Paulette Shange Ntozake Williams (1948- )

The author, poet, and playwright Paulette Williams was born on October 18, 1948 in Trenton, New Jersey.  Until she was eight, she lived in a racially diverse community among well educated upper middle class black and white families.  She socialized with prominent musicians and performers such as Dizzy Gillespie, Chuck Berry, Charlie Parker, Miles … Read MorePaulette Shange Ntozake Williams (1948- )

Serena Williams (1981 – )

Image Ownership: Public Domain Eight-time world No. 1-ranked professional tennis player Serena Williams was born September 26, 1981 in Saginaw, Michigan. She holds 23 Grand Slam singles titles, 12 in women’s doubles, and two in mixed doubles for 39 total—the most of any active player. Formerly coached by … Read MoreSerena Williams (1981 – )

Geraldine Washington Travis (1931- )

Geraldine W. Travis is the first African American elected to the MontanaState Legislature House of Representatives.   She worked actively to promote civil rights for African Americans, women, and children, and to break down racial barriers in Montana from 1967 to 1989. Geraldine Washington Travis was born in Albany, Georgia on September 3, … Read MoreGeraldine Washington Travis (1931- )

Alma S. Jacobs (1916-1997)

Librarian Alma Smith Jacobs was the first African American to serve as the Montana State Librarian. She was a lifelong advocate of free access to library resources and was active in local and state civil rights causes. Alma Victoria Smith Jacobs was born in Lewistown, Montana on November 21, 1916. … Read MoreAlma S. Jacobs (1916-1997)

Millie Ringold (1845-1906)

Millie Ringold was a gold prospector, boarding house proprietor, and long-time resident of the Yogo mining district in the Little Belt Mountains of central Montana. According to the 1900 census, Millie Ringold—whose names are variously spelled Molly, Ringo, and Ringgold—was born a slave in 1845 in Virginia. By the 1870s she … Read MoreMillie Ringold (1845-1906)

Montana Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs (1921-1972)

The Montana Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs was a voice for Montana’s African American community for half a century, from 1921 to 1972.  Beginning in the late 1800s, women in the American West developed clubs and societies which helped them adjust to life far from … Read MoreMontana Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs (1921-1972)

DeWitty/Audacious, Nebraska (1908- )

Located in the Sandhills of Cherry County, Nebraska, the settlement of DeWitty was established in 1908 by black homesteaders who constructed housing made of stacked sod.  These settlers farmed some of the least hospitable land in the state.  The families were spurred to the area by the 1904 … Read MoreDeWitty/Audacious, Nebraska (1908- )

Mary J. Blige (1971- )

When Mary J. Blige was born on January 11, 1971, in The Bronx, New York, few observers would have imagined her becoming one of the most successful rhythm and blues (R&B) artists within a musical world increasingly dominated by hip-hop. Blige’s father abandoned the family when she was four.  She … Read MoreMary J. Blige (1971- )

James T. Whitehead, Jr. (1934- )

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 … Read MoreJames T. Whitehead, Jr. (1934- )