon County, Sammy Younge and his younger brother, Stephen (“Stevie”), grew up with middle class privileges and comforts.

Sources: 
http://newsone.com/2824521/samuel-sammy-younge-jr/; James Forman, Sammy Younge, Jr.: The First Black College Student to Die in the Black Liberation Movement (Washington, D.C.: Open Hand Publishing, 1986) [first published 1968]; “Samuel Younge, Jr.,” Encyclopedia of Alabama, http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/face/Article.jsp?id=h-1669; Michael F. Wright Ph.D., J.D., Sammy Younge Jr. Memorial Address http://www.crmvet.org/mem/younges.htm
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

From Memphis and Mogadishu: The History of African Americans in Martin Luther King County, Washington, 1858-2014

In the extended article that appears below historians Daudi Abe and Quintard Taylor explore the history of African Americans in Martin Luther King County from 1858 to 2014.  They analyze the forces which encouraged people of African ancestry to settle in the county and discuss the rapid political, social, and economic changes that its black residents have faced since the first arrival, Manuel Lopes, came to the county in 1858.

With 119,801 people of African ancestry in a total population of 1,931,249 people, Martin Luther King, Jr. County is the most populous county in the state of Washington and is home to 29% of the state’s inhabitants and half of Washington’s black population.  It is also the only county in the United States named after the 20th Century civil rights icon.  

Sampson, Henry Thomas (1934- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1934, Henry Thomas Sampson, Jr. is a prolific inventor and pioneer in the field of nuclear engineering. Sampson is also a pioneer in the technology that is used in modern cell phones, but contrary to a widely held belief, he didn’t invent the cell phone. The eldest child of Esther and Henry T. Sampson, Henry, Jr. has a younger brother named John.
Sources: 
Keith Clayton Holmes, Black Inventors: Crafting Over 200 Years of Success (Brooklyn, New York: Global Black Inventor Research Projects, 2008), p 65; Vivian O. Sammons, Blacks in Science and Medicine (New York: Hemisphere Publishing Corporation, 1980), p 208; “Henry T. Sampson—Our People Purdue Engineering,”
https://engineering.purdue.edu/Engr/People/Awards/Institutional/DEA/DEA_2013/Sampson; Henry T. Sampson and George H. Miley, G.H. Gamma-Electric Cell. U.S. Patent 3,591,860, July 6, 1971; Henry T. Sampson, H.T. Process for Case Bonding Cast Composite Propellant Grains. U.S. Patent 3,734,982, May 22, 1973; Glenn E. Rodgers, Descriptive Inorganic, Coordination, and Solid-State Chemistry, 2nd Edition (Belmont, California: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning, 2002).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Raspberry, William James (1935-2012)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
William James Raspberry, who wrote a prominent public affairs column for The Washington Post for nearly 40 years, was one of the first extensively read African American journalist commentators with a wide readership in the mainstream press. From 1995 to 2008 Raspberry also taught journalism at the Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina. Before his retirement from the Post in 2005, Raspberry’s popular syndicated column appeared in over 200 newspapers.  During his career Raspberry wrote over 5,000 articles reflecting his distinctly independent and often provocative observations about race, the legacy of civil rights victories, poverty, urban violence, and education.  In 1982 Raspberry won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, only the second black columnist, after Carl T. Rowan (1980) to achieve this honor.  That same year he also won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).
Sources: 
Dennis Hevesi, “William Raspberry, Prizewinning Columnist, Dies at 76,” obituary, New York Times, July 17, 2012; http://www.olemiss.edu/mwp/dir/raspberry_william/; http://mswritersandmusicians.com/writers/william-raspberry.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Gideon, Russell S. (1904-1985)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Russell S. Gideon was a Seattle, Washington businessman, pharmacist, and pioneer in the development of senior housing.  From 1977 until his death in 1985, he was recognized yearly by Ebony magazine as one the nation’s 100 most influential black citizens.  He was a respected community leader, and a man of great energy and charm.  Gideon used these personal attributes to advantage in pursuing many humanitarian and business interests.
Sources: 
Mary T. Henry, Tribute: Seattle Public Places Named for Black People (Seattle: Statice Press, 1997); Mary Henry, “Russell Gideon,” http://www.historylink.org/_content/printer_friendly/pf_output.cfm?file_id=238; Elizabeth James House, http://capitolhousing.org/our/properties/buildings/ejsh.php.org.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Salem Baptist Church, Alton, Illinois (1819- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Salem Baptist Church, in Alton, Illinois, first organized in 1819, still stands as the only predominantly African American congregation in Madison County, which is situated along the Mississippi River across from Missouri. African American stonemason Madison Banks and white contractor Samuel Marshall, both from Alton, built the church sometime in the early 1820s.  They were assisted by two members of the congregation, John Walker and William Emery.  Conflicting dates about the church’s founding can be attributed to the later construction of the first building in 1912. It is believed that Salem Baptist Church’s first congregants were organized in 1819 on a local farm, by a Baptist Missionary named James Ely Welch.
Sources: 
United States Department of the Interior, National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/listings/20140110.htm; Ruth Keenoy, Charlotte Johnson, Tom Raglin, and  Renee Johnson, “National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Salem Baptist Church,” http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/feature/places/pdfs/13001004.pdf.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Fifth Ward, Houston, Texas (1866- )

Vignette Type: 
Places
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Fifth Ward is one of the six political districts created in Houston, Texas in the mid-nineteenth century. It was established in 1866. Over the years it has produced notable cultural and political figures. Located northeast of downtown, Fifth Ward lies north of the Buffalo Bayou, and east of the White Oak and Little White Oak Bayous.
Sources: 
Roger Wood, Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003); Denise Labrie, “Houston Frenchtown,” in The Creole Chronicles 4 (Louisiana Creole Heritage Center, Northwestern State University, October 2002).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Arizona, Tucson

Brooks, Cornell William (1961- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Cornell William Brooks, currently the President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1961. His family moved to Georgetown, South Carolina, just before he began junior high school. After graduating from Winyah High School in Georgetown, he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi in 1983. The following year, Brooks entered Boston (Massachusetts) University School of Theology. He was awarded the Oxnam-Leibman Fellowship for outstanding scholarship and received a Master of Divinity degree in 1987.
Sources: 
“Cornell William Brooks, https://www.linkedin.com/; U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Cornell William Brooks, Esq., Executive Director, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice,” July 26, 2011, http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/7-26-11/brooks_bio.cfm; Krissah Thompson, “Who is the NAACP’s new president, Cornell William Brooks,” Washington Post, July 16, 2014; “National Social Justice Advocate Cornell William Brooks Selected President,” http://www.naacp.org/press/entry/national-social-justice-advocate-cornell-william-brooks-selected-president.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
California State University, Los Angeles

Barr, Joyce A. (1951- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Ambassador Joyce Anne Barr was born in 1951 in Tacoma, Washington. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Pacific Lutheran University in 1976, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. Ambassador Barr earned her Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University and also holds a Master of Science degree in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, a part of the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.
Sources: 
“Joyce A. Barr: Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Administration,” http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/190222.htm; “Statement of Joyce A. Barr: Nominee To Be Assistant Secretary of State For Administration Before The Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” U.S. Senate Committee of Foreign Relations (July 19, 2011), http://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Barr_Testimony.pdf; “African American History Month: Joyce Barr,” Office of Civil Rights (February 4, 2008), http://web.archive.org/web/20081214084037/; “Officially In: Joyce A. Barr to be Asst Secretary for Administration,” Diplopundit (May 20, 2011),  http://diplopundit.net/2011/05/23/officially-in-joyce-a-barr-to-be-asst-secretary-for-administration/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Morgan State University

Parker, Mack Charles (1936-1959)

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

The murder of Mack Charles Parker is considered one of the last civil rights era lynchings. On the night of April 24, 1959, a mob abducted Parker from the Pearl River County Jail in Poplarville, Mississippi, where he was awaiting trial for the alleged crime of rape. They beat Parker, shot him twice in the chest, and then threw his body into the Pearl River.

Mack Charles Parker was a 23-year-old truck driver who had returned to his hometown of Lumberton, Mississippi, after receiving a general discharge following two years in the Army. After the death of his father, he had taken on the responsibility of supporting his mother, Liza, and his two younger siblings, Dolores and Charles.  

Sources: 
Neil R. McMillen, Dark Journey: Black Mississippians in the Age of Jim Crow (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989); Dennis J. Mitchell, A New History of Mississippi (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2014); Howard Smead, Blood Justice: The Lynching of Mack Charles Parker (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Alcorn State University

Otis, Clarence (1956– )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Corporate CEO Clarence Otis was born April 11, 1956, in Vicksburg, Mississippi. His father, Clarence Otis Sr., worked as a janitor while his mother, Calanthus Hall Otis, stayed home to raise their three children. The family moved to the Watts section of Los Angeles, California, when Otis was four years old. Although Watts was at the time a sprawling ghetto that in 1965 would become the site of the Watts riot, Clarence Otis Sr. drove the family through Beverly Hills to show his children that a different life was possible. Otis credits these drives, as well as a stable family life, for keeping him away from the gang activity prevalent in Watts.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Los Angeles Pierce College

Norman, Floyd E. (1935– )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Floyd E. Norman is an animator, comic book artist, and script writer who made history in 1956 by becoming the first African American cartoon animator at the Disney studios, where he worked directly with Walt Disney.

Norman was born on June 22, 1935, in Santa Barbara, California.  His parents, James Norman and Evelyn Davis Norman, were originally from Natchez, Mississippi. Norman’s interest in art and cartooning began in childhood after his mother took him to see the classic animated Disney film Dumbo in 1941. The next year, Norman saw Disney’s Bambi, by which time he had pretty much decided he wanted to be a cartoonist working for Disney when he grew up.

After graduating from high school in Santa Barbara, Norman took his portfolio to the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, whereupon he was advised to go to an art school. Early in his career, Norman worked as an assistant for Bill Woggon, who also lived in Santa Barbara and who created the popular Katy Keene comics.
Sources: 
Donna Beth Weilenman, “Animator, pioneer at Disney, stays on cutting edge,” The Benicia Herald, February 27, 2011; http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0635488/;
http://www.thehistorymakers.com/sites/production/files/A2007_321_Norman_Floyd_EAD.pdf
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Kimbrough, Jack J. (1908–1992)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Civil rights activist, dentist, book and African art collector Jack Johnson Kimbrough was born in Lexington, Mississippi, on July 26, 1908, to Samuel G. Kimbrough, a blacksmith, and Mary (Hoover) Kimbrough. Fearing violence from the Ku Klux Klan, in 1915 the family fled Mississippi with their seven-year-old son to live with relatives in Alameda, California.

Kimbrough graduated from Alameda High School in 1926, attended Sacramento Junior College for two years, and then transferred to the University of California at Berkeley where he majored in chemistry and graduated in 1930. Kimbrough then obtained his dental degree from the University of California Dental School in San Francisco in 1934. Following his graduation, he received the third highest score on the state’s required dental board examination.

Sources: 
Robert Fikes Jr., “Kimbrough, Jack,” in African American National Biography, vol. 5 (Oxford University Press, 2006); Robert Fikes Jr., “Showdown at the U.S. Grant Hotel,” San Diego NAACP History News, 5 (April 2012).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
San Diego State University

Furniss, Sumner Alexander (1874-1953)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Private Office of Dr. Sumner Furniss
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Prominent physician and surgeon Sumner Alexander Furniss was the first African American to become a member of the staff at Indianapolis City Hospital in Indiana. He was also a founding member and president of the Indianapolis Young Men's Colored Association (YMCA).

Furniss was the second son born to William H. Furniss and Mary Elizabeth J. Williams, in Jackson, Mississippi, on January 30, 1874. His family moved to Indianapolis when he was young, and his father became the superintendent of the Special Delivery Department of the Indianapolis Post Office. Furniss received his early education in the local city schools and then enrolled in Lincoln University (formerly the Lincoln Institute). Just before his graduation in 1891, Furniss enrolled in the Medical College of Indiana and received his medical degree in 1894, ranking second in a class of fifty-two. Furniss was the only African American in his class. While in medical school, he worked as a clerk for Dr. E. S. Elder, a prominent Indianapolis physician, to pay for his education. On October 26, 1905, he married Lillian Morris, but no children were born to this union.

Sources: 
Commemorative Biographical Record of Central Pennsylvania including the Counties of Centre, Clearfield, Jefferson and Clarion, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, And many of the Early Settled Families-Volume II (Indianapolis: J. H. Beers & Company, 1908); Michelle D. Hale, “Furniss, Sumner A.” The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994); Frank Lincoln Mather, Who’s Who of the Colored Race; A General Biographical Dictionary of Men and Women of African Descent (Chicago: 1915); Linda Heywood, Allison Blakely, Charles Stith and Joshua C. Yesnowitz, African Americans In U.S. Foreign Policy; From the Era of Frederick Douglass to the Age of Obama (Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 2015).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Elaine, Arkansas Riot (1919)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
African Americans Indicted For Participating in the
Elaine, Arkansas Riot
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
One of the last of the major riots of the “Red Summer” of 1919, the race riot in Elaine, Arkansas was also one of the deadliest. Though exact numbers are unknown, it is estimated over 200 African Americans were killed along with five whites during the white hysteria of a pending insurrection of black sharecroppers. Also known as the “Elain Massacre,” the violence, terror, and concerted effort to drive out blacks were so jarring that Ida B. Wells, a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) published a short book on the riot in 1920. It was also widely reported in African American newspapers like the Chicago Defender and generated several public campaigns to address the fallout.
Sources: 
Becky Givan, "Elaine, Arkansas Race Riot of 1919," Global Mappings: A Political Atlas of the African Diaspora, Institute for Diasporic Studies at Northwestern University, http://diaspora.northwestern.edu/mbin/WebObjects/DiasporaX.woa/wa/displayArticle?atomid=603; Walter C. Rucker and James Nathaniel Upton, Encyclopedia of American Race Riots: Greenwood Milestones in African American History, Vol. 1 (Westport, Conn: Greenwood, 2007); Grif Stockley, "Elaine Massacre," Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=1102.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Jackson, Reverend Joseph H. (1900–1990)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Reverend Joseph Harrison Jackson was the pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois (1941–1990), the longest-serving president of the National Baptist Convention (1953-1982), and a leading conservative voice during the Civil Rights era. To this day, Rev. Jackson remains a deeply controversial figure, in part due to his opposition to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his strong critiques of civil disobedience and the “black power” movement. Rev. Jackson was a passionate advocate for what he called a “law and order” approach to civil rights. He championed participation in democratic processes, putting emphasis on the ballot, and discouraged protest marches, boycotts, sit-ins, and other “direct action” means of achieving African American civil rights. Rev.
Sources: 
“Reverend J.H. Jackson Papers,” The Black Metropolis Research Consortium, BMRC, Chicago History Museum, https://obrikati.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/reverend-j-h-jackson-papers_findingaid.pdf; “Joseph H. Jackson.” Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing Press, World Heritage Encyclopedia, http://www.gutenberg.us/articles/joseph_h._jackson; “Jackson, Joseph Harrison (1900-1990),” Martin Luther King Jr. and the Global Freedom Struggle, Stanford University, http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/encyclopedia/enc_jackson_joseph_harrison_19001990.1.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Robinson, John Charles (1903–1954)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
John Charles Robinson, nicknamed the Brown Condor, was an African American aviator who fought with the Imperial Ethiopian Air Force against Benito Mussolini and Fascist Italy during the Second Italian-Ethiopian War, 1935–1936. He is also known as the Father of the Tuskegee Airmen for his contributions to the aviation programs he began at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in the early 1940s.
Sources: 
Philip Thomas Tucker, Father of the Tuskegee Airmen, John C. Robinson (Lincoln, Nebraska: Potomac Books, Inc., 2012) https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=Tucker%2C+Phillip+Thomas.+Father+of+the+Tuskegee+Airmen%2C+John+C.%20+Robinson.+Potomac+Books%2C+Inc.%2C+2012.&btnG=&as_sdt=1%2C48&as_sdtp; Thomas E. Simmons, The Man Called Brown Condor: The Forgotten History of an African American Fighter Pilot (New York, New York: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., 2013) https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Simmons%2C+Thomas+E.+The+Man+Called+Brown+Condor%3A+The+Forgotten+%20History+of+an+African+American+Fighter+Pilot.+Skyhorse+Publishing%2C+Inc.%2C+2013.&btnG=&hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C48.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

McCrary, Warner (c.1810–n.d.)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownrship: Pubic Domain"
Warner McCary, slave, musician, performer, self-identified prophet, and physician, was born in Natchez, Mississippi, circa 1810. His mother, Franky, was a slave, and his father, James McCary, was a slave owner and cabinetmaker who migrated to Natchez from Pennsylvania. Throughout his life, Warner went by several names, including William McCary and Okah Tubbee.

Early on, McCary attempted to distance himself from his life in slavery. As he told his narrative, Warner claimed his father was the Choctaw chief, Mushulatubbee, and that he was stolen as a child and placed in the home of James McCary. Franky was referenced only as a slave, a physical abuser, and a psychological menace to Warner. When James McCary died in 1813, his will manumitted Bob and Kitty McCary, his earlier children with Franky. Warner, however, was to remain a slave for the rest of his life, and his labors were to benefit Bob and Kitty financially.
Sources: 
Angela Pulley Hudson, Real Native Genius: How an Ex-Slave and a White Mormon Became Famous Indians (Chapel Hill: North Carolina UP, 2015); Newell G. Bringhurst, Saints, Slaves, and Blacks: The Changing Place of Black People Within Mormonism (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

1870

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1801-1900
Timeline Entry Description: 
Hiram R. Revels (Republican) of Mississippi takes his seat in the U.S. Senate on February 25. He is the first black United States senator, though he serves only one year, completing the unexpired term of Jefferson Davis.

1875

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1801-1900
Timeline Entry Description: 
Federal troops are sent to Vicksburg, Mississippi in January to protect African Americans attempting to vote and to allow the safe return of the African American sheriff who had been forced to flee the city.

1875

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1801-1900
Timeline Entry Description: 
Blanche Kelso Bruce (Republican) of Mississippi becomes the first African American to serve a full six year term as senator when he takes his seat in the United States Senate on March 3.

1890

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1801-1900
Timeline Entry Description: 
On November 1, the Mississippi Legislature approves a new state Constitution that disenfranchises virtually all of the state's African American voters. The Mississippi Plan used literacy and understanding tests to prevent African Americans from casting ballots. Similar statutes were adopted by South Carolina (1895), Louisiana (1898), North Carolina (1900), Alabama (1901), Virginia (1901), Georgia (1908), and Oklahoma (1910).

1955

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
Fourteen-year-old Chicago resident Emmett Till is lynched while vacationing in Money, Mississippi on August 28.

1959

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
On April 26, Mack Charles Parker is lynched near Poplarville, Mississippi.

1962

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
On October 1, James Meredith becomes the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi. On the day he enters the University, he is escorted by U.S. marshals after federal troops are sent in to suppress rioting and maintain order.

1963

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
On June 12, Mississippi NAACP Field Secretary Medgar Evers is assassinated outside his home in Jackson.

1964

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organizes the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project.

1964

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
On June 21 civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner are abducted and killed by terrorists in Mississippi.

1966

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
On June 5, James Meredith begins a solitary "March Against Fear" for 220 miles from Memphis to Jackson, Mississippi to protest racial discrimination. Soon after crossing into Mississippi Meredith is shot by a sniper. Civil Rights leaders including Martin Luther King (SCLC), Floyd McKissick (CORE) and Stokely Carmichael (SNCC) vow to continue the march which eventually reaches Jackson. While in Greenwood, Carmichael gives his first Black Power speech on June 26.

1970

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
On May 15, two students, Philip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green, are killed by police in a confrontation with students at Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi.

1997

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
In June, Harvey Johnson, Jr. was sworn in as the first black mayor of Jackson, Mississippi.

1900

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1801-1900
Timeline Entry Description: 
By 1900 nearly two-thirds of the landowners in the Mississippi Delta were black farmers, most of whom had bought and cleared land after the Civil War.

1955

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
On May 7 Reverend George W. Lee, an NAACP activist, is killed in Belzoni, Mississippi.

1956

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
The Mississippi Sovereignty Commisison is formed in Jackson, the state captial, to maintain racial segregation in Mississippi.
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