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  • 0 Benjamin Banneker: Astronomer and Mathematician

    Benjamin Banneker: surveyor, astronomer, mathematician, almanac author, clock maker, and peace activist was born on November 9, 1731. A Quaker based education excelled Banneker's thirst for knowledge during his teenage years. After limited formal schooling, much of his knowledge of mathematics and science was self-taught. At age 31, Banneker made his first clock from wooden parts. He published almanacs from 1792 through 1802. Banneker in less than a month created a surveyor’s map (1791) for Washington D.C. (rescuing city planners from the inaccurate calculations of previous surveyors). This African American (1731 - 1806) is responsible for creating one of the world’s most beautiful and historic cities.

  • 0 A Graphic History of African Americans

    Over 200 pages spanning 400 years of intriguing stories captures your attention in Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans. Graphic in this case stands for illustrated and honest, as author Roland Laird tells the real story of African Americans from the dawn of slavery to the present. I traveled to Trenton, New Jersey to talk with Roland face-to-face about the creation of Still I Rise and the unique angle governing the presentation of this book. Watch the video interview to discover much more. You can reserve your copy of Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans.

  • 0 100 Years of the NAACP 1909 – 2009

      The birthday party will last one year, and it starts on Thursday, February 12, 2009. 1,700 chapters across the USA will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the NAACP through February 12, 2010. Here is the official NAACP 1909 - 2009 timeline prepared by the National Associated for the Advancement of Colored People. A century of tenure is behind their 100 year advocacy as a leader in the fight for civil rights, dignity, and equality. Check out our own timeline featuring 15 NAACP facts (from Empower Encyclopedia): W.E.B. Du Bois was a co-founder of the NAACP in 1909. James Weldon Johnson, (1871-1938), wrote the famous poem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing" - now known as the Negro National Anthem. He joined the NAACP in 1916, and became Executive Secretary of the organization in 1920. Mary McLeod Bethune (1875 - 1955) was a champion for education, civil rights, and women's rights. She worked closely with the NAACP, and founded the National Council of Negro Women in 1935. An activist for civil rights and education, Daisy Bates co-founded Arkansas' State-Press Newspaper. In 1953, she was elected President of the Arkansas Conference of NAACP branches. Dr. Joel E. Spingarn introduced the Spingarn Gold Medal in 1914 while he was Chairman of the Board of the NAACP. The Spingarn award represented the highest of African American achievement, (similar to the NAACP Image Awards today). Attorney Constance Baker Motley, (1921 - 2005), started her brilliant civil rights career with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in 1945 as a law clerk. Daisy Lampkin, (1883-1965), increased the visibility and membership of the NAACP through her fund raising leadership. She was involved in Pennsylvania State politics (1928) becoming the first African American woman from the commonwealth elected as a delegate at large to the GOP convention. Lampkin began her career with the NAACP in 1929, serving the organization in numerous leadership roles. Thurgood Marshall, (1908-1993), became assistant special counsel for the NAACP in 1936, then chief counsel in 1938. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., (1929 - 1968), organized the Montgomery bus boycott with Rev. Ralph David Abernathy and the NAACP in 1955 after Rosa Parks refused to surrender her bus seat to whites. In the 1960's Vernon E. Jordan Jr. was quite involved with civil rights as Field Secretary for Georgia's NAACP. Margaret Bush Wilson was elected Chairman of the Board of the NAACP in 1975. Benjamin L. Hooks, in 1977, succeeded Roy Wilkins to become Executive Director of the nation's top civil rights organization, the NAACP. Kweisi Mfume entered the U.S. House of Representatives in 1987. He served until the end of the 104th Congress. After Congress, Mfume accepted the position of President and CEO of the NAACP. An outspoken critic of offensive lyrics by music industry artists, Philadelphia native C. Delores Tucker, (1927 - 2005), served as Vice President of the Pennsylvania NAACP. Dr. Fredda Witherspoon, Ph.D., was President of the Missouri NAACP.

  • 0 President Barack Obama's Challenge to You for Change

    Now that the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, has joined Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and other black history people as a trailblazing pioneer with an astonishing first, what happens next? In his inauguration speech, President Obama noted that we have to ask not whether government is too big, but whether government works. If it doesn't work, or it's not working, then Mr. Obama will have a lot of pressure as an agent of change to create a bureaucratic recipe for success. His biggest obstacle moving forward is the degree to which all Americans mentally prepare for the inevitable sacrifices ahead. No, Barack won't be able to wave a magic wand and save humanity from itself, but he'll get that much closer to becoming a successful agent of change with eager participation rather than indifferent apathy from the millions of kindred spririts who now beam with pride from his achievement. What will you do to help the new president succeed? For some, it may be volunteering in their community. For others, it may be playing a grass roots role in the local political process. For even more, maybe it's just graduating from high school or college. When the euphoria of the Barack Obama election fades, the true measure of his success as president will be to the degree in which he inspired us all to be more productive global citizens.

  • 0 Martin Luther King Jr. Online Archive

    The MLK Jr. Archival Collaborative, an online home for the electronic display of the papers of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is now live on the Internet. Three institutions partnered to make this 'research rich' website happen: The Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center The Howard Gotlieb Archival Center at Boston University The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University You can electronically search and view Dr. King's papers, writings, and documents housed in Atlanta, Georgia, and Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston University Dr. King archive alone includes more than 80,000 items. A few bugs exist in the online search system. I searched using the keywords "nobel prize." Several of the links that were returned were test links. In addition, there were quite a few server errors. I'm sure the technical problems will be resolved soon, as the site is only a day old as of this writing. Congratulations to the 3 institutions whose partnership made this historic black history website possible. 2018 update: The collaborative's links are broken, so we switched to the more reliable digital Martin Luther King Jr. Archive in Atlanta, Georgia, courtesy of the King Center instead.

  • 0 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service 2009

    • News
    • by Hugh Smith
    • 01/07/2009

    Thousands of projects are planned across America for the annual January 19, 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Select the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service project you'll like to participate in from an interactive map at the official website. Dr. King's real birthday is January 15th. The January 19th Day of Service was created by the U.S. Congress in 1994 to transform the federal holiday into an opportunity for community outreach. Tell your friends about all of the nationwide opportunities available this year.

  • 0 Odetta Sang for Civil Rights

    • Music
    • by Hugh Smith
    • 12/03/2008

    Singer Odetta Felious Gordon, (1930-2008), trained her voice for opera but decided to sing acoustic songs in the folk tradition. The guitar playing vocalist from Birmingham, Alabama, was one of the first popular African American folk singers in the 1960’s. Odetta used her influence to raise awareness about civil rights issues. She passed away December 2, 2008.

  • 0 Obama Wins, Newspapers lose

    Barack Obama has made history, millions have rejoiced at the news, but hundreds of print newspapers have woefully underestimated the nostalgic demand for the memorabilia value of their November 5, 2008 editions. Why did newspapers fail to boost circulations in light of the election of the first African American to become President of the United States? All over the USA, folks have been lamenting about the lack of local papers. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, etc. All gone in the early hours of November 5th from newsstands. Some papers, like the New York Times, are now prepared to publish collector's editions. A few will be charging higher prices to get their paper into your hands. At the expense of the print editions, 2008 will be remembered as the year the online press favorably embraced the rush for information about a USA favorite son from Hawaii who would win the White House and shock the world.

  • 0 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Close to Construction

    • News
    • by Hugh Smith
    • 10/29/2008

    The Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation Inc. has submitted it's formal request to the National Park Service for a permit to move forward with the construction of the Memorial. Construction is expected to begin on the four-acre memorial in November, 2008.

  • 0 Arthur, Clarence, and Parren Mitchell Go to Washington

    Arthur, Clarence, and Parren Mitchell, (no relationship), are three former members of the U.S. Congress who combined social activism with legislative power. Arthur W. Mitchell, (1886-1968), was the first black Democrat elected to the U.S. Congress (1934 - 1943). Mitchell studied under Booker T. Washington at Tuskegee Institute. The Congressman, representing the First Congressional District of Illinois, received his law school instruction at Columbia and Harvard. Clarence Mitchell, (1911-1984), earned the nickname the "101st. Senator," thanks to his effective lobbying efforts for civil rights. His influence helped pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Mitchell helped extend a ban against voting literacy tests in 1970. He was instrumental in gaining enforcement powers for the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) in 1972. President Jimmy Carter awarded Mitchell the Medal of Freedom in 1980 for his lifetime battle for civil rights. Parren Mitchell was the first African American to be elected to Congress from Maryland’s 7th District in 1970. He became Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1976. In 1950, he challenged the University of Maryland in the courts to become the school’s first black graduate student.