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Today in Black History, 9/3/2014

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• September 3, 1843 Andrew Jackson Smith, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, was born enslaved in Kentucky. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Smith’s owner joined the Confederate military with the intention of taking Smith with him. When Smith learned of his intentions, he escaped and joined the Union Army. By November 30, 1864, Smith was serving as a corporal in the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. On that day, he participated in the Battle of Honey Hill in South Carolina and his actions during the battle earned him the medal, America’s highest military decoration. His citation partially reads, “Forced into a narrow gorge crossing a swamp in the face of the enemy position, the 55th’s Color-Sergeant was killed by an exploding shell, and Corporal Smith took the Regimental Colors from his hands and carried them through heavy grape and canister fire. Although half of the officers and a third of the enlisted men engaged in the fight were killed or wounded, Corporal Smith continued to expose himself to enemy fire by carrying the colors throughout the battle. Through his actions, the Regimental Colors of the 55th Infantry Regiment were not lost to the enemy.” Smith was promoted to color sergeant before leaving the army. He was initially nominated for the medal in 1916 but was denied. Smith died March 4, 1932. It was not until January 16, 2001 that President William J. Clinton presented the medal to Smith’s descendants.

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September 2014 Events at The Wright Museum

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SPECIAL EVENTS

30 Days to Lose It! Season Five Kickoff
Tuesday, September 2 at 6 pm

SEASON FIVE of this popular fitness program for women kicks off with, free health screenings by the Henry Ford Health System, prizes, refreshments courtesy of Southern Nosh, and mingling with the fitness instructors for this season, plus Carla Triplett of NBC’s "The Biggest Loser" and other local notables. Don’t forget to bring your workout clothes, hand weights and exercise mats for the 7:30 pm boot camp with Miss USA 1990, Carole Gist Stramler of Royal Physique Fitness. The workout is free for museum members and only $5 for nonmembers. Sponsored by Beaumont Health System and St. John Providence Health System. http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/1175-30-days-to-lose-it-season-five-kickoff

Tribute to General Gordon Baker, Jr.: "The Evolution of a Revolutionary"
Saturday, September 6 at 6:30 pm

In honor of the late General Baker, Jr., The Wright Museum hosts "The Evolution of a Revolutionary" both as tribute his life and legacy, and prelude to the Liberation Film Series 2014 - 2015: Human Rights: Self-Respect, Self-Defense and Self-Determination. This special event features Marian Kramer, John Williams, Ron March, Frank Joyce, Dr. Aneb Kgositsile, Dr. Luke Tripp, and more. Free. http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/1173-tribute-to-general-gordon-baker-jr-qthe-evolution-of-a-revolutionaryq

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Today in Black History, 9/2/2014

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• September 2, 1766 James Forten, abolitionist and businessman, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At 15, Forten served on a ship during the Revolutionary War and invented a device to handle ship sails. In 1786, he started a very successful sailmaking company 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. In 1833, he helped William Lloyd Garrison and Robert Purvis form the American Anti-Slavery Society and provided generous financial support to the organization over the years. When Forten died March 4, 1842, 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, 9/1/2014

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• September 1, 1869 Robert Tanner Freeman became the first African American to receive a dental degree when he graduated from Harvard University Dental School. Freeman was born in 1846 in Washington, D. C. and was encouraged to pursue a career in dentistry as a way to help alleviate the suffering of other African Americans. Freeman applied to, and was rejected by, two colleges before he was accepted in the inaugural class at Harvard. Upon graduation, he returned to Washington, D. C. to set up a private practice. Unfortunately, Freeman died four years later. The Washington, D. C. chapter of the National Dental Association in named The Robert T. Freeman Dental Society.

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Today in Black History, 8/31/2014

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• August 31, 1817 Charles Henry Langston, abolitionist and political activist, was born in Louisa County, Virginia. In 1835, Langston and his brother enrolled in the preparatory school at Oberlin College, the first Black students to be admitted. After graduating, he became involved in Black political affairs in Ohio. In 1958, he was one of a group of men who freed John Price who had escaped slavery and was captured by United States Marshals under the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. This incident was known as the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue. Langston and a White man were tried and convicted for their part in the rescue. In 1862, Langston moved to Leavenworth, Kansas where he established a school for Black people who had escaped slavery and in 1865 was appointed general superintendent for refugees and freedmen for the Freedmen’s Bureau of Kansas. In 1872, Langston was appointed president of Quindaro Freedman’s School (later Western University), the earliest college for Black people west of the Mississippi River. Langston also served as associate editor of the Historic Times, a local paper that advocated for equal rights and justice for Black people. Langston died November 24, 1892.

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Today in Black History, 8/30/2014

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• August 30, 1901 Roy Wilkins, civil rights leader, was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Wilkins earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota in 1923. In 1931, he became assistant executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. From 1934 to 1949, he served as the editor of The Crisis magazine, the official organ of the organization. In 1955, Wilkins was named executive secretary (renamed director in 1964) of the NAACP. In 1950, he co-founded the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. Wilkins participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965, and the March Against Fear in 1966. In 1964, Wilkins was awarded the NAACP Spingarn Medal. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President Lyndon B. Johnson January 20, 1967. He retired from the NAACP in 1977. Wilkins died September 8, 1981. His autobiography, “Standing Fast: The Autobiography of Roy Wilkins,” was published in 1982. The Roy Wilkins Centre for Human Relations and Human Justice was established at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs in 1992.

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Today in Black History, 8/29/2014

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• August 29, 1910 Vivien Theodore Thomas, surgical technician and animal surgeon, was born in New Iberia, Louisiana. After graduating from high school, Thomas had hoped to go to college and become a doctor. However, the Great Depression derailed his plans. In 1930, he secured a job with Dr. Alfred Blalock at Vanderbilt University. Although doing the job of a laboratory assistant, Thomas was classified and paid as a janitor. In 1941, Blalock accepted the position of chief of surgery at John Hopkins Hospital and requested that Thomas accompany him. On November 29, 1944, using the tools adapted by Thomas from the animal lab and with Thomas at his shoulder coaching him, Blalock performed the first surgery to relieve “blue baby syndrome.” The operation came to be known as the Blalock-Taussig shunt and Thomas received no mention. Over his 38 years at John Hopkins, Thomas trained many surgeons that went on to become chiefs of surgical departments around the country and in 1968 they commissioned the painting of his portrait which hangs next to Blalock’s in the lobby of the Alfred Blalock Clinical Sciences Building. Thomas died November 26, 1985. The Vivian Thomas Young Investigator Awards are given by the Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesiology and in 2004 the city of Baltimore opened the Vivian T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy. Thomas’ autobiography, “Partners of the Heart: Vivian Thomas and his Work with Alfred Blalock” was published in 1985 and in 2004 his story was told in the HBO film “Something the Lord Made.”

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Black Philanthropy Month Spotlight: Magic Johnson #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.

Ervin "Magic" Johnson, Jr.: NBA Legend, Businessman, Broadcaster, Motivational Speaker, Philanthropist

Magic

Magic Johnson is a retired National Basketball Association (NBA) player and NBA Hall of Fame member.  Since retiring in 1992, Magic has been an advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention and safe sex.  Magic’s early philanthropic efforts date back to 1985, when he created A Midsummer Night’s Magic, an event in which proceeds from an annual charity event, which included a celebrity basketball game and a black tie dinner, were donated to the United Negro College Fund.  A Midsummer Night’s Magic, eventually came under the umbrella of the Magic Johnson Foundation (MJF), and lasted until the event’s 20th anniversary in 2005. 

The Magic Johnson Foundation, which he founded in 1991, was initially focused on the fight against HIV/AIDS, but has since expanded to include scholarship programs and community empowerment centers.  MJF works to address the educational, health, and social needs of ethnically diverse, urban communities by developing programs and providing support for community-based organizations.  Through direct and collaborative services and programs, MJF serves more than 250,000 individuals each year, enhancing the lives of economically challenged people and empowering underserved communities.

Photo Credit: www.blackenterprise.com 

 

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Today in Black History, 8/28/2014

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• August 28, 1818 Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable, The Father of Chicago, Illinois, died. Du Sable’s birth date is unknown but it is generally believed that he was born around 1745 in what is now Haiti. Not much is known of his early life. Du Sable first arrived on the western shores of Lake Michigan around 1779 where he built the first permanent non-indigenous settlement just east of the present Michigan Avenue Bridge. From 1780 to 1784, he managed a huge tract of woodlands on the St. Clair River. Du Sable also operated the first fur-trading post. He left Chicago in 1800 for Peoria, Illinois and in 1813 moved to St. Charles, Missouri where he died. In 1968, the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago declared Du Sable “the Founder of Chicago” and erected a granite marker at his grave. His home site in Chicago was designated a National Historic Landmark May 11, 1976 and in 1987 the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor. DuSable High School and the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago are named in his honor. The DuSable Heritage Association in Chicago works to promote the legacy of DuSable.

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Black Philanthropy Month Spotlight: Walt Douglas #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.

Walt Douglas: "The Activist Entrepreneur"

WaltDouglas

Walt Douglas was born and raised in North Carolina, and received both his Bachelor’s Degree and Masters in Business Administration from North Carolina Central University. Although his formative years were spent as a Tar Heel, Douglas became an instant Detroiter when he moved to the city in 1966. To become familiar with the area and its people, he began volunteering and was noticed by city leaders. In 1972 Douglass joined New Detroit, Incorporated as the organizations Vice President, working with the group to address Detroit’s employment and racial tensions.

In addition to his civic engagement, Douglass utilized his background in business to gain recognition as a respected entrepreneur in southeastern Michigan. His co-purchase of Avis Ford in 1986 eventually lead to majority ownership of the car dealership in 1992; today the company has grown to be one of the most successful African American owned dealerships in the country and is owned by his son, Mark Douglas.

Douglas continues to invest in the local and surrounding communities, giving monetarily and by donation of his time and influence. Douglas sits on the Board of Trustees for the Charles. H. Wright Museum of African American history and has supported the institution immensely over the past decade through endowments, event sponsorships, and annual gifts.

Photo Credit: http://msunderhood.com/

 

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Today in Black History, 8/27/2014

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• August 27, 1884 Rose Virginia Scott McClendon, a leading Broadway actress of the 1920s, was born in Greenville, South Carolina. McClendon started acting in church plays as a child but did not become a professional actress until she won a scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Art when she was in her thirties. McClendon made her stage debut in the 1919 play “Justice.” She was one of the few Black actresses who worked consistently in the 1920s and was considered “the Negro first lady of the dramatic stage,” appearing in productions such as “Deep River” (1926), “Porgy” (1928), and “Mulatto” (1936). In 1935, she co-founded the Negro People’s Theatre in Harlem. McClendon died July 12, 1936. In 1937, the Rose McClendon Players was established in her honor.

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Black Philanthropy Month Spotlight: Richard Parsons #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.

Richard Parsons: Business Man, Philanthropist & Humanitarian

richardparsons

Richard “Dick” Parsons is the former chairman of two highly successful enterprises: Citigroup and Time Warner, serving as CEO of the latter until December 2007. Currently, Parson serves as the interim chairman for the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Clippers, as well as a senior advisor at Providence Equity Partners, a private equity investment firm.

This businessman is acknowledged not only for his professional success, but for his civic and nonprofit engagement. Parsons commitments include Chairman Emeritus of the Partnership for New York City; Chairman of the Apollo Theatre Foundation and of the Jazz Foundation of America; and service on the boards of the Museum of Modern Art and the American Museum of Natural History. In 2013, Parson was selected as the lead for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Education Reform Commission, which is aimed at improving the student experience in the state’s public school system. Additionally, Parson can be accredited with launching a host of socially beneficial initiatives, many of which he leveraged through his experience and association with media outlets.

As a symbol exemplifying Parsons’ character and impact, Time Warner recently re-named its volunteer awards event the “Richard D. Parsons Community Impact Awards,” or “The Parsons Awards,” in his honor. 

Photo Credit: http://www.allaccess.com/

 

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Black Philanthropy Month Spotlight: Wyclef Jean #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.

Wyclef Jean: Rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, actor and politician. 

wyclef


Wyclef is the former member of the very popular and well known New Jersey hip hop group, “The Fugees.” He has not only been assessed with being musically inclined but also, most recently Wylcelf ran for candidacy of the 2012 Haitian presidential election. With all the fun of music making and performing around the world, Wylclef makes it his business to continue to give back to his home country, Haiti.

Wyclef has been nationally known and honored within the United States and Haiti for continued giving through donations and charities. He established a foundation by the name of “Yéle Haiti,” which focused on seeking change in education, sports, the arts and the environment. With everything said, we, Charles H. Wright, honor Wyclef Jean this month because of his generosity and empowerment for the passion of standing supportive for his country and their brothering. 

 

Photo Credit:  http://cdn.americansongwriter.com/

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Today in Black History, 8/26/2014

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• August 26, 1843 Norbert Rillieux of New Orleans, Louisiana was granted patent number 3237 for the multiple-effect evaporation system for refining sugar. His invention addressed all of the shortcomings of prior sugar refining processes and by 1849 thirteen Louisiana sugar factories were using his invention. His invention was an important development in the growth of the sugar industry. Rillieux was born March 17, 1806 in New Orleans, Louisiana. As a Creole from a prominent family, he had access to education and privileges not available to many other Black people. In the early 1820s, he traveled to Paris, France to attend the prestigious Ecole Centrale, studying physics, mechanics, and engineering. He became an expert in steam engines and published several papers about the use of steam to work devices. At 24, Rillieux became the youngest teacher at Ecole Centrale. While in France, Rillieux started researching ways to improve the sugar refining process and after returning to the United States in 1833 began to develop the machine for which he was granted the patent. In the 1850s, Rillieux presented a plan to the government of New Orleans to eliminate the moist breeding grounds for the mosquitoes that were causing a Yellow Fever outbreak. His plan was turned down. Several years later, as the Yellow Fever outbreak continued, the city accepted a plan from White engineers that was similar to the plan proposed by Rillieux. In the late 1850s, Rillieux returned to France where he died October 8, 1894. Rillieux was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2004.

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Today in Black History, 8/25/2014

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• August 25, 1746 Native Americans attacked two White families in Deerfield, Massachusetts in an area called “The Bars.” Lucy Terry, an enslaved Black woman, composed a ballad about the attack titled “Bars Fight” which is considered the oldest known work of literature by an African American. Her poem was preserved orally until it was published in 1855. Terry was born around 1730 and stolen from Africa and sold into slavery as an infant. A successful Black man purchased her freedom and married her in 1756. A persuasive orator, Terry won a case against false land claims before the Supreme Court of Vermont in the 1790s. She also delivered a three hour address to the Board of Trustees of Williams College to support the admittance of her son to the college. Although unsuccessful, the speech was remembered for its eloquence and skill. Terry died July 11, 1821.

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Today in Black History, 8/24/2014

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• August 24, 1854 The National Emigration Convention of Colored People opened in Cleveland, Ohio. The convention was led by early African American nationalist Martin R. Delany and attracted 106 delegates from around the United States. The three day convention was called to discuss the merits of emigration and to develop a practical plan for African Americans to emigrate to the West Indies or Central or South America. Delegates approved a series of resolutions which commented on the political and social conditions of Black people in the U. S. They also approved a document, “Political Destiny of the Colored Race,” which urged emigration to areas of Central and South America “which provide opportunity for the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty.” The convention established a Board of Commissioners with Delany as president and William Webb and Charles W. Nighten as commissioners. The movement was dissolved in 1861.

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Today in Black History, 8/23/2014

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• August 23, 1899 Moses Williams, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, died. Williams was born October 10, 1845 in Carrollton, Louisiana. Not much is known of his early life but by August 16, 1881, he was serving as a first sergeant in Company I of the 9th Cavalry Regiment during the Indian Wars. On that day, he participated in an engagement in the foothills of the Cuchillo Negro Mountains in New Mexico and his actions earned him the medal, America’s highest military decoration. His citation reads, “Rallied a detachment, skillfully conducted a running fight of 3 or 4 hours, and by his coolness, bravery, and unflinching devotion to duty in standing by his commanding officer in an exposed position under a heavy fire from a large party of Indians saved the lives of at least 3 of his comrades.” Williams was awarded the medal November 12, 1896. He later reached the rank of ordinance sergeant and left the army in 1898.

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Black Philanthropy Month Spotlight: Usher Raymond #BPM2014

Posted by The Wright Museum
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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.

Usher Raymond: Singer-Songwriter, Dancer, Philanthropist, Entrepreneur, and Actor

Usher

 

Usher Raymond is the founder of Usher's New Look non-profit organization. Through partnering with businesses and organizations across the nation, Raymond’s non- profit provides mentoring and real-world leadership experience for youth. New Look is on a mission to change young people’s outlook on life through education and involvement through internships. Raymond has supported a number of other charities and foundations throughout his career, including participation in benefit basketball games and performing as part of a Hurricane Katrina relief concert in 2005.  The artist also performed a public service announcement to promote the "Do Something" campaign for civic engagement. Raymond was honored by the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and Ford Motor Company at the 2010 Ford Freedom Awards, acknowledging his civic accomplishments and work.

 


Photo Credit:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-566775/Time-Usher-40-watches-hes-late.html

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Today in Black History, 8/22/2014

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• August 22, 1791 The African descended enslaved people of Saint Domingue (Haiti) rose in revolt and plunged the colony into a 12 year revolution that freed them from colonization and slavery. One of the most successful leaders of the revolution was Toussaint L’Ouverture. On January 1, 1804 Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the new leader of the revolution, declared the former colony independent and renamed it the Republic of Haiti, the first independent nation in Latin American and the first post-colonial independent Black led nation in the world.

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Voices of the Civil War Episode 31: "The Civil War & the Black Press"

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AUGUST 2014: The Voices of the Civil War is a five-year film series dedicated to celebrating and commemorating the Civil War over the course of the sesquicentennial. Each month, new episodes cover pertinent topics that follow the monthly events and issues as they unfolded for African Americans during the Civil War. Within these episodes there are various primary sources – letters and diaries, newspaper reports, and more - to recount various experiences of blacks during this period. We encourage your feedback and commentary through our Voices of the Civil War web blog.

Click here to visit the Voices of the Civil War blog to see previous episodes.

In August of 1864, Thomas Morris Chester became the first African American war correspondent to work for a major daily newspaper in the United States. He became an eyewitness to fierce battles between the Union and Confederates and reported on the bravery of African American soldiers on the front lines.

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