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World War II

10th Cavalry Regiment (1866--1944)

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Ownership: Public Domain
The 10th Cavalry was one of the original six regiments of the regular army set aside for black enlisted men.  These were authorized by Congress in the act of July 28, 1866 reorganizing the army for post-Civil War service, mainly against native peoples in the West.  Colonel Benjamin Grierson, a music teacher with no pre-Civil War military experience, was the 10th’s first commander.  Grierson distinguished himself by leading a daring cavalry raid into Mississippi during General Grant’s Vicksburg campaign of 1863.   The regiment was organized at Fort Leavenworth and later Fort Riley, Kansas, with the last company assembled and in the field by October 1867.  It served under Grierson for more than twenty years, until his promotion to be brigadier general in November 1888.

The 10th served against the Cheyenne in Kansas at the end of the 1860s, then against the Kiowa and Comanche in Indian Territory, and in the Apache campaigns of the early 1880s.  It was involved in the pursuit of Geronimo in 1886, but did not take part in his capture.  Its only Medal of Honor recipient in the West, Sergeant William McBryar, received his award for 1890 operations against Apaches who resisted confinement to a reservation.  Nine of the 10th’s seventeen fatalities came against the Apache.
Sources: 
Edward L. N. Glass, The History of the Tenth Cavalry, 1866-1921 (Fort Collins, CO;  Old Army Press, 1972); Frank N. Schubert, On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier:  Biographies of African Americans in the U.S. Army, 1866-1917 (Wilmington, DE:  Scholarly Resources, 1995).

369th Infantry Regiment “Harlem Hellfighters”

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
First organized in 1916 as the 15th New York National Guard Infantry Regiment and manned by black enlisted soldiers with both black and white officers, the U.S. Army’s 369th Infantry Regiment, popularly known as the “Harlem Hellfighters,” was the best known African American unit of World War I.  Federalized in 1917, it prepared for service in Europe and arrived in Brest, France in December.  The next month, the regiment became part of the 93rd Division (Provisional) and continued its training, now under French instructors.  In March, the regiment finally received its Federal designation and was reorganized and reequipped according to the French model.  That summer, the 369th was integrated into the French 161st Division and began combat operations.
Sources: 
American Battle Monuments Commission, 93d Division: Summary of Operations in the World WarThe Employment of Negro Troops (Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, 1966); Bernard C. Nalty, Strength for the Fight: A History of Black Americans in the Military (New York, New York: The Free Press, 1986); Emmett J. Scott, Scott’s Official History of the American Negro in the World War (Chicago, Illinois: R.L. Phillips Publishing Company, 1919). 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Powell, Barbara Rose Johns (1935-1991)

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

Barbara Rose Johns Powell was an American civil rights leader.  She is best known as the student who, at the age of sixteen, led a student strike at Robert Russa Moton High School (now Robert Russa Moton Museum) in Farmville, Prince Edward County, Virginia on April 21, 1951. The strike led the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to file a lawsuit, Davis v. Prince Edward County, which would become one of the five cases that led to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.

Sources: 
“Barbara Rose Johns Powell,” Biography, https://www.biography.com/people/barbara-johns-206527; “Barbara Rose Johns Powell,” All About Barbara Rose Johns, http://www.barbararosejohns.com/brief_bio.html; “Barbara Rose Johns Powell,” Public Broadcasting  Service, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/stories_people_johns.html; “Barbara Rose Johns Powell,” Robert Russa  Moton Museum, http://www.motonmuseum.org/biography-barbara-rose-johns-powell/; “Barbara Rose Johns,” Digital SNCC Gateway, https://snccdigital.org/events/barbara-johns-leads-prince-edward-county-student-walkout/; Teri Kanefield, The Girl from the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement (New  York: Harry N. Adams, 2014).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Monnerville, Gaston (1897–1991)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Born in Cayenne, French Guiana to parents Marc Saint-Yves Monnerville and Marie-Françoise Orville, Gaston Monnerville was the grandson of a slave. His family was from Case-Pilote in Martinique, but moved to French Guiana where two sons were born: Pierre and Gaston.

Gaston was a brilliant student at Cayenne High School, and with a fellowship moved to Lycée Pierre-de-Fermat in Toulouse, France in 1912. He resented the cold French winters but his record was excellent especially in Philosophy and Mathematics.  He won numerous awards before graduating in 1915.  He then enrolled in Toulouse University, following a double academic program: literature and law. In 1921 he completed his Law thesis cum laude. His brother Pierre graduated in medical studies.
Sources: 
Rodolphe Alexandre, Gaston Monnerville et la Guyane (Paris: Ibis Rouge Editions, 1999); Jean-Paul Brunet, Gaston Monnerville, le Républicain qui défia de Gaulle (Paris: Albin Michel, 1997).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Emeritus Professor, University of Paris

Brown, Willa B. (1906-1992)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Willa Beatrice Brown, one of a small group of pre-World War II black women aviators, was born in Glasgow, Kentucky on January 22, 1906.  The daughter of Reverend and Mrs. Erice B. Brown, she graduated from Wiley High School in Terra Haute, Indiana.  In 1927, Brown earned a Bachelor’s degree from Indiana State Teachers College (now Indiana State University) and ten years later a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Northwestern University.  

After briefly teaching at Roosevelt High School in Gary, Indiana, she moved to Chicago, Illinois to become a social worker.  It was there, however, that she decided to learn how to fly.  In 1934 Brown began her flight instruction under the direction of John Robinson and Cornelius Coffey.  She also studied at the Curtiss Wright Aeronautical University and in 1935 earned a Masters Mechanic Certificate.  

Sources: 
Edmond Davis, Pioneering African-American Aviators featuring the Tuskegee Airmen of Arkansas (Little Rock: Aviate Through Knowledge Productions, LLC, 2012); George L. Washington, The History of Military and Civilian Pilot Training of Negroes at Tuskegee, Alabama, 1939-1945 (Washington, D.C., George L. Washington, Publisher, 1972);  Samuel L. Broadnax, Blue Skies, Black Wings: African American Pioneers of Aviation (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008);
http://avstop.com/history/blackwomenpilot/willabrown.htm.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Arkansas Baptist College, Little Rock

Sebastian's Cotton Club, Culver City, California (1926-1938)

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

The prohibition of alcohol in the United States during the early 20th century didn’t really affect the nightclubbing scene in Los Angeles, California, especially in the Culver City area during the 1920s. Sebastian’s Cotton Club, at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and National Street, was the leading and most popular jazz club in Culver City, and in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area.

The club was opened by Frank Sebastian in 1926, hence the name “Sebastian’s Cotton Club” was influenced by the famous Cotton Club in Harlem. The building was built in 1923, formerly known as “The Green Mill,” the largest entertainment emporium in the Los Angeles area, before Frank Sebastian purchased the building for his own business. Frank Sebastian was already a prominent entertainment businessman in Los Angeles having owned one other prominent and successful establishment: Sebastian’s Café, also known as Venice Café due to its location being near Venice Beach.

Sources: 
Devon McReynolds in Arts & Entertainment, LAist, Jan. 27, 2016; Devon McReynolds, "Vintage Photos From Culver City's Lively Prohibition-Era Jazz Scene,." Laist. (January. 2016), http://laist.com/2016/01/27/culver_city_jazz_scene.php#photo-1; Martin Turnbull, "Frank Sebastian’s Cotton Club – Corner National and Washington, Culver City." The Garden of Allah Novels during Hollywood's Golden Years. April 2016, https://martinturnbull.com/2014/05/23/frank-sebastians-cotton-club-corner-national-and-washington-culver-city/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Mulzac, Hugh (1886-1971)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Sources: 
Robert A. Hill, Emory J. Tolbert, and Deborah Forczek, The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, Vol. III, Vol. IV (University of California Press 1984); http://www.marad.dot.gov/education_landing_page/k_12/k_12_salute/k12_hugh_mulzak/Hugh_Mulzac_detail_page.htm; http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/garvey/index.html; http://www.npg.si.edu/exh/harmon/mulzharm.htm
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Berea College

24th Infantry Regiment (1866-1951)

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Twenty-Fourth Infantry Soldiers at Yosemite Park
Image Ownership: Public Domain
When the U.S. Army was reorganized on July 28, 1866 for peacetime service after the American Civil War, six regiments were set aside for black enlisted men.  These included four infantry regiments, numbered 38th through 41st.  The 24th Infantry was organized during a reduction in March 1869 by merging the 38th and 41st.  Both had served in Texas since their establishment, and the consolidation took place at Fort McKavett.  The regiment’s first four commanders had rendered distinguished service in the Civil War.  They were Colonels Ranald S. Mackenzie (November 1869-December 1870), Abner S. Doubleday (December 1870-December 1872), Joseph H. Potter (December 1872-April 1886), and Zenas R. Bliss (April 1886-April 1895).
Sources: 
William G. Muller, The Twenty Fourth Infantry Past and Present (Fort Collins, CO:  Old Army Press, 1972); Frank N. Schubert, On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier:  Biographies of African Americans in the U.S. Army, 1866-1917 (Wilmington, DE:  Scholarly Resources, 1995).
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Belafonte, Harry (1927- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Courtesy of ©Bettmann/CORBIS

Born March 1, 1927 as Harold George Bellanfanti Jr. in Harlem, New York, to parents Melvine Love Bellanfanti, a Jamaican housekeepter, and Harold George Bellanfanti, Sr., of Martinique, who worked as a chef for the National Guard. Belafonte grew from being a troubled youth to an award-winning entertainer and world-renowned political activist and humanitarian.  From 1932 to 1940, he lived with his grandmother in Jamaica.  He returned to New York City and attended George Washington High School. In 1944 Belafonte joined the Navy in order to fight in World War II, and although Belafonte was never sent overseas, after the war ended he was able to use the G.I. Bill to pay for a drama workshop at the New School for Social Research in Manhattan alongside fellow students Marlon Brando and Sidney Poitier

Sources: 
James Robert Parish and Michael R. Pitts, Hollywood Songsters:  Singers Who Act and Actors Who Sing (New York: Routledge, 2003).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Woodson, Waverly Bernard, Jr. (1922-2005)

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

World War II hero Waverly B. “Woody” Woodson was born August 3, 1922 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Waverly B. Watson Sr., a postal carrier. The historical record reveals nothing about his mother. A pre-med student at Lincoln University when World War II started, Waverly left during his sophomore year to enlist in the U.S. Army on December 15, 1942.

Despite completing Officer Candidate School in Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA), he was informed there were no positions for blacks as officers in AAA. He was instead steered into medic training and was assigned to the racially segregated 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, a black unit that specialized in strategically positioning balloons in battle areas to destroy enemy aircraft.

Sources: 
Linda Hervieux, Forgotten: The Untold Story of D-Day’s Black Heroes, at Home and at War (Harper Collins, 2015); “Woodson, Waverly – Enclosed Docs sent to Army” at http://stateside.digitalnewsroom.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Woodson-Waverly-Enclosed-Docs-Sent-to-Army-11.5.15.-No-PR.pdf; John Chambers, “Lincoln University Honors a World War II Hero” at http://www.chestercounty.com/2015/03/13/64967/lincoln-university-honors-a-world-war-ii-hero.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Élizé, Raphaël (1891-1945)

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

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

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

African Americans and the Manhattan Project, Richland, WA (1942-1945)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Black Workers at Hanford, 1944
Image Ownership: Public domain

Between the years of 1942 and 1944 around fifteen thousand blacks and fifty thousand whites were recruited to the Manhattan/ Hanford Project in Richland, Washington. The federal government required government contractor, DuPont, to keep the number of black construction workers on the project between 10 percent and 20 percent of the total workforce. The 20 percent limit was imposed because the federal government believed white workers would protest if black employees accounted for a larger percentage. Black worker participation in this project in the Pacific Northwest was driven by both President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 8802, issued on June 25, 1941, which prohibited racial discrimination in employment by any private firms that received federal contracts and more generally by the wartime labor shortage. Regardless of the reason for the recruitment of black workers, they, along with other DuPont construction workers, provided the essential labor for building the facilities in which the plutonium for the first atomic bombs was produced.

Sources: 
Annette Cary, “Exhibit chronicles hard life for blacks at WWII Hanford,” Tri-City Herald (Feb 2016); Annette Cary, “Segregation has been a hard habit to break in Tri-Cities,” Tri-City Herald (March 2007); Annette Cary, “Black pioneers of early Hanford honored,” Tri-City Herald (Feb 2005); Annette Cary, “Segregated Labor,” Tri-City Herald (Feb 2002); Charles Mudede, “Black Americans Came to Washington State from Around the Country to Help Build the Atomic Bomb,” The Stranger (Dec 2015), “African Americans and the Manhattan Project,” http://www.atomicheritage.org/history/african-americans-and-manhattan-project.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Fauset, Crystal Bird (1894–1965)

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

The California Fair Housing Act\The Rumford Act (1963-1968)

Vignette Type: 
Misc
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Demonstration Against Proposition 14, 1964
Image Ownership: Public Domain

The California Fair Housing Act of 1963, better known as the Rumford Act (AB 1240) because of its sponsor, Assemblyman William Byron Rumford, was one of the most significant and sweeping laws protecting the rights of blacks and other people of color to purchase housing without being subjected to discrimination during the post-World War II period.  It was enacted in in response to weaknesses in earlier fair housing legislation in California; and evolved from a larger civil rights struggle that emerged over the movement to create a permanent Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) at the state level between 1946 and 1959.  

Sources: 
Joyce Henderson, William Byron Rumford: Legislator for Fair Employment, Fair Housing, and Public Health (Berkeley: The Regents of the University of California, 1973); Herbert Ruffin, Uninvited Neighbors: Black Life and the Racial Quest for Freedom in the Santa Clara Valley, 1777-1968 (Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Dissertation Publishing, 2007); and Robert O. Self, American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Syracuse University

Miller, Doris [“Dorie”] (1919-1943)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Ownership, Public Domain
World War II war hero Doris “Dorie” Miller was born in Waco, Texas on October 12, 1919 to Conery and Henrietta Miller who were farmers just outside the city.  Miller grew to 6 feet 3 inches, weighed over 200 pounds, and played football at Waco’s A.J. Moore Academy.  He dropped out of school at the age of 17 and enlisted in the US Navy in 1939 at the age of 20.  He was made a mess attendant, one the few positions available to African Americans at the time.  Miller was eventually elevated to Cook, Third Class and assigned to the USS West Virginia stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Sources: 
Darlene Clark Hine, William C. Clark and Stanley Harrold, The African American Odyssey, Combined Volume  (New York: Prentice Hall, 2003); Matthew C. Whitaker, Peace Be Still: Modern Black America from World War II to Barack Obama (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2014).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Arizona State University

Holmes, Dorothy Evans (1943- )

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

Dorothy Evans Holmes is a psychoanalytic thinker who broke through racial, gender, and other institutional boundaries of such organizations as the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA). She is in the vanguard of discourse on gender and race, including culturally-imposed trauma. She is fluent in discussions on the ineffectiveness of psychoanalysis in dealing with the results of culturally-imposed trauma on intrapsychic and interpersonal lives. Her scholarly writing includes “success neurosis,” a condition in which clients, especially women, fear success to the point of sabotaging their professional lives.

Holmes was born in 1943 and grew up in Chicago, Illinois during the 1940s. Despite the death of an uncle during World War II and her parents’ divorce, Dorothy’s home setting encouraged her and twin sister Doris to pursue higher education.

Sources: 
Unitarian Universalist Association, https://www.uua.org/offices/people/dorothy-evans-holmes-phd; Linda Hillman and Therese Rosenblatt, editors, The Voice of the Analyst: Narratives on Developing a Psychoanalytic Identity (London: Routledge, 2018).
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Salvador, Henri (1917-2008)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Henri Salvador with Ray Charles
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Henri Salvador was a popular 20th Century French entertainer, pop singer, and humorist.  His most popular and emblematic song was “Le lion est mort ce soir” or “Syracuse.” Salvador was born in Cayenne (French Guiana) on July 18, 1917 to parents from Guadeloupe.  His father, Clovis, was a civil servant and his mother, Antonine Paterne, was a Caribbean Indian.

In 1929 the family moved to France.  Henri quit school at 15 over the objections of his father and discovered circus life, becoming a street clown.  His aunt, Leona Gabriel, herself a professional singer, however, taught him to play music and introduced him to the violin, trumpet, drums, and guitar.
Sources: 
Henri Salvador, Attention ma vie (Paris: Éditions Jean-Claude Lattès, 1994); Olivier Miquel,  Henri Salvador: le rire du destin (Paris: Éd. du Moment, 2007); Serge Le Vaillant, Henri Salvador. L'élégance du funambule (Paris: Textuel, 2009).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Emeritus Professor, University of Paris

Ruth, William Chester (1882-1971)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
William Chester Ruth, 1950
Image Courtesy of Anita Wills

William Chester Ruth was an African American inventor, business owner, and community leader in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Ruth was the son of Samuel and Maria Louisa Pinn-Ruth.  The 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment liberated Samuel, a former slave, when it occupied Savannah, Georgia in 1865 while Maria Louisa was born free in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  The couple was married in 1872 in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Ruth was one of twelve children, born on the family farm on July 19, 1882.

As a child, Ruth had an inquisitive nature, which led him to invent numerous pieces of farm equipment and machinery.  Although he was not well educated, he learned farming and blacksmithing from his father.  Ruth married Gertrude Miller on June 6, 1906, and they had one son, Joseph.  In 1917, the couple moved to Gap, Pennsylvania where six years later he opened Ruth’s Ironworks Shop, instantly becoming the only African American in the region to have his own manufacturing business.  Ruth designed and patented numerous agricultural devices from 1924 to 1950.   

Ruth’s first patented invention was the Combination Baler Feeder in 1924.  He sold over 5,000 Baler-Feeder machines across the U.S. Around the same time Ruth also invented the farm elevator used to transport hay to silos and in the American commercially harvested mushroom industry.  

Sources: 
“Ruth Claims Invention of Secret Weapon,” Ebony Magazine, October 1950; Joan M. Lorenz, A History of Salisbury Township (Morgantown, West Virginia: Masthof Press, 2002); Anita L. Wills, Pieces of the Quilt: The Mosaic of an African American Family (Charleston, South Carolina: BookSurge, 2004).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Dollarhide, Douglas (1923-2008)

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

Douglas Dollarhide was the first African American mayor of the city of Compton, California, and a pioneer and role model for future black politicians across the state of California.

Dollarhide was born in March 1923 in Earlsboro, Oklahoma. He was the son of two former slaves, Thomas Dollarhide and Daisy Williams Dollarhide. In the early 1940s, the family moved from Earlsboro to San Jose, California, where Dollarhide enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served during World War II and after the conflict ended, settled in Los Angeles County with his new wife, Eliza, and daughter, Barbara.

Sources: 
Richard Elman, Ill-At-Ease in Compton (New York: Pantheon, 1967); Yussuf J. Simmonds, “African American Mayors of Compton,” Los Angeles Sentinel, June 2009, 1, https://search.proquest.com/docview/369302220?accountid=14784 (login required); and Yussuf Simmonds, “Douglas Dollarhide Dies.” Los Angeles Sentinel. n.p., July 10, 2008, https://lasentinel.net/douglas-dollarhide-dies.html.
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Pierce, Samuel R., Jr. (1922-2000)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
President Ronald Reagan with Samuel R. Pierce, Jr.
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Lawyer, judge and businessman Samuel Riley Pierce, Jr., was the first African American partner in a major New York law firm, the first African American member of a Fortune 500 board, and one of the first African Americans to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.  His career ended when he was investigated for corruption while serving as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under President Ronald Reagan.

Pierce was born in 1922 in Glen Cove, New York.  He received a football scholarship to Cornell University.  After serving in World War II, where he was the only black American agent in the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Division of the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, he returned to Cornell and graduated with honors in 1947, then earned a J.D. from Cornell Law School and an LL.M. in taxation from New York University School of Law.

Sources: 
Jessie Carney Smith, Ed., Notable Black American Men, “Samuel R. Pierce, Jr.,” (Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Research, 1999); Samuel R. Pierce, Fiscal Conservatism: Managing Federal Spending (Washington, D.C.: Heritage Foundation, 1988); Philip Shenon, “Samuel R. Pierce, Jr., Ex-Housing Secretary, Dies at 78,” The New York Times (November 3, 2000; Robert L. Jackson, "Samuel R. Pierce Jr.; Reagan HUD Chief Was Investigated but Never Charged," Los Angeles Times (November 4, 2000).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Watts, Los Angeles (1903- )

Vignette Type: 
Places
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Watts, 1912
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Watts, one of the most famous neighborhoods in Los Angeles, California, is located approximately seven miles southeast of downtown.  Originally part of the Rancho La Tajauta Mexican land grant, Watts was incorporated in 1903 and began to grow as a community in 1907, when the Watts Station was built and transportation within Watts became easier.   The town was attractive to working class families and differed from other suburban communities in that it welcomed white, black, and Latino families.  By 1920, 14% of Watts' population was African American which at that time was the highest in California.  
Sources: 
Mary Ellen Bell Ray, The City of Watts, California: 1907 to 1926 (Los Angeles: Rising Sun Publishing, 1985); Gerald Horne, Fire This Time: the Watts Uprising and the 1960s (New York: Da Capo Press, 1997); Jerome Fortier, Art and Social Change in Los Angeles 1965-2002 (Milwaukee: Marquette University, 2003).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Hull, England

Randolph, Asa Philip (1889-1979)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
A. Philip Randolph with Eleanor Roosevelt
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Asa Philip Randolph, born on April 15, 1889 in Crescent City, Florida, was one of the most respected leaders of the American Civil Rights movement in the twentieth century.  Randolph was a labor activist; editor of the political journal The Messenger, organizer of the 1941 March on Washington which resulted in the establishment of the Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC), and architect of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

Sources: 
Andrew E. Kersten, A. Philip Randolph: A Life in the Vanguard (Lanham, MD: Roman & Littlefield, 2006); Cynthia Taylor, A. Philip Randolph: The Religious Journey of an African American Labor Leader (New York: NYU Press, 2006); Paula Pfeffer, A. Philip Randolph, Pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Tacoma

Bromery, Randolph Wilson (1926-2013)

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

ENTRY SPONSOR: Catherine Foster

Geologist and college administrator Randolph W. Bromery was born in Cumberland, Maryland, on January 18, 1926, the son of Lawrence Randolph Bromery and Edith Edmonson Bromery. Graduating at the top of his high school class in 1942, he briefly worked as a machinist in Detroit, Michigan, before entering the United States Army Air Corps to train to be a pilot.

Sources: 
Alexander E. Gates, “Bromery, Randolph W. (Bill),” in A to Z of Earth Scientists (New York: Infobase Publishing, 2009); “Randolph Bromery: National Visionary,” http://www.visionaryproject.org/bromeryrandolph/; Legacy.com obituary,   http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/gazettenet/obituary.aspx?pid=163350315.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

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

Warfield, William (1920-2002)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Concert bass-baritone singer, actor, and teacher William Caesar Warfield was born on January 22, 1920 in West Helena, Arkansas to a family of sharecroppers. When Warfield was a young child, his family moved to Rochester, New York, where his father served as a pastor for Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in that city.

After graduating from high school, Warfield studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester and received a Bachelor of Music in 1942. After college, Warfield served overseas in the United States Army during World War II. In 1946, he returned to Rochester and to the Eastman School of Music for his graduate studies under Otto Herzm, Yves Tinayre, and Rosa Ponselle.
Sources: 
William Warfield and Alton Miller, William Warfield: My Music & My Life (Champaign, IL: Sagamore Publishing, 1991); http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Bio/Warfield-William.htm; http://chband.org/warfield.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Freedmen's Town, Houston, Texas (1865- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Historic Freedmen’s Town Brick Streets
Image Ownership: Public domain

Freedmen’s Town is a nationally registered historical site. The site was originally a community located in the fourth ward of Houston, Texas that began in 1865 as the destination for former enslaved people from surrounding plantations in Texas and Louisiana after the Civil War.

Freedmen’s Town is located southwest of downtown. After emancipation was proclaimed in Texas on June 19, 1865, former slaves began migrating to Austin, Dallas, Galveston, and other cities but the largest migration was to Houston. Many of these newcomers traveled along San Felipe Road into the city from Brazos River Plantations south and southwest of Houston.  Once there they paved many of the streets in brick. These new residents established a community where they were able to live mostly without the daily onslaught of racism and discrimination.

Sources: 
Gladys Marie House of the Freedmen's Town Association, Inc., A Brief History of Freedmen's Town, http://www.isocracytx.net/hp-org/FTAbrief.html; Margo Walker Taylor, “Preservation of Houston’s Freedmen’s Town jeopardized,” The Weekly, Metro Newspaper, April 14, 1998, p.19; Angelo Podagrosi and Igor Vojnovic, “Tearing Down Freedmen's Town and African American Displacement in Houston: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Urban Revival,” Urban Geography, May 1, 2008, pp. 371-401.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Sciences Po Paris

National Council of Negro Women (1935- )

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History
Dorothy D. Height, Open Wide the Freedom Gates: A Memoir (New York: Public Affairs Press, 2003); Tracey A. Fitzgerald, The National Council of Negro Women and the Feminist Movement, 1935-1975 (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1985); Nina Mjagkij, Organizing Black America: An Encyclopedia of African American Associations (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 2001); http://ncnw.org/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Booker T. Washington Community Center, Spokane, Washington (1937-1948)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Dance at G.W. Carver USO, 1943
Image Courtesy of Eastern Washington Historical Society,
Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

The Booker T. Washington Community Center was founded on February 1, 1937, to provide a place for people to socialize and recreate free from the racial prejudices and judgments that plagued Spokane, Washington at the time. The Center was founded by Rosa D. Malone, a graduate of the Tuskegee Institute, under the supervision of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The center employed several African American women as choral directors, secretaries, and janitors at the end of the Great Depression when there were few other opportunities outside of domestic employment.

Sources: 
Dwayne Mack, Black Spokane: The Civil Rights Struggle of the Inland Northwest (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2013); Mike Prager, “Black USO was Hoppin,” http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2008/oct/28/black-uso-was-hoppin/#/0
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project, St. Louis, Missouri (1956–1976)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History

Demolition of Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Sources: 
John F. Bauman, Roger Biles, & Kristin M. Szylvian, From Tenements to the Taylor Homes, (University Park, Pa: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000); Lee Rainwater, Behind Ghetto Walls: Black Families in a Federal Slum (Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company, 1970); Colin Gordon, Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the Fate of the American City, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008); Kathrine G. Bristol, "The Pruitt-Igoe Myth", Journal of Architectural Education, 44;3 (Spring 1991);Clarence Lang, "Between Civil Rights and Black Power in the Gateway City:
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Marin City, California (1942- )

Vignette Type: 
Places
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Marinship with Marin City in Background, Fall, 1944
Image Courtesy of the Archives of W.A. Bechtel Company
In 1940, Marin City did not exist. During World War II, however, the W.A. Bechtel Company of San Francisco was given the contract to construct transport vessels for the U.S. Navy. It created Marinship, which during World War II built nearly 100 liberty ships and tankers. The Bechtel Company was also given permission to develop a community to house some of its workers. That community, Marin City, would eventually be hailed as a model city for the company’s workers and a bold social experiment in race relations.

Marin City was located along the western shore of San Francisco Bay, about two miles northwest of downtown Sausalito. Its first buildings were constructed in 1942 to house workers at the Marinship facility in neighboring Sausalito. Marin City, re-designed by Aaron Green, a prominent architect affiliated with Frank Lloyd Wright, initially had no mayor, no city council, nor a city hall. Besides housing for shipyard workers, it had in 1942 a mercantile building with a drug store, department store, beauty salon, a soft drink and candy shop. A public school was built for worker’s children. One year after its founding it had a population of 5,500 with African Americans comprising 10% of that total.
Sources: 
Charles Wollenberg, Marinship at War: Shipbuilding and Social Change in Wartime Sausalito (Berkeley: Western Heritage Press, 1990); “The Marin-er’s Journey – Marin City,” The Marin-er, May 29, 1943; United States Census, 2010.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, California

Ellison, Ralph (1913-1994)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Born on March 1, 1913 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Ralph Waldo Ellison entered the world with a name that almost presumed for him a literary career. But his road to and in literature would be torturous. Many of the initial comforts enjoyed by Ellison vanished when his father died in 1916. His mother worked long and hard to insure that Ralph Ellison had an education, but the family existed in precarious economic circumstances. When an opportunity arose for Ralph to escape from home, he jumped at it, enrolling in 1933 as a music student at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. While Ellison learned much about music at the school, he also spent an immense amount of time and energy devouring modern literature at the school library.
Sources: 
Arnold Rampersad, Ralph Ellison: A Biography (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007); George Cotkin, Existential America (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003); Kenneth W. Warren, So Black and So Blue: Ralph Ellison and the Occasion of Criticism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003); Jerry Gafio Watts, Heroism and the Black Intellectual: Ralph Ellison, Politics, and Afro-American Intellectual Life (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Cal Poly

Cleveland’s Hough Riots of 1966

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
Front Page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, July 23, 1966
Image Ownership: Public domain

Cleveland’s Hough Riots of 1966 was the first major racial uprising of the decade in an Ohio city but preceded by two years the much more extensive uprising there in the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in April 1968.  It was, however, a continuation of a series of national confrontations that began sweeping across the nation in 1964 and to that date, the longest riot in the 1960s.

Between 1950 and 1965 the Hough neighborhood in eastern Cleveland, which had been predominantly white and middle class, transitioned into an overwhelmingly black area. This rapid transition, which negatively impacted property values and dramatically increased the neighborhood’s population, came when the entire city experienced post-World War II economic decline. Those reasons combined to generate growing racial tensions in that area and across the city.

Sources: 
Brian Albrecht, “Hough riot, 50 years ago, couldn't destroy a neighborhood,” Cleveland.com (2016), http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2016/07/hough_riot_50_years_ago_couldn.html; Olivia Lapeyrolerie, "’No Water for Niggers’: The Hough Riots and the Historiography of the Civil Rights Movement" (2015), Cleveland Memory 28; http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevmembks/28/; Ohio History Central, “Cleveland Civil Disorders (1966-1968),” Ohio History Connection, http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Cleveland_Civil_Disorders_(1966_-_1968); The [Cleveland] News-Herald, “PHOTOS: 1966 Hough riots in Cleveland,” July 19, 2017, http://media.news-herald.com/2017/07/19/photos-1966-hough-riots-on-cleveland/#15.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Syracuse University

Sabac el Cher, Gustav Albrecht (1868-1934)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Afro-German band conductor and restaurateur Gustav Albrecht Sabac el Cher, born March 10, 1868 in a palace in Berlin, was the son of August Sabac el Cher (1836?-1885), a Sudanese man who as an orphaned boy in Egypt was presented as a gift to Prussian Prince Friedrich Heinrich Albrecht and accompanied him back to Germany to serve the prince as valet, butler, and decorated soldier. Gustav’s mother, Anna Maria Jung, was the daughter of a prosperous textile merchant.  

Proficient with the violin since childhood, at age 17 Gustav entered military service as a musician and eventually received training at the Royal Academy of Music in Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin. During his tenure as Band Meister of the First Prussian Regiment of Grenadiers in Konigsberg he became somewhat of a celebrity known for his arrangement of military marches and Mozart overtures. Leaving the German Army in 1909, Gustav found freelance work directing orchestras in several cities and in the early 1920s was a pioneering radio orchestra conductor. He later owned a garden restaurant popular with tourists in Königs Wusterhausen in the state of Brandenburg.  

Sources: 
Gorch Pieken and Cornelia Kruse, Preussisches Liebesglu?ck: Eine Deutsche Familie aus Afrika (Berlin: List Taschenbuch Verlag, 2007; http://www.articlesbase.com/literature--articles/prussian-blind-love-445517.html; “Saba-el-Cher,” http://www.realhistoryww.com/world_history/ancient/Misc/Art/Saba_el_Cher.htm.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
San Diego State University

Woodard, Isaac (1919-1992)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Isaac Woodard, Jr. Escorted by Joe Louis
and Unidentified Man, 1946
Image Ownership: Public Domain
In 1946, U.S. Army Sergeant Isaac Woodard challenged a Greyhound Bus driver while traveling from Georgia to North Carolina after being discharged from service in World War II.  Police officers who met him at the next stop brutally attacked him and left him permanently blinded. The attack on Woodard and similar stories of mistreatment of other black servicemen returning from the war let to new national pressures on racial segregation and discrimination and to the integration of the Armed Services in 1948.
Sources: 
“The Isaac Woodard Case,” The Crisis 53 (September 1946);  Lynda G. Dodd, “Presidential Leadership and Civil Rights Lawyering in the Era Before Brown,” Indiana Law Journal 85 (Fall 2010): John Egerton, Speak Now Against the Day: The Generation Before the Civil Rights Movement in the South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994);  Andrew H. Myers, “Resonant Ripples in a Global Pond:  The Blinding of Isaac Woodard,” available at:  http://faculty.uscupstate.edu/amyers/conference.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Georgia Southwestern State University

Compton, California (1867- )

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

Compton is a city in Southern California, located in south Los Angeles County. Compton was settled in 1867 by thirty pioneer families led by Griffith Dickenson Compton, after whom the city was named. The first black families came to the city just before World War II. Throughout the twentieth century, Compton was a middle-class suburb with relatively inexpensive housing.

Prior to World War II, Compton was 95 percent white. The city adopted racially restrictive covenants in 1921 to bar African Americans and other people of color from the municipality. Civic leaders, real-estate agents, and law-enforcement agencies perpetuated this racial exclusion with their own practices.

Compton’s demographics began to change during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Many African Americans in south central Los Angeles were now prosperous enough to move to Compton. They took advantage of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ban on restrictive covenants in 1948 and began to purchase houses in Compton. Some of the first black families entering Compton neighborhoods were met with violence, vandalism, and terror.

Sources: 
Jessica Bennett, “How Compton Got Its Groove Back,” Newsweek, May 17, 2011, http://www.newsweek.com/how-compton-got-its-groove-back-76361; Angel Jennings and Paloma Esquivel, “‘Straight Outta’ a Different Compton: City Says Much Has Changed in 25 Years,” Los Angeles Times, August 14, 2015, http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-0815-compton-image-20150815-story.html; Josh Sides, “Straight into Compton: American Dreams, Urban Nightmares, and the Metamorphosis of a Black Suburb,” American Quarterly 56 no. 3 (2004): 583–605; and Carman Tse, “How Compton Became the Violent City Of ‘Straight Outta Compton.’” Laist, August 14, 2015, http://laist.com/2015/08/14/city_of_compton.php.
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Cabrini Green Housing Project, Chicago (1942 -2009)

Vignette Type: 
Places
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

The Cabrini-Green Housing Project was a Chicago (Illinois) Housing Authority (CHA) managed housing project located on the city’s Near North Side neighborhood.  The project was authorized by the Housing Act of 1937 which called for the construction of public housing as part of the effort to eliminate slums in major U.S. cities.  The Frances Cabrini Homes, completed in 1942, was the first major public housing project in Chicago and the first section of what would eventually be called the Cabrini-Green Project.   Its 586 units provided residence for soldiers temporarily stationed in Chicago during World War II and replacement housing for those who had formerly lived in the “Little Hell” neighborhood, the community demolished to allow construction of this project.   

Sources: 
D. Bradford Hunt, Blueprints for Disaster: The Unraveling of Chicago Public Housing (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2009); Brian J. Miller, “The Struggle Over Redevelopment at Cabrini Green, 1989-2004,” Journal of Urban History, 34:6 (Fall 2008); Arnold R. Hirsch, Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 1940-1960 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983)
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

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

Tuskegee Airmen

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History
Tuskegee Airmen at Army Air Base, Ramitelli,
Italy, March, 1945 (U.S. Army Archives)

Over the past seven decades the exploits of the Tuskegee Airmen have been celebrated, occasionally mythologized, and used as a recent reminder of the patriotism and heroism of African Americans in times of national crisis.  Mounting pressure by black leaders such as union activist A Philip Randolph, NAACP chief executive Walter F. White, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and the black press to increase their presence in all branches of military service eventually persuaded a reluctant War Department to allow for the training of blacks as fighter pilots (initially no training for bomber crews) at an isolated field at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, thus preempting contact with white trainees. 

Sources: 
Von Hardesty, Black Wings: Courageous Stories of African Americans in Aviation and Space History (New York: HarperCollins, 2008);Lawrence P. Scott, Double V: The Civil Rights Struggle of the Tuskegee Airmen (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1994); Charles W. Dryden, A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman (Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 1997); http://tuskegeeairmen.org/pages/2/index.htm
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
San Diego State University

Greenberg, Jack (1924-2016)

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

Jack Greenberg was a prominent civil rights lawyer, directing the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) for 23 years and arguing crucial cases at the U.S. Supreme Court. He was born in New York City, New York on December 22, 1924 to Jewish immigrant parents Max and Bertha Greenberg. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy and participated in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. While serving, he was distressed by the racial inequality that he saw in Navy ranks. In 1945, he graduated from Columbia University.

Sources: 
Richard Severo and William McDonald, “Jack Greenberg, a Courthouse Pillar of the Civil Rights Movement, Dies at 91,” New York Times Oct. 12, 2016; Gary Gately, “Jack Greenberg, civil rights lawyer who helped argue Brown v. Board, dies at 91,” Washington Post, Oct. 12, 2016.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Jacovacci, Leone (1902–1983)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Afro-Italian boxing champion Leone Jacovacci (a.k.a. John Douglas Walker and Jack Walker) was born in 1902 in the village of Pombo in the Belgian Congo (now Democratic Republic of the Congo), the son of Umberto Jacovacci, a contracted Italian agronomist, and Zibu Mabeta, a local woman. His father took him to Italy to be raised by grandparents in Viterbo while he remained in Africa and had two more children with Zibu. Growing up with brown skin among Italian peasants was often challenging, and, as a restless sixteen-year-old, Leone Jacovacci, posing as an Indian from Calcutta, hopped aboard a British merchant ship docked in Naples to work as cabin boy.
Sources: 
Mauro Valeri, Nero di Roma: storia di Leone Jacovacci: l'invincibile mulatto italico. (Rome: Palombi, 2008); https://sportallarovescia.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/in-memoria-di-leone-jacovacci/; http://insorgenze.net/2009/07/04/leone-jacovacci-il-nero-che-prese-a-pugni-il-fascismo/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
San Diego State University

Bunche, Ralph J. (ca. 1903-1971)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

Ralph Johnson Bunche, American political scientist, renowned scholar, award winner, and diplomat, was one of the most prominent African Americans of his era.  Bunche was born on August 7, 1903 or 1904 (there is some disagreement about the year of his birth) in Detroit, Michigan. His father Fred was a barber who owned a racially segregated barbershop that catered solely to white customers. His mother, whose maiden name was Olive Agnes Johnson, was an amateur musician.

Young Ralph spent his early years in Michigan. However, due to the relatively poor physical constitution of his mother and grandmother’s uncle, Charlie Johnson, the family settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico when he was ten years old. The family believed the dry climate of the region would be more conducive to his parents’ health. Yet both his mother and uncle died when Ralph turned twelve. His mother died of tuberculosis in 1917. His uncle committed suicide the same year. The circumstances surrounding his father are less fully known. The common narrative is that he left the family, remarried, and never returned.

Sources: 
Benjamin Rivlin, Ralph Bunche: The Man and His Times (New York: Holmes & Meyer, 1990); Brian Urquhart, Ralph Bunche: An American Life (New York: W.W. Norton, 1993).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
East Tennessee State University

Hudson, Elbert T. (1920-2017)

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

Police official, business leader, and civil rights advocate Elbert T. Hudson was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, on November 16, 1920. Three years later, his family moved to Los Angeles, California. In 1924, his father, H. Claude Hudson, became president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Sources: 
“Legendary LA Business Leader Elbert Hudson Passes Away at 96,” Los Angeles Sentinel, August 10, 2017; Frank Shyong, “Elbert T. Hudson, 1921-2017, Advocate for black issues,” Los Angeles Times, August 12, 2017; “Elbert T. Hudson was an Advocate, Activist and Businessman,” Los Angeles Sentinel, August 17, 2017.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
California State University, Los Angeles

Bullard, Eugene James ["Jacques"] (1895-1961)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
Eugene James (Jacques) Bullard, the first African American combat aviator, was known as the “black swallow of death” for his courage during missions. He led a colorful life, much of it in Europe.

Bullard was born in Columbus, Georgia, on October 9, 1895, the seventh child of Josephine Thomas and William O. Bullard. Eugene received a minimal education but learned to read, a key to his later successes. After witnessing the near-lynching of his own father and other racial violence, Bullard ran away from home in 1906. In Atlanta, he joined a group of gypsies and traveled with them, tending and learning to race their horses.

In 1912 as a teen, Bullard stowed away on German merchant ship bound for Aberdeen, Scotland. For the next two years, he performed in a vaudeville troupe and supported himself as a prizefighter in Great Britain and elsewhere in Europe. He first appeared in Paris, his long-time destination, at a boxing match in November 1913.
Sources: 
Craig Lloyd. “Eugene Bullard (1895-1961).” New Georgia Encyclopedia. 01 October 2014. Web. 30. August 2015. Craig Lloyd, Eugene Bullard: Black Expatriate in Jazz-age Paris (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2000); P.J. Carisella, James W. Ryan, and Edward W. Brooke, The Black Swallow of Death: The Incredible Story of Eugene Jacques Bullard, The World's First Black Combat Aviator (Boston: Marlborough House, 1972); William A. Shack, Harlem in Montmartre: A Paris Jazz Story Between the Great Wars (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001); “Eugene Bullard," Contemporary Black Biography. Vol. 12 (Detroit: Gale, 1999).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Wooten, Howard A. (1920-1948)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Courtesy of the U.S. National Archives
Tuskegee Airman Howard Adolphus Wooten was born on April 20, 1920 in Lovelady, Texas to parents Johnnie C. Morris Wooten and Howard L. Wooten.  His father was the principal of the “colored school” in Lovelady, a town 100 miles north of Houston, and his mother also was a teacher there.

Howard A. Wooten grew up on a farm near Lovelady and in 1937, at age 17, he entered Prairie View College on a football scholarship.  His main interest, however, was in aviation and he attempted to enroll in flight training programs.  His father objected because he didn’t think airplanes were safe and because he wanted his son to finish college.

Wooten dropped out of Prairie View College in 1940 and enlisted in the U.S. Army as a private assigned to a Field Artillery unit.  He rose through the ranks, becoming a Staff Sergeant in the 46th Field Artillery Brigade by January 1942.
Sources: 
Obituary of Howard A. Wooten published after his death in the Seattle Post Intelligencer, August 1948; conversations with his brothers Hayes L. Wooten, Octavius Wooten (deceased) and A.G. Wooten and his widow, Josephine A. Stokes.
Contributor: 

Till, Emmett Louis (1941-1955)

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

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

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Amos, Harold (1918-2003)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Harold Amos in his Laboratory ca. 1966
Image Ownership: Public domain

SPONSORED ENTRY: Pat Sadate-Ngatchou

The first African American to chair a department of the Harvard Medical School, Dr. Harold Amos was an esteemed teacher, researcher, and mentor at the institution for more than four decades. Amos dedicated much of his career to supporting the advancement of historically underrepresented individuals and communities within the fields of medicine and science. He also pursued an impressive research agenda, gaining international recognition for his work on bacterial metabolism, nutrition, animal cell culture, virology, and the effects of hormones.

Sources: 
Roberto Kolter, “Harold Amos: Faculty of Medicine, Memorial Minute,” Harvard Gazette, https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2007/02/harold-amos/; Eric Nagourney, "Harold Amos, 84, Pacesetter Among Blacks in Academia." New York Times, March 6, 2003; Ray Spangenburg, Diane Moser, and Douglas Long, African Americans in Science, Math, and Invention (Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1995), 2-3.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Marincola, Giorgio (1923–1945)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Anti-fascist Afro-Italian partisan Giorgio Marincola lived a brief but heroic life. Born September 23, 1923, in the south central coastal town of Mahaday in what was then called Italian Somaliland, he was the son of Italian military officer Joseph Marincola and a Somali woman, Aschiro Hassan. His father, unlike most white colonizers who had children by native women, insured that his son and a younger daughter, Isabella, would be Italian citizens and packed them off the seaport town of Pizzo Calabro, Italy, to be raised by relatives.
Sources: 
“Storia Giorgio Marincola,” at http://www.razzapartigiana.it/?page_id=8; “Giorgio Marincola, First Somali Mulatto,” at  http://www.somalinet.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=327444; Michele Robecchi, “Giorgio Marincola:Razza Partigiana di Dacia Valent,” at  http://digilander.libero.it/anpimuggio/ANPI/Storia/Voci/1945/5/4_Giorgio_Marincola.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
San Diego State University

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

Garrott, Homer L. (1915-1998)

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

Homer L. Garrott was the first African American California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer. He served for 22 years with the department. While serving as a highway patrolman, he attended law school and later became a Los Angeles municipal judge.

Homer L. Garrott was born in Los Angeles, California in 1915. In the years before World War II, Garrott attended Los Angeles Junior College. He later joined the U.S. Army but was discharged and in 1939 he returned home and found a job as a mail-carrier. He later married Bertha Tabor and they had one child, a daughter named Dianne.

The California Highway Patrol was created by the state legislature in 1929.  For the first 13 years of its existence the patrol had only hired white men. In 1942, Garrott took the civil service test for the CHP. He passed the exam and became its first black patrolman.

Sources: 
“Homer Garrott; Judge, 1st Black CHP Officer,” Los Angeles Times, March 1998, http://articles.latimes.com/1998/mar/20/news/mn-31038; California Association of Highway Patrolmen “Homer Garrott blazed a trail for the CHP,” https://www.thecahp.org/post/homer-garrott-blazed-trail-chp; LeGrand Jordan, The Jordan Motorcycle, http://thegrandfathersofmotocross.com/; “Black Chrome Exhibit Explores African-American Motorcycle Culture,” http://news.aaa-calif.com/news/Black-Chrome-0908.
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Gibbs, Jr., George W. (1916-2000)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
George Gibbs, Jr. in the Antarctic, 1941
Image Courtesy of Leilani Henry (Gibbs)

George W. Gibbs, Jr. was the first person of African descent to set foot on Antarctica (the South Pole).  He was also a civil rights leader and World War II Navy gunner.

Gibbs was born in Jacksonville, Florida on November 7, 1916. He moved to Brooklyn, New York where he enrolled in Brooklyn Technical School and later received his GED. He also served in the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Canson, Virna Mae (1921-2003)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Civil rights activist Virna Mae Canson was born in Bridgeport, Oklahoma, to William A. and Eula Gross Dobson on June 10, 1921. Both of her parents were schoolteachers. She grew up in Lima, Oklahoma, a mostly African American town where her father served as mayor. Virna Dobson graduated from high school in 1938 and then studied home economics at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.  There she met Clarence Canson who majored in tailoring at the Institute. They married in 1940 and returned to the bridegroom’s home in Sacramento, California.

During World War II, Virna Canson helped some African Americans in Sacramento gain employment at Safeway, Pacific Telephone, and other companies. She also served as a youth advisor to the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Sources: 
Virna M. Canson, “Waging the War on Poverty and Discrimination in California through the NAACP, 1953-1974,” an oral history conducted in 1984 by Sarah Sharp, in Citizen Advocacy Organizations, 1960-1975, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1987; Wyatt Buchanan, “Virna Canson - NAACP leader for Western U.S.,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 18, 2003; Mary Rourke, “Virna Canson, 81; Activist, Director of NAACP’s 9-State Western Region,” Los Angeles Times, April 21, 2003.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
California State University, Los Angeles

Weaver, Robert Clifton (1907-1997)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Robert C. Weaver Standing Next to
President Lyndon B. Johnson as he is Introduced as the
First African American Nominee for a Cabinet Post
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"

Robert C. Weaver was a noted economist and administrator. From 1966 through 1968, he was the first African American cabinet official, serving as the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Weaver was born and raised in Washington D.C. From 1929 through 1934, he attended Harvard University, earning economic degrees at the Bachelor of Science, Masters’, and Ph.D. levels. As an administrator, Weaver worked as an adviser to the Secretary of the Interior (1933-37), special assistant for the Housing Authority (1937-40), and an administrative assistant with the National Defense Advisory Commission (1940). During the Second World War, he worked in several capacities concerned with mobilizing black labor into industrial employment contracted by the federal government.

Sources: 
The Columbia Encyclopedia (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005); http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Robert_Clifton_Weaver.aspx.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Syracuse University

Haynes, John K. (1943- )

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

ENTRY SPONSOR: Robert Green

John Kermit Haynes, biologist and academic administrator, is most famous for discovering methods for the detection and treatment of sickle cell anemia. Haynes was born on October 30, 1943 in Monroe, Louisiana. His father, John Kermit Haynes Sr. was a local business owner and a high school principal in Monroe who eventually became president of the Louisiana Teachers Association, the organization of black teachers in the state.  His mother, Grace Ross Haynes, was a teacher and daughter of one of the few black attorneys in the state at the time, Daniel F. Ross.

Haynes grew up in Ruston, Louisiana and later Baton Rouge where he attended Southern University’s Laboratory Schools for elementary and high school students.  He graduated from the Laboratory School in 1960 and then entered Morehouse College.  Four years later earned a B.S. in biology at Morehouse College. In 1970 he received a Ph.D. in biology at Brown University.

Sources: 
James H. Kessler, Distinguished African American Scientists of the 20th Century. (New York: Oryx Press, 1996); “J. K. Haynes.” The History Makers, http://www.thehistorymakers.org/. (video interview and transcription for Interview, April 14, 2011); John K. Haynes Morehouse Faculty Web Page, http://morehouse.edu/academics/bio/jkhaynes/index.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Ruben Um Nyobè (1913–1958)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Ruben Um Nyobè is a little known but major figure in the African independence campaign.  He was the first African political leader to claim independence for his country before the General Assembly of the United Nations. He is called the “black Hô Chi Minh” by some authors and “Mpodol” (spokesman) for his country, Cameroon.

Um Nyobè was born at Song Mpeck in the Cameroon on April 10, 1913, when it was still a colonial possession of Germany. His first education came in Presbyterian Church primary schools, and he was baptized in 1921 as a Presbyterian. While he was in school, colonial administration of Cameroon was transferred from recently-defeated Germany to France and Great Britain at the end of World War I. Eventually, Nyobè and other Cameroonian nationalists sought to reunite the now divided territory.
Sources: 
J.A. Mbembe, La naissance du maquis dans le sud du Cameroun (The birth of the Maquis in the Southern Cameroon) (Paris: Karthala, 1996); R. Um Nyobè, Le problem national Kamerunais (The Kamerunian national problem), Edited by J.A. Mbembe (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1984); http://www.bonaberi.com/article.php?aid=1544.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Rhodes University, South Africa

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

Garrott, James H. (1897-1991)

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

James Homer Garrott was an African American modernist architect. He was pivotal to the creation of many historic buildings in the Los Angeles, California area, designing more than 200 buildings throughout the city, including municipal buildings, schools, medical buildings, and over 25 churches between 1928 and 1970.

James Homer Garrott was born in Montgomery, Alabama on June 19, 1897. Garrott’s father James Henry Garrott was builder who contributed to the construction of the buildings at Tuskegee Institute; his mother was named Fannie Walker. In 1903 Garrott’s family moved to Los Angeles, where he attended Los Angeles Polytechnic High School. Six years after graduating from high school, Garrott found a job with Pasadena architect George P. Telling.

Sources: 
James Garrott Residence, James Garrott AIA 1940, The Silver Lake News, Silver Lake, Los Angeles: Architecture, History and Culture, http://thesilverlakenews.com/category/james-h-garrott/; “James H. Garrott,” https://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=James+H.+Garrott; “James Homer Garrott,” Negro Who’s Who in California, https://www.archive.org/stream/negrowhoswhoinca00losa#page/.
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

William "Willie the Pro" Thrower (1930-2002)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
William ‘Willie the Pro” Thrower was the first African American to play as a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL). Thrower was born on March 22, 1930, in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. Although his statistics as a college and high school football player are good, and his pro statistics are decent, his greater achievement was in breaking the racial barrier of what was then a predominantly white sport.

Thrower first started playing competitive football during high school, and became an All-American.  That achievement brought some interest from some major colleges and universities. Duffy Daugherty, who was then the assistant coach at Michigan State University, recruited Thrower. Since a number of players from his high school team attended Michigan State, Thrower chose the institution for both academic and athletic reasons.  Although he was only 5 feet 11 inches tall, he could throw the ball as far an accurately as anyone then playing in college.  
Sources: 
Charles K. Ross, Outsides the Lines: African Americans and the Integration of the National Football League (New York: New York University Press, 1999); https://www.theguardian.com/news/2002/apr/17/guardianobituaries.americansports; http://www.biography.com/people/willie-thrower-213033.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Jeffries, Herbert “Herb” (1913-2014)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Herb Jeffries, baritone jazz balladeer and first black singing cowboy in the movies, was born Umberto Alexander Valentino on September 24, 1913 in Detroit, Michigan, to a mixed-race father and an Irish-born mother.  His mother operated a boarding house and raised her son alone.  His grandfather had a small dairy farm in Port Huron, Michigan, where Jeffries learned to ride a horse.

Jeffries started singing professionally with Erskine Tate’s Vendome Orchestra at the Chicago Savoy Dance Hall and, at the urging of Louis Armstrong, decided to relocate to Chicago, Illinois, where the young teen met and toured with bandleader Earl Hines in 1933.  He made several recordings with the Hines band, including Just to Be in Carolina.

Sources: 
William Yardley, “Herb Jeffries, ‘Bronze Buckaroo’ of Song and Screen, Dies at 100 (or So)” New York Times, May 25, 2014; Dennis McLellan, “Herb Jeffries dies at 100; Hollywood's first black singing cowboy,” Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2014; http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0420370/bio.
Affiliation: 
University of Texas, El Paso

Edwards, Thyra J. (1897-1953)

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

Thyra J. Edwards, born in 1897, the granddaugher of runaway slaves, grew up in Houston, Texas and started her career there as a school teacher.  Eventually she moved to Gary, Indiana and later Chicago, Illinois where she was employed as a social worker.  Edwards would eventually become a world lecturer, journalist, labor organizer, women's rights advocate, and civil rights activist all before her 40th birthday.   

Sources: 
Gregg Andrews, Thyra J. Edwards: Black Activist in the Global Freedom Struggle (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2011); E. Carlton-LaNey, ed., African American Leadership: An Empowerment Tradition in Social Welfare History (Washington, D.C.: National Association of Social Workers, 2001). 
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Howard University

Williams, Hosea (1926-2000)

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

Born on January 5th, 1926 in Attapulgus, Georgia, Hosea Williams became a prominent civil rights activist and war hero. Unfortunately, his mother died in childbirth and his father was never in the picture, so Williams was raised by his grandfather, Turner Williams. Williams encountered racism early in his life. At fourteen he was forced to run away from his grandfather’s farm in Georgia to avoid a lynching for befriending a young white girl.

Sources: 
“Hosea Williams,” Biography.com, https://www.biography.com/people/hosea-williams-21415939;“International Civil Rights: Walk of Fame,” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, October 25 2015, https://www.nps.gov/features/malu/feat0002/wof/Hosea_Williams.htm.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

The Second Italo-Abyssinian War (1935–1936)

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

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

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

Knox, Clinton E. (1908–1980)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownershp: Public Domain"
Clinton Everett Knox was the first African American secretary to the United States Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and former United States Ambassador to the countries of Dahomey (Benin) and Haiti.

Clinton E. Knox was born May 5, 1908, in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He was the youngest of five children born to Estella Briggs Knox and William J. Knox Sr.  Knox’s older brother, William J. Knox, Jr., was one of the scientists who helped develop the atomic bomb during World War II.  His other older brother, Dr. Lawrence Howland Knox, was a noted chemist.

Sources: 
The Clinton Knox Family Papers, 1909-1989, Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, Louisiana); Wade Baskin and Richard N. Runes, Dictionary of Black Culture (New York: Philosophical Library, 1973); Who’s Who Among Black Americans (Northbrook, Illinois: Gale Research, Inc., 1977); U.S. State Department, Office of the Historian, http://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/people/knox-clinton-everett.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

McMillan, James B. (1917-1999)

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

James B. McMillan was the first black dentist in Nevada. In the 1960s, he successfully fought against segregation in Las Vegas. McMillan was born on January 14, 1917 in Aberdeen, Mississippi, the son of James Milton McMillan and Rosalie Gay, the daughter of an ex-slave and a white man.

McMillan’s father died when he was one year old, and he was raised by his mother. Locally, she was known for being vocally defiant of racial discrimination. At a young age, in the midst of rising racial tensions in the South, James saw his mother whipped by members of the Ku Klux Klan. For this reason, they decided to leave Mississippi. After moving to different cities in the northern United States, they eventually settled for Detroit, Michigan.

Sources: 
McMillan B., James, Fighting Back: A life in the struggle for civil rights. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Oral History Program, 1997, edited by Claytee White, October 10, 2010; Dr. James B. McMillan: Committed to Freedom. Retrieved from http://www.onlinenevada.org/articles/dr-james-b-mcmillan-committed-freedom; A.D. Hopkins, “James B. McMillan,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, February 7, 1999.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier (France)

Georgia Infirmary (1832 - )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History
Historical Marker for the Georgia Infirmary
Image Ownership: Public Domain
The Georgia Infirmary was the first hospital for African Americans built in the United States. Chartered on December 24, 1832 “for the relief and protection of aged and afflicted Africans,” it was established by the Georgia General Assembly and funded by a $10,000 grant from the estate of Thomas F. Williams, a local merchant and minister. Today the institution is known as the Adult Day Center-Georgia Infirmary and is part of St. Joseph’s/Candler healthcare network.

Mistreatment and poor living and working conditions often left slaves in prematurely bad health, and many were cast out by their owners when they were no longer able to work. Williams’ grant, as well as proposals for the state of Georgia to take on the care of old and unwell slaves while recouping the cost from slave holders, contributed to the impetus for the creation of the hospital. The Infirmary was built 10 miles south of Savannah, Georgia, on a 50-acre parcel of land donated by Richard F. Williams, the brother and executor of Thomas F. Williams’ estate. Richard F. Williams was elected as the first president of the hospital’s board of trustees. Upon the infirmary’s opening, the state government provided $20 per patient a year.
Sources: 
Harry Hewes, “Georgia Infirmary, First Hospital in the United States Founded for Negroes,” The Negro History Bulletin, Vol. 9, No. 1 (October 1945): Mitchell F. Rice and Woodrow Jones, Public Policy and the Black Hospital System: From Slavery to Segregation to Integration (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1994); Whittington B. Johnson, Black Savannah: 1788-1864 (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press: Fayetteville, Arkansas, 1999).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Sydney, Australia

Kelly, Samuel Eugene (1926-2009)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Samuel Eugene Kelly, soldier and educator, was born in Greenwich, Connecticut on January 26, 1926 to James Handy Kelly, a minister, and Essie Matilda Allen-Kelly, a homemaker.  Educated at Greenwich public schools, Kelly dropped out of high school in 1943 and joined the United States Army the following year.  Although he entered the Army as an eighteen-year-old private, fifteen months later he had completed Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and in August 1945 was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. With World War II over in the same month, Kelly became part of the U.S. occupying forces in Japan, serving there until 1950.  
Sources: 
Samuel E. Kelly (with Quintard Taylor), Dr. Sam: Soldier, Educator, Advocate, Friend, An Autobiography (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2010).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Davis, Benjamin O., Jr. (1912-2002)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. followed in the footsteps of his trail blazing father as the first black general in the U.S. Air Force. He was born in Washington, D.C. on December 18, 1912, fully committed to a military career. He entered West Point Military Academy in 1932 and graduated thirty-fifth out of a class of 276 in 1936. At as time when there were serious doubts that blacks had the mental capacity to fly airplanes, he joined a small number of African Americans in the first flying training program for blacks at Tuskegee, Alabama. His pace setting achievements led him to command the famed 99th Pursuit Squadron and later the 332nd Fighter Group in World War II. Beginning as an unwelcome addition to the Air Force, black pilots under the leadership of Colonel Davis established an enviable record of flying 15,000 sorties, shooting down 111 enemy planes and destroying or damaging 273 aircraft on the ground. White bomber pilots who once shunned the black fighter group as escorts quickly had a change of heart. The 332nd Fighter Group never lost a single escorted bomber in the group’s 200 missions.
Sources: 
Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., American: An Autobiography (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Press, 1991).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Augusta State University

Smith, Eunice Gray (1923-2006)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Eunice Gray Smith, Seated Far Right, Meets With the Langley
Research Center Women’s Advisory Group, 1973 (NASA photo)
Image Ownership: Public domain

ENTRY SPONSOR: James Williams

An accomplished mathematician, Eunice Gray Smith was among the first African American women hired to work at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory (LMAL) in Hampton, Virginia during the 1940s. Over the course of a forty-year career at the laboratory and research center, which is part of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Smith made important contributions to the fields of aeronautical and aerospace engineering.

Born on Dec. 31, 1923, Smith was the youngest of seven children. Her parents, Eugene Gray and Ethel Harris Gray, raised their large family in the community of Portsmouth, Virginia. Eugene Gray worked at the massive Norfolk Navy Yard as a watertender (WT) a position that required him to manage the boilers in steam-powered ships.

Sources: 
Beverly Golemba, “Human Computers: The Women in Aeronautical Research,” (unpublished manuscript 1994, NASA Langley Archives); “Eunice Gray Smith,” Daily Press June 23, 2006, http://articles.dailypress.com/2006-06-23/news/0606230142_1_hampton-university-hampton-institute-newport; United States, National Aeronautics Space Administration. NASA Activities, 1973, vol. 4-5 (1973-74), p. 102.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Ethiopian-Somali War Over the Ogaden Region (1977–1978)

Entry Type: 
Events
History Type: 
Global African History
Somali Tanks Entering Ethiopia at the Start of the
Ethiopian-Somali War, 1977-1978
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
In 1977 Ethiopia and Somalia engaged in a brief territory conflict over the Ogaden region situated between and claimed by both nations. This conflict however held significance greater than most territorial disputes because Ethiopia was backed by the Soviet Union and Somalia was supported by the United States, thus bringing the Cold War to eastern Africa.

Long before the 1977 conflict, the Ogaden had been subject to dispute. Following World War II, when Ethiopia had been aligned with the Allies against the Axis Powers, Great Britain relinquished its claim on the Haud and Ogaden regions as part of British-Somaliland. When British Somaliland became part of the newly independent nation of Somalia in 1960, that government took control over the region. They intensified their control when a military coup led to the assassination of Somali President Abdirashid Ali Shermarke, and the army’s seizure of control of the nation in 1969.
Sources: 

Martin Plaut, "Ethiopia–Somalia: A History of Conflict," Martinplaut, January 2013; Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, eds. Africana: The encyclopedia of the African and African American experience. Oxford University Press, 2005 https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Anthony+Appiah+and+Henry+Louis+Gates%2C+eds.+Africana%3A%20+The+encyclopedia+of+the+African+and+African+American+experience.+Oxford+University+Press%2C+2005&btnG=&hl=%20en&as_sdt=0%2C48; Kenneth G. Weiss, The Soviet Involvement in the Ogaden War. No. CNA-PP-269, Center for Naval Analyses, Institute of Naval Studies, Alexandria, Virginia, 1980 https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Kenneth+G.+Weiss%2C+The+%20Soviet+Involvement+in+the+Ogaden+War.+No.+CNAPP-269%2C+Center+for+Naval+Analyses%2C+Institute+of+Naval%20+Studies%2C+Alexandria%2C+Virginia%2C+1980.&btnG=&hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C48.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Perry, Cynthia Shepard (1928- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Cynthia Shepard Perry, a Republican and 25 year career diplomat, has served three Republican presidents. President Ronald Reagan appointed her as Chief of Education and Human Resources of the U.S. Agency for International Development where she served from 1982 to 1986, and named her Ambassador to Sierra Leone from 1986 to 1989. 

President H.W. Bush appointed her ambassador to Burundi where she served from 1989 to 1993.  President George W. Bush appointed her as U.S. Executive Director of the African Development Bank in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, and Tunis, Tunisia in 2001.  As director, she promoted microlending projects for small start-up loans, especially for women. In addition, she analyzed African loan requests for schools, bridges, and projects to reduce poverty.
Sources: 
Council of American Ambassadors, http://www.americanambassadors.org/; “George Bush,  Nomination of Cynthia Shepard to be United States Ambassador to Brunei,” Nov. 7, 1980, The American Presidency Project, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/; Charles Stuart Kennedy, “Ambassador Cynthia Perry,” Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, Foreign Affairs Oral History Project, March 21, 1999; Cynthia Shepard,  All things Being Equal: A Woman’s Journey  (New York: Stonecrest International, 1998).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Seattle Central College

Young, Jr., Perry (1919-1998)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Perry Young, Jr, an airplane and helicopter pilot, was the first African American person to be hired by a commercial airline with regularly scheduled passenger flights. Young was born to his parents Henry Young, Sr. and Edith Lucille Young on March 12, 1919 in Orangeburg, South Carolina. His father ran a dry cleaning store and also owned several garages.

The Young family moved to Oberlin, Ohio in 1929.  Right after graduating from Oberlin High School in 1937, Young took his first flight on an airplane and decided he would become a pilot. Later that summer, Young started his flight lessons and flew his first plane on Christmas Day 1937.  He paid for the lessons by washing cars over the summer. The next year, Young decided to attend Oberlin College instead of accepting a four-year scholarship to the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory of Music. In 1939, he received his private pilot's license after dropping out of college to pursue this goal full time.
Sources: 
Betty Kaplan Gubert, Miriam Sawyer, Caroline M. Fannin, Distinguished African Americans in Aviation and Space Science (Westport, Connecticut: Oryx Press, 2002);
http://www.nytimes.com/1998/11/19/nyregion/perry-h-young-jr-79-pioneering-pilot-dies.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Joseph, Emmanuel Francis (1900–1979)

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

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

Elder, Lee (1934- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Lee Elder, a member of the United Golfers Association (UGA), Professional Golfers Association (PGA), and the PGA Senior Tour, was the first African American to break the color barrier and play in the Masters Golf Tournament.

Lee Elder was born in 1934 in Dallas, Texas.  His father died in WWII, and his mother very shortly after.  With Elder’s sister running the household, Lee was lured to golf as a way to earn additional income for the family.  He began caddying at the all-white Tennison Park Golf Club in Dallas and soon became favored by the head pro of the course, who allowed Elder slip in after hours to play on the mostly obscured back six holes.  Elder became an accomplished golfer who eventually attracted the attention of hustler and con artist “Titanic” Thompson.  Using Thompson’s financial backing, Elder began playing in tournaments while honing his skills in the game and developing the ability to succeed under pressure.  
Sources: 
Pete McDaniel, Uneven Lies: The Heroic Story of African-Americans in Golf (Greenwich, Connecticut: The American Golfer, Inc., 2000); Pete McDaniel, “The Trailblazer”, Golf Digest (October 2000); Eric L. Smith, “Star Profile: Lee Elder,” Black Enterprise (September 1995).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Glass, Robert Davis (1922-2001)

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

Robert Glass, the Connecticut Supreme Court’s first African American member, was born on November 28, 1922, to M.E. Jackson and Isiah Glass in Wetumpka, Alabama. His parents were young and quite poor when he was born so they were not able to pay for his schoolbooks, which was a requirement for his elementary school. His education began with books given to him by his cousin when he was ten, and then later by his mother’s employer. She worked for a judge who mentored Glass by taking him to court proceedings and conversing with the boy about law while Glass served as his caddy during golf games.

Glass, however, cites his mother as his inspiration for his becoming a judge through her “belief, conviction, and faith in the system.” After he completed law school and passed the bar, she and Glass’s father ensured he would be able to open a law office by taking out a mortgage on their home in order to give him the $500 he needed.

Sources: 
Jessie Carney Smith, Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events (Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 2003); Lynne Tuohy, “Supreme Court Justice Bids Farewell,” Hartford Courant (June 11, 1992); Andrew Larson, “BRASS CITY HALL – Hall of Fame adds a jurist, a teacher, and – an NBA star – jurist added – Hall of,” Republican-American (Waterbury, CT) (October 22, 2017).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Roumain, Jean Baptiste (Jacques) / Roumain, Jacques (1907-1944)

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

Jacques Roumain (Born Jean-Baptiste Roumain) was a Haitian author, poet, novelist, essayist, political activist, and diplomat born on June 4, 1907. He was one of the more famous twentieth century Haitian intellectuals.

Jacques Roumain was born in Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital. He was the first of eleven siblings, son of Auguste Roumain, a landowner, and Emilie Auguste, daughter of Tancrède Auguste, who was president of the Haitian Republic between 1912 and 1913. Roumain began his education at Saint-Louis de Gonzague, a prestigious private academy, but in 1922, he was sent to Switzerland to continue his studies. In 1926 Roumain left Switzerland for Spain to study agronomy, yet he gave up his studies and focused on bullfighting. His interest in the sport led him to attend classes on the subject and to write the poem “Corrida” in Madrid in May 1926.

Sources: 
Jacques Roumain, Oeuvres complètes. Edition critique coordonnée par León-François Hoffmann. Madrid et Nanterre: Allca XX, 2003; “Roumain, Jacques (1907–1944),” Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/roumain-jacques-1907-1944;  Alexis, Jacques Stephan, “Of the Marvelous Realism of the Haitians,” Presence Africaine (June-November 1956): 249-275.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Sciences Po Paris

Bolen, David Benjamin (1923- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Ambassador David Bolen Presenting His Credentials
to East German Chancellor Eric Honeker, 1977
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Sources: 
“Former Olympic Sprinter Now Diplomat, The Crisis (April 1966); Who’s Who Among African Americans (New York: Gale Research, 2011); Irv Moss, “CU’s Bolen Had His Day at London Games” at http://www.denverpost.com/london2012/ci_21287840/bolen-had-his-day-at-london-games.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
San Diego State University

Baker, Vernon (1919-2010)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Vernon Baker with President Bill Clinton, 1997
Image Courtesy of Wordpress.com
Vernon Baker, belated recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, was born on December 17, 1919 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. His father, Manuel Caldera, was a carpenter from New Mexico. His mother was named Beulah. At the age of four, Baker lost his parents in a car accident and he and his two sisters, Irma and Cass, were raised by his grandparents in Cheyenne and Clarinda, Iowa.  Baker graduated from high school in Clarinda, Iowa in 1937 and found the only available work for blacks locally at that time.  He was a shoe shine boy and later a railroad porter.

On July 26, 1941, five months before Pearl Harbor, Baker joined the U.S. Army as a private and trained as an infantryman at Camp Wolters, Texas.  When officers recognized his leadership capabilities he was allowed to attend Officer Candidate School. On January 11, 1943, Baker was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and assigned to the segregated 370th Regiment of the 92nd Infantry Division, one of two all-black divisions.  

In June 1944, the 92nd Infantry Division landed in Naples and initially experienced heavy fighting on its way to central Italy.  In October, Baker, while on night patrol, was wounded in an encounter with a German soldier.  Treated in a hospital near Pisa, Italy, he was reunited with his unit in December 1944.  
Sources: 
Vernon J. Baker, 1st ed., Lasting Valor (Jackson, Mississippi: Genesis Press, Inc., 1997); A&E Television Networks, “Vernon J. Baker” Biography.com, 2010, Accessed Dec 6, 2010; http://www.biography.com/articles/Vernon-J.-Baker-403080
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Gideon, Russell S. (1904-1985)

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

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

Smith, Otis M. (1922-1994)

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

Otis Milton Smith became the first black justice on the Michigan Supreme Court in 1961, and served on the court until 1966. Smith was also the first black corporate officer of the General Motors Corporation, where he worked as general counsel, vice president, and leading attorney between 1966 and 1984. Smith passed away in 1994 but was survived by his wife, Mavis, and sons, Anthony, Steven, Raymond, and Vincent.

Otis Smith was born February 20, 1922 in Memphis, Tennessee to a black mother and white father. Growing up during the Great Depression, Smith worked many odd jobs, including as a shoe shiner, floor sweeper, waiter, and delivery boy for newspapers and groceries. At age 17 Smith moved north in hopes of finding better opportunities. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II and attended Syracuse University in New York upon his return with the intention of becoming a journalist.

Sources: 
Naseem Stecker, “A Trailblazing Leader: Otis M. Smith’s accomplishments are the focus of the 31st Michigan Legal Milestone,” Michigan Bar Journal, June 2006, https://www.michbar.org/file/barjournal/article/documents/pdf4article1016.pdf; Doron Levin, “Otis Smith, 72, G.M. Executive and Ex-Justice,” The New York Times, 30 June 1994, https://www.nytimes.com/1994/06/30/obituaries/otis-smith-72-gm-executive-and-ex-justice.html; “Otis Smith,” Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society, n.d., http://www.micourthistory.org/justices/otis-smith/; Otis Milton Smith, Looking Beyond Race: The Life of Otis Milton Smith (Detroit: Wayne State University, 2000).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Nicholas, Jean Marcel (a.k.a. Johnny Nicholas, 1918-1945)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Hans Pape and Jean Marcel Nicholas in Paris, Date Unknown
Image Ownership: Public domain

Expatriate, impersonator, and concentration camp survivor Jean Marcel Nicholas was born October 5, 1918 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, one of the three children of Hilderic Nicholas, a secretary of the British Embassy in that city, and Lucie Dalicy Nicholas. His family was financially secure and able to send him to France to be educated at the Lycée Aristide Briand (Aristide Briand School) at Saint-Nazaire and the College de Garcon at Grasse. In 1937, he left for Martinique and enlisted in the French Navy. After discharge from the Navy with a head injury in 1939 he returned to France and briefly attended medical school at the University of Paris.

Sources: 
Hugh Wray McCann and David C. Smith, The Sear for Johnny Nicholas: The Secret of Nazi Prisoner No. 44451 (CreateSpace, 2011); Hugh McCann, “Macho ‘American’ Posed as Doctor in Nazi Prison Camps,” in Los Angeles Times (March 29, 1984); “Blacks in Nazi Germany” at  https://www.lipstickalley.com/threads/blacks-in-nazi-germany.1177802/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Smythe, Hugh Heyne (1913-1977)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Ambassador Hugh Smythe and His Wife Mabel
Murphy Smythe, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, 1965
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Sources: 
Mark Anderson, “The Complicated Career of Hugh Smythe,” Transforming Anthropology, 16 (October 2008); Tor Eigeland, “Our Man in Damascus,” Ebony (December 1966); Cathal J. Nolan (Ed.), Notable U.S. Ambassadors Since 1775: A Biographical Dictionary (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
San Diego State University

Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia (1892-1975)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Emperor Haile Selassie with Sir. Winston Churchill, 1954
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Emperor Haile Selassie was born on July 23, 1892 as Tafari Makonnen just outside the city of Harrar in Enjersa Goro Province, Ethiopia. His mother was Yeshimbet Ali Abajiffar and his father was Ras (Duke) Makonnen Wolde Michael, Governor of Harrar, relative of Emperor Menelik II (1889-1913), and a former general who had played a key role in the 1896 Battle of Adowa where Ethiopia defeated an invading Italian Army to become the only African state to retain its independence by military action.

Appointed governor of Harrar Province, Tafari Makonnen, despite his descent from previous Emperors, would likely have remained an unimportant political figure had he not married his second wife, Menen Asfaw, niece to the heir of the Ethiopian throne, Lij Iyasu.  When rumors spread that Iyasu was flirting with Islam, Ethiopian nobles made Tafari regent in 1916.  Elevated to the rank of Ras, Tafari began to rule in fact while Empress Zewditu, the daughter of Emperor Menelik II, was official head of state.   
Sources: 
Harold G. Marcus, Haile Sellassie I: The Formative Years, 1892-1936 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987); Saheed A. Adejumobi, The History of Ethiopia (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2007); Alberto Sbacchi, “Haile Selassie and the Italians, 1941-1943,” Journal of African History 22:1 (April 1979).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Whitehead, James T., Jr. (1934- )

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

James Whitehead, Jr., the first African American Lockheed U2 pilot, was born in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1934.  From a young age Whitehead was surrounded by a strong military presence in his family including relatives who served in World War II.  Coming of age during that war he also remembered the Tuskegee Airmen who inspired his desire to learn to fly.   

Whitehead enlisted in the New Jersey Army National Guard in May 1952 and served until 1955. He later became the first African American graduate of the University of Illinois Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).  He graduated in June 1957 with a degree in Physical Education and was commissioned a second lieutenant.

Before leaving his home in New Jersey for officer training, Whitehead purchased a guide for blacks on travel across segregated America.  As an African American officer in The United States Air Force at a time when segregation was still prevalent in parts of the United States, Whitehead wanted to know how to travel across the nation without incident. 

Sources: 
Whitehead, James. Personal Interview by Elliot Partin. 16 DEC 2010; "Black Generals of the National Guard," On Guard (Feb. 1990) Vol. 29(5).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

McHenry, Gordon Alexander (1921-2001)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Courtesy of Black Heritage
Society of Washington" 
In 1943 Gordon Alexander McHenry became the first African American engineer hired by the Boeing Company in Seattle, Washington.  He was later promoted to Boeing Executive management (1955).  Prior to 1943 Boeing labor unions had hindered the hiring of African American engineers.

During his forty-year career with Boeing, McHenry advanced from a supervisor to a member of several engineering management teams.  McHenry was part of the Boeing workforce that viewed itself as focused on preserving the national security and defense of the United States.  As part of that team he contributed his engineering and managerial talents to the development of the B-17, B-29, B-47 and B-52 bombers; the C-97/377 Stratocruiser transport; the BOMARC interceptor missile, as well as the Minuteman and MX Peacekeeping Missile Systems.
Sources: 
Carol M. Ostrom, “Gordon McHenry, Boeing Executive,” Seattle Times May 24, 2001 (Obituary); http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20010524&slug=mchenryobit24m; Mildred McHenry, “Gordon McHenry,” Telephone Interview, March 6, 2015.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Seattle Central College

Newton, Huey P. (1942–1989)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Born in Monroe, Louisiana, the youngest and seventh son, Huey P. Newton was named after Louisiana's populist governor in the 1930s, Huey Long.  Newton's parents moved to Oakland, California during World War II seeking economic opportunities.  Newton attended Merritt College, where he met Bobby Seale. At Merritt, Newton fought to diversify the curriculum and hire more black instructors.  He also was exposed to a rising tide of Black Nationalism and briefly joined the Afro-American Association.  Within this group and on his own, he studied a broad range of thinkers, including Frantz Fanon, Che Guevara, Mao Zedong, E. Franklin Frazier, and James Baldwin.
Sources: 
Huey P. Newton, To Die For The People: The Writings of Huey P. Newton (New York, Random House, 1972); Newton, War against the Panthers: A Study of Repression in America (New York: Harlem River Press, 1996); and Peniel E. Joseph, Waiting ‘til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2006).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Cole, Harry A. (1921-1999)

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

Harry Cole, the first black justice on the Maryland Supreme Court, was born on January 1, 1921, in Washington, D.C., to a tailor and his wife. Shortly after his birth, Cole’s father died, and his mother moved him and his four siblings to her hometown, Baltimore, Maryland. Cole attended Douglass High School, graduating in 1939. Four years later, in 1943, he graduated from Morgan State College with honors. During his senior year at Morgan State, he helped organize the 1942 “March on Annapolis” to protest the Jim Crow laws in Maryland. Cole graduated from Baltimore’s University of Maryland Law School in 1949.

Sources: 
Eric Siegal, “Judge Harry A. Cole,” The Baltimore Sun (Feb. 15, 1999); “Harry Cole Dies,” The Washington Post (Feb. 16, 1999); “Harry A. Cole” at http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/speccol/sc3500/sc3520/012000/012087/html/msa12087.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Merritt, Jesus Villanueva (1913- ?)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Merritt Talking to Police Officer
Image Ownership: Public domain

Afro-Filipino author, journalist, and government official, Jesus V. Merritt was born in Agoo, a city in the province of La Union in the Philippines, on October 15, 1913. He was the son of Julius Merritt of Cincinnati, Ohio, a United States Army veteran of the Philippine-American War (1899-1902) who as an expatriate worked as a physician and married the former Timotea Villanueva, the sister of a prominent politician. Having attended high schools in Dagupan City and Lingayan, he studied at the National University and was awarded the bachelor’s degree at the University of Santo Tomas in 1933.

Early on, Merritt found success as a journalist. He was editor of his college newspaper and contributed writings to the Ilocano provincial press. In 1934, he published an article in the Philippines Free Press fittingly titled “A Newspaper Man Without Newspaper,” recalling his experiences as a young freelancer. Some of his writings focused on the principal island of Luzon and its larger municipalities: Baguio, Quezon City, and Manila.

Sources: 
Era Bell Thompson, “Veterans Who Never Came Home,” Ebony (October 1972); ‘Tan Yanks Help Rescue Negro and White Manila Prisoners,” Indianapolis Recorder (July 7, 1945); “About the Author” in Jesus V. Merritt’s Our Presidents: Profiles in History; “Gloman Merritt” at http://www.glomanmerritt.com/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Walton, Lester Aglar (1882-1965)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Lester Walton was a journalist, entertainment professional, and diplomat who promoted civil rights at home and abroad. Born Lester Aglar Walton on April 20, 1882 in St. Louis, Missouri, his early life was spent as a journalist. At the age of 20 in 1902, when he was hired by the St. Louis Star to be its golf writer and later its court reporter, he became the first black reporter to write for a white daily paper in St. Louis.

In 1906 Walton moved to New York City, New York and in 1908 he became theatrical editor for the New York Age, which was the largest black newspaper in the nation at the time.  He remained at the Age until 1914.  In 1912 he married Gladys Moore, the daughter of Fred Moore, publisher of the newspaper.  The couple had two daughters.
Sources: 
Jesse Mongrue, Liberia: America’s Footprint in Africa: Making the cultural, social, and political connections (Bloomington, Indiana: Jesse Mongrue, 2011); New York Public Library: http://archives.nypl.org/scm/20633; Gerald Lyn Early, Ain’t But a Place: An anthology of African American writings about St. Louis (St. Louis, Missouri: The Missouri Historical Society Press, 1998).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training

Senghor, Léopold Sédar (1906-2001)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Scholar, African traditionalist poet, and Senegal’s first president, Léopold Sédar Senghor was born on October 9, 1906 in Joal, Senegal. His father, Basie Diogoye Senghor, was a Malinké landowner. His mother, Gnilane Bakhoum, came from a Christian Fulani family. They gave Senghor a European name to reflect both the noble Serer culture they identified with, as well as their Catholic faith. Senghor grew up with his father’s four wives and his twenty-four siblings.

At the age of seven, Senghor was sent to a Catholic mission school, where he first learned French. At 13, he decided to enter the Catholic priesthood. He attended Libermann seminary in Dakar but in 1926, dissuaded by the seminary, switched to the secondary school Lycée Van Vollenhoven. He graduated from high school with honors and his classical languages teacher persuaded the colonial administration to grant Senghor a scholarship to pursue literary studies in France.

Sources: 
Melvin Dixon, Léopold Sédar Senghor: The Collected Poetry, Trans. by Melvin Dixon (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991); Kevin Shillington, ed., Encyclopedia of African History (New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2005).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Evergreen State College

Crenchaw, Milton Pitts (1919-2015)

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

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

Sources: 

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

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Arkansas Baptist College

Holmes, Emory Hestus (1924-1995)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
“Won’t Bow to Bigots,” Jet Article on Emory Holmes, Jan. 7, 1960 
Dr. Emory Hestus Holmes, World War II veteran, social scientist, professor, and California civil rights leader, was born on November 17, 1924 in Birmingham, Alabama to David H. and Dora Catherine Holmes. He attended segregated schools in Alabama and, at the age of 17, joined the U.S. Army. During World War II he helped construct the Burma Road from India across northern Burma into China and was wounded in combat.  Decorated for his wartime valor, Holmes returned to the United States where he pursued his undergraduate and graduate education at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Sources: 
Frank Barnes, “Statement of Frank Barnes, President, NAACP, Southern California Area Conference,” Hearings Before the United States Commission on Civil Rights (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1960); David E.  Brady, “Emory Hestus Holmes; Civil Rights Activist,” Los Angeles Times, April 14, 1995; US Bureau of the Census, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940): T627, 4,643 rolls, accessed online through http://ancestrylibrary.com on March 25, 2015.
Affiliation: 
University of California Center for Racial Studies

Davis, Benjamin O., Sr. (1877-1970)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Benjamin O. Davis Sr. was the first African American to be named a general in the American military. Davis claimed to have been born on July 1, 1877, but, according to some sources, his birthdate may have been in May 1880 and that he lied about his age to enlist in the Army without the permission of his parents. Davis was born in Washington, D.C., to Louis P. H. Davis and Henrietta Stewart Davis. His father was a messenger for the Interior Department and his mother was a nurse. Davis attended M Street High School in Washington, D.C., but during his senior year, he took classes at Howard University.
Sources: 

Marvin E. Fletcher, America’s First Black General: Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., 1880–1970 (Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas, 1989); “Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., https://history.army.mil/html/topics/afam/davis.html; David P. Kilroy, For Race and Country: The Life and Career of Colonel Charles Young (New York: Greenwood Press, 2003).

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Augusta State University

Brown, William E., Jr. (1927- )

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

Lieutenant General William E. Brown, Jr. is a former United States Air Force pilot, former commander of Allied Air Forces Southern Europe and former deputy commander of U.S. Air Forces in Southern Europe. Brown ended his military career with over 5,100 flying hours, the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal and a Purple Heart. In addition, Brown received the highest recognition given by Pennsylvania State University, the Distinguished Alumni Award, in 1981. Brown was promoted to Brigadier General in 1975, Major General in 1979, and Lieutenant General in 1982.

Sources: 
"Eagle Biography: William E. Brown Jr." GoE Foundation: Eagles. 1998,  https://www.goefoundation.com/eagles/biographies/b/237/Brown-William-E-Jr; Walter L. Hawkins, Black American Military Leaders: A Biographical Dictionary (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2009). "Lieutenant General William E. Brown Jr." U.S. Air Force, December 1982, http://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/107598/lieutenant-general-william-e-brown-jr/; Robert Lihani, "Lt. General William Earl Brown Jr.," Vulcan Flying Heritage Collection, April 3, 2016, http://video.flyingheritage.com/v/117053967/lt-general-william-earl-brown-jr.htm.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

William, John a.k.a. Huss, Ernest Armand (1922-2011)

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

Ivorian-French pop singer John William was born Ernest Armand Huss on October 9, 1922 in the coastal town of Grand-Bassam, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). He was born to a Frenchman, Ernest Charles Huss, and an Ivorian woman, Henriette Amoussan, with whom he never had much acquaintance. At 18 months of age, his father sent him to live with relatives in the Seine-et-Marne region of France. After attending boarding school, at age 17, he became an apprentice toolmaker in the automobile industry in Boulogne-Billancount, a suburb of Paris.

During the German occupation of France in World War II in 1943, William was forcibly enlisted in the Service Civique Rural (Rural Civic Service) to assist the Nazi war effort as a laborer. He, like many young men, made aeronautical equipment for German aircraft. Suspected of assisting workplace sabotage, the Gestapo tortured and sent him to the Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg, Germany. It was there that William began singing to inmates to relieve the harsh circumstances of camp life.

Sources: 
John William, Si toi aussi tu m'abandonnes (Paris: Cerf, 1990); “Ces alsaciens, célèbres inconnus: John William” at https://lettresdestrasbourg.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/ces-alsaciens-celebres-inconnus-john-william-ernest-armand-huss/; “Passion Chanson: Octobre 9” at http://www.passionchanson.net/tag/edith-piaf/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Mercer, Mabel Alice Wadham (1900-1984)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Mabel Mercer was one of the most important jazz cabaret singers of the 20th Century. Her personal singing style emphasizing interpretation, diction, lyrics, and projection over vocal proficiency influenced numerous leading singers including Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Nat “King” Cole, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Johnny Mathis, and Barbra Streisand. Mabel Alice Wadham was born on February 3, 1900 in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.  Her unmarried teenage Anglo-Welsh mother, Emily Mame Wadham, was a music hall actress and singer, and her father, Benjamin Mercer, was reported to have been an itinerant black American musician.  
Sources: 
Darlene Clark Hine, Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia (New York: Carlson Publishing Inc., 1993); John S. Wilson, “Mabel Mercer, Phraser of Songs, Dies,” New York Times, April 21, 1984; Terry Teachout, “Music; Mabel Mercer: The Subtle Truth,” New York Times, January 6, 2002; Stephen Bourne, Black Poppies: Britain's Black Community and the Great War (Stroud, England: The History Press, 2014).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Ligue Universelle pour la Défense de la Race Noire (1924)

Entry Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
Global African History
George Marke, Prince Kojo Tovalou-Houenou,
and Marcus Garvey, 1924
Image Ownership: Public Domain

The Ligue Universelle pour la Défense de la Race Noire (LUDRN) was a Pan-African association created on April 30, 1924, by Kojo Tovalou Houénou known as Tovalou, descendant of the last King of Dahomey (today’s Benin). The headquarters of the association was located in Paris and the executive committee composed of seven black members from the French Empire. Tovalou, a military doctor during the First World War, was designated president of the association and René Maran, a colonial administrator for Martinique, was vice president. The objectives of the association were the defense and protection of the rights of black people all over the world, the development of solidarity amongst the black population, and the evolution of the race through education.

Sources: 

Emilie Derlin Zinsou and Luc Zoumémou, Kojo Tovalou Houénou,
précurseur, 1887-1936: pannégrisme et modernité (Paris: Maisonneuve
& Larose, 2004); Imanuel Geiss, The Pan-African Movement: A history
of Pan-Africanism in America, Europe, and Africa
(New York: Africana
Publishing Co., 1974); Iheanachor Egonu, “Les Continents and the
Francophone Pan-Negro Movement,” Phylon 42:3 (Fall 1981).

Affiliation: 
University of Nantes, France

Martinsville Seven (1949-1951)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
The Martinsville Seven were a group of young black men executed in 1951 after being convicted of raping a white woman.  Their trials and the electrocutions became a cause célèbre similar to the Scottsboro Case of the 1930s.

On the evening of January 8, 1949, Ruby Stroud Floyd accused 13 black men of raping her while she passed through a poor African American neighborhood in Martinsville, Virginia.  The police first arrested Frank Hairston, Jr. and Booker T. Millner, and soon picked up James Luther Hairston, Howard Lee Hairston, John Clabon Taylor, Francis DeSales Grayson, then James Henry Hampton as additional suspects.  The young men with spotty employment records but no real criminal history soon became known as the Martinsville Seven.  Most of the men were between 18 and 20 years old and worked as laborers in small-scale furniture factories and warehouses.  At age 37, World War II veteran Francis DeSales Grayson was the oldest of the defendants.  
Sources: 
Eric W. Rise, "Race, Rape, and Radicalism: The Case of the Martinsville Seven, 1949-1951." The Journal of Southern History LVIII, no. August (1992): 461-490; Eric W.  Rise, The Martinsville Seven: Race Rape and Capital Punishment  (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Georgia Southwestern State University

Calhoun, William Henry (1890–1967)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Courtesy of The Black Heritage
Society of Washington"
Dr. William Henry Calhoun, a prominent early 20th century Seattle, Washington physician, was born on December 29, 1890 in Jackson, Tennessee.  Little is known about his parents or his childhood.  

Calhoun attended Meharry Medical School located in Nashville, Tennessee.  The college was established in 1876 (just 14 years before he was born) as the Medical Department of Central Tennessee College.  It was one of the first medical schools in the South for African Americans, although Howard Medical School in Washington, D.C., was the first, chartered in 1868.

Following his graduation from Meharry Medical College in the early 1920s, Dr. Calhoun migrated to Seattle, Washington.  In the early Seattle years, he practiced medicine from the Chandler Annex located on East Madison Street.  He and his wife, Verna, lived in an apartment above his office.

Sources: 
Geraldine Rhodes Beckford, Biographical Dictionary of American Physicians of African Ancestry 1800-1920, (New York: Africana Homestead Legacy Publishers 2011); “William H. Calhoun,” American Medical Association Masterfile, 1906-1969; http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/about-ama/physician-data-resources/physician-masterfile.page; James N. Simms, Simms Blue Book and National Negro Business and Professional Directory (Chicago: James N. Simms, Publisher, 1923); “Joyner, Robert Nathaniel M.D. (1913-1999),” HistoryLink, http://www.historylink.org.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Civil Rights Congress (1946-1956)

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History
Paul Robeson & Civil Rights Congress Picketing
the White House, August, 1948
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1946, the Civil Rights Congress (CRC) arose out of the merger of three groups with ties to the Communist Party USA:  the International Labor Defense (ILD), the National Negro Congress, and the National Federation for Constitutional Liberties. Embodying the spirit and tactics of all three of its predecessors, the CRC concentrated on legal defense and mass political action on behalf of victims of legal frame-ups. It briefly became a major force in post-WWII battles for civil rights for African Americans, and civil liberties for white and black labor movement radicals, before becoming a victim of Cold War anticommunism and government repression. Former ILD secretary William Patterson led the group throughout its existence.
Sources: 
Gerald Horne, Communist Front? The Civil Rights Congress, 1946-1956 (Rutherford:  Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1987); Horne, "Civil Rights Congress," in Mary Jo Buhle, Paul Buhle, and Dan Georgakas, eds., Encyclopedia of the American Left (New York: Garland Publishing, 1990), 134-135.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Howard, George, Jr. (1924-2007)

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

George Howard, Jr. was the first black justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court and the first black federal judge in Arkansas. As a lawyer, he litigated cases that resulted in the desegregation of Arkansas public schools.  As a federal judge, he presided over the politically-charged Whitewater cases that involved Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Sources: 
Judith Kilpatrick, “Desegregating the University of Arkansas School of Law: L. Clifford Davis and the Six Pioneers,” The Arkansas Historical Quarterly LXVIII, No. 2, Summer 2009; Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture, http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/ (entries on George Howard, Jr. and on the Supreme Court of Arkansas); Judge Lawrence E. Dawson, “Judge George Howard, Jr. Memorial Tribute,” 30 U. Ark. Little Rock L. Rev. 239 (2008).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Candace, Gratien (1873-1953)

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

French teacher and politician Gratien Candace was born on December 18, 1873 in Guadeloupe, a French overseas territory. His father Edouard was born in Guadeloupe as well, only two years before slavery was formally abolished in France, in 1848. Candace is the first French black politician to hold office as a deputy in the French National Assembly. However, he remains relatively unknown to the public. He was married to Jeanne Marie Binet.

At aged 18, Candace became a teacher in Guadeloupe. He traveled to France for the first time in 1895 at the age of 22 after he received a scholarship from the Département de Guadeloupe and settled in Toulouse where he served as a student-teacher at the École Normale Supérieure. Upon completion of his degree, Candace returned to Guadeloupe and was nominated deputy teacher in Basse-Terre. In July 1900, Candace came back to Toulouse where he took up classes in agriculture and philosophy classes at the University of Toulouse and earned a bachelor degree in sciences. While in Toulouse, he attended speeches given by Jean Jaurès, a famous Socialist leader, defender of workers’ rights and antimilitarist, who would greatly influence him.

Sources: 
Dominique Chathuant, ‘Notes biographiques sur Candace’, Gratien Candace (1873-1953), 2001-2004, http://candace.online.fr/spip.php?rubrique1; “Gratien Candace”, Académie des Sciences d’Outre-Mer, 2010, http://www.academieoutremer.fr/academiciens/fiche.php?aId=316; “Gratien Candace”, Assemblée Nationale, http://www2.assemblee-nationale.fr/sycomore/fiche/(num_dept)/1415.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Sciences Po, Paris

Brody, Louis (a.k.a. Lewis Brody, 1892-1952)

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

Louis Brody was a prominent German actor and musician. He was born M’bebe Mpessa in Douala, Cameroon, on February 15, 1892. Little is known about his early life in Cameroon, formerly known as Kamerun.  He attended the German colonial school in Douala where he learned to speak German. It is believed that Brody arrived in Berlin, Germany between 1907 and 1914 although it is unknown of what motivated him to relocate there.

Sources: 
Robbie Aitken, Black Germany: The Making and the Unmaking of a Diaspora Community, 1884-1960 (Cambridge University Press, 1915); The Concise Cinegraph: Encyclopaedia of German Cinema (Berlin: Berghahn Books, 2009); “Louis Brody” http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0111047/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Jones, Richard Lee (1893-1975)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Richard Jones was a decorated military leader, serving in both World Wars I and II, and an early United States Ambassador.

Born Richard Lee Jones on December 21, 1893 in Albany, Georgia, Jones studied at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree (Circa 1914). He then studied law at the University of Illinois, until the outbreak of World War I, when he enlisted in the U.S. Army.  He served in the 317th Engineer Battalion and as a lieutenant in the Military Police (1917-1919).
Sources: 
Chicago Tribune, October 15, 1927, and October 18, 1970; Clovis E. Semmes, The Regal Theater and Black Culture (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006); U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian, “Foreign Relations of the United States, 1955-1957,” Volume XVIII, Africa, Documents 141, 145, and 146.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training

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

Soweto, South Africa (1904- )

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

Soweto, an acronym for “South Western Townships,” is a grouping of townships scattered across twenty kilometers southwest of Johannesburg, South Africa.  A quintessential example of segregationist planning, Soweto initially was the result of mass evictions and evacuations of black residents of the city of Brickfields by the British colonial authorities in the first years of the 20th Century.  Though initially serving as an evacuation camp, Soweto was later designated to house black laborers who worked in British-operated mines and industrial sites away from the city center.  

Sources: 
Kevin Shillington, Encyclopedia of African History (New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2004); Baruch Hirson, Year of Fire, Year of Ash: The Soweto Revolt: Roots of a Revolution? (London: Zed, 1979); D. Du Toit, Capital and Labor in South Africa: Class Struggle in the 1970s (London: Kegan Paul International, 1981); http://www.sahistory.org.za/pages/places/villages/gauteng/johannesburg/02_suburbs.htm#top
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Taylor, Moddie Daniel (1912-1976)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center,
National Museum of American History,
Smithsonian Institution
Moddie Daniel Taylor, a chemist by training, was a member of the small, elite group of African American scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project, the code name for the top-secret effort to create an atomic bomb during World War II.  Taylor was born in Nymph, Alabama on March 3, 1912, the son of Herbert L. Taylor and Celeste (Oliver) Taylor.  The Taylors later moved to St. Louis where Herbert worked as a postal clerk.  Moddie Taylor attended Charles H. Sumner High, graduating in 1931.  He then attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri where he majored in chemistry.  Taylor graduated in 1935 as the valedictorian of his class.

Moddie Taylor began his teaching career at Lincoln University the same year, working as an instructor until 1939 and then as an assistant professor from 1939 to 1941 while enrolled in the University of Chicago graduate program in chemistry.  He received an M.S. from the University in 1939 and a Ph.D. in 1943.

Taylor married Vivian Ellis in 1937.  The couple had one son, Herbert Moddie Taylor.
Sources: 
Kenneth R. Manning, “Science and Opportunity,” Science, Volume 282 (November 6, 1998): 1037-1038; “Scientists in the News,” Science, Volume 131 (May 20, 1960): 1513-1514; “Records of Meetings,” Daedalus, Volume 86 (September, 1956): 137-16; Ebony, January 1961; "Moddie Taylor Biography," BookRags.com, http://www.bookrags.com/biography/moddie-taylor-woc/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Case Western Reserve University

Johnson, Raymond L., Sr. (1922-2011)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Raymond Johnson and Family in Los Angeles, 1961
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Sources: 
Elaine Woo, “Raymond L. Johnson Sr. dies at 89; lawyer, civil rights activist,” Los Angeles Times, January 9, 2012; “Tuskegee Airman and Civil Rights Icon Atty. Raymond L. Johnson, Sr. Succumbs,” Los Angeles Sentinel, January 12, 2012; Andie Parrish, “Raymond L.  Johnson, Sr.,” January 20, 2012, www.findagrave.com.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
California State University, Los Angeles

DuBois, Shirley Graham (1896-1977)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Shirley Graham DuBois and
her Husband, W.E.B. DuBois
Image Courtesy of David Graham DuBois
Musicologist, playwright, novelist and political activist Lola Shirley Graham, born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1896, became the second wife to W.E.B. DuBois in 1951.  Lola Shirley Graham was taught at a young age to stand up to injustice.  She wrote her first editorial to an Indianapolis paper protesting racial discrimination when she was 13, after she was denied access to a YWCA swimming pool.
Sources: 
Gerald Horne, Race Woman: The Lives of Shirley G. DuBois (New York: New York University Press, 2002); Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., eds., Africana, Arts and Letters: An A-Z Reference of Writers, Musicians, and Artists of the African and African-American Experience (New York: Running Press, 2005).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Anderson, Charles Edward (1919-1994)

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

ENTRY SPONSOR: Ceroasetta Simba

Charles Edward Anderson, meteorologist, Air Force officer, and weather officer, was born August 13, 1919 in the inner suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri on a farm in University City. Both his mother and father were from Mississippi. Anderson resided in St. Louis until he graduated the valedictorian of the Sumner High School class of 1937.

In 1941, Anderson earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Lincoln University, graduating third in his class. This is also where he met his future wife, Marjorie Anderson. After graduating he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. The Army sent Anderson with 150 other cadets to the University of Chicago in Illinois to study meteorology while enrolled in the Army Air Force Meteorological Aviation Cadet Program. He earned his masters degree in meteorology from the University of Chicago in 1943.

Sources: 
“The Charles E. Anderson Award,” American Meteorological Society, https://www.ametsoc.org/ams/index.cfm/about-ams/ams-awards-honors/awards/awards-for-outstanding-contributions/the-charles-e-anderson-award/; “Charles Anderson, Scientist born,” African American Registry, https://aaregistry.org/story/charles-anderson-scientist-born/; Jerry White, “Charles Edward Anderson: Meteorologist,” The Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences, https://webfiles.uci.edu/mcbrown/display/anderson.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Third Congo Civil War (1998-2003)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Boy Soldiers in the Congo, 2000
Image Ownership: Public domain

The Third Congo Civil War—also known as Africa’s World War—was a five-year conflict that occurred primarily in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Nine African countries eventually became involved in the war other than the DRC: Angola, Chad, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. The Third Congo Civil War became the deadliest conflict since World War II.  An estimated 5.4 million war-related deaths occurred and more than twice that number were displaced from their homes and sought asylum in neighborhood countries.

Sources: 
“Third Congo War,” Global Security, https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/congo-2.html; “Third Congo War,“ Enough, https://enoughproject.org/blog/congo-first-and-second-wars-1996-2003; The Economist, https://www.economist.com/node/1213296; Tom Cooper, Great Lakes Holocaust: First Congo War (Solihull, England: Helion and Co, 2013); Gerard Prunier, Africa’s World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe (Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2013).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Martin, Ora Mae Lewis (1918–2005)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Ora Mae Lewis on Her Wedding Day, 1946
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Newspaper columnist and poet Ora Mae Lewis was born March 29, 1918, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her father, Nathan Leopold Lewis, was a native of Jamaica and a decorated soldier in the British Colonial Army, and her mother Cecelia Della Atkinson, a New Orleans Creole, was a pianist. Cecelia Atkinson died when Ora was seven years old, and her father later re-married. Ora Mae and her siblings lived with her grandmother and great-grandmother. Her parents and grandparents spoke English, French, German, and Creole; however, her father forbade her from speaking anything but the King’s English. Lewis attended New Orleans public schools. Her short story, “The First Christmas,” was published in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the city’s largest newspaper, when Lewis was nine.
Sources: 
Ora M. Lewis.com; Jari Honora, “The Twinkling Smiles of Ora Mae Lewis’ Twinkle Magazine,” http://www.creolegen.org/2015/11/20/the-twinkling-smiles-of-ora-mae-lewis-twinkle-magazine/; Sister Mary Anthony Scally, R.S.M., Negro Catholic Writers (1900-1943) A Bio-Bibliography, http://www.nathanielturner.com/negrocatholicwriters2.htm.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Bokassa, Jean-Bédel (1921-1996)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History

 

Image courtesy of ©Bettmann-Corbis

Jean-Bédel Bokassa, longtime dictator and military leader of the Central African Republic, was born in Bobangui, Oubangui-Chari, French Equatorial Africa (present-day Central African Republic) on February 22, 1921. Bokassa’s father, a village chief of the Mbaka people, was murdered in November 1927 for refusing to provide labor from his village as required under French colonial rule. A week later, his mother committed suicide and Bokassa, aged 6, became an orphan. Missionnaries took in Bokassa and raised him until he joined the French colonial army in 1939, at the beginning of World War II. He then took part in the 1944 landings in Provence, France, and subsequently served with the French Army in Indochina and Algeria.  A skilled soldier, Bokassa rose to the rank of captain.  He also won the Legion d’Honneur, the highest French military decoration and the Croix de Guerre, which was presented to soldiers who distinguished themselves in combat.

Sources: 
“Bokassa, Jean-Bédel,” in Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., eds.,  Africana: the Encyclopedia of the African & African American Experience  (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005); “Central African Republic: Nationalism, Independance,” in Kevin Shillington, ed., Encyclopedia of African History (New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2005).
Affiliation: 
University of Nantes (France)

Delaney, Harold (1919-1994)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 24, 1919, Harold Delaney was one of several African American scientists to work on the Manhattan Project in World War II.  The eldest child of William and Henriette Delaney, Harold had four sisters, Mildred, Gertrude, Laura, and Ethel, and a brother, William.

Delaney studied chemistry at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and earned his B.S. and M.A. degrees in 1941 and 1943, respectively. In March 1943, Delaney co-authored an article with his graduate adviser, Dr. Robert Percy Barnes, and with Dr. Victor Julius Tulane and Dr. Stewart Rochester Cooper in the Journal of Organic Chemistry, a prestigious peer-reviewed journal. Tulane and Cooper were also faculty members in the Department of Chemistry at Howard University. In November 1943, Delaney published a second article with Barnes in the Journal of the American Chemistry Society, another prestigious peer-reviewed journal.  Publication of these two articles completed the requirements for Delaney’s M.A. degree. In addition, Barnes, Tulane, and Rochester were highly productive chemistry researchers publishing several peer-reviewed journal articles.  Barnes authored approximately 40 scientific articles during his career. This is significant because peer-reviewed scientific articles are considered the “currency of science.”
Sources: 
Harry W. Greene, Holders of Doctorates Among American Negroes (Boston: Meador Publishing, 1946); Beyond Small Numbers: Voices of African American Ph.D. Chemists (Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, 2005); W. Saxon, “Harold Delaney, Educator, 74 and Wife, Geraldine, Are Slain,” The New York Times, Aug 9, 1994, p B10; “Harold and Geraldine Delaney; Slain Couple Were Educators,” The Washington Post, Aug 7, 1994, p B6; K. Heise,  “Harold Delaney And Wife, Geraldine,” Chicago Tribune. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1994-08-11/news/9408110021_1_mr-delaney-chicago-state-university-interim-president (accessed Jul 20, 2011); "Nephew convicted of murdering his uncle, Dr. Harold Delaney, gets death sentence," Jet, FindArticles.com. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_n4_v89/ai_17801936/ (accessed Jul 21, 2011).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
College of Wooster

Davis, Ruth A. (1943 - )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
At the time of her retirement from the United States Foreign Service in 2009, Ambassador Ruth A. Davis was the longest serving Career Ambassador and at the rank of Director General of the Foreign Service, had achieved the highest ranking position in the Foreign Service.  She was also the first African American to do so.

Although born in Phoenix, Arizona, on May 28, 1943, to a former World War II soldier who later became a postal worker and a schoolteacher mother, the family moved to Atlanta, Georgia during her early childhood.  Majoring in Sociology at Spelman College, Davis was awarded a Merrill scholarship which allowed her to study in France for 15 months. While there she travelled throughout Europe and the Middle East.  

Davis graduated magna cum laude from Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia in 1966 and then enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley where she earned a master's degree in social work in 1968.  While at UC Berkeley she served as an intern at the Agency for International Development (AID).  
Sources: 
Candace LaBalle, "Davis, Ruth A. 1943–," Contemporary Black Biography (2003), http://www.encyclopedia.com; Stacy D. Williams, "TLG:  Expanding Opportunities at State," Foreign Service Journal (May 2013), http://www.govexec.com/magazine/magazine-management-profile/2001/11/phoenix-rising/10262/.
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Pickens, William (1881-1954)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of The History Cooperative
William Pickens was born January 15, 1881 in Anderson County, South Carolina. His parents were liberated slaves who migrated to Arkansas when he was a young boy.  Young Pickens worked in cotton fields and in sawmills while attending the local segregated public school.  Pickens entered Talladega College in Alabama in 1898 and left four years later as the school’s most illustrious graduate in its history. In 1902 he entered Yale University in Connecticut and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa where he won the Henry James Ten Eyek Prize over thirty seven competitors in 1903.  Pickens became an expert linguist and graduated from Yale with a second B.A. degree in classics in 1904.  In 1905 Pickens married Minnie Cooper McAlpine. The couple had three children.  
Sources: 
William Pickens, Bursting Bonds (Boston: Jordan & More Press, 1923); William M. Brewer, The Journal of Negro History 39:3 (July 1954): 242-244: Sheldon Avery, Up from Washington: William Pickens and the Negro Struggle for Equality (Newark, University of Delaware Press, 1989).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

95th Engineer Regiment

Vignette Type: 
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

The Moore’s Ford Lynching (July 1946)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
On July 14, 1946, four African American sharecroppers were lynched at Moore’s Ford in northeast Georgia in an event now described as the “last mass lynching in America.” Yet the killers of George Dorsey, Mae Murray Dorsey, Roger Malcolm, and Dorothy Malcolm were never brought to justice. The violence and public outcry surrounding the event reflected growing African American challenges to Jim Crow in the post-World War II years as well the failures of state and federal authorities to address racial inequality and violence in the South.  
Sources: 
Laura Wexler, Fire in a Canebrake: The Last Mass Lynching in America (New York: Scribner, 2003);  Wallace H. Warren, "'The Best People in Town Won't Talk': The Moore's Ford Lynching of 1946 and Its Cover-Up," in Georgia in Black and White: Explorations in the Race Relations of a Southern State, 1865-1950, ed. John C. Inscoe (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994);  Mark Auslander, “Touching the Past:  Materializing Time in Traumatic ‘Living History’ Re-enactments,” Signs and Society 1 (March 2013), 161-83.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Georgia Southwestern State University

University of Liberia\Liberia College (1863-- )

Entry Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
Global African History
University of Liberia
Image Ownership: Public Domain
In 1851, the national legislature of Liberia authorized the establishment of Liberia College which is now the second oldest institution of higher learning in West Africa. The Trustees of Donations for Education in Liberia purchased materials and hired faculty for the college with funds from private organizations and contributions from individuals in the United States. Chartering a ship and loading it with building supplies for the college, the first faculty and materials left New York City, New York and arrived in Monrovia, Liberia's capital, on December 28, 1856.  Realizing that the originally designated site of the college, the Clay-Ashland area was too swampy and unsuitable for the college, the Trustees voted to locate the college on a bluff at Cape Mesurado, within the city limits of Monrovia.  
Sources: 
Gardner W. Allen, The Trustees of Donations for Education in Liberia: A Story of Philanthropic Endeavor, 1850-1923 (Boston: Thomas Todd Company, 1923); Thomas W. Livingston, “The Exportation of American Higher Education to West Africa: Liberia College, 1850–1900,” The Journal of Negro Education 45:3 (Summer 1976). University of Liberia Website, http://www.universityliberia.org.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Tacoma

Massie, Samuel Proctor (1919-2005)

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

Born July 3, 1919 in North Little Rock, Arkansas, Samuel Proctor Massie was as one of the few African American scientists to work on the Manhattan Project during World War II.  He later became a distinguished professor of chemistry.

Massie graduated from Dunbar High School in Little Rock at the age of 13.  At age 18, he earned his bachelor’s in science and was summa cum laude from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 1937.  With a scholarship from the National Youth Administration he earned a master’s degree in chemistry at Fisk University in 1940 when he was only 21 years old.  Massie said his desire to find a cure for his father's asthma spurred him to become a chemist.

As he neared the completion of his doctorate in chemistry at Iowa State University in 1942, Massie lost his draft deferment.  When he was about to be drafted in his home state of Arkansas, his major professor at Iowa State, Henry Gilman, who was already working on the Manhattan Project, assigned Massie to his research team.  Massie performed his research at Iowa State University from 1942 to 1946 where he helped in the development of uranium isotopes for the atomic bomb.   
Sources: 
Samuel Proctor Massie (with Robert C. Hayden), Catalyst: The Autobiography of an American Chemist (Laurel, Md.: S.P. Massie, 2001); Neal Thompson, "The Chemist: An Interview with Samuel P. Massie," American Legacy 7 (Spring 2001); "Samuel Proctor Massie, Jr.," The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=4443; “Obituary,” Jet, May 9, 2005, 24.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Case Western Reserve University

McKinney, Herman (1938-2014)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Businessman, educator, community leader, and political activist Herman McKinney was born on October 2, 1938 in Klamichi, Oklahoma to Herman L. and Ozella (Harris) McKinney.  His family moved to Vancouver, Washington when Herman was young child.  His family was part of the Great Migration of African Americans during World War II, who left the South and other regions to find work in the burgeoning war industries that sprang up on the West Coast.
Sources: 
Sanjay Bhatt, “Herman McKinney, 75, dies; African American leader worked for equal opportunity,” Seattle Times, April 13, 2014; “Herman McKinney, Civil Rights Activist, Seattle Businessman,” The Skanner, April 14, 2014; “Obituary: Herman L. McKinney,” The Seattle Medium, April 22, 2014.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
St. Martins University

Abernathy, Ralph (1926-1990)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Ralph David Abernathy was born on March 11, 1926 in Linden, Alabama.  His boyhood was spent on his father’s Alabama farm but he joined the U.S. Army and served in World War II from 1941 to 1945.  After his service Abernathy returned to his home state where he attended Alabama State College in Montgomery, Alabama, receiving a degree in Mathematics in 1950.  
Sources: 
Ralph David Abernathy, And the Walls Came Tumbling Down: An Autobiography (New York: Harper and Row, 1989); http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-2736.
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Washington, Jr., James (1909-2000)

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

 

"Image Ownership: Public Domain"

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

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

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

Holmes, Oscar W., Jr. (1916–2001)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Oscar Wayman Holmes Jr., the first African American commissioned officer in the United States Navy and its first black aircraft pilot, was also the first black air traffic controller. Born January 31, 1916, he was the son of Oscar Sr. and Grace Holmes of Dunbar, West Virginia. After completing Garnet High School in Charleston, West Virginia, Holmes graduated from West Virginia State College in 1938. He later received a master’s degree in chemistry at Ohio State University in 1939. Holmes taught chemistry at Claflin College, a historically black school in Orangeburg, South Carolina, from 1937 to 1940.
Sources: 
Robert J. Schneller Jr., “Oscar Holmes: A Place in Naval Aviation,” Naval Aviation News, (January-February 1998; Terry Kraus, “Oscar Holmes: He Broke Three Color Barriers, But Few Knew,” at http://www.faa.gov/about/history/people/media/Oscar_Holme_article.pdf; Dionne Irving, “Longtime Mitchellville Resident Dies, Leaving Aviation Legacy,” at http://ww2.gazette.net/gazette_archive/2001/200149/bowie/news/82815-1.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
San Diego State University

Dakar, Senegal (1857- )

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History

"The Ablest Midwife That Wee Knowe in the Land": Mistress Alice Tilly and the Women of Boston and Dorchester, 1649-1650

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

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

The Pan-African Congresses, 1900-1945

 

Speakers at The Pan African Congress,
Brussels, Belgium,1921
Image Ownership: Public Domain

In the nearly half century between 1900 and 1945 various political leaders and intellectuals from Europe, North America, and Africa met six times to discuss colonial control of Africa and develop strategies for eventual African political liberation. In the article that follows, historian Saheed Adejumobi describes the goals and objectives of these six Pan African Congresses and assesses their impact on Africa.     

 

Pan-Africanist ideals emerged in the late nineteenth century in response to European colonization and exploitation of the African continent. Pan-Africanist philosophy held that slavery and colonialism depended on and encouraged negative, unfounded categorizations of the race, culture, and values of African people. These destructive beliefs in turn gave birth to intensified forms of racism, the likes of which Pan-Africanism sought to eliminate.

Summary: 
In the nearly half century between 1900 and 1945 various political leaders and intellectuals from Europe, North America, and Africa met six times to discuss colonial control of Africa and develop strategies for eventual African political liberation. In the article that follows, historian Saheed Adejumobi describes the goals and objectives of these six Pan African Congresses and assesses their impact on Africa.
Sources: 

Saheed A. Adejumobi, “The Pan-African Congress,” in Organizing Black America: An Encyclopedia of African American Associations, Nina Mjagkij, ed. (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 2001).

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Seattle University

Hotesse, Esteban (1919-1945)

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

Esteban Hotesse was the only Dominican-born member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, as well as one of the few people born in a Spanish-speaking nation to serve the United Stated during World War II. Hotesse was born on February 11, 1919, in the town of Moca, Dominican Republic. On November 1, 1923, at the young age of four, he, his mother, and his younger sister departed Moca for New York City, New York. After traveling through Ellis Island, they took up residence in Manhattan. Little is known of Hotesse from this point until he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps on February, 21, 1942.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Windhoek, Namibia (1840- )

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History
Image Ownership, Public Domain
Windhoek, also known by its more traditional names—|Ai||Gams (in the Khoekhoe language) and Otjiomuise or Otjoherero, all of which mean “place by streams”—is the capital and largest city of Namibia, as well as its cultural and economic center.  Though likely named for the mountain ranges near the home of its founder, South African Capt. Jonker Afrikaner, Windhoek's name was officially changed to “Otjomuise” as a part of a broader Africanization plan for many of the more important cities and towns across the country.
Sources: 
Werner Manges, “Windhoek?!  Rather make that Otjomuise” (Windhoek, Namibia: AllAfrica.com, The Namibian, 12 May 2005); Christos Retief, “Windhoek slaan Afrika-rekord [Windhoek beats Africa record]” (Windhoek, Namibia: Die Republikein, 2 July 2013); Windhoek Municipality, Polytechnic of Namibia, The Windhoek Structure Plan (Windhoek, Namibia: Polytechnic of Namibia, 1996); http://www.windhoekcc.org.na/tour_attractions.php.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Demby, William (1922-2013)

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

The novelist William Edward Demby, Jr. was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Christmas day, 1922, to William and Gertrude Demby.  He was raised in their family of seven children in the Fairywood district of Pittsburgh’s West Side. The family moved to Clarksburg, West Virginia, shortly after Demby’s graduation from Langley High School.

Sources: 
Melanie Masterson Sherazi, “Introduction,” to William Demby’s novel, King Comus. Berkeley: Ishmael Reed Publishing Company, 2017; Jeff Biggers, “William Demby has not left the Building: Postcard from Tuscany, A Profile,” The Bloomsbury Review Vol 24, #1, 2004; William Yardley, “William Demby, Author of Experimental Novels, Dies at 90,” The New York Times, May 31, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/01/arts/william-demby-novelist-and-reporter-dies-at-90.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Edward A. Carter, Jr. (1916–1963)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Edward A. Carter, Jr. was a career noncommissioned officer for the United States Army and one of the only African American recipients of the Medal of Honor during World War II.

Carter was born May 26, 1916, in Los Angeles, California to missionary parents and was raised in Calcutta, India, and Shanghai, China. Fluent in Hindi, Mandarin, English, and German, Carter ran away from home and enlisted in the Chinese Nationalist Army at the age of fifteen to fight the Japanese after the Shanghai Incident of 1932. He rose to the rank of lieutenant before he was found to be underage and discharged.

Sources: 
Dan Elder, CSM, “Remarkable Sergeants: Ten Vignettes of Noteworthy NCOs,” The NCO Historical Society, November 8, 2008, http://www.ncohistory.com/files/RemarkableSgts.pdf; Wayne V. Hall, “Edward A. Carter II, Sergeant, United States Army,” Arlington National Cemetery, http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/eacerter.htm; Ernest McPherson, Ernest, “Medal of Honor: African-American Hero Recognized Decades after Brave Act,” United States Army February 24, 2009, http://www.army.mil/article/17391/.
Contributor: 

Wertz, Irma Jackson Cayton (1911-2007)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Irma Cayton Wertz on right, 1942
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Irma Jackson Cayton Wertz was a member of the first Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAACS) Officer training class commissioned at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, during World War II.  Born in Brunswick, Georgia, on May 8, 1911, Jackson was the product of a military household.  Her family was stationed in Des Moines while her father, who served as a captain in the segregated army during World War I, attended officer’s training camp.  

After graduating from Fisk University and Atlanta University, Jackson moved to Chicago, Illinois where she gained employment as a social worker in the South Parkway Community Center. There she married her first husband, Horace Cayton, a noted University of Chicago sociologist. The couple divorced in 1942.

The same year, Jackson applied for entrance into the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps.  After successfully passing a battery of examinations, completing a six-week training course, and taking the oath to become an officer in August of that year, Jackson was briefly assigned to the WAAC Headquarters in Washington, D.C. as a recruiter. Shortly thereafter, she relocated to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where she met and married William Wertz and joined the Thirty-second WAAC Post Headquarters Company.

Sources: 

Robert F. Jefferson, Fighting for Hope:  African American Troops of the 93rd Infantry Division in World War II and Postwar America (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008); Brenda L. Moore, To Serve My Country, To Serve My Race:  The Story of the Only African American WACs Stationed Overseas during World War II (New York: New York University Press, 1996).

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Xavier University

Beaumont Race Riot, 1943

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Shipyard Warkers, Beaumont, Texas, ca. 1943
Image Ownership: Public Domain

The Beaumont Race Riot of 1943 was sparked by racial tensions that arose in this Texas shipbuilding center during World War II.  The sudden influx of African American workers in industrial jobs in the Beaumont shipyard and the subsequent job competition with white workers forced race relations to a boiling point.

The riot itself exploded on June 15, 1943 with most of the violence ending a day later.  White workers at the Pennsylvania Shipyard located in Beaumont, Texas confronted black workers after hearing that a local white woman had accused a black man of raping her.  The woman who made the accusation was later unable to identify her attacker from the number of black inmates held at the city jail.

Sources: 
James S. Olson, “Beaumont Riot of 1943,” The Handbook of Texas Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/BB/jcb1.html (accessed 11 June, 2008); Glen Yeadon and John Hawkins, The Nazi Hydra in America: Suppressed History of a Century (Joshua Tree: Progressive Press, 2007).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

93rd Infantry Division (1942-1946)

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History in the West
93rd Infantry Soldiers in Japanese Territory, Bougainville
Island, New Guinea, May 1, 1944. 
Image Courtesy of U.S. Army Archives

Activated on May 15, 1942, at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, the U.S. Ninety-third Infantry Division was the first segregated division-size infantry unit mobilized during the Second World War.  Composed of White general staff officers and African American junior officers and enlisted men, the Ninety-third was made up of the draftee 369th and the veteran 368th and the 25th Infantry Regiments along with an assortment of field battalions and companies. 

After its formation, the division conducted its basic training at Fort Huachuca, before heading to Louisiana during the spring of 1943 where the unit staged field operations against the Eighty-fifth Infantry Division during the Third Army Maneuvers.  In late 1943, the Ninety-third moved westward to California where the unit went through desert training exercises before departing from the United States for the South Pacific Theater of Operations in January, 1944.

Sources: 
Robert F. Jefferson, Fighting for Hope:  African American Troops of the 93rd Infantry Division in World War II and Postwar America (Baltimore:  The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Xavier University (Ohio)

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

Lunceford, Jimmie M. (1902-1947)

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

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

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

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

Yaoundé, Cameroon (1888- )

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
Yaoundé is the capital and second largest city of Cameroon. Georg Zenker, a German scientist, led a group of people who settled Yaoundé in 1888. Yaoundé is located in the Ewondo region between the Nyong and Sanaga rivers in southern Cameroon. In 2012 an estimated 2.4 million people resided in Yaoundé.

Cameroon emerged as a major source of the slave trade in the sixteenth century. The Portuguese, British, French, Dutch, and Americans were heavily active in the New World trade along the coast. The Transatlantic Slave Trade was abolished in the 1800s, but European countries remained active in Africa. On the eve of the Partition of Africa Gustav Nachtigal, a German diplomat, signed a treaty with two Duala chiefs in 1884 that led to the establishment of German Kamerun. In 1909, Yaoundé became the capital of German Kamerun.
Sources: 
Mark W. DeLancey and H. Mbella Mokeba, Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cameroon (Metuchen, NJ and London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1990); Eric Young, “Ahidjo, El Hajj Ahmadou”; “Biya, Paul”; “Cameroon”; “Yaoundé, Cameroon” all in  Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience 2nd Edition, editors Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (New York, Oxford University Press, 2005).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Holland, Jerome Heartwell (1916-1985)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Ambassador Jerome Holland and His Wife
Arrive in Stockholm, Sweden in 1970
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Educator, diplomat and businessman, Jerome Heartwell Holland was born on January 9, 1916 in Auburn, New York. The parents of Holland, and that of his twelve other siblings, were Robert Holland, a gardener/carpenter, and Viola Bagby Holland. For the entirety of his life, Holland maintained the nickname “Brud” given to him by a sibling who called him “Brudder” growing up.

Sources: 
Rachel Kranz, African-American Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs (New York: Facts on File, Inc., 2004); New York Public Library, and Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library African American Desk Reference (New York: J. Wiley & Sons, 1999); http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/educator-and-diplomat-jerome-holland; http://auburnpub.com/lifestyles/article_81f428be-72a9-5553-8e54-f9c477f64479.html; http://centralny.ynn.com/content/top_stories/534762/dr--jerome--brud--holland-starts-historic-life-in-auburn/.


Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Albina, Portland (1870- )

Vignette Type: 
Places
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Albina Neighborhood, 1962 (Oregon Historical Society)
"Image Ownership: Oregon Historical Society"
Albina is a neighborhood located in Northeast Portland, Oregon that for most of the 20th century was home to the majority of the city’s African American population. Before it was annexed into Portland in 1891, Albina was a rapidly growing city on the east side of the Willamette River from Portland. During the 1870s and 1880s, Albina’s population consisted mostly of new immigrants from Europe who worked at the Union Pacific Railroad terminal or on the docks. In the 1890s and 1900s, wealthy Portlanders from across the river began to purchase land in Albina. Most African American residents of Portland at the time rented homes or apartments on the west side of the river, closer to the city center.

By 1910, the black neighborhoods of northwest Portland were too crowded, and black Portlanders began to cross the river to look for homes, often choosing Lower Albina for its proximity to jobs at the docks or with the railroad. In response, the newer white neighborhoods of east Portland began adopting restrictive covenants, effectively confining African American home-seekers of east Portland to the Albina neighborhood.
Sources: 
Kimberley S. Moreland, History of Portland’s African American Community (1805 to the Present), City of Portland Bureau of Planning, 1993, https://multco.us/file/15283/download; Mark Friesen, “Graphic: Portland’s Central City Gets Whiter,” The Oregonian, April 30, 2011, http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2011/04/graphic_portlands_central_city_gets_whiter.html; Richard Ross, Ralph Ahselhn, and Malcolm Cross, Albina: Portland’s Ghetto of the Mind, KGW Broadcasting, 1967, http://legacy.kgw.com/story/features/2013/07/10/documentary-albina-portland-s-ghetto-of-the-mind-1967-/11775000/; Trudy Flores and Sarah Griffin, “The Albina Riot, 1967,” The Oregon Historical Society, 2002, http://oregonhistoryproject.org/articles/historical-records/albina-riot-1967/#.Vuh7AxIrKXQ; Tanya Hyatt Evenson, Sarah Griffith, and Amy E. Platt, “Albina Residents Picket Emmanuel Hospital,” Oregon Historical Society, 2002, http://oregonhistoryproject.org/articles/historical-records/albina-residents-picket-emanuel-hospital/#.VwFZ5Uc73d6; Karen J. Gibson, “Bleeding Albina: A History of Community Disinvestment, 1940-2000,” Transforming Anthropology, vol. 15, issue 1, 2007; Stuart McElderry, "Building a West Coast Ghetto: African-American Housing in Portland, 1910-1960," Pacific Northwest Quarterly, 92 (Summer 2001).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

32nd and 33rd WAACS Headquarters Companies (World War II)

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History
WAACS at Fort Huachuca (Courtesy of Fort Huachuca Museum)

Organized in the fall of 1942, Iowa, the all-black Thirty-Second and Thirty-third Women's Auxiliary Army Companies would become the first contingent of WAACS assigned to a military installation in the United States during World War II. Composed of nearly 200 auxiliaries and seven officers, company members completed six weeks of intensive training in Iowa before reporting to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, on December 4, 1942.  At the time, the army post was the largest black military post in the country.  There, the units were assigned to the Ninth Service Command and the post headquarters, respectively.

Under the command of the first group of Fort Des Moines's graduating class of black commissioned officers—Irma Jackson Cayton, Vera Ann Harrison, Frances Alexander, Violet Askins, Natalie Donaldson, Mary Kearney, and Corrie Sherard—auxiliaries ably performed clerical and administrative work as stenographers, typists, telephone switchboard operators, clerks, messengers, reception ists, and motor pool drivers and mechanics.  The positions held by the WAACs and the duties they performed cohered with the racial and gendered employment policies developed by senior Army leaders and Women's Auxiliary Army Corps officials, relieving the men of the U.S. Ninety-third Infantry Division also stationed at the military outpost to undergo extensive field training in the Arizona desert.

Sources: 

Robert F. Jefferson, Fighting for Hope:  African American Troops of the 93rd Infantry Division in World War II and Postwar America (Baltimore:  The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008).  Brenda L. Moore, To Serve My Country, To Serve My Race: The Story of the Only African American WACs Stationed Overseas during World War II (New York: New York University Press, 1996).

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Xavier University

Graves, Letitia A. (1863-1952)

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

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

Watson, James Lopez (1922-2001)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: