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Today in Black History, 3/11/2015

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• March 11, 1884 William Edouard Scott, artist, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. Scott lived in Chicago, Illinois from 1904 to 1909 and trained at the School of the Art Institute. Later, he moved to Paris, France where he continued his education and was able to build a reputation from himself more easily than his race allowed in America. He received a Rosenwald Foundation grant in 1931 which allowed him to travel to Haiti “to paint those who had maintained their African heritage.” Two of his more famous paintings are “Night Turtle Fishing in Haiti” (1931) and “Haitian Market” (1950). Scott portrayed Black people on canvas in positions of prominence doing noble deeds and through his paintings hoped to reverse the stereotypical perceptions of African Americans and eventually foster an understanding among the races. In addition to paintings, Scott did 75 murals, including “Douglass Appealing to President Lincoln” (1943) for the Recorder of Deeds Building in Washington, D. C. Scott died May 15, 1964. His work is in the collections of the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Wichita Art Museum.

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Today in Black History, 3/10/2015

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• March 10, 1849 Hallie Quinn Brown, educator, writer and activist, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Brown earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Wilberforce University in 1873 and then taught at schools in Mississippi and South Carolina. From 1885 to 1887, she was dean of Allen University and from 1892 to 1893 lady principal of Tuskegee Institute. She became professor of elocution at Wilberforce in 1893 and frequently lectured on African American issues, the temperance movement, and women’s suffrage. Brown spoke in London, England at the 1895 International Woman’s Christian Temperance Union conference and the 1899 International Congress of Women. Brown was a founder of the Colored Women’s League which merged into the National Association of Colored Women in 1894. She served as president of the Ohio State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs from 1905 to 1912 and the National Association of Colored Women from 1920 to 1924. She also spoke at the 1924 Republican National Convention. Brown authored four books, “Bits and Odds: A Choice Selection of Recitations” (1880), “Elocution and Physical Culture” (1910), “First Lessons in Public Speaking” (1920), and “Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction” (1926). Brown died September 16, 1949. The Hallie Q. Brown Community Center in St. Paul, Minnesota and the Hallie Q. Brown Memorial Library at Central State University are named in her honor.

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Today in Black History, 3/9/2015

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• March 9, 1841 The United States Supreme Court in United States v. Libellants and Claimants of the Schooner Amistad affirmed an 1840 federal court ruling that the Africans captured on the Amistad had been illegally transported across the Atlantic, because the international slave trade had been abolished, and therefore were not legally enslaved but free. Furthermore, because they were illegally confined, the Africans were entitled to take what legal measures necessary to secure their freedom, including the use of force. The case resulted from a rebellion aboard the Amistad by a group of captives that had been kidnapped in Africa and sold into slavery. The Africans were later apprehended on the vessel Amistad near Long Island, New York by the U. S. Navy and taken into custody. A film version of the events, “Amistad,” was released in 1997 and a replica of the Amistad was launched with the mission to educate the public on the history of slavery, discrimination, and civil rights in 2000. The Amistad Memorial, a monument of Sengbe Pieh, also known as Joseph Cinque, the leader of the rebellion, was dedicated September 26, 1992 outside the City Hall building in New Haven, Connecticut. Books regarding the mutiny and trial include “Mutiny on the Amistad: The Saga of a Slave Revolt and its Impact on American Abolition, Law, and Diplomacy” (1987) and “The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom” (2012).

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Today in Black History, 3/8/2015

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• March 8, 1825 Alexander Thomas Augusta, surgeon, professor of medicine and Civil War veteran, was born in Norfolk, Virginia. Augusta attempted to study medicine at the University of Pennsylvania but was not allowed due to his race. Therefore, he enrolled at Trinity Medical College of the University of Toronto and earned his Bachelor of Medicine degree in 1856. Augusta remained in Toronto and established his medical practice, supervised staff at Toronto General Hospital, directed an industrial school, and founded the Provincial Association for the Education and Elevation of the Colored People of Canada. He returned to the United States in 1860 and received a major’s commission as surgeon for African American troops in the Union Army in 1863, the first African American physician and the highest ranking African American in the army. After the war, Augusta accepted an assignment with the Freedman’s Bureau, heading Lincoln Hospital. He also served on the staff of the Washington, D. C. Freedman’s Hospital from 1868 to 1877. Augusta died December 21, 1890. He was interred with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

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Today in Black History, 3/7/2015

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• March 7, 1890 William Sherman Savage, historian, educator and author, was born in Wattsville, Virginia. Savage earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University in 1917, his Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Oregon in 1925, and his Ph. D. in history from Ohio State University in 1934. He was the first African American to earn a doctorate in history from the university. Savage taught at Lincoln University in Missouri from 1921 to his retirement in 1960. After retiring from Lincoln, he taught at Jarvis Christian College for an additional six years. Savage published “The Controversy over the Distribution of Abolition Literature, 1830-1860” in 1938 and “Blacks in the West” in 1976. He also wrote a number of articles about the lives and activities of African Americans in the western United States. Savage died May 23, 1981.

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Today in Black History, 3/6/2015

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• March 6, 1857 The United States Supreme Court ruled in Dred Scott v. Sandford, commonly referred to as the Dred Scott dhttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/48/Dred_Scott_photograph_(circa_1857).jpgecision, that people of African descent imported into the United States and enslaved, or their descendants, enslaved or free, were not protected by the Constitution and could never be citizens of the United States. It also ruled that because enslaved people were not citizens, they could not sue in court, that Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories and that enslaved people, as private property, could not be taken away from their owner without due process. “The Dred Scott Case: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Race and Law” (2010) provides a history of the case and its afterlife in American law and society.

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Today in Black History, 3/5/2015

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• March 5, 1770 Crispus Attucks, the first martyr of the American Revolution, was killed in the Boston Massacre. Athttp://media-1.web.britannica.com/eb-media/65/6065-004-62368BAE.jpgtucks was born enslaved around 1723 and was of mixed African and Native American heritage. He escaped slavery in 1750 and by 1770 was a dockworker in Boston, Massachusetts. On the night of this date, he led a group of sailors against British soldiers who were occupying Boston. Attucks was the first of four men shot and killed during the fighting. A monument honoring Attucks was dedicated on Boston Common November 14, 1889. As an African American patriot, Attucks represents the 5,000 African Americans who fought for America’s independence. The United States Treasury issued The Black Revolutionary War Patriots Silver Dollar featuring Attucks’ image on one side in 1998. There are a number of schools around the country named for Attucks, including the Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Attucks Middle School in Hollywood, Florida, and the Crispus Attucks Elementary School in Kansas City, Missouri. Attucks’ name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.

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Today in Black History, 3/4/2015

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• March 4, 1842 James Forten, abolitionist and businessman, died. Forten was born September 2, 1766 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At 15, he served on a ship during the Revolutionary War and invented a device to handle ship sails. He started a very successful sailmaking company in 1786 and became one of the wealthiest African Americans in post-colonial America. Forten, with the help of Rev. Richard Allen and Absalom Jones, enlisted 2,500 African Americans to defend Philadelphia during the War of 1812. They also worked together to establish the Convention of Color in 1817. By the 1830s, Forten was one of the most powerful voices for people of color throughout the North. He helped William Lloyd Garrison and Robert Purvis form the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833 and provided generous financial support to the organization over the years. When Forten died, he left behind an exemplary family, a sizable fortune, and a legacy of philanthropy and activism that inspired generations of Black Philadelphians. On April 24, 1990, a historical marker was dedicated in his honor in Philadelphia. His biography, “A Gentleman of Color: The Life of James Forten,” was published in 2002.

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Today in Black History, 3/3/2015

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• March 3, 1807 President Thomas Jefferson signed into law legislation to ban the importation of enslaved people effective January 1, 1808. While the law outlawed the importation of enslaved people to the United States, it did not end the buying and selling of enslaved people within the U. S. That would not occur until the end of the Civil War and the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution December 6, 1865.

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Today in Black History, 3/2/2015

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• March 2, 1875 Charles Harmon Bullock, Sr., educator, was born in Charlottesville, Virginia. After graduating from the Jefferson Normal School in 1892, Bullock became a teacher in the segregated Charlottesville public school system. He also served as a correspondent for The Daily Progress, a local African American newspaper. After the Young Men’s Christian Association decided to create “Colored” YMCA’s, Bullock organized one in Charlottesville and served as executive secretary. He moved to Brooklyn, New York in 1900 and organized the first “Colored” YMCA in that borough and again served as executive secretary. From 1906 to 1916, Bullock managed the “Colored” YMCA in Louisville, Kentucky. During that time, he managed the construction of a new building for the YMCA. He transferred to Montclair, New Jersey in 1916 and served as the director of the “Colored” YMCA until his retirement in 1935 and again erected a new building. Bullock also served as campaign director of the New Jersey United War Work Campaign during World War I. Bullock died May 9, 1950. The Charles H. Bullock Elementary School in Montclair is named in his honor.

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Today in Black History, 3/1/2015

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• March 1, 1841 Blanche Kelso Bruce, the first elected African American United States Senator to serve a full term, was born enslaved in Prince Edward County, Virginia. Because his father was White, he was able to legally free Bruce and arrange for a trade apprenticeship. Bruce moved to Missouri in 1864 and established a school for Black children. During the Reconstruction Period, he became a wealthy landowner in the Mississippi Delta. Over the years, he won elections in Bolivar County, Mississippi to sheriff, tax collector, and supervisor of education. He was elected by the state legislature to the U. S. Senate in 1874 and served until 1881. Bruce was appointed by President James A. Garfield to be Register of the Treasury in 1881, the first African American whose signature appeared on United States paper currency. Bruce served on the Board of Trustees of Howard University from 1894 to his death March 17, 1898. The Blanche K. Bruce House in Washington, D. C. was declared a National Historic Landmark May 15, 1975 and the Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy School District in Detroit, Michigan is named in his honor. An account of Bruce’s political life and that of his descendents is given in “The Senator and the Socialite: The True Story of America’s First Black Dynasty” (2006).

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Today in Black History, 2/28/2015

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• February 28, 1894 Ernest Judson Wilson, hall of fame Negro Baseball League player and manager, was born in Remington, Virginia. Wilson’s professional career spanned from 1922 to 1945 and he had a career batting average of .351, ranking among the top five hitters in the league. After retiring from baseball, he worked for a road crew in Washington, D. C. Wilson died June 24, 1963. He was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

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Today in Black History, 2/27/2015

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• February 27, 1830 Patrick Francis Healy, the first American of African ancestry to be president of a predominantly White college, was born enslaved in Macon, Georgia. Although he was at least three-quarters European in ancestry, Healy was legally considered a slave and Georgia law prohibited the education of enslaved people. Therefore, Healy’s father arranged for him to move north to obtain an education. Healy graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 1850 and entered the Jesuit order. The order sent him to Europe to study in 1858 because his African ancestry had become an issue in the United States. He earned his doctorate degree from the University of Leuven in Belgium, the first American of African descent to earn a Ph. D. Healy was ordained to the priesthood September 3, 1864, the first Jesuit priest of African descent. Healy returned to the U. S. in 1866 and began teaching at Georgetown University. On July 31, 1874, he was named president of the institution. During his tenure, he helped transform the small 19th century college into a major university for the 20th century. He modernized the curriculum and expanded and upgraded the schools of law and medicine. He also oversaw the construction of Healy Hall which was designated a National Historic Landmark December 23, 1987. He left the college in 1882. Healy died January 10, 1910. The Georgetown Alumni Association established the Patrick Healy Award in 1969 to recognize people who have “distinguished themselves by a lifetime of outstanding achievement and service to Georgetown, the community and his or her profession.” Patrick Francis Healy Middle School in East Orange, New Jersey is named in his honor. “Passing for White: Race, Religion, and the Healy Family, 1820-1920” was published in 2003.

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Today in Black History, 2/26/2015

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• February 26, 1844 James Edward O’Hara, lawyer and congressman, was born in New York City. O’Hara studied law in North Carolina and at Howard University and served as a clerk for the 1868 North Carolina state convention that drafted a new state constitution. He completed his law apprenticeship and passed the North Carolina bar exam in 1871. From 1872 to 1876, O’Hara served as chairman of the board of commissioners for Halifax, North Carolina and from 1883 to 1887 served in the United States House of Representatives. During his time in Congress, O’Hara introduced one of the first bills to make lynching a federal crime. He also introduced a bill to prohibit gender based salary discrimination in education. After being defeated for reelection, he resumed his private law practice. O’Hara died September 15, 1905.

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Today in Black History, 2/25/2015

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• February 25, 1837 Cheyney University, the oldest institution of higher learning for African Americans, was founded in Cheyney, Pennsylvania west of Philadelphia. At its founding, the university was named the African Institute however the name was changed several weeks later to the Institute for Colored Youth. In subsequent years, the school was named Cheyney Training School for Teachers, Cheyney StateTeacher’s College, and Cheyney State College. Today, the university has approximately 1,300 undergraduate students, 180 graduate students, and 125 faculty members. Notable alumni include Bayard Rustin, Ed Bradley, Robert W. Bogle, Congressman Curt Weldon, and Ambassador Joseph M. Segars.

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Today in Black History, 2/24/2015

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• February 24, 1811 Daniel Alexander Payne, clergyman, educator, college administrator and author, was born in Charleston, South Carolina. While studying at home, Payne taught himself mathematics, physical science, and classical languages. He opened his first school in 1829 but was forced to close it in 1835 after South Carolina enacted a law making teaching literacy to free and enslaved people of color subject to imprisonment. Payne joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1840 and was elected a bishop in 1852. In 1856, Payne was a founding member of the board of directors of Wilberforce University which was sponsored by the AME denomination to provide collegiate education to African Americans. He served as president of the university from 1865 to 1877. Payne authored his memoir, “Recollections of Seventy Years,” in 1888 and “The History of the A. M. E. Church” in 1891. Payne died November 2, 1893. Daniel Payne College, a historically Black college in Alabama that closed in 1979, was named in his honor. Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio is also named in his honor.

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Today in Black History, 2/23/2015

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• February 23, 1868 William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, civil rights activist, historian and author, was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Du Bois earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Fisk University in 1888. He went on to Harvard Univershttp://image1.findagrave.com/photos250/photos/2008/103/6876927_120811469516.jpgity where he earned another Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, in 1890, his Master of Arts degree in 1891, and his Ph. D. in 1895, the first African American to earn a doctorate at the university. Du Bois authored 22 books, including “The Philadelphia Negro” (1899), “The Souls of Black Folks” (1903), and “Black Folks, Then and Now” (1939), and helped establish four academic journals. Du Bois was the most prominent intellectual leader and political activist on behalf of African Americans in the first half of the 20th century. He helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909 and for 25 years served as the editor-in-chief of The Crisis magazine. Du Bois was awarded the 1920 NAACP Spingarn Medal. In 1963, Du Bois and his wife became citizens of Ghana where he died April 27, 1963. After his death, the Ghanaian government honored him with a state funeral and the W. E. B. Du Bois Memorial Centre which is located in the Cantonments district of Accra. The site of the house where Du Bois grew up in Great Barrington was designated a National Historic Landmark May 11, 1976 and the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor in 1992. Several structures at universities around the country are named in his honor. The many books about Du Bois include “W. E. B. Du Bois: Negro Leader in a Time of Crisis” (1959) and “W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet” (2007). Du Bois’ name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.

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Today in Black History, 2/22/2015

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• February 22, 1839 Octavius Valentine Catto, educator and civil rights activist, was born in Charleston, South Carolina but raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Catto graduated from the Institute for Colored Youth (now Cheyney University) in 1858. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/db/Octavius_Catto.jpg/220px-Octavius_Catto.jpgHe did a year of post-graduate work, including private tutoring in Greek and Latin and then returned to ICY to teach English and mathematics. In an 1864 commencement address, Catto spoke on the potential insensitivity of White teachers to the needs and interest of African American students. He stated, “It is at least unjust to allow a blind and ignorant prejudice to so far disregard the choice of parents and the will of the colored tax-payers, as to appoint over colored children white teachers, whose intelligence and success, measured by the fruits of their labors, could neither obtain or secure for them positions which we know would be more congenial to their tastes.” Also in 1864, he was elected corresponding secretary of the Pennsylvania Equal Rights League. He also served as vice president of the State Convention of Colored People in 1865. During the Civil War, Catto helped raise eleven regiments of United States Colored Troops in the Philadelphia area and was commissioned a major. On Election Day, October 10, 1871, Black voters faced intimidation and violence from White people opposed to their voting. On his way to vote, Catto was harassed and shot dead. The man that shot him was not convicted. The Octavius V. Catto Community School in Camden, New Jersey is named in his honor and the Major Octavius V. Catto Medal is awarded by the Philadelphia National Guard.

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Today in Black History, 2/21/2015

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• February 21, 1864 St. Francis Xavier Church in East Baltimore, Maryland, the first Catholic Church in the United States officially established for Negroes, was dedicated. In July, 1791, between 500 and 1,000 Black people fleeing the Haitian Revolution had arrived in Baltimore on six French ships. Most of them were free, wealthy, educated, Catholic, and spoke fluent French. In October, 1863, a group of the refugees purchased the church. By 1871, the church was very active with three Sunday masses, a home for the aged poor, an orphanage, a night school for adults, an industrial school, and a lending library. The church moved to its current location in Baltimore in 1968 and continues to operate today.

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Today in Black History, 2/20/2015

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• February 20, 1895 Frederick Douglass, abolitionist, women’s suffragist, editor, author and statesman, died. Douglass was born enslaved February 14, 1818 in Tuckahoe, Maryland and named Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey. He taught himself to read and write and escaped from slavery in 1838. Douglass delivered his first abolitionist speech at the 1841 Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society’s annual convention. He published his autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,” in 1845 and within three years it had been reprinted nine times and there were 11,000 copies in circulation. Douglass lectured throughout the United Kingdom to enthusiastic crowds from 1845 to 1847. During that time, he became officially free when his freedom was purchased by British supporters. After returning to the United States, he began producing The North Star and other newspapers. He attended the first women’s rights convention in 1848 and declared that he could not accept the right to vote himself as a Black man if women could not also claim that right. During the Civil War, Douglass helped the Union Army as a recruiter for the 54th Massachusetts Regiment and after the war served as president of the Freedman’s Savings Bank, marshal of the District of Columbia, minister-resident and consul-general to the Republic of Haiti, and charge d’affaires for the Dominican Republic. In 1877, Douglass bought Cedar Hill in Washington, D. C. which was designated the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site February 12, 1988. The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor in 1965 and numerous streets, schools, and other buildings are named in his honor. The many biographies of Douglass include “Slave and Citizen: The Life of Frederick Douglass” (1980) and “Frederick Douglass, Autobiography” (1994). Douglass’ name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.

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