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Willa Brown and Janet Harmon-Bragg:  Black Female Aviators Following In the Footsteps of Bessie Coleman

Pic of Willa Brown (top).  Brown is seated in the open cockpit of an airplane.  She has goggles on with a white aviator cap and is smiling.  Janet Harmon-Bragg (bottom) has on a dark colored aviator cap and is smiling.  To the right of the photos it says, "Willa Brown and Janet Harmon Bragg were aviation trailblazers who helped advance the entrance of Black Americans into the field of aviation. "

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Following in the footsteps of famed aviator Bessie Coleman, Willa Brown (1906-1992) and Janet Harmon-Bragg (1907-1993) were instrumental in advancing the entrance of African-Americans into the aviation field. Brown was the first black woman to receive a commercial pilot’s license in the U.S. Janet Harmon Bragg was the first Black woman to receive a pilot’s license in the United States. Willa Brown obtained her pilot’s license in 1938. Born in Kentucky, she graduated from high school in Terra Haute, Indiana. Brown then attended Indiana State Teachers College. She worked as a teacher in Indiana before taking a job in Chicago as a social worker. During this time, she developed an interest in flying, earning her pilot’s license that same year. Brown continued with her education, earning an MBA from Northwestern University. 

Brown used her passion and business acumen as co-founder of the Coffey School of Aeronautics. She launched the school with her husband, Cornelius Coffey, who was also a pilot. It was the first black-owned and operated private flight academy in the United States. The school received funding in 1939 to begin training pilots for the Civilian Pilot Training Program. Brown would become the first Black officer in the Civilian Air Patrol in 1941. She taught hundreds of people as an instructor, with many male students becoming part of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen. The Tuskegee Airmen was a primarily Black military aviation unit that served during World War II. Brown was also a staunch advocate for racial integration within the United States military. She for congress in 1946 and was the first Black woman to do so. She did not win the election. Brown died in 1992 in Chicago at the age of 86.

Continue reading “Willa Brown and Janet Harmon-Bragg:  Black Female Aviators Following In the Footsteps of Bessie Coleman”

The Historic Supreme Court Nomination Of Ketanji Brown Jackson

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President Biden’s nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Justice Stephen Breyer is no surprise. Jackson currently sits on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. She is the first black woman and the first public defender nominated to the Supreme Court. If confirmed, she is expected to influence the court’s Democratic-appointed justices further to the left. At age 51, if appointed, she would likely serve for decades. The proverbial jury is still out just how liberal she will be. Regardless of her leanings, the court will continue to be dominated by its current six-justice conservative majority. However, if confirmed, she is likely to make the court more polarized in its perspective. Her background would suggest that she is expected to be even more liberal than Justice Breyer.

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

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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!”

Viola Mitchell Turner: Trailblazing Investor

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Viola Mitchell Turner (1900-1988) was a black executive at North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company.  Born in Macon, Georgia, she was the only child of teen parents.  Her parents were very poor.  Against many odds, Viola Mitchell Turner blazed a trail of success for herself which included being appointed as the first African American member of the North Carolina Mutual Board of Directors. 

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The White Rose Mission And Industrial Association

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The White Rose Home For Colored Working Girls was founded in 1897, in New York City.  It later became known as the White Rose Mission or the White Rose Industrial Association.  The organization was founded by Victoria Earle Matthews and Maritcha Remond Lyons. It was located in Manhattan’s upper west side in an area known as San Juan Hill, offering shelter, food, domestic training, and job placement for black women relocating to the area from the West Indies and southern, United States.

Victoria Earle Matthews and Maritcha Remond were deeply concerned about the challenging conditions for young black women who came to New York seeking a better life.  The White Rose Mission and its volunteers would meet female travelers as they arrived in town and offer them assistance.  These women were vulnerable to exploitation and many fell prey to employment scams and other types of coercion or abusive treatment. 

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Florinda Soriano Munoz, “Mama Tingo”: Afro-Latina Farmers Rights Activist

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Mamá Tingó: “la tierra es de quien la siembra, por eso esta tierra es mía”  - CDN - El Canal de Noticias de los Dominicanos
Florinda Soriano Munoz “Mama Tingo”
(1921 – 1974)

Florinda Soriano Munoz (1921 – 1974) “Mama Tingo”, was a farmers rights activist in the Hato Viejo region of the Dominican Republic.  Her efforts aided over 300 families in reclaiming farmland confiscated illegally by a wealthy landowner. Friends gave her the name “Mama Tingo” because of her motherly tendencies.  She was born into a farming family.  Her mother’s name was Bonificacia Munoz, and her father’s name was Eusebio Aquio Soriano.  She became an orphan at the age of 5 and was raised by her grandmother.  She had no formal education and lived in poverty.  In 1951, she married a man named Felipe, who was a farmer.  The couple had one son, Domingo.  Mama Tingo began to advocate for farmers and their families in the Hato Viejo region who were losing farming land held for generations in their families.  The land was being confiscated illegally by a wealthy landowner, Pablo Diaz Hernandez.  Hernandez often used violent tactics against farmers.

Continue reading “Florinda Soriano Munoz, “Mama Tingo”: Afro-Latina Farmers Rights Activist”

Beverly Bond:  The Trailblazer Behind “Black Girls Rock”


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Beverly Bond (1970 – )

 Beverly Bond (1970 – present) is an African American model, DJ, producer and founder of the not-for-profit “Black Girls Rock”,  which 2006.  What started out as a t-shirt imprint has now grown into a not-for-profit mentoring initiative designed to promote empowerment and self-worth among black girls.  In 2010, Black Girls Rock launched what is now its annual signature tv event broadcast by BET highlighting the accomplishments of black women.  Black Girls Rock has also launched in Africa as well. Continue reading “Beverly Bond:  The Trailblazer Behind “Black Girls Rock””

Rep. Rashida Tlaib Quote

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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

Dr. Marian Croak:  Inventor of (VOIP) Technology Behind Skype, Video Conferencing, And Text-To-Give Messaging

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marian croak

Dr. Marian Croak (1955 – )

The African American woman that made it possible for us to enjoy video conferencing, and internet/wifi generated phone calls is Dr. Marian Croak. Croak created Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP technology makes it possible for voice communications and other media to be transmitted over the internet (internet protocol or IP).  In 1982, she began her career at AT & T/Bell Laboratories.  At that time Croak anticipated the advent of using the internet to transmit voice communication and other types of media and began to strategize on how to expand capabilities in this area.

Croak has over one hundred patents related to VoIP technologies and an additional one hundred patents pending.  “Text to give” technology that is often used to collect donations during natural disasters and other crises was also developed by Croak.  She filed a patent for this technology in 2005.  This technology was groundbreaking in changing how money is donated to charities and non-profit organizations. After 32 years at AT & T/Bell Laboratories, Croak joined Google in 2014; serving as the Vice President of Engineering.

In this role, she has overseen Google’s expansion efforts in new markets; which included technology for Project Loon.  Project Loon employs the use of balloons to help with increasing the reach of communications technology.  Croak was inducted into the Women In Technology Hall of Fame in 2013.  She enjoys long distance running and is the mother of three adult children.



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