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Jordan, Michael J. (1963- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Michael Jordan in the Air
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Michael Jordan, National Basketball Association (NBA) superstar, was born February 17, 1963 in Brooklyn, New York, the son of James R. and Deloris Jordan. Soon after his birth, the family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina. Jordan became a standout athlete at Laney High School despite being rejected for the school’s varsity basketball team the first season he tried out. He grew four inches taller over the following year, made the team and became an All-American during his senior year at Laney.

Jordan played college basketball at the University of North Carolina where under coach Dean Smith’s tutelage he established a reputation as a clutch player when he made a game winning shot against Georgetown in the 1982 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship game. This reputation would follow him into the NBA when he left school before his senior year to play professionally for the Chicago Bulls.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
California State University-Fresno

95th Engineer Regiment

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Organizations
History Type: 
African American History in the West

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

The African American-manned 95th Engineer Battalion (General Service) was formed in April 1941 at Fort Belvoir, Virginia as part of the U.S. Army buildup preceding World War II.  Unlike many construction units, the 95th received considerable training, participating in the Carolina Maneuvers and receiving practical experience at Camp AP Hill, Virginia, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  Expanded to regimental size following Pearl Harbor, it was sent to Canada in June 1942 to assist in building the Alaska-Canada (Alcan) Highway.

Sources: 
Ulysses Lee, The Employment of Negro Troops (Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, 1966); Lael Morgan, “Writing Minorities out of History: Black Builders of the Alcan Highway,” Alaska History, 7:2 (Fall, 1992); Heath Twichell, Northwest Epic: the Building of the Alaska Highway (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992).

 

Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

White, George Henry (1852-1918)

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People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

George H. White served as a member of the fifty-fifth and fifty-sixth United States Congresses (March 4, 1897-March 3, 1901) from North Carolina’s Second Congressional District during what historian Rayford Logan has termed the nadir in race relations for the post-Reconstruction South. Born in Rosindale, North Carolina on December 18, 1852, White graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1877, and was admitted to the bar in 1879.  White practiced law and served as the Principal of the State Normal School of North Carolina until he entered politics in 1881, at which time he served for a year in the North Carolina House of Representatives.  Four years later he served for a term in the state’s senate.  From 1886 to 1894, White worked for the second judicial district of North Carolina as solicitor and prosecuting attorney. 

Sources: 
Benjamin R. Justensen, George Henry White: An Even Chance In the Race of Life (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 2001); “White, George H.,” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=W000372; “White, George H.,” Documenting the South, http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/whitegh/whitegh.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Johnson C. Smith University

Lowry, Henry Berry (c. 1846-1872)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

In 1853, the Lumbee Indians, a triracial people who are descendants of several southeastern Indian tribes, whites, and African Americans, named themselves after the Lumber River, which flows through their homeland in North Carolina.  According to the Lumbee historian Adolph Dial, they are also descended from the “lost” Roanoke colonists, who took up residence with American Indians farther inland.

Sources: 
Bruce E. Johansen and Donald A. Grinde, Jr., The Encyclopedia of Native American Biography (New York: Da Capo Press, 1997)
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
State University of New York, Buffalo

Stanley, Sara G. (1837-1918)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

Born in 1837 in North Carolina, Sara G. Stanley was a member of a free, educated and economically secure family.  She attended Oberlin College and later moved to Delaware after her family immigrated there.  Following the tradition of other free black women Sara joined the local ladies antislavery society.  As a representative of her organization she delivered a strong and forceful address at the 1856 meeting of the all male Convention of Disfranchised citizens of Ohio.

Sources: 
Ellen NicKenzie Lawson and Marlene D. Merrill, “The Three Sarahs: Documents of Antebellum Black College Women” in Edwin Mellen Press Studies in Women and Religion, Vol. 13. (New York, 1984); Darlene Clark Hine, Black Women In America: An Historical Encyclopedia, Vol. 11 (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Carlson Publishing, 1993), p. 1104.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Vermont

Fraser-Reid, Bertram O. (1934- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

In the early 1990s Bertram Oliver Fraser-Reid was being touted as the first person of African descent to have a serious chance at winning the Nobel Prize in a branch of science.  In fact, this native of Coleyville, Jamaica, born February 23, 1934, was nominated for the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1998.  Fraser-Reid was awarded his B.Sc. (first-class honors) and M.Sc. degrees at Queen’s University in Canada in 1959 and his Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Alberta in 1964.  From 1964 to 1966 he was a postdoctoral fellow at Imperial College, the University of London where he studied under Nobel Laureate Sir Derek Barton.  He was a chemistry professor at the University of Waterloo from 1966 to 1980, at the University of Maryland from 1980 to 1982, and from 1985 until his retirement in 1996 he was Professor of Chemistry at Duke University. 

In retirement Fraser-Reid founded the non-profit Natural Products/Glycotechnology Research Institute Inc., operating in Pittsboro, North Carolina, dedicated to studying carbohydrate chemistry/biology that relates to tropical parasitic diseases in Third World countries and specifically targeting the development of a carbohydrate-based vaccine to fight malaria.  Some of Fraser-Reid’s earlier work focused on transforming sugars into complex noncarbohydrate compounds and linking sugars into biologically active compounds to produce oliogosaccharides which could impact the combating of devastating diseases.

Sources: 
American Men & Women of Science. 21st Ed. Vol. 2. (Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 2003). CBFSA News (December-March 1990).
http://www.takingitglobal.org/express/panorama/article.html?ContentID=5431.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
San Diego State 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

DePriest, Oscar (1871-1951)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Sources: 
S. Davis Day, “Herbert Hoover and Racial Politics: The De Priest Incident.” Journal of Negro History 65 (Winter 1980); Charles Branham, “Oscar DePriest,” The Encyclopedia of Chicago (Chicago: The Newberry Library, 2002).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
East Tennessee State University

Murray, Pauli (1910-1985)

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People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Sources: 

Pauli Murray, Song in a Weary Throat: An American Pilgrimage (New York: Harper and Row, 1987); Elaine Sue Caldbeck, “A Religious Life of Pauli Murray: Hope and Struggle,” Ph.D. dissertation, Northwestern University, 2000; http://spartacus-educational.com/USAmurrayA.htm.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
East Tennessee State University

Bickford, Sarah Gammon (1855-1931)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Sarah Blair was born into slavery on Christmas Day, 1855, on the Blair Plantation near Greensboro, North Carolina. After the Civil War Sarah lived with an aunt in Knoxville, Tennessee and changed her name to Gammon, the aunt’s name.  In 1870, Knoxville Judge John L. Murphy was appointed to a judicial post in Virginia City, Montana Territory.  Sarah, about 15 years of age, was offered free transportation to Montana in exchange for caring for the Murphy children.  She accepted and the family arrived in Virginia City, Montana in January 1871.  

Sarah entered Virginia City during its gold rush and quickly found work as a chambermaid at Virginia City’s Madison House Hotel.  In 1872 she married William Leonard Brown, a successful gold miner.  They had two sons and a daughter.  Within a few years, however, both her sons and her husband died of diphtheria.
Sources: 
Marlette C. Lacey, From Slave to Water Magnate (Lincoln, Nebraska: iUniverse, 2006).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Obama, Barack, Jr. (1961- )

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

Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States and the first African American to occupy the White House.  Obama was born August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father, Barack Obama Sr., was a Kenyan graduate student studying in the United States and his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, a white American from Wichita, Kansas.  The two were married on February 2, 1961 in Maui, Hawaii.  In 1971, when he was ten, Obama’s mother, who had remarried and was living in Indonesia, sent him to Honolulu, Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents Madelyn and Stanley Dunham for several years, where he attended Punahou, a prestigious preparatory school.  Obama was admitted on a scholarship with the assistance of his grandparents.

Sources: 
Barack Obama, Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (New York: Times Books, 1995); Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (New York: Crown Publishers, 2006); Barack Obama, US Senator for Illinois, http://obama.senate.gov/ ; Mike Dorning and Jim Tankersley, Chicago Tribune, “Obama Redraws Map with the Resounding Win,” November 5, 2008, p.2-3; Chicago Sun-Times, “A Dream Fulfilled,” November 5, 2008, p. 2A; The Times, “Landslide,” November 5, 2008, 2A,3A; James A. Thurber, ed., Obama in Office (Boulder, Colorado: Paradigm Publishers, 2011) .
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

McCain, Franklin Eugene (1941-2014)

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

Franklin McCain grew up in Washington, D.C. but returned to his native North Carolina to attend college at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. McCain and his roommate, David Richmond, had followed the progress of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Alabama and felt that they should do something to contribute to the movement for social change. On Monday February 1, 1960 McCain joined the rest of the “A & T Four” (Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair, Jr. and Richmond) in sitting-in at a segregated F.W. Woolworth lunch counter. The following day, two dozen students from North Carolina A & T and Bennett College joined the protest. By the end of the week 3,000 students were picketing in downtown Greensboro. The movement rapidly spread to fifty-four cities in nine other southern states.

Sources: 
Frye Gaillard, The Greensboro Four: Civil Rights Pioneers (Charlotte, N.C.: Main Street Rag Publishing Co., 2001); William H. Chafe, Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Black Struggle for Freedom (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980).
Contributor2: 
Affiliation: 
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and Johnson C. Smith University, respectively

Khazan, Jibreel/ Ezell Blair Jr. (1941- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
One of the original Greensboro Four who took part in the Woolworth sit-ins. It is reported that as a nine-year-old he boasted to friends that he would “one day drink from the white people’s fountains and eat at their lunch counters.” Blair was the most uncertain of the four who decided to stage the Woolworth protest, and recalls calling his parents to ask their advice. They told him to do what he must and to carry himself with dignity and grace. He never strayed very far from the example of his parents, who were active in the civil rights movement, or the lessons of the people he had known as a child growing up in the south.
Sources: 
Frye Gaillard, The Greensboro Four: Civil Rights Pioneers (Charlotte, N.C.: Main Street Rag Publishing Co., 2001); William H. Chafe, Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Black Struggle for Freedom (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980).
Contributor2: 
Affiliation: 
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and Johnson C. Smith University, respectively

McNeil, Joseph Alfred (1942- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
One of the four North Carolina Agricultural & Technical freshmen who initiated the Sit-In Movement at Greensboro, North Carolina. A native of North Carolina, Joseph McNeil saw Greensboro’s race relations as a mirror image of the social structure of most southern cities. McNeil recalls having discussed the issue of segregation with community members like local businessman, Ralph Johns, in the weeks before the initial protest.

McNeil -- along with Franklin McCain, Jibreel Khazan (Ezell Blair, Jr.), and David Richmond --  had grown frustrated with the idea that patience and long suffering alone would allow Blacks to prosper. In their Scott Hall Dormitory rooms the young men read books about Gandhi, studied the writings of W.E.B. Du Bois, and debated the merits of direct action. On January 31st 1960, they agreed to stage a public act of non-compliance with segregation. The following afternoon the four met at the A & T campus library and walked together to Woolworth drug store where they broke the law by sitting at a segregated lunch counter. A national chain, Woolworth stores would feel the effects of the protest beyond Greensboro. McNeil later recalled feeling a deep sense of relief during the first day of the Sit-In campaign.
Sources: 
Frye Gaillard, The Greensboro Four: Civil Rights Pioneers (Charlotte, NC: Main Street Rag Publishing Co., 2001); William H. Chafe, Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Black Struggle for Freedom (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980).
Contributor2: 
Affiliation: 
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and Johnson C. Smith University, respectively

Richmond, David Leinail (1941-1990)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

One of the original Greensboro four who took part in the Woolworth sit-ins, David Leinail Richmond is often described by those who were closest to him as “gentle, intelligent, generous to a fault, and able to take a stand.” He was born in Greensboro and graduated from Dudley High School. At North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College (now University) he majored in business administration and accounting. He got married while still at “A&T” and was immediately faced with the demands of his classes and the needs of his family, as well as the curious celebrity that went with the movement.

David Richmond began to fall behind in his class work, cutting back on his course load, and as time went by he left A&T before receiving his degree. After leaving A&T, he became a counselor-coordinator for the CETA program in Greensboro. He lived in the mountain community of Franklin for nine years, then returned to Greensboro to take care of his parents and work as a housekeeping porter for Greensboro Health Care Center. In 1980, the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce awarded him the Levi Coffin Award for “leadership in human rights, human relations, and human resources development in Greensboro.” He was married and divorced twice and has two children with Yvonne Bryson.

Sources: 
Frye Gaillard, The Greensboro Four: Civil Rights Pioneers (Charlotte, N.C.: Main Street Rag Publishing Co., 2001); William H. Chafe, Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Black Struggle for Freedom (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980).
Contributor2: 
Affiliation: 
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Johnson C. Smith University

Burton, Walter Moses (1829?-1913)

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

 

Map of Fort Bend County, Texas, 1882
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Walter Moses Burton holds the distinction of being the first black elected sheriff in the United States.  Burton was also a State Senator in Texas.

Burton was brought to Fort Bend County, Texas as a slave from North Carolina in 1850 at the age of twenty-one.  While enslaved, he was taught how to read and write by his master, Thomas Burton. After the Civil War his former owner sold Burton several large plots of land for $1,900 making him one of the wealthiest and most influential blacks in Fort Bend County.  In 1869, Walter Burton was elected sheriff and tax collector of Fort Bend County.  Along with these duties, he also served as the president of the Fort Bend County Union League.

Sources: 

Merline Pitre, Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares: The Black Leadership of Texas, 1868-1900 (Austin: Eakin, 1985); "Walter Moses Burton" in The Handbook of Texas History Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbu67.

 

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Texas Southern University

Abele, Julian F. (1881-1950)

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

The legacy of architect Julian Francis Abele was brought into focus in the mid-1980s when in the midst of a student protest at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, his great grandniece reminded the campus community that her long unsung ancestor was responsible for the eleven original architectural drawings for the campus.  Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 21, 1881, Abele was the youngest of eight children born to Charles and Mary Adelaide Jones Abele. Throgh his mother he was a descendant of Rev. Absalom Jones, the founder of the Free African Society and St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. 

Sources: 

Dreck Spurlock Wilson, ed., African American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary 1865-1945 (New York: Routledge, 2004); https://www.philadelphiabuildings.org/pab/app/ar_display.cfm/21458; http://search.library.duke.edu/search?id=DUKE005758002.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
San Diego State 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

Johnson, Jack (1878-1946)

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

Jack Johnson, the first African American and first Texan to win the heavyweight boxing championship of the world, was born the second of six children to Henry and Tiny Johnson in Galveston on March 31, 1878.  His parents were former slaves.  To help support his family, Jack Johnson left school in the fifth grade to work on the dock in his port city hometown.  In the 1890s Johnson began boxing as a teenager in "battles royal" matches where white spectators watched black men fight and at the end of the contest tossed money at the winner.

Johnson turned professional in 1897 but four years later he was arrested and jailed because boxing was at that time a criminal sport in Texas.  After his release from jail he left Texas to pursue the title of “Negro” heavyweight boxing champion. Although he made a good living as a boxer, Johnson for six years sought a title fight with the white heavyweight champion, James J. Jeffries.  Jeffries denied Johnson and other African American boxers a shot at his title and he retired undefeated in 1904. 

Sources: 
Jack Johnson, Jack Johnson is a Dandy (New York: Chelsea House, 1969); Al-Tony Gilmore, "Bad Nigger!" The National Impact of Jack Johnson (Port Washington: Kennikat Press, 1975); Thomas R. Hietala, The Fight of the Century: Jack Johnson, Joe Louis and the Struggle for Racial Equality (Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 2002); http://www.pbs.org/unforgivableblackness/about/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Berea College

Jacobs, Harriet (c.1815-1897)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Born into slavery in Edenton, North Carolina, Harriet Ann Jacobs was the daughter of slaves, Delilah and Daniel Jacobs.  Harriet Jacobs is best known for her autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, edited by white abolitionist Lydia Maria Child, and published in 1852.   Using the pseudonym “Linda Brent,” Jacobs tells the story of her life as a slave of a “Dr. Flint,” to whom she was willed as a young girl after her mistress died.  At this point in her young life, Harriet encountered unceasing sexual advances from Flint.  She escaped Flint’s household in 1835, but remained nearby, living in an attic for several years in order to stay near her son.  She made her final escape in 1842 and was able to reunite with her children. She settled in Rochester, New York, where she joined the network of abolitionists.  At the urging of white abolitionist Amy Post, Jacobs wrote her autobiography.  Still pursued by slave catchers, Jacobs fled to Massachusetts.
Sources: 
Jean Fagan Yellin, “Harriet Ann Jacobs,” in Darlene Clark Hine, ed., Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, Vol. I (New York: Carlson, 1993), 627-29; Harriet Brent Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861); and Dorothy Sterling, ed., We Are Your Sisters: Black Women in the Nineteenth Century (New York: W.W. Norton, 1984).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Montford Point Marines (1942-1949)

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History
Montford Point Marines, ca. 1944
Image Ownership:  Public Domain

With the beginning of World War II African Americans would get their chance to be in “the toughest outfit going,” the previously all-white Marine Corps.  The first recruits reported to Montford Point, a small section of land on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina on August 26, 1942.  By October only 600 recruits had begun training although the call was for 1,000 for combat in the 51st and 52nd Composite Defense Battalions. 

Sources: 
Gerald Astor, The Right to Fight: A History of African Americans in the Military (Novato, Ca.: Presidio Press, 1998); Gail Buckley, American Patriots (New York: Random House, 2001); Bernard C. Nalty, The Right to Fight: African-American Marines in World War II (Washington, D.C.: Center for Military History, The United States Army, 1985).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Micheaux, Oscar (1884–1951)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of John A. Ravage
Oscar Micheaux was the quintessential self-made man.  Novelist, film-maker and relentless self-promoter, Micheaux was born on a farm near Murphysboro, Illinois.  He worked briefly as a Pullman porter and then in 1904 homesteaded nearly 500 acres of land near the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  Micheaux published novels in Nebraska and New York and made movies in Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California.
Sources: 
Pearl Bowser and Louise Spence, Writing Himself Into History: Oscar Micheaux, His Silent Films and His Audiences (Piscataway, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2000); Betty Carol Van Epps-Taylor, Oscar Micheaux: Dakota Homesteader, Author, Pioneer Film Maker (Rapid City: Dakota West Books, 1999).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Brown, Charlotte Eugenia Hawkins (1883-1961)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Born Lottie Hawkins in Henderson, North Carolina, in 1883, her family moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, early in her childhood to avoid racial discrimination in their home state. In Cambridge, she attended Allston Grammar School, Cambridge English High School and Salem State Normal School in Salem, Massachusetts.

During her senior year at Cambridge High School Hawkins met Alice Freeman Palmer, who in 1882 was named the first woman president of Wellesley College. Palmer would become a role-model, mentor and influence in Hawkins’s life. Hawkins became Palmer’s protégé as the two women developed a life long bond.  Palmer assisted Hawkins financially in attending Salem State Normal School, a teachers college.

In 1901 eighteen year old Hawkins accepted a teaching position in North Carolina offered by the American Missionary Association. Although she did not graduate from Salem State, she decided to take the post anyway knowing that since there were few educational opportunities for black children she would do what she could to address the problem.  
Sources: 
Charles W. Wadelington and Richard F. Knapp, Charlotte Hawkins Brown and Palmer Memorial Institute; What One Young African American Woman Could Do  (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999); Lorraine Roses and Ruth E. Randolph, Harlem Renaissance and Beyond: Literary Biographies of One Hundred Black Women Writers, 1900-1945 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997); http://www.wellesley.edu; http://www.chbfoundation.org
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Chesnutt, Charles Waddell (1858-1932)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Charles Waddell Chesnutt was born the son of free black parents on June 20, 1858 in Cleveland, Ohio. His parents had recently moved to Cleveland from Fayetteville, North Carolina in response to the growing restrictions placed on free blacks in that slave state.
By 1866, Chesnutt worked part time in the family store while regularly attending Cleveland’s Howard School for Blacks.  

In 1872 Chesnutt was forced to end his formal education at the age of fourteen because he had to help support his parents.  However, the school’s principal invited him to stay at the school as a distinguished pupil-teacher and turn his modest salary over to his father.  

By sixteen, Chesnutt was employed in Charlotte, North Carolina as a full-time teacher and in 1877, returned to Fayetteville, North Carolina as the assistant principal of Howard School.  In 1880 Chesnutt became the school’s principal.

In search of more lucrative employment, Chesnutt resigned his school-administrator post in 1883 and moved to New York City where he worked as a stenographer and journalist on Wall Street.  By 1887, Chesnutt returned to Cleveland and was admitted to the Ohio Bar.   As a teacher, lawyer, businessman and writer, Chesnutt was a prominent member of Cleveland’s African American elite.  By 1900, however, Chesnutt gave up his business and professional life to write and lecture full-time.
Sources: 
Helen Chesnutt, Charles Waddell Chesnutt, Pioneer of the Color Line (North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 1952); Linda Metzger, Black Writers: A Selection of Sketches from Contemporary Authors (Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1989).
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

Palmer Memorial Institute (1902-1971)

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
In 1902, Charlotte Brown Hawkins opened an institute for African American teenagers in North Carolina. She established the institute in a converted blacksmith shop and named it for her mentor, Alice Freeman Palmer.  Hawkins credited Palmer, the first woman president of Wellesley College, with much of her early education.  Palmer helped Hawkins financially so she could attend the Salem State Normal School, where she prepared to become a teacher.

Over the years the Palmer Institute expanded to include 350 acres of campus and a farm to produce food for the students and teachers.  The Alice Freeman Palmer Building, completed in 1922 as the first all-brick structure on the campus, included administrative offices, classrooms, the Wellesley Auditorium and a library which held reproductions of the world’s great works of art.  

In its early years the school’s curriculum followed that of Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute, an agricultural and manual training facility. However, over Hawkins's 50-year teaching career, it shifted from its technical focus and increasingly emphasized academic and cultural education. The school became a nationally accredited preparatory school by the Southern Association of College Secondary Schools before its closure in 1971.  During its 70 year history the Palmer Institute educated more than 1,000 African American students.
Sources: 
Charles W. Wadelington and Richard F. Knapp, Charlotte Hawkins Brown and Palmer Memorial Institute (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999); http://statelibrary.dcr.state.nc.us;
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Clayton, Eva (1934- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Sources: 
Charles Christian, Black Sage: The African American Experience (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1995); Alston Hornsby, Jr. and Angela M. Hornsby, From the Grassroots (Montgomery, Alabama: E-Book Time LLC, 2006); bioguide.congress.gov; www.answers.com
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Turner, Benjamin Sterling (1825-1894)

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People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Benjamin Sterling Turner, a member of the United States House of Representatives from Alabama during the Reconstruction period, was born on March 17, 1825 in Weldon, North Carolina. He was raised as a slave and as a child received no formal education. In 1830 Turner moved to Selma, Alabama with his mother and slave owner. While living on the plantation he surreptitiously obtained an education and by age 20 Turner was able to read and write fluently. 

While still a slave Turner managed a hotel and stable in Selma.  Although his owner received most of the money for Turner’s work, he managed to save some of his earnings and shortly after the Civil War he used the savings he had accumulated to purchase the property.  The U.S. Census of 1870 reported Turner as owning $2,500 in real estate and $10,000 in personal property, making him one of the wealthiest freedmen in Alabama.
Sources: 
Stephen Middleton, ed., Black Congressmen During Reconstruction (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2002); http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=T000414.
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Hyman, John Adams (1840-1891)

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People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
John Adams Hyman was born into slavery on July 23, 1840 in Warren County, North Carolina. Hyman's thirst for knowledge resulted in him being sold away from his family for attempting to read a spelling book that was given to him by a sympathetic white jeweler. He continued to seek knowledge at his new residence in Alabama and was sold again for fear that he would influence other slaves. Hyman was sold eight more times for his attempts to educate himself.  

At the age of 25 Hyman was freed by the Thirteenth Amendment and returned to his family in North Carolina. He quickly enrolled in school where he received an elementary education. Hyman also became a landowner and merchant.  Hyman, a Mason, soon emerged as a leader of the post-Civil War North Carolina black community.  
Sources: 
Stephen Middleton, ed. Black Congressmen During Reconstruction (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2002); George W. Reid, “Four in Black: North Carolina’s Black Congressmen, 1874-1901” Journal of Negro History 64 (Summer 1979): 229-43; http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=H001025.
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Leonard, “Sugar” Ray (1956 - )

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People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of Clay Moyle
Ray Leonard was born on May 17, 1956 in Wilmington, North Carolina. At age 20 he captured a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Exceptionally fast with his fists and quick on his feet, the charismatic youngster turned professional and immediately became one of the sports biggest draws with his crowd pleasing style.

Adopting the name “Sugar” in tribute to Sugar Ray Robinson, Leonard captured his first title when he defeated WBC welterweight champion Wilfred Benitez in 1979. He won 22 fights before suffering his first professional defeat to Roberto Duran in June 1980 when he attempted to stand toe to toe and slug it out with his more experienced opponent. Five months later he regained the title from Duran by changing his tactics and relying upon his superior boxing skills, frustrating his opponent so badly that the latter quit in the middle of the eighth round.

In 1981 Leonard moved up in weight and added the Junior Middleweight title by defeating Ayube Kalule, and later that year unified the welterweight title with a 14-round TKO of the highly regarded Tommy Hearns. He then retired for the first time in 1982 after suffering a detached retina.
Sources: 
www.boxrec.com; Sam Toperoff, Sugar Ray Leonard and Other Noble Warriors (New York: McGraw-Hill Company,1986).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

O’Hara, James Edward (1844-1905)

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People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public domain
North Carolina congressman James O'Hara was born a free person in New York City to an Irish merchant and West Indian mother. While growing up he worked as a deckhand on ships that sailed between New York and the West Indies.  When he was eighteen O’Hara settled Halifax County, North Carolina with a group of missionaries.  

After the Civil War, James O’Hara taught at freedman’s schools in New Bern and Goldsboro, North Carolina. O'Hara also studied law at Howard University in Washington, D.C.  Shortly after North Carolina’s 1868 Constitutional Convention which reorganized state government and authorized black male voting, O'Hara was elected to the North Carolina state legislature.  In 1871, while still in the legislature, he completed his law apprenticeship and passed the North Carolina bar exam.  In 1878 O’Hara won the Republican nomination for North Carolina’s heavily black Second Congressional District.  He lost the general election to white Democrat William Hodges Kitchin. Four years later, in 1882, O'Hara again faced Kitchin and won the election by 18,000 votes.  He was reelected in 1884.
Sources: 
Stephen Middleton, ed., Black Congressmen During Reconstruction (Westport, Connecticut : Praeger, 2002); George W. Reid, “Four in Black: North Carolina’s Black Congressmen, 1874-1901.” Journal of Negro History 64 (Summer 1979); http://bioguide.congress.gov; http://ead.lib.uchicago.edu.
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Muhammad, Benjamin Chavis (1948- )

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

Born on January 22, 1948 as Benjamin Franklin Chavis, Jr. in the city of Oxford, North Carolina, Benjamin Chavis Muhammad was a member of one of the most prominent African American families in North Carolina. His parents were well known educators and his ancestors included John Chavis, a Revolutionary War soldier with George Washington’s Army who became one of the first African Americans to attend Princeton University.  John Chavis later operated a private school in antebellum North Carolina that accepted both black and white students.

By age 13, Ben Chavis had established his civil rights activist credentials when he successfully integrated the all-white libraries in Oxford. Chavis became the first African American to receive a library card.

Sources: 
Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Africana: An A-Z Reference of the Movement that Changed America (New York: Running Press, 2005).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Angelou, Maya (1928-2014)

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People
History Type: 
African American History
Image courtesy of ©Bettmann-Corbis

Born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri in 1928, she received the nickname “Maya” from her brother Baldwin.  At the age of four Maya and her brother were sent to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas.  A couple of years later they moved back to St. Louis to live with their mother, but were soon returned to Stamps after Maya was molested by her mother’s boyfriend and turned mute. After her return to Stamps Maya Johnson began to read voraciously and listen intently to everything that happened around her. By high school, her voice had returned.  

Johnson, then 15, and her brother were reunited with their mother who was now living in San Francisco, California.  One year later she graduated from high school while pregnant.  In the years after her son, Clyde, was born Johnson worked variously as cook, dancer, driver, and singer.  She was also married briefly in 1952 to Anastasios Angelopulos, a Greek sailor. 

Sources: 
Darryl Lyman, Great African American Women (Middle Village, NY: J. David, 1999); L. Patrick Kite, Maya Angelou (Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications, 1999); http://www.mayaangelou.com; http://poets.org, New York Times, May 29, 2014.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Berea College

Bearden, Romare (1912-1988)

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People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image courtesy of National Gallery of Art

Romare Bearden was an accomplished 20th Century African American artist who  specialized in paintings and collages, but who also produced works in the performing arts and literature.

Sources: 

Ruth Fine with Mary Corlett, The Art of Romare Bearden (New York: National Gallery of Art in association with Harry Abrams, 2003); Dick Russell, Black Genius and the American Experience (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1998); http://www.beardenfoundation.org; http://www.courses.vcu.edu/ENG-mam/

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

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

Aggrey, Orison Rudolph (1926- )

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

U.S. Ambassador Orison Rudolph Aggrey was born in Salisbury, North Carolina, the son of James Emman Kwegyir, an African immigrant who became an American college professor, and Rose Rudolph (Douglass) Aggrey, an African American woman. He earned a B.S. degree from Hampton Institute, where he graduated as valedictorian in 1946, and an M.S. in journalism from Syracuse University (New York) in 1948. After encountering difficulty in obtaining a reporting post with a major white daily newspaper in 1950, he applied for a position with the information and cultural branch of the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C. Despite his high scores on the Civil Service entrance examinations, he also encountered difficulty with his application. Aggrey was offered a post only after George L. P. Weaver, who was then assistant Secretary of Labor for international affairs (and one of the most important blacks in the administration of President Harry S.

Sources: 
Alton Hornsby, Jr. and Angela M. Hornsby, “From the Grassroots” Profiles of Contemporary African American Leaders (Montgomery, Alabama: E-Book Time LLC, 2007), p. 1-3.
Affiliation: 
Morehouse College/University of Mississippi

King, Martin Luther, Jr. (1929-1968)

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People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Sources: 
Martin Luther King, The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., Clayborne Carson, ed. (New York: Intellectual Properties Management in association with Warner Books, 1998); Lerone Bennett, What Manner of Man: A Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Chicago: Johnson Publishing Company, 1989); Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years (New York: Touchstone, 1989); Christine King Farris, My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003). For additional information on Dr. Martin Luther King please see The Martin Luther King Research and Education Institute. http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Stanford University

Brewer, John Mason (1896-1975)

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People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Born in Goliad, Texas on March 24, 1896, John Mason Brewer became one of the twentieth century’s premier African American folklorists. A poet, essayist, historian, and anthologist, Brewer earned an undergraduate degree from Wiley College in 1917 and later a graduate degree from Indiana University.  Over his career he taught on both the high school and college levels.   

Brewer worked at Samuel Huston College in Austin from 1926 to 1933 when he left to pursue additional studies and career options. He returned in 1944 to teach at Huston-Tillotson College (previously Samuel Huston College) until 1959 when he went to Livingston College in North Carolina. Brewer moved back to Texas ten years later (1969) and taught at East Texas State University until his death in 1975.
Sources: 
Bruce A. Glasrud, “From Griggs to Brewer: A Review of Black Texas Culture, 1899-1940,” Journal of Big Bend Studies 15 (2003): 195-212; James W. Byrd, J. Mason Brewer: Negro Folklorist (Austin: Steck-Vaughn Company, 1967); Kenneth W. Turner, “Negro Collectors of Negro Folklore: A Study of J. Mason Brewer and Zora Neale Hurston (Master’s thesis, East Texas State University, 1964).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Coltrane, John William (1926-1967)

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People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
John William Coltrane emerged as one of the most innovative and influential jazz musicians of the 20th century. Born in Hamlet, North Carolina on September 23, 1926, the son of John Robert and Alice Blair Coltrane, he grew up in High Point, North Carolina where his grandfather, Rev. William W. Blair, an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) minister, was one of the community leaders.  John Coltrane's childhood attendance at his family's black church shaped the spiritual dimensions of his musical orientation.  Following his father's death and the family’s sudden impoverishment, he and his mother moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1943 to ensure he would have a proper education.  Coltrane’s mother Alice worked as a domestic servant while nurturing her son's musical interest and encouraged him to enroll at the Ornstein School of Music.  
Sources: 
Lewis Porter, John Coltrane: His Life and Music (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998); C.O. Simpkins, Coltrane: A Biography (Baltimore, Maryland: Black Classic Press, 1975).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Seattle University

Yergan, Max (1892–1975)

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People
History Type: 
African American History
Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center,
National Museum of American History, Behring Center,
Smithsonian Institution
In a remarkable and controversial life, Max Yergan spanned both the globe and the ideological spectrum of American politics. An early champion of racial uplift and the social gospel in South Africa, Yergan transformed into a leading figure on the radical Black Left during the 1930s and 1940s, only to reincarnate once again as a ultraconservative anticommunist after 1950.
Sources: 
Source:  David Henry Anthony III, Max Yergan:  Race Man, Internationalist, and Cold Warrior (New York:  NYU Press, 2006)
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Williams, Robert F. (1925-1996)

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People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of California Newsreel
Robert F. Williams was a militant civil rights leader whose open advocacy of armed self-defense anticipated the movement for "black power" in the late 1960s and helped inspire groups like the Student National Coordinating Committee, the Revolutionary Action Movement, and the Black Panther Party.
Sources: 
Timothy B. Tyson, Radio Free Dixie:  Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1999); Robert F. Williams, Negroes With Guns (Detroit:  Wayne State University Press, 1962).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Simone, Nina (1933-2003)

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People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tyron, North Carolina in 1933, Nina Simone began playing the family piano at the age of three.  Her mother Mary Kate Waymon, a minister and choir director at a Methodist church in Tyron, interpreted her daughter’s gift as a God-given talent.  Waymon began to study piano at age six with Muriel Massinovitch, an English pianist and Bach devotee married to a Russian painter husband. Waymon credited “Miss Mazzy” for teaching her to understand Bach; she credited Bach for dedicating her life to music. The lessons were paid for by family friends including a white couple in the town.  Eunice’s father, John Divine Waymon, had been an entertainer before he chose to move his family to Tyron, a North Carolina resort town, and set up a barbershop and dry cleaners to support his family. In her autobiography – I Put a Spell on You, the Autobiography of Nina Simone – Waymon describes her relationship with her father as loving and supportive and Tyron as “uncommon” for a southern town because blacks and whites lived together in a series of circles around the center of town, which allowed them to mingle and form friendships.

Sources: 
Nina Simone, I Put a Spell on You, the Autobiography of Nina Simone (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo Press,1993); Sylvia Hampton, David Nathan, and Lisa Simone Kelly, Nina Simone: Breakdown and Let it All Out (London: Sanctuary Publishing Limited, 2004); Jody Kolodzey, “Remembering Nina Simone,” Culture, May 5, 2003; Adam Shatz, “Nina Simone Obituary,” The Nation, May 19, 2003; Roger Nupie, Dr. Nina Simone Biography: http://www.ninasimone.com.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Burke, Selma Hortense (1900-1995)

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People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Sources: 
Laurie Collier Hillstrom and Kevin Hillstrom, eds., Contemporary Women Artists (Detroit: St. James Press, 1999); Charlotte Striefer Rubinstein, American Women Sculptors: A History of Women Working in Three Dimensions (Boston: G. K. Hall & Company, 1990).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Berea College

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (1960–1973)

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

Smith, Moranda (1915–1950)

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

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

Wilmington Race Riot of 1898

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
Collier's Weekly Photograph of Mob Outside Wilmington, N.C. Courthouse,
Nov. 12, 1898.  Image Ownership: Public Domain
A politically motivated attack by whites against the city’s leading African American citizens, the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 documents the lengths to which Southern White Democrats went to regain political domination of the South after Reconstruction.  The violence began on Thursday, November 10th in the predominantly African American city of Wilmington, North Carolina, at that time the state’s largest metropolis.  Statewide election returns had recently signaled a shift in power with Democrats taking over the North Carolina State Legislature.  The city of Wilmington, however, remained in Republican hands primarily because of its solid base of African American voters.  On November 10th, Alfred Moore Waddell, a former Confederate officer and a white supremacist, led a group of townsmen to force the ouster of Wilmington’s city officials.
Sources: 
David S. Cecelski, Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1998); “Early African American Perspectives on the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898,” Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library Archives.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Johnson C. Smith University

Cheatham, Henry Plummer (1857-1935)

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People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Courtesy of Moorland-Spingarn Research
Center, Howard University
Born into slavery in Henderson, North Carolina, Henry Cheatham was the child of an enslaved domestic worker about who little is known.  An adolescent after the American Civil War, Cheatham benefited from country’s short lived commitment to provide educational opportunities to all children.  He attended public school where he excelled in his studies.  After high school Cheatham was admitted to Shaw University, founded for the children of freedmen, graduating with honors in 1882.  He earned a masters degree from the same institution in 1887.

During his senior year of college, Cheatham helped to found a home for African American orphans.  In 1883, Cheatham was hired as the Principal of the State Normal School for African Americans, at Plymouth, North Carolina.  He held the position for a year when his career as an educator gave way to his desire to enter state politics.  
Cheatham ran a successful campaign for the office of Registrar of Deeds at Vance County, North Carolina in 1884, and he served the county for four years.   He also studied law during his first term in office, with an eye toward national politics.  In 1888 Henry Cheatham ran for Congress as a Republican in North Carolina’s Second Congressional District.  He defeated his white Democratic opponent, Furnifold M. Simmons.

Sources: 
George W. Reid, “Four in Black: North Carolina’s Black Congressmen, 1874-1901.” Journal of Negro History 64 (Summer 1979): 229-43; “Henry Plummer Cheatham,” Black Americans in Congress, 1870-1989, (Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representations, Washington D.C.: Gov. Printing Office, 1991); Leonard Schlup, “Cheatham, Henry Plummer,” American National Biography Online (Oxford University Press, 2000); http://www.anb.org/articles/05/05-00138.html .
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Johnson C. Smith University

Sowell, Thomas (1930- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of Thomas Sowell,
Hoover Institution, Stanford University
An influential African American economist who is known for his controversial views on race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, Thomas Sowell was born in Gastonia, North Carolina in 1930.  When he was eight, his family moved to Harlem, New York.  His father, a construction worker, did not encourage Sowell to pursue higher education even though he showed early signs of academic promise. Sowell dropped out of high school in the tenth grade, worked at various jobs, and obtained a high school degree in an evening program. After two years of service with the U.S. Marines receiving training as a photographer, Sowell entered Howard University in Washington, D.C. where he matriculated for three semesters before transferring to Harvard University. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and later earned Master's and Ph.D.
Sources: 
Thomas Sowell, A Personal Odyssey (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2002);
Thomas Sowell website, http://www.tsowell.com/; Advocates for Self Government, "Thomas Sowell – Libertarian,"    https://www.theadvocates.org/libertarianism-101/libertarian-celebrities/thomas-sowell/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Montgomery College (Maryland)

Grandfather Clause, The (1898–1915)

Vignette Type: 
Misc
History Type: 
African American History
Harper's Weekly Editorial on 
The Grandfather Clause
Image Ownership: Public Domain
The Grandfather Clause was a statute enacted by many American southern states in the wake of Reconstruction (1865-1877) that allowed potential white voters to circumvent literacy tests, poll taxes, and other tactics designed to disenfranchise southern blacks. Following the American Civil War (1861-1865) and the Fourteenth Amendment (1868), which extended citizenship to blacks, the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) was ratified, providing a mandate that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged…on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” But after a brief period of relatively open voting, southern states and, especially, Democratic legislators began enacting poll taxes, literacy and property tests, and understanding clauses, which they claimed would exclude the poor and uneducated, in a thinly veiled attempt to eliminate the black vote. Many Southern states, however, had to rely on the cunning of voter registrars to ensure that poor and uneducated whites were not disfranchised by these tests.
Sources: 
R. Volney Riser, Defying Disfranchisement: Black Voting Rights Activism in the Jim Crow South, 1890-1908 (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press, 2010); Michael J. Klarman, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Economic Equality (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004); http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2013/10/21/239081586/the-racial-history-of-the-grandfather-clause.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Chavis, John (1763-1838)

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People
History Type: 
African American History

Image Ownership: Public Domain
John Chavis, early 19th Century minister and teacher, was the first African American to graduate from a college or university in the United States. Chavis was born on October 18, 1763.  His place of birth is debated by historians.  Some scholars think that Chavis hailed from the West Indies.  Others believe that he was born in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, or that he was born in North Carolina.  Available records document that Chavis was a free African American who probably worked for Halifax, Virginia attorney James Milner beginning in 1773.   It is likely that Chavis utilized the books in Milner’s extensive law library to educate himself.  
Sources: 
Helen Chavis Othow, John Chavis: African American Patriot, Preacher, Teacher, and Mentor 1783-1838, Mentor (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2001); William S. Powell, Ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Vol. 1, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1979), John Chavis Letters, #2014, 1889-1892; Wilson Library Manuscripts Department , University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; John Chavis Biography, North Carolina State University Division of Archives and History, http://www.ncsu.edu/ligon/about/history/chavis.htm.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Johnson C. Smith University

Grace, Charles Manuel “Sweet Daddy” (1881-1960)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center,
National Museum of American History,
Behring Center, Smithsonian Institution

Marcelino Manoel da Graca anglicized Charles Grace and best known as Sweet Daddy Grace was founder of the United House of Prayer for All People.  Born off the coast of West Africa on Brava, Cape Verde Islands, he was one of nine children born to Emmanuel and Delomba da Gracia.  In the early 1900s the family moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts where Grace worked numerous jobs before founding the House of Prayer in 1921 in West Wareham, Massachusetts.  In 1923, the second House of Prayer was established in Egypt and three years later the United House of Prayer for All People, was founded in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Sources: 
John O. Hodges, “Charles Manuel ‘Sweet Daddy’ Grace,” in Charles Lippy, ed. Twentieth Century Shapers of American Popular Religion (New York: Greenwood Press, 1989) John W. Robinson, “A Song, a Shout, a Prayer,” in C. Eric Lincoln, ed., The Black Religious Experience (Garden City, NY:  Doubleday, 1974).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Berea College

McKissick, Floyd B. (1922-1991)

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People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress
Floyd Bixler McKissick replaced James Farmer as National Director of the Congress Of Racial Equality (CORE) on January 3, 1966, making him the second ever National Director of CORE. Under McKissick's leadership, CORE underwent a radical transformation from an interracial, non-violent civil rights organization into a group that promoted the concept of Black Power.

McKissick was born on March 9, 1922 in Asheville, North Carolina.  He entered Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1940 before joining the U.S. army where he served in Europe during World War II.  McKissick attained the rank of sergeant while in the service.  He then returned to Morehouse and graduated in 1948. While a student at Morehouse, McKissick became actively involved in the ranks of CORE and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1947 he took part in the first freedom riders campaign. This campaign was met with intense racial hostility. McKissick called the campaign his "baptism in non-violence."
Sources: 
Glenn Fowler, "Floyd McKissick, Civil Rights Maverick, Dies At 69." New York Times. April 30, 1991; "Floyd B. McKissick." CORE: Making Equality a Reality, 2008. http://www.core-online.org/History/mckissick.htm; “Floyd McKissick,” The Martin Luther King Encyclopedia, http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/about_King/encyclopedia/mckissick_floyd.htm
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Watt, Melvin Luther (1945- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Congressman Mel Wattt (far right) Speaking for the
Congressional Black Caucus, 2005
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Carolina in the 20th century, Mel Watts is a current member of the United States House of Representatives. Watts was born on August 26, 1945 in the small community of Steele Creek in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, and attended high school in Charlotte. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1967. Watt was a Phi Beta Kappa and was president of the business honors fraternity. He also has a J.D. degree from Yale University Law School as well as honorary degrees from North Carolina A&T State University, Johnson C. Smith University, Bennett College and Fisk University.

Watt had a varied career before serving in Congress. Between 1971 and 1992 he practiced law with the firm formerly known as Chambers, Stein, Ferguson, and Becton.  He was also a small business owner and managed the campaigns of Harvey Gantt for Charlotte City Council, for Mayor of Charlotte and for the United States Senate from North Carolina. Watt also served in the North Carolina Senate from 1985 to 1987.  He did not seek a second term, postponing his political activity until his children were high school graduates. Watt was known during his single term as “the conscience of the senate.”
Sources: 
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=w000207; Watt for Congress Website, http://www.wattforcongress.com/melwatt.html.
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Clarke, George Elliott (1960- )

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
George Elliott Clarke, a poet, playwright and literary critic is also the E.J Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto (Ontario). Clarke was born near the Black Loyalist community of Windsor Plains, Nova Scotia. He is a seventh generation Canadian descendant of black loyalists who were repatriated from the United States to British Canada immediately after the American Revolution.  
Sources: 
George Elliott Clarke, Africadian History (Kentville: Gaspereau Press, 2001); George Elliott Clarke, Odysseys Home: Mapping African-Canadian Literature (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002); George Elliott Clarke, Black (Vancouver: Raincoast Books, 2006); George Elliott Clarke, George & Rue (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2007). http://www.writers.ns.ca/Writers/gsclarke.html
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Councill, William Hooper (1849-1909)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
William Hooper Councill, educator and race leader, was born into slavery in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on July 12, 1849. His parents were both slaves on the Councill plantation. When William was five, his father escaped to Canada and tried unsuccessfully to obtain freedom for his family.  In 1857, William, his mother, and his brother, Cicero, were sold at the Richmond slave market to a trader, who in turn sold them on to a planter in Alabama. His two other brothers were sold separately.  

When Union troops occupied Chattanooga, Tennessee during the Civil War, Councill and his family escaped through Union lines to the North.  He returned to Alabama in 1865 to attend a school for freedmen that had been started by Quakers. This would be Councill’s only formal schooling.  He worked and studied for three years before graduating in 1867.
Sources: 
Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, eds., Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York: Norton, 1982); August Meier, Negro Thought in America 1880-1915, Racial Ideologies in the Age of Booker T. Washington, (University of Michigan Press, 1964); Vivian Gunn Morris, Curtis L. Morris and Asa G. Hilliard, III, The Price They Paid: Desegregation in an African American Community (New York: Teachers College Press, 2002).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Butterfield, George Kenneth, Jr. (1947– )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

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

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

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Spaulding, Charles Clinton (1874-1952)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Charles Clinton Spaulding, one of the most successful and influential African American businessmen of the 20th century, was born August 1, 1874 on a farm near Whiteville, North Carolina. His parents, Benjamin McIver and Margaret Moore Spaulding of free ancestry, were prosperous landowners and respected leaders in their community. As a young boy, Charles spent most of his time working on the farm. He did attend school but the educational possibilities were very limited in his community, so when he was twenty years old he moved to Durham to join his uncle, Aaron Moore. There he enrolled at Whitted School and gained his high school diploma in 1898 at the age of 23.
Sources: 
“Charles Clinton Spaulding” in Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols. (Detroit: Gale Research, 1998); “Charles Clinton Spaulding” in Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 5: 1951-1955 (New York: American Council of Learned Societies, 1977).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Johnson, Edward A. (1860-1944)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Edward Austin Johnson was a businessman, historian, educator, lawyer and politician. Born enslaved in Raleigh, N.C. on November 23rd, 1860, his parents Columbus and Eliza Johnson, had twelve children. He was educated by Nancy Walton, a free African American woman who also taught white children from wealthy families.
Sources: 
Edward A. Johnson, “A Student at Atlanta University,” Phylon, Vol. 3, No. 2 (2nd Quarter 1942) 135-148; Rayford Logan and Michael R. Winston, eds., Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York: W. W. Norton, 1982); “Edward A Johnson,” http://docsouth.unc.edu/church/johnson/bio.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Agrippa Hull: Revolutionary Patriot

Image Ownership: Public Domain
In the following article, University of California at Los Angeles historian Gary B. Nash describes little-known Revolutionary War soldier who was attached by General George Washington to serve with Polish military engineer Tadeuz Kosciuszko. This account is part of a larger history of three individuals, Thomas Jefferson, Tadeuz Kosciuszko, and Agrippa Hull, who shaped the revolutionary struggle even as their own lives were transformed by it.

Agrippa Hull was one of the most remarkable and unnoticed African Americans of the revolutionary era.  He served for six years and two months in Washington’s Continental Army, which earned him a badge of honor for this extended service. But Hull’s influence on shaping the abolitionist thought of Tadeuz Kosciuszko, the Polish military engineer for whom he served as an orderly for the last 50 months of the war, is the hidden importance of the young black patriot.  
Summary: 
In the following article, University of California at Los Angeles historian Gary B. Nash describes a little-known Revolutionary War soldier who was attached by General George Washington to serve with Polish military engineer Tadeuz Kosciuszko. This account is part of a larger history of three individuals, Thomas Jefferson, Tadeuz Kosciuszko, and Agrippa Hull, who shaped the revolutionary struggle even as their own lives were transformed by it.
Sources: 
Gary B. Nash and Graham Russell Gao Hodges, Friends of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson, Tadeuz Kosciuszko, and Agrippa Hull; A Tale of Three Patriots, Two Revolutions, and a Tragic Betrayal of Freedom in the New Nation (New York: Basic Books, 2008).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of California, Los Angeles

Shepard, James Edward (1875-1947)

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

In 1910 James Edward Shepard founded North Carolina College for Negroes in Durham, North Carolina. Shepard was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina along with eleven other siblings. His father was Reverend Augustus Shepard and his mother was Harriet E. Shepard. Shepard received his education through the North Carolina public school system. He worked as a pharmacist for a short time after graduating from Shaw University in 1894 after receiving his Ph.G. (Graduate Pharmacist) degree. James Shepard married Annie Robison in 1895 and the couple had two children.

In 1898 Shepard along with John Merrick established North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company in Durham. Eventually Shepard founded Farmers and Mechanics Bank in Durham as well.

Sources: 

Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York: W. W. Norton, 1982); "The History of North Carolina Central University,” http://www.nccu.edu/discover/history.cfm.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Day, Thomas (1801—ca.1861)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Thomas Day Secretary
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Thomas Day, master cabinetmaker and entrepreneur, was born in 1801 in Dinwiddie County in southern Virginia to free African American parents.  He had an outstanding career and achieved remarkable social standing during the state’s antebellum period.  By 1850, he operated the largest furniture business in the state. His furniture is still cherished today in private homes and museums primarily in North Carolina and Virginia.

Day’s early years were spent following in his father's footsteps in the cabinetry craft and from an early age he displayed proficiency in woodwork.  In 1823, Day moved to Milton, North Carolina.  Within a decade he had established himself as one of the South's most famous and celebrated furniture craftsmen. His work was widely recognized and he became sought after by plantation owners whose homes he embellished with stylish mantle pieces and stair railings, in addition to providing them with furniture.  He would craft pieces for two of North Carolina's governors and was awarded a commission to furnish the interior woodwork of one of the original buildings of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Sources: 
Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, eds., Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York: Norton, 1982); http://www.thomasday.net
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Jones, Ruth Braswell (1914-- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

Educator Ruth Braswell Jones was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina on November 21, 1914, the seventh daughter, of William and Arkaanna (Sanders) Braswell. Her education includes a diploma with distinction from Brick Junior College, Brick, North Carolina, in 1933 and a B.S. degree in Education with distinction from Elizabeth City State Teachers College, Elizabeth City, North Carolina, in 1948. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina, awarded her the M.S. degree in Education in 1960.

Sources: 

Alton Hornsby, Jr. and Angela M. Hornsby-Gutting, From the Grassroots: Profiles of Contemporary African American Leaders (Montgomery: E-BookTime LLC, 2006).

Contributor: 

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

Franklin, John Hope (1915--2009)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
John Hope Franklin
with Young Fan
Image Ownership: Public Domain

John Hope Franklin, one of the nation's leading historians, is the only African American who has served as president of both the American Historical Association (AHA) and the Organization of American Historians (OAH).

Franklin was born in Rentiesville, Oklahoma on January 2, 1915 to parents Buck, a Tulsa attorney, and Mollie Franklin. He recalled growing up in Tulsa, in a Jim Crow society that stifled his senses and damaged his “emotional health and social well being.” While his family was in Rentiesville, Buck Franklin not only survived the June 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, but also successfully sued the city. This suit, before the Oklahoma Supreme Court, overturned a Tulsa ordinance which prevented the city’s blacks from rebuilding their destroyed community.

Sources: 

John Hope Franklin, Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005); August Meier and Elliott Rudwick, Black Historians and the Historical Profession 1915-1980 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986; and John Hope Franklin, “The Dilemma of the American Negro Scholar,” in Herbert Hill, ed., Soon, One Morning: New Writing by American Negroes, 1940-1962 (New York: Knopf, 1963); Biography of John Hope Franklin, http://www.fhi.duke.edu/about/john-hope-franklin.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
California State University, Fresno

Merrick, John Henry (1859-1919)

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

John Henry Merrick—insurance agent, entrepreneur, business owner—was born in Clinton, North Carolina on September 7, 1859. Merrick was born a slave; he lived with his mother Martha Merrick and a younger brother. With the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation his family was freed. When Merrick was twelve he and his family relocated to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He got a job as a helper in a brickyard which provided support for his family. At the age of eighteen Merrick moved to Raleigh, North Carolina where he began work as a hod carrier.  Merrick eventually became a brick mason and worked on the construction of Shaw University in Raleigh.  

Sources: 

Walter B. Weare, Black Business in the New South: A Social History of
the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company
(Urbana: University of
Illinois Press, 1973); Andrews, R. McCants “John Merrick. A
Biographical Sketch: Electronic Edition”
http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/andrews/andrews.html;  "John Henry Merrick,"
in Jessie Carney Smith, Millicent Lownes Jackson and Linda T. Wynn,
eds., Encyclopedia of African American Business (Westport, Conn:
Greenwood Press, 2006)

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Mahoney, Mary Eliza (1845-1926)

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

Mary Eliza Mahoney, America’s first black graduate nurse, was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts on May 7, 1845.  Originally from North Carolina, her parents were among the southern free blacks who moved north prior to the Civil War seeking a less racially discriminatory environment.  The eldest of three siblings, Mahoney attended the Phillips Street School in Boston.

At the age of 20, Mary Mahoney began working as a nurse.  Supplementing her low income as an untrained practical nurse, Mahoney took on janitorial duties at the New England Hospital for Women and Children.  Incorporated on March 18, 1863, New England Hospital provided its patients state-of-the-art medical care by solely female physicians. It also assisted women in the practical study of medicine.

Sources: 

Rayford Logan and Michael R. Winston, eds., Dictionary of American
Negro Biography
(New York: W.W. Norton, 1982); Althea T. Davis, Early
Black American Leaders in Nursing: Architects for Integration and
Equality
(Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett Publishers Inc., 1999), pp. 2-3,
26-60; Mary Ella Chayer, ”Mary Eliza Mahoney,” The American Journal of
Nursing
54, no. 4 (April, 1954): 429-431.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Copeland, John Anthony, Jr. (1836-1859)

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

John Anthony Copeland was a mulatto, born free in Raleigh, North Carolina on August 15, 1834 to John Anthony Copeland, a slave, and Delilah Evans, a free woman.  Copeland spent much of his early life in Ohio and attended Oberlin College.  While residing in Oberlin, Ohio, Copeland became an advocate for black rights and an abolitionist.  In 1858 he participated in assisting John Price, a runaway slave seeking his freedom.  This act became famous as the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue, where abolitionists boldly aided slaves in violation of the federal Fugitive Slave Law.  

Sources: 

Timothy Patrick McCarthy and John Stauffer  Prophets of Protest: Reconsidering the History of American Abolitionism (New York: The New Press, 2006;  Herb Boyd, Autobiography of a People: Three Centuries of African American History Told by Those Who Lived It (New York: Doubleday, 2000); Peggy A. Russo, and Paul Finkelman, Terrible Swift Sword: The Legacy of John Brown (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2005); http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/index.php?q=node/5478.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Said, Omar Ibn (1770-1864)

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

Omar Ibn Said, also known as "Uncle Moreau" was unusual among enslaved people in the antebellum United States in that before he was captured he was highly educated and could read and write fluently at a time when most African slaves were illiterate.  Said’s autobiography is unique because it is the only personal account of a slave written in his native language while he was in bondage in the United States.

Omar Ibn Said was born in 1770 along the Senegal River in Futa Tooro, West Africa to a wealthy Muslim family.  When his father died, Said at age five was sent to a nearby town to study Islam and become a teacher.  Religion was paramount in Said’s life and he was devout to the Muslim faith.  With extensive religious training Said became well educated and fluent in Arabic.  

Sources: 

“Autobiography of Omar Ibn Said, Slave in North Carolina, 1831,” The
American Historical Review
30:  4 (July, 1925); http://sites.davidson.edu/archives/encyclopedia/omar-ibn-sayyid; Sylvaine A.
Diouf,   Servants of Allah:  African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas
(New York: New York University Press, 1998).

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Delany, Henry Beard (1858-1928)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Henry Beard Delany is known for his contributions in architecture and for being the first African American bishop elected in North Carolina and the second in the United States. Delany was born on February 5th 1858 in Saint Mary’s, Georgia of slave parents, Thomas Delany, a ship and house carpenter, and Sarah, a house servant.  Delany grew up in Fernandina, Florida where he received his earliest formal education.  He and his brothers also learned brick laying and plastering trades from their father.  In 1881 Delany entered Saint Augustine’s School in Raleigh, North Carolina where he studied theology.  After graduating in 1885, he joined the college faculty, remaining there until 1908.  He also married Nannie James Logan of Danville, Virginia, another St. Augustine's faculty member, who taught home economics and domestic science.  The couple had ten children including Sarah Louise and Annie Elizabeth who became famous with their 1993 joint autobiography Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years.

Delany joined Raleigh’s Ambrose Episcopal Church, and in June 1889 was ordained a deacon of the church.  Three years later he was ordained as a priest.  He steadily rose in the Episcopal Church hierarchy, becoming Archdeacon in 1908 and Bishop in 1918.

Sources: 

Sarah Louise Delany and Annie Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth,
Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First Hundred Years (New York:
Kodansha International, 1993); Dreck Spurlock Wilson, African-American
Architects: a Biographical Dictionary, 1865-1945
(New York: Routledge,
2004); http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/ufdc2/NF00000181_00001.html

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Price, Joseph C. (1854--1893)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Sources: 
National Education Association, Journal of Proceedings and Addresses (Topeka: Kansas Publishing, 1890); William Jacob Walls, Joseph Charles Price, Educator and Race Leader (Boston: The Christopher Publishing House, 1943).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Manly, Alex (1866-1944)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Sources: 
Daniel R. Miller, "Manly, Alex" in Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, vol. 4 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991); North Carolina Wilmington Race Riot Commission "Final Report, May 31, 2006" (North Carolina Office of Archives & History, 2006).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Butts, Cassandra Quin (1965-- )

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

Cassandra Quin Butt is Deputy White House Counsel to President Barack Obama on issues relating to civil rights, domestic policy, healthcare, and education.  She brought seventeen years of experience in politics and policy to her position.  She is a long-time friend of the President, acting as an advisor during his term in the U.S. Senate and throughout his presidential campaign. Additionally, she served as a member of the presidential transition team.

Butts was born on August 10, 1965, in Brooklyn, New York, and at age nine moved to Durham, North Carolina.  She graduated from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill with a BA in political science. While at UNC she participated in anti-apartheid protests.  She entered Harvard Law School in 1988 where her friendship with future President Barack Obama began when both were filling out forms in the student financial aid line.   Butts continued her activism at Harvard where she joined in protests regarding hiring practices for faculty of color.  She received a JD from Harvard in 1991.  

The first black woman to function as Deputy White House Counsel gradually rose to prominence  Her first job was as a counselor at the YMCA in Durham, North Carolina, and after graduating from UNC she worked for a year as a researcher with the African News Service in Durham.  For six years she was a registered lobbyist with the Center for American Progress (CAP), rising to Senior Vice President.  

Sources: 
“The New Team,” The New York Times (November, 24, 2008 and April 29, 2009);  Organizing for America, http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/hearingfromyoubios; "Obama's Leaders: 5 Black Women to Watch,” Diversity, Inc. (February 17, 2009).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Afro-American Council (1898-1907)

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History
Afro-American Council Annual Meeting,
Oakland, California, 1907
Online Archive of Ca., Bancroft Library
Sources: 
Cyrus Field Adams, The National Afro-American Council, Organized 1898, A History (Washington, D.C.: Cyrus F. Adams, 1902); Alexander Walters, My Life and Work (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1917); Emma Lou Thornbrough, "The National Afro-American League, 1887-1908," Journal of Southern History 27:4 (November 1961); Nina Mjagkij, Organizing Black America (New York: Garland Publishing Inc., 2001); Colin Palmer, Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History (New York: Thomson Gale, 2006).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Ballance, Frank W., Jr. (1942 - )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Frank W. Ballance, Jr., was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2003 to 2004, representing the 1st Congressional District in North Carolina.  Prior to his tenure as a member of Congress, Ballance served in the North Carolina State House of Representatives as well as its State Senate.

Ballance was born in 1942 in Windsor, North Carolina.  He received his bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central University in 1963.  He then earned a law degree from the same university in 1965.  Ballance was a faculty member at the South Carolina State University School of Law before entering private practice in 1966.  
Sources: 
“Frank W. Ballance, Jr.” in Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 2008): Don Carrington, “Ballance Pleads Guilty, Keeps Giving,” Carolina Journal, May 5, 2005.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

North Carolina Agriculture & Technical State University (1891- )

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History
Four Students Who Initiated the Sit-Ins On February 1, 1960
Image Ownership: Public Domain

The Morrill Act of 1890 created an opportunity for African Americans in higher education. The 1890 act specifically prohibited payments of federal money to any state which discriminated against blacks in admission to tax-supported colleges or universities; however, states could receive money if they provided “separate but equal” institutions for African Americans.  In 1891, the North Carolina General Assembly authorized the establishment of the Agricultural and Mechanical College for the Colored Race.  Although funds were not allocated to erect any building, the Board of Trustees of the new A&M College made temporary arrangements for classrooms and student housing at Shaw University in Raleigh, a private institution affiliated with the Baptist Church and the oldest historically black college in the South.

Sources: 
J. Brubacher and W. Rudy, Higher Education in Transition (New York: Harper & Row, 1976); "North Carolina A&T Milestones," Archives & Special Collections, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, 2000; M.A. Brown, Greensboro: An Architectural Record (Greensboro, N.C.: Preservation Greensboro, Inc, 1995).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Gantt, Harvey Bernard (1943- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Harvey B. Gantt, architect and politician, was born January 14, 1943 in Charleston, South Carolina to Christopher and Wilhelmenia Gantt.  In 1961, Gantt attended Iowa State University.  After one year of study, he returned to South Carolina and soon afterwards sued to enter racially segregated Clemson University.  On January 16, 1963, the U.S. Court of Appeals ordered Clemson to admit Gantt who became its first African American student.  He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Clemson with honors in 1965. In 1970, Gantt earned a M.A. in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

During the 1970s Gantt worked at various architectural firms in Charlotte, North Carolina where he settled after receiving his degree from MIT. Between 1970 and 1971 he collaborated with civil rights activist Floyd B. McKissick to design Soul City, North Carolina, an experimental interracial community in eastern North Carolina.  In 1971 Gantt left the Soul City project, returning to Charlotte to launch an architectural firm with Jeffrey Huberman.  Some of the firm’s projects include the construction of the Charlotte Transportation Center, Transamerica Square, and First Ward Recreation Center.

Sources: 
M.L. Clemons, "The Mayoral Campaigns of Harvey Gantt: Prospect and Problems of Coalition Maintenance in the New South," Southeastern Political Review 26:1 (1998): B. Yeoman, "Helms Last Stand?  Harvey Gantt Tries Again to Beat the Senate's Last Reactionary," The Nation 263:11 (1996); H. Lewis Suggs, "Harvey Gantt and the Desegregation of Clemson University, 1960-1963," in Skip Eisiminger, ed., Integration with Dignity (Clemson: Clemson University Digital Press, 2003);  <http://www.clemson.edu/caah/cedp/gantt/pdfs/004.pdf>; Peter Applebome, “Carolina Race is Winning the Wallets of America,” New York Times, October 13, 1990; <http://www.scafricanamerican.com>
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Berea College

Taylor, Robert Robinson (1868-1942)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Architect and educator Robert Robinson Taylor was the first African American to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  He is the father of architect and Chicago, Illinois business leader Robert Rochon Taylor (1899-1957) and the great-grandfather of Valerie Jarrett (1956-  ), senior advisor to President Barack Obama (1961-  ). With a professional career as an architect and instructor that spanned four decades from 1893 to 1933, Taylor influenced generations of future African American architects in the United States.  

Robert Robinson Taylor was born on June 8th, 1868, in Wilmington, North Carolina. His father, a carpenter, and his mother were former slaves. Taylor’s earliest formal education occurred at Wilmington’s Williston School and the all-black Gregory Normal Institute (1868-1921), sponsored by the American Missionary Association (1846-?).  He entered MIT’s School of Architecture in 1888 and in 1892 was MIT’s first black graduate.
Sources: 
Dreck Spurlock Wilson, ed., African American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary 1865-1945 (New York: Routledge, 2004); Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee; Its Story and Its Work (Boston: Small, Maynard & Co., 1900); Clarence G. Williams, “From 'Tech' to Tuskegee: The Life of Robert Robinson Taylor,1868-1942,” http://libraries.mit.edu/archives/mithistory/blacks-at-mit/taylor.html; “MIT Institute Archives & Special Collections: An MIT Chronology” http://libraries.mit.edu/archives/timeline/index.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Fayetteville State University (1867-- )

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

Fayetteville State University is a historically black institution of the University of North Carolina system located in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  It is the second oldest higher education institution in North Carolina and was founded in 1867 as Howard School in honor of General Oliver Otis Howard, who was appointed by President Andrew Johnson as the first commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau.  Seven black citizens of Fayetteville, Matthew N. Leary, Andrew J. Chesnutt, Robert Simmons, George Grainger, Thomas Lomax, Nelson Carter, and David A.

Sources: 
Henry N. Drewry and Humphrey Doermann in collaboration with Susan H. Anderson, Stand and Prosper: Private Black Colleges and Their Students (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2001);http://www.uncfsu.edu/pr/history.htm; http://www.uncfsu.edu/about.htm; http://library.uncfsu.edu/archives/HistoryFSU.htm.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Achimota College\Achimota School (1924-- )

Entry Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
Global African History
Students and Faculty at Achimota School, 1962
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Achimota College was founded in Achimota, Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1924 by Dr. James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey, Rev. Alexander Garden Fraser, and Sir Gordon Guggisberg, the British Governor of the Gold Coast (1919-1927), as an elite secondary school based on the British model of public education.  Governor Guggisberg urged local Gold Coast residents to create the institution to provide teacher training, technical training, and secondary schooling for the colony. The Governor's request came after a committee he appointed in 1920 to investigate education in the Gold Coast, recommended establishing a secondary boarding school for boys.  The committee also recommended its location, in the coastal town of Achimota, about ten miles from Accra, the capital of the Gold Coast.   
Sources: 

Cati Coe, “Educating an African Leadership: Achimota and the Teaching of African Culture in the Gold Coast,” Africa Today 49:3 (Autumn, 2002; C. Kingsley Williams, Achimota: The Early Years, 1924-1948 (Accra, Ghana: Longmans of Ghana Ltd, 1962).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Tacoma

St. Augustine’s University (1867- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History

 

African American Faculty Members at St. Augustine's College, 1902
Image Ownership: Public Domain

St. Augustine’s University is a private, four-year coeducational liberal arts college located in Raleigh, North Carolina. St. Augustine’s was founded in 1867, making it one of the oldest historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) in the United States.

St. Augustine’s University was originally founded as the St. Augustine Normal School and Collegiate Institute. The name of the school was changed to St. Augustine’s School in 1893, then to St. Augustine Junior College in 1919. The school’s status was upgraded to a four-year institute in 1927, and the name was changed one final time in 1928 to St. Augustine’s College.  It became St. Augustine's University.  On August 1, 2012, St. Augustine's College became St. Augustine's University. St. Augustine’s awarded its first baccalaureate degree in 1931, after being accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Sources: 
St. Augustine’s College Webpage, http://www.st-aug.edu/; Toni Hodge-Wright, The Handbook of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Seattle: Jireh and Associates, 1992); Julian B. Roebuck and Komanduri S. Murty, Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Their Place in American Higher Education (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1993).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Bennett College [Greensboro] (1873- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History

Bennett College Chapel

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Sources: 
Mark Elliot, Color Blind Justice: Albion Tourgee and the Quest for Racial Equality from the Civil War to Plessy V. Ferguson (NY: Oxford University Press, 2008); Bennett College for Women Official Website - http://www.bennett.edu; Beverly Guy-Sheftall, "Black Women and Higher Education: Spelman and Bennett Colleges Revisited," The Journal of Negro Education, 51:3 (Summer 1982), pp. 278-287.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Elizabeth City State University (1891- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History
Jimmy Jenkins Science Center
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Elizabeth City State University was established in 1891 as a response to a bill, enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly, which proposed the creation of a normal school for the training of black teachers in the state. Located in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, the University is a member-institution of the University of North Carolina, and currently sits on a 200-acre campus surrounded by residential districts. A historically black college, Elizabeth City State University is a public, four-year liberal arts institution, and has a diverse student body of approximately 2,500 students.
Sources: 
Elizabeth City State University website, http://www.ecsu.edu; Toni Hodge-Wright, The Handbook of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Seattle: Jireh and Associates, 1992).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Shaw University (1865- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Shaw University is a private, four-year coeducational historically black liberal arts university located in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Founded in 1865, Shaw University is one of the oldest historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the country.

Shaw was originally founded as Raleigh Institute, a school designed to teach freedmen theology and biblical interpretation. The school’s name changed to Shaw Collegiate Institute in 1870 and five years later it adopted its present name, Shaw University. The college offered its first post-secondary instruction in 1874, and the first baccalaureate degree was awarded in 1878.

Sources: 
Shaw University Webpage, http://www.shawuniversity.edu; Toni Hodge-Wright, The Handbook of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Seattle: Jireh and Associates, 1992); Julian B. Roebuck and Komanduri S. Murty, Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Their Place in American Higher Education (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1993).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Livingstone College [Salisbury] (1879-- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Livingstone College is a private, four-year coeducational historically black liberal arts university located in Salisbury, North Carolina. The large, urban campus is located about 40 miles northeast of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Livingstone College was founded in 1879 under the name Zion Wesley Institute.  One year later the school was granted the right to instruct in post-secondary education. In 1887, the school awarded its first degree and also changed its name to Livingstone College in honor of Dr. David Livingstone (1813-1873), a well-known missionary, philanthropist, and explorer in Africa.

Sources: 
Livingstone College Webpage, http://www.livingstone.edu/; Toni Hodge-Wright, The Handbook of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Seattle: Jireh and Associates, 1992); Julian B. Roebuck and Komanduri S. Murty, Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Their Place in American Higher Education (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1993).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

North Carolina Central University (1910- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History
Statue of NCCU Founder James Shepard
Image Ownership: Public Domain

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) is a public, four-year coeducational historically black liberal arts university located in Durham, North Carolina. The small urban campus is located 23 miles from Raleigh, North Carolina.

North Carolina Central University was founded in 1910 by Dr. James E. Shepard. The school was chartered in 1909 as a private institution, and opened the next year. When chartered, NCCU was called the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua. In 1923, the school was purchased by the General Assembly of North Carolina, at which time the private school was turned into a public institution. NCCU awarded its first baccalaureate degree in 1929. The college went through several name changes before settling on its current name in 1969. In 1972, NCCU became a part of the University of North Carolina.

Sources: 
North Carolina Central University Webpage, http://www.nccu.edu/; Toni Hodge-Wright, The Handbook of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Seattle: Jireh and Associates, 1992); Julian B. Roebuck and Komanduri S. Murty, Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Their Place in American Higher Education (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1993).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Peters, Thomas (1738-1792)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Monument in Honor of Black Loyalists, Nova Scotia
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Born in Africa and enslaved in America, Thomas Peters is best known for his influence in settling Canadian blacks in the African colony of Sierra Leone. The earliest documentation of Peters’ life is as a 38-year-old slave in North Carolina.  When the Revolutionary War began in 1775, Peters escaped to British-occupied territory.
Sources: 
Simon Schama, Rough Crossings (Toronto: Penguin Group, 2005); James W. St G. Walker, “Peters (Petters), Thomas”, Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online (2000) http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=2115&interval=25&&PHPSESSID=njv4l5j5dglrp8buu4elf70is1.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Boston King (c. 1760-1802)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Boston King Book Cover
Image Courtesy of History Collection, Nova Scotia Museum
Boston King, one of the pioneer settlers of Sierra Leone, was born enslaved on the Richard Waring plantation near Charleston, South Carolina around 1760. Through the age of 16, King was trained as a house servant before being sent to apprentice as a carpenter in Charleston. In 1780, when British troops occupied Charleston during the American Revolution, King fled to the British garrison and gained his freedom.  King was first a servant to British officers but like many black male Loyalists he joined the British Army. He worked mostly as a carpenter but on one occasion he carried an important dispatch through enemy lines, which saved 250 British soldiers at Nelson’s Ferry, South Carolina. Later, as a crewmember on a British warship, King participated in the capture of a rebel ship in Chesapeake Bay.
Sources: 
Boston King, Memoirs of the life of Boston King (Halifax: Nimbus Publishing, 2003); Simon Schama, Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution (New York: Harper-Collins Publishers, 2006); Joe Lockard and Elizabeth McNeil, eds. “Annotated Memoirs of the Life of Boston King, a Black Preacher originally published in The Methodist Magazine” (Arizona State University Antislavery Literature Project, n.d.), http://antislavery.eserver.org/narratives/boston_king/bostonkingproof.pdf/; James W. St G. Walker, “King, Boston,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=2489.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Barber-Scotia College [Concord] (1867-)

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History
Campus of Barber-Scotia College
Image Courtesy of Barbar-Scotia College

Barber-Scotia College is a coed liberal arts school founded by the Presbyterian Church in July 1867 by Reverend Luke Dorland as Scotia Seminary. Reverend Dorland was commissioned by the Presbyterian Church to create an institution to train black women in programs of elementary, secondary and normal school work in the South. After looking at a number of locales, he chose Concord, North Carolina as the site of the institution.

Modeled after Mount Holyoke College (then a women’s seminary), the purpose of the college was to improve the lives of freedwomen and to provide a pool of future leaders. The college, anticipating state certification, offered subjects in normal (teacher training), academic and homemaking programs.  

In 1916 the institution changed its name to Scotia Women’s College. In 1930, Barber Memorial College of Anniston, Alabama, a men's institution, merged with Scotia Women’s College. Two years after the merger, the school adopted its present name of Barber-Scotia College.

Sources: 
Leland Stanford Cozart, A Venture of Faith: Barber-Scotia College, 1867-1967 (s.l.: s.n., 1976); Stephen J. Wright, et al., A Study of the Black Colleges Related to the Presbyterian Church: Barber-Scotia College, Johnson C. Smith University, Knoxville College, Mary Holmes College, Stillman College (S.l.: s.n., 1971); http://www.b-sc.edu/; http://ncpedia.org/education/hbcu; http://www.foreverhbcu.com/schoolinfo.php?id=8.
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

Johnson C. Smith University [Charlotte] (1867- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History

 

Students in Front of Biddle Hall,
Johnson C. Smith University
Image Courtesy of Johnson C. Smith University

Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU), founded on April 7, 1867, is one of the oldest predominantly African American universities in North Carolina.  The university was founded by three Presbyterian ministers, Rev. Samuel C. Alexander, Rev. Sidney S. Murkland, and Rev. Willis L. Miller and established under the auspices of the Committee on Freedmen of the Presbyterian Church, USA.  The university was originally for men only.  With approximately eight men, the first session of class was held on May 1, 1867. The University offered its first Bachelor of Arts degree in 1876.  Rev. Dr. Stephen Mattoon was the first President of Johnson C. Smith University from 1870 to 1886. The first African American President, Rev. Dr. Daniel Jackson Sanders, began his tenure in 1891.

Sources: 
Arthur A. George, Down Through the Years: Some Personalities Connected with the Establishment and Growth of Biddle University, now Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, North Carolina (Charlotte:  Johnson C. Smith University, 1961); Arthur A. George, 100 Years, 1867-1967: Salient Factors In The Growth and Development of Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, N. C.: A History (Charlotte:  Johnson C. Smith University, 1968);Inez Moore Parker, The Biddle-Johnson C. Smith University Story (Charlotte: Charlotte Publishing, 1975).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Patterson, Mary Jane (1840-1894)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Educator Mary Jane Patterson is considered to be the first African American woman to receive a B.A. degree when she graduated from Oberlin College in 1862. A fellow Oberlin alumnus, Lucy Stanton Day Sessions, graduated twelve years earlier but was not in a program that awarded official bachelor’s degrees.

Although Patterson’s early years are unclear, it is believed that she was born into slavery in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1840. As a young girl, she arrived in Oberlin, Ohio with her family during the mid-1850s. In 1857 she completed a year of preparatory coursework at Oberlin College. Rather than transitioning into Oberlin’s two-year program for women, she enrolled in the school’s “gentlemen’s course,” a four-year program of classical studies that led to a Bachelor of Arts degree with high honors in 1862.
Sources: 
Jessie Carney Smith, ed., Notable Black American Women, Book 1 (Detroit: Gale Research, 1992); Dorothy Sterling, We Are Your Sisters: Black Women in the Nineteenth Century (New York: W. W. Norton, 1984); Mary Gibson Hundley, The Dunbar Story (1870-1955) (New York: Vantage Press, 1965); “Mary Jane Patterson Residence,” Cultural Tourism DC, https://www.culturaltourismdc.org/portal/mary-jane-patterson-residence-african-american-heritage-trail.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Brown, Jill E. (1950- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Jill Elaine Brown became the first African American woman to serve as a pilot for a major U.S airline when she was hired by Texas international Airlines at the age of 28. Her passion for flying began as a teenager, leading her into the U.S. Navy flight training program where she became its first African American female trainee in 1974.

Brown was born in 1950 in Baltimore, Maryland. Her father Gilbert Brown owned a construction company, and her mother Elaine was an art teacher in the Baltimore school district. The family owned a farm in West Virginia, and by the age of nine Brown had learned to operate a tractor and perform what her father termed “men’s work.” When she turned 17, the entire Brown family took flying lessons. Brown devoted all of her free time to learning how to fly and became the first in her family to receive a pilot's license. Her first solo flight was in a Piper J-3 Cub. When the family acquired its own plane, a single-engine Piper Cherokee 180D, she became particularly popular with friends whom she took up on short flights. Brown described these flights as trips on Brown's United Airlines.  

Sources: 
Caroline Fannin, Betty Gubert, and Miriam Sawyer, African Americans in Aviation and Space Science (Westport, CT: Oryx Press, 2002); Michele Burgen, "Winging It at 25,000 Feet," Ebony (August 1978); Justia.com, http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F3/132/36/469707/; The Bessie Coleman Foundation, http://bcal.clubexpress.com/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Winston-Salem State University [North Carolina] (1892- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History
Winston Salem State University Biomedical Research
Infrastructure Center (BRIC)
Image Courtesy of Winston Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), the first African American institution in the country to grant elementary teacher education degrees, began as a State Normal School in 1892.  The institution developed due to the work of Dr. Simon Green Atkins, who in 1881, helped organize the North Carolina Negro Teachers Association (NCNTA). This group had a deep interest in developing teacher-training schools for African Americans and under Atkins's leadership worked to build a college in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  
Sources: 
Carter B. Cue and Lenwood G. Davis, 1st ed., Winston-Salem State University (South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2000); Winston-Salem State University, “Archived Catalog” History and Mission Statement of Winston-Salem State University, 2010, Accessed Dec 6 2010, http://wssu.catalog.acalog.com/content.php?catoid=3&navoid=67.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Turner, Viola Mitchell (1900-1988)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Courtesy of the Pauli Murray Project

Viola Mitchell Turner, an early black executive with North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, was born in Macon, Georgia, in 1900. The only child of poor, impoverished, teenage African American parents she would succeed in becoming the first female African American member of the North Carolina Mutual Board of Directors.  

Turner was educated in a private black school in Macon sponsored by the American Missionary Association and then continued her education at Morris Brown College in Atlanta, studying business, which for women in the late 1910s meant primarily clerical work. After graduation from Morris Brown in 1918 Turner became a secretary at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama where she met leading professors such as George Washington Carver.

Her time at the Tuskegee Institute was short however as she worked briefly for the Superintendent of Negro Education for the State of Mississippi who made her his personal secretary. Turner moved to Mississippi but held her new position for six months.  She was hired by North Carolina Mutual Insurance (NCMI) in 1920, setting up branch offices in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Mississippi. In 1924 Turner applied for and received a position at North Carolina Mutual headquarters in Durham, North Carolina.

Sources: 
Interview with Viola Turner, http://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp/C-0016/menu.html; Leslie Brown, Upbuilding Black Durham: Gender, Class, and Black Community Development in the Jim Crow South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Stanford, Maxwell Curtis, Jr. (aka Muhammad Ahmad, 1941 - )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of
Dr.Muhammad Ahmad (Maxwell C. Stanford Jr.)
Maxwell Curtis Stanford, Jr., known since 1970 as Muhammad Ahmad, is a civil rights activist and was a founder of the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), a black power organization active during the 1960s. Born on July 31, 1941 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he graduated from West Philadelphia High School and attended Central State College in Wilberforce, Ohio from 1960 to 1962. Stanford left college after founding RAM in the summer of 1962.
Sources: 
Matthew Countryman, Up South: Civil Rights and Black Power in Philadelphia (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006); John H. Bracey and Sharon Harley, The Black Power Movement: Part 3: Papers of the Revolutionary Action Movement (LexisNexis: Bethesda, Maryland); Robin D.G. Kelley, “Stormy Weather: Reconstructing Black (Inter)Nationalism in the Cold War Era,” in Eddie S. Glaude (ed), Is It Nation Time?: Contemporary Essays On Black Power and Black Nationalism (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2002).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Sydney, Australia

Leary, Sherrard Lewis (1835-1859)

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

Lewis Leary was one of several Black men who were killed during John Brown’s raid on the Harpers Ferry arsenal in October 1859. It was a defining moment in African American history.

Born Sherrard Lewis Leary (sometimes referred to as Lewis Sheridan Leary), he was the second of five children born in Fayetteville, North Carolina to free Black parents. His father Matthew Leary, a saddle maker, was the mixed race son of Jeremiah O’Leary, a descendent of Irish immigrants. His mother Julia A. Menriel Leary was of mixed race, with conflicting accounts of her heritage.

Frustrated with southern racism, 21-year-old Leary moved to Oberlin, Ohio in 1856 where he earned a living as a harness maker. It was no coincidence that Leary found a more hospitable environment at Oberlin. Members of his extended family lived in the area, including his nephew, John Anthony Copeland, Jr., who also participated in the Harpers Ferry raid. Located in Lorain County, southwest of Cleveland, Oberlin was at the time home to a concentrated network of Black and white abolitionists and served as an important site on the Underground Railroad. The town was also the site of Oberlin College, the first interracial and co-educational college in the country. Two years after moving to Oberlin he married Mary Sampson Patterson, and they had one daughter, Lois.

Sources: 
Peggy A. Russo and Paul Finkelman, eds., Terrible Swift Sword: The Legacy of John Brown (Athens, OH: Ohio Univ. Press, 2005), Timothy Patrick McCarthy and John Stauffer, eds. Prophets of Protest: Reconsidering the History of Abolitionism (NY: The New Press,2006), and “Lewis S. Leary,” www.ohiohistorycentral.org.
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

Adams, John H. (1927-- )

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

 

Sources: 
Quintard Taylor, The Forging of a Black Community: Seattle's Central District from 1870 to the Civil Rights Era (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994);  http://depts.washington.edu/civilr/adams.htm.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Jeffries, Jasper Brown (1912-1994)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on April 15, 1912, Jasper Brown Jeffries was an African American physicist and mathematician who worked on the Manhattan Project in World War II.  The eldest child of Brown and Edna Jeffries, Jasper had three younger brothers, Carl, Hubert, and Robert.

Jeffries earned his B.S. degree in 1933 from West Virginia State College (WVSC), an Historically Black College and University (HBCU) located in Institute, West Virginia. While attending West Virginia State College, Jeffries enrolled in classes taught by Dr. Angie Turner King, also a 1927 graduate of the institution. King earned a masters degree in mathematics and chemistry in 1931 from Cornell University and later earned a doctoral degree in mathematics and chemistry in 1955 from the University of Pittsburgh. This is very significant because King represented the small numbers of African American women earning graduate degrees in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields during this time period. It is highly plausible that King encouraged Jeffries to further his education and pursue a graduate degree.   After earning his B.S. degree from West Virginia State College, Jeffries briefly attended the University of Illinois (1933-35). He later earned his M.S. degree in physical sciences from the University of Chicago in 1940.
Sources: 
U.S. National Archives, Record Group 77, Records of the Chief of Engineers, Manhattan Engineer District, Harrison-Bundy File, folder #76; Vivian Ovelton Sammons, Blacks in Science and Medicine (New York: Hemisphere Publishing, 1980);  Wini Warren, Black Women Scientists in the United States (Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1999); Greensboro’s Treasured Places. The Secrets of East Greensboro. http://preservationgreensboro.typepad.com/page/3/ (accessed Jul 22, 2011); B.B. Paine. Trip to Control Instrument Co., August 27, 28, 29 and September 3, 1952.  http://dome.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.3/39230/MC665_r05_M-1633.pdf?sequence=1 (accessed Jul 23 2011).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
College of Wooster

Lincoln, Charles Eric (1924-2000)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Educator and Sociologist C. Eric Lincoln was born June 23, 1924 in Athens, Alabama.  After he was abandoned by his parents, Lincoln was raised by his maternal grandparents.  He attended the Trinity School in Athens, an institution created by the New England-based Congregational Church to meet the secondary education needs of African Americans in that community. While there Lincoln picked cotton to earn money to purchase his books and pay the three dollar per year tuition for his studies.  

Lincoln edited the Campus Chronicle, the Trinity school newspaper.  He also graduated as the valedictorian of his class in 1939.  After high school he moved to Chicago to continue his studies, working during the day and taking night classes at the University of Chicago.  In 1943 Lincoln was drafted into the United States Navy and served until the end of World War II.

In 1945 Lincoln moved to Memphis, Tennessee to enroll in Lemoyne College.  He received a BA in philosophy and sociology from the institution in 1947.  In 1954 he received his master’s degree in philosophy from Fisk University and a bachelor of divinity degree from the Chicago Divinity School two years later.  In 1957 Lincoln became an ordained minister.  Three years later, in 1960 received a Ph.D. in sociology and social ethics from Boston University.
Sources: 
C. Eric Lincoln, Coming Through the Fire: Surviving Race and Place in America (Durham: Duke University Press, 1996): “C. Eric Lincoln, Race Scholar, is dead at 75,” New York Times May 17, 2000, p. 26; “ C(harles) Eric Lincoln 1924-2000 Educator, sociologist, author, cleric,” Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 38 (Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale Group Inc., 2000), pp. 113-116; “Race, religion expert who taught at Duke dies at 75,” (Raleigh, N.C.) News and Observer May 15, 2000, p. A1    
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
North Carolina Central University

Republic of New Africa (1968- )

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

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

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

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

Pitre, Clayton (1924- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Clayton Pitre (right) with Fellow Montford Point Marine
at White House Ceremony, June 2012
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Clayton Pitre is a long time Seattle, Washington-based community activist, former Chief Housing Developer for the Central Area Motivation Project (CAMP), and a retired Montford Point Marine.

Born on June 30, 1924 to Gilbert Pitre and Eugenie Lemelle, Clayton Pitre was the fourth child of seven siblings. He was born and raised in Opelousas in Saint Landry Parish, Louisiana. His father was a cotton and yam farmer, and his mother was a homemaker.  Pitre attended Catholic schools until the 9th grade when he gave up his education to work in various defense plants in early World War II Texas.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Jarboro, Caterina (1903-1986)

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

Caterina Jarboro was born one of three children in Wilmington, North Carolina, to an American Indian mother and a black father who was a local barber. She was christened Katherine Lee Yarborough at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Wilmington.  She received elementary school education at St. Thomas, and later attended Gregory Normal School.  Her parents died when she was thirteen years old, and in 1916, she traveled to Brooklyn, New York, to live with an aunt.

Jarboro studied music in New York where her exceptional ability soon became apparent. By 1921 she appeared in popular theater musicals, such as Sissle and Blake’s “Shuffle Along,” and later in James P. Johnson’s, “Running Wild.” Like many black musicians and performers, she sought more opportunity for study and experience in Europe. Under contract to the San Carlo Opera Company, Jarboro debuted in Verdi’s Aida in 1930 at the Puccini Theater in Milan, Italy.  She continued to study in France and to perform in small productions in Europe until 1932 when she returned to the United States.

Sources: 
Interview with Caterina Jarboro in the Hatch-Billops Collection at the New York City Public Library; http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20070226 /NEWS/702260342; http://www.nytimes.com/1986/08/16/obituaries/caterina-jarboro.html?pagewanted=print
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Brice, Carol (1918-1985)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

Photograph by Carl Van Vechten,
Courtesy of The Van Vechten Trust

Contralto singer Carol Brice was born in Sedalia, North Carolina on April 16, 1918 into a musical family.  Eventually she became one of the first African American classical singers with an extensive recording repertoire.  Brice trained at Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia and then enrolled in Talladega College in Alabama, where she received her Bachelor of Music degree in 1939. She later attended Julliard School of Music between 1939 and 1943 where she trained with Francis Rogers. In 1943 Brice became the first African American musician to win the prestigious Walter W. Naumburg Foundation Award.

Carol Brice first attracted public acclaim at the New York World’s Fair in 1939 when she performed in the opera, “The Hot Mikado.”  Her next major public performance came in 1941, when she sang at a Washington concert honoring the third inauguration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Her brother, the pianist Jonathan Brice, was frequently her accompanist at concerts and competitions.

Sources: 
Masterworks Broadway, http://www.masterworksbroadway.com/artist/carol-brice; Bach Cantatas Website,  http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Bio/Brice-Carol.htm; John Gray, Blacks in Classical Music: A Bibliographical Guide to Composers, Performers, and Ensembles (New York: Greenwood Press, 1988).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Johnson, Yvonne Jeffries (1942- )

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

Yvonne Jeffries Johnson, the first African American mayor of Greensboro, North Carolina, was born on October 26, 1942 in Greensboro to Ruby Jeffries.  She graduated from Dudley High School in 1960 and Bennett College in 1964, with a BA in Psychology.  She then enrolled in Howard University and received a Graduate Fellowship in 1965.  In 1978 Johnson received a Master of Science degree in Guidance Counseling from North Carolina A&T University.

Sources: 
Personal interview with the author, June 2011, http://www.greensboro-nc.gov/index.aspx?page=104; Personal resume.
Affiliation: 
University of Texas, El Paso

Shakur, Assata Olugbala (1947- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership, Public Domain
Assata Olugbala Shakur—political activist, author, fugitive, and step-aunt of the famed, slain hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur—was born JoAnne Deborah Bryon on July 16, 1947 in New York City, New York.  Following her parents’ divorce in 1950, she moved with her mother and maternal grandparents to Wilmington, North Carolina.  Shakur spent much of her adolescence alternating residences between her mother, who remarried and returned to New York, and relatives in Wilmington.

Shakur enrolled in Borough of Manhattan Community College before transferring to City College of New York, where her exposure to Black Nationalist organizations profoundly impacted her activism.  Shakur attended meetings held by the Golden Drums, where she met her husband, Louis Chesimard.  Members of the organization familiarized her with black historical figures that resisted racial oppression and social violence.  She also began interacting with other activist groups and subsequently participated in student rights, anti-Vietnam war, and black liberation movements.  In 1971, she adopted a new name: Assata (“she who struggles”) Olugbala (“love for the people”) Shakur (“the thankful”).
Sources: 
Shakur, Assata, Assata: An Autobiography (Chicago:  Zed Books Ltd., 1987); Mychal Denzel Smith, “Assata Shakur is Not a Terrorist,” The Nation (7 May 1913); Shakur, Assata, “An Open Letter from Assata” 1998; www.fbi.gov.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Talley, André Leon (1949-)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Known as one of the fashion world’s most recognized personalities, Talley stepped down as Vogue’s editor-at-large after three decades to become the editor-in-chief for Numero Russia, an international magazine based in Russia.

Talley is the son of William C. Talley, a taxi driver, and Alma Ruth Davis, and was born on October 16, 1949 in Durham, North Carolina. However, he was raised by his grandmother, Bennie Frances Davis, who worked as a domestic in the Durham area. Davis had a profound effect on him and he credits her with his uncommon flair for fashion. As a teen, he ventured to the library in the white section of town. It was there that he discovered Vogue and quickly became a devoted reader.

Talley’s postsecondary experience began at North Carolina Central University and, later he was granted a scholarship to Brown University where he earned an M.A. in French Studies in 1973. He initially planned to teach French, but the fashion world beckoned him. He first worked as an assistant for Andy Warhol. In 1983, he began working as the editor-at-large for Vogue magazine and soon became the most notable African American in the world of designer fashion.

Sources: 
Close-Up Media, Inc., André Leon Talley, eds. André Leon Talley to Redesign Zappos Couture Web Presence, (Jacksonville, FL: Close-Up Media, January 27, 2014), Rust, Suzanne, A.L.T.: A Memoir, (Fairfax, VA: Black Issues Book Review, November/December, 2003), Thompson, Arienne, ed., Andre Leon Talley leaving 'Vogue' for Russian mag.(MacLean, VA: USA Today.com, March 6, 2013), Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2013/03/06/andre-leon-talley-leaving-vogue-taking-on-russian-mag/1968127/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Freeman Beach\Seabreeze, Wilmington, North Carolina (ca. 1885- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Unidentified Visitors, Freeman Beach, ca. 1945
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Freeman Beach, near Wilmington, North Carolina, was one of two North Carolina beaches available to African Americans in the state during the Jim Crow era.  The beach area, originally 99 acres of underdeveloped beachfront land near Myrtle Grove Sound, was acquired by former slaves Alexander and Charity Freeman, who were of mixed African and American Indian heritage. Alexander established himself as a fisherman on Myrtle Beach Sound in the 1840s. Legend has it that the beachfront resort community’s name came from fishermen who found the winds flowing off the Atlantic a refreshing respite from the hot sun. Freeman purchased the beach acreage in 1855 and over the years the couple enlarged their holdings to include 180 acres by the time of Alexander’s death in 1872.  
Sources: 
Save Freeman Beach - African American Environmentalist ..., available at:
aaenvironment.blogspot.com/2010/07/save-freeman-beach.html; Ben Steelman, “What is Seabreeze”? My Reporter, available at http://www.myreporter.com/?p=1565; Herbert L. White, Oceanside Divide/Our State Magazine, available at: https://www.ourstate.com/oceanside-divide/; and Freeman/Brown. Girl. Farm, available at: https://natashabowens.wordpress.com/tag/freeman/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Ohio University

Chowan Beach, Hertford County, North Carolina (1926-2004)

Vignette Type: 
Places
History Type: 
African American History
The Chowan Beach Resort, ca. 1945
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Chowan Beach was an African American playground founded in 1926 when Eli Reid of Winton, in Hertford County, North Carolina, converted an abandoned fishing beach along the Chowan River into a family-oriented resort for African Americans. The area was originally settled in the Colonial era but the ravages of the American Revolution and later the U.S. Civil War eventually broke the linkage to the original settlers.  By the mid-1920s when Reid acquired the land from Hertford County, the old fishing village, the last known settlement, had long been abandoned.
Sources: 
Frank Stephenson, Chowan Beach: Remembering an African American Resort (Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press, 2006); Andrew W. Kahrl, The Land Was Ours: African American Beaches from Jim Crow to the Sunbelt South (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Ohio University

Campbell, Charles M. (1918-1986)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Hawaii State Senator Charles M. Campbell was born in North Carolina in 1918.  He grew up there and received an A.D. degree from North Carolina College in Durham.  He also received an M.A. degree from Howard University and a second M.A. from Columbia University.  

Campbell began his career by becoming the first black newscaster to do “straight broadcasting” in Philadelphia. He was the first black member of the Radio Television News Directors Association and became Vice President of Radio News Reel Television Working Press Association. 

Sources: 
Naomi Campbell, Interview  with Daphne Barbee-Wooten, June 1999; “Spreading Aloha through Civil Rights,” by Daphne Barbee-Wooten, Hawaii Bar Journal, October 1999; Miles M. Jackson, And They Came (Honolulu: Four Publishers Inc., 2001).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Wright, Nathan Jr. (1923-2005)

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

The Trillion Dollar African American Consumer Market: Economic Empowerment or Economic Dependency?

"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Sometime in 2013, the African American consumer market exceeded the trillion dollar mark for the first time.  To put this figure in perspective, that market is larger than the market for the entire nation of Spain.  In the article below business historian Robert Weems briefly describes rise of African American purchasing power since the end of slavery and what it means for both black Americans and the entire economy.

Collective African American net income (spending power) now exceeds $1 trillion dollars annually. Because of this economic reality, a wide variety of contemporary companies continually create marketing campaigns to effectively reach this important segment of the U.S. consumer market. Yet, in the not-too-distant past, black consumers were all but ignored in the American marketplace.  This article will provide an overview of this historical (and business) phenomenon.

Summary: 
Sometime in 2013, the African American consumer market exceeded the trillion dollar mark for the first time.  To put this figure in perspective, that market is larger than the market for the entire nation of Spain.  In the article below business historian Robert Weems briefly describes rise of African American purchasing power since the end of slavery and what it means for both black Americans and the entire economy.
Sources: 
Robert E. Weems, Jr., Desegregating the Dollar: African American Consumerism in the Twentieth Century (New York: New York University Press, 1998); Resilient, Receptive and Relevant: The African American Consumer, 2013 Report (New York: The Nielson Company, 2013).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Wichita State University

Brown, Dorothy Lavinia (1919-2004)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Dr. Dorothy Lavinia Brown was a medical pioneer, educator, and community leader.  In 1948-1949 Brown became the first African American female appointed to a general surgery residency in the de jure racially segregated South.  In 1956 Brown became the first unmarried woman in Tennessee authorized to be an adoptive parent, and in 1966 she became the first black woman representative to the state legislature in Tennessee.

Brown was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 7, 1919. Within weeks after she was born, Brown’s unmarried mother Edna Brown moved to upstate New York and placed her five-month-old baby daughter in the predominantly white Troy Orphan Asylum (later renamed Vanderhyden Hall) in Troy, New York. Brown was a demonstrably bright child, and became interested in medicine after she had a tonsillectomy at age five.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Holloway, Anne Forrester (1941- 2006)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Anne Forrester Holloway was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Mali on November 6, 1979 by President Jimmy Carter. She was the first African American woman to hold that post.  

Forrester was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 2, 1941.  She attended public schools in Philadelphia but then transferred to a predominantly white school, Northfield Mount Hermon School, in Gill, Massachusetts, graduating June 1959.  She graduated from Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont in 1963 and later received her master’s degree in African Studies at Howard University in 1968. Ms. Forrester’s doctoral work culminated with a 1975 degree from the Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Sources: 
"Anne Forrester, Ambassador to Mali" (2006, July 3), retrieved January 10, 2015, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/02/AR2006070200695.html; U.S. State Department, Office of the Historian, http://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/people/holloway-anne-forrester.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Carrington, Walter Charles (1930 - )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Walter Charles Carrington served as the United States Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Senegal from 1980 to 1981, and to Nigeria from 1993 to 1997. He married Arese Ukpoma, a Nigerian physician, and has lived in three Nigerian cities since the late 1960s.
Sources: 
“Walter Carrington,” The History Makers http://www.thehistorymakers.com/biography/honorable-walter-c-carrington; “Ambassador Walter C. Carrington,” Interviewed by Charles Stuart Kennedy, March, 9, 1988, The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project; Chido Nwangwu, “Walter Carrington: An African-American Puts Principles Above Self for Nigeria,” USAfrica Online, http://www.usafricaonline.com/Carrington.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Hicks, John F. (1949- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
John F. Hicks is a diplomat and global educator who served as a United States Ambassador to the United Nations (UN). A native of Goldsboro, North Carolina, Hicks was born in 1949. Hicks holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Morehouse College, a diploma and master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in Bologna, Italy and Washington, D.C.

His career in international relations and diplomacy began in 1973 when he joined the United Internship Program with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This service propelled him through the ranks where he served in senior leadership positions in Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, Zambia, and the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. In 1989, Hicks was awarded the Agency’s Senior Foreign Service Presidential Meritorious Service Award.
Sources: 
“The President Names Ambassador to Eritrea,” The White House: Office of the Press Secretary, May 13, 1996, http://clinton6.nara.gov/1996/05/1996-05-13-hicks-named-ambassador-to-eritea.html; Philip Shenon, “U.S. Ambassador to Eritrea Quit Amid Sex Inquiry, Officials Say,” New York Times, February 27, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/us/politics/28health.html; “John F. Hicks, “The International University of Gran-Bassam Foundation, https://iugbfoundation.org/john-f-hicks/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Maryland-Baltimore County

Sharpless, Mattie R. (1943- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
On October 1, 2001, President George W. Bush nominated Mattie R. Sharpless to be the next United States Ambassador to the Central African Republic. After confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Sharpless was at her post in the nation’s capital at Bangui by mid-December 2001.  Sharpless served in Bangui until June 2003.  Unlike most ambassadors who are either political appointees or career foreign service diplomats, Sharpless was a long term employee of the United States Foreign Agriculture Service, a section of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Sharpless was born in Hampstead, North Carolina on July 1, 1943 to James and Lecola Sharpless.  When Sharpless was 11, her father died. Her mother Lecola became a single parent and the sole provider for Mattie and her eight siblings.
Sources: 
Si Cantwell, “Hampstead native ready to brave the heat of diplomacy,” Star-News, January 15, 2002, B , http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1454&dat=20020115&id=7QJPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Ux8EAAAAIBAJ&pg=5975,3907489; “Honorable Mattie R. Sharpless (Former U.S. Ambassador to the Central African Republic),” Ariel Foundation, http://www.arielfoundation.org/documents/AFI_Website_Bio_Sharpless.html; “NCCU News: U.S. Ambassador to speak at NCCU commencement,” North Carolina Central University,  http://www.nccu.edu/news/index.cfm?id=739CC7D7-C295-3D7D-E14563832B35C7AB.
Affiliation: 
Morgan State University

Palmer, Larry L. (1949- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
On November 1, 2011, President Barack H. Obama appointed Larry L. Palmer the United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. On March 30, 2012, the U.S. Senate confirmed Palmer’s nomination and he reported to his post in Bridgetown, Barbados. Born in Augusta, Georgia, on July 13, 1949, Palmer was also the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras under President George W. Bush (2002-2005). Between his two ambassadorships, Palmer also headed the Inter-American Foundation (2005-2010), a U.S. government agency which allocates financial aid throughout Latin America.
Sources: 
“Former UTEP Staff Member Named U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela,”  The University of Texas El Paso, http://admin.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=65892; “President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 6/28/10,” The White House, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/president-obama-announces-more-key-administration-posts-62810;“Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean: Who Is Larry Leon Palmer?,” ALLGOV, http://www.allgov.com/news/appointments-and-resignations/ambassador-to-barbados-and-the-eastern-caribbean-who-is-larry-leon-palmer?news=843889.
Affiliation: 
Morgan State University

Adams, Alma Shealey (1946-)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Congresswoman Alma Shealey Adams currently represents North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.  She is the 100th woman elected to that legislative body and the second African American woman, after Eva Clayton, to represent North Carolina in the U.S. Congress.  
Sources: 
"Alma Adams for Congress: About Alma," http://almaadamsforcongress.com/about; "Full Biography: Congresswoman Alma Adams, December 11, 2014, http://adams.house.gov/about/full-biography; Alice Ollstein, "Meet Alma Adams, Who Becomes The 100th Woman In Congress Today," ThinkProgress, November 12, 2014, http://thinkprogress.org/election/2014/11/12/3591247/alma-adams-100th-woman-congress/.
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

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

Dudley, Edward Richard (1911-2005)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Edward Dudley was the first black American to lead a U.S. Mission abroad with the rank of Ambassador. Dudley was born on March 11, 1911 in South Boston, Virginia to Edward Richard and Nellie (Johnson) Dudley. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree from Johnson C. Smith College in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1932, Dudley briefly taught in a one-room Virginia school. He later moved to Washington, D.C., and enrolled in Howard University’s dentistry program. After deciding dentistry was not for him, Dudley moved to New York City, New York, eventually enrolling at St. John’s University where he earned a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree in 1941.  While at St. John’s he served on its prestigious Law Review.
Sources: 
The New York Times, February 11, 2005; “Black Chiefs of Mission Oral History Project, Judge Edward Richard Dudley,” Phelps Stokes Fund, April 3, 1981; Pioneering African Americans in the Courts and the Legal Community Past and Present  (New York: Unified Court System of New York, February 1992).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training

Bost, Eric M. (1952- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Ambassador Eric Bost is currently the assistant director of External Relations for the Borlaug Institute at Texas A&M University.  Bost, a native of Concord, North Carolina, attended the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill where he earned his Bachelor’s in Psychology in 1974.  In 1985, he received his Master’s degree in Special Education at the University of South Florida.  After graduate school, Bost held management positions in human services in various states as well as Washington, D.C.
Sources: 
The American Public Human Services Association, “Executive Governing Board,” APHSA, http://www.aphsa.org/content/APHSA/en/the-association/our-leadership-and-staff/LEADERSHIP/BOARD.html.
Affiliation: 
Morgan State University

Perry, Robert C. (1945- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Robert Perry was born in Durham, North Carolina in 1945.  He graduated from Hillside High School in that city in 1963. During his time in high school, Perry played in the marching band, was a member of the Honor Society, and served as president of his sophomore and senior classes. He was an acolyte at St. Titus Episcopal Church. As a member of Boy Scout Troop 55, Robert Perry earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

Perry graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio in 1967. He completed a Master’s Degree in International Relations at American University in Washington, D.C. the following year.
Sources: 
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
California State University, Fullerton

Beaver, Fitzgerald Redd (Fitz) (1922–1991)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership:Public Domain"
Fitzgerald Redd Beaver was a mid-and late 20th century media entrepreneur in the Pacific Northwest. He was the founder and publisher of The Facts, one of the two major black newspapers in Seattle, Washington since the 1960s. Building on a long tradition of African American journalism and newspaper ownership dating back to the 1890s in Seattle, he became through his newspaper an influential voice in the city and the region.
Sources: 
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Ferguson, Clarence Clyde, Jr. (1924-1983)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
M. Alphonse Boni, President of the Ivorian
Court and Clarence Clyde Ferguson, Dean,
Howard University 
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Clarence Clyde Ferguson was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Uganda on March 17, 1970 by President Richard Nixon. He presented his credentials June 30, 1970 and terminated his mission on July 19, 1972. Ferguson was born November 4, 1924 in Wilmington, North Carolina to Clarence Clyde and Georgena Owens Ferguson.
Sources: 
John Honnold, "Desegregation and the Law,” Review of Desegregation and the Law by Albert P. Blaunstein and Clarence Clyde Ferguson, Jr., Indiana Law Journal: 33: 4 (1958); Clarence Mitchell, “In Memoriam: C. Clyde Ferguson, Jr. A Brilliant Career,” Harvard Law Review 97:6 (April 1984).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

O’Neal, Adrienne S. (1954- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Sources: 
AllGov, Ambassador to Cape Verde: Who Is Adrienne O’Neal? (http://www.allgov.com/news/appointments-and-resignations/ambassador-to-cape-verde-who-is-adrienne-oneal?news=843671); LinkedIn, “Adrienne S. O'Neal: Ambassador to the Republic of Cape Verde at U.S. Department of State” (https://www.linkedin.com/in/asoneal); Michigan.com, “Death Notices: O'Neal Vernese Boulware” (http://deathnotices.michigan.com/view-single.php?id=159170&token=); The Network Journal, Ambassador Adrienne O’Neal: Building Bridges Between U.S. and Cape Verde (http://www.tnj.com/news/african-and-caribbean/ambassador-adrienne-o%E2%80%99neal-building-bridges-between-us-and-cape-verde); The Politic, “An Interview with Adrienne S. O’Neal, U.S. Ambassador to Cape Verde” (http://thepolitic.org/an-interview-with-adrienne-s-oneal-u-s-ambassador-to-cape-verde/); U.S. Department of State, “Adrienne S. O'Neal” (http://m.state.gov/md179315.htm).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Syracuse University

Lynch, Loretta Elizabeth (1959- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Attorney and public prosecutor Loretta Elizabeth Lynch was born on May 21, 1959 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her father was a Baptist minister and her mother was an English teacher and school librarian. Lynch received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1981. Three years later, she earned a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School.

Lynch joined the New York City, New York law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel in 1984. Six years later, she became a drug and crime prosecutor in the office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. From 1994 to 1998, she directed the Long Island office and worked on several cases involving corruption in the government of Brookhaven, New York.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
California State University, Los Angeles

Withers, John Lovelle, II (1948- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
In 2007, Ambassador John L. Withers II, a second generation diplomat, was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to serve as ambassador to Albania. Withers was born in 1948 in Guilford, North Carolina, to John L. Withers, Sr. and Daisy P. Withers.
Sources: 

U.S. Department of State, “John Withers II,” http://m.state.gov/md116125.htm; Los Angeles Times, “U.S. ambassador to Albania cleared in ammo cover-up,”  http://articles.latimes.com/2009/mar/19/nation/na-diplomat-cleared19; Besar Likmeta, “WikiLeaks, Corruption Lost Albania Millions in Aid,” in BalkanInsight, http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/albania-lost-millions-of-us-aid-due-to-corruption.

 

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Syracuse University

Floyd, Elson S. (1956–2015)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Elson S. Floyd was the first African American president of three universities, a visionary leader, and a skilled statesman.

Elson Sylvester Floyd was born on February 29, 1956, in Henderson, North Carolina. He was raised in this racially segregated town where his father, Elson, was a bricklayer, and his mother, Dorothy, worked in a tobacco factory. The family lived in poverty, and neither parent graduated from high school, but the Floyds taught their four boys the value of education, including their eldest, Elson.
Sources: 
Kathrine Long, “WSU’s late President Floyd leaves lasting legacy of accomplishments,” Seattle Times, June 24, 2015, http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/education/wsus-late-president-floyd-leaves-lasting-legacy-of-accomplishments/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=article_bottom; Nina Culver, “WSU President Elson Floyd dies after battle with cancer,” The Spokesman Review, June 20, 2015, http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2015/jun/20/wsu-president-elson-floyd-loses-cancer-battle/; “WSU President Elson S. Floyd Leaves Unparalleled Education Legacy,” WSU Office of the President, http://president.wsu.edu/eflo/obituary.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Washington State University

Barr, Epsy Campbell (1963- )

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Epsy Campbell Barr is a black Costa Rican politician and trained economist.  In 2000 she became one of the founders of the Citizen’s Action Party (CAP), a group of leftist politicians who challenged the then ruling political party.  She later ran for President of Costa Rica in 2010 and 2014 under the CAP banner. Campbell Barr is currently a member of the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly.

Epsy Campbell Barr, the granddaughter of Jamaican emigrants to Costa Rica, was born on July 4, 1963 to Shirley Barr Aird and Luis Campbell in the capital city of San Jose.  She comes from a family of five daughters and two sons. As a young university student, Campbell Barr married and had her two daughters, Narda and Tanisha. She lived in the Caribbean for ten years but returned to Costa Rica, graduating as an economist from the Latin University of Costa Rica (1998). She also has an M.A. in Development Cooperation from the Foundation for Cultural and Social Science in Spain (2008).
Sources: 
Epsy Campbell Bar, “CV,” http://www.aciamericas.coop/CR2008/conclusiones/expositores/CV/EpsyCampbell.pdf;   Epsy Campbell Barr, “Political Empowerment of Afro-Descendent Women,” http://www.buildingglobaldemocracy.org/content/political-empowerment-afro-descendent-women; “Epsy Campbell Barr; CR’s Next President?” The Costa Rican Times, http://www.costaricantimes.com/epsy-cambell-barr-costa-ricas-next-president/14245.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Black Lives Matter: The Growth of a New Social Justice Movement

"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
In the article below, Syracuse University historian Herbert Ruffin explores the rapid rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement as the most recent development in the ongoing struggle for racial and social justice in the United States.
Summary: 
<i>In the article below, Syracuse University historian Herbert Ruffin explores the rapid rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement as the most recent development in the ongoing struggle for racial and social justice in the United States.</i>
Sources: 
Alicia Garza, “A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement,” thefeministwire.org (http://www.thefeministwire.com/2014/10/blacklivesmatter-2/); Mychal Denzel Smith, “How Trayvon Martin’s Death Launched a New Generation of Black Activism,” The Nation (http://www.thenation.com/article/how-trayvon-martins-death-launched-new-generation-black-activism/); Black People Matters, “State of the Black Union” (http://blacklivesmatter.com/state-of-the-black-union/); Akiba Solomon, “Get on the Bus: Inside the Black Life Matters ‘Freedom Ride’ to Ferguson,” Colorlines (http://www.colorlines.com/articles/get-bus-inside-black-life-matters-freedom-ride-ferguson); Huffington Post, Black People Matters Links, Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/black-lives-matter/).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Syracuse University

555th Parachute Infantry Battalion [Triple Nickles], (1944–1947)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
The Triple Nickles Before a Jump, ca. 1945
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
On August 6, 1945, Private First Class Malvin L. Brown was killed after falling one hundred and forty feet during a “let-down” from a tree while fighting a forest fire in the Umpqua National Forest in southern Oregon. Brown was the first smokejumper to die while fighting a wildfire since the program’s inception by the U.S. Forest Service in 1939. He was also the only member of the “Triple Nickles” 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion to die in the line of duty during World War II.

The 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion was nicknamed “Triple Nickles” because of its numerical designation and because seventeen of its original twenty-member “colored test platoon” were from the 92nd Infantry (“Buffalo Soldiers”) Division of the U.S. Army. Their identifying symbol is three buffalo nickels joined in a triangle and the oddly-spelled “Nickle” is one of their trademarks.  
Sources: 
Triple Nickle website, http://www.triplenickle.com/home.htm; Bradley Biggs, Triple Nickles: America’s First All-black Paratroop Unit (Lancaster, United Kingdom: Gazelle Book Services, Ltd., 1986); Tanya Lee Stone, Courage Has No Color, The True Story of the Triple Nickles: America’s First Black Paratroopers (Somerville, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2013); and Bob Zybach and Ken McCall 1994. Rex Wakefield, Douglas-Fir Forester: Western Oregon Forest History, 1911-1991 (Corvallis, Oregon: USDA Siuslaw National Forest and Oregon State University Research Forests, 1994).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Jacobs, Louisa Matilda (1833–1917)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of Jean Fagan Yellin
Louisa “Lulu” Matilda Jacobs, teacher, equal rights activist, and entrepreneur, was born a slave in Edenton, North Carolina, on October 19, 1833. She was the daughter of congressman and newspaper editor Samuel Tredwell Sawyer and his mixed-race enslaved mistress Harriet Jacobs.  
Sources: 
Harriet Jacobs, ed. Jean Fagan Yellin, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000); Jean Fagin Yellin, Kate Culkin, Scott Korb, eds.,  Harriet Jacobs Family Papers (Chapel Hill: UNC Press 2008); Annie Wood Webb Papers, private collection, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Missouri History Museum Archives, St. Louis.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Toomer, Amanda America Dickson (1849-1893)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Heiress and socialite Amanda America Dickson Toomer was, in her time, the wealthiest African American woman in Georgia, and one of the wealthiest women in the United States.

Born November 20, 1849, on the Dickson Plantation, near Sparta, Georgia (Hancock County), Amanda America was the product of her 12-year-old mother, an enslaved house servant, Julia Francis Lewis, and 40-year-old David Dickson, a well-known agricultural reformer of that era and one of the wealthiest planters in the area.   In her youth, Amanda was taken into the Dickson family home and raised by her paternal grandmother where she was taught to read, write, and play the piano. According to Dickson family tradition, David Dickson eventually doted on his only daughter.

In 1866, 17-year-old Amanda married her white first cousin, Charles Eubanks, a recently returned Confederate Army veteran and together they had two children, Julian Henry and Charles Green. It was an unhappy marriage, and in 1870, Amanda left her husband, and returned to the Dickson Plantation, where she was legally given the surname of Dickson for herself and her sons. Eubanks died two years later.

Sources: 
Kent Leslie, Woman of Color, Daughter of Privilege: Amanda America Dickson, 1849-1893 (Athens:  University of Georgia Press, 1996); Find-A-Grave, Amanda America Dickson Toomer, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=13428942; Mark Woodard, My GA History, Amanda America Dickson, http://mygahistory.com/amanda-america-dickson/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Mabley, Jackie “Moms” (1894–1975)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Jackie “Moms” Mabley found fame and fortune as a stand-up comedian during the twentieth century. Beginning as a staple on the chitlin’ circuit and late night talk show favorite, she went on to become an internationally known entertainer whose career spanned five decades.

One of twelve children, Mabley was born Loretta Mary Aiken on March 19, 1894 to businessman and volunteer firefighter James Aiken and Mary Smith, a stay-at-home mother in Brevard, North Carolina. When Loretta was eleven, her father was killed in an explosion, and later her mother was killed on Christmas day by a truck. During her adolescence, Loretta was raped; both episodes resulted in pregnancy and the children being given up through adoption.

Mabley relocated to Cleveland, Ohio, at age fourteen and joined the black vaudeville scene as an all-around entertainer. While on this circuit, she met and fell in love with fellow performer Jack Mabley. After the short-lived love affair, she adopted his name. The sobriquet “Moms” came a short time later as other performers noticed her protection and kindness for budding entertainers.
Sources: 
Jason Ankeny and Moms Mabley, Moms Mabley biography,(San Francisco: All Media Network, LLC, 2015); Allison Keyes, "The Apollo Theater to Induct 3 Black Comedy Legends Into Its Walk of Fame: Moms Mabley, Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor will be honored the same night the legendary theater kicks off its new comedy club" http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2015/10/apollo_theater_walk_of_fame_moms_mabley_redd_foxx_and_richard_pryor_1st.html; Mekado Murphy and Whoopi Goldberg, "The Comedy Pioneer in the Floppy Hat: Whoopi Goldberg’s Documentary on Moms Mabley," http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/17/arts/television/whoopi-goldbergs-documentary-on-moms-mabley.html?_r=1 Biography.com Editors, Moms Mabley Biography: Comedian (1894–1975), http://www.biography.com/people/moms-mabley-38691;  Jackie ‘Moms’ Mabley, (Philadelphia: Equality Forum, 2015), http://lgbthistorymonth.com/jackie-%E2%80%9Cmoms%E2%80%9D-mabley?tab=biography.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Carolyn L. Robertson Payton (1925–2001)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Dr. Carolyn L. Robertson Payton was the first African American and the first woman to become the director of the U.S. Peace Corps. She was appointed in 1977 by U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

Carolyn L. Robertson Payton was born on May 13, 1925, in Norfolk, Virginia, to Bertha M. Flanagan, a seamstress, and Leroy S. Robertson, a ship steward. She graduated from Booker T. Washington High school in Norfolk in 1941 and received her B.S. degree in Home Economics from Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1945. Payton remained close to Bennett College, establishing a scholarship fund there in the late 1990s.

Payton then attended the University of Wisconsin where her tuition and other expenses were paid by the state of Virginia as part of the state’s policy of sending black graduate students to out-of-state institutions rather than allowing them to received advanced degrees at the state’s universities. Payton received her Master’s in Psychology from Wisconsin in 1948.
Sources: 
Gwendolyn P. Keita, “Heritage Column: Carolyn Robertson Payton (1925-2001),” in PsycEXTRA Dataset: Gwendolyn Keita and Tressie Muldrow, “Carolyn Robertson Payton,” in A.N. O'Connell & N. Felipe Russo (eds.), Women in psychology: A Bio-bibliographic sourcebook (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990); Carolyn L. Robertson Payton Obituary, Washington Post, April 22, 2001.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Lorenzo Dow Turner (1890-1972)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Dr. Lorenzo Dow Turner Interviewing the Gullah People
in South Carolina, 1930
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Lorenzo Dow Turner was an African American linguist who headed the English department at Howard University in Washington, D.C. from 1920 to 1928, and later headed of the English department at Fisk University (1929 to 1946). His accomplishments within his career in academia include the creation of the African Studies curriculum at Fisk University in 1943 and participation in the early African Studies program at Roosevelt University, beginning in 1946. Turner is best known for his research on the Gullah language or dialect, a provincial language spoken by descendants of African slaves in coastal South Carolina and Georgia. Later in life, Turner played a role in founding the training program for Peace Corps volunteers going to Africa.
Sources: 
Jason Kelly, "Lorenzo Dow Turner, PhD’26," The University of Chicago Magazine: Features. November-December 2010; Holland Cotter, "A Language Explorer Who Heard Echoes of Africa," The New York Times Sept. 2, 2010; "Voices from the Days of Slavery: Ten Interviews by Lorenzo Dow Turner, June 27, 1932-August 5, 1933" Interviewer Biographies (American Memory from the Library of Congress), Library of Congress.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Browne, Marjorie Lee (1914–1979)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Marjorie Lee Browne was a prominent mathematician and educator who, in 1949, became only the third African-American woman to earn a doctorate in her field.  Browne was born on September 9, 1914, in Memphis, Tennessee, to Mary Taylor Lee and Lawrence Johnson Lee. Her father, a railway postal clerk remarried shortly after his wife’s death, when Browne was almost two years old. He and his second wife, Lottie, a school teacher, encouraged their daughter to take her studies seriously as she was a gifted student. Browne attended LeMoyne High School, a private Methodist school that was started after the Civil War. During her schooling, she won the Memphis City Women's Tennis Singles Championship in 1929 and two years later graduated from LeMoyne High School. 
Sources: 
Biography.com, Marjorie Lee Browne, Mathematician, Educator,  (http://www.biography.com/people/marjorie-lee-browne-5602); Charlene Morrow, Teri Perl “Notable Women In Mathematics: A Biographical Dictionary” Greenwood Publishing Group, 1998; Darlene Clark Hine, “Black Women In America An Historical Encyclopedia, Volumes 1 and 2” (Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York, 1993)
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Harris-Perry, Melissa (1973– )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Melissa Harris-Perry is an American author, professor, television host, and political commentator who focuses on African American political issues. Harris-Perry has written for The Nation, in addition to penning her two award-winning books, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America (2013), and Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought (2004) in which she discusses the issues facing the black social and political communities in the United States. Harris-Perry also hosted MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, a weekend news and opinion program for four years.
Sources: 
John Pope, “New Orleans transplant has a life rich in politics, pedagogy,” The Times-Picayune, October 2, 2011, http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2011/10/new_orleans_transplant_has_a_l.html; “Melissa Harris-Perry,” MSNBC, http://www.msnbc.com/melissa-harris-perry/melissa-harris-perry-biography; “Melissa Harris-Perry,” The Nation, http://www.thenation.com/authors/melissa-harris-perry/; “Melissa Harris-Perry,” Wake Forest University, http://college.wfu.edu/politics/faculty-and-staff/melissa-harris-perry/.
Contributor: 

Bruce, Samuel (Sam) Martin (1915–1944)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
In 1942 Sam Martin Bruce was a second lieutenant assigned to the 99th Pursuit Squadron, a unit piloted by men who were part of the Tuskegee Airmen. They were the African American pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and other personnel responsible for keeping the planes in the air. From 1941 to 1946, nearly one thousand airmen were trained at Tuskegee.   

The 99th Pursuit Squadron was the first all-African American pursuit squadron. They were the direct result of the constant pressure on the Franklin Roosevelt Administration from African Americans demanding a larger role in the military and an end to the ban on black pilots. In 1940 the federal government created the Tuskegee Airmen program and located it at Tuskegee Institute, Alabama. Members of the 99th Pursuit Squadron were some of the first Tuskegee airmen to complete their training and be sent to Europe after the United States entered World War II.
Sources: 
Jerry Large, “Saluting a Seattle WWII Tuskegee Airman,” The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/saluting-a-seattle-wwii-tuskegee-airman/; “Bruce, Samuel M., 2nd Lt.,” Together We Served, http://airforce.togetherweserved.com/usaf/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp?cmd=ShadowBoxProfile&type=Person&ID=172042; “Northwest Connection: The Tuskegee Airmen,” 4 Culture, http://www.naamnw.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/NAAM.TuskgeeHiRes2bestcopy1.pdf; “Airmen History,” Tuskegee Airmen Inc. Same Bruce Chapter, http://sambrucetai.org/about-tuskegee-airmen/; “A Brief History,” Tuskegee Airmen Inc., http://tuskegeeairmen.org/explore-tai/a-brief-history/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Hemphill, Brian O’Harold (1969– )

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

Shober, James Francis (1853–1889)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Dr. James Francis Shober was an African American doctor and the first known black physician to practice in North Carolina. Shober was born on August 23, 1853, in or near the Moravian town of Salem (now Winston-Salem), North Carolina. Shober’s father, believed to be Francis Edwin Shober, was successful white businessman and politician in the Salem Moravian community who served in the North Carolina state legislature and the United States Congress.

Francis Shober earned his law degree at the University of North Carolina in 1851 and was a co-founder of the first Sunday school in the state. Meanwhile James Shober’s mother, Betsy Ann Waugh, was a mulatto slave who was only eighteen years old when Shober was born. Betsy Ann, who lived in Salem, passed away in 1859 when Shober was between the age of six and seven. He was sent back to the Waugh Plantation near Waughtown, North Carolina, where his grandmother lived with other family relatives.

Sources: 
Ben Steelman, “James Shober, North Carolina Doctor,” http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/james-shober-north-carolina-doctor; William S. Powell, “Shober, James Francis,” http://ncpedia.org/biography/shober-james-francis; Elizabeth Reed, “James Shober” in, Find A Grave- Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=23080615.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Crutcher, Ronald Andrew (1947– )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Dr. Ronald Andrew Crutcher is a distinguished classical musician and a national leader in higher education. He served as the as the seventh president of Wheaton College from 2004 to 2014, and then became the first African American president of the University of Richmond on July 1, 2015, where he also teaches music.

Ronald Andrew Crutcher was born on February 27, 1947, in Richmond, Kentucky, to Andrew James Crutcher and Burdella Crutcher. Following his graduation from Woodward High School in Richmond in 1965, Crutcher attended and became a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the Miami University in Ohio where he studied music and graduated cum laude in 1969. He then pursued his graduate studies at Yale University in Connecticut as a Woodrow Wilson and Ford Foundation Fellow, and in 1979 he became the first cellist to receive a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Yale. Dr. Crutcher, who is fluent in German, studied music at the University of Bonn in Germany where he was supported by a Fulbright Fellowship.

Sources: 
“About Dr. Crutcher,” Office of the President, University of Richmond http://president.richmond.edu/crutcher/index.html; Jack Nicholsan, “A Musician and Mentor: An inside Look at Ronald Crutcher, Richmond's New President,” The Collegian, October 29, 2015.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

The Genesis Group of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1971– )

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Genesis Group Members, 2012: Don Harwell, Eugene Orr,
Eddie Gist (kneeling), Orin Howell, and Darius Gray

Image Courtesy of Margaret Blair Young

In 1971 Ruffin Bridgeforth, Darius Gray, and Eugene Orr, all African American Mormons, met at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City to create a strategy for receiving greater support for the black members of the Latter Day Saints. In that year, there were only three or four hundred Latter-day Saints of African descent throughout the world, although some of them traced their family lineage to the earliest black LDS members in the 1830s and 1840s.

Sources: 
Founding of the Genesis Group, October 19, 1971, audio recording in possession of Darius Gray; Notes by Ruffin Bridgeforth, in possession of Darius Gray, Margaret Blair Young and Darius Gray, The Last Mile of the Way (Revised and Expanded) (Orem, Utah: Zarahemla Books, 2013); http://www.ldsgenesisgroup.org/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Brigham Young University

Bailey, Thurl Lee (1961– )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Thurl Bailey With Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert
Upon Bailey Being Named the Governor’s Ambassador
to Utah’s Refugee Community
"Image Courtesy of FamousMormons.org"
Thurl Lee Bailey is a retired American professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1983 to 1999 with the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves. Bailey has also been a broadcast analyst for the Utah Jazz and the University of Utah and an inspirational speaker, singer, songwriter, and film actor.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Greensboro Massacre (1979)

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

Freeman, Joseph (1953– )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Joseph Freeman and Family on the Steps
of the Salt Lake City LDS Temple, June 23, 1978
After Having Been Sealed As A Family
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
In 1978 Joseph Freeman became the first man of African ancestry to be granted the priesthood after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that any male could be ordained, regardless of race or color.  Freeman was born July 24, 1953, in Vanceboro, North Carolina, to Rose Lee Smith and Joseph Freeman Sr. His great grandparents were slaves prior to the Civil War but escaped and eventually become tobacco farmers in North Carolina.  They passed down the family business to Joseph's father who by the 1960s was farming in tobacco, cabbage, and other crops.  Joseph worked with his father and brothers as loggers in the winter as well.
Sources: 
Joseph Freeman, In the Lord's Due Time (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1979); “Mormonism Enters a New Era,” Time magazine, August 7, 1978; Jean Torkelson, “Black man a pioneer in Mormon priesthood: Joseph Freeman has served LDS Church for 20 Years,” Rocky Mountain News (Denver), May 29, 1998.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

10/10/2009: 11th Annual Blues and Jazz Festival (Salisbury, NC)

1831

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1801-1900
Timeline Entry Description: 
North Carolina enacts a statute that bans teaching slaves to read and write.

1892

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1801-1900
Timeline Entry Description: 
First intercollegiate football game between African American colleges takes place between Biddle University (now Johnson C. Smith University) and Livingston College.

1898

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1801-1900
Timeline Entry Description: 
On November 10, in Wilmington, North Carolina, eight black Americans were killed as white conservative Democrats forcibly removed from power black and white Republican officeholders in the city.  The episode would be known as the Wilmington Riot.

1898

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1801-1900
Timeline Entry Description: 
The North Carolina Mutual and Provident Insurance Company of Durham, North Carolina and the National Benefit Life Insurance Company of Washington, D.C. are established.

1901

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
The last African American congressman elected in the 19th Century, George H. White, Republican of North Carolina, leaves office. No African American will serve in Congress for the next 28 years.

1942

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
While teaching at Livingstone College in North Carolina, Margaret Walker publishes For My People, which she began as her master's thesis at the University of Iowa.

1942

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
The U.S. Marine Corps accepts African American men for the first time at a segregated training facility at Camp Montford Point, North Carolina.  They will be known as the Montford Point Marines.

1960

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
On February 1, 1960, four students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro begin a sit-in at Woolworth's Drug Store to protest company policy which bans African Americans from sitting at its counters.

1960

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
On April 15, 150 black and white students gather at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina to form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

1969

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
Howard N. Lee becomes the first African American mayor of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. At the time he is the first African American mayor of a predominately white Southern city.

1982

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
The struggle of Rev. Ben Chavis and his followers to block a toxic waste dump in Warren County, North Carolina launches a national campaign against environmental racism.

1983

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1901-2000
Timeline Entry Description: 
Harvey Bernard Gantt becomes the first African American mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina.

1818

Timeline Type: 
AA
Timeline Era: 
1801-1900
Timeline Entry Description: 
Thomas Day of North Carolina is considered the first widely known furniture and cabinet maker in the United States.
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