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  • 0 Azie Taylor Morton, Treasurer of the USA

    A Washington D.C. teacher of women’s studies challenged us to obtain some "inside" information about Azie Taylor Morton, the first African American U.S. Treasurer, who is often overlooked among black history people. Here’s the scoop, direct from the public papers of President Jimmy Carter… In 1977, President Carter nominated Azie T. Morton, (1936 – 2003), of Annandale, Virginia, to be Treasurer of the United States. Ms. Morton was a staff assistant to the U.S. House District Committee. She was born February 1, 1936, in Dale, Texas, and received a B.S. from Huston-Tillotson College in 1956. From 1958 to 1961, Morton was an administrative assistant at the Texas State AFL-CIO, in Austin. She served as an administrative assistant and community relations specialist for the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity and the President's Committee on Equal Opportunity in Housing from 1961 to 1966. From 1966 to 1968, Morton was a complaint investigator and conciliator for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She was director of social services for the Wichita, Kansas, Model Cities Program from 1968 to 1971. Morton was special assistant to the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1971 until 1977, when she went to work for the House District Committee. In 1974 she was vice chairperson of the Arrangement Committee and deputy conference manager for the 1974 Democratic Conference on Party Organization in Kansas City. She was a deputy convention manager for the 1976 Democratic National Convention. In 1975 and 1976, she served on the DNC's Compliance Review Commission. A great career of public service from a pioneer, Azie Taylor Morton.

  • 0 The Charles H. Houston Institute for Race & Justice

    Dr. Charles Ogletree, of the Harvard Law School, was recently on the Michael Eric Dyson radio show, to talk about among many other things, his new book: "From Lynch Mobs to the Killing State: Race & The Death Penalty in America." What caught my ear during the interview was when Dr. Ogletree mentioned "his website," "" Knowing the background of the legendary Houston, It sounded unusual to my ear for Ogletree to reference Houston's name as his website. Charles H. Houston, (1895-1950), was a premier constitutional lawyer and civil rights pioneer. Under his watch as Dean of the Howard University Law School, many great lawyers were educated, including future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Houston won the famous 1935 Murray Case, a ruling that opened enrollment up to African American students at the University of Maryland Law School. The web presence of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice, founded in late 2005, is in a manner of speaking, Dr. Ogletree's website, honoring Houston for his outstanding Twentieth Century contributions. Professor Ogletree is the founding director, and Executive Director, of the Institute.

  • 0 Marian Wright Edelman - Children's Champion

    Here's a quick review of an important woman who has dedicated her life to the cause of helping others... Social activist and Children's Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman hails from Bennettsville, South Carolina. Despite the racial segregation and poverty of 1939 when she was born, her parents encouraged her as a young girl to overcome these odds. Marian attended Spelman College, the first college for black women in the USA. In the next phase of her life, she proudly served in the Atlanta, Georgia office of the NAACP, an assignment that inspired her to become an attorney. Edelman graduated from Yale Law School in 1963, and in 1965, she became the first African American woman to pass the bar in Mississippi. Marian also distinguished herself by serving as the Director of the Center for Law and Education at Harvard University. She began the non-profit Children's Defense Fund (CDF) in 1973. CDF is a strong contemporary national voice for children. The Children's Defense Fund secured the 1990 Act for Better Child Care, dedicating over $3 billion in funds for improving day-care facilities and other programs to help poor children. Marian Wright Edelman's awards include: The Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize The Heinz Award The Ella J. Baker Prize The Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was also a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellow, and has served on the Board of Trustees of Spelman College. Marian has written many articles and books, including "The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours" (A number 1 New York Times best-seller).

  • 0 Jerome Ringo - Earth Day Environmental Leader

    Saturday, April 22, is Earth Day. When the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, protection of the environment was not an activity automatically associated with people of color in general, and African Americans in particular. Thirty-six years later, black history people are making contributions in all sectors of society, including the environmental movement. In 2005, Jerome Ringo was elected Chairman of the Board of the National Wildlife Federation, the largest conservation environmental organization, with over 4 million members. Ringo is the first African American elected Chairman of the Board of the NWF. The National Wildlife Federation has been dedicated to protecting America's wildlife since 1936. An Earth Day salute to Jerome Ringo.

  • 0 African American Aviators: Coleman, Brown, Bluford and Young

    Recently, Yvonne from St. Petersburg, Florida was curious about the first black woman commercial airline pilot. According to Empower Encyclopedia: Bessie Coleman, (1892-1926), is given credit as the first black woman in the United States to receive a pilot’s license. Willa Brown started flying in 1934. She was born in Kentucky, went to school in Indiana, became a teacher in Gary, and learned to fly in Chicago. Willa Brown obtained her commercial pilot's license in 1937. Pan American World Airways First Officer and pilot Otis B. Young, of Washington D.C., was the first African American to fly a 747 jumbo jet. In 1970, the former Air Force aviator flew the first 747 non-stop flight between London and Los Angeles. Jill Brown was accepted by the Navy in 1974 as the first black woman for pilot training. In 1978, Jill Brown became the first African American woman pilot/First Officer with a major carrier: Texas International Airlines. In the space age, Guion Stewart Bluford Jr. became the first black American astronaut in space aboard the space shuttle Challenger on August 30, 1983.

  • 0 Do you know your Black History as well as Joe?

    Cedar City, Utah's Joe Baker teases your head with this tough brain buster black history quiz he's prepared...   Questions: 1. Which political party was founded in 1854 for the purpose of ending slavery? 2. Who said "The Republican Party would have the American flag and swastika flying side by side?" 3. Which political party used the 1868 campaign slogan "This is a white man's country: let white men rule?" 4. Who appointed former Ku Klux Klansman Hugo Black to the Supreme Court? 5. Which party did the "Great Emancipator" Abraham Lincoln belong to? 6. Who is the only current member of congress who was once a "Grand Kleagle" in the Ku Klux Klan? 7. In a 2001 interview who said "There are white n--s. I have seen a lot of white n--s in my time?" 8. What percent of Democrats voted for the Thirteenth Amendment that made slavery unconstitutional? 9. Who deployed the 82nd Airborne to desegregate Little Rock Schools over the resistance of democratic Gov. Orval Faubas? 10. Who first used the "Willie Horton" issue against Michael Dukakis? 11. Which senator led a 14-hour filibuster to delay the 1964 Civil Rights Act? 12. Who ended this filibuster allowing passage of the CRA? 13. Which party cast the highest percentage of votes for the 1964 CRA? 14. What percent of Democrats voted for the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteeing equal protection? 15. Which president said "it is all so terribly true" after a private screening of D.W. Griffith's racist film, "Birth of a Nation?" 16. Which party did the first black U.S. House member and first black U.S. Senator belong to? 17. Who appointed the first black 4-star Air Force and Army generals? 18. Who appointed the first black National Security Advisor? 19. Who appointed the first and second black Secretaries of State? 20. Who said that it gave him "psychological gratification" to spit into the soups and salads of white customers while he worked as a waiter? 21. A 2005 blog contained a racist parody of a black U.S. Senate candidate in minstrel makeup and exaggerated lips with the caption: "I's Simple Sambo and I's running for the Big House." An official party Web site linked to this blog. Name the candidate and Web site.   Answers: 1. Republican 2. NAACP Chairman Julian Bond 3. Democratic 4. Democratic president FDR 5. Republican 6. Democratic WV senator Robert Byrd 7. Robert Byrd again 8. Democrats: House 22 percent; Senate 37 percent; Republicans 100 percent 9. Republican President Eisenhower 10. Al Gore Jr., 1988 Democratic primaries 11. Democrat Al Gore, Sr. 12. Republican Sen. Everett 13. Republicans 80 percent, Democrats 64 percent 14. Not one congressional Democrat voted for it vs. 94 percent of Republicans 15. Democratic President Woodrow Wilson 16. Republican 17. Republican President Reagan 18. Republican President George H.W. Bush 19. Republican President George W. Bush 20. Jesse Jackson 21. Maryland U.S. Sen. candidate Republican Michael Steele; the link was on the official Web site of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In addition, a DSCC staffer recently pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining Steele's credit history. DSCC Chairman Sen. Charles Schumer refuses to apologize for the link or stolen credit history. ---------- Ok, Joe has put together a whale of a quiz. It's the real deal. He's done his homework. You say you're ready for more!...then check out some more questions. You can choose from a variety of different genres, and rate the questions, in our own online collection of black history quizzes we've created.

  • 0 19th Century Wonder Woman in the Patent House

    When it comes to roll call time for inventors, guys generally get all the credit. Creativity has no gender boundary, so here's a quick salute to the first African American woman to receive a U.S. patent, way back in 1885. On July 14, 1885, a Chicago furniture storeowner received patent number 322,177 for a clever convertible bed design. Her cabinet bed was literally a bed in a box. The intricate mechanical folding enclosure looked more like an antique desk in disguise. Popping open the top of the cabinet revealed a two-winged apparatus below, identical halves of the bed, made to balance on the cabinet's sturdy center of gravity providing a restful platform for sleep. Sarah Goode had the intuition, the wisdom, and the smarts to dream up this masterpiece.

  • 0 The Ruby Bridges Story

    The William Frantz Public School in New Orleans may not have any significance to you, but for Ruby Bridges, her elementary school is an important part of Louisiana and U.S. history. We received a question from Victoria Hart asking about the fascinating story of Ruby Bridges. Ruby was thrust into the spotlight as a six year old attending kindergarten on November 14, 1960, just months after a federal court ordered New Orleans public schools to desegregate. Read Ruby's reflections about how a brave six year old girl got some life lessons in school she'll never forget. It's the real Ruby Bridges story, from the lips of one of only four black students who would integrate the New Orleans public school system in the Fall of 1960.

  • 0 April Remembers Marvin Gaye

    • Music
    • by Hugh Smith
    • 04/01/2006

    His spirit lives on inside of marvelously magic melodies, flirtatious songs of fantasy, and devilishly seductive R&B from the golden era of classic soul. Marvin Gaye was born on April 2, 1939, and died on April 1, 1984. Years from now, when the Motown pioneers are closely studied, Marvin Gaye will rise to the top as an important entertainer, who, despite his immense talent, was not without his faults. The Motown Alumni Association, Los Angeles Chapter, started a world wide campaign a couple of years ago lobbying the U.S. Postal Service for a commemorative stamp for Marvin. The committee in charge of issuing commemorative stamps for the U.S. Postal Service has turned down the "Marvin stamp" several times. We don't have a Marvin Gaye stamp yet, but plenty has been written about the enigma of Marvin Gaye. According to Dorothy Ferebee in her review of Michael Eric Dyson's Mercy, Mercy, Me: The Art Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye," Dr. Dyson examines the effect of Marvin Gaye's music on the socio-political climate of the sixties, seventies and eighties. Ferebee adds that Dyson attempts to unravel the mysteries of Gaye's loves and passions for Anna Gordy and Janice Hunter, his two wives, and his reputed romantic relationship with Tammi Terrell. Marvin's album, "What's Goin' On," remains one of the most influential thematic collection of songs ever recorded. A technical note...the cover of the original vinyl album titles the work as "What's Going On." That title is also printed on the lp, while the spine of the album cover says: "What's Goin' On." Marvin was way ahead of his time, and departed way to early.

  • 0 Black History Heavyweights – the Press and Dr. John Hope Franklin

    91 year old Dr. John Hope Franklin was recently honored with a lifetime achievement award from the National Newspaper Publishers Association. The NNPA is a 65-year-old federation of 200+ black community newspapers across the United States. Dr. Franklin, holding a doctorate in history from Harvard, is the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University. In accepting his award, Dr. Franklin stressed the importance of keeping the institution of the black press alive. Here are some quick black press highlights to remember…   The USA’s first African American newspaper, Freedom’s Journal, was founded in 1827 in New York. Frederick Douglass founded The North Star in Maryland in 1847. William Monroe Trotter founded the Boston Guardian in 1901. Robert S. Abbott founded The Chicago Defender in 1905, which remains the only daily African American newspaper.   John Hope Franklin is a legendary icon in the study of black history. He’s best known for his classic book, "From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans," (now in its seventh edition). Even at age 11, there was a connection between Franklin and the black press. When he accepted his lifetime achievement NNPA Award, Dr. Franklin revealed that he was a carrier of NNPA newspapers The Chicago Defender, and The Pittsburgh Courier, in the 1920’s and 1930’s. From paper boy to man of letters, Dr. John Hope Franklin, Ph.D., black history scholar superstar.