Willard S. Townsend (1895-1957)

African American labor leader Willard S. Townsend was born on December 4, 1895, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Willard and Cora Elizabeth Townsend. In 1938, he organized railway workers of several Chicago, Illinois stations to form the International Brotherhood of Redcaps and remained the union’s president … Read MoreWillard S. Townsend (1895-1957)

Mohammed Ali “Nicholas” Said (1836-1882)

Mohammed Ali “Nicholas” Said, an enslaved African from Bornu in what is now northeastern Nigeria, traveled through Europe to the United States. He was born in Kouka, Bornu, the thirteenth of nineteen children to Barca Gana and his wife, Dalia, in 1836. His father was … Read MoreMohammed Ali “Nicholas” Said (1836-1882)

Charles Victor Roman (1864–1934)

Dr. Charles Victor Roman was an author, physician, historian, medical school professor, and civil rights activist. He was also the first physician of African ancestry from North America to receive training in both ophthalmology and otolaryngology. Roman was born on July 4, 1864, in Williamsport, … Read MoreCharles Victor Roman (1864–1934)

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

In the article below, Syracuse University historian Herbert Ruffin explores the rapid rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement as the most recent development in the ongoing struggle for racial and social justice in the United States. In the summer of 2013, three community organizers … Read MoreBlack Lives Matter: The Growth of a New Social Justice Movement

Larry Steele’s Smart Affairs (1946-1971)

Larry Steele’s touring production review, Smart Affairs, was the largest black entertainment touring group in the United States from the 1940s through the early 1960s.  Steele’s review, headquartered in Atlantic City, New Jersey, featured up to 40 entertainment acts.  The revue performed in major venues … Read MoreLarry Steele’s Smart Affairs (1946-1971)

Jamaica Bobsleigh Team (1987- )

The Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation (JBF) was initially created in 1987 by two American businessmen living in Jamaica, George Fitch and William Maloney. After watching a local pushcart race, Fitch and Maloney recognized similarities with bobsledding. Already aware of Jamaica’s athletic history, particularly around sprinting and … Read MoreJamaica Bobsleigh Team (1987- )

Africans, African Americans, Great Britain and the United States: The Curious History of the Rio Pongo in the Early 19th Century

Image Courtesy of Bruce L. Mouser In the essay below, Bruce L. Mouser, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, describes the conflicting goals of African Creoles, African Americans, and British and American colonizationists in the fate of the Rio Pongo Valley … Read MoreAfricans, African Americans, Great Britain and the United States: The Curious History of the Rio Pongo in the Early 19th Century