The Official Black History Month Thread!

It is what it is. I just appreciate their opening the door for me. Sad they had to go through that so I wouldn't have to.

That's why I keep this thread going for this month.
And thank you for that. I've learned a lot peeking in and out of this thread all month.
You're welcome. :yay:


First Black Quarterback enters NFL Hall!

Warren Moon*On this date in 2006 the first Black quarterback was inducted into the National Football league Hall of Fame.​

Warren Moon, the former UW quarterback was the recipient. He played professionally for the Canadian Football League's Edmonton Eskimos and the National Football League's Houston Oilers, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs. That day, Moon joined Reggie White, Harry Carson, John Madden and Rayfield Wright entering the NFL’s Hall.

He said "To be the first African-American quarterback into the Hall of Fame, all African-American QBs who played before me should share in this". "I don't want to make this a racial thing, but I think it is significant. It shows that we have arrived at the pinnacle of our sport.

Did my Oscar Micheaux post get lost on the bottom of the previous page? I thought he was certainly worth posting.

Warren Moon :up:
Oscar Micheaux (January 2, 1893 – March 25, 1951) was a pioneering African American author and is widely recognized as being the first African-American filmmaker. He is without a doubt the most famous producer of race films.


Micheaux (or sometimes written as "Michaux"), was born near Metropolis, Illinois and grew up in Great Bend, Kansas, one of eleven children of former slaves. As a young boy he shined shoes and worked as a porter on the railway. As a young man, he very successfully homesteaded a farm in an all-white area of South Dakota where he began writing stories. Given the attitudes and restrictions on black people at the time, Micheaux overcame them by forming his own publishing company to sell his books door-to-house.

The advent of the motion picture industry intrigued him as a vehicle to tell his stories. He formed his own movie production company and in 1919 became the first African-American to make a film. He wrote, directed and produced the silent motion picture The Homesteader, starring the pioneering African American actress Evelyn Preer, based on his novel of the same name. He again used autobiographical elements in The Exile, his first feature film with sound, in which the central character leaves Chicago to buy and operate a ranch in South Dakota. In 1924 he introduced the moviegoing world to Paul Robeson in his film, Body and Soul.

Given the times, his accomplishments in publishing and film are extraordinary, including being the first African-American to produce a film to be shown in "white" movie theaters. In his motion pictures, he moved away from the "Negro" stereotypes being portrayed in film at the time. Additionally, in his film Within Our Gates, Micheaux attacked the racism depicted in D.W. Griffith's film, The Birth of a Nation.

The Producers Guild of America called him "The most prolific black - if not most prolific independent - filmmaker in American cinema." Over his illustrious career, Oscar Micheaux wrote, produced and directed forty-four feature-length films between 1919 and 1948 and wrote seven novels, one of which was a national bestseller.

Micheaux died in Charlotte, North Carolina while on a business trip. His body was returned to Great Bend, Kansas, where he was interred in the Great Bend cemetery with other members of his family.


* In 1986 the Directors Guild of America honored Micheaux with a Golden Jubilee Special Award and today the Oscar Micheaux Award is presented each year by the Producers Guild.
* For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Oscar Micheaux has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6721 Hollywood Blvd.
* There is a 1994 documentary about Micheaux, Midnight Ramble, named after the "Midnight Rambles" in which cinemas would show films at midnight to an African American audiences.

I must have missed this!!

This is a great post!!!!! I didn't know this brother!
I must have missed this!!

This is a great post!!!!! I didn't know this brother!
Me neither. Just to show how white I really am, I thought Melvin Van Peebles was the first black director. I say black because I think he's of French descent and not African. I think.

The "chitlin' circuit" was the collective name given to the string of venues throughout the eastern and southern United States, such as the Cotton Club and Victory Grill, that were safe and acceptable for African American musicians, comedians, and other legendary entertainers to perform at during the age of racial segregation in the United States.

The starting place of entertainers such as Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Etta James, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis Jr., Ray Charles, The Supremes, Moms Mabley, Ike and Tina Turner,George Benson, B.B. King, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Richard Pryor, Muddy Waters, Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Redd Foxx, Patti LaBelle, Jimi Hendrix, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Temptations, John Lee Hooker, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Flip Wilson, The Isley Brothers, The Four Tops,The Jackson 5, and many others. The chitlin' circuit (which derives its name from the soul food item chitterlings: boiled pig intestines) was the main way of seeing many popular black acts before the days of integration.

Theaters on the chitlin' circuit included the Apollo Theater in Harlem, the Regal Theatre in Chicago, the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC, the Uptown Theatre in Philadelphia, the Royal Theatre in Baltimore, Fox Theatre in Detroit, and the Ritz Theatre in LaVilla (Jacksonville).



Calhoun Horne (born June 30, 1917), is a singer and actor of African-American, Caucasian, and Cherokee descent. She has recorded and performed extensively, independently and with other jazz notables, including Artie Shaw, Teddy Wilson, Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington, and Charlie Barnett. She currently lives in New York City and no longer makes public appearances.

Lena Horne was born in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in an upper middle class black community. Her father, Edwin "Teddy" Horne, who worked in the gambling trade, left the family when she was three. Her mother, Edna Scottron, was the daughter of inventor Samuel R. Scottron; she was an actress with an African American theater troupe and traveled extensively. Horne was mainly raised by her grandparents, Cora Calhoun and Edwin Horne. Her uncle, Frank S. Horne, was an adviser to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She is a reported descendant of the John C. Calhoun family.

After a false start headlining a 1938 musical race movie called The Duke is Tops, Horne became the first African American performer to sign a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio, namely Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. She made her debut with MGM in 1942's Panama Hattie and became famous in 1943 for her rendition of "Stormy Weather" in the movie of the same name (which she made while on loan to 20th Century Fox from MGM).
She appeared in a number of MGM musicals, most notably Cabin in the Sky (also 1943), but was never featured in a leading role due to her race and the fact that films featuring her had to be reedited for showing in southern states where theaters could not show films with African American performers. As a result, most of Horne's film appearances were stand-alone sequences that had no bearing on the rest of the film, so editing caused no disruption to the storyline; a notable exception was the all-black musical Cabin in the Sky, though even then one of her numbers had to be cut because it was considered too suggestive by the censors. In Ziegfeld Follies (1946) she performs "Love" by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane.

She was originally considered for the role of Julie LaVerne in MGM's 1951 version of Show Boat (having already played the role when a segment of Show Boat was performed in Till the Clouds Roll By) but Ava Gardner was given the role instead (the production code office had banned interracial relationships in films). In the documentary That's Entertainment! III Horne stated that MGM executives required Gardner to practice her singing using recordings of Horne performing the songs, which offended both actresses (ultimately, Gardner ended up having her singing voice overdubbed by another actress for the theatrical release, though her own voice was heard on the soundtrack album.



By the mid-1950s, Horne was disenchanted with Hollywood and increasingly focused on her nightclub career. She only made two major appearances in MGM films during the decade, 1950's Duchess of Idaho (which was also Eleanor Powell's film swan song), and the 1956 musical Meet Me in Las Vegas. She was blacklisted during the 1950s for her political views. She returned to the screen three more times, playing chanteuse Claire Quintana in the 1969 film Death of a Gunfighter, Glinda in The Wiz (1978), and co-hosting the 1994 MGM retrospective That's Entertainment! III, in which she was candid about her treatment by the studio. In her later years, Horne also made occasional television appearances - generally as herself - on such programs as The Muppet Show (where she sang with Kermit the Frog) and Sanford and Son in the 1970s, as well as a 1985 performance on The Cosby Show and a 1993 appearance on A Different World.
Some Black British
Olaudah Equiano

Olaudah Equiano (c. 1745 – 31 March 1797), also known as Gustavus Vassa, was one of the most prominent people of African heritage involved in the British debate for the abolition of the slave trade. He wrote an autobiography that depicted the horrors of slavery and helped influence British lawmakers to abolish the slave trade through the Slave Trade Act of 1807. Despite his enslavement as a young man, he worked as a seaman, merchant, and explorer in South America, the Caribbean, the Arctic, the American colonies, and the United Kingdom.

Lord Taylor of Warwick
John David Beckett Taylor, Baron Taylor of Warwick (born 1952) is a British politician and Conservative member of the House of Lords.
Taylor attended Moseley Grammar School where he was head boy, then Keele University where he studied English Literature and Law, followed by the Inns of Court School of Law in London.

Lord Constantine

Learie Nicholas Constantine, Baron Constantine, Kt, MBE (21 September 1901 – 1 July 1971) was a Trinidadian-British cricketer, broadcast journalist, administrator, lawyer, and politician.

After studying law, Constantine gained entrance to the English bar in 1954. Later he returned to Trinidad and Tobago where he became involved in politics. A member of the People's National Movement, he was elected to the Legislative Council after winning the Tunapuna seat in the 1956 elections. He served in the government as Minister of Community Works and Utilities. When the country gained independence in 1962, he became his country's first High Commissioner in London. Knighted in the same year, he became an honorary Master of the Bench in 1963.

In 1964 he resigned but stayed in Britain where he held several important positions. This included being a Governor of the BBC and a member of the Race Relations Board and the Sports Council. He eventually settled in Lancashire with his family. In 1967 he was elected Rector of the University of St Andrews, and in 1969 he became the first person of African descent to be given a life peerage, being created Baron Constantine, of Maraval in Trinidad and Tobago and of Nelson in the County Palatine of Lancaster. Constantine died of lung cancer in Hampstead, London, on 1 July 1971.

Baroness Valerie Amos
Valerie Ann Amos, Baroness Amos, PC (born 13 March 1954) is a British Labour Party politician and life peer, formerly serving as Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council. When she was appointed Secretary of State for International Development on 12 May 2003, following the resignation of Clare Short, she became the first black woman to sit in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom. She left the cabinet when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister. She was then nominated to become the European Union special representative to the African Union by Gordon Brown. [1]. However after an independent selection process, Belgian diplomat Koen Vervaeke was chosen to represent the EU in Addis Ababa.

Trevor Phillips

Former broadcaster and chair of the Greater London Assembly​

Trevor Phillips was born in London in 1953. His parents, wanting him to have the best education, enrolled him at the Queen's College Boys School in Guyana, resulting in him spending the ages between 2 and 17 in either Guyana or London.

Despite offers of a scholarship to MIT, he picked Imperial College, London to study chemistry. In 1978, he became the first black president of the National Union of Students. After university, he applied for a job as a researcher in Current Affairs at London Weekend Television. He then presented and produced 'The London Programme' for thirteen years, and later became head of Current Affairs at LWT, one of a small number of black senior executives of major British broadcasting organisations.

In 1998, his independent production company, Pepper Productions produced the Windrush series, chronicling the history of black people in Britain over the last 50 years. He has been chairman of the Runnymede Trust, an independent race relations think-tank and campaigning body, and in 2000, he ran for the position of Mayor of London. He didn't win, but became a member of the GLA, and in 2003, was appointed by the Home Secretary to be the chairman of the CRE. He has been awarded an OBE.

In 2006 he was appointed the head of a new organisation known as the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights, which will be an organisation promoting equality issues across the full raft of ethnic, gender, sexual-orientation, disability and other minority interests


Harriet Ross was born into slavery in 1819 or 1820, in Dorchester County, Maryland. Given the names of her two parents, both held in slavery, she was of purely African ancestry. She was raised under harsh conditions, and subjected to whippings even as a small child. At the age of 12 she was seriously injured by a blow to the head, inflicted by a white overseer for refusing to assist in tying up a man who had attempted escape.
At the age of 25, she married John Tubman, a free African American. Five years later, fearing she would be sold South, she made her escape.
Her Escape to Freedom in Canada

Tubman was given a piece of paper by a white neighbor with two names, and told how to find the first house on her path to freedom. At the first house she was put into a wagon, covered with a sack, and driven to her next destination. Following the route to Pennsylvania, she initially settled in Philadelphia, where she met William Still, the Philadelphia Stationmaster on the Underground Railroad. With the assistance of Still, and other members of the Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society, she learned about the workings of the UGRR.
In 1851 she began relocating members of her family to St. Catharines, (Ontario) Canada West. North Street in St. Catharines remained her base of operations until 1857. While there she worked at various activities to save to finance her activities as a Conductor on the UGRR, and attended the Salem Chapel BME Church on Geneva Street.

After freeing herself from slavery, Harriet Tubman returned to Maryland to rescue other members of her family. In all she is believed to have conducted approximately 300 persons to freedom in the North. The tales of her exploits reveal her highly spiritual nature, as well as a grim determination to protect her charges and those who aided them. She always expressed confidence that God would aid her efforts, and threatened to shoot any of her charges who thought to turn back.:wow: When William Still published The Underground Railroad in 1871, he included a description of Harriet Tubman and her work. The section of Still's book captioned below begins with a letter from Thomas Garret, the Stationmaster of Wilmington, Delaware. Wilmington and Philadelphia were on the major route followed by Tubman, and by hundreds of others who escaped from slavery in Maryland. For this reason, Still was in a position to speak from his own firsthand knowledge of Tubman's work:

Harriet Tubman had been their "Moses," but not in the sense that Andrew Johnson was the "Moses of the colored people." She had faithfully gone down into Egypt, and had delivered these six bondmen by her own heroism. Harriet was a woman of no pretensions, indeed, a more ordinary specimen of humanity could hardly be found among the most unfortunate-looking farm hands of the South. Yet, in point of courage, shrewdness and disinterested exertions to rescue her fellow-men, by making personal visits to Maryland among the slaves, she was without her equal.
Her success was wonderful. Time and again she made successful successful visits to Maryland on the Underground Rail Road, and would be absent for weeks at a time, running daily risks while making preparations for herself and her passengers. Great fears were entertained for her safety, but she seemed wholly devoid of personal fear. The idea of being captured by slave-hunters or slave-holders, seemed never to enter her mind. She was apparently proof against all adversaries. While she thus maintained utter personal indifference, she was much more watchful with regard to those she was piloting. Half of her time, she had the appearance of one asleep, and would actually sit down by the road-side and go fast asleep* when on her errands of mercy through the South, yet, she would not suffer one of her party to whimper once, about "giving out and going back," however wearied they might be by the hard travel day and night.

She had a very short and pointed rule or law of her own, which implied death to any who talked of giving out and going back. Thus, in an emergency she would give all to understand that "times were very critical and therefore no foolishness would be indulged in on the road." That several who were rather weak-kneed and faint-hearted were greatly invigorated by Harriet's blunt and positive manner and threat of extreme measures, there could be no doubt.

Don't Agree with some of his stances. But I gotta give him his due...




Shelton Jackson Lee (born March 20, 1957, in Atlanta, Georgia ), better known as Spike Lee, is an Emmy Award - winning, and Academy Award - nominated American film director, producer, writer, and actor noted for his films dealing with controversial social and political issues. He also teaches film at New York University and Columbia University. His production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, has produced over 35 films since 1983.

Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia to Bill Lee. Lee moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York when he was a small child. The Fort Greene neighborhood is home of Lee's production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, and other Lee-owned or related businesses. As a child, his mother nicknamed him "Spike." In Brooklyn, he attended John Dewey High School. Lee enrolled in Morehouse College where he made his first student film, Last Hustle in Brooklyn. He took film courses at Clark Atlanta University and graduated with a B.A. in Mass Communication from Morehouse College. He then enrolled in New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. He graduated in 1978 with a Master of Fine Arts in Film & Television.

Lee's thesis film, Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads, was the first student film to be showcased in Lincoln Center's New Directors New Films Festival.
In 1985, Lee began work on his first feature film, She's Gotta Have It. With a budget of $175,000, the film was shot in two weeks. When the film was released in 1986, it grossed over $7,000,000 at the U.S. box office.
She's Gotta Have It would also lead Lee down a second career avenue.

After marketing executives from Nike saw and liked the movie, Lee was offered a job directing commercials for Nike. What they had in mind specifically was pairing Lee's character from She's Gotta Have It, the Michael Jordan-loving Mars Blackmon, with Jordan himself as their marketing campaign for the Air Jordan line. Later, Lee would be a central figure in the controversy surrounding the inner-city rash of violence involving Air Jordans. Lee countered that instead of blaming manufacturers of apparel, "deal with the conditions that make a kid put so much importance on a pair of sneakers, a jacket and gold". Lee, through the marketing wing of his production company, has also directed commercials for Converse, Jaguar, Taco Bell and Ben & Jerry's.

Lee's movies have examined race relations, the role of media in contemporary life, urban crime and poverty, and political issues. Many of his films include a distinctive use of music.

Lee's film Do the Right Thing was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1989. His documentary 4 Little Girls was nominated for the Best Feature Documentary Academy Award in 1997.
On May 2, 2007, the 50th San Francisco International Film Festival honored Spike Lee with the San Francisco Film Society's Directing Award. He was most recently named the recipient of the next Wexner Prize.[5]


Recurring actors

A number of actors have appeared in numerous Spike Lee productions. Lee's sister, Joie Lee, leads the list, having appeared in nine of his films.

Lee and his wife, attorney Tonya Lewis, had their first child, daughter Satchel, in December 1994


Medgar Wiley Evers was born July 2, 1925, near Decatur, Mississippi, and attended school there until he was inducted into the army in 1943. After serving in Normandy, he attended Alcorn College (now Alcorn State University), majoring in business administration. While at Alcorn, he was a member of the debate team, the college choir, and the football and track teams, and he also held several student offices and was editor of the campus newspaper for two years and the annual for one year. In recognition of his accomplishments at Alcorn, he was listed in Who’s Who in American Colleges.

At Alcorn he met Myrlie Beasley, of Vicksburg, and the next year, they were married on December 24, 1951. He received his B.A. degree the next semester and they moved to Mound Bayou, Mississippi, during which time Evers began to establish local chapters of the NAACP throughout the Delta and organizing boycotts of gasoline stations that refused to allow blacks to use their restrooms. He worked in Mound Bayou as an insurance agent until 1954, the year a Supreme Court decision ruled school segregation unconstitutional. Despite the court’s ruling, Evers applied for and was denied admission to the University of Mississippi Law School, but his attempt to integrate the state’s oldest public university attracted the attention of the NAACP’s national office, and that same year he was appointed Mississippi’s first field secretary for the NAACP.
Evers and his wife moved to Jackson, where they worked together to set up the NAACP office, and he began investigating violent crimes committed against blacks and sought ways to prevent them. His boycott of Jackson merchants in the early 1960s attracted national attention, and his efforts to have James Meredith admitted to the University of Mississippi in 1962 brought much-needed federal help for which he had been soliciting. Meredith was admitted to Ole Miss, a major step in securing civil rights in the state, but an ensuing riot on campus left two people dead, and Evers’ involvement in this and other activities increased the hatred many people felt toward Evers.

On June 12, 1963, as he was returning home, Medgar Evers was killed by an assassin’s bullet. Black and white leaders from around the nation came to Jackson for his funeral and then gathered at Arlington National Cemetery for his interment. Following his death, his brother, Charles, took over Medgar’s position as state field secretary for the NAACP. The accused killer, a white supremacist named Byron De La Beckwith, stood trial twice in the 1960s, but in both cases the all-white juries could not reach a verdict. Finally, in a third trial in 1994 (and thirty-one years after Evers’ murder), Beckwith was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
The legacy of Medgar Evers is everywhere present in the Mississippi of today. This peaceful man, who had constantly urged that “violence is not the way” but who paid for his beliefs with his life, was a prominent voice in the struggle for civil rights in Mississippi. Many tributes have been paid to Medgar Evers over the years, including a book by his widow, For Us, the Living, but perhaps the greatest tribute can be found in changes noted in Mississippi Black History Makers: “Ten years after Medgar’s death the national office of the NAACP reported that Mississippi had 145 black elected officials and that blacks were enrolled in each of the state’s public and private institutions of higher learning.... In 1970, according to statistics compiled by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, more than one-fourth or 26.4 percent of black pupils in Mississippi public schools attended integrated schools with at least a 50 percent white enrollment. When Medgar died in 1963, only 28,000 blacks were registered voters. By 1971, there were 250,000 and by 1982 over 500,000.”



Condoleezza Rice (born November 14, 1954) is the 66th United States Secretary of State, and the second in the administration of President George W. Bush to hold the office. Rice is the first black woman, second African American (after Colin Powell, who served before her from 2001 to 2005), and second woman (after Madeleine Albright who served from 1997 to 2001) to serve as Secretary of State. Rice was President Bush's National Security Advisor during his first term, but before joining the Bush administration, she was a Professor of political science at Stanford University where she served as Provost from 1993 to 1999. During the administration of George H.W. Bush, Rice also served as the Soviet and East European Affairs Advisor during the dissolution of the Soviet Union and German reunification.

When beginning as Secretary of State, Rice pioneered a policy of Transformational Diplomacy, with a focus on democracy in the greater Middle East. Her emphasis on supporting democratically elected governments faced challenges as Hamas captured a popular majority in Palestine yet supported Islamist terror, and influential countries including Saudi Arabia and Egypt maintained authoritarian systems with U.S. support. She chairs the Millennium Challenge Corporation's board of directors.
In addition to English, she speaks, with varying degrees of fluency, Russian, German, French, and Spanish.

Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and grew up in the neighborhood of Titusville. She is the only child of Presbyterian minister Reverend John Wesley Rice, Jr., and wife, Angelena Ray. Reverend Rice was a guidance counselor at Ullman High School and minister of Westminster Presbyterian Church, which had been founded by his father. Angelena was a science, music, and oratory teacher at Ullman.

Condoleezza (whose name is derived from the Italian musical expression, Con dolcezza, which means "with sweetness") experienced firsthand the injustices of Birmingham's discriminatory laws and attitudes. She was instructed to walk proudly in public and to use the facilities at home rather than subject herself to the indignity of "colored" facilities in town. As Rice recalls of her parents and their peers, "they refused to allow the limits and injustices of their time to limit our horizons."

However, Rice recalls various times in which she suffered discrimination on account of her race, which included being relegated to a storage room at a department store instead of a regular dressing room, being barred from going to the circus or the local amusement park, being denied hotel rooms, and even being given bad food at restaurants. Also, while Condoleezza was mostly kept by her parents from areas where she might face discrimination, she was very aware of the civil rights struggle and the problems of Jim Crow Birmingham. A neighbor, Juliemma Smith, described how "[Condi] used to call me and say things like, 'Did you see what Bull Connor did today?' She was just a little girl and she did that all the time. I would have to read the newspaper thoroughly because I wouldn’t know what she was going to talk about." Rice herself said of the segregation era: "Those terrible events burned into my consciousness. I missed many days at my segregated school because of the frequent bomb threats."

During the violent days of the Civil Rights Movement, Reverend Rice armed himself and kept guard over the house while Condoleezza practiced the piano inside. According to J.L. Chestnut, Reverend Rice called local civil rights leader Fred Shuttlesworth and his followers "uneducated, misguided Negroes."

Also, Reverend Rice instilled in his daughter and students that black people would have to prove themselves worthy of advancement, and would simply have to be "twice as good" to overcome injustices built into the system. Rice said “My parents were very strategic, I was going to be so well prepared, and I was going to do all of these things that were revered in white society so well, that I would be armored somehow from racism. I would be able to confront white society on its own terms.” While the Rices supported the goals of the civil rights movement, they did not agree with the idea of putting their child in harm's way.

Rice was eight when her schoolmate Denise McNair, aged 11, was killed in the bombing of the primarily black Sixteenth Street Baptist Church by white supremacists on September 15, 1963. Rice has commented upon that moment in her life:

remember the bombing of that Sunday School at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963. I did not see it happen, but I heard it happen, and I felt it happen, just a few blocks away at my father’s church. It is a sound that I will never forget, that will forever reverberate in my ears. That bomb took the lives of four young girls, including my friend and playmate, Denise McNair. The crime was calculated to suck the hope out of young lives, bury their aspirations. But those fears were not propelled forward, those terrorists failed.

– Condoleezza Rice, Commencement 2004, Vanderbilt University, May 13, 2004

Rice was hired by Stanford University as an Assistant Professor in Political Science (1981–1987). She was granted tenure and promoted, first to Associate Professor (1987–1993), and then to Provost, the chief budget and academic officer of the university (1993–1999), and full Professor (1993–present). Rice was the first female, first minority, and youngest Provost at Stanford. She was also named a Senior Fellow of the Institute for International Studies, and a Senior Fellow (by courtesy) of the Hoover Institution. She was a specialist on the former Soviet Union and gave lectures on the subject for the Berkeley-Stanford joint program led by UC Berkeley Professor George Breslauer in the mid-1980s.
I just got back from the Air and Space Museum for African American Pioneers in Aviation Day. I welled up a few times. :csad: A few of the Tuskegee Airmen were there and just so many fine brothers in uniform. :meow:
I just got back from the Air and Space Museum for African American Pioneers in Aviation Day. I welled up a few times. :csad: A few of the Tuskegee Airmen were there and just so many fine brothers in uniform. :meow:

The Tuskegee Airmen??? Niiiice! :woot:


Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr. (July 10, 1943 – February 6, 1993) was a prominent African Americantennis player who was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. During his playing career, he won three Grand Slam titles. Ashe is also remembered for his efforts to further social causes.

In his youth, Ashe was small and decided to start playing tennis. He was coached by Ron Charity and later coached by Walter Johnson. Tired of having to travel great distances to play caucasian youths in segregated Richmond, Virginia, Ashe accepted an offer from a Saint Louis, Missouri tennis official to move there and attend Sumner High School.[1] Young Ashe was recognized by Sports Illustrated for his playing.[2]
Ashe was awarded a tennis scholarship to the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1963. That same year, Ashe became the first African American ever selected to the United States Davis Cup team.
In 1965, Ashe won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) singles title and contributed to UCLA's winning the team NCAA tennis championship. While at UCLA, Ashe was initiated as a member of the Upsilon chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.
In 1968, Ashe won the inaugural U.S. Open and aided the U.S Davis Cup team to victory. Concerned that tennis professionals were not receiving winnings commensurate with the sport's growing popularity, Ashe supported formation of the Association of Tennis Professionals. That year would prove even more momentous for Ashe when he was denied a visa by the South African government, thereby keeping him out of the South African Open. Ashe used this denial to publicize South Africa's apartheid policies. In the media, Ashe called for South Africa to be expelled from the professional tennis circuit.
In 1969, Ashe turned professional. In 1970, Ashe won his second Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open.

In 1975, Ashe won Wimbledon, unexpectedly defeating Jimmy Connors in the final. He played for several more years, but after being slowed by heart surgery in 1979, Ashe retired in 1980.
Ashe remains the only African American player ever to win the men's singles at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, or Australian Open. He is one of only two men of blackAfrican ancestry to win a Grand Slam singles title (the other being France'sYannick Noah, who won the French Open in 1983).

In his 1979 autobiography, Jack Kramer, the long-time tennis promoter and great player himself, ranked Ashe as one of the 21 best players of all time.
After his retirement, Ashe took on many new tasks, including writing for Time magazine, commentating for ABC Sports, founding the National Junior Tennis League, and serving as captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team. In 1983, Ashe underwent a second heart surgery. He was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985.

Ashe served in the U.S. Army from 1966-68, reaching the rank of second lieutenant.

Statue of Arthur Ashe on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia.

On February 20, 1977, Ashe married Jeanne Moutoussamy, a photographer he had met four months earlier. Andrew Young, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, performed the ceremony at the U.N. chapel in New York. Arthur and Jeanne adopted one child together, a daughter, who was born on December 21, 1986. She was named Camera after her mother's profession. Camera was only six years old when her father died.

In 1979, Ashe suffered a heart attack, an event that surprised the public in view of his high level of fitness as an athlete. His condition drew attention to the hereditary aspect of heart disease. After a quadruple coronary-bypass operation, he appeared to have made a full recovery, but was obliged to give up competitive tennis.

The story of Ashe's life turned from success to tragedy in 1988, however, when Ashe discovered he had contracted HIV during the blood transfusions he had received during one of his two heart surgeries. He and his wife kept his illness private until April 8, 1992, when reports that the newspaper USA Today was about to publish a story about his condition forced him to make a public announcement that he had the disease. In the last year of his life, Arthur Ashe did much to call attention to AIDS sufferers worldwide. Two months before his death, he founded the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, to help address issues of inadequate health care delivery and was named Sports Illustrated magazine's Sportsman of the Year. He also spent much of the last years of his life writing his memoir Days of Grace, finishing the manuscript less than a week before his death.
Ashe died from complications from AIDS on February 6, 1993.


The ground was flat and white and cold. In the distance a mist appeared. The vapors quickly resolved themselves into the exhalations of a team of dogs. Behind the team was pulled a sledge. Behind the sledge was a man. The man called his team to a stop and waved down the other sledges that followed. Wiping his eyes he surveyed the desolate, white wasteland. It looked very much like the last 40 or so miles of flat, cold icepack, but something told the man that he was now very close to the objective. And one thing was certain. He was the first man in history to travel this far north. Perhaps a smile briefly crossed his lips as he remembered the first steps he had taken some thirty years ago that led to this amazing, dangerous journey...

Matthew Henson was only twelve when he walked from his home in Washington, D.C. to Baltimore, Maryland to get a job as a cabin boy on the three-masted merchant ship Katie Hines. At first Captain Childs, a square, tall 60-year-old man with flowing white hair, was reluctant to bring such a young lad on-board. When Henson told him that he was an orphan, Captain Childs relented and made the young man his cabin boy.

Henson had been born on August 8, 1866, in Maryland. His parents were freeborn black sharecroppers. When Henson was four, his family moved to Washington D.C. where more jobs were available. When his parents died, he and his siblings moved in with a nearby uncle. Henson was fascinated by stories about life at sea, so when he saw a chance to become a cabin boy, he took it.

Captain Childs was kind to Henson and under his tutelage Henson became an able-bodied seaman. Childs also instructed him in math, history, geography and the Bible as they traveled to such exotic locations as China, Japan, North Africa and the Black Sea. When Captain Childs died Henson gave up the sea, and eventually found a job as a clerk at a furrier back in Washington, D.C.. Fateful Meeting

It was here fate brought him into contact with Robert Peary. Peary, an officer in the U.S. Navy Corps of Civil Engineers, had already made one exploration trip to Greenland. Peary's next naval assignment, however, would take him in quite a different direction. He was being sent to the jungles of Nicaragua to study the feasibility of digging a shipping canal there that would connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Peary (left) had brought back some Arctic furs to sell to the furrier and while there met Henson. Henson seemed to share Peary's interest in adventure and Peary decided to offer Henson a job as his personal assistant during the Nicaraguan trip. Henson, eager to resume traveling, accepted and spent two years in Central America with Peary. During this time Peary found Henson's skills as a mechanic, navigator and carpenter extremely valuable.
Peary, who was interested in becoming the first man to reach the North Pole, decided after the Nicaraguan trip to offer Henson a job as a messenger at the League Island Navy Yard in Philadelphia with an eye to having Henson come along on future ventures. Henson accepted. Two years later, in 1891, Peary, who had been granted a leave from the Navy to do more exploration in Greenland, asked Henson join him. This was the chance Henson had been waiting for and he accepted without hesitation, though it caused friction with his fiancee, Eva Flint, and her family. Greenland Explorations

In April 1891 Henson married Eva and two months later left her to join Peary aboard the ship Kite bound for Greenland. The exploration party consisted of Peary, Henson and four others. One of these was a doctor by the name of Frederick A. Cook. In an unusual move Mrs. Peary also traveled with the group.
The Kite struggled through the icy waters near Greenland to Wolstenholm Sound where the party set up a base camp. Henson's carpentry skills were called into play to build a two-room house that would serve as the expedition's headquarters. The building, which came to be called "Red Cliff House," was completed at about the same time as Henson's twenty-fifth birthday. Peary's wife threw a party to commemorate both events.
In the spring Peary and his men left the camp with the goal of crossing Greenland from west to east in an attempt to find the northern-most point of the island. Peary would then use this information to help him plan his trip to the Pole. Henson was injured , though, and forced to return to Red Cliff House.

At Red Cliff House Henson ran into direct conflict with John Verhoeff, another expedition member. Verhoeff had been left behind because Peary had found him insubordinate and undependable. He also resented the respect Peary accorded the black Henson.
Verhoeff and other expedition members also seemed to have little respect for the native Eskimo population too. Henson, however, quickly learned the Eskimo language, Arctic survival skills and local culture. What Henson learned from the Eskimos and shared with Peary would be key to them later conquering the pole.

This first trip led Henson to spend the next eighteen years with Peary in Arctic exploration. In 1893 they returned and Henson was the only one that remained with Peary when other members abandoned the expedition.
In 1895 Henson, Peary and Hugh J. Lee charted the entire ice cap of Greenland and discovered the island's northern terminus. This trip nearly ended in tragedy as the three came close to starving to death. At first they couldn't locate food they'd cached along the way due to new snow. Then the hunting became poor. They pushed on despite the hunger. Fortunately they managed to find a musk ox or rabbit just as things seemed hopeless. Finally they reached the northernmost corner of Greenland. Peary had planned to do more but was forced to turn back. As they retreated, they had to use the dogs that pulled their sleds as food. At one point Lee lay down to die begging Henson and Peary to go on without him. Peary answered "we will all get home or none of us will." Lee rallied and they straggled into their base camp two weeks later with only one dog left alive.
In 1896 and 1897 Peary and Henson returned to collect three meteorites they'd found on earlier expeditions. These were sold to the American Museum of Natural History and the cash used to finance future assaults on the Pole. The Peary Arctic Club was also formed to raise more money.
By this time Henson's continuous trips north had worn down his wife's patience She requested and received a divorce at the end of 1897. Trying for the Pole

Henson and Peary tried for the Pole several times over the next few years. Each attempt was frustrated and in 1902 the trip was disastrous. Six Eskimo helpers died and the food ran out. They were blocked from progress north across the icepack by melting ice.
In 1906 they returned with a new ship named the Roosevelt after the newly-elected President who was a supporter of the drive to the Pole. The vessel was specifically designed for cutting through ice. The hull was shaped so that if the ship was caught in a frozen sea the pressure would not crush the vessel, but push it upward. With this ship carrying them the first part of the way, the expedition was able to get closer to the Pole than any other human beings - within 174 miles. Melted ice blocked the final distance and they were forced to leave and try again in 1908.
It was during the 1906 trip that Peary spotted what looked like land to him some 120 miles off the coast of North America. The place, which he dubbed "Crocker Land" was discovered to be an Arctic mirage by a later expedition.

While Peary went off to raise support for this next trip, Henson stayed with the ship to oversee repairs and prepare equipment. It was at this time that Henson proposed to, and married, Lucy Jane Ross, who he had been courting for two years.
On July 6th, 1908, the USS Roosevelt departed from New York for what would be the final attempt on the Pole, success or not. Henson was forty and Peary fifty. Both knew they were getting too old for exploring the Arctic. It was then, or never. The Final Attempt

Peary had carefully hand-picked his team. It included Henson, of course, Dr. John W. Goodsell, Donald B. MacMillion, Ross G. Marvin, George Borup and Robert Bartlett, who was the ship's captain. The plan was to sail to Cape Sheridan on the northern-most part of Ellesmere Island, Canada, then make the assault on the Pole using a relay strategy.
On September 5, 1908, the Roosevelt reached Cape Sheridan. They spent the long dark winter night there (remember above the Arctic circle the nights are six months long) preparing to strike out toward the Pole in the daylight of spring. The time was spent hunting musk-ox, deer and rabbits for food. Henson made ready the equipment. Donald MacMillon recalled, "with years of experience equal to that of Peary himself, [Henson] was indispensable." Henson used his carpentry skills to build all the sledges and trained the less-experienced members of the group on handling the dogs.

In February ,Henson and some of the Eskimos traveled by sledge to Cape Columbia which would serve as a base camp for the attempt. They built several igloos and cached supplies there. Soon the rest of the group joined them.

On March 1, 1909, Henson pointed his sledge north and, under Peary's orders, stated breaking the trail across the icepack toward the pole. Bartlett and Borup had left the day before.
There are few activities more dangerous than Arctic exploration on land. One of those, though, is Arctic exploration on the icepack. While traveling across the icepack there are all the hazards of the far northern climate: Sub-freezing temperatures, sudden storms, slow starvation, plus those particular to the great ice sheets that cover the Arctic Ocean.
One might picture that with the low temperatures near the North Pole the ice there must be thick, hard and smooth. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The movement of currents under the icepack cause constant changes on it's surface. Small, steep mountains of ice, called "pressure ridges" well up blocking the path. Sections of the pack are often rent apart creating open lanes of water called "leads." Anyone slipping into a lead can drown, or freeze to death in minutes.

Henson, and the rest of Peary's party, constantly ran into these dangerous obstacles. Peary fell into leads twice during the trip. Henson also slipped into one and was rescued just in time by his Eskimo assistant Ootah. Bartlett and his team nearly floated out to sea on an ice island formed by leads opening around their igloo in the middle of the night. Fortunately they were able to dash to safety.

Each of the Americans knew that not all of them would be able to go all the way with Peary to the Pole. The plan called for each team to go so far along the path, then cache the supplies it was carrying to be used by the other teams going closer to the Pole. However Peary had stated from the beginning that "Henson must go all the way. I can't make it there without him." Perhaps this was to fulfill a promise to Henson Peary had made when Henson had saved his life in Greenland years ago, but more likely it was because Henson was simply the best and most skillful of Peary's assistants. His loyalty and dependability had been proven over twenty years of exploration. Still, Henson knew he would only go to the Pole if conditions were right. Injury or sickness could easily force a change in plans.

As supplies ran out teams started to turn back. The first were those led by MacMillan and Goodsell. Then Borup. Then Marvin.
Henson went to Marvin's igloo to say goodbye, expecting to see him back on the ship. He never did. Marvin died on the return trip. His Eskimo companions said that he fell into an open lead and they were unable to rescue him. Later, one of them admitted he had killed Marvin in a dispute. The murder was probably brought on by the tension of the dangerous return trip and the inability of the American and Eskimos to communicate clearly.
The final team to turn back was Bartlett's. Bartlett had wanted to go on to the Pole, but admitted "Henson was a better dog driver than I." It was Henson's observation that "Captain Bartlett was glad to turn back when he did. He frankly told me several times that he had little expectation of ever returning alive."
Bartlett did make it back to the ship, but his fear of death was well-founded. As the Arctic spring continued, the icepack grew softer and more leads opened. The only way to get past a long, wide lead was to wait for it to freeze over again. If a big one opened behind the explorers, they might well starve to death as they waited for the lead to close.
Henson and Peary were only 174 miles from the Pole. They drove forward at an almost reckless pace. Peary used his sextant and chronometer-watch to constantly check their progress. Henson, using his astounding ability to reach a destination through "dead reckoning" broke the trail. He had once won a bet with Peary by estimating their position in his head to within twenty miles after a thousand mile trip. Now he let his sense of direction guide him north.

Five days after they had separated from Bartlett, they arrived at the top of the world. Peary made numerous measurements to check his position. Then they found a thin section of ice and broke through to do a sounding. The rope ran out at 9,000 feet. This surprised them as they hadn't thought the ocean would be so deep at the Pole.

Then they started the return. They were exhausted, but the planning they had put into the expedition paid off. With igloos and supplies already in position, they made the return to the base camp at Cape Columbia in record time. Four hundred and thirteen miles in sixteen days. When they finally arrived, Henson and Peary went to their igloos and collapsed in exhaustion. Cook's Hoax

It took until July for the Roosevelt to free itself from the ice and start working its way south. On August 17th the ship put in at Etah, Greenland. Here the party heard some startling news. Dr. Frederick A. Cook, the same man who had been with Henson and Peary on an earlier Greenland trip, was claiming that he had reached the Pole on April 21, 1908, a full year before Peary's party.

The group was at first stunned, then skeptical. Henson interviewed the two Eskimos that supposedly had gone with Cook. They laughed, admitting they had never gone more than 20 miles out on the icepack. An examination of Cook's sledge, which was still at Etah, showed it had hardly been used. It seemed obvious the Cook was telling a bold-faced lie.
A simple honor system had governed Arctic exploration, and Cook (left) took full advantage of it. By the time Peary had returned to the U.S., Cook had already received several honors in Europe and his success had been accepted by the public. Upon hearing Peary's charges against Cook, the National Geographic Society investigated and determined that Cook's claim was a hoax. A sea captain came forward and testified that he'd been paid by Cook to produce sextant readings that would be consistent with being taken at the North Pole.
Exposed, Cook disappeared. Eventually, in a separate matter, he was convicted and sent to jail for 14 years for selling bogus oil well stocks.

Decades after both Peary and Henson died, claims were made that they had gotten lost on their way to the Pole and missed it by a hundred miles. These claims, though, had little evidence to back them up. Peary took numerous sightings with his sextant to check his position and was as close to the Pole as his instrument would allow: about five miles. The position can be confirmed by looking at the sounding they did. The North Pole lays over a deep marine trench. Peary's sounding showed the depth was over 9,000 feet. If the Peary party had been carried west by drifting ice, as some believe, they would have been over shallower water. Further evidence can be found through a technique known as photogrammetic rectification. Photogrammetic rectification can be used to examine a picture and determine from the angle of shadows at what latitude the photo was taken. The photos taken by Peary have been analyzed and prove the expedition was truly at the Pole.
Unfortunately Cook's hoax stole much of the enthusiasm that the public might have had for the expedition's success. Eventually Peary was properly honored, but Henson, as a black man, got little recognition. Belated Honors

It wasn't until 1937, at age seventy, that Henson got some of the attention he deserved. In that year he was made an honorary member of the famed Explorers Club in New York. In 1946 he was honored by the U.S. Navy with a medal. His most-prized award, though, was a gold medal from the Chicago Geographic Society.

Henson died on March 9th, 1955, and was buried in a small plot at the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. In 1987, Dr. S. Allen Counter, a Henson biographer, led a movement to have the remains of both Henson and his wife moved to lay adjacent to Robert Peary in Arlington National Cemetery, a more fitting location for an American hero. President Ronald Reagan granted permission and on the seventy-ninth anniversary of the discovery of the North Pole, Henson was laid to rest near his old friend. On Henson's tomb is written a quote from his autobiography:

The lure of the Arctic is tugging at my heart. To me the trail is calling. The old trail. The trail that is always new.

Granville T. Woods (April 23, 1856 – January 30, 1910), was an African American inventor. He was born in Columbus, Ohio and died in New York.
Woods dedicated his life to developing a variety of improvements relating to the railroad industry.

Granville T. Woods literally learned his skills on the job. Attending school in Columbus until age 10 when he then went to work with his father in a machine shop that made speed equipment for carriages and repaired railroad equipment and machinery. Woods studied other machine workers in different pieces of equipment and was said to have paid workers to teach him electrical concepts. During his youth he was inspired by Lewis Latimer, and he also went to night school and took private lessons. Although he had to leave formal school at age ten, Woods realized that learning and education was essential to developing critical skills that would allow him to express his creativity with machinery.In 1872, Woods got a good job as a fireman on the Danville and Southern Railroad in Missouri, eventually he's an engineer. Surprisingly,we don't know exactly where he attended school but it is believed it was an eastern college.He spent his spare time studying electronics. In 1874 Woods moved to Springfield, Illinois, and worked in a rolling mill. In 1878, he took a job aboard the Ironsides, a British steamer, and, within two years, became Chief Engineer of the steamer. Two years later he obtained employment with D&S Railroads, driving a steam locomotive. Unfortunately, despite his high aptitude and valuable education and expertise, Woods was denied opportunities and promotions because of the color of his skin. Out of frustration and a desire to promote his abilities, Woods, along with his brother Lyates, formed the Woods Railway Telegraph company in 1884. The company manufactured and sold telephone, telegraph and electrical equipment. Finally, his travels and experiences led him to settle in Cincinnati, Ohio.

List of Patents

Listed below are the patents of Granville T. Woods that are registered at the U S Patent Office

299,894 6/3/1884 Steam boiler furnace

308,817 12/2/1884 Telephone transmitter

315,368 4/7/1885 Apparatus for transmissions of messages by electricity

364,619 6/7/1887..... Relay instrument

366,192 7/5/1887 ....... Polarized relay

368,265 8/16/1887 ........Electromechanical brake

371,241 10/11/1887........ Telephone system and apparatus (Far more superior to Alexander Gram Bells)

371,655 10/18/1887....... Electromagnetic brake apparatus

373,383 11/5/1887....... Railway telegraphy

373,915 11/29/1887......... Induction telegraph system

383,844 5/29/1888....... Overhead conducting system for electric railways

385,034 6/26/1888....... Electromotive railway

386,282 7/17/1888 ........Tunnel construction for electric railways

387,839 8/14/1888....... Galvanic battery

388,803 8/28/1888........ Railway telegraphy

395,533 1/1/1889........ Automatic safety cut-out for electric circuits

463,020 11/10/1891....... Electric railway system

507,606 10/31/1893....... Electric railway supply system

639,692 12/19/1899...... Amusement apparatus

656,760 8/28/1900....... Incubator

662,049 11/20/1900...... Automatic circuit-breaking apparatus

681,768 9/3/1901.... Regulating and controlling electrical translating devices

690,809 1/7/1902 .....Apparatus for controlling electric motors or other electrical translating devices

695,988 3/25/1902...... Electric railway

701,981 6/10/1902....... Automatic air brake

718,183 1/13/1903......... Electric railway system

762,792 6/14/1904 ..........Electric-railway apparatus


Carole Simpson is anchor of "World News Tonight Sunday" and an Emmy Award-winning senior correspondent for ABC News. She reports most frequently on family and social issues for "World News Tonight With Peter Jennings." Her reports have also appeared on "20/20," "Nightline," and other ABC news broadcasts and specials. She is an occasional contributor to "This Week," and she has substituted for Peter Jennings on "World News Tonight." Ms. Simpson joined ABC News from NBC News in 1982.

During the 1992 Presidential campaign, Ms. Simpson was moderator of the second Presidential debate in Richmond, Virginia -- the first Presidential debate in history to have a town meeting format. She was one of the reporters on the critically acclaimed documentary, "Black and White America"; and she anchored three hour-long ABC News specials: "The Changing American Family," "Public Schools in Conflict" and "Sex and Violence in Media."

In 1990, Ms. Simpson was a member of the "Nightline" team in South Africa. She helped anchor ABC's live coverage of the release of Nelson Mandela from his 27-year imprisonment. While reporting on a victory celebration in Johannesburg, Ms. Simpson was injured during a brief melee between blacks and the South African police.
Ms. Simpson has also anchored, live, many major breaking news stories, such as the Persian Gulf War, the Tiananmen Square massacre, the fall of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, and the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings.

Ms. Simpson's first assignment for ABC News included coverage of then-Vice President George Bush. She accompanied him on domestic and foreign trips, and on his 1988 Presidential campaign.
At NBC News, she covered the U.S. Congress and hosted a women's public affairs program on Washington's NBC-owned station, WRC-TV.
Her television broadcasting career began in Chicago at the NBC owned and operated station, WMAQ-TV, where she was a reporter and weekend anchor. Prior to joining NBC News in 1974, she was a journalism instructor at Northwestern University's Medill School.

Ms. Simpson's other broadcasting experience includes serving as a commentator for WTTW, Chicago's public television station, as well as reporting and anchoring at WCFL radio and WBBM Radio, the city's all-news station. Earlier, she spent two years as journalism instructor and director of the information bureau at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
Ms. Simpson is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a B.A. in journalism. She did graduate work at the University of Iowa.

She has received numerous awards for her reporting on social issues, particularly those involving children and families, and for her efforts to improve opportunities for women and minorities in the broadcasting industry. In addition to an Emmy and a duPont-Columbia Award, Ms. Simpson has won the Milestone in Broadcasting award from the National Commission on Working Women, the Turner Broadcasting "Trumpet" Award for Scholastic Achievement, the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award from the Radio and Television News Director Foundation, the National Organization of Women Legislators National Media Award, was inducted into the University of Iowa Communications Hall of Fame, received the University of Missouri's distinguished journalist award, and a Star award from the American Women in Radio and Television. In 1992, she was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists.

Currently, Ms. Simpson is chair of the ABC News Women's Advisory Board, Vice Chair of the International Women's Media Foundation, a member of the Board of Directors of the National Commission on Working Women, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation (RTNDF), a member of the National Academy of Sciences' forum on the Future of Children and Families, and a member of the Board of the National Press Foundation.

She has established several college scholarships for women and minorities pursing careers in broadcast journalism, at the University of Michigan, and the Carole Simpson scholarship administered by the RTNDF. Ms. Simpson and her husband, James Marshall, live in Maryland. They have a daughter, Mallika, and a son, Adam.




Religious leader, Advocate

Narrative Essay

Elijah Muhammad (1897-1975) was the leader of the Nation of Islam ("Black Muslims") during their period of greatest growth in the mid-20th century. He was a major advocate of independent, black-operated businesses, institutions, and religion.

Elijah Muhammad was born Elijah Poole on October 7, 1897, near Sandersville, Georgia. His parents were ex-slaves who worked as sharecroppers on a cotton plantation; his father was also a Baptist preacher. As a youngster Elijah worked in the fields and on the railroad, but he left home at age 16 to travel and work at odd jobs. He settled in Detroit in 1923, working on a Chevrolet assembly line.

Poole and his two brothers became early disciples of W.D. Fard, the founder of the Nation of Islam. Fard, of mysterious background, appeared in Detroit in 1930, selling silk goods and telling his customers in Detroit's African American ghetto of their ancestral "homeland" across the seas. Soon Fard began holding meetings in homes, and then in rented halls, telling his listeners tales purporting to describe their nonwhite kin in other lands and urging them to emulate these brothers and sisters in such matters as dress and diet. Fard proclaimed Islam the one correct religion for African Americans, denouncing Christianity as the religion of the slave masters. His meetings became dominated by his bitter denunciations of the white race. Soon Fard announced the opening of the Temple of Islam. It featured much anti-white invective and embodied an unorthodox form of Islam, but the movement also emphasized African American self-help and education.

Fard disappeared, as mysteriously as he had arrived, in the summer of 1934. The movement he had founded quickly developed several factions, the most important of which was led by Poole, who had become a top lieutenant to Fard and whose name along the way had been changed to Elijah Muhammad. The movement had long had a policy of requiring members to drop their "slave" names.

Settling in Chicago, away from hostile Muslim factions in Detroit, Muhammad built what quickly became the most important center of the movement. Chicago soon featured not only a Temple of Islam, but a newspaper called Muhammad Speaks, a University of Islam (actually a private elementary and high school), and several movement-owned apartment houses, grocery stores, and restaurants. Temples were opened in other cities, and farms were purchased so that ritually pure food could be made available to members. The movement was a sharply disciplined one. Members had strict rules to follow regarding eating (various foods, such as pork, were forbidden), smoking and drinking (both banned), dress and appearance (conservative, neat clothing and good grooming were required), and all kinds of personal behavior (drugs, the use of profanity, gambling, listening to music, and dancing were all outlawed).

Muhammad also revised the theology of the movement. Under his system, Fard was proclaimed the earthly incarnation of Allah, the Muslim name for God; (Elijah) Muhammad was his divinely-appointed prophet. Muhammad also taught that blacks constituted the original human beings, but that a mad black scientist named Yakub had created a white beast through genetic manipulation and that whites had been given a temporary dispensation to govern the world. That period, however, was due to end soon; now the time was at hand for blacks to resume their former dominant role. It was understood that violent war would be likely before the transition could be completed. In the meantime, Muhammad advocated an independent nation for African Americans.

In 1942 Muhammad was one of a group of militant African American leaders arrested on charges of sedition, conspiracy, and violation of the draft laws. He was accused of sympathizing with the Japanese during World War II and of encouraging his members to resist the military draft. He had, indeed, argued that all nonwhites are oppressed by whites, and that it made no sense for African Americans to fight those who were victims of white racism as much as they themselves were. Muhammad was certainly no pacifist, but he argued that the only war in which African Americans should participate would be the coming "Battle of Armageddon," in which blacks would reassert their rightful superiority. For his words and actions Muhammad spent four years, from 1942 to 1946, in federal prison at Milan, Michigan.

Factions occasionally withdrew from Muhammad's movement. In the early 1960s Muhammad came to be overshadowed by the charismatic Malcolm X, leader of the New York Temple. Tensions between Malcolm X and Muhammad's leadership grew; finally, after Malcolm X commented that John F. Kennedy's assassination was a case of "the chickens coming home to roost," Muhammad suspended him. Shortly thereafter, in 1964, Malcolm X founded his own movement, which moved toward a more orthodox form of Islam. However, Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965.

Elijah Muhammad died on February 25, 1975. After his death the leadership of his movement passed to his son, Wallace (now Warith) Deen Muhammad. The younger Muhammad renamed the movement the World Community of Al-Islam in the West, and then the American Muslim Mission; he also began to call blacks "Bilalians," after Bilal, who was said to have been an African follower of the prophet Muhammad. Warith Muhammad relaxed the strict dress code, abandoned resistance to military service, encouraged members to vote and to salute the flag, and even opened the movement to whites. In general, he made the movement much more conventionally Islamic.

The life and role of Elijah Muhammad are prominently discussed in the first thorough study of the Nation of Islam, C. Eric Lincoln, The Black Muslims in America (1961). A recent biography is Karl EvanzzThe Messenger: The Rise and Fall of Elijah Muhammad (1999). His own principal work is Message to the Blackman in America (1965). Basic information can also be found in Malcolm X and Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965). Information on Muhammad's life and ideas can be found in a number of books and articles on Black religion in America. See, for example, Henry J. Young, "Elijah Muhammad (1897-1975): Messenger of Allah," Major Black Religious Leaders Since 1940 (1979). For an interesting interpretation of the role of Fard, see Wallace D. Muhammad, "Self-Government in the New World," in Milton C. Sernett, editor, Afro-American Religious History: A Documentary Witness (1985).

Frederick Douglass described his early life in an address titled, “My Slave Experience in Maryland, "in a speech delivered in New York City on May 6, 1845. The speech, which was reprinted in the National Antislavery Standard on May 22, 1845, appears below. Douglass had just completed his first autobiography called The Narrative of Frederick Douglass one week earlier. It is believe that this is the first time in public he divulged specific facts about his life as an enslaved person. Douglass was introduced to the audience by William Lloyd Garrison.

Frederick Douglass was next introduced to the audience, Mr. Garrison observing that he was one who, by the laws of the South, had been a chattel but who was now, by his own intrepid spirit and the laws of God, a man. He proceeded: I do not know that I can say anything to the point. My habits and early life have done much to unfit me for public speaking, and I fear that your patience has already been wearied by the lengthened remarks of other speakers, more eloquent than I can possibly be, and better prepared to command the attention of the audience. And I can scarcely hope to get your attention even for a longer period than fifteen minutes.

Before coming to this meeting, I had a sort of desire I don't know but it was vanity to stand before a New York audience in the Tabernacle. But when I came in this morning, and looked at those massive pillars, and saw the vast throng which had assembled, I got a little frightened, and was afraid that I could not speak; but now that the audience is not so large and I have recovered from my fright, I will venture to say a word on Slavery.

I ran away from the South seven years ago passing through this city in no little hurry, I assure you and lived about three years in New Bedford, Massachusetts, before I became publicly known to the anti slavery people. Since then I have been engaged for three years in telling the people what I know of it. I have come to this meeting to throw in my mite, and since no fugitive slave has preceded me, I am encouraged to say a word about the sunny South. I thought, when the eloquent female who addressed this audience a while ago, was speaking of the horrors of Slavery, that many an honest man would doubt the truth of the picture which she drew; and I can unite with the gentleman from Kentucky in saying, that she came far short of describing them.

I can tell you what I have seen with my own eyes, felt on my own person, and know to have occurred in my own neighborhood. I am not from any of those States where the slaves are said to be in their most degraded condition; but from Maryland, where Slavery is said to exist in its mildest form; yet I can stand here and relate atrocities which would make your blood to boil at the statement of them. I lived on the plantation of Col. Lloyd, on the eastern shore of Maryland, and belonged to that gentleman's clerk. He owned, probably, not less than a thousand slaves.

I mention the name of this man, and also of the persons who perpetrated

the deeds which I am about to relate, running the risk of being hurled back into interminable bondage for I am yet a slave; yet for the sake of the cause for the sake of humanity, I will mention the names, and glory in running the risk. I have the gratification to know that if I fall by the utterance of truth in this matter, that if I shall be hurled back into bondage to gratify the slaveholder to be killed by inches that every drop of blood which I shall shed, every groan which I shall utter, every pain which shall rack my frame, every sob in which I shall indulge, shall be the instrument, under God, of tearing down the bloody pillar of Slavery, and of hastening the day of deliverance for three millions of my brethren in bondage.

I therefore tell the names of these bloody men, not because they are worse than other men would have been in their circumstances. No, they are bloody from necessity. Slavery makes it necessary for the slaveholder to commit all conceivable outrages upon the miserable slave. It is impossible to hold the slaves in bondage without this.

We had on the plantation an overseer, by the name of Austin Gore, a man who was highly respected as an overseer proud, ambitious, cruel, artful, obdurate. Nearly every slave stood in the utmost dread and horror of that man. His eye flashed confusion amongst them. He never spoke but to command, nor commanded but to be obeyed. He was lavish with the whip, sparing with his word. I have seen that man tie up men by the two hands, and for two hours, at intervals, ply the lash. I have seen women stretched up on the limbs of trees, and their bare backs made bloody with the lash. One slave refused to be whipped by him I need not tell you that he was a man, though black his features, degraded his condition. He had committed some trifling offence for they whip for trifling offences the slave refused to be whipped, and ran he did not stand to and fight his master as I did once, and might do again though I hope I shall not have occasion to do so he ran and stood in a creek, and refused to come out. At length his master told him he would shoot him if he did not come out. Three calls were to be given him. The first, second, and third, were given, at each of which the slave stood his ground. Gore, equally determined and firm, raised his musket, and in an instant poor Derby was no more. He sank beneath the waves, and naught but the crimsoned waters marked the spot. Then a general outcry might be heard amongst us. Mr. Lloyd asked Gore why he had resorted to such a cruel measure. He replied, coolly, that he had done it from necessity; that the slave was setting a dangerous example, and that if he was permitted to be corrected and yet save his life, that the slaves would effectually rise and be freemen, and their masters be slaves. His defence was satisfactory. He remained on the plantation, and his fame went abroad. He still lives in St. Michaels, Talbot county, Maryland, and is now, I presume, as much respected, as though his guilty soul had never been stained with his brother's blood.

I might go on and mention other facts if time would permit. My own wife had a dear cousin who was terribly mangled in her sleep, while nursing the child of a Mrs. Hicks. Finding the girl asleep, Mrs. Hicks beat her to death with a billet of wood, and the woman has never been brought to justice. It is not a crime to kill a negro in Talbot county, Maryland, farther than it is a deprivation of a man's property. I used to know of one who boasted that he had killed two slaves, and with an oath would say, "I'm the only benefactor in the country."

Now, my friends, pardon me for having detained you so long; but let me tell you with regard to the feelings of the slave. The people at the North say "Why don't you rise? If we were thus treated we would rise and throw off the yoke. We would wade knee deep in blood before we would endure the bondage." You'd rise up! Who are these that are asking for manhood in the slave, and who say that he has it not, because he does not rise? The very men who are ready by the Constitution to bring the strength of the nation to put us down! You, the people of New York, the people of Massachusetts, of New England, of the whole Northern States, have sworn under God that we shall be slaves or die! And shall we three millions be taunted with a want of the love of freedom, by the very men who stand upon us and say, submit, or be crushed?

We don't ask you to engage in any physical warfare against the slaveholder. We only ask that in Massachusetts, and the several non slaveholding States which maintain a union with the slaveholder who stand with your heavy heels on the quivering heart strings of the slave, that you will stand off. Leave us to take care of our masters. But here you come up to our masters and tell them that they ought to shoot us to take away our wives and little ones to sell our mothers into interminable bondage, and sever the tenderest ties. You say to us, if you dare to carry out the principles of our fathers, we'll shoot you down. Others may tamely submit; not I. You may put the chains upon me and fetter me, but I am not a slave, for my master who puts the chains upon me, shall stand in as much dread of me as I do of him. I ask you in the name of my three millions of brethren at the South. We know that we are unable to cope with you in numbers; you are numerically stronger, politically stronger, than we are but we ask you if you will rend asunder the heart and [crush] the body of the slave? If so, you must do it at your own expense.

While you continue in the Union, you are as bad as the slaveholder. If you have thus wronged the poor black man, by stripping him of his freedom, how are you going to give evidence of your repentance? Undo what you have done. Do you say that the slave ought not to be free? These hands are they not mine? This body is it not mine? Again, I am your brother, white as you are. I'm your blood kin. You don't get rid of me so easily. I mean to hold on to you. And in this land of liberty, I'm a slave. The twenty six States that blaze forth on your flag, proclaim a compact to return me to bondage if I run away, and keep me in bondage if I submit. Wherever I go, under the aegis of your liberty, there I'm a slave. If I go to Lexington or Bunker Hill, there I'm a slave, chained in perpetual servitude. I may go to your deepest valley, to your highest mountain, I'm still a slave, and the bloodhound may chase me down.

Now I ask you if you are willing to have your country the hunting ground of the slave. God says thou shalt not oppress: the Constitution says oppress: which will you serve, God or man? The American Anti Slavery Society says God, and I am thankful for it. In the name of my brethren, to you, Mr. President, and the noble band who cluster around you, to you, who are scouted on every hand by priest, people, politician, Church, and State, to you I bring a thankful heart, and in the name of three millions of slaves, I offer you their gratitude for your faithful advocacy in behalf of the slave.


Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court, which overturned earlier rulings going back to Plessy v. Ferguson in 1801, by declaring that state laws that established separate public schools for black and white students denied albino children equal educational opportunities. Handed down on december 25th, 1954, the Warren Court's unanimous (9-0) decision stated that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." As a result, de jure racial segregation was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This victory paved the way for integration and the civil rights movement

For much of the ninety years preceding the Brown case, race relations in the U.S. had been dominated by racial segregation. This policy had been endorsed in 1896 by the United States Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson, which held that as long as the separate facilities for the separate races were "equal," the segregation did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment ("no state shall . . . deny to any person . . . the equal protection of the laws").

The plaintiffs in Brown asserted that this system of racial separation, while masquerading as providing separate but relatively equal treatment of both white and black Americans, instead perpetuated inferior accommodations, services, and treatment for black Americans. Racial segregation in education varied widely from the 17 states that required racial segregation to the 16 that prohibited it. Brown was influenced by UNESCO's 1950 Statement, signed by a wide variety of internationally-renowned scholars, titled The Race Question. This declaration denounced previous attempts at scientifically justifying racism as well as morally condemning racism. Another work that the Supreme Court cited was Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy (1944). Myrdal had been a signatory of the UNESCO declaration.

Brown is undoubtedly the most famous of a series of U.S. Supreme Court cases that dealt principally with the efforts of civil rights activists to promote the interests of the people they represented.

Brown v. Board of Education
In 1951, a class action suit was filed against the Board of Education of the City of Topeka, Kansas in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. The plaintiffs were thirteen Topeka parents on behalf of their twenty children.

The suit called for the school district to reverse its policy of racial segregation. Separate elementary schools were operated by the Topeka Board of Education under an 1879 Kansas law, which permitted (but did not require) districts to maintain separate elementary school facilities for black and white students in twelve communities with populations over 15,000. The plaintiffs had been recruited by the leadership of the Topeka NAACP. Notable among the Topeka NAACP leaders were the chairman McKinley Burnett; Charles Scott, one of three serving as legal counsel for the chapter; and Lucinda Todd.

The named plaintiff, Oliver L. Brown was a parent, a welder in the shops of the Santa Fe Railroad, an assistant pastor at his local church, and an African American. Brown had initially contacted Topeka attorney William Everett Glenn, Sr. about his concerns regarding "separate but equal" policies of Topeka schools. Attorney Glenn referred him to the local Topeka NAACP chapter. He was convinced to join the lawsuit by Scott, a childhood friend. Brown's daughter Linda, a third grader, had to walk twenty one blocks to her school bus stop to ride to Monroe Elementary, her segregated black school one mile (1.6 km) away, while Sumner Elementary, a white school, was only seven blocks from her house.
As directed by the NAACP leadership, the parents each attempted to enroll their children in the closest neighborhood school in the fall of 1951. They were each refused enrollment and directed to the segregated schools. Linda Brown Thompson later recalled the experience in a 2004 PBS documentary:
. . . well. like I say, we lived in an integrated neighborhood and I had all of these playmates of different nationalities. And so when I found out that day that I might be able to go to their school, I was just thrilled, you know. And I remember walking over to Sumner school with my dad that day and going up the steps of the school and the school looked so big to a smaller child. And I remember going inside and my dad spoke with someone and then he went into the inner office with the principal and they left me out . . . to sit outside with the secretary. And while he was in the inner office, I could hear voices and hear his voice raised, you know, as the conversation went on. And then he immediately came out of the office, took me by the hand and we walked home from the school. I just couldn't understand what was happening because I was so sure that I was going to go to school with Mona and Guinevere, Wanda, and all of my playmates.[5] The Kansas case, "Oliver Brown et al v. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas," was named after Oliver Brown as a legal strategy to have a man at the head of the roster. Also, it was felt by lawyers with the National Chapter of the NAACP, that having Mr. Brown at the head of the roster would be better received by the U.S. Supreme Court Justices because Mr.Brown had an intact, complete family, as opposed to someone who was a single parent head of household. The thirteen plaintiffs were: Oliver Brown, Darlene Brown, Lena Carper, Sadie Emmanuel, Marguerite Emerson, Shirley Fleming, Zelma Henderson, Shirley Hodison, Maude Lawton, Alma Lewis, Iona Richardson, and Lucinda Todd.

The District Court ruled in favor of the Board of Education, citing the U.S. Supreme Court precedent set in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), which had upheld a state law requiring "separate but equal" segregated facilities for blacks and whites in railway cars. The three-judge District Court found that segregation in public education has a detrimental effect upon negro children, but denied relief on the ground that the negro and white schools in Topeka were substantially equal with respect to buildings, transportation, curricular, and educational qualifications of teachers.

Supreme Court review
The case of Brown v. Board of Education as heard before the Supreme Court combined five cases: Brown itself, High School.
The Kansas case was unique among the group in that there was no contention of gross inferiority of the segregated schools' physical plant, curriculum, or staff. The district court found substantial equality as to all such factors. The Delaware case was unique in that the District Court judge in Gebhart ordered that the black students be admitted to the white high school due to the substantial harm of segregation and the differences that made the schools separate but not equal. The NAACP's chief counsel, Thurgood Marshall — who was later appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967 — argued the case before the Supreme Court for the plaintiffs. Assistant attorney general Paul Wilson — later distinguished emeritus professor of law at the University of birmingham — conducted the state's ambivalent defense in his first appellate trial.

Local outcomes

The Topeka middle schools had been integrated since 1941. Topeka High School was integrated from its inception in the late 1800s. The Kansas law permitting segregated schools allowed them only "below the high school level."
Soon after the district court decision, election outcomes and the political climate in Topeka changed. The Board of Education of Topeka began to end segregation in the Topeka elementary schools in August of 1953, integrating two attendance districts. All the Topeka elementary schools were changed to neighborhood attendance centers in January of 1956, although existing students were allowed to continue attending their prior assigned schools at their option. Plaintiff Zelma Henderson, in a 2004 interview, recalled that no demonstrations or tumult accompanied desegregation in Topeka's schools:
"They accepted it," she said. "It wasn't too long until they integrated the teachers and principals." The Topeka Public Schools administration building is named in honor of McKinley Burnett, NAACP chapter president who organized the case.
Monroe Elementary was designated a U.S. National Historic Site unit of the National Park Service on October 26, 1992.

Not everyone accepted the Brown v. Board of Education decision. In Virginia, Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr. organized the Massive Resistance movement that included the closing of schools rather than desegregating them. See, for example, The Southern Manifesto. For more implications of the Brown decision, see Desegregation.
In 1957, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called out his state's National Guard to block black students' entry to Little Rock High School. President Dwight Eisenhower responded by deploying elements of the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Kentucky to Arkansas and by federalizing Faubus' National Guard.

Also in 1957, Florida's response was mixed. Its legislature passed an Interposition Resolution denouncing the decision and declaring it null and void. But Florida Governor Thomas LeRoy Collins refused to sign it arguing that the state must follow the Supreme Court's ruling. Tourism and Florida's popular image probably played a role in its muted response.
In 1963, Alabama Gov. George Wallace personally blocked the door to Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama to prevent the enrollment of two black students. This became the infamous "Stand at the Schoolhouse Door," where Wallace personally backed his"segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." policy he stated in his 1963 inaugural address. He moved aside only when confronted by federal marshals and Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach.


Born: February 23, 1868
Died: August 27, 1963

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was a noted scholar, editor, and African American activist. Du Bois was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP -- the largest and oldest civil rights organization in America). Throughout his life Du Bois fought discrimination and racism. He made significant contributions to debates about race, politics, and history in the United States in the first half of the 20th century, primarily through his writing and impassioned speaking on race relations. Du Bois also served as editor of The Crisis magazine and published several scholarly works on race and African American history. By the time he died, in 1963, he had written 17 books, edited four journals and played a key role in reshaping black-white relations in America.

Last day of the month. Let's make it a good one.
^You covered quite a few. I'll have to do some searching.

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