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Today in Black History, 3/8/2015

• March 8, 1825 Alexander Thomas Augusta, surgeon, professor of medicine and Civil War veteran, was born in Norfolk, Virginia. Augusta attempted to study medicine at the University of Pennsylvania but was not allowed due to his race. Therefore, he enrolled at Trinity Medical College of the University of Toronto and earned his Bachelor of Medicine degree in 1856. Augusta remained in Toronto and established his medical practice, supervised staff at Toronto General Hospital, directed an industrial school, and founded the Provincial Association for the Education and Elevation of the Colored People of Canada. He returned to the United States in 1860 and received a major’s commission as surgeon for African American troops in the Union Army in 1863, the first African American physician and the highest ranking African American in the army. After the war, Augusta accepted an assignment with the Freedman’s Bureau, heading Lincoln Hospital. He also served on the staff of the Washington, D. C. Freedman’s Hospital from 1868 to 1877. Augusta died December 21, 1890. He was interred with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

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Today in Black History, 3/7/2015

• March 7, 1890 William Sherman Savage, historian, educator and author, was born in Wattsville, Virginia. Savage earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University in 1917, his Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Oregon in 1925, and his Ph. D. in history from Ohio State University in 1934. He was the first African American to earn a doctorate in history from the university. Savage taught at Lincoln University in Missouri from 1921 to his retirement in 1960. After retiring from Lincoln, he taught at Jarvis Christian College for an additional six years. Savage published “The Controversy over the Distribution of Abolition Literature, 1830-1860” in 1938 and “Blacks in the West” in 1976. He also wrote a number of articles about the lives and activities of African Americans in the western United States. Savage died May 23, 1981.

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Recognizing, remembering & rejoicing for Women’s History Month; From Black Women who Rock to Our Pride & Joy, The Wright Museum celebrates women during the month of March

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is recognizing Women’s History Month during the month of March with a calendar packed full of events. The month-long celebration launches this Saturday, March 7, at 7 pm with jessica Care moore’s 11th Annual Black Women Rock! Concert [sold out]. The rock music showcase features high-energy, fun-filled performances from moore, Nik West, Ideeyah, Stephanie McKay and more that the entire family is sure to enjoy. Attendees can participate in workshops, visit the pop-up BWR art exhibit, and mingle with the BWR performers during the artist meet & greet. Saturday’s evening of entertainment will be followed by Black Women Rock! Community Discussion on Sunday at 12:30 pm. The discussion will be led by a panel of BWR performers and is free and open to the public.

On March 13, for the second year, The Wright Museum will host #313DLove, an event with one sole purpose – to uplift Detroit! Speakers from community centered organizations, including United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Arise Detroit, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and more, will share stories, ideas, and action items on ways others can “be part of the change” which is taking place in our beloved city. The talks take place from 1 – 5 pm with a social media campaign launching at 3:13 pm. Tickets are $31.30 and can be purchased at Those who are unable to join us in person are encouraged to join us on the web with the hashtag #313DLove.

Women’s History Month will culminate with The Wright Museum’s 2nd Annual Women’s History Month Concert: Our Pride and Joy. Taking place on Friday, March 27 at 7 pm, six legendary women will be celebrated with a compelling and joyous performance of song, spoken word, poetry and dance. The honored include, Maya Angelou, Ruby Dee, Dorothy Height and Detroit’s own Judge Claudia Morcom. During the concert, a special Sojourner Truth statue will be publicly unveiled. Admission is free; all are welcome to attend.

During March, The Wright Museum will continue to host regular programmed events including Mahogany at the Museum (March 13), The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers (March 20), and Liberation Film Series (March 21).  As the snow melts and we enter spring, The Wright welcome families to bring in their youth to experience our extensive list of free children’s programming such as Saturday’s Family Activity Series (March 14, 21, 28), Interactive Storytime (March 8), and Links to Science (March 7 & 14).  


SOLD OUT: Black WOMEN Rock! Concert ($)
Saturday, March 7 at 7 pm
Experience the rock performance of the year at The Wright! Black WOMEN Rock! showcases the music and stories of Black women who build institutions around their craft, and empowering women who play guitar, cello, drums, sing, or write poetry, to do so on their own terms. 2015 represents the 11th year anniversary of the BWR Weekender. In addition to the concert, the weekend is filled with an assortment of other activities, including an art exhibition, workshop, panel discussion and meet-and-greet with the performers of BWR. 2015 performers include: Nik West, jessica Care moore, Ideeyah, Stephanie McKay, Denitia Odigie, Steffanie Christi'an, Monica Blaire, DJ Stacey "HOTWAXX" Hale, Kat Dyson, Sabrina Nelson, the Black Women Rock Orchestra and more! The Black WOMEN Rock! concert is SOLD OUT. For media access please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (313) 494-5866.

Black WOMEN Rock! Community Discussion
Sunday, March 8 at 12:30 pm
The community discussion portion of the Black WOMEN Rock! weekend is an all-ages forum for talking to and learning from the Black WOMEN Rock performers, including valuable insight and advice for artists and performers of all genres. Free.

#313DLove: What’s “Wright” About Detroit Discussion Event ($)
Saturday, March 13 from 1 – 8 pm
The vision of #313DLove is a Detroit whose self-worth is high, unemployment is low, and education system is second to none. If TEDx is all about "Ideas worth spreading" #313DLove is all about "actions worth emulating.” We've gathered a handful of top-shelf people who are busy making a huge impact on our community. They will share their stories, suggest ways others can "Be part of the change" and, most importantly, what drives them to stay here in the D. The talks are from 1 – 5 pm. We have built in plenty of time so we can get busy tweeting what we love about Detroit at 3:13 with the goal of breaking Twitter. Includes after-panel afterglow in the museum’s beautiful Ford Freedom Rotunda. Tickets are $31.30 and can be purchased at

Artist's Studio Workshop featuring Ziwadi Majiisa ($)
Saturday, March 14 at 11 am
Local artist Ziwadi Majiisa will lead an art workshop for adults on Mixed Media Assemblage. Admission is $25 or $15 for museum members.

Black Marriage Day 2015 ($)
Saturday, March 21 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 present Black Marriage Day 2015. First launched in Washington, D.C., this national initiative encourages African Americans to embrace an institution by highlighting the deep-rooted historical role marriage has played among African Americans, as well as the reality that there are still black men and women who, day in and day out, meet, fall in love, get married, and stay together. Black Marriage Day 2015 will be held for married couples, as well as those who are engaged, seriously dating or looking to get married, at The Wright Museum on Saturday, March 21, beginning at 11 am. Tickets are $50 per couple in advance, $55 the day of the event. For more information, contact Angela King at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Our Pride and Joy: Women’s History Month Tribute Concert
Friday, March 27 at 7:30 pm
In honor of Women’s History Month, six legendary women are celebrated in this riveting and spectacular performance of song, spoken word, poetry, and dance by Detroit’s leading performing artists. Women to be honored include Maya Angelou, Ruby Dee, Dorothy Height, and Detroit’s own Judge Claudia Morcom. Additionally, the unveiling of a special Sojourner Truth statue will take place. Hosted by LaShaun Phoenix Kotaran. Free.


Family Activity Series
Every Saturday in March 14, 21, 28 at 12 pm
Join in the celebration of The Wright's 50th anniversary with this regular Saturday activity series for the whole family! Featured in March will be hip-hop dance (March 14), crafts (March 21), and discovering classical music with Rick Robinson (March 28)! Free.

Links to Science presented by the Renaissance Chapter of The Links, Incorporated
Saturdays, March 7 & 14 at 1:30 pm
Explore the wonders and wizards of science with the Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science & Technology exhibit, which explores achievements in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through interactive computer kiosks, a touchscreen video wall, and hands-on activities. Free. 

Ford Free Second Sunday
Sunday, March 8 from 1 - 5 pm
Bring your family and friends to experience the wonder of The Wright Museum with free admission every second Sunday of the month courtesy of Ford Motor Company! Free.

Don Barden Foundation Interactive Storytime
Sunday, March 8 at 2 pm
Where music, movement, and literacy collide, this interactive story performance will put your kids in the story! Children take a free book home afterwards! Made possible by the support of the Don Barden Foundation and General Motors Foundation. Free.

Crown-Making Workshop
Saturday, March 21 at 1 pm
This hands-on workshop offers attendants of all ages an opportunity to make their own crowns from templates of the designs used in Shani Peters’ University of Michigan exhibition. Free.

Meet the Scientist Saturday featuring David Head & Dr. Terrance Dillard
Saturday, March 28 at 2 pm
Do you know a curious student, a young Einstein, or a future tech wizard who is always thinking of the next big thing? Bring them to discover and explore science with activities around the Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science and Technology exhibit! David Head & colleagues from the David L. Head Foundation will discuss African American trailblazers and their inventions and contributions to science. Free. 


Spelman College Jazz Ensemble Performance ($)
Thursday, March 12 at 7 pm
Spelman College Jazz Ensemble's unique combination of vocalists, wind instrumentalists, and rhythm section has thrilled and excited audiences across the country with their innovative and soulful sound. Organized in 1983 under the leadership of its founder/director, Joe Jennings, this talented, nationally-renowned, all-female jazz ensemble has toured throughout the United States, and has shared the stage with jazz greats such as Wynton Marsalis, Consuela Lee, Nancy Wilson, Leroy Jenkins, Valerie Capers, the Straight Ahead Jazz Quartet, the Uptown Sting Quartet, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Regina Carter. $25 or $15 for museum members.

Mahogany @ The Museum #6 ($)
Friday, March 13 at 7 pm
The legacy of Café Mahogany lives on at The Wright Museum. Come be inspired, surrounded by good vibes and great energy, enjoy spoken word and musical artists, live painting, vendors, and much more. Powerful, political, romantic, humorous...real. A perfect night out for sophisticated young professionals. Hosted by Joel Fluent Greene. $15 online / $20 at the door.

The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers present "Pride & Prejudice" ($)
Friday, March 20 at 8 pm
The award-winning Secret Society Of Twisted Storytellers presents a curated, live storytelling event featuring Real People. True Stories. Told Live. Featuring Twisted Storytellers Nicole Pitts, Nicholaus Rainey, Hannah Wise and more. Musical Guest Amy Jackson with Dance Guests SambaSoul: Vanessa Almeida and Jamile Lulo. Local Artisans/Exhibitors and Cash Bar! Hosted by Satori Shakoor. For Info, Tickets & Video visit:

Sing a New Song Theatrical Production
Sunday, March 22 at 6 pm
"Sing a New Song" is a theatrical production depicting the life of a civil rights minister who is challenged to begin addressing the violence in the black community. He refuses to do so until violence strikes his own home. Crew and cast are asking men to bring a young man to the show, and to come early to walk through the "And Still We Rise" exhibit prior to seeing the play. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Purchase tickets online at or at The Wright Museum information desk.


Freedom Riders Film Screening & Discussion
Sunday, March 15 at 6 pm
The “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” returns with a screening of "Freedom Riders," presented by The Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses throughout the segregated southern United States in 1961 and following years to challenge the non-enforcement of the United States Supreme Court decisions which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional. The movie tells the terrifying and suspenseful story of a time when white and black volunteers riding a bus into the Deep South, risked being jailed, beaten or killed. Free.

180 Days: Hartsville Film Screening & Discussion
Thursday, March 19 at 6 pm
A recent Southern Education Foundation report has uncovered that, for the first time in 50 years, the majority of students attending public schools in the U.S. live in poverty. An inspiring new documentary, "180 Days: Hartsville," takes a fresh look at the nation’s poverty and education challenges from a rural South Carolina town triumphing in the face of extraordinary challenges. Co-directors Jacquie Jones and Garland McLaurin, the team behind the Peabody Award-winning documentary 180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School which premiered in 2013, joined SCETV in Hartsville, South Carolina for more than a year. They filmed in two elementary schools struggling with new curriculum standards and maintaining funding, while meeting the needs of individual students. Yet Hartsville is fighting the odds—and winning—with an astonishing 92 percent graduation rate in their city. Free. 

Liberation Film Series presents The Spook Who Sat By the Door
Saturday, March 21 at 2 pm
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History presents a free screening of “The Spook Who Sat By the Door” followed by a community conversation with Dr. Melvin Peters, Associate Professor, Eastern Michigan University. "The Spook Who Sat by the Door" is a 1973 film based on the riveting 1969 novel of the same name by author, Sam Greenlee (1930 - 2014). It is both a powerful story of the late 1960s Black Liberation Movement in the United States, with a particular focus on Black militancy. Free. 

Chameleon Street Film Screening & Discussion
Saturday, March 21 at 3 pm
View this screening of Chameleon Street for the first time in Detroit after 20 years! This Sundance award-winning film will be followed with a panel discussion including the film director & star, Wendell B. Harris, and artist Shani Peters. Free.

The Great Detroit Film Screening and Discussion

Sunday, March 22 at 3 pm
The Great Detroit that takes a panoramic look at Detroit's history, scenery and people that emphasizes the positive aspects of the city. Following the screening will be a discussion by the film’s producer, Anthony Brogdon. Free.

Voices of the Civil War Episode 38
Wednesday, March 25 online at
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 blog, where you can view new and previous episodes at


Hustle for History Weekly Dance Lessons ($)
Sundays at 5 pm
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!

30 Days To Lose It! Weekly Workouts ($)
Tuesdays at 7:30 pm
Ramp it up for March with a jump, hoop & roll workout with Velonda Thompson, PhD, Institute for Population Health! Free for 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 email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 30 Days to Lose It! is sponsored by Beaumont Health System and St. John Providence Health System, and endorsed by the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports.


The Value of Service: Women as Leaders Abroad Panel Discussion
Wednesday, March 4 at 6 pm
The Value of Service: Women as Leaders Abroad is a joint effort between the Peace Corps – Midwest and The Wright Museum to celebrate Women’s History Month by recognizing the accomplishments and perseverance of women who uplift their communities despite the circumstances in which they are placed. The program also seeks to inspire the exploration of other cultures through a life changing, service-based experience. A panelist of local women who are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers will speak about their perspective and how they balanced their own values with their communities, specifically around gender issues. The panel will highlight women who took on leadership positions in their communities or who made an impact on their service. Recommend audience: ages 12-years-old and above.

ASALH Detroit General Membership Meeting
Sunday, March 15 at 3 pm

ASALH History Lesson on the Underground Railroad by Evelyn Millstein
Sunday, March 15 at 4:30 pm
In keeping with the mission of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of Black History Month and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the ASALH Detroit Branch will host monthly history lectures. Please join us to hear from Mrs. Evelyn Millstein who will present on the Underground Railroad. Free.

African World Festival Community Advisory Meeting
Wednesday, March 18 at 6 pm
Would you like to share your ideas and comments about the upcoming African World Festival? If so, please come to one of the upcoming AWF Community Advisory Meetings to be held monthly on the third Wednesday in the Latimer Café on the lower level. All are invited to share ideas, resources, and support as we plan for the 33rd annual African World Festival, which takes place Friday - Sunday, August 14 - 16, 2015 on the grounds of The Wright Museum. Your participation will insure it's the best AWF yet! Free.


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.

Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science and Technology
Permanent Exhibition
This high-tech exhibit highlights trailblazers, contemporaries and careers in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through interactive computer kiosks, a touchscreen video wall, and hands-on activities and play areas. 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.

Shadow Matter: The Rhythm of Structure – Afro Futurism to Afro Surrealism
Through August 30, 2015
This one-man show features works by New York sculptor and Inkster, Michigan-native M. Scott Johnson. Scott’s education as a sculptor began in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, where he studied under master sculptor, national hero and elder statesman of Zimbabwe stone sculpture Nicholas Mukomberanwa (1940 - 2002). Scott’s work has been strongly influenced by African American techno music, Ndyuka and Saramaka graphic art forms, Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi, and Makonde sculpture. Johnson’s work has been exhibited in galleries across the United States and internationally including the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harvard University, and The New York Botanical Gardens. Free with museum admission.

The Nataki Way: 35th Anniversary of the Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse of Detroit
Through April 19, 2015
The Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse of Detroit (NTSD) joyously celebrates 35 years of service to its students, parents, employees, and community. Carmen and George N'Namdi founded NTSD as a private school in 1978 to honor the memory of their fourteen-month-old daughter, Nataki Talibah N'Namdi, who died in 1974. The school now enrolls over 430 students. After 35 years of hard work, the NTSD continues to uplift students from diverse backgrounds and help them identify the varying roles each of us must play to make the world a better place for everyone. Free with museum admission. 

I, Charles H. Wright: My Story
Opening March 10; Through January 3, 2016
This special anniversary exhibition features the history of Charles H. Wright, M.D. (1918 – 2002), founder of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, in his own words. It surveys his early life in Dothan, Alabama, his college years, his activism, and the path that led to the founding of the museum. Free with museum admission.

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Today in Black History, 3/6/2015

• March 6, 1857 The United States Supreme Court ruled in Dred Scott v. Sandford, commonly referred to as the Dred Scott d, 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, 3/5/2015

• March 5, 1770 Crispus Attucks, the first martyr of the American Revolution, was killed in the Boston Massacre. At 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 this date, 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 fighting. A monument honoring Attucks was dedicated on Boston Common November 14, 1889. As an African American patriot, Attucks represents the 5,000 African Americans who fought for America’s independence. The United States Treasury issued The Black Revolutionary War Patriots Silver Dollar featuring Attucks’ image on one side in 1998. 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, 3/4/2015

• March 4, 1842 James Forten, abolitionist and businessman, died. Forten was born September 2, 1766 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At 15, he served on a ship during the Revolutionary War and invented a device to handle ship sails. He started a very successful sailmaking company in 1786 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. He helped William Lloyd Garrison and Robert Purvis form the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833 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. His biography, “A Gentleman of Color: The Life of James Forten,” was published in 2002.

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Today in Black History, 3/3/2015

• 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 December 6, 1865.

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Today in Black History, 3/2/2015

• March 2, 1875 Charles Harmon Bullock, Sr., educator, was born in Charlottesville, Virginia. After graduating from the Jefferson Normal School in 1892, Bullock became a teacher in the segregated Charlottesville public school system. He also served as a correspondent for The Daily Progress, a local African American newspaper. After the Young Men’s Christian Association decided to create “Colored” YMCA’s, Bullock organized one in Charlottesville and served as executive secretary. He moved to Brooklyn, New York in 1900 and organized the first “Colored” YMCA in that borough and again served as executive secretary. From 1906 to 1916, Bullock managed the “Colored” YMCA in Louisville, Kentucky. During that time, he managed the construction of a new building for the YMCA. He transferred to Montclair, New Jersey in 1916 and served as the director of the “Colored” YMCA until his retirement in 1935 and again erected a new building. Bullock also served as campaign director of the New Jersey United War Work Campaign during World War I. Bullock died May 9, 1950. The Charles H. Bullock Elementary School in Montclair is named in his honor.

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Today in Black History, 3/1/2015

• 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. Bruce moved to Missouri in 1864 and 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. He was elected by the state legislature to the U. S. Senate in 1874 and served until 1881. Bruce was appointed by President James A. Garfield to be Register of the Treasury in 1881, 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, 2/28/2015

• February 28, 1894 Ernest Judson Wilson, hall of fame Negro Baseball League 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, he worked for a road crew in Washington, D. C. Wilson died June 24, 1963. He was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

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Today in Black History, 2/27/2015

• 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 enslaved people. 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. The order sent him to Europe to study in 1858 because his African ancestry had become an issue in the United States. He earned his doctorate degree from the University of Leuven in Belgium, the first American of African descent to earn a Ph. D. Healy was ordained to the priesthood September 3, 1864, the first Jesuit priest of African descent. Healy returned to the U. S. in 1866 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. He left the college in 1882. Healy died January 10, 1910. The Georgetown Alumni Association established the Patrick Healy Award in 1969 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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Voices of the Civil War Episode 37: "Martin Delany"

FEBRUARY 2015: 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 February 1865, Martin Robison Delany was commissioned as the first black combat major in the Union army, achieving the highest rank of an African American during the Civil War. In his life he worked to bring educational and economic opportunities to newly freed African Americans, and encouraged emigration back to Africa.

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Today in Black History, 2/26/2015

• 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. He completed his law apprenticeship and passed the North Carolina bar exam in 1871. 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, 2/25/2015

• 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, 2/24/2015

• 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. He opened his first school in 1829 but was forced to close it in 1835 after South Carolina enacted a law making teaching literacy to free and enslaved people of color subject to imprisonment. Payne joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1840 and was elected a bishop in 1852. 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. He 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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Music Legends Join Patti Austin for The Wright’s 50th Anniversary Celebration; “Oh, Freedom!” honors Black History Month with Grammy Award-winners & local talent

Several noteworthy additions have been made to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History’s 50th anniversary concert, "Oh, Freedom! A Musical Journey Through African American History," taking place Sunday, March 1 at 7 pm at the Detroit Opera House. Joining the program are Gospel Superfest lifetime achievement award-winner Vanessa Bell Armstrong; Official Jazz Master Laureate for the City of Detroit Marcus Belgrave; Grammy Award-winning Motown producer Sanchez Harley; keyboardist & musical director for Michael Jackson, Greg Phillinganes; and founder and director of The American Playwright Theatre, Barry Scott.

Presented by Ford Motor Company, “Oh, Freedom!” features Grammy Award-winning singer Patti Austin, a choir with 75 of Detroit’s finest voices, and orchestra in the capstone event for The Wright's 2015 Black History Month, and celebrates the museum's 50th anniversary as it commemorates 500 years of African American history through music, song, and the spoken word. Previous performances by Ms. Austin of “Oh, Freedom!” have been lauded in San Francisco, Nashville, and Memphis. The show will include a tribute to the original founders of The Wright Museum, a medley produced by and starring Phillinganes, who served as musical director for the best-selling album of all time – Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and feature performances by Grammy-nominated gospel artist Vanessa Bell Armstrong, jazz trumpet master Marcus Belgrave, and 30-time Detroit Music Award-winning blues artist Thornetta Davis. The 50th anniversary choir includes Grammy-nominated artist Joan Belgrave, as well as singers from over 20 metropolitan church choirs, the Detroit School of Arts and West Bloomfield High School.


Patti Austin, Sanchez Harley & Barry Scott will be available for interviews February 23 – 27. To schedule please contact Nikia Washington at (313) 494-5866 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tickets for Oh Freedom! start at $25 and are available at the Detroit Opera House box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, and by phone at (800) 745-3000. The Wright Museum is also giving away 2 pairs of tickets per day through a promotional text-to-win contest. To enter, entrants can text “Patti” to 72727 anytime from February 23 through February 27. Winners will be selected and notified daily.

For more information visit Oh Freedom! is made possible by support from Ford Motor Company, Macy’s, and AARP Michigan.

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Today in Black History, 2/23/2015

• February 23, 1868 William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, civil rights activist, historian and author, was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Du Bois earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Fisk University in 1888. He went on to Harvard Univers 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. He helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909 and for 25 years served as the editor-in-chief of The Crisis magazine. Du Bois was awarded the 1920 NAACP Spingarn Medal. 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 the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor in 1992. 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, 2/22/2015

• February 22, 1839 Octavius Valentine Catto, educator and civil rights activist, was born in Charleston, South Carolina but raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Catto graduated from the Institute for Colored Youth (now Cheyney University) in 1858. did a year of post-graduate work, including private tutoring in Greek and Latin and then returned to ICY to teach English and mathematics. In an 1864 commencement address, Catto spoke on the potential insensitivity of White teachers to the needs and interest of African American students. He stated, “It is at least unjust to allow a blind and ignorant prejudice to so far disregard the choice of parents and the will of the colored tax-payers, as to appoint over colored children white teachers, whose intelligence and success, measured by the fruits of their labors, could neither obtain or secure for them positions which we know would be more congenial to their tastes.” Also in 1864, he was elected corresponding secretary of the Pennsylvania Equal Rights League. He also served as vice president of the State Convention of Colored People in 1865. During the Civil War, Catto helped raise eleven regiments of United States Colored Troops in the Philadelphia area and was commissioned a major. On Election Day, October 10, 1871, Black voters faced intimidation and violence from White people opposed to their voting. On his way to vote, Catto was harassed and shot dead. The man that shot him was not convicted. The Octavius V. Catto Community School in Camden, New Jersey is named in his honor and the Major Octavius V. Catto Medal is awarded by the Philadelphia National Guard.

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Today in Black History, 2/21/2015

• February 21, 1864 St. Francis Xavier Church in East Baltimore, Maryland, the first Catholic Church in the United States officially established for Negroes, was dedicated. In July, 1791, between 500 and 1,000 Black people fleeing the Haitian Revolution had arrived in Baltimore on six French ships. Most of them were free, wealthy, educated, Catholic, and spoke fluent French. In October, 1863, a group of the refugees purchased the church. By 1871, the church was very active with three Sunday masses, a home for the aged poor, an orphanage, a night school for adults, an industrial school, and a lending library. The church moved to its current location in Baltimore in 1968 and continues to operate today.

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Today in Black History, 2/20/2015

• 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. He taught himself to read and write and escaped from slavery in 1838. Douglass delivered his first abolitionist speech at the 1841 Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society’s annual convention. He published his autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,” in 1845 and within three years it had been reprinted nine times and there were 11,000 copies in circulation. Douglass lectured throughout the United Kingdom to enthusiastic crowds from 1845 to 1847. 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. He attended the first women’s rights convention in 1848 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. The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor in 1965 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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