I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.3 John 1:4

African-American Heritage

Black History Spotlight: Philanthropy

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Ms. Oseola McCarty
From Washerwoman to Philanthropist, a symbol of “Selfless Giving”
(March 7, 1908-September 26, 1999) 91 years

Black History Spotlight: Poems

All of Me
©2020 by Diana Kay Mitchell
Why, you ask, is my hair like this,
with each strand having
its own unique twist?
As if it’s something that
I do myself
I will tell you
I was fearfully
and wonderfully
It was God who knitted me together
in my mother’s womb
DNA strand upon DNA strand
he then breathed life into me
It was God who gave me
the shape of my nose
the twist of my hair
and the smile on my lips
I cannot take credit,
for you see,
it was God
who created
all of me.

Because I AM Good
©2020 by Diana Kay Mitchell
Every twist in the stand of her hair
I planned
She is good
The hue of her skin
I gave to her
She is good
The fullness of her lips
I molded with care
She is good
The sound of her voice
Echoes my own
It is good
A child of the Most High
Created by Me, God Most High
Because I AM good

Suggested Reading List

Edwin Blum and Paul Harvey:   “The Color of Christ:  The Son of God sand Saga of Race in America”

James Baldwin: “Collected Essays: Note of the Native Son /Nobody Knows My Name/The Fire Next Time/ No Name in the Street/ The Devil Finds Work”

Colson Whitehead: “The Underground Railroad”

Jesmym Ward: “The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race”

Ralph Ellison: “Invisible Race”

Michelle Alexander: “The New Jim Crow”

Ta-Nehisi Coates: “Between the World and Me”

Bryan Stevenson: “Just Mercy”

Carter G. Woodson: “The Mis-Education of the Negro”

W.E.B. Dubois: “The Souls of Black Folks”

Ta-Nejisa Coates: “The Beautiful Struggle”

Laila Ibrahim: “Yellow Moore”

Cynthia Bond: “Ruby”

Henry Hampton and Steve Fayeer: “Voices of Freedom” (Companion to the acclaimed TV series “Eye on the Prize”)

James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Hilton: “Slavery and the Making of America”

February 1, 1871

February 1, 1871 Jefferson Franklin Long an African American politician was the second African American sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives, and the first African American congressman from Georgia. On this day, he became the first black member to speak on the floor of the House of Representatives and the only African American to represent Georgia until Andrew Young was elected in 1972. He served less than 3 months.

February 2, 1914

February 2, 1914 Ernest Just, a pioneering genetic biologist wins the Spingarn Medal. He also received the medal on this day in 1915 for his pioneering work in cell division and fertilization. Just is still considered a legend in science, and his work and contributions in cytology remain relevant today. In 1911 Just helped establish Omega Psi Phi fraternity, Inc.

February 3, 1989

February 3, 1989 Lori McNeil defeats Chris Evert in the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. Legendary tennis star McNeil became an All-American in singles and doubles at Oklahoma State University before turning pro in 1984, according to the Women’s Collegiate Hall of Fame. Her career highlights include NCAA Big Eight Athletic Conference, Singles Champion (1982), U.S. indoor Doubles champion (1986) Texas Tennis Hall of Fame inductee (2000) and U.S. Women’s Tennis Coach of the World University Games (2005) She’s won 32 career doubles titles and was appointed assistant coach to the U.S. Olympic Team in 2004 and continues to serve as a mentor for young players.

February 4, 1971

February 4, 1971 National Guard mobilized to quell rioting in Wilmington, NC. Two persons were killed. The riots ended February 9th.

February 5, 1990

February 5, 1990 Barack Obama became the first black man named president of the Harvard Law Review.

February 6, 1867

February 6, 1867 Robert Tanner Jackson becomes the first African American received a degree in dentistry.

February 7, 1926

February 7, 1926 Carter Godwin Woodson initiates first Negro History Week. The scholar proposed and launched “Negro History Week” which later became “Black History Month” in 1976. The author of the more than 30 books was said to have chosen the month of February in order to honor two significant birthdays: Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Frederick Douglass (February 14) The man also known as the “Father of Black History” was the second African-American to earn a doctorate from Harvard University. The first was W.E. B. Dubois in 1912. He died in 1950.

February 8, 1944

February 8, 1944 Harry S. McAlpin becomes the first African American to be accredited to attend the White House press conference with Franklin D. Roosevelt. His appearance at the press conference was notable enough for at least one major newspaper to write about it (New York Times, February 9, 1944) He was a former Navy war correspondent and reporter for the National Negro Press Association and the Atlanta Daily World. Three years later, in 1947, the Negro Newspaper Publishers Association as well as some individual African-American news correspondents received accreditation from the Congressional Press Galleries and the State Department.

February 9, 1944

February 9, 1944 Alice Walker was born. The esteemed writer activist and poet was the first black woman novelist to win a Pulitzer Prize in literature and the National Book Award for her third novel, the Color Purple. The novel, was later adapted into a film by Steven Spielberg in 1985, starring Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey. It was also made into a Tony award winning Broadway musical which debuted in 2004. Her other significant works include Possessing the Secret of Joy, The Third Life of Grange Copeland and Meridian. She was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2001 and the California Hall of Fame and the California Museum for History and Women and the Arts in 2006.

February 10, 1989

February 10, 1989 Ronald H. Brown gets elected as National Chairman of the Democratic Party on this day in history; the then 47 year old influential lawyer became the first black chairman of the DNC. Brown went on to serve as the first black U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton’s administration. He was killed in a plane crash in April 1996 in DUBROVNIK, Croatia along with 34 others.

February 11, 1990

February 11, 1990 Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid South African revolutionary is released from Victor Verster prison after being jailed for 27 years. Four years later, he was inaugurated as South Africa’s first democratically elected president and served one term before focusing on philanthropic work for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. He died in 2013 and is remembered for his relentless fight for equality, work to combat poverty, HIV and AIDS.

February 12, 1909

February 12, 1909 The nation’s largest civil rights organization (The N.A.A.C.P.) was founded to ensure political, educational and economic equality for all minority U. S. citizens through democratic processes. Today, there are over 2,200 chapters dedicated to furthering these causes. Some noteworthy achievements: helping pass the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill, which established lynching as a federal crime and the Voting Rights Act, which guaranteed that no one can be denied the right to vote because of his or her race.

February 13, 1923

February 13, 1923 The first black professional basketball team was organized The Renaissance (or the New York Rens). The nation’s first black professional basketball team was named by Robert “Rob” Douglas. The team was named after the famed Renaissance Ballroom and casino in Harlem, New York and became the first black-owned professional team before winning the inaugural World Championship of Professional Basketball in 1939. The team’s original lineup included Clarence” Fats” Jenkins, James “Pappy” Ricks, Frank “Strangler” Forbes and Leon Monde.

February 14, 1818

February 14, 1818 The day the U.S. Observed Frederick Douglass’ Birthday, although historically America has celebrated the activist and author’s birthday on the 14th of February, the actual month and date of Douglas’ birth are still unknown. The birth date Americans observed today was chosen based on his autobiographical writing which revealed that he was told his birth month was February and the year was 1818.

February 15, 1965

February 15, 1965 Nat King Cole the legendary pianist died in his sleep at St. John’s hospital in Santa Monica, Ca after suffering from lung cancer. He was 45 years old. He was best known for his incredible catalogue of music including hits like, “Unforgettable”, “Mona Lisa” “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” and “I Love You for Sentimental Reasons” He also made history in 1956 when he became the first black host of a variety series “The Nat King Cole Show”.

February 16, 1951

February 16, 1951 NYC Council passes bill that prohibits Housing Racial Discrimination. Today, NY State and NYC human rights laws include additional protections based on age, gender id expression, marriage or partnership according to NYC Department of Housing.

February 17, 1997

February 17, 1997 Virginia House of Delegates votes unanimously to retire the state song “Carry Me Back to Old Virginia”: a tune that glorifies slavery. The song was written by James”Jimmy”Allen Bland. On a trip to the Tidewater Virginia area with a young lady that he met at Howard University he composed the song while sitting on the banks of the James River. Mannie (the young lady) wrote the words down on paper while Jimmy played the banjo and sang to her. That song was the only one he wrote that became an official state song although he wrote many more melodies in his lifetime.

February 18, 1688

February 18, 1688 The First formal protest against slavery was organized by a white body in English America by Germantown Quakers at monthly meeting. Quaker Colonists in Barbados began to question slavery in the 1670’s. By 1688, founder of Germantown, Francis Daniel Pastorius and three other Quakers met at Thones Kunder’s house to craft a petition. They urged their fellow congregants to abolish slavery. The petition detailed its opposition to the importance, sale and ownership of slaves.

February 19, 2002

February 19, 2002 Vonetta Flowers became the first black gold medalist in history of the winter Olympic Games. She and partner Jill Brakken won the inaugural women’s two person bobsled event. Flowers was born October 29, 1973 and was a star sprinter and long jumper at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She aspired to make the summer Olympic team but after several failed attempts to make the summer Olympic team in track and field she turned to bobsledding and found success as a brake woman almost immediately. She retired from competition after the 2016 Winter Olympics.

February 20, 1960

February 20, 1960 In response to the Greensboro sit-ins in 1960, the students from Florida A& M (FAMU) and Florida State University ((FSU) held another larger sit-in at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in downtown Tallahassee. When they refused to leave 11 were arrested and charged with disturbing the peace by engaging in riotous conduct and assembly and disturbing the peace. All of them were found guilty and given the option to pay a $300 fine or spend 60 days in jail. Eight students refused to pay the bail and chose to remain in jail. Rather than pay, they chose to hold the first jail-in of the civil rights movement.

February 21, 1895

February 21, 1895 North Carolina Legislature: dominated by black Republicans and white Populists: adjourned for the day to mark the death of Frederick Douglass.

February 22, 1979

February 22, 1979 Frank E. Peterson, Jr. was a U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant General. On this date he was named the first black general in the Marine Corps. He was also the first African American Marine Corps aviator. He retired from the corps in 1988 after 38 years of service. He received numerous decorations. He was presented the Distinguished Service Medal for exceptionally meritorious service as the C.G. Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, VA.

February 23, 1965

February 23, 1965 Constance Baker Motley was elected Manhattan Borough president, the highest elective office held by a black woman in a major American city. She was a key strategist of the African-American civil rights movement. Her legal career began as a law clerk in the fledgling National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Education Fund.

February 24, 1864

February 24, 1864 Rebecca Lee Crumpler born Rebecca Davis was an American physician and author. She became the first black woman to receive an M.D. degree. She studied at the New England Female Medical College and was born in Delaware on February 8, 1831.

February 25, 1870

February 25, 1870 Hirman R. Revels of Mississippi was sworn in as the first black U.S. Senator and first black representative of Congress. He was a Republican, minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a college administrator. Born free in North Carolina he later lived and worked in Ohio, where he voted before the Civil War.

February 26, 1869

February 26, 1869 Fifteenth Amendment guaranteeing the right to vote sent to the states for ratification.

February 27, 1869

February 27, 1869 John W. Menard spoke in Congress in defense of his claim to a contested seat in Louisiana’s Second Congressional District. Congress decided against both claimants, Congressman James A. Garfield of the examining committee said “it was too early to admit a Negro to the U.S. Congress.” Menard was the first black to make a speech in Congress.

February 28, 1859

February 28, 1859 The Arkansas General Assembly passed a bill that banned the residency of free African-American or mixed-race (mulatto) people anywhere within the bounds of the state of Arkansas. This bill was known as the Arkansas Free Negro Expulsion Act.