Independent Historian

Carla W. Garner is an independent researcher in Barrington, Illinois.  She has a BA in English from Northwestern University and an MLIS from San Jose State University.  The Racine, Wisconsin native has worked in the private sector for Bose Corporation, Heritage Wisconsin Corporation, and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.  Her research has looked at information exchange among farm women, librarianship during the Depression, and library development in the rural Midwest.

Henry Proctor Slaughter (1871-1958)

Editor and bibliophile Henry Proctor Slaughter is best remembered for his vast collection of rare documents on African American history. The son of former slaves, a young Slaughter questioned the biased treatment of slavery in his school textbooks, and he spent a lifetime collecting materials … Read MoreHenry Proctor Slaughter (1871-1958)

Vivian Gordon Harsh (1890-1960)

Vivian Gordon Harsh was the first African American librarian in the Chicago Public Library system and a significant contributor to Chicago’s Black Renaissance.  In 1932 she was appointed head librarian of the George Cleveland Hall Branch, the city’s first library built in an African American … Read MoreVivian Gordon Harsh (1890-1960)

Vashti Murphy McKenzie (1947- )

On July 11, 2000, journalist and clergywoman Vashti Murphy McKenzie became the first female bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. In 2005 she became the denomination’s first woman to serve as Titular Head. Her commitment to community development is evident in her work … Read MoreVashti Murphy McKenzie (1947- )

Garrett A. Morgan, Sr. (ca. 1877-1963)

Inventor, entrepreneur, and publisher Garrett A. Morgan Sr. received patents for a three-position traffic signal and a safety hood that was designed to aid breathing in smoke-filled areas. He gained national attention when he utilized his mask to rescue men trapped during a tunnel explosion … Read MoreGarrett A. Morgan, Sr. (ca. 1877-1963)

George Washington Henderson (ca. 1850-1936)

Born a slave in Clark County, Virginia, George Washington Henderson graduated from the University of Vermont in 1877 and became the first African American to be inducted into Phi Beta Kappa (PBK), the highest academic honor society. He later received a bachelor’s degree in divinity … Read MoreGeorge Washington Henderson (ca. 1850-1936)

Lucy Stanton Day Sessions (1831-1910)

Educator and abolitionist Lucy Stanton Day Sessions is believed to be the first African American woman to graduate from college, completing a Ladies Literary Course from Oberlin College in 1850. For over a century the Ohio college has recognized its early Literary Course program as … Read MoreLucy Stanton Day Sessions (1831-1910)