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 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)
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”→
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.
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”→
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.
Dr. Joseph L. White (1932-2017) was a researcher, educator, and clinical psychologist. White is hailed as the “Father 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.
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.
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.