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Today in Black History, 3/6/2013

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

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Today in Black History, 3/5/2013

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• March 5, 1770 Crispus Attucks, the first martyr of the American Revolution, was killed in the Boston Massacre. Attucks was born enslaved around 1723 and was of mixed African and Native American heritage. He escaped slavery in 1750 and by 1770 was a dockworker in Boston, Massachusetts. On the night of March 5, he led a group of sailors against British soldiers who were occupying Boston. Attucks was the first of four men shot and killed during the Boston Massacre. On November 14, 1888, a monument honoring Attucks was dedicated on Boston Common. As an African American patriot, Attucks represents the 5,000 African Americans who fought for America’s independence. In 1998, the United States Treasury issued The Black Revolutionary War Patriots Silver Dollar featuring Attucks’ image on one side. There are a number of schools around the country named for Attucks, including the Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Attucks Middle School in Hollywood, Florida, and the Crispus Attucks Elementary School in Kansas City, Missouri. Attucks’ name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.

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Today in Black History, 3/4/2013

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• March 4, 1842 James Forten, abolitionist and businessman, died. Forten was born September 2, 1766 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the age of 15, he 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, 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 and his biography, “A Gentleman of Color: The Life of James Forten,” was published in 2002.

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Today in Black History, 3/3/2013

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

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Today in Black History, 3/2/2013

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• March 2, 1932 Frank E. Petersen, Jr., the first African American Marine Corps aviator and the first African American Marine Corps general, was born in Topeka, Kansas. Petersen enlisted in the United States Navy in 1950 as a seaman apprentice. In 1952, after completing flight training, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. Petersen served combat tours in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, flying over 350 combat missions with over 4,000 hours in various flight attack aircraft. He was the first African American to command a fighter squadron, a fighter air group, an air wing, and a major base. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Arts degree in international affairs from George Washington University in 1967 and 1973, respectively. In 1979, he was promoted to brigadier general, in 1983 to major general, and in 1986 to lieutenant general. Petersen retired from the Marine Corps in 1988. He then managed the corporate aviation fleet for DuPont DeNemours until retiring in 1997. Petersen published his autobiography, “Into the Tiger’s Jaws: America’s First Black Marine Aviator,” in 1998.

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March 2013 Events @ The Wright Museum: Women's History Month

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SPECIAL EVENTS

Harriet’s Return: The Play ($)
Saturday 3/9 at 7:30 pm
“Harriet’s Return” is an award-winning, critically-acclaimed theatrical production that chronicles the private and public life of famed Underground Railroad conductor, spiritual icon, and revolutionary Harriet Tubman, performed on the 100th anniversary of her death. Through a deeply personal and high energy approach, producer and actress Karen Jones Meadows chronicles Tubman from childhood to afterlife, a nine decade journey that still influences the consciousness of people around the world. Portrayals of more than 30 colorful characters take the audience from contemporary America into the depths of Ms. Tubman’s soul, the psyche of a nation, and a call to action. Tickets are $20 general admission / $10 for museum members. Purchase by phone at (800) 838-3006 or online at www.TheWright.org. http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/652-harriets-return-the-play

Women in the NAACP: A Historic Dialogue
Sunday 3/10 at 4 pm
Discover the contributions women have made to the struggle for civil rights, featuring a talk by Detroit City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, the first and only female Executive Director of the Detroit Branch NAACP. Other panelists include Yvonne White, President of the Michigan State Conference NAACP; Monica Anthony, Chair of the Detroit Branch Women in the NAACP (W.I.N.) Committee; and Kamilia Landrum, Chair of the Detroit Branch Young Adult Committee and Member of the National NAACP Board of Directors. This event is produced in tandem with the exhibition, A Very Present Force: Celebrating a Century of the Detroit Branch NAACP, on display now through March 24, 2013. Free. http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/657-women-in-the-naacp-a-historic-dialogue

Spelman College Glee Club Concert: A Choice to Change the World
Sunday 3/10 at 6 pm
Let your spirit be lifted at this very special concert by the Glee Club of the historically-black, all-women's Spelman College as they perform musical selections to help "Change the World!" This event is free and open to the public. http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/658-spelman-college-glee-club-concert-a-choice-to-change-the-world

Black Marriage Day ($)
Saturday 3/16 from 11 am - 8 pm
Joining city halls, community centers, houses of worship and other institutions in 300 communities nationwide, The Wright Museum and Marriage Resource Center are joining forces to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Black Marriage Day. This national initiative encourages African Americans to embrace an institution that has long been on the decline by highlighting the deep-rooted historical role marriage has played among African Americans. Black Marriage Day is open to married couples, as well as those who are engaged, seriously dating or looking to get married. Tickets are $50 per couple in advance, $55 the day of the event and can be purchased by phone at (800)-838-3006 or online at www.TheWright.org.
http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/634-black-marriage-day-2013

Black Women Rock: The Diaspora ($)
Concert: Saturday 3/16 at 7 pm
Artist Discussion: Sunday 3/17 at 1:30 pm
The Wright Museum presents jessica Care moore's Black Women Rock: The Diaspora!, a live music concert and artist talk featuring Ursula Rucker, Dionne Farris, Canadian rocker Saidah Baba Talibah (http://youtu.be/oNcxCrOgOM4, http://sbtmusic.com/), the Appalachian Goddess Martha Redbone (http://www.martharedbone.com), Steffanie Christi'an, the Black Women Rock Orchestra under the direction of Norma Jean Bell, sounds by DJ Stacey Hotwaxx Hale, live art by Sabrina Nelson and the BWR STARtists, and more! General Admission tickets are $25 and include donation for Sunday's "They Say I'm Different" artist talk with a book signing by Laina Dawes, author of "What Are You Doing Here? A Black Woman's Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal." For THREE STRAIGHT YEARS the concerts have been sell-outs; order tickets today by phone at (800)-838-3006 or online at www.TheWright.org. Due to the powerful voices and mature themes of this performance, parental guidance is recommended; some content may not be suitable for young children. http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/638-black-women-rock-the-diaspora-concert

Tea Time: A Holistic Approach to Mothering
Saturday 3/30 at 1 pm
Calling all mothers! Join us for yoga demonstrations, breast-feeding empowerment, career building strategies, and presentations by local organizations over an assortment of tea. This event is not to be missed! Children are welcome. Free. http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/663-tea-time-a-holistic-approach-to-mothering

FAMILY

Charter One Free Family Second Sunday
Sunday 3/10 from 1 - 5 pm
Bring the whole family to Rejoice, Relive & Reconnect at The Wright Museum with free admission every second Sunday of the month courtesy of Charter One Bank! For Women's History Month, enjoy the Don Barden Foundation Interactive Storytime at 2 pm, Women in the NAACP: A Historic Dialogue at 4 pm, and a very special concert at 6 pm by the Spelman College Glee Club! Free Family Second Sundays are supported by the Charter One Foundation. http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/578-charter-one-free-family-second-sunday

Don Barden Foundation Interactive Storytime
Sunday 3/10 at 2 pm
Where music, movement, and literacy collide, this interactive story performance will put your kids in the story! Made possible by support from the Don Barden Foundation. Free. http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/653-don-barden-foundation-interactive-storytime

Meet the Scientist Saturday
Saturday 3/16 at 11 am
Discover and explore science with activities led by scientists and technologists from the new Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science and Technology exhibit!  Free with museum admission. http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/611-meet-the-scientist-saturday

FILM

Community Cinema Presents Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines Screening & Discussion
Thursday 3/7 at 6 pm
Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines traces the fascinating evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman. From the birth of the comic book superheroine in the 1940s to the blockbusters of today, popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation. Go behind the scenes with Lynda Carter, Lindsay Wagner, comic writers and artists, and feminist figures such as Gloria Steinem, Kathleen Hanna and others, who offer a counterpoint to the male-dominated superhero genre. Free.
http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/597-community-cinema-presents-qwonder-womenq-film-screening-a-discussion

Liberation Film Series Presents Thomas Sankara: The Upright Man Screening & Discussion
Saturday 3/16 from 2 - 6 pm
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History Liberation Film Series presents a free screening of "Thomas Sankara - The Upright Man," followed by the discussion, "African Liberation Leadership in an Era of Neoliberalism," with Dr. Rita Kiki (Nkiru) Edozie, Director of African American and African Studies, Michigan State University, and Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor of the Pan-African News Wire. Free. http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/513-liberation-film-series-presents-qthomas-sankara-the-upright-manq-film-screening-a-discussion

HEALTH & WELLNESS

30 Days To Lose It! Weekly Workouts ($)
Tuesdays at 7:30 pm [NOTE: no class on 3/19]
Ramp it up this Women's History Month with a weekly jazzercise workout led by Sondra Jackson of Spirit of the Moment! Free for Museum members, $5 for non-members. Attend 8 consecutive sessions and receive a complimentary museum membership, making your next 12 months FREE! For more information please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  
http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/618-30-days-to-lose-it-weekly-workout

Hustle for History Weekly Dance Lessons ($)
Sundays at 5 pm [NOTE: no class on 3/10 or 3/31]
Get your groove on with our weekly hustle dance lessons taught by instructor Thomasenia Johnson of Two Left Feet.  Work your muscles, strengthen your bones and have a ball while supporting the Museum's ongoing membership efforts - this activity is great for all ages!  Free for Members, $7 for non-members. Purchase 5 lessons and receive a complimentary museum membership, making your next 12 months of hustle lessons FREE!
http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/592-hustle-for-history-weekly-dance-lessons

LECTURES

The Wealth Choice: Success Secrets of Black Millionaires Lecture & Book Signing
Thursday 3/14 at 6 pm
Author Dennis Kimbro discusses the keys to building wealth and will be signing copies of his latest book, "The Wealth Choice: Success Secrets of Black Millionaires." Free. http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/659-wealth-choice-success-secrets-of-black-millionaires-lecture-a-book-signing

Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) Monthly Meeting
Sunday 3/10 at 3 pm
If you are interested in and passionate about Black history, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) Detroit branch is the group for you!  The ASALH collects materials on Black history and promotes the results to the public through events and organizational activities; members represent a broad spectrum of academic preparations, career experiences, and interests.  If you are interested in learning more about ASALH Detroit please contact Ms. Kathie House, Coordinator for the organizing ASALH Detroit Branch at (313) 549-0335 or via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Mr. Tyrone Davenport, Chief Operating Officer at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, at (313) 494-5884 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Free.  http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/613-association-for-the-study-of-african-american-life-a-history-asalh-monthly-meeting

Shirley Woodson Explores Painting Traditions in Detroit: Influences and Interpretation
Tuesday 3/26 at 6 pm
Famed artist, art historian and educator Shirley Woodson addresses the importance of painting traditions in Detroit from the late fifties to present. Woodson's works are in public and private collections including the Detroit Institute of Arts; The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History; The Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Boston, MA; Florida A&M University; Wayne State University; United American Health Care, Detroit, MI; Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, PA; and the Brandywine Printmaking Workshop in Philadelphia. Free. http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/661-shirley-woodson-explores-painting-traditions-in-detroit-influences-and-interpretation

Women's History Month Panel Discussion
Thursday 3/28 at 6 pm
To mark Women’s History Month, fascinating role-models Kathleen Talbert-Hill, Jandava Cattron-Colscott, and Dr. Cledie Taylor reflect on gender and their personal histories. Free.
http://thewright.org/upcoming-events/details/662-womens-history-month-panel-discussion

EXHIBITIONS

And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History and Culture
Permanent Exhibition
The core experience of The Wright Museum, this 22,000 square-foot exhibition takes visitors through time and across geographic boundaries from prehistoric Africa all the way to modern-day Detroit. Throughout, the efforts of everyday men and women who built families, businesses, educational institutions, spiritual traditions, civic organizations and a legacy of freedom and justice are hailed. Free with museum admission. http://thewright.org/explore/exhibitions/37-and-still-we-rise

Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science and Technology
New Permanent Exhibition
This high-tech exhibit highlights trailblazers, contemporaries and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). African Americans have contributed to the scientific and engineering output of the United States since the 17th century, and this history is brought to life through interactive computer kiosks, a touchscreen video wall, and hands-on activities and play areas. Four disciplines of scientific advancement are explored: Physical Sciences, Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, and Technology & Engineering. Within these, Inspiring Minds introduces individuals from across the spectrum of fields, levels of renown, and from times past and present, with particular focuses on African American women in science, black aviators, black inventors, medical ethics, and key historical figures such as George Washington Carver. Free with museum admission.
http://thewright.org/explore/exhibitions/635-inspiring-minds-african-americans-in-science-and-technology

Visions of Our 44th President
Through August 4, 2013
This collective conceptual art exhibit was created to honor and celebrate the significance of the first African American President of the United States, Barack Obama. Forty-four busts were created from a model that served as a blank canvas, giving each of forty-four contemporary artists from across the country - including Tyree Guyton, Gale Fulton Ross, Faith Ringgold, and Kadir Nelson - free reign to creatively interpret this milestone in American history. Visions of Our 44th President will be The Wright Museum’s first national traveling exhibition. Guest curated by Ashley Whitfield. Free with museum admission.
http://thewright.org/explore/exhibitions/623-visions-of-our-44th-president

Moving to His Own Beat Fela: The Man, The Movement, The Music
Through March 17, 2013
Created in partnership with Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, Fela celebrates the life and music of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, a dynamic figure who transcended the boundaries of political expectation and culturally coerced standards of morality. Fela's undying passion for African peoples, understanding of the power of art and politics, and unyielding struggle against the colonial forces in Nigeria during the 1950s and 1960s, solidified his legacy as a shimmering agent of change against the status quo. Always pushing the envelope, Fela infused traditional African highlife music with classical jazz and funk, which evolved into a unique sound that he called, “Afrobeat.” The powerful music and social commentary found throughout his vast catalogue of recordings is indicative of his desire to help end oppression among African peoples everywhere. Free with museum admission.  http://www.thewright.org/explore/exhibitions/577-moving-to-his-own-beat-fela-the-man-the-movement-the-music

The Chris Webber Collection: Exceptional People During Extraordinary Times, 1755 - Present
Through March 31, 2013
Chris Webber, Detroit native, National Basketball Association All-Star player (retired) and NBA announcer, collects rare artifacts that illuminate the lives and legacies of African American greats such as Phillis Wheatley, the first African American author; Rosa Parks, mother of the modern civil rights movement; civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others.  Viewers get a glimpse of their heritage and learn about a different facet of Chris Webber, basketball player, philanthropist, and collector of African American history. Free with museum admission. http://thewright.org/explore/exhibitions/125-the-chris-webber-collection-exceptional-people-during-extraordinary-times-1755-present

A Very Present Force: Celebrating a Century of the Detroit Branch NAACP
Through March 24, 2013  
Since its formation in 1912 - only three years after the founding of the national association - the Detroit Branch NAACP has been on the frontlines of civil rights activism and advocacy, both locally and throughout the nation. Organized into three sections, A Very Present Force explores the Detroit Branch NAACP’s rich local history while situating it within the broader national and international struggle for civil rights. Free with museum admission.
http://thewright.org/explore/exhibitions/633-a-very-present-force-celebrating-a-century-of-the-detroit-branch-naacp

Pathways to Freedom in the Americas: Shared experiences between Michigan & Mexico
Through March 31, 2013
Inspired by the meeting of two women who became fast friends - Patricia Ann Talley, an African American from the United States of America, and Candelaria Donají Méndez Tello, an Afro-Mexican from Mexico (the United Mexican States), this exhibit presents the symbiotic relationship that has existed between Americans and Mexicans but has seldom been told.  Divided into three sections, the exhibition uses video, maps, photographs, art, and music to depict a different aspect of slavery in the Americas, the story of fugitives that escaped slavery in the United States on the Underground Railroad south to Mexico, African heritage as it continues to permeate Mexican culture - especially in the Costa Chica Region of Guerrero, the migration of Mexicans to Michigan and the culture as it has manifested in Southwest Detroit. Free with museum admission.
http://thewright.org/explore/exhibitions/634-pathways-to-freedom-in-the-americas-shared-experiences-between-michigan-and-mexico

Size Matters: Large-Scale Paintings from the Collections of the Charles H. Wright Museum
Through March 31, 2013
Size Matters presents fifteen contemporary large-scale paintings by twelve artists from diverse genres. The title is a double entendre that suggests two meanings: the significance of size and the problems associated with it. Featuring works by Jerome Wright, Annie Lee, Carl Owens, and Dwight Smith. Free with museum admission.
http://thewright.org/explore/exhibitions/638-size-matters-large-scale-paintings-from-the-collections-of-the-charles-h-wright-museum

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
315 East Warren Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 494-5800
The Wright Museum™ | TheWright.org

Hours
Tuesday – Saturday 9 am – 5 pm | Sundays 1 – 5 pm

Admission
Adults (13+) $8 | Seniors (62+) & Youth (3 - 12) $5 | Members and children under 3 FREE

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Today in Black History, 3/1/2013

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

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Today in Black History, 2/28/2013

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

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Today in Black History, 2/27/2013

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• February 27, 1830 Patrick Francis Healy, the first American of African ancestry to be president of a predominantly white college, was born enslaved in Macon, Georgia. Although he was at least three-quarters European in ancestry, Healy was legally considered a slave and Georgia law prohibited the education of 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 designated a National Historic Landmark December 23, 1987. Healy left the college in 1882 and died January 10, 1910. 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, 2/26/2013

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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, 2/25/2013

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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, 2/24/2013

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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, 2/23/2013

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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, 2/22/2013

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• February 22, 1841 Grafton Tyler Brown, lithographer and painter of the American West, was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Before he was 20, Brown moved to San Francisco, California where he established his own firm to produce illustrated bank notes, labels, maps, and stock certificates. His production of “The Illustrated History of San Mateo County” (1878) featured 72 views of the county’s communities and ranches. Brown traveled the West producing maps and illustrations, including many landscape paintings. From 1893 to 1897, he worked as a draftsman for the United States Army Corps of Engineers and from 1898 to 1910 in the civil engineering department of the city of St. Paul, Minnesota. Brown died March 3, 1918. His paintings are in the collections of museums throughout the United States, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Oakland Museum of California.

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Today in Black History, 2/21/2013

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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 blacks 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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Voices of the Civil War Episode 13 "54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment"

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FEBRUARY 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.

Just one month after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry unit was formed on February 9th, 1863. This brave regiment fought in many battles under the threat of re-enslavement, no pay, and immense scrutiny. The regiment’s most famous battle at Fort Wagner was later memorialized in the 1989 film, Glory.

Credits

1. Public Domain
2. Clements Library of the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
3, 6, 8 , 14, 16, 18, 19, 21 - 24. Library of Congress
4 - 5.  Moorland-Spingarn Research Center,
6. Howard University
7. Massachusetts Historical Society
9 - 10. National Archives
11. Massachusetts Historical Society
12. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
13. National Archive
15. Kansas State Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply, http://www.kansasmemory.org/item/499
20. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
25. Public Domain
26. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/154548
28. National Park Service

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Today in Black History, 2/20/2013

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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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Today in Black History, 2/19/2013

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• February 19, 1885 Jonathon Jasper Wright, lawyer and South Carolina Supreme Court judge, died. Wright was born February 11, 1840 in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. After studying the law for three years and feeling himself qualified for the legal profession, Wright applied for admission to the Bar, but was refused an examination because of his race. In 1865, he again applied for admission, was found qualified, and became the first African American admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania. In 1866, Wright was appointed the legal advisor for the Freedmen’s Bureau in Beaufort, South Carolina. In 1868, he was elected to the Constitutional Convention of South Carolina and helped draft the judiciary section of the state constitution which remains in effect today. Wright was soon after elected state senator and in 1870 was elected to the South Carolina Supreme Court. He served the court for seven years before returning to private practice. The Jonathon Jasper Wright Institute for the Study of Southern African American History, Culture and Policy is located at Claflin University and the Jonathon Jasper Wright Award is given annually to an outstanding member of the South Carolina legal community.

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Today in Black History, 2/18/2013

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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, 2/17/2013

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• February 17, 1863 The First Michigan Colored Infantry was formed. The regiment was organized on a farm with 845 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 in Detroit, Michigan April 12, 1968.

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