Formed in 1885, the Cuban Giants were the first African American professional baseball club in the United States. The team was formed at the Argyle Hotel in Babylon, New York by Frank P. Thompson, a waiter at the hotel. It was comprised of African American players. Sources differ on whether hotel staff comprised the team or whether it was a mix of players from the hotel and other cities. The team was initially assembled to provide entertainment to hotel guests. The Cuban Giants were highly successful defeating most of its opponents including white teams. Continue reading “The Cuban Giants: First African American Professional Baseball Club In The U.S.”→
Arnold Donald (1954 – ) has served as the CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines since 2013. Three times per day, his high school would play a message: “Gentlemen prepare yourselves. You’re going to run the world”. Clearly, Donald is doing just that as he leads the largest leisure cruise line in the world. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, his mother was a homemaker and his father was a carpenter. His mother and father greatly valued education made sure that Donald and his siblings excelled at academic achievement. In addition to Donald and his 4 siblings, his parents were also foster parents, taking in more than 25 foster children.
Kenyan inventor and engineer Roy Allela is developing technology that allows sign language to be translated into audible speech. Inspired to explore ways to improve communication with a niece who is deaf motivated Allela to explore how technology might be able to bridge the gap. Neither Allela or other family members know sign language. The “Sign-IO” gloves use Bluetooth technology to translate signals from sensors on the glove when a person is making sign language gestures. Continue reading “Kenyan Engineer Roy Allela Creates Gloves That Translate Sign Language To Audible Speech”→
Joseph Bologne (1745 – 1799) was known as “The Black Mozart”. A violinist and classical music composer, Bologne is recognized as one of the first classical composers of African descent. He also played the harpsichord. Bologne was the son of a wealthy French planter and an enslaved African woman on a Caribbean plantation in Guadelupe. He was sent to Paris as a teen to be educated and graduated from Académie royale polytechnique des armes et de ‘l’équitation (fencing and horsemanship). He later became an officer in the king’s bodyguard where he was given the title “Chevalier de Saint-Georges”. Continue reading “The Black Mozart: Joseph Bologne, Recognized As One Of The First Classical Composers of African Descent. “→
NBCNEWS.COM reports that 3 teachers at Roosevelt Middle School in Long Island, NY have been placed on administrative leave due to a classroom display containing 2 nooses, that were referred to as “BACK TO SCHOOL NECKLACES”. The student body is mostly African American and Latino. The display was discovered on February 7, 2019.
Supporters of the teachers feel that the display was a “joke”. How is it possible that not one of the teachers questioned this? DISTURBING! Check out the NBC News article for more info:
Pierre Caliste Landry (1841 – 1921) made history by becoming the first African American elected as a mayor in the United States. He was born enslaved. His mother, Marcelite, was an enslaved plantation cook. His father, Roseman Landry was a white laborer. He was sent to live with a free African American couple who enrolled him in a local school for free children. It was the wish of Landry’s owner that he be freed, upon the owner’s death. However, to settle the owner’s debts at the time of his death, Landry was sold for $1,665 to Marius St. Colombe Bringer, owner of the Houmas Plantation. Residing in the plantation mansion, Landry was able to continue his schooling, and, was designated as superintendent of the yard. He was permitted to go into business with the plantation’s head butler. Together they operated a store on the plantation. Continue reading “Pierre Caliste Landry: First African American Mayor In The U.S.”→
Roscoe Conkling Giles (1890 – 1970) was born in Albany, New York. He was the first African American to become certified by the American Board of Surgery in 1938 at the age of 27. After graduating from high school in Brooklyn, NY, he was awarded a scholarship to Cornell University and would be the first African American to earn a medical degree there. He was 16 years old when he began his studies at Cornell. While there, in 1907, Giles became one of the first members of African American fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. which was started at Cornell in 1906. Continue reading “Dr. Roscoe C. Giles: First African American To Be Become Certified By The American Board of Surgery”→
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.
Known mainly as an civil rights activist, journalist, and anti-lynching advocate, Ida B. Wells Barnett (1862-1931) also founded several organizations that were instrumental in addressing issues faced by the African American community. The Negro Fellowship League was one such organization. In 1908 Ida B Wells Barnett and her husband, Ferdinand Barnett (1852-1936) established the Negro Fellowship League along with some of their bible study group members. The Negro Fellowship League served as a reading room, library, and activity center. It also provided also served as a shelter for young black men in the local community. Beds could be rented for fifty cents per night.
With funding from several donors Wells-Barnett moved the Negro Fellowship League into rented space in 1910. The organization started in part because the local YMCA did not allow black men to be members. It also assisted young men with job leads and entrepreneurial endeavors who were new arrivals to the city of Chicago from southern states that came in droves during the great migration. During this time, Wells-Barnett also worked as a probation officer. She used her role as a probation officer to help many young African American men from entering the criminal justice system. Ferdinand Barnett, her husband provided legal representation to many black men falsely accused of crimes, or who had been unjustly incarcerated. Wells-Barnett also used her probation officer salary to help fund The Negro Fellowship League.
The Negro Fellowship League folded around the time that the National Urban League launched a chapter in the Chicago Area. Many previous supporters began to lend their support to the Urban League and other organizations. Wells-Barnett had also lost her job as a probation officer, which impacted funding for the organization. With declining participation, funding, and support, Well-Barnett closed the Negro Fellowship League in 1920.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett and her husband were true trailblazers!