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African World Festival, Good Times and Family Fun in Midtown Detroit #AWF14

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African World Festival: 32 years of cultural significance

AWF Logo 2014

The 32nd annual African World Festival is not only an internationally explosive celebration of African cultures, food, music, handcrafts, visual arts, and more, it is an interactive weekend, Aug. 15 - 17, for everyone to take in the sights and sounds of the motherland on the expansive grounds of the historic Charles H. Wright African American History Museum, 315 E. Warren Ave. in midtown Detroit.

“We try to serve the full community, have a great time, and share with the greater community the wonderful things about our culture and tradition,” Njia Kai, festival director, said.

The festival, slated 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily, annually attracts visitors nationally and internationally, Njia said.

“We have a very loyal core group that attends the festival every year. There are tens of thousands of folks that make it their destination for a family reunion weekend, there is quite a bit of annual fellowship and reunion involved.”

And it is for a good reason. The festive three-day event is free to the public, and attendees can expect to experience everything from fashion to community drum calls.

One of many features include a noon-4 p.m. Aug. 15 Watoto Celebration, including a special field trip for summer youth programs, presentations, performances and games. The event is also open  noon - 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Watoto is Swahili for “children.”
 

This year, the festival partnered with the Michigan State University Detroit Center and Food Plus Detroit to host a wide variety of lectures, demonstrations and presentations on the legacy of Africans and African Americans in agriculture 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Friday - Sunday.

The festival also partnered with the Dearborn-based Arab American National Museum to feature a film from Morocco inside the museum’s GM Theatre at 2:30 p.m. daily.

The international marketplace, described as “a hit” will have more than 150 vendors who feature art, accessories, jewelry, clothing and assortments of items handcrafted and imported.

With other great draws such as concerts by the Clark Sisters and Kiki Sheard at 6 p.m. Aug. 16, and a Detroit Rocks the Runway fashion show at 9 p.m. the same day, it will be hard to decide what to do first.

clark-sisters

Here’s a tip: experience it all.

“We are open and inviting the full community to come in and take a sample of the culture, foods, arts, technology and entertainment that is featured at the event,” Njia said.

One of the festival’s favorite supporters, Heritage Works, a local cultural arts dance and drum company will sponsor African Folklife Village, an interactive installation where the public can view and participate in various traditional crafts and drum and dance.

Festival-91

Rhonda Greene, director of Heritage Works, said her company promotes youth, family and community development through cultural traditions, which is a culminating event at the festival.

“The African World Festival is an opportunity to showcase cultures from around the world that have been impacted by African traditions,” Rhonda said. “Folk Life is a celebration, and we primarily focus on folk traditions.”

From Senegal to Guinea, the installation will feature classes on Hip Hop and modern dance. A master quilter will also be in attendance. Other facets include showcasing the connection between African head wrapping and hats in the black community.

“There is a big connection,” Rhonda said.

For more information, go to www.AWFDetroit.com or call 248.494-5800.

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Black Philanthropy Month Spotlight: Donald Frank “Don” Cheadle, Jr. #BPM2014

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August 1st marks the beginning of Black Philanthropy Month 2014 (#BPM2014), a month-long, multimedia campaign designed to inform, inspire and invest in Black philanthropic leadership. Founded by the African Women’s Development Fund USA and proclaimed by the United Nations and Congress in August 2011, BPM was created as an annual, global celebration of giving in the U.S. and worldwide. This year’s theme is “Generosity at Home and Around the Globe.” Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for our daily profile of black philanthropists.

CheadleDonald Frank “Don” Cheadle, Jr.: Actor, Humanitarian

 Cheadle co-authored a book, Non On Our Watch: The Mission to  End  Genocide in Darfur and Beyond, aimed at providing  background  information about the Darfur crisis and how the public  can help.  Cheadle  also co-founded the Not on Our Watch Project, an organization focusing  global attention and resources  to end and prevent mass violence and  genocide.  Cheadle has a  history of supporting numerous charities and  foundations  including, but not limited to: Ante Up For Africa (an annual  charity  poker tournament, which Cheadle helped organize in  2007 and  has raised millions of U.S. Dollars for Darfur charities  since it  began);  National Kidney Foundation; US Doctors for  Africa; and  After School All- Stars.  In 2007, Cheadle received the  Black  Entertainment Television  (BET) Humanitarian award for his  humanitarian efforts for the people of  Darfur and Rwanda.  In  2010, Cheadle was named United Nations  Environment Program  Goodwill Ambassador#BPM2014 #TheWrightMuseum

Photo credit: www.filmbanana.com

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Today in Black History, 8/8/2014

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• August 8, 1796 The African Society was formed in Boston, Massachusetts with 44 African American members. There purpose was to provide a form of health insurance and funeral benefits, as well as spiritual brotherhood, to the members. They created a pamphlet titled “Laws of the African Society” that specified requirements for membership, dues and procedures for paying benefits to the families of sick or deceased members. That pamphlet is on display at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

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Black Philanthropy Month Spotlight: Pam Rodgers #BPM2014

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August 1st marks the beginning of Black Philanthropy Month 2014 (#BPM2014), a month-long, multimedia campaign designed to inform, inspire and invest in Black philanthropic leadership. Founded by the African Women’s Development Fund USA and proclaimed by the United Nations and Congress in August 2011, BPM was created as an annual, global celebration of giving in the U.S. and worldwide. This year’s theme is “Generosity at Home and Around the Globe.” Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for our daily profile of black philanthropists.

pam-rodgers

Pam Rodgers

A Detroit native, Pam Rodgers grew up with the auto industry in her backyard. Today, with  the success of Rodger’s Chevrolet, she owns one of the most successful women and  minority owned car dealerships in the country. Through her business as well as individual  efforts, Rodgers makes sure to give back to the community that supported and ensured her  success, one of those organizations benefiting being the Charles H. Wright Museum of  African American History.

“It’s an important contribution to the community,” Rodgers, who gifted $25k to the museum  during Judge Damon A. Keith’s 2004 fundraising appeal, said of the institution. “And it’s a  vital for our kids to know their history.”

Rodgers has supported the museum for over a decade, answering multiple appeals. 

Rodgers Chevrolet has been recognized for their community involvement and local civic engagement since Rodgers’ acquisition of the company in 1996. Rodger’s has also taken an active individual role in community organizations such as Alternatives for Girls, the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, and the Detroit Riverfront Conservatory. #BPM2014 #TheWrightMuseum 

 photo credit: http://detroitriverfront.org/our-story/board-directors/pamela-rodgers-0

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Today in Black History, 8/7/2014

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• August 7, 1866 Elisabeth “Lisette” Denison Forth, landowner and philanthropist, died. Forth was born enslaved in 1786 near Detroit, Michigan. Around 1807, she moved to Canada to establish residency and gain her freedom. Forth returned to Detroit around 1815 and worked as a domestic servant. In 1825, she invested the pay she had received in four lots in Pontiac, Michigan, becoming the first Black property owner in the city. Over the years, Forth bought stock in a steamboat and bank and in 1837 bought a lot in Detroit. In her will, Forth left $3,000 for the construction of a church. This provided the majority of the money for the construction of St. James Episcopal Church in Grosse Ile, Michigan which was completed in 1868. The churches doors are dedicated to the memory and benevolence of Forth. State of Michigan historical markers are located at the location of the four lots Forth purchased in Pontiac, the house she owned in Detroit, and at the church. Her biography, “Looking for Lisette: in quest of an American Original,” was published in 2001.

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Black Philanthropy Month Spotlight: Bill and Camille Cosby #BPM2014

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August 1st marks the beginning of Black Philanthropy Month 2014 (#BPM2014), a month-long, multimedia campaign designed to inform, inspire and invest in Black philanthropic leadership. Founded by the African Women’s Development Fund USA and proclaimed by the United Nations and Congress in August 2011, BPM was created as an annual, global celebration of giving in the U.S. and worldwide. This year’s theme is “Generosity at Home and Around the Globe.” Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for our daily profile of black philanthropists.

William “Bill” and Camille Cosby: Actor, educator, and activists 

cosbys The Cosby’s have a long history as philanthropists and a true  passion for higher education. In 1988 the couple donated $20  million dollars to Spelman College, a historical Black college  located in Atlanta, GA. That same year they gave $1.3 million to Fish University. By 1994 in total they donated over $70 million dollars to several different Historically Black Colleges and  Universities.

 In memory of the Cosby’s late son Ennis the Hello Friend/Ennis Cosby Foundation was created in 1997, to share Ennis’ love for education. The Foundation supports the equalization of service, attitudes, and education for those with learning difficulties. In honor of the Foundation an award winning documentary was produced, then aired on HBO in 2002. The documentary featured many known actors, artists, business leaders, athletes and others who defeated learning difficulties. #BPM2014 #TheWrightMuseum

Photo Credit: http://madamenoire.com/104694/celebrity-philanthropists-41410/10/

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Today in Black History, 8/6/2014

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• August 6, 1848 Susan Baker King Taylor, educator and humanitarian, was born enslaved in Liberty County, Georgia. As a young girl, Taylor was secretly taught to read and write by Black women. In 1862, during the Civil War, Taylor’s family moved to Union controlled St. Simons Island where at 14 Taylor organized a school for the children on the island. This made her the first Black teacher to openly instruct African American children in Georgia. In 1866, her family returned to Savannah, Georgia where she established a school for freed Black children. In the early 1870s, Taylor moved to Boston, Massachusetts where she joined and became president of the Women’s Relief Corps which gave assistance to soldiers and hospitals. In 1902, Taylor published her memoirs, “Reminiscences of My Life in Camp: An African American Woman’s Civil War Memoir.” Taylor died October 6, 1912.

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Black Philanthropy Month Spotlight: Shawn Carter (Jay-Z)

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August 1st marks the beginning of Black Philanthropy Month 2014 (#BPM2014), a month-long, multimedia campaign designed to inform, inspire and invest in Black philanthropic leadership. Founded by the African Women’s Development Fund USA and proclaimed by the United Nations and Congress in August 2011, BPM was created as an annual, global celebration of giving in the U.S. and worldwide. This year’s theme is “Generosity at Home and Around the Globe.” Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for our daily profile of black philanthropists.

Jay-ZShawn Corey Carter (Jay-Z): Hip Hop Artist, Record Producer, and Entrepreneur

Image Credit: http://www.eurweb.com/2013/12/jay-z /

Shawn Carter (Jay-Z) is most recognized for being a pioneer in the hip-hop world. However, Jay-Z also is the founder of a flourishing scholarship foundation.

The Shawn Carter Foundation has been in service since 2002, and has been officially established as a public charity. The mission of the foundation is to assist those who are not financially equipped to further their education at a higher learning institution. Not only does the scholarship help pay for tuition costs, but also covers book and lab fees, food, travel, and other personal expenses. To date, the foundation has given over 750 scholarships totaling over $1.7 million dollars. #BPM2014 #TheWrightMuseum

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Today in Black History, 8/5/2014

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• August 5, 1763 Bill Richmond, hall of fame boxer, was born enslaved in Staten Island, New York. In 1777, Richmond was taken to England to apprentice as a cabinet maker but he took up boxing. Known as “The Black Terror,” he was one of the most accomplished and respected fighters of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Richmond retired from boxing in 1818 at the age of 55 and established a boxing academy. Richmond died December 28, 1829. He was posthumously inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005.

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Black Philanthropy Month Spotlight: Jon Barfield & Dr. Vivian Carpenter

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August 1st marks the beginning of Black Philanthropy Month 2014 (#BPM2014), a month-long, multimedia campaign designed to inform, inspire and invest in Black philanthropic leadership. Founded by the African Women’s Development Fund USA and proclaimed by the United Nations and Congress in August 2011, BPM was created as an annual, global celebration of giving in the U.S. and worldwide. This year’s theme is “Generosity at Home and Around the Globe.” Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for our daily profile of black philanthropists.

barfieldJon Barfield & Dr. Vivian Carpenter

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/signaturemedia/3237341738/in/photostream/

Jon Barfield, President and CEO of LJ Holdings Investment Company, LLC, and Vivian Carpenter, President of Supreme Communications Group, LLC, are a local example of a philanthropic power couple. Both Barfield and Carpenter have supported the Charles H. Wright Museum individually and as a joint entity for over a decade, Barfield serving on the Board of Trustees and Carpenter contributing significantly to Judge Damon A. Keith’s 2004 fundraiser. This past year, Barfield sought to make a noteworthy annual gift, donating $100,000 to primarily assist in the museum’s sustainability efforts. Barfield had a supplementary goal of motivating his peers to give through leading by example.

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Today in Black History, 8/4/2014

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• August 4, 1810 Robert Purvis, abolitionist, was born in Charleston, South Carolina. Although Purvis and his brothers were three-quarters European by ancestry and inherited considerable wealth from their native English father, they chose to identify with the Black community and use their education and wealth to support the abolition of slavery and educational projects for the advancement of African Americans. In 1833, Purvis helped abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison establish the American Anti-Slavery Society and from 1845 to 1850 served as president of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society. By his account, Purvis estimated that from 1831 to 1861 he helped one enslaved person per day escape to the North. In 1883, Purvis co-edited “The History of the Underground Railroad in Chester and Neighboring Counties of Pennsylvania. Purvis died April 15, 1898. His biography, “But One Race: The Life of Robert Purvis,” was published in 2007.

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Black Philanthropy Month Spotlight: David Maurice Robinson

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black bpm 2014

August 1st marks the beginning of Black Philanthropy Month 2014 (#BPM2014), a month-long, multimedia campaign designed to inform, inspire and invest in Black philanthropic leadership. Founded by the African Women’s Development Fund USA and proclaimed by the United Nations and Congress in August 2011, BPM was created as an annual, global celebration of giving in the U.S. and worldwide. This year’s theme is “Generosity at Home and Around the Globe.” Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for our daily profile of black philanthropists.

David Maurice Robinson: Former Professional Basketball Player and Founder of the Carver Academy

Image credit: Copyright © Basketballphoto.com/

RobinsonDavid Robinson is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, and former professional basketball player who played his entire career with the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) San Antonio Spurs; he retired from professional basketball in 2003. Robinson earned the nickname “The Admiral” because he served as an officer in the United States Navy before joining the NBA. In 2001, Robinson pledged $9 million when he founded the Carver Academy in San Antonio, a non-profit private middle school named after George Washington Carver, to provide more opportunities for inner-city children. Carver Academy is now known as IDEA Carver, because of the school’s transformation to a public charter school in 2012. Robinson is now a well-established businessman who, aside from physically donating his time and energy, also donates 10 percent of his income and profits from business ventures to charitable causes. #BPM2014 #TheWrightMuseum

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Today in Black History, 8/3/2014

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• August 3, 1921 Matthew James Perry, Jr., the first African American from the Deep South appointed to the federal judiciary, was born in Columbia, South Carolina. After serving in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946, Perry earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1948 and his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1951 from South Carolina State College. He served as chief counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s South Carolina Conference of Branches and in that capacity argued hundreds of cases that helped desegregate schools, hospitals, restaurants, and other public places, including the integration of Clemson University in 1963. He also served for 16 years on the NAACP national board. In 1976, Perry was appointed to the United States Military Court of Appeals, the second African American to serve on that court. In 1979, he was appointed to the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, South Carolina’s first African American federal judge. He assumed senior status in 1995. Perry died July 29, 2011. The courthouse in Columbia is named in his honor.

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Black Philanthropy Month Spotlight: Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

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black bpm 2014

August 1st marks the beginning of Black Philanthropy Month 2014 (#BPM2014), a month-long, multimedia campaign designed to inform, inspire and invest in Black philanthropic leadership. Founded by the African Women’s Development Fund USA and proclaimed by the United Nations and Congress in August 2011, BPM was created as an annual, global celebration of giving in the U.S. and worldwide. This year’s theme is “Generosity at Home and Around the Globe.” Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for our daily profile of black philanthropists.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Literary Critic, Educator, Scholar, Writer, and Editor

Image credit: http://english.fas.harvard.edu/faculty/gates/

GatesDr. Henry Louis Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Although Dr. Gates is not recognized for large financial contributions, his contribution as an educator is priceless. Amongst other things, Dr. Gates has worked to bring about social, educational, and intellectual equality for black Americans.

In January 2008, Dr. Gates co-founded the website TheRoot.com, an online magazine that provides smart, timely coverage of breaking news, thought-provoking commentary, and gives voice to a changing, more diverse America. #BPM2014 #TheWrightMuseum

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Today in Black History, 8/2/2014

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 • August 2, 1891 George Washington Williams, Civil War veteran, minister and historian, died. Williams was born October 16, 1849 in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Union Army at 14 and fought during the final battles of the Civil War. After returning to civilian life, he enrolled at the Newton Theological Institute and earned his Doctor of Divinity degree in 1874, the first African American to graduate from the institution. After graduating, Williams held several pastorates, including the historic Twelfth Baptist Church of Boston, Massachusetts. Later, Williams moved to Cincinnati, Ohio and became the first African American elected to the Ohio State Legislature, serving one term from 1880 to 1881. In 1885, President Chester Arthur appointed Williams Minister Resident and Consul General to Haiti. In addition to his religious and political achievements, Williams also authored “The History of the Negro Race in America 1619 to 1880” (1883) and “A History of Negro Troops in the War of Rebellion” (1887). Williams’ biography, “George Washington Williams,” was published in 1985.

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Black Philanthropy Month Spotlight: Beverly Bond

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black bpm 2014

August 1st marks the beginning of Black Philanthropy Month 2014 (#BPM2014), a month-long, multimedia campaign designed to inform, inspire and invest in Black philanthropic leadership. Founded by the African Women’s Development Fund USA and proclaimed by the United Nations and Congress in August 2011, BPM was created as an annual, global celebration of giving in the U.S. and worldwide. This year’s theme is “Generosity at Home and Around the Globe.” Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for our daily profile of black philanthropists.

Beverly Bond: Celebrity DJ and Founder of Black Girls Rock, Inc.

             IMAGE: http://irockjazz.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/bond_myspace.jpg

Beverly-Bond2Beverly Bond is no stranger when it comes to entertaining. She began her career as a DJ at the hottest nightclubs in New York, showing her skills on the turntables in front of packed crowds that included celebrities from the entertainment and music industries. Bond then realized that she had the talent and abilities that demanded attention from others. Bond launched the Black Girls Rock (BGR) movement in 2006. BGR is a non-profit organization with the mission to empower and mentor young women of color. The organization also promotes the arts; Black Girls Rock, along with the United Negro College Fund, sponsors the Imagine A Future Scholarship which offers up to $5,000 to girls in college maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA.

In honor of some of the great achievements among black women, BET has hosted a BGR event every year since 2010. Awards are given to women of color that are leaders in their community. Honorees include Raven-Symone and MC Lyte. Most recently, Bond has been recognized by Ebony magazine as being one of the most influential blacks in America. #BPM2014 #TheWrightMuseum

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New Music Video Features Acting Cameo by Acclaimed Opera Singer George Shirley

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In this recently released video by musical artist Aloe Blacc for his song, Hello World (The World is Ours), 2014 Wright Museum partner, acclaimed Metropolitan Opera Singer and Grammy Award-winning University of Michigan Professor George Shirley makes an acting cameo. This past March, The Wright Museum and Videmus, as part of the George Shirley Education and Outreach Initiative, presented a masterclass for students to work directly with Mr. Shirley.

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Today in Black History, 8/1/2014

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• August 1, 1834 The British Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 became effective, abolishing slavery in the majority of the British Empire. The act freed enslaved people under six. Enslaved people six and older were designated as apprentices and would continue to serve their former owners for up to six additional years before being freed. The Act also included the right of compensation for slave owners who would be losing their property.

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Today in Black History, 7/31/2014

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• July 31, 1831 Susan J. Tompkins Garnet, the first African American female school principal in the New York public school system, was born in Brooklyn, New York. Garnet received her early education from her grandmother, who ran a school in the attic of her home, and at 14 became a teacher’s assistant. She began teaching at the African Free School of Williamsburg in 1854. On April 30, 1863, Garnet was appointed principal of Grammar School Number 4, a position she held until her retirement in 1900. Garnet was also the founder of the Equal Suffrage League in the late 1880s and served as superintendent of suffrage for the National Association of Colored Women. She also served as a delegate to the inaugural Universal Races Congress in 1911. Garnet died September 17, 1911.

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Today in Black History, 7/30/2014

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• July 30, 1883 Elizabeth Ross Haynes, the first African American woman to serve on the national board of the Young Women’s Christian Association, was born in Lowndes County, Alabama. Haynes earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Fisk University in 1903 and her Master of Arts degree in sociology from Columbia University in 1923. She joined the YWCA in 1908 as the student secretary for work among Black women. Over the years, Haynes promoted the establishment of new branches to help female migrants find job training and employment and in 1922 was appointed to the YWCA Council on Colored Work. The following year, she was appointed to the YWCA national board. Haynes work with the YWCA was influential in the board’s decision to integrate in 1946. Throughout the 1930s, she also carried out several studies on African American women’s employment for the United States Department of Labor. Haynes died October 26, 1953.

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