Barack Obama is the final installment in our Black History Month features. Obama attributes his success, in breaking down racial barriers and becoming the first African American President, to the many pioneering individuals who were featured this month.
Archive – February 2013
Dale ’53 Summer Award Winner and CAAS Concentrator Peyton Morgan '14 Follows Trail of Segregation-Era Travel Guides
Maritza Correia is an Olympic swimmer from the United States. When she qualified for the USA Olympic Team in 2004, she became the first Puerto Rican of African descent) to be on the USA Olympic Swimming Team. She also became the first Black United States swimmer to set an American and World swimming record.
Regina M. Benjamin, MD, is the 18th Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Benjamin has dedicated much of her life to serving the poor.
Dr. Maya Angelou is one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time. Hailed as a global renaissance woman, Dr. Angelou is a celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist.
The name FUBU is considered an acronym for "For Us By Us", implying the product line was produced for a primarily African American market. The alleged original meaning of FUBU was "Five Urban Brothers United", but the "For Us, by Us" line later took root.
“We Are the World” became the first certified multi-platinum single in the United States and in total, raised more than $63 million dollars in aid.
Mayme Clayton was a librarian who spent much of four decades searching for and salvaging any little piece of black American history that she could find. Though she was just one person with limited resources, she ultimately managed to collect what many today regard as the most valuable and eclectic collection of black American historical documents in the world.
Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to serve in Congress and the first woman to seek the Democratic presidential nomination, was a fiery and passionate educator-turned-politician who became a national symbol of the fight for racial and gender equality in America.
Gordon Parks, a man whom the New York Times dubbed a “master of the camera”, was one of the most influential photographers of the modern era.
Actress Diahann Carroll won the Golden Globe Award for best Actress in A Television Series in 1968 for her role in the sitcom "Julia." Carroll was the first African American actress to star in her own television series where she did not play a domestic worker.
Before he was a renowned artist, Romare Bearden was also a talented baseball player. He was recruited by the Philadelphia Athletics on the pretext that he would agree to pass as white. He turned down the offer, instead choosing to work on his art.
In an era where the sport of tennis was immensely segregated and Black individuals were not allowed to play in white tournaments, Althea Gibson became the first African American to win a grand slam.
Perhaps one of the most well known figures of the Civil Rights era, Rosa Parks defied the racial order of her time and ignited a movement for greater equality in the United States.
Otis Frank Boykin was an African American inventor and engineer. Boykin, in his lifetime, ultimately invented more than 25 electronic devices. Boykin's most famous invention was a control unit for the artificial heart pacemaker.
Natasha Trethewey, the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States, and Tracy K. Smith, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in poetry, will engage in a public discussion at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 28, 2013 at Princeton University in the Chancellor Green Rotunda. This event is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by the Center for African American Studies and the Lewis Center for the Arts.
Paul Robeson was an American singer and actor who became involved with the Civil Rights Movement. At university, he was an outstanding American football player, then had an international career in singing, as well as acting in theater and cinema. He became politically involved in response to the Spanish Civil War, Fascism, and social injustices. His advocacy of anti-imperialism, affiliation with Communism, and his criticism of the US government caused him to be blacklisted during McCarthyism.
Pagels, best known for her work on the Gnostic Gospels, spoke about the origins of the Book of Revelation, one of the most unusual and influential books in the New Testament. Her lecture entitled, "Art, Music, and Politics in the Book of Revelation" which was held on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. in McCormick Hall, Room 101 on Princeton University's campus.
Ella Baker was a largely unsung hero of the civil rights Freedom Movement who inspired and guided emerging leaders. Her influence was reflected in the nickname she acquired: "Fundi," a Swahili word meaning a person who teaches a craft to the next generation. Baker continued to be a respected and influential leader in the fight for human and civil rights until her death on December 13, 1986, her 83rd birthday.
Langston Hughes is widely regarded as “the Bard of Harlem” for vividly capturing the literary ethos and artistic spirit of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 30s. He was one of the most prolific black writers of the twentieth century and possibly the first to earn his living entirely by means of his craft.
The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned the 1920s. At the time, it was known as the "New Negro Movement", named after the 1925 anthology by Alain Locke. Though it was centered in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, many French-speaking black writers from African and Caribbean colonies who lived in Paris were also influenced by the Harlem Renaissance.
In addition to being a millionaire entrepreneur, Madame C.J. Walker was also a civil rights activist. She was part of a delegation that met with President Woodrow Wilson, in 1917, to convince him to make lynching a federal crime.
John Baxter Taylor was the first African American to win an Olympic Gold Medal in 1908. He also held a degree in from the University of Pennsylvania in veterinary medicine.
In 1896, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Plessy v. Ferguson. Justice Henry Brown of Michigan delivered the majority opinion, which sustained the constitutionality of Louisiana’s Jim Crow law.
Nancy Green a former slave, was employed in 1893 to promote the Aunt Jemima brand by demonstrating the pancake mix at expositions and fairs. She was a popular attraction because of her friendly personality, great story-telling, and warmth. Green signed a lifetime contract with the pancake company and her image was used for packaging and billboards.
Lewis Latimer is considered one of the ten most important Black inventors of all time, not only for the sheer number of inventions created and patents secured but also for the magnitude of importance for his most famous discovery.
Sophia B. Packard and Harriet E. Giles founded the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary, the first college for black women in the United States in 1881. The school was renamed Spelman College in 1924, for Laura Celestia Spelman Rockefeller, the wife of John D. Rockefeller, who was a strong supporter of the school.
Buffalo Soldiers is the name given to the all-black regiments of the U.S. Army started in 1866. The Buffalo Soldiers served in the Spanish American war, various Indian wars and helped to settle the west by installing telegraph lines, protecting wagon trains and defending new settlements.
Although historians are divided by the accuracy of this account, the term "Underground Railroad" was first used in 1831, when a slave owner was discussing the escape of Tice Davids.
Did you know that Thomas L. Jennings was the first African American to receive a patent? In 1821, Jennings patented the dry-cleaning process. He used the money earned from the patent to purchase relatives out of slavery and support abolitionist causes.
This legislation admitted Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a non-slave state at the same time, so as not to upset the balance between slave and free states in the nation. It also outlawed slavery above the 36º 30´ latitude line in the remainder of the Louisiana Territory.