Black Mail Blog

Black History: Special Delivery!!


February 2022

Jennifer King: 1st Black Positions Coach in NFL

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In December 2021, Jennifer King made history when she was named assistant running backs coach for the Washington NFL franchise. King is the second female assistant coach in the NFL. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive line coach Lori Locust is the first. 

Born in 1984, King is a native of Reidsville, North Carolina, her professional coaching career began with coaching basketball. She is the former head coach of the women’s basketball team at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina. She led the team to a national championship in 2018. King previously played football with the Women’s Football Alliance. While coaching basketball, she was introduced to former Carolina head coach Rick Rivera. After expressing her interest in coaching football, he invited her to join the team as an intern. She also completed an internship with Rivera as part of the Washington franchise. The team then hired her as an assistant running backs coach in 2021. As a black woman in a male-dominated sport, King says that a woman doesn’t feel excluded or “othered”. She feels she has earned the respect of the team.

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Before The Montgomery Bus Boycott There Was The Baton Rouge Bus Boycott

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On June 15, 1953, the Baton Rouge Bus Boycott occurred. It was the first public transit bus boycott by African Americans in the U.S. Years before the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the black residents of Baton Rouge took a stand against racism and segregation. In 1950, the city began to require all residents to use segregated public bussing. Prior to this, black residents utilized black-owned public transportation. Black residents had to sit at the back half of the bus or stand, even if seats in the “white” section were empty. Black passengers comprised 80% of bus passengers and were fed up with standing up on buses while “white” seats remained empty, particularly after the company had raised fares from ten to fifteen cents in January 1953.

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Cancer Culture:  How Structural Racism & Cancer is Attacking The Black Community

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Let’s talk about CANCER Culture! Black Americans have the highest death rate and lowest survival rates of any racial and ethnic group for all cancers combined and for most major cancers. These numbers are also alarming when considering that about 42% of cancer cases and 45% of cancer deaths are preventable.

Cancer is a set of diseases resulting from abnormal cells’ uncontrolled growth. Death can result if these diseased cells’ spread cannot be controlled. According to the American Cancer Association, About 224,080 new cancer cases and 73,680 cancer deaths are expected to occur among Black people in 2022. The causes of cancer are not fully understood. We do know that many factors are known to increase risk. We also know that many risk factors are modifiable/preventable (Example:  tobacco use and excess body weight). Approximately 1 in 3 black people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. About 1 in 5 Black men and 1 in 6 Black women will die from cancer. This data is alarming. There is also concern regarding how COVID-19 will potentially increase health disparities amongst communities of color, including possible increased cancer diagnosis and cancer-related deaths due to disruptions in screening and treatment related to the pandemic. It will take years to understand the impact of COVID 19 in this regard.

This post will share eight ways cancer is impacting Black communities. This information and more data can be found on the American Cancer Society website

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Violin Virtuoso Randall Goosby:  Bringing Classical Music To A Wider Audience

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Randall Goosby is bringing classical music to a wider audience. His debut album “Roots” released in 2021, pays homage to black composers and performers. Goosby was born in San Diego, California. His mother is Korean, and his father is African American. He holds both a bachelor’s degree and a masters degree in music from Julliard School. When reflecting on his career as a classical violinist, he suggests a desire to foster a more diverse audience for classical music. He regularly participates in outreach efforts in urban school settings, community centers, and hospitals. 

Goosby has studied with and been mentored by renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman. He has performed at iconic venues such as Wigmore Hall and Carnegie Hall. Currently, he is performing on a loaned 1735 Sennhauser Guarneri del Gesu violin. His new album, “Roots” was released by Decca Classics in 2021. Goosby views the album’s release as a way to amplify and honor black composers and entertainers whose music was not widely recognized during their lifetimes. The album features the work of composers such as William Grant Still, Florence Price, and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson. The album also features works from individuals inspired by African American culture, such as George Gershwin and Antonin Dvorak.

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Loney Clinton Gordon:  Key Contributor To Improving Whooping Cough Vaccine

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Born in Forrest City, Arkansas, Loney Clinton Gordon (1915-1999) moved to Grand Rapids, MI, with her family as a young child.  She graduated from South High School in Grand Rapids and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in home economics and chemistry from Michigan State College (now Michigan State University).  Following graduation, Gordon fulfilled her goal of obtaining employment as a dietician in Virginia.  The role was challenging due to the racism and discrimination she experienced.  Gordon was informed that white chefs would not take orders from a female dietitian.  Due to the treatment she received, Gordon left Virginia and returned home to Grand Rapids.  She continued to face challenges finding employment as a dietitian due to her race.

During this time, Dr. Pearl Kendrick and Dr. Grace Eldering sought to employ a laboratory technician to support their whooping cough vaccine research at Western Michigan Laboratories (Kent Community Hospital). According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), Pertussis, or whooping cough, is an acute infectious disease.  Outbreaks of pertussis were first identified in the 16th century by Guillaume de Baillou. In the 20th century, pertussis was one of the most common childhood diseases and a major cause of childhood death in the United States. Before the availability of pertussis vaccine in the 1940s, more than 200,000 cases of pertussis were reported annually. Since widespread use of the vaccine began, incidence has decreased more than 75% compared with the prevaccine era.

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Slavery & The Trail Of Tears

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Before it was “The South,” it was a native homeland. The southern United States is steeped in indigenous history. The history of Native people has often been muted in Southern American history. The 1830 Indian Removal Act aimed to remove Native Americans from their Southern homelands. U.S. Southern territory had the highest Native population density north of Mexico. 

European settlers coveted native lands because the soil was ideal for growing cotton. Many associated the Indian Removal act as being targeted at the Cherokee Nation. However, this legislation was widespread as it sought to remove all Native Americans west of the Mississippi River. 100,000 Indians were forced to leave their homelands.   

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Doug Williams: 1st Black Quarterback To Win A Super Bowl

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Doug Williams was born in Zachary, Louisiana on August 9, 1955.  After high school, he played at Grambling State University; leading them to three conference championships in four years between 1974 and 1977.  Williams was recognized by the Associated Press as a first-team All-American in 1977 and finished fourth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in health and physical education from Grambling and was drafted by Tampa Bay in the first round of the 1978 NFL draft.  No African American quarterback had ever been drafted prior to the 6th round before Williams.  He remained the lowest compensated quarterback in the NFL despite leading Tampa to the playoffs 3 out of 5 seasons.  Williams then joined the Oklahoma Outlaws of the United States Football League (USFL).

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Betcha’ Didn’t Know (BDK):  Black Tennis Phenom Althea Gibson Was Also A Golf Pro!

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Welcome To Black Mail…..where we bring you Black History:  Special Delivery!

Althea Gibson played both tennis and golf competitively!  Many people know about her accomplishments in the sport of tennis.  However, her accomplishments in the sport of golf are lesser-known.  She was the first black athlete in international tennis as well as golf.  Althea Gibson was born on August 25, 1927, in Silver, South Carolina.  Her parents were sharecroppers.  The family moved to Harlem, New York in 1930. There, she began playing paddle tennis through the Police Athletic League. She first picked up tennis by bouncing rubber balls off of a brick wall. She was taught to play the sport by a one-armed tennis coach named Fred Johnson. At the age of 12, in 1939 she won the women’s paddle tennis championship in New York.  It was not until Serena Williams won the U.S. National Title in 1999 and Venus Williams won Wimbledon in 2000 that black women would experience success at the level achieved by Gibson.

Continue reading “Betcha’ Didn’t Know (BDK):  Black Tennis Phenom Althea Gibson Was Also A Golf Pro!”

Check Out The Black Mail Podcast!

Black History: Special Delivery!!

The Black Mail Blog has been bringing you Black History: Special Delivery for 6+ years! We are happy to announce that we are expanding!! Black Mail content is now available via podcast!! Now you have the option to “listen on the go” or “log in” to access black history facts, news, quotes, inspiration, and more!

We will be posting new content daily on the blog and podcast platforms throughout Black History Month. Share this post and be sure to subscribe to the podcast on:






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