Know Your History!
Up to the early 20th century, most American knowledge of Black history was limited to the African American struggle through slavery and emancipation. The significance of Black history is recognition of the advancements and accomplishments of a group of people once defined by the Constitution as three-fifths of a person. 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 Facts for Week of: August 21st
August 21, 1943
Harriet M. West was the first Black woman major in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC).
August 22, 1979
Two hundred Black leaders met in New York.
Two hundred Black leaders, meeting in New York, expressed support for Andrew Young and demanded that Blacks be given a voice in shaping American foreign policy.
August 22, 1989
Huey P. Newton killed
Black Panther Party Co-founder Huey P. Newton was gunned down by a member of the Black Guerila Family drug ring.
August 23, 1826
First Blacks in America to graduate College
John Brown Russwurm is considered to be the first Black in America to graduate college. Two years after entering Bowdoin College, he received his baccalaureate degree on September 6, 1826. A lesser known Black student, Edward Jones graduated just two weeks before on August 23, 1826 from Amherst College. Both men received their Masters, John in 1829 and Edward in 1830.
August 23, 1900
National Negro Business League organized in Boston
National Negro Business League organized at Boston meeting. Booker T. Washington was elected president. (8/23-24).
August 24, 1950
Sampson was named the 1st Black Representative
Chicago Atty. Edith Sampson was named the first Black representative (alternate delegate) in the U.S. delegation to the United Nations.
August 24, 1908
National Association of Colored Nurses
The start of the National Association of Colored Nurses, 1908.
August 25, 1925
Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters
Six men organized themselves as the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, held their first formal meeting, beginning what would become one of the most successful union organizing efforts in history. The union gave voice to the many railroad porters and attendants who were forced to work long hourse for relatively meager wages and benefits. By 1959, the union claimed more than 15,000 members. Its long-time president was A. Philip Randolph, who would go on to be a great civil rights leader. The message: “This organization is not here because somebody loved it; it is here because it pushed everybody out of its way.”
August 26, 1874
Sixteen Blacks lynched
Sixteen Blacks lynched in Tennessee.
August 27, 1963
W.E.B. Du Bois died
W.E.B. Du Bois (95), scholar, protest leader and a founder of the NAACP, died in Accra, Ghana. W.E.B. DuBois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts in 1868. He was raised mostly by his mother, Mary, after his father left the family when he was very young. He was the first black person to graduate from his high school. After high school, he went on to study at Fisk University in Tennessee on full academic scholarship. After graduating with honors in 1888, he then went on to Harvard to pursue a second undergraduate degree. He received a second B.A. from Harvard in 1890, and went on to get his Master’s there as well in 1891. He became the first Black to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1895. DuBois then began teaching at Atlanta University in 1897, staying there until 1910. In 1905, DuBois helped found the Niagara Movement. This led to his work with the NAACP, where he served as editor for The Crisis from 1910-1934. He then became involved with the Pan-African movement, organizing the first four Pan-African Congresses. He continued to write, penning several important works. In 1961, DuBois joined the Communist Party. He expatriated to Ghana in 1964, where he died the same year.
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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