McKinley Langford Burnett (1897-1968)

McKinley Langford Burnett was a little-known but significant figure in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case that theoretically desegregated public schools across the United States. Burnett was born in Oskaloosa, Kansas, a racially integrated small town, in 1897 to parents who … Read MoreMcKinley Langford Burnett (1897-1968)

25th Infantry Regiment (1866-1947)

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 25th Infantry was created during a reduction in March 1869 by … Read More25th Infantry Regiment (1866-1947)

Scipio Africanus Jones (1863–1943)

Scipio Africanus Jones was a prominent Arkansas African American defense attorney in the late 19th and early 20th century.  He opposed Arkansas’s Jim Crow laws and successfully argued cases before the United States Supreme Court between 1913 and 1925.  Known for his pro bono work for impoverished African American defendants, Jones … Read MoreScipio Africanus Jones (1863–1943)

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)

Lucy Craft Laney (1854-1933)

Lucy Craft Laney, educator, school founder, and civil rights activist, was born in Georgia on April 13, 1854 in Macon, Georgia to free parents Louisa and David Laney.   David Laney, a Presbyterian minister and skilled carpenter, had purchased his freedom approximately twenty years before Lucy Laney’s birth.  He purchased Louisa’s freedom shortly … Read MoreLucy Craft Laney (1854-1933)

Charles H. Dodge (1868-1942)

Image Ownership: Public domain At a time in when educated, skilled, and ambitious African Americans were systematically excluded from even middle management positions in large white-controlled businesses, for decades Charles H. Dodge remained one of the extremely rare persons in the nation to occupy a … Read MoreCharles H. Dodge (1868-1942)