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Today in Black History, 1/18/2013

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• January 18, 1856 Daniel Hale Williams, the first African American cardiologist in the United States, was born in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. Williams earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from Chicago Medical College (now Northwestern University Medical School) in 1883. On May 4, 1891, he founded Provident Hospital, the first integrated hospital in the United States, and training school for nurses in Chicago, Illinois. In 1893, Williams performed an operation on a man that had been stabbed in the chest. The operation required that he open the man’s chest and close the wound around the heart. This is often noted as the first successful surgery on the heart. In 1895, he co-founded the National Medical Association for Black doctors. In 1913, he became a charter member, and the only Black member, in the American College of Surgeons. Williams received honorary degrees from Howard and Wilberforce Universities. Williams died August 4, 1931. Biographies of Williams include “Daniel Hale Williams: Negro Surgeon” (1968) and “Daniel Hale Williams: Open Heart Doctor” (1970). The Daniel Hale Williams Preparatory School of Medicine in Chicago is named in his honor.

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Today in Black History, 1/17/2013

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• January 17, 1759 Paul Cuffee, businessman and abolitionist, was born on Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts. At the age of 16, Cuffee signed on to a whaling ship and by the time he was 21 owned a fleet of ships and a 116 acre farm. As Cuffee became more successful, he invested in more ships and made a sizable fortune. Cuffee believed that the emigration of blacks to colonies outside of the United States was a viable solution to the race problem in America and in 1811 launched his first expedition to Sierra Leone. While in Sierra Leone, he helped to establish the Friendly Society of Sierra Leone, a trading organization run by black people. Cuffee died September 9, 1817. Biographies of Cuffee include “Paul Cuffee: Black America and the African Return” published in 1972 and “Paul Cuffee: Black Entrepreneur and Pan-Africanist” published in 1988. He is honored with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church on March 4.

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2013 MLK Day at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History: The Wright Museum’s Most Popular Day of the Year Features Wide Array of Activities

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The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History presents the 13th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Breakfast on Monday, January 21, 2013 beginning at 8 am.  The breakfast sets the stage for a full day of activities honoring Dr. King and his legacy at the museum, located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, on its most popular day of the year.

Hosted by the Women’s and Friends’ Committees of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the breakfast, an annual fundraiser for the museum and its ongoing educational programming, features an interfaith panel comprised of Pastor Jamie Kjos, Brightmoor Christian Church; Imad Hamad, President/CEO ACCHR; Rabbi Simcha Tolwin, Aish Hatorah of Detroit; and Pastor Robert L. Harris, St. Paul Church of God In Christ.  Also included will be an invocation by Rev. Dr. Georgia Hill of Plymouth United Church of Christ, and performances by singer Armond and the Institute of Music & Dance at Marygrove College.

The Wright Museum opens to the public at 9 am with a full day of activities, and will remain open until 7 pm.  The day’s schedule includes:
·       9 am: Museum opens to the general public
·       11 am – 3 pm: Freedom On My Mind children’s workshops and craft-making
·       1:30 pm & 3 pm: Music of the Movement concert performances
·       2 pm: This Little Light of Mine children’s storytelling
·       2 pm – 4 pm: Henry Ford Health System presents Ask the Doctor health screenings
·       3 pm: A King Among Us video tribute to Dr. King

Additionally, visitors will be able to view the Table of Brotherhood, on loan from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., National Memorial in Washington D.C. and signed by luminaries such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Spike Lee; and an official maquette (scale model) of the MLK National Memorial.  The museum will also have a live video stream of the Presidential Inauguration, taking place for the first time on MLK Day, in the General Motors Theater.

Tickets for the Commemorative Breakfast are $35 and can be purchased online at www.TheWright.org, by calling (800) 838-3006, or at the museum during normal business hours.  Discounted group tickets are available for $30 each when purchased in groups of 10; please call or visit the museum for group discounts.  Tickets include admission to all MLK Day activities at the museum.  Doors open at 7 am and breakfast will be served promptly at 8 am in the Museum’s Ford Freedom Rotunda.  Valet parking will be available.

MLK Day activities and exhibits are free with museum admission, which is $8 for adults (ages 13-61), $5 for seniors (62+) and youth ages (3-12), and free for Museum members and children under 3.

Founded in 1965 and located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is the world's largest institution dedicated to the African American experience.  For more information, please visit TheWright.org.

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Today in Black History, 1/16/2013

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• January 16, 1865 Union General William T. Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 15 which confiscated as Federal property a strip of coastline stretching from Charleston, South Carolina to the St. John’s River in Florida. The order redistributed the 400,000 acres of land to newly freed black families in 40-acre segments. In a later order, Sherman also authorized the army to loan mules to the newly settled black farmers. This is the likely origin of the phrase “forty acres and a mule.” Unfortunately, the order was a short-lived promise for black people. President Andrew Johnson overturned Sherman’s order in the fall of 1865 and returned the land to the planters who had originally owned it.

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Today in Black History, 1/15/2013

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• January 15, 1891 Bridget “Biddy” Mason, nurse, real estate entrepreneur, and philanthropist, died. Mason was born enslaved August 15, 1818 in Hancock County, Georgia. She was given to a couple as a wedding present and they took her to Mississippi and then to California. California was a free state and any enslaved person brought into the state was supposed to be free. The couple refused to free Mason. Therefore, she petitioned a Los Angeles court and was granted her freedom. Mason worked as a nurse and a midwife and was one of the first African Americans to purchase land in the city. She amassed a fortune of nearly $300,000 which she shared with charities. She was instrumental in founding a traveler’s aid center and an elementary school for black children. In 1872, Mason donated the land to and was a founding member of First African Methodist Episcopal Church, the city’s first and oldest black church. Mason is an honoree in the California Social Work Hall of Distinction and is annually celebrated on Biddy Mason Day November 19th. Her biography, “The Life and Times of Biddy Mason,” was published in 1976.

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Today in Black History, 1/14/2013

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• January 14, 1904 Issac Payne, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, died. Payne was born in 1854 in Coahuila, Mexico. He was a descendant of runaway enslaved black people who lived with the Seminole Indian tribe. Payne immigrated to the United States in 1871 when the U.S. Army promised the Black Seminoles land, rations, and pay to serve as scouts. He enlisted as a trumpeter and on April 25, 1875 he and three other men “participated in a charge against 25 hostiles while on a scouting patrol” by the Pecos River in Texas. His actions earned him the medal, America’s highest military decoration. Payne left the army in 1901 and not much else is known of his life.

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Today in Black History, 1/13/2013

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• January 13, 1835 Isaac Myers, labor leader, was born in Baltimore, Maryland. Myers received his early education from a private day school because Maryland provided no public education for African American children. At the age of 16, he became an apprentice to a black ship caulker. Four years later, he was supervising the caulking of clipper ships operating out of Baltimore. Soon after the end of the Civil War, Myers founded the Colored Caulkers Trade Union Society. On February 12, 1866, the society purchased a shipyard and railway which they named the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Company. Within months, the company employed 300 black caulkers. The company ceased operation in 1884. On January 13, 1869, the Colored National Labor Union was founded with Myers as the first president. The union was founded to pursue equal representation for African Americans in the workforce. Although the CNLU welcomed all workers no matter their race, gender, or occupation, the dominant society and government did not take it seriously and it disbanded in 1871. Myers went on to organize and become president of the Maryland Colored State Industrial Fair Association, the Colored Businessmen’s Association of Baltimore, the Colored Building and Loan Association, and the Aged Ministers Home of the A.M.E. Church. Myers died in 1891. The Frederick Douglass – Isaac Myers Maritime Park in Baltimore is an educational and national heritage site that highlights African American maritime history.

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Today in Black History, 1/12/2013

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• January 12, 1870 Adah Belle Thoms, hall of fame nurse, was born in Richmond, Virginia. Thoms graduated from the Women’s Infirmary and School of Therapeutic Massage in 1900 and the Lincoln Hospital and Home School of Nursing in 1905. She served as acting director at Lincoln from 1906 to 1923, but could not receive the official title of director because of her race. Thoms was a co-founder of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN) in 1908 and served as president from 1916 to 1923. She played a significant role in lobbying for the rights of African American women to serve in the United States military during World War I. In 1936, Thoms was the first recipient of the Mary Mahoney Medal from the NACGN. Thoms died February 21, 1943 and was an inaugural inductee into the American Nursing Association Hall of Fame in 1976.

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Voices of the Civil War Episode 12 "Emancipation Proclamation"

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JANUARY 2013: 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.

On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation after issuing a draft version in September 1862.  The Emancipation Proclamation laid the foundation for what would become the 13th Amendment, issued two years later on January 31, 1865.  Consequently, the proclamation marked a point of no return in regards to negiotiations or compromise with the Confederacy.  At nearly two years into the war, Lincoln finally focused on the heart of the issue and confronted the Confederacy where it mattered.  The Confederacy held fast and continued fighting.

Credits

1. U.S. Senate Collection
2. National Archives
3. Library of Congress
4. Wikimedia Commons
5. Library Company of Philadelphia www.librarycompany.org
6. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
7. Library of Congress
8. Smithsonian
9. Library of Congress
10. Library of Congress
11. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
12. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
13. Library of Congress
14. Library of Congress
15. Library of Congress
16. White House Historical Association
17. Library of Congress
18. Library of Congress
19. Library of Congress
20. Library of Congress
21. Library of Congress
22. National Archives
23. National Archives

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Today in Black History, 1/11/2013

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• January 11, 1948 Madeline Manning, hall of fame track and field athlete, author, and speaker, was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Manning ran track at Tennessee State University where she won ten national titles, set a number of American records, and graduated in 1972. She participated in the 1968, 1972, and 1976 Summer Olympic Games. At the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games, she won a Gold medal in the 800-meter race and at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games she won a Silver medal as a member of the 4 by 400-meter relay team. In 1984, Manning was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame. Manning is founder and president of the United States Council for Sports Chaplaincy and has served as U.S. team chaplain at the 1988 Seoul, 1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens, and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. She also founded Ambassadorship, Inc., a ministry through sports and the arts.

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Today in Black History, 1/10/2013

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• January 10, 1910 Patrick Francis Healy, the first American of African ancestry to be president of a predominantly white college, died. Healy was born enslaved February 27, 1830 in Macon, Georgia. Although he was at least three-quarters European in ancestry, he was legally considered a slave and Georgia law prohibited the education of slaves. 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. In 1858, the order sent him to Europe to study because his African ancestry had become an issue in the United States. He earned his doctorate from the University of Leuven in Belgium, becoming the first American of African descent to earn a Ph.D. Healy was ordained to the priesthood on September 3, 1864, becoming the first Jesuit priest of African descent. In 1866, Healy returned to the U.S. 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 declared a National Historic Landmark on December 23, 1987. Healy left the college in 1882. In 1969, the Georgetown Alumni Association established the Patrick Healy Award 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, 1/9/2013

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• January 9, 1886 Aaron Anderson (or Sanderson), Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, died. Anderson was born in 1811 in Plymouth, North Carolina. He enlisted in the Union Navy at the age of 52 during the Civil War. On March 17, 1865, while serving as a landsman on board the U.S.S. Wyandank on a mission to attack Confederate forces in Mattox Creek in Virginia, his actions earned him the medal. His citation partially reads, “…carried out his duties courageously in the face of a devastating fire which cut away half the oars, pierced the launch in many places and cut the barrel off a musket being fired at the enemy.” Anderson was awarded the medal, America’s highest military decoration June 22, 1865. He left the navy after his term of service expired and little is known of his post-war life.

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Today in Black History, 1/8/2013

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• January 8, 1811 The German Coast Uprising, a slave revolt that took place in the Territory of Orleans, began. The uprising was led by Charles Deslondes, a free person of color from Haiti, and lasted for two days. During that time between 200 and 500 enslaved persons participated, burning five plantation houses and killing two white men. A total of 95 insurgents were killed in the aftermath of the rebellion, including Deslondes who was captured and “had his hands chopped off then shot in one thigh and then the other until they were broken, then shot in the body, and before he had expired was put into a bundle of straw and roasted.” The legislature of the Orleans Territory approved compensation of $300 to planters for each enslave person killed or executed. Books about the uprising include “On to New Orleans! Louisiana’s Heroic 1811 Slave Revolt” (1996), and “American Uprising” (2010).

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Today in Black History, 1/7/2013

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• January 7, 1890 William B. Purvis of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania received patent number 419,065 for the fountain pen. Purvis’ invention made the use of an ink bottle obsolete by storing ink in a reservoir within the pen which was then fed to the tip of the pen. Over his lifetime, Purvis received ten additional patents. He is also believed to have invented, but did not patent, several other devices. Little else is known of Purvis’ life.

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Today in Black History, 1/6/2013

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• January 6, 1882 Thomas Boyne was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, America’s highest military decoration. Boyne was born in 1849 in Prince George’s County, Maryland. In 1879, he was serving as a sergeant in Company C of the 9th Calvary Regiment in New Mexico during the Indian Wars. Boyne was cited for “bravery in action” at the Mimbres Mountains on May 29, 1879 and at the Cuchillo Negro River on September 27, 1879. He was discharged from the army in 1889 because of a disability and admitted to the U.S. Soldiers Home in 1890 where he lived until his death on April 21, 1896.

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Today in Black History, 1/5/2013

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• January 5, 1869 Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones, opera soprano and businesswoman, was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, but raised in Providence, Rhode Island. Jones began her formal study of music at the Providence Academy of Music in 1883 and in the late 1880s studied at the New England Conservatory of Music. She made her New York City debut in 1888 and made successful tours of the Caribbean that year and in 1892. In June, 1892, Jones became the first African American to sing at the Music Hall in New York (now Carnegie Hall). She also performed for Presidents Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt. By 1896, Jones found that access to most American classical concert hall was limited by her race and therefore she formed the Black Patti Troubadours, a variety act made up of singers, jugglers, comedians, and dancers. The revue was successful enough to provide Jones an income in excess of $20,000. Jones retired from performing in 1915 and died June 24, 1933.

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Searching for family history with the Archives of Michigan in person, online

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The Wright presents a special guest post, courtesy of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Showcasing the DNR - You’re invited to share these stories with friends, family and anyone you believe finds value in learning about the DNR’s efforts to better connect people of all ages to Michigan’s great outdoors and cultural heritage.

The Archives of Michigan is home to plentiful prison records – a valuable research tool for genealogists. Shown here are 19th-century prison records from Marquette State Prison.

The Archives of Michigan is home to plentiful prison records – a valuable research tool for genealogists. Shown here are 19th-century prison records from Marquette State Prison.

Genealogy – tracing the roots of a family tree – is personal, creative and rewarding detective work. Turn on the radio or TV, surf the Web or pick up the newspaper – chances are you’ll come across a story about someone who has discovered an unexpected family connection across the generations.

“Popular television shows like ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ – a program that captured the experience of celebrities exploring their family histories – tells me that this kind of research and the stories it unearths have a real hook in popular culture,” said Kris Rzepczynski, senior archivist at the Archives of Michigan.

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Today in Black History, 1/4/2013

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• January 4, 1901 Cyril Lionel Robert James, historian, journalist, and author, was born in Trinidad and Tobago. James graduated from the Queen’s Royal College in Port of Spain and worked as a school teacher. In 1932, he moved to England and began to campaign for the independence of the West Indies, including the publication of his first important work, “The Case for West-Indian Self Government” (1933). He also became a leading champion of Pan-African agitation and the chairman of the International African Friends of Abyssinia, formed in 1935 in response to Italy’s invasion of what is now Ethiopia. In 1936, James published his only novel, “Minty Alley,” the first novel to be published by a black Caribbean author in the United Kingdom. He then published two of his most important works, “World Revolution” (1937) and “The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution” (1938). James lived in the United States from 1938 to 1953 when he was forced to leave under threat of deportation. Ultimately, he returned to England where he lived until his death on May 19, 1989. A public library in London is named in his honor. Biographies of James include “C.L.R. James: The Artist as Revolutionary” (1988) and “Urbane Revolutionary: C.L.R. James and the Struggle for a New Society” (2007).

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Today in Black History, 1/3/2013

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• January 3, 1624 William Tucker, the first recorded African American born in the American colonies, was born in Jamestown, Virginia. Tucker was the child of enslaved Africans and was sold to an English sea captain named William Tucker. Nothing else is known of Tucker’s life.

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Today in Black History, 1/2/2013

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• January 2, 1884 Oscar Devereaux Micheaux, author and film director, was born in Metropolis, Illinois. Micheaux formed his own movie company and in 1919 became the first African American to write, direct, and produce a motion picture, “The Homesteader.” Between 1919 and 1948, Micheaux wrote seven novels and wrote, directed, and produced 44 feature films, including “Within Our Gates” (1919), which attacked the racism depicted in “The Birth of a Nation,” and “Body and Soul” (1924) which introduced Paul Robeson. Micheaux died March 25, 1951 and in 1986 the Directors Guild of America posthumously honored him with a Golden Jubilee Special Award. The Oscar Micheaux Award is presented annually by the Producers Guild of America. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Micheaux has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in 1994 a documentary film, “Midnight Ramble,” was released about him. In 2010, the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor. Micheaux’s biography, “Oscar Micheaux, The Great and Only: The Life of America’s First Black Filmmaker,” was published in 2007 and the Oscar Micheaux Center in Gregory, South Dakota annually presents the Oscar Micheaux Film & Book Festival.

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