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.
Dr. Willa Beatrice Player (1917 – 2003) was an African American educator and civil rights, activist. She made history by becoming the first African American woman to lead a four year, fully accredited liberal arts college. Player took the helm as president of Bennett College for Women from 1956-1966.
State of Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib Quote! “I come from the most
beautiful, blackest community in the nation.” -Rep. Rashida Tlaib
#blackmail4u #blackhistory #Blackhistorymonth #blackhistoryquote #blackhistoryfact #rashidatlaib #detroit #detroitovereverything #motorcity #datruth #blackisbeautiful #quote
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Henry Lewis (1932 – 1963) was born in Los Angeles, California. His father worked as a car dealer and his mother was a nurse. He began taking piano lessons at age 5. Lewis would also learn to play a number of stringed instruments including the clarinet. His talent in playing the double base earned him a scholarship to UCLA. When he was 16 years old, he joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic. This made Lewis the first black instrumentalist in a major symphony orchestra. He later joined the military. During his military service, he conducted the Seventh Army Symphony based in Germany from 1955 – 1956.
In 1961 he accepted the role of assistant conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the leadership of Zubin Mehta. He served in this role until 1965. Lewis then relocated to New Jersey in 1968 and became music director and conductor of the New Jersey Symphony. He was the first African American conduct to hold these roles for a major symphony orchestra. At the time he took over it was small, community ensemble. Under his leadership, the group gained national renown as an orchestra, had a schedule of 100+ concerts per year with a budget exceeding $1 million dollars annually. In 1972 he was also the first African American to conduct the Metropolitan Opera. Lewis was married to famous white opera singer Marilyn Horne from 1960-1979. The couple had one daughter, Angela in 1965. They divorced in 1974.
Lewis retired from the New Jersey Symphony in 1976 but continued to tour extensively as a guest conductor for almost 20 years until his death. He was a widely acclaimed musician and conductor; a true trailblazer. At age 63, he died of a heart attack in 1996.
On February 6, 2012, Trayvon Martin was killed. Today is the 7th anniversary of his death.
African American commentator Joy Reid shared powerful commentary that we previously posted. It is worth sharing again. “People assume that black young men are only scary, never scared” -Joy Reid
The Black Panthers are well known for their activism throughout the United States. They also deserve recognition for their community service efforts and innovative programming. In this blog post we will share info about some of these programs which include medical centers, ambulance services, youth empowerment programming and much more.
In 1968, The Black Panthers launched their free breakfast program for children in Berkley, California. provided free breakfast for school children. It was their first large scale community action program. The program grew to cover 19 cities by the end of 1969 and served more than 20,000 children.
Health Clinics, known as the “Peoples Free Medical Centers” offered medical care in 13 cities across the United States. The Black Panther’s women members were integral to the success of this effort. Unfortunately many were not able to stay open for very long. Services offered included various health screenings, immunizations, physicals, etc.
Established in 1971, the Intercommunal Youth Institute was launched to empower black youth to achieve success. The first graduating class was in 1974 and the programs name was changed to the Oakland Community School. In 1977 California Governor Jerry Brown, Jr. gave the program a special award for “having set the standard for the highest level of elementary education in the state.”
Maya Angelou (left) visiting Oakland Community School
Seniors Against A Fearful Environment (SAFE) was a non-profit organization organized by the Black Panthers. A group of senior residents asked the Black Panthers to launch the organization to help seniors learn self-defense techniques to prevent robberies, muggings and other attacks on seniors. These seniors had originally approached the Oakland police department to provide additional patrols and protection. The SAFE program offered free transportation services which allowed seniors to conduct banking transactions more safely.
The Peoples Free Ambulance Service provided rides to the hospital for sick or injured people. At least one ambulance was available 24 hours per day for emergencies and from 8am-5pm for non-emergencies (doctor visits and other medical appointments).
The Black Panther’s Free Food Program provided food to black communities and also assisted other individuals as well. The program was initiated to supplement grocery purchases. The program also provided mass distribution of food items on occasion which included giving away food such as eggs, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat, and other food items. Each bag distributed contained a week’s worth of food.
The Black Panther Party Black Student Alliance was started in 1972. It brought together Black Student Union groups in California to establish Black Panther programming on college campuses. The goal was to unify students with their local black communities so that the schools and community would be more responsive to the needs of black residents. The Black Student Alliance initiated programs which provided supplies and books to students at no cost, free child care, food distribution, transportation services, financial aid programs, etc. The program also advocated for securing better instruction for students.
The Black Panther Newspaper was published and distributed weekly starting in 1967 both locally and nationally. The publication provided updates on Black Panther initiatives being carried out by its various chapters across the United States. It also provided commentary on oppression in black and other marginalized communities in the U.S., African and around the world.
As you can see The Black Panther Party was heavily involved in providing resources and empowerment to oppressed groups within local communities!
Jewel Plummer Cobb (1924 – 2017) grew up in Chicago, Illinois. Her groundbreaking research studied the relationship between skin pigmentation and cancer. She was also a staunch advocate for increasing the number of women and students of color in STEM careers. Her father, Frank Plummer was a doctor and her mother, Carriebel Cole Plummer, was physical education and dance teacher. Cobb’s grandfather was formerly enslaved man who received his freedom and graduated from Howard University in 1898, earning a degree in pharmacy. Continue reading “Jewel Plummer Cobb: African American Cancer Researcher and Scientist “→
Artist Bisa Bulter brings together artistry and creativity through her quilts. Made from bold and vibrant patterns her quilts portray people from all walks of life. Bisa Bulter was born in Orange, NJ. She was the youngest of four siblings. Her artistic talents became apparent early. At age four she won a blue ribbon in the Plainfield Sidewalk art competition. At age five, she was named the “artist of the month” at her nursery school. Continue reading “Bisa Butler: The Artistry Displayed Through Her Quilts Will Amaze You!!”→