Know Your History!
While slavery in America hosts the background of Black history, the African American impact on history reaches beyond the country’s early history, as African Americans have made significant contributions to every field of endeavor, including politics, science, culture, social causes, arts, literature, athletics and the economy.
African-American History for Week of: October 25th
October 25, 1940
Benjamin O Davis becomes the first Black general in US Army, 1940
Benjamin O Davis becomes the first Black general in US Army, 1940. Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr. (December 18, 1912 – July 4, 2002) was an American United States Air Force general and commander of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen.
He was the first African-American general officer in the United States Air Force. On December 9, 1998, he was advanced to four-star general by President Bill Clinton. During World War II, Davis was commander of the 99th Fighter Squadron and the 332nd Fighter Group, which escorted bombers on air combat missions over Europe.
October 26, 1872
Inventor T. Marshall patented the fire extinguisher. U.S. Patent 125,063.
October 26, 1911
Gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson, born, 1911
Gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson, born, 1911. Mahalia (October 26, 1911 – January 27, 1972) was an American gospel singer. Possessing a powerful contralto voice, she was referred to as “The Queen of Gospel”. She became one of the most influential gospel singers in the world and was heralded internationally as a singer and civil rights activist. She was described by entertainer Harry Belafonte as “the single most powerful black woman in the United States”. She recorded about 30 albums (mostly for Columbia Records) during her career, and her 45 rpm records included a dozen “golds”—million-sellers. “I sing God’s music because it makes me feel free”, Jackson once said about her choice of gospel, adding, “It gives me hope. With the blues, when you finish, you still have the blues.”
October 27, 1954
B.O. Davis Jr. became the first Black general in the U.S. Air Force
He was the first African-American general officer in the United States Air Force. On December 9, 1998, he was advanced to four-star general by President Bill Clinton. During World War II, Davis was commander of the 99th and the 332nd Fighter Group, which escorted bombers on air combat missions over Europe. Davis himself flew sixty missions in P-39, Curtiss P-40, P-47 and P-51 Mustang fighters. Davis followed in his father’s footsteps in breaking racial barriers, as Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. was the first African-American general in the United States Army.
October 28, 2001
Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, USMC (Ret)
Born in Topeka, Kansas in 1932. On June 6, 1950, Frank Petersen enlisted in the Navy. At the age of 20, he was the first Afro-American to be named a naval aviator in the Marine Corp. He was also the first African American to command a fighter squadon, a fighter air group, an air wing, and a major base.
October 29, 1969
U.S. Supreme Court said school systems must end
U.S. Supreme Court said school systems must end segregation “at once” and “operate now and hereafter only unitary schools.” In Mississippi case, Alexander V. Holmes, the Court abandoned the principle of “all deliberate speed.
October 30, 1966
Black Panther Party Emerges
Huey Newton and Bobby Seale students at a California college create the Black Panther Party for Self Defense.
October 30, 1979
Richard Arrington was elected the first Black mayor of Birmingham
Richard Arrington was elected the first Black mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, 1979.
October 31, 1900
Actor and Singer, Ethel Waters was born, 1900
She frequently performed jazz, big band, and pop music, on the Broadway stage and in concerts, although she began her career in the 1920s singing blues.
Her best-known recordings include “Dinah,” “Stormy Weather,” “Taking a Chance on Love,” “Heat Wave,” “Supper Time,” “Am I Blue?” and “Cabin in the Sky,” as well as her version of the spiritual “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.” Waters was the second African American, after Hattie McDaniel, to be nominated for an Academy Award. She is also the first African-American woman to be nominated for an Emmy Award, in 1962.
October 31, 1945
Educator, Booker T Washington
Educator, Booker T Washington, inducted into the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, 1945.
I think that many black people don’t celebrate their heritage or history in this country enough and conform and assimilate to the euro centric standard. How many black people know what tribe they descended from? How many black people celebrate Kwanzaa? How many black people know of Huey P. Newton, Alex Haley and others? How many black people know in detail of the Trans Atlantic Slave trade? Not many and not enough.
To me, the omission of any group from history teachings results in a limited understanding of history’s relationship with the present and future. Know your history.
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