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African American History

Dr. George Herman Canady:  African American Psychologist Who Explored The Impact of Bias In IQ Testing

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george canady
Dr. George Herman Canady (1901-1970)

Born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, Dr. George Herman Canady (1901-1970) was an African American psychologist who explored bias in IQ testing administration.  Canady earned a BA, in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from Northwestern University in 1927, a masters of arts in Clinical Psychology in 1928, and a Ph.D. in psychology, all from Northwestern University.  Canady was also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fratenity, Inc. He is most recognized for being the first psychologist to examine how the race of the test proctor could possibly create bias when administering IQ testing.  This was the focus of his master’s thesis, “The Effects of Rapport on the IQ:  A Study in Racial Psychology.”  His work provided recommendations for improving testing environments. Continue reading “Dr. George Herman Canady:  African American Psychologist Who Explored The Impact of Bias In IQ Testing”

“Ballad of Birmingham” By Dudley Randall

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Dudley Randall (1914 – 2000)

 

Ballad of Birmingham was written by African-American poet Dudley Randall (1914-2000).  Randall was Detroit, MI’s first African American to become Poet Laureate.  Randall was born in Washington DC.  The family relocated to Detroit, Michigan when he was 4 years old.  Randall’s first poem was published in the Detroit Free Press when he was just 13 years old. 

Randall owned and operated Broadside Press publishing company between 1965-1977.  Broadside published many leading African American authors including Melvin Tolson, Sonia Sanchez, Audre Lorde, Gwendolyn Brooks, Etheridge Knight, Margaret Walker, and others.  

One of the poems penned by Randall was “Ballad of Birmingham”  The poem chronicles the story of a mother who refused to allow her child to participate in a civil rights march.  However, the mother did give the child permission to go to church.  The powerful imagery of the poem honors the life of little girls killed in the Birmingham Church bombing.  It also demonstrates the irony of how the mother believed she was choosing a safer option for her child only to have them killed at church, which in theory should have been safer than the March.  

Ballad of Birmingham

By Dudley Randall (1914 – 2000)

(On the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963)

“Mother dear, may I go downtown
Instead of out to play,
And march the streets of Birmingham
In a Freedom March today?”
“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For the dogs are fierce and wild,
And clubs and hoses, guns and jails
Aren’t good for a little child.”
“But, mother, I won’t be alone.
Other children will go with me,
And march the streets of Birmingham
To make our country free.”
“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For I fear those guns will fire.
But you may go to church instead
And sing in the children’s choir.”
She has combed and brushed her night-dark hair,
And bathed rose petal sweet,
And drawn white gloves on her small brown hands,
And white shoes on her feet.
The mother smiled to know her child
Was in the sacred place,
But that smile was the last smile
To come upon her face.
For when she heard the explosion,
Her eyes grew wet and wild.
She raced through the streets of Birmingham
Calling for her child.
She clawed through bits of glass and brick,
Then lifted out a shoe.
“O, here’s the shoe my baby wore,
But, baby, where are you?”

Location, Location, Location:  The Cost of Racism for Businesses In Black Neighborhoods

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Using data from online consumer business ratings, researchers have now been able to quantify the dollar value impact on revenue growth for businesses located in black neighborhoods.  The research suggests that businesses in black neighborhoods face a negative stigma because of their location within black communities. The stigma centers around businesses being considered as less capable, having less quality, etc.

“Five-star Reviews, One-Star Profits:  The Devaluation of Businesses In Black Communities”  is a new report released by the Brookings Institution on February 18, 2020, looks at businesses in black neighborhoods that are highly rated in online reviews. The research looked at Yelp ratings of businesses. Yelp is an online platform that allows consumers to rate businesses and share feedback. 

According to the Brookings Institution data, businesses in black neighborhoods that are highly rated by customers using the Yelp platform experience a significantly lower rate of revenue growth than businesses not located in black neighborhoods.  The report indicates that the unrealized revenue equates to approximately $3.9 billion in lost revenue annually for businesses with high ratings located in black neighborhoods. According to Brookings Institution lead researcher Andre Perry, “These businesses in black neighborhoods that have high ratings should experience higher revenue growth, but they are not.”  He goes on to also say, “Our model shows that it’s the concentration of blackness in the neighborhood that correlates with the lack of revenue growth. Continue reading “Location, Location, Location:  The Cost of Racism for Businesses In Black Neighborhoods”

Emmy Award-Winning Actress Ja’Net Dubois “Willona Woods” of Good Times Has Died At Age 74

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janet dubois
Ja’net Dubois (1945 – 2020)

Ja’Net Dubois (1945 – 2020), is perhaps best known for playing Willona Wood on “Good Times”.  Dubois was found dead in her California home on February 17, 2020. She was 74 years old. Her death appears to be due to natural causes.

In addition to Good Times, Dubois’s career highlights include winning two Emmy Awards for her voice-over work on the “The PJ’s” tv series.  Dubois also composed and sang, “Movin’ On Up” the theme song for “The Jeffersons” TV show. Her career actually began in theater, when she appeared in the “Golden Boy” and “A Raisin in the Sun”.  Her performance in “The Hot Baltimore” procured the interest of Norman Lear who also created the Good Times and The Jeffersons TV show. Dubois also appeared in several films including: “Diary of a Mad Housewife”, “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka”, and “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle”

Dubois is the co-founder of the “Pan-African Film & Arts Festival”.  The festival showcases films about people of African descent as well as highlights fine arts.  A community activist, her foundation, Dubois Care actively supported afterschool programs. 

Sources:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/obituaries/good-times-star-ja-net-dubois-dies-74-n1138356

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0238840/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm

 

Dr. Joseph L. White:  The Godfather of Black Psychology

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joseph l white
Dr. Joseph L. White (1932-2017)

Dr. Joseph L. White (1932-2017) was a researcher, educator, and clinical psychologist. White is hailed as the “Godfather of Black Psychology”. He adamantly opposed the” implicit whiteness” within the field of psychology. White challenged the American Psychological Association (APA) by founding the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) in 1968. He did so to challenge the APA on its lack of diversity. At the time less than 1% of APA’s 10,000 members were black. He worked diligently with his colleagues to develop a bibliography of documents on black psychology. His 1970 article in Ebony Magazine, Toward A Black Psychology, challenged the American Psychological Association on its 78-year history of characterizing black people as being deviant and lacking intelligence. White asserts in the article that psychological theory as developed by white psychologists was not applicable to black people. White’s challenge was a major catalyst in the movement for cross-cultural psychology that would highlight the intersection of culture and psychological processes.

Continue reading “Dr. Joseph L. White:  The Godfather of Black Psychology”

The Life and Legacy of Thurgood Marshall:  First African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice

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Thurgood Marshall
Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993)

Many are aware that Thurgood Marshall (1908 – 1993) made history when he was appointed as the first African American justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Marshall was an accomplished litigator and civil rights trailblazer even before his appointment to the Supreme Court. Out of 32 cases litigated before the Supreme Court, he won 29! His wins include several landmark decisions including, Brown v. Board of Education which resulted in the desegregation of public schools and Smith vs. Allwright which won a key victory in eliminating voting rights discrimination for African-Americans. Marshall was also a vocal advocate against police brutality and women’s rights. He was also against the death penalty.

Marshall was named “Thoroughgood” at birth. He shortened his name to “Thurgood” in the second grade to make it easier for himself to write out. Marshall graduated as one of the top 3 students in his class at Frederick Douglass High School in Maryland. He wanted to attend the University of Maryland but did not apply knowing he would be refused admission due to his race. He then enrolled in Lincoln University, a historically black college (HBCU) and graduated in 1930. While at Lincoln, he was suspended for hazing and pranking students. His initial plan was to pursue a degree in dentistry. Marshall married, Vivien Burey while at Lincoln. He would go on to graduate from Lincoln with honors, earning a degree in literature and philosophy. He then attended Howard University’s law school and graduated in 1933 as the class valedictorian.

Marshall developed his interest in law practice because his father would take him to observe court proceedings. They would then engage in a detailed discussion regarding the cases. His father would relentlessly challenge Marshall on his views on cases. Marshall credits his father with his eventual pursuit of law as a profession. Marshall’s mother initially did not want him to go into law as a career. She feared that as a black attorney he would not be able to make a living which is why she encouraged him to go into dentistry instead. She later came around and pawned her wedding and engagement rings to pay his law school entrance fees.

Continue reading “The Life and Legacy of Thurgood Marshall:  First African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice”

Harry S. McAlpin:  First African-American Journalist To Receive White House Press Credentials

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Henry S McAlpin
Harry S. McAlpin (1906 – 1985)

African-American journalist, Harry S. McAlpin (1906-1985) became the first African American journalist to receive White House press credentials.  In 1944, he attended his first White House press conference with President Franklin Roosevelt. McAlpin was formerly a war correspondent and news reporter for the National Negro Press Association and the Atlanta Daily World.   An Airforce veteran, McAlpin was also a war correspondent during World War I.   Continue reading “Harry S. McAlpin:  First African-American Journalist To Receive White House Press Credentials”

Dunbar Hospital:  Detroit’s First Hospital for African-Americans

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Dunbar Hospital Staff – 1922

Dunbar Hospital in Detroit, MI, was founded in 1918. Healthcare for Detroit’s African Americans was severely inferior to care available for white patients. At this time more than 30,000 African-Americans lived in Detroit. The city was very segregated. Black physicians could not join the staff of Detroit’s White hospitals and patients were denied care at the city’s White hospitals. Thus, 30 Black doctors, members of the Allied Medical Society (now the Detroit Medical Society), incorporated Dunbar Hospital, the city’s first nonprofit community hospital for the African-American population.

Continue reading “Dunbar Hospital:  Detroit’s First Hospital for African-Americans”

Octavia Butler Quote

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Octavia Butler (1947-2006)

Drowning people sometimes die fighting their rescuers.
-Octavia Butler

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