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Black History

Hoodie vs. Gas Mask

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Rep. Bobby Rush (Left), Rep. Matthew Gaetz (Right)

On March 5, 2020, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) highlighted the difference in treatment that he experienced in 2012 when he wore a hoodie and sunglasses on the house floor to protest the death of Trayvon Martin. Rush was forcibly removed from the house floor by the seargent-at-arms for violating its decorum code. Fast forward to 2020. Republican Rep. Matthew Gaetz came onto the floor with a full gas mask to call attention to the COVID-19 virus. While he was asked to remove the gas mask, he was not removed. Gaetz is white and Rush is African American.

In response to the difference in treatment, Rush tweeted, “In 2012, I wore a hoodie on the House Floor to make a statement about the deadly consequences of racial profiling. On Wednesday, @RepMattGaetz wore a gas mask in the chamber, making light of an epidemic that has killed 14 Americans. Guess which one of us was forcibly removed.” Gaetz defended his actions by saying that the gas mask was “medically necessary”. However, gas masks are not normally considered to be medically necessary.

Sources:

https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/486303-dem-congressman-notes-difference-between-his-hoodie-protest-and

https://mashable.com/article/viral-gas-mask-hoodie-tweet/

The Louisiana Native Guards:  1st Black Military Unit To See Combat During The Civil War

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Louisiana Native Guards

The Louisiana Native Guards was the first all-black military unit of the Union Army to see combat action during the Civil War.  The more well known 54th Massachusetts Infantry is often credited with being the first black unit to see military action. However, the Louisiana Native Guard’s entry into combat preceded the 54th’s by a few months. Continue reading “The Louisiana Native Guards:  1st Black Military Unit To See Combat During The Civil War”

Alice Ball:  African American Chemist Who Developed First Successful Treatment of Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease)

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alice ball
Alice Ball (1892-1916)

 Alice Augusta Ball (1892 – 1916) was the first to develop an effective treatment to cure leprosy (Hansen’s Disease).  It was not until years after her death that she received the credit she deserved. Ball was born in Seattle, Washington.  Her mother Laura was a photographer and her father, James P. Ball, Jr. was a lawyer. She had 3 siblings, two older brothers, and one younger sister. The family lived comfortably and by today’s standards would have been considered middle class.  The family moved to Honolulu, Hawaii in 1903 hoping that the warmer climate would be better for her father’s arthritis.  James Ball, Sr. died shortly after the move and the family relocated back to Seattle.  Ball graduated from high school in 1910 and then attended college at the University of Washington and the College of Hawaii (University of Hawaii); earning a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical chemistry in 1912 and a bachelors degree in pharmacy in 1914, both from the University of Washington.  She then transferred to the College of Hawaii and was the first African American as well as the first woman to graduate with an M.S. degree in chemistry in 1915.  Upon graduation, she was offered a teaching and research position, making her the first woman chemistry instructor at the College of Hawaii at the age of 23. Continue reading “Alice Ball:  African American Chemist Who Developed First Successful Treatment of Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease)”

Africa: It’s Bigger Than You Think!

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africa
Africa Infographic – By Kai Krause

The size of Africa as a landmass is greatly underestimated. This is due in part to the proportions used on the Mercator map. The Mercator map is the map that is most commonly used and tends to skew the view of the world’s landmasses, which has led to misrepresentations of the size of countries and continents. The issue with the Mercator Map is not Africa’s size on the map. Its size on the Mercator map is proportionally accurate. Because the map lays out the landmasses of the world across a circular/cylinder-like area. This causes the areas closest to the “poles” to be elongated/stretched. Africa overlays the Equator so it’s size proportions change only minimally while the size of other continents/countries is inflated.

Continue reading “Africa: It’s Bigger Than You Think!”

Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician Dead at 101

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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”

 

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Beverly-Bond-2
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”

“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
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”

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