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Black History: Special Delivery!!

Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician Dead at 101

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

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Katherine Johnson (1918 – 2020)

On, Monday, February 24, 2020, NASA announced that African American American physicist and mathematician, Katherine Johnson has died.   She was 101 years old.  In 1969 she calculated the flight path for NASA’s historic Apollo space mission to the moon.  The movie, “Hidden Figures” chronicled Johnson’s experiences along with that of several other African-American women at NASA.

Employed by NASA for over 30 years, she retired in 1986.  Johnson’s love for math dates back to her childhood. She loved to “count everything”.  A gifted student, Johnson graduated from high school at age 14.  On November 24, 2015, she was one of 17 individuals to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  She is truly a pioneer!  Johnson was also a distinguished member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc!

We salute you, Soror Johnson!! Well done!  Rest Well!

Click here to view statement   NASA

 

 

Beverly Bond:  The Trailblazer Behind “Black Girls Rock”

 

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

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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””

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

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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”

The District of Columbia Emancipation Act of 1862:  Reparations For Washington DC Slave Owners

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According to the National Archives and Records Administration, in 1862, President Lincoln paid reparations to 930 slaveowners covering 2,989 enslaved black people. The purpose of the payments was to secure the loyalty of DC slaveholders to the Union by compensating for their loss in income when President Lincoln ended slavery in Washington, DC.  Up to $300 in payments was paid to slaveholders for each slave.  A $300 payment in 1862 would be equivalent to $7,662 per enslaved person today.  In addition, voluntary colonization of the formerly enslaved to locations outside of the U.S.  was offered with payments of up to $100 each for those opting to emigrate outside of the U.S.  Continue reading “The District of Columbia Emancipation Act of 1862:  Reparations For Washington DC Slave Owners”

“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?”

Dr. Charles Henry Turner:  African American Educator, Zoologist, and Researcher

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Dr. Charles Henry Turner (1867-1923)

Dr. Charles Henry Turner (1867-1923) was a groundbreaking researcher in his study of entomology (the study of insects).  Despite the racism and discrimination he faced, Turner persevered and becoming an educator and activist. Turner was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He excelled in school and was the valedictorian of his high school class. In 1887 he married Leontine Troy. They had three children, Henry Owen, Louisa Mae, and Darwin Romanes.  Leontine died in 1894. Turner married Lillian Porter 1895. Turner earned a bachelor of science degree in Biology from the University of Cincinnati in 1891 and a Masters of Science in 1892. Continue reading “Dr. Charles Henry Turner:  African American Educator, Zoologist, and Researcher”

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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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

Black History: Special Delivery!!

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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”

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