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It's Black History Month!

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Old 02-01-2005, 08:21 AM   #1
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Lightbulb It's Black History Month!

I thought it would be cool (and informative) to list "those who have made a difference".
I'll start.

Daurene E. Lewis
First black female mayor in North America
Born: Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

In 1984, Daurene E. Lewis was elected mayor of Annapolis Royal, making her the first female black mayor in all of North America. The registered nurse owned a business for many years, was involved in health care reform, and is an extremely active community leader and volunteer. She was formerly the Executive Director of the Centre for Women in Business at Mount Saint Vincent University and is currently Principal of the Halifax campuses of Nova Scotia Community College.

Dr. Lewis's many awards include the Global Citizen Award from the United Nations 50th Anniversary Canada Committee, Doctor of Humane Letters from Mount Saint Vincent University, and a listing as one of the 100 black Canadians of influence. She was made a Member of the Order of Canada, effective October 2002.
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Old 02-01-2005, 10:32 AM   #2
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Theotis Robinson Jr.
First African-American undergraduate admitted to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

He was accepted to Knoxville College, a HBU but this school did not offer Political Science as a major so he applied for and was denied admission to UTK. He filed an appeal to the Board of Directors and was admitted. He is now the Vice President of Equity and Diversity for the University of Tennessee system.

Oh yeah, he's also my dad.
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Old 02-01-2005, 10:38 AM   #3
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Oh, Tiki... that's the best!!
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Old 02-01-2005, 01:56 PM   #4
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George Washington Carver
(1864-1943)

Educator, Agricultural/Food Scientist, Farmer

George Washington Carver devoted his life to research projects connected primarily with southern agriculture. The products he derived from the peanut and the soybean revolutionized the economy of the South by liberating it from an excessive dependence on cotton.

Carver revolutionized the southern agricultural economy by showing that 300 products could be derived from the peanut. By 1938, peanuts had become a $200 million industry and a chief product of Alabama. Carver also demonstrated that 100 different products could be derived from the sweet potato.

He attended Iowa Agricultural College (now Iowa State University) where, while working as the school janitor, he received a degree in agricultural science in 1894. Two years later he received a master's degree from the same school and became the first African American to serve on its faculty.
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Old 02-01-2005, 02:24 PM   #5
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Oprah! first black woman on forbes billionaire list.

haha, does that count???
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Old 02-01-2005, 03:10 PM   #6
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That is so cool tiki!!!!!

That does count Lottie!
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Old 02-01-2005, 03:30 PM   #7
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Josephine Baker
(1906-1975)

Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, she later took the name Baker from her second husband, Willie Baker, whom she married at age 15.

Surviving the 1917 riots in East St. Louis, Illinois, where the family was living, Josephine ran away a few years alter at age thirteen and began dancing in vaudeville and on Broadway. In 1925, Josephine Baker went to Paris where, after the jazz revue La Revue Nègre failed, her comic ability and jazz dancing drew attention of the director of the Folies Bergère.

Virtually an instant hit, Josephine Baker became one of the best-known entertainers in both France and much of Europe. Her exotic, sensual act reinforced the creative images coming out of the Harlem Renaissance in America.

During World War II Josephine Baker worked with the Red Cross, gathered intelligence for the French Resistance and entertained troops in Africa and the Middle East.

After the war, Josephine Baker adopted, with her second husband, twelve children from around the world, making her home a World Village, a "showplace for brotherhood." She returned to the stage in the 1950s to finance this project.

In 1951 in the United States, Josephine Baker was refused service at the famous Stork Club in New York City. Yelling at columnist Walter Winchell, another patron of the club, for not coming to her assistance, she was accused by Winchell of communist and fascist sympathies. Never as popular in the US as in Europe, she found herself fighting the rumors begun by Winchell as well. She responded by crusading for racial equality, refusing to entertain in any club or theater that was not integrated, and thereby breaking the color bar at many establishments. In 1963, she spoke at the March on Washington at the side of Martin Luther King, jr.

Josephine Baker's World Village fell apart in the 1950s and in 1969 she was evicted from her chateau which was then auctioned off to pay debts. Princess Grace of Monaco gave her a villa. In 1973 Baker married an American, Robert Brady, and began her stage comeback.

In 1975, Josephine Baker's Carnegie Hall comeback performance was a success, as was her subsequent Paris performance. But two days after her last Paris performance, she died of a stroke.
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Old 02-01-2005, 07:21 PM   #8
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Very cool idea Ellis!

One of my favorite actors, and the first black man to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, Sidney Poitier.

More than an actor (and Academy-Award winner), Sidney Poitier is an artist. A writer and director, a thinker and critic, a humanitarian and diplomat, his presence as a cultural icon has long been one of protest and humanity. His career defined and documented the modern history of blacks in American film, and his depiction of proud and powerful characters was and remains revolutionary.

Born in 1927 in Miami, Florida, Sidney Poitier grew up in the small village of Cat Island, Bahamas. His father, a poor tomato farmer, moved the family to the capital, Nassau, when Poitier was eleven. It was there that he first encountered cinema. Even at a young age, he recognized the ability of cinema to expand one’s view of reality. At the age of sixteen, Poitier moved to New York and found a job as a dishwasher. Soon after, he began working as a janitor for the American Negro Theater in exchange for acting lessons.

While working at the American Negro Theater, Poitier was given the role of understudying Harry Belefonte in the play "Days of our Youth." Filling in for Belefonte one night, Poitier made his public debut. This led to a small role in the Greek comedy "Lysistrata." Though nervous and unsure of his lines, Poitier was a big hit. He continued to perform in plays until 1950, when he made his film debut in NO WAY OUT. NO WAY OUT, a violent tale of racial hatred, made him a hero back home in the Bahamas. The colonial government deemed it too explosive and censored it. The subsequent protest that erupted gave birth to the political party that would eventually overturn British rule.

Throughout the fifties, Poitier made some of the most important and controversial movies of the time. Addressing issues of racial equality abroad, he made CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY, about apartheid in South Africa. He later took on problems closer to home in BLACKBOARD JUNGLE and especially THE DEFIANT ONES, about two escaped prisoners who must overcome issues of race in their struggle for freedom. For his role in THE DEFIANT ONES, Poitier was nominated for an Academy Award.

In 1959, Poitier returned to the stage with a stirring performance of Walter Lee in Lorraine Hansberry's play "A Raisin in the Sun," the first play by a black playwright to show on Broadway. It was an insightful and moving reflection of black family life, and it had great popular appeal. Poitier would reprise his role for the Hollywood adaptation in 1961. It was not, however, until 1963, for his role in LILLIES OF THE FIELD, that the movie industry saluted Poitier with its greatest award. In an era where Martin Luther King, Jr. won the Nobel Prize and Thurgood Marshall was appointed to the Supreme Court, Sidney Poitier was the first black man to win an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Poitier followed up this triumph with an electrifying performance as a black detective from the north trying to solve a murder in a southern town in Norman Jewison's IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT. Having concerned himself with elucidating the problems of racial inequality in many of its manifestations, Poitier tackled one of the great taboos of the time. With PATCH OF BLUE and GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER, he focused on interracial romance. GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER was the first Hollywood movie about interracial romance not to end tragically. By the time of its completion in the late sixties, Poitier was one of Hollywood’s most popular stars.

In the fallout from the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, Poitier became the target of criticism from segments of the black community. Accused of being too passive in a scathing article in the NEW YORK TIMES, Poitier retreated to the Bahamas to reassess his life. When he re-emerged, he shifted his energies from acting to directing. Beginning with BUCK AND THE PREACHER, Poitier directed a series of highly entertaining films, including UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT, LET’S DO IT AGAIN, and the classic comedy STIR CRAZY, starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor.

After a decade away from acting, Sidney returned to the screen in 1988 for SHOOT TO KILL. Returning to apartheid-free South Africa nearly fifty years after CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY, Poitier played one of the great heroes for racial equality, Nelson Mandela. In the 1997 television docudrama MANDELA AND DE KLERK, Poitier returned triumphantly to a theme he has dealt with throughout his career. After half a century in show business and fifty-five roles, Sidney Poitier’s indomitable strength and commitment shine through in everything he does: "I was saying to an audience, this is who I am; look at me."
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Old 02-01-2005, 08:31 PM   #9
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oh - he's a terrific actor! I fell in love with him in the movie "To Sir With Love"
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Old 02-01-2005, 09:28 PM   #10
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Peter Butler
First black police officer in Canada

Born: 1859, Biddulph Township, Ontario
Died: 1943, Lucan, Ontario

Peter Butler's grandfather was an escaped slave who settled in the Wilberforce Colony in the 1830s. As a young man, Butler became a Middlesex County constable, based in Lucan, and in 1913, he joined the Ontario Provincial Police.

Butler was a fair but tough cop who only carried a gun when chasing down cattle rustlers or transporting prisoners to the London jail. He relied instead on his imposing size and a big stick to maintain order. He was also a kind and generous man, often keeping drunks in his own home for an overnight stay rather than throwing them in jail, and bringing beer to prisoners on Sundays. He kept a large collection of guns at his home, one of which had belonged to the infamous Donnelly clan.

Peter Butler retired in 1936 after 50 years as a police officer and is buried in the cemetery on Sauble Hill.

Additional trivia:
Butler's family owned 500 hectares of land, including most of what is now the town of Lucan.

A scholarship program has been established in Butler's name by the Association of Black Law Enforcers.
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Old 02-01-2005, 09:30 PM   #11
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Rose Fortune
First female police officer in Canada

Born: approx. 1774, Virginia
Died: 20 February 1864, Nova Scotia

Rose Fortune was born in Virginia, the daughter of slaves. Her parents, Black Loyalists, came to Nova Scotia when Rose was ten, where they were given their freedom. To earn money, Rose began working as a baggage carrier, transporting luggage and other items from the docks in a wheelbarrow. She expanded her business to cover all of the town and also operated a ‘wake-up’ service, alerting travellers so they wouldn't miss their boat.

Also at this time, Rose Fortune appointed herself as the police department of Annapolis Royal. She imposed and enforced curfews and kept the wharves under control. She was the first known policewoman in Canada.

Rose Fortune is buried in an unmarked grave in the Royal Garrison cemetery. Her descendants still work in the trucking and hauling business.

Additional trivia:
A scholarship program has been established in her name by the Association of Black Law Enforcers.
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"Wouldn't it be wonderful to take all the evil people and put them over there, then we wouldn't have to deal with them. And all of us good people would stay right here. The problem is that the line separating good and evil cuts right through the human heart." Alexander Solzenitzen
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Old 02-01-2005, 10:10 PM   #12
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Zora Neale Hurston
Who wrote one of my five most favourite books, Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Their Eyes Were Watching God has been called "a classic of black literature, one of the best novels of the period."

Born on January 7, 1891 in the town of Notasulga, Alabama. The fifth of eight children, her father; John, was a carpenter, sharecropper, and a Baptist preacher, her mother; Lucy, a former schoolteacher. The family moved to Eatonville, Florida; a town which held historical significance as the first incorporated Black municipality in the United States.
At fourteen Hurston left Eatonville, working as a maid for whites but refusing to act humble or to accept sexual advances from male employers; consequently, she never stayed at one job long. Hired as a wardrobe girl with a Gilbert and Sullivan repertory company, she traveled around the South for eighteen months, always reading in hopes of completing her education.

She spent nearly four years at Howard University, but graduated with only a two-year Associates degree. However, during this time, Hurston published her first stories. The early 1920s marked the beginning of Zora Neale Hurston's career as an author.

From the 30s through to the 60s, Hurston was the most prolific and accomplished black woman writer in America. She published seven books, many short stories, magazine articles, and plays, and she gained a reputation as an outstanding folklorist and novelist.

She called attention to herself because she insisted upon being herself at a time when blacks were being urged to assimilate in an effort to promote better relations between the races. Hurston, however, saw nothing wrong with being black: "I do not belong to that sobbing school of Negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal."
Indeed she felt there was something so special about her blackness that others could benefit just by being around her. Her works, then, may be seen as manifestos of selfhood, as affirmations of blackness and the positive aspects of black life.

The 30s and early 40s marked the peak of Hurston's literary career. It was during this time that she completed graduate work at Columbia, published four novels and an autobiography, and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her writing brought her to the Caribbean where she became so intrigued by the practice of voodoo that she began incorporating these supernatural elements into her novels and stories. Although her work was receiving increasing acclaim from the white literati of New York, Zora often felt under attack from many members of the Black Arts Movement. She termed these detractors, members of the "niggerati", for being close-minded in their criticism of her racial politics.

After a slew of unsuccessful career changes (including newspaper journalist, librarian, and substitute teacher), Hurston became a broken, penniless recluse. She suffered a fatal stroke in 1959 and was buried in an unmarked grave in Fort Pierce, Florida.

"If yuh kin see de light at daybreak, you don't keer if you die at dusk. It's so many people never seen de light at all. Ah wuz fumblin' round and God opened de door."

"Love is lak de sea. It's uh movin' thing, but still and all, it takes it's shape from de shore it meets, and it's different with every shore."

"Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see."


http://www.galegroup.com/free_resour.../hurston_z.htm
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"Wouldn't it be wonderful to take all the evil people and put them over there, then we wouldn't have to deal with them. And all of us good people would stay right here. The problem is that the line separating good and evil cuts right through the human heart." Alexander Solzenitzen
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Old 02-01-2005, 11:13 PM   #13
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I adore Mr. Poitier. "To Sir With Love" was on this weekend. I think my favorite has to be "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner". I also think he has aged well, and was a babe when he was younger too.


Medgar Evers
(1925-1963)

Civil Rights Activist

Medgar Evers was one of the first martyrs of the civil-rights movement. He was born in 1925 in Decatur, Mississippi to James and Jessie Evers. After a short stint in the army, he enrolled in Alcorn A&M College, graduating in 1952. His first job out of college was traveling around rural Mississippi selling insurance. He soon grew enraged at the despicable conditions of poor black families in his state, and joined the NAACP. In 1954, he was appointed Mississippi's first field secretary.

Evers was outspoken, and his demands were radical for his rigidly segregated state. He fought for the enforcement of the 1954 court decision of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka which outlawed school segregation; he fought for the right to vote, and he advocated boycotting merchants who discriminated. He worked unceasingly despite the threats of violence that his speeches engendered. He gave much of himself to this struggle, and in 1963, he gave his life. On June 13, 1963, he drove home from a meeting, stepped out of his car, and was shot in the back.

Immediately after Evers's death, the shotgun that was used to kill him was found in bushes nearby, with the owner's fingerprints still fresh. Byron de la Beckwith, a vocal member of a local white-supremacist group, was arrested. Despite the evidence against him, which included an earlier statement that he wanted to kill Evers, two trials with all-white juries ended in deadlock decisions, and Beckwith walked free. Twenty years later, in 1989, information surfaced that suggested the jury in both trials had been tampered with. The assistant District Attorney, with the help of Evers's widow, began putting together a new case. On February 5, 1994, a multiracial jury re-tried Beckwith and found him guilty of the crime.

The loss of Evers changed the tenor of the civil-rights struggle. Anger replaced fear in the south, as hundreds of demonstrators marched in protect. His death prompted President John Kennedy to ask Congress for a comprehensive civil-rights bill, which President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the following year. Evers's death, as his life had, contributed much to the struggle for equality.
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Old 02-03-2005, 02:09 PM   #14
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Default Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks has been called the "mother of the civil rights movement" and one of the most important citizens of the 20th century. Mrs. Parks was a seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama when, in December of 1955, she refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white passenger. The bus driver had her arrested. She was tried and convicted of violating a local ordinance.

Her act sparked a citywide boycott of the bus system by blacks that lasted more than a year. The boycott raised an unknown clergyman named Martin Luther King, Jr., to national prominence and resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation on city buses. Over the next four decades, she helped make her fellow Americans aware of the history of the civil rights struggle. This pioneer in the struggle for racial equality is the recipient of innumerable honors, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize. She is a living symbol of courage and determination and an inspiration to freedom-loving people everywhere.
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Old 02-03-2005, 02:16 PM   #15
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Default Richard Allen

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Soon after Allen was born, to slave parents, the family was sold to a Delaware farmer. At 17 he became a Methodist convert and at 22 was permitted to preach. Two years later (1784), at the first general conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Baltimore, Allen was considered a talented candidate for the new denomination's ministry. In 1786 he bought his freedom and went to Philadelphia, where he joined St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church. Occasionally he was asked to preach to the congregation. He also conducted prayer meetings for blacks. Restrictions were placed on the number permitted to attend these meetings, and Allen, dissatisfied, withdrew in 1787 to help organize an independent Methodist Church. In 1787 he turned an old blacksmith shop into the first church for blacks in the United States. His followers were known as Allenites.

In 1799 Allen became the first black to be officially ordained in the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The organization of the Bethel Society led, in 1816, to the founding of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which elected Allen its first bishop.
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