Thomas Day (1801—ca.1861)

Image Ownership: Public domain Thomas Day, master cabinetmaker and entrepreneur, was born in 1801 in Dinwiddie County in southern Virginia to free African American parents. He had an outstanding career and achieved remarkable social standing during the state’s antebellum period. By 1850, he operated the largest furniture business … Read MoreThomas Day (1801—ca.1861)

Sylvanus Smith (1831–1911)

"Image Ownership: Public Domain" Sylvanus Smith, once described in a city directory as a “hog driver,” was a free black Brooklynite who promoted and protected racial equality, business ownership, and property development in the community of Weeksville, New York. Smith was one of the original … Read MoreSylvanus Smith (1831–1911)

Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman (1953– )

"Image Ownership: Public Domain" Entrepreneur businessman Ulysses Bridgeman, better known by his nickname, “Junior,” was born on September 17, 1953, in East Chicago, Indiana. His father, Ulysses Sr., worked in a steel mill, and his mother was a homemaker. Bridgeman attended East Washington High School … Read MoreUlysses “Junior” Bridgeman (1953– )

Louisa Matilda Jacobs (1833-1917)

Louisa “Lulu” Matilda Jacobs, teacher, equal rights activist, and entrepreneur, was born a slave in Edenton, North Carolina, on October 19, 1833. She was the daughter of congressman and newspaper editor Samuel Tredwell Sawyer and his mixed-race enslaved mistress Harriet Jacobs. Louisa Jacobs was educated … Read MoreLouisa Matilda Jacobs (1833-1917)

Emmanuel Francis Joseph (1900–1979)

"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 … Read MoreEmmanuel Francis Joseph (1900–1979)