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Today in Black History, 2/26/2014

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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. In 1871, he completed his law apprenticeship and passed the North Carolina bar exam. 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, 2/25/2014

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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, 2/24/2014

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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. In 1829, he opened his first school which he was forced to close in 1835 after South Carolina enacted a law making teaching literacy to free and enslaved people of color subject to imprisonment. In 1840, Payne joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church and in 1852 was elected a bishop. 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. Payne 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, 2/23/2014

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• February 23, 1868 William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, civil rights activist, historian and author, was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In 1888, Du Bois earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Fisk University. He went on to Harvard University 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. In 1909, he helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and for 25 years served as the editor-in-chief of The Crisis magazine. Du Bois was awarded the NAACP Spingarn Medal in 1920. 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 in 1992 the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor. 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, 2/22/2014

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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. He 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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Young Thurgood: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice; free lecture & book signing features the only biography endorsed by Marshall’s family

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Young-ThurgoodProfessor and scholar Dr. Larry S. Gibson will discuss and sign copies of his latest book, Young Thurgood: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice, the only biography on the celebrated jurist Thurgood Marshall to be endorsed by his family. This free takes place Saturday, March 1, 2014, at 2 pm at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Detroit.

Young Thurgood: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice is an exhaustively researched and engagingly written work that will be of interest to any everyone interested in law, civil rights, and American history. Thurgood Marshall was the most important American lawyer of the twentieth century. He transformed the nation's legal landscape by challenging the racial segregation that had relegated millions to second-class citizenship. He won twenty-nine of thirty-three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, was a federal appeals court judge, served as the U.S. solicitor general, and, for twenty-four years, sat on the U.S. Supreme Court. But Marshall's personality, attitudes, priorities, and work habits had crystallized during earlier years in Maryland.

Young Thurgood is the first close examination of the formative period in Marshall's life. Dr. Gibson presents fresh information about Marshall's family, youth, and education. He describes Marshall's key mentors, the special impact of his high school and college competitive debating, his struggles to establish a law practice during the Great Depression, and his first civil rights cases. The author also sheds new light on the NAACP and its first lawsuits in the campaign that led to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision, and corrects some of the often-repeated stories about Marshall that are inaccurate.

About the Author

Larry S. Gibson is a professor of law at the University of Maryland, Francis King Carey School of Law, where he teaches Evidence, Election Law, Race and the Law, and Civil Procedure. Gibson is a graduate of Howard University and Columbia University School of Law and has practiced law in Maryland. Also a civil rights activist and advocate, Gibson participated in the 1963 March on Washington, engaged in sit-in demonstrations, and lobbied for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He has also acted as legal counsel to several civil rights organizations and leaders.

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Today in Black History, 2/21/2014

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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, 2/20/2014

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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. Douglass taught himself to read and write and in 1838 escaped from slavery. Douglass delivered his first abolitionist speech at the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society’s annual convention in 1841. In 1845, he published his autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,” and within three years it had been reprinted nine times and there were 11,000 copies in circulation. From 1845 to 1847, Douglass lectured throughout the United Kingdom to enthusiastic crowds. 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. In 1848, he attended the first women’s rights convention 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. In 1965, the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor 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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Liberation Film Series presents "Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice;" free film screening and discussion highlight fight against lynching, past and present

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IdaBWells-APassionForJustice-nocrops-1On the heels of the conviction of Michael Dunn for three counts of attempted second-degree murder, and a mistrial in the first-degree murder charge for the death of Jordan Davis, the February installment of the Liberation Film Series features the documentary, Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice, focused on Ms. Wells’ mission which remains relevant today given the tragic results of contemporary “stand your ground” laws, racial profiling, stop-and-frisk police tactics, the escalating incarceration of black males, and the culture of violence with which American communities continue to struggle. The film will be followed by a discussion led by Dr. Melba Joyce Boyd, Distinguished Professor and Chair of Africana Studies, Wayne State University, entitled, “Our Strongest Voice Against the Ubiquitous Lynching of Black America.” This free event takes place Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 2 pm at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Detroit.

Passion for Justice provides an overview of the life of Ida Bell Wells Barnett (1862 - 1931).  Born into slavery on July 16, 1862, in Holly Springs, Mississippi, she became one of the leading African American journalists and activists of her time. She came into the national spotlight in 1884, when she refused to give up her seat on a train and had to be ejected by two men.  She sued the railroad company for discrimination and won, but this decision was subsequently overturned by a higher court.

Wells’ stand against discrimination and racial violence became the mantra for her activist journalism, especially on the subject of lynching. She was the co-owner of the Memphis Free Press, and in 1892 when three of her friends, Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell, and Henry Stewart, were lynched because their small grocery store had taken away customers from a competing white business, Wells reported the crime in her paper. Consequently, her printing equipment was destroyed by a mob and her life publically threatened in an article that appeared in the Memphis daily newspaper. Forced into exile, she began writing for Thomas T. Fortune’s newspaper, The New York Age, under the pseudonym “Iola.”

After she married Attorney Ferdinand Barnett and permanently moved to Chicago, she became the editor of The Conservator, a newspaper Barnett had previously owned and operated. Throughout her life Ida B. Wells advocated for equal rights for blacks and for women. She was a part of the leadership of major activist organizations, alongside persons such as Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Frances E.W. Harper, and W.E.B. Du Bois. She even sought elected office later in life. Her name is the one most often associated with the fight against lynching and other terrorist activities that threatened and undermined the African American community during the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. 

Directed by William Greaves, Passion for Justice has appeared on public television stations and in classrooms throughout the nation and internationally. It provides an excellent introduction and overview of Wells’ dynamic life and the critical roles she played to advance democratic and economic rights from African Americans and women.

About the Liberation Film Series

The Liberation Film Series is supported by the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and the Black/African Studies Departments of Michigan State University, University of Michigan - Dearborn, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University, Wayne County Community College District, Oakland University, and University of Massachusetts – Amherst, National Council of Black Studies, Dr. Errol Henderson (Pennsylvania State University), Media Education Foundation, The Walter P. Reuther Library – Wayne State University, Fashion International, Black & White Look Optical Corporation, Wayne State University Press, Bentley Historical Library - University of Michigan, University Prep Science & Math High School, Nandi’s Book Store, community activists, and individual contributors.

The 2013 - 2014 season of the Liberation Film Series runs through June 2014, and is free and open to the public. For more information, including the complete series schedule and respective speaker profiles, discussion topics, trailers, reading lists, supplemental educational links, and insightful statements of endorsement, please visit www.thewright.org/liberation.

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Today in Black History, 2/19/2014

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• February 19, 1872 Robert Elijah Jones, the first African American general superintendent for the Methodist Episcopal Church, was born in Greensboro, North Carolina. Jones entered the ministry and was licensed to preach at 19. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bennett College in 1895 and his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Gammon Theological Seminary in 1897. From 1897 to 1901, he served as assistant manager of the Southwestern Christian Advocate, an African American newspaper published by the Methodist Church. In 1904, Jones was elected editor of the Advocate, a position he held for the next 16 years. In 1908, he was elected to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church and was the only African American minister on the Joint Commission on the Unification of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Jones was elected general superintendent in 1920 and became resident bishop of the New Orleans area responsible for 1,905 churches. In 1923, Jones founded the Gulfside Assembly which purchased a large piece of land along the Gulf Coast. This was the only location along the Gulf Coast accessible to African Americans for recreational purposes. Jones was president of the Negro Business League in Louisiana, helped found the Dryades Street YMCA, and was prominent in the establishment of the Flint-Goodridge Hospital. He was also chairman of the board of Wiley and Sam Houston Colleges and one of the founding trustees of Dillard University. Jones received several honorary doctorate degrees, including Doctor of Law degrees from Howard University in 1911, Morgan College in 1937, and Lincoln University in 1940. He retired from the ministry in 1944. Jones died May 18, 1960.

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Today in Black History, 2/18/2014

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• February 18, 1874 James H. Harris was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, America’s highest military decoration, for his actions during the Civil War. Harris was born in 1828 in Saint Mary’s County, Maryland. He worked as a farmer before enlisting in the Union Army in 1864 as a private in Company B of the 38th Regiment United States Colored Troops. He was quickly promoted to corporal and then to sergeant. At the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm, September 29, 1864, Harris’ regiment was among a division of Black troops assigned to attack the center of the Confederate defenses at New Market Heights. The attack was met with intense Confederate fire, killing, capturing or wounding over 50 percent of the Black troops, and stalling the effort. When a renewed effort began, Harris and two other men ran at the head of the assault and were the first to breach the Confederate defenses and engage them in hand to hand combat. That attack was successful and the Confederate forces were routed. Not much else is known of Harris’ life after the war except that he died January 28, 1898 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

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Today in Black History, 2/17/2014

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• February 17, 1863 The First Michigan Colored Infantry was formed. The regiment was organized on a farm with 845 Black men from Detroit, southern Michigan, and Ontario, Canada. Many of the volunteers had escaped slavery via the Underground Railroad and others were fighting to free family members still in slavery. On May 23, 1864, the unit was re-designated the 102nd Regiment United States Colored Troops. The 102nd fought throughout South Carolina, eastern Georgia, and Florida during the Civil War. After the war, they served occupation duty until they were disbanded October 17, 1865. A Michigan Historical Marker commemorating the regiment was installed April 12, 1968 in Detroit, Michigan.

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Today in Black History, 2/16/2014

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• February 16, 1852 William Sanders Scarborough, generally believed to be the first African American classical scholar, was born enslaved in Macon, Georgia. Despite prohibitions against educating enslaved Black children, Scarborough learned to read and write by ten. He earned his bachelor’s degree, with honors, in classics in 1875 and his Master of Arts degree from Oberlin College. From 1877 to 1908, he served as a professor in the classical department of Wilberforce University. During that time, he published “First Lessons in Greek” (1881) and “Birds of Aristophanes” (1886). Also, he became the first African American member of the Modern Language Association. In 1908, Scarborough was appointed president of Wilberforce, a position he held until 1921. In 1921, he was appointed by President Warren G. Harding to a position in the United States Department of Agriculture which he occupied until his death September 9, 1926. The Modern Language Association annually award the William Sanders Scarborough Prize for an outstanding scholarly study of Black American literature or culture published the previous year. “The Autobiography of William Sanders Scarborough: An American Journey From Slavery to Scholarship” was published in 2005.

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Today in Black History, 2/15/2014

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• February 15, 1943 The USS Miller, a World War II era Fletcher-class destroyer, was launched by the United States Navy. Between 1944 and 1964, the ship was commissioned for a number of active duty assignments. It was stricken from the Naval Vessel Registry in 1974 and sold for scrap. The ship was named for Doris “Dorie” Miller. Miller was born October 12, 1919 in Waco, Texas. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1939. On December 7, 1941, Miller was serving as a cook on the USS West Virginia in Pearl Harbor when it was attacked by the Japanese. Although he had no anti-aircraft training, Miller took control of one and fired until the gun ran out of ammunition. On May 27, 1942, he was awarded the Navy Cross, the first African American to receive the decoration, for his extraordinary courage in battle. The Navy Cross is the highest decoration bestowed by the Department of the Navy. Miller died November 24, 1943 while serving on the USS Liscome Bay which was hit by a Japanese torpedo and sank. There are many schools, streets, and parks named in Miller’s honor and his story was told in “A Man Named Doris,” published in 2003.

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Today in Black History, 2/14/2014

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• February 14, 1760 Richard Allen, minister, educator and the founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was born enslaved in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Allen taught himself to read and write and in 1777 bought his freedom and that of his brother. Allen joined the Methodist Society at an early age and was qualified as a preacher in 1784. In 1786, he began to preach at St. George’s United Methodist Church. However due to the church’s segregationist policies, in 1787 he and Absalom Jones led the Black members out of the church to form the Free African Society, a non-denominational mutual aid society. Also in 1787, Allen purchased a lot that became the site of Bethel AME Church which was dedicated July 29, 1794. That lot is now the site of Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and is the oldest parcel of real estate in the United States continuously owned by Black people. In 1816, Allen founded the independent denomination of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first fully independent Black denomination in the United States, and was elected its first bishop. From 1797 to his death March 26, 1831, Allen operated a station on the Underground Railroad for individuals escaping slavery. Allen published his autobiography, “The Life Experience and Gospel Labors of the Rt. Rev. Richard Allen: To Which Is Annexed the Rise and Progress of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States,” in 1800. “Richard Allen: Apostle of Freedom” was published in 1935. Allen’s 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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President's Message, February 2014: Rochelle Riley Writes: "Do The Wright Thing!"

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By now you’ve probably seen one of Rochelle Riley's columns about the financial needs of The Wright Museum in the Detroit Free Press:

"Wright museum needs financial footing in Detroit bankruptcy plan,"

"Detroit's African-American museum needs to be spared, too,"

"Who will step up to inspire the Wright museum's salvation?"

We are most grateful for Rochelle’s words of support, and in response, the outpouring of support we’ve received from the community. Rest assured, with your help the museum is not going anywhere. But the columns do make an important point – that The Wright needs both city and community support to be sustainable, and there’s no better time than Black History Month, when all eyes are trained on the museum and its programming, to make those needs known. 

Dr. Carter G. Woodson, known as the founder of Black History Month and “father” of Black history, could only dedicate a few months per year to schooling, and didn’t enter high school until the age of 20. By his 37th birthday, however, he had earned his Bachelor of Literature degree from Berea College in Kentucky, served as a school supervisor in the Philippines, was awarded Bachelor of Arts and Masters degrees from the University of Chicago, and completed his PhD in history at Harvard University, only the second African American (after W.E.B. DuBois) to do so. Dr. Woodson understood the impact education and knowing one's history could have, as illustrated by his fervent commitment to it. He believed all people needed to know and understand African American history, both as a source of pride and self-respect for Black people, and as a basis for equality and respect from society as a whole.

Dr. Charles Wright wanted much the same thing, and The Wright is a direct result of his passion for African American history and culture, and belief in the impact access to it could have on the community. As Rochelle stated, “Leaders… realized that the museum’s value was not just in teaching African-American children about their heritage, but… in teaching all Americans about African-American contributions through history.”

Nevertheless, support from the City of Detroit, which owns the museum, its property, and its collections, has dropped more than 63% since 2009, and staffing has been reduced by 66%. We have done everything possible to do more, with less. Your support now can help us do more than ever before. Please give.

African American history was clearly worthy of the passion and interest of Dr. Woodson and Dr. Wright, and is certainly worthy of our support. You can do the “Wright” thing today – and there’s no better time than Wright now!

do-the-wright-donate-now2

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Today in Black History, 2/13/2014

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• February 13, 1818 Absalom Jones, abolitionist and clergyman, died. Jones was born enslaved November 6, 1746 in Milford, Delaware. By 1785, he had bought his and his family’s freedom. Together with Richard Allen, Jones was one of the first African Americans licensed to preach by the Methodist Church. In 1787, they founded the Free African Society, conceived as a non-denominational mutual aid society to help newly freed enslaved people in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1792, Jones founded the African Church of Philadelphia which opened its doors July 17, 1794 as the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, the first Black church in Philadelphia. Jones was ordained as the first African American priest in the Episcopal Church in 1804. Jones is listed on the Episcopal calendar of saints and blessed under the date of his decease.

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Today in Black History, 2/12/2014

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• February 12, 1865 Henry Highland Garnet became the first African American minister to preach to the United States House of Representatives when he spoke about the end of slavery. Garnet was born enslaved December 23, 1815 near New Market, Maryland. In 1824, his family escaped to freedom in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They subsequently moved to New York City where from 1826 to 1833 he attended the African Free School and the Phoenix High School for Colored Youth. Garnet went on to graduate, with honors, in 1839 from Oneida Theological Institute of Whitesboro. He later joined the American Anti-Slavery Society and frequently spoke at abolitionist conferences. He delivered one of his most famous speeches, “Call to Rebellion,” to the National Negro Convention August 21, 1843. In that speech, he called for the enslaved to act for themselves to achieve total emancipation. By 1849, Garnet began to support emigration of Black people to Mexico, Liberia, or the West Indies and he founded the African Civilization Society. Garnet was appointed president of Avery College in 1868 and in 1881 was appointed U. S. Minister to Liberia. Garnet died February 13, 1882. The Henry Highland Garnet School for Success in Harlem, New York and the HHG Elementary School in Chestertown, Maryland are named in his honor. His biographies include “Henry Highland Garnet: A Voice of Black Radicalism in the Nineteenth Century” (1977) and “Rise Now and Fly to Arms: The Life of Henry Highland Garnet” (1995).

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Today in Black History, 2/11/2014

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• February 11, 1783 Jerena Lee, considered the first female preacher in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was born in Cape May, New Jersey. In her early 20’s, Lee was converted, sanctified, and called to preach. However, her first request for approval was denied. A few years later, Bishop Richard Allen granted her official church approval to preach. Lee preached throughout New England, Canada, and Ohio. She recounted her experiences in her autobiography “The Life and Religious Experience of Jarena Lee, A Coloured Lady” (1836), the first autobiography to be published in the United States by an African American woman. In 1849, she published an expanded version titled “Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs. Jerena Lee.” Nothing is known of her life or death after 1857.

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Today in Black History, 2/10/2014

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• February 10, 1854 Joseph Charles Price, founder and first president of Livingston College, was born in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Price graduated as class valedictorian from Lincoln University in 1879 and was appointed to the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s delegation to the World Ecumenical Conference in London, England. In London, Price amazed audiences with his powerful speaking and was called “The World’s Orator” by the British press. Over the next year, Price raised $10,000 and returned to North Carolina in 1882 to open Livingston College. Price served as president of the college until his death October 25, 1893. In 1890, he was elected president of the National Protective Association and that same year was voted one of the “Ten Greatest Negroes Who Ever Lived.” His biography, “Joseph Charles Price, Educator and Race Leader,” was published in 1943. In 1967, a North Carolina Highway Historical Marker was dedicated in his honor in Elizabeth City.

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