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Black History

Exploring The Impact Of Special Education Disparities On Black Students

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Today we are sharing some special education data. The data highlights disparities experienced by black students in the United States receiving special education services. Black students in the U.S. with disabilities are 1.5 times more likely to drop out of school than white students with disabilities. They also face harsher discipline than white students with disabilities. 

Black students with disabilities are more likely to be identified with emotional or intellectual disabilities or emotional disturbances than all students with disabilities. The significance in the identification of disparities is highest for students with “subjective” disabilities According to the National Center For Learning Disabilities, “Subjective disabilities are those for which non-subjective tests are not available, meaning that identification depends on the professional judgment—and potentially the biases—of the assessors.

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Jennifer King: 1st Black Positions Coach in NFL

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In December 2021, Jennifer King made history when she was named assistant running backs coach for the Washington NFL franchise. King is the second female assistant coach in the NFL. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive line coach Lori Locust is the first. 

Born in 1984, King is a native of Reidsville, North Carolina, her professional coaching career began with coaching basketball. She is the former head coach of the women’s basketball team at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina. She led the team to a national championship in 2018. King previously played football with the Women’s Football Alliance. While coaching basketball, she was introduced to former Carolina head coach Rick Rivera. After expressing her interest in coaching football, he invited her to join the team as an intern. She also completed an internship with Rivera as part of the Washington franchise. The team then hired her as an assistant running backs coach in 2021. As a black woman in a male-dominated sport, King says that a woman doesn’t feel excluded or “othered”. She feels she has earned the respect of the team.

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Cancer Culture:  How Structural Racism & Cancer is Attacking The Black Community

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Let’s talk about CANCER Culture! Black Americans have the highest death rate and lowest survival rates of any racial and ethnic group for all cancers combined and for most major cancers. These numbers are also alarming when considering that about 42% of cancer cases and 45% of cancer deaths are preventable.

Cancer is a set of diseases resulting from abnormal cells’ uncontrolled growth. Death can result if these diseased cells’ spread cannot be controlled. According to the American Cancer Association, About 224,080 new cancer cases and 73,680 cancer deaths are expected to occur among Black people in 2022. The causes of cancer are not fully understood. We do know that many factors are known to increase risk. We also know that many risk factors are modifiable/preventable (Example:  tobacco use and excess body weight). Approximately 1 in 3 black people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. About 1 in 5 Black men and 1 in 6 Black women will die from cancer. This data is alarming. There is also concern regarding how COVID-19 will potentially increase health disparities amongst communities of color, including possible increased cancer diagnosis and cancer-related deaths due to disruptions in screening and treatment related to the pandemic. It will take years to understand the impact of COVID 19 in this regard.

This post will share eight ways cancer is impacting Black communities. This information and more data can be found on the American Cancer Society website

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Violin Virtuoso Randall Goosby:  Bringing Classical Music To A Wider Audience

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Randall Goosby is bringing classical music to a wider audience. His debut album “Roots” released in 2021, pays homage to black composers and performers. Goosby was born in San Diego, California. His mother is Korean, and his father is African American. He holds both a bachelor’s degree and a masters degree in music from Julliard School. When reflecting on his career as a classical violinist, he suggests a desire to foster a more diverse audience for classical music. He regularly participates in outreach efforts in urban school settings, community centers, and hospitals. 

Goosby has studied with and been mentored by renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman. He has performed at iconic venues such as Wigmore Hall and Carnegie Hall. Currently, he is performing on a loaned 1735 Sennhauser Guarneri del Gesu violin. His new album, “Roots” was released by Decca Classics in 2021. Goosby views the album’s release as a way to amplify and honor black composers and entertainers whose music was not widely recognized during their lifetimes. The album features the work of composers such as William Grant Still, Florence Price, and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson. The album also features works from individuals inspired by African American culture, such as George Gershwin and Antonin Dvorak.

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Doug Williams: 1st Black Quarterback To Win A Super Bowl

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Doug Williams was born in Zachary, Louisiana on August 9, 1955.  After high school, he played at Grambling State University; leading them to three conference championships in four years between 1974 and 1977.  Williams was recognized by the Associated Press as a first-team All-American in 1977 and finished fourth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in health and physical education from Grambling and was drafted by Tampa Bay in the first round of the 1978 NFL draft.  No African American quarterback had ever been drafted prior to the 6th round before Williams.  He remained the lowest compensated quarterback in the NFL despite leading Tampa to the playoffs 3 out of 5 seasons.  Williams then joined the Oklahoma Outlaws of the United States Football League (USFL).

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

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Welcome To Black Mail…..where we bring you Black History:  Special Delivery!

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.

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Check Out The Black Mail Podcast!

Black History: Special Delivery!!

The Black Mail Blog has been bringing you Black History: Special Delivery for 6+ years! We are happy to announce that we are expanding!! Black Mail content is now available via podcast!! Now you have the option to “listen on the go” or “log in” to access black history facts, news, quotes, inspiration, and more!

We will be posting new content daily on the blog and podcast platforms throughout Black History Month. Share this post and be sure to subscribe to the podcast on:






Before The NBA:  The Black Fives Basketball Era (1904-1950)

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Welcome To Black Mail…..where we bring you Black History:  Special Delivery!

The game of basketball was invented in 1891. Teams were called “fives” because games were played with five players on the floor. Like the rest of society at the time, the sport was segregated. All black squads were called “Black Fives.” Between 1904-1950 is known as the “Black Fives Era” when the first all-black basketball teams began to play. The era ended when the NBA began to accept black players in 1950. Basketball was first introduced to the black community by Dr. Edwin B. Henderson in 1904. Due to Jim Crow segregation and discrimination, black teams were forbidden to play in white establishments. Black teams played in dance halls, churches, and other venues that would accept them. The games were popular social events in the black community. Often dances would be offered before and after games. 

Though stories about all-black male teams abound, dozens of African American female basketball teams also played during the Black Fives Era. The New York Girls was one of the first independent African American female teams. It was formed in 1910 in Manhattan and was a sister club affiliated with the Alpha Physical Culture club mens team. Their first game was played in February 1910 against The Jersey Girls

Both mens and womens teams received national coverage in the black press. The sport continued to grow in popularity with women despite “warnings” by many that basketball was dangerous for women. In 1911 one male physician declared that “basketball is injurious and should not be engaged in by girls or women…the nature of women should keep them from this dangerous sport.”

Click here to check out an informative short film from the New York Historical Society about the Black Fives Era.

Another installment of melanated mail has been delivered. Ponder, reflect, and pass it on. 

How The Underground Railroad Got Its Name

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Welcome To Black Mail…..where we bring you Black History:  Special Delivery!

The Underground Railroad represented a diverse network of people and organizations. Black and white individuals and organizations participated in these networks,  offering aid to enslaved people escaping to freedom.  In 1831 an enslaved man named Tice Edwards escaped from Kentucky. He was able to swim across the Ohio River near Ripley, OH. His master was following close behind in a small boat. As Edwards came ashore, his master was certain he would quickly be apprehended. However, when the master came ashore, Edwards was nowhere to be found. Exasperated, the master exclaimed, “He must have gotten away by an underground railroad.”  At that time, the steam-powered railroad was considered new technology in the area of transportation. Railroad language was used metaphorically to describe the individuals and networks that assisted the enslaved in reaching freedom. The enslaved freedom seekers were often referred to as “cargo”. This type of imagery made the system seem much more organized than it actually was. The specific dates that the underground railroad is not known. But it was in operation from the late 18th century to the Civil War. 

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