On June 15, 1953, the Baton Rouge Bus Boycott occurred. It was the first Black bus boycott in in the U.S. Years before the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the black residents of Baton Rouge took a stand against racism and segregation. In 1950, the city began to require all residents to use segregated public bussing. Prior to this, black residents utilized black-owned public transportation and required all residents to use the city’s public transportation which enforced segregated seating. Black residents had to sit at the back half of the bus or stand, even if seats in the “white” section were empty. Black passengers comprised 80% of bus passengers and were fed up with standing up on buses while “white” seats remained empty, particularly after the company had raised fares from ten to fifteen cents in January 1953. Continue reading “Before The Montgomery Bus Boycott There Was The Baton Rouge Bus Boycott”→
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”→
Rue Mapp launched Outdoor Afro in 2009 via a blog and Facebook. Mapp is a former analyst with Morgan Stanley. Outdoor Afro is a labor of love and combines her passion for nature, community, and technology. The organization is focused on reigniting the connection of African Americans to nature and the outdoors.
Using social media, Mapp began writing about her fondness for nature as well as consistently being the only black person on camping and hiking excursions. Her experiences resonated with many of her social media and blog followers. Through social media she organized outdoor recreational events with the help of trained volunteer leaders. Outdoor activities included hiking, bird watching, skiing, biking, etc., for African Americans across the country. Outdoor Afro has 30 trained leaders and 7,000 active members.
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:
Estelle Massey Osborne (1901 – 1981) was the eighth of eleven children. She was born in Palestine, Texas. Her parents were determined that all of their children would pursue higher education. All of her older sisters pursued careers in teaching. Osborne’s mother had two requirements for her daughters. They were required to complete high school. The other requirement was that they would never (as children) be employed by white people. She wanted her children to grow up confident in their identities; before they experienced ill treatment from whites.
After graduating from high school, Osborne followed her sisters in pursuing a career in teaching. Teaching was not a profession that suited her. She eventually went to live with her brother; hoping to pursue a career in dentistry. Already a dentist, her brother did not think the field suited her and encouraged her to pursue employment in nursing. Desperate for students, she was accepted on the spot when she applied. Osborne was particularly interested in obstetrics. In 1923, After completing the nursing program she achieved the highest score in the state on the nursing exam.
Osborne persevered in her new profession despite working in an environment where she was overlooked for positions for which she was more qualified than her white co-workers. Other staff also refused to consult with her even in her areas of expertise; preferring instead to speak with white nurses. Osborne would eventually go on to become president of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses. One of her goals as a leader of this organization was to eliminate the need for separate organizations. She achieved her goal in 1946 when the American Nursing Association began to integrate its membership.
Osborne played a key role through her leadership in advocating to address the racism and discrimination faced by black nurses.
Osborne felt compelled to seek additional education and applied for a Rosenwald Fund Scholarship. At the time no African American nurse had ever received a nursing fellowship. Osborne chose to resign from her job even before hearing that she had received the fellowship. With funding from the fellowship, she was the first African American nurse to earn a Master’s Degree in nursing 1931.
After completing a nursing assignment for the Rosenwald Fellowship, she accepted the position of Director of Education for Freedman’s Hospital in Washington DC. She was the first African American woman to hold this position. Osborne would also take a leadership role with the National Nursing Council for War Service. In this role, she would be tasked with exploring how black nurses could be integrated into the armed services in anticipation of World War II.
Osborne worked diligently to get the armed forces to change their practices while also working with nursing schools to admit more students of color. Two years later the number of training schools went from 14 to 38 while the number of nurses of color in the Army doubled and the Navy finally began to admit black nurses as well, though at nowhere near the rate of the Army. Following World War II, Osborne joined the Board of Directors of the American Nursing Association from 1948-1952 (another first for an African American woman). She then served as the Assistant Director and then Director of the National League For Nursing (1954-1959).
Not much is known about the remaining years of this trailblazers life. She died in 1981.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was founded on January 13, 1913 by 22 African American women at Howard University. DST was the only African American women’s organization to participate in the historic march for women’s suffrage that took place in Washington DC.
March organizers did not want black women to participate. They were told to march in back of the procession. African American anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells Barnett, also a member of Delta Sigma Theta, to march in the back of the procession with her sorority sisters. Instead she joined the delegation of white women from her home state of Illinois refusing. Bravo to the ladies of Delta Sigma Theta for their activism past, present, and future.
The National Negro Bowling Association (NNBA) was founded on August 20, 1939 in Detroit, MI. At that time, the majority of bowling organizations did not allow blacks to become members. In many cases it was actually written into the constitution of organizations that only whites could be members. The NNBA held its first tournament in Cleveland, OH in 1939 which featured teams from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin. There was representation from other states as well. However, bowlers from Cleveland, Chicago, and Detroit dominated the association until the 1950’s.
A native of La Grange, Georgia, Dr. Louis T. Wright (1891-1952), was an accomplished surgeon, researcher, activist, and a decorated war veteran. The son of formerly enslaved parents, his father and stepfather, were also a physicians. Wright’s father died when he was four years old. His mother married physician William Fletcher Penn when he was 8.
A graduate of Clark University, Wright earned a bachelors degree in 1911 followed by a medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1915. While at Harvard, he protested when denied permission to help deliver babies at a teaching hospital due to his race. Wright initially began his activism while a student at Harvard. He left medical school for 3 weeks to join the NAACP picketing of the film, “Birth Of A Nation”. After returning to Harvard, he graduated fourth in his class in 1915.
During his military career, he served in France as a doctor and captain in the United States Army during World War I. Wright was instrumental in saving the lives of countless soldiers during the war. Exposed to poison gas during the war, Wright developed a lifelong respiratory illness. For his service, he was awarded a purple heart. While serving in the army, he introduced the use of intradermal vaccinations for small pox during World War I. After the war, he moved to New York City. In 1919 he became the first African American appointed to the surgical staff at Harlem Hospital. The white medical superintendent who hired Wright, was severely criticized and eventually demoted for hiring him. Several white physicians on staff also resigned to protest his hiring. Unhappy with the run down condition of the hospital, he was instrumental in raising the standard of patient care and professionalism of the staff as well as advocating that African American physicians be given the same employment, internship, and training opportunities as white physicians.
Wright devoted his entire career to increasing opportunities for African American physicians. He eventually became Chief of Surgery at Harlem Hospital. While there he also launched a scholarly publication, the, “Harlem Hospital Bulletin” and established a medical library at the hospital. Wright remained part of the hospital staff until 1949 in various capacities. During his medical career he also founded the cancer research center at Harlem Hospital and also became the first African American to serve as the NAACP national board chair. During a speech given to NAACP membership in 1937, Wright stated,
“There is no use saving the Negro from being lynched, or educating for sound citizenship if he is to die prematurely as a result of murderous neglect by America’s health agencies solely on account of his race or color.”
Wright was also very active in protesting commonly held medical misconceptions that African Americans, due to biological factors, tended to have greater amounts of syphilis and other infectious diseases more than the general population. He shared these views in the NAACP publication, “Crisis”. A staunch advocate against racism, and prejudice, he was committed to desegregation of hospitals and improving training and education opportunities for African American physicians. During his career he authored 89 scientific papers; several of which were integral to improving treatment of bone fractures and also conducted groundbreaking cancer research. In 1949 he was awarded the NAACP Spingarn Medal. Wright died from tuberculosis in 1952.
“Louis Tompkins Wright,” in W. Augustus Low & Virgin A. Cliff, Encyclopedia of Black America (New York: Da Capo Press, 1981); “History of Medicine: The Wright Stuff,” American Legacy Magazine 10:3 (Fall 2004).