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February 2020

Octavia Butler Quote

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Octavia Butler (1947-2006)

Drowning people sometimes die fighting their rescuers.
-Octavia Butler

The Deleted Passage Of The Declaration of Independence That Denounced Slavery

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declaration of independence

In drafting the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson challenged the inhumanity of slavery.  However, Jefferson enslaved over 600 people throughout his lifetime.  Out of the 600 people he enslaved, he only freed seven.  Jefferson believed that the enslaved were incapable of caring for themselves and therefore should not be freed. He felt that freeing the enslaved would be harmful to them. Continue reading “The Deleted Passage Of The Declaration of Independence That Denounced Slavery”

John Baxter Taylor:  1st African American To Win An Olympic Gold Medal

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John Baxter Taylor (1882-1908)

 John Baxter Taylor (1882 – 1908) was the first African American to win an Olympic Gold Medal.   Taylor was born in Washington, DC. During his childhood, the family relocated to Philadelphia where he attended Central High School and joined the track team there. He was the team’s only African American member.  After graduating from high school in 1902, Taylor enrolled in Brown Preparatory School where he became the star runner on the track team. One year later, he enrolled in Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Continue reading “John Baxter Taylor:  1st African American To Win An Olympic Gold Medal”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez:  Champions For Justice

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cesar chavez

1966 Telegram from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr to Cesar Chavez

Both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez became nationally recognized during the 1950s.  King gained acclaim through his involvement with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the support of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  Chavez gained notoriety for his involvement with organized labor.  He moved up within the Community Service Organization (CSO) and eventually became its national director.  The fight to win union rights for Mexican American farmworkers won the attention and admiration of King.  Chavez later left the organization when he saw the group did not have the resources and resolve to aid in organizing farmworkers in 1958. Continue reading “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez:  Champions For Justice”

Harriet Tubman’s Letter of Endorsement From Frederick Douglass

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Harriet Tubman & Frederick Douglass

Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass are perhaps two of the most well-known African Americas of the Civil War time period.  The two shared mutual respect and admiration for one another.  Tubman and Douglass were both born enslaved.  Both lived on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and escaped slavery as young adults; Douglass in 1838 and Tubman in 1849.  After escaping enslavement both sat about, in their own way, to liberate other enslaved peoples. Continue reading “Harriet Tubman’s Letter of Endorsement From Frederick Douglass”

Smith v. Allwright: Landmark Voting Rights Supreme Court Case Litigated By Thurgood Marshall

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smith v allwright

Smith v. Allwright began in U.S. Federal court in 1940.  The case was filed by Dr. Lonnie Smith (1901 – 1971) in Houston, Texas, an African American dentist and civil rights activist.  Smith was also an officer in the  Houston branch of the NAACP.    The legal challenges centered around the practice of excluding blacks from voting in primary elections.  At the time, the Democratic Party was the dominant political party in most Southern states.  Many Southern white democrats favored segregation and other laws to subjugate black people and prevent them from voting.  One such tool that they employed to prevent black people from voting was to declare the Democratic primary elections to be closed to blacks.

Continue reading “Smith v. Allwright: Landmark Voting Rights Supreme Court Case Litigated By Thurgood Marshall”

Dr. Jose` Celso Barbosa:  Afro-Puerto Rican, Physician, Political Leader, & Activist

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Dr Jose Barbosa
Dr. Jose`Celos Barbosa (1857-1921)

Dr. Jose`Celso Barbosa (1857-1921) was a trailblazing physician, political leader, and activist. Known as the “father of the Statehood for Puerto Rico movement”. Barbosa was born in the city of Bayamon, Puerto Rico. His parents were of African and European descent. Barbosa received his primary and secondary education at the Jesuit Seminary in Puerto Rico. He was the first person of mixed ancestry to attend. Barbosa was also the first Puerto Rican to earn a medical degree in the United States.

Continue reading “Dr. Jose` Celso Barbosa:  Afro-Puerto Rican, Physician, Political Leader, & Activist”

Anita Scott Coleman:  Harlem Renaissance Author & Poet

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Anita Scott Coleman (1890-1960)

Anita Scott Coleman (1890-1960) was a significant contributor to the Harlem Renaissance.  The Harlem Renaissance (1918-1937) represented a time of social, political and artistic innovation among African Americans.  At the time, it was referred to as the “New Negro Experience”.  Though many of the celebrated artists and artisans of the movement lived in the Harlem area; its impact was both national and international in scope and impact.  Continue reading “Anita Scott Coleman:  Harlem Renaissance Author & Poet”

Honoring “La Majestad Negra”:  Sylvia del Villard, Afro-Puerto Rican Actress, Singer, Dancer,  Orator, And Activist

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Sylvia
Sylvia del Villard (1928-1990)

 

Sylvia Del Villard (1928 – 1990) was an Afro-Puerto Rican dancer, singer, choreographer, activist, and orator. She took great pride in her dark skin and Afro-Puerto Rican heritage. del Villard was hailed as a champion of Afro-Puerto Rican arts and culture.  Del Villard completed her elementary, junior high and high school education in Santurce, PR. Her mother Marcolina Guilbert, was Puerto Rican and her father, Agustin Villard was African. After completing high school, she received a scholarship from the Puerto Rican government to attend Fisk University in Tennessee, where she studied social work and anthropology.  After being subjected to racism and discrimination in the Southern U.S., she returned home and enrolled in the University of Puerto Rico and completed her studies there. Continue reading “Honoring “La Majestad Negra”:  Sylvia del Villard, Afro-Puerto Rican Actress, Singer, Dancer,  Orator, And Activist”

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