Who was the first African American in the National Basketball Association? There are three right answers. Three players were signed to different NBA teams in 1950. Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton was inked by the New York Knickerbockers. Charles, "Chuck" Cooper was the first African American drafted (for the Boston Celtics). Earl Lloyd (left below) made his debut in October, 1950 for the Washington Capitals. Lloyd was also the first NBA African American assistant coach in 1968. Earl was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003. Lloyd is recognized as the first black professional NBA player. Football: Kenny Washington was the first African American to sign a contract in 1946 with an NFL team. Washington was discovered at UCLA. While at the school, he played alongside of Jackie Robinson. Washington's brief career lasted three seasons with the L.A. Rams. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1958. Hockey William "Willie" O'Ree hit the ice with the Boston Bruins on January 18, 1958 becoming the first black person to play in the National Hockey League. O'Ree became the NHL's Director of Youth Development and ambassador for NHL Diversity when he hung up his skates. Baseball Number 42, Jackie Robinson was the first African American player at the start of the 1947 season for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Outside of these major sports leagues, let's not leave the women out. Wilma Rudolph, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Simone Biles have all made their mark in track and field or gymnastics. Althea Gibson along with the Williams sisters Venus and Serena have a legacy of outstanding achievement on the tennis court.
Will it be gorgeous natural hair for you or box braids, Marley twists, micro braids, cornrows, crochet braids or another style? How does black hair reflect Black History? Find out a lot more in this excellent article by journalist Rumeana Jahangir from BBC News: How Does Black Hair Reflect Black History?
America's legendary jazz heroes are front and center in Harlem, New York City (1958) when this photograph was taken by Art Kane. Art Blakey, Mary Lou Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Marian McPartland, Roy Eldridge, and saxophonist Sonny Rollins were all there. Check out the full list of 57 musicians who were lucky enough to be uptown, in town, and tuned into this event. Red Allen Buster Bailey Count Basie Emmett Berry Art Blakey Lawrence Brown Scoville Browne Buck Clayton Bill Crump Vic Dickenson Roy Eldridge Art Farmer Bud Freeman Dizzy Gillespie Tyree Glenn Benny Golson Sonny Greer Johnny Griffin Gigi Gryce Coleman Hawkins J.C. Heard Jay C. Higginbotham Milt Hinton Chubby Jackson Hilton Jefferson Osie Johnson Hank Jones Jo Jones Jimmy Jones Taft Jordan Max Kaminsky Gene Krupa Eddie Locke Marian McPartland Charles Mingus Miff Mole Thelonious Monk Gerry Mulligan Oscar Pettiford Rudy Powell Luckey Roberts Sonny Rollins Jimmy Rushing Pee Wee Russell Sahib Shihab Horace Silver Zutty Singleton Stuff Smith Rex Stewart Maxine Sullivan Joe Thomas Wilbur Ware Dickie Wells George Wettling Ernie Wilkins Mary Lou Williams Lester Young
Loretta Lynch made US history as the first black woman to become Attorney General in 2015. In this story by Francine Kiefer, you'll learn if Loretta was in the chamber when the US Senate confirmed her. Read Loretta Lynch Makes History As First Black Woman To Become Attorney General.
Imhotep Gary Byrd, an award-winning radio broadcaster, poet, songwriter, and executive producer talks to Kingsley Hugh Smith at WWRL radio in Queens, New York about broadcasting, music, poetry, and social economics. Gary's album, Presenting The Gary Byrd Experience was originally released on vinyl in 1972. Luckily the record was re-released on CD in 2011 featuring the bonus tracks "Soul Travelin' Pts. 1 & 2" with The Jimmy Castor Bunch. The CD cover is pictured below.
Playwright Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin In The Sun" won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award when it was first produced in 1959. It was a ground breaking work by an African American playwright. This realistic portrait of black life has been made into a movie twice, first in 1961 starring Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee, and in 2008 featuring Sean Combs and Phylicia Rashad, among others. Watch and listen to the video.
The 'Friendship 9,' a group of college students and activists in Rock Hill, South Carolina, claimed a place in American history by challenging Jim Crow laws. In 1961 while trying to be served a meal, they were arrested for a sit-in at McCrory's Five and Dime in Rock Hill. Today, 54 years later, a South Carolina Judge exonerated the 'Friendship 9' activists and cleared their criminal record!
What 5 movies would you pick to watch during Black History Month? Shown left to right are Eddie Murphy, Academy Award winner Hattie McDaniel (Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Gone with the Wind (1939) - she was the first African American to be nominated for and win an Oscar), and Sammy Davis Jr. Film critic Jeff Peterson has his favorites. Read his review to see if you agree or disagree. Overall, his selections make sense. 5 Movies To Watch During Black History Month.
In How To Create Your Own African American Library, author Dorothy L. Ferebee selects books that she feels belong in every home. She lists classic novels, children's stories, history, biography, and more. 14 Books to Read This Black History Month, and every month is a short list compiled by NBC News that includes some gems written by journalist April Ryan, author Toni Morrison, and music historian Nelson George. Discover 14 Books to Read This Black History Month.
Playwright August Wilson, 1945-2005, explored African American culture and the black experience through his writing. Wilson plays have been showcased in regional theater, on Broadway, and in Hollywood. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Wilson wrote stories and published poetry in black journals during the 1960's. His well know works include Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and Fences both from 1985. Wilson received many fellowships, awards, and honorary degrees between 1980 - 1990. Fences won both a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Awards.