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African-American Facts for Week of: January 17, 2016

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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.

African-American Facts for Week of:  January 17, 2016

January 17, 1923


Spingarn Award: George Washington Carver

Spingarn Medal awarded to George Washington Carver, head of the department of research, Tuskegee Institute, for his pioneering work in agricultural chemistry.


January 17, 1978


Dr. Ronald McNair

Dr. Ronald McNair named for a Space Mission. Dr. Ronald McNair was a physicist and NASA Astronaut.

January 18, 1949


Congressman William L

Congressman William L. Dawson elected chairman of House Expenditures Committee. He was the first Black to head a standing committee of Congress.


January 18, 1966

First Black Presidential Cabinet Member

Robert C. Weaver becomes first Black presidential cabinet member when sworn in as Secretary of Housing and Urban Affairs under the Johnson Administration.

January 19, 1969


UCLA names building after Ralph Bunche

January 19, 1969 – UCLA renames its social science buildings to honor alumnus Ralph Bunche.

January 20, 2001


First Black Secretary of State: Colin L. Powell

Colin Luther Powell is sworn in by President George W. Bush as Secretary of State. He is the first Black secretary of State in U.S. History.

January 21, 1773


Phillis Wheatley freed

Poet Phillis Wheatley, born a Slave in 1754, was freed and her first book of poetry, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, was published. The book of poetry is said to have been widely acclaimed in the United States and England.

January 22, 1949


James Gladden 1st certified orthopedic surgeon

January 22, 1949 – James Robert Gladden becomes first African American certified in Orthopedic Surgery.

January 22, 1981


Samuel Pierce is named Secretary of HUD

Samuel Pierce is named Secretary of HUD in the Reagan Administration.

January 23, 1993


Death of Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey

Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey, founder of gospel music died in Chicago, Illinois. He was a prolific composer, performer and recording artist. His signature songs “Take my Hand Precious Lord” and “Peace in the Valley” have become gospel music traditionals that have been recorded by many artists. He wrote “Take my Hand Precious Lord” after the unexpected death of his wife and newborn child. 

January 23, 1964


24th Amendment

The 24th Amendment to the US Constitution is ratified. It abolishes poll tax, which was used as a means of preventing African Americans from voting.


About Annette: 

Being familiar with past events gives us the ability not only to learn from past mistakes but also from the successes.

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.

Comments, I can be reached at:


Twitter: @Annette92J

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