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Today in Black History, 2/8/2015

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• February 8, 1831 Rebecca Davis Lee Crumpler, the first African American woman to become a physician in the United Sthttp://o.quizlet.com/i/qe7gLbTM3r4A2OU4tpsrjw_m.jpgates, was born in Delaware. Crumpler moved to Charleston, Massachusetts in 1852 and worked as a nurse for eight years. She earned a medical degree from the New England Female Medical College in 1864, the first African American woman in the United States to earn that degree and the only African American to graduate from that college. After the end of the Civil War in 1865, Crumpler moved to Richmond, Virginia where she joined other Black physicians caring for formerly enslaved people who otherwise had no access to medical care. She authored “A Book of Medical Discourses” in 1883. Crumpler died March 9, 1895.

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Today in Black History, 2/7/2015

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• February 7, 1887 James Herbert “Eubie” Blake, hall of fame composer, lyricist and pianist, was born in Baltimore, Maryland. Blake began taking music lessons at 7 and at 15 was playing piano in a bordello. He began playing in vaudeville in 1912 and shortly after World War I joined forces with Noble Sissle as the Dixie Duo. After vaudeville, the pair created “Shuffle Along” which premiered on Broadway May 23, 1921 and became the first hit Broadway musical written by and about African Americans. It also introduced the hit songs “I’m Just Wild About Harry” and “Love Will Find a Way.” By 1975, Blake had been awarded honorary doctorate degrees by a number of institutions, including Rutgers University, University of Maryland, Howard University, and Dartmouth College. The 1978 Broadway musical “Eubie” featured the works of Blake. On October 9, 1981, Blake received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Ronald W. Reagan and he was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1983. Blake died February 12, 1983. The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor in 1995. Also that year, Blake was posthumously inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. The James Hubert Blake High School opened in Silver Springs, Maryland in 1998. The album “The Eighty – Six Years of Eubie Blake” (1969) was included by the National Recording Preservation Board in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in 2006 as a recording of “cultural, historical, or aesthetical significance.” The Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center in Baltimore is named in his honor. Blake’s biography, “Eubie Blake,” was published in 1979. “Reminiscing With Sissle and Blake” (2000) recounts the lives and music of Blake and Sissle.

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Today in Black Culture, 2/6/2015

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• Cutting edge innovation is the key to Africa’s future.
According the Africa Progress Panel (@africaprogress), technological advances will provide a much-needed push for modernization of the agriculture and financial industries. Such advances are already occurring, such as Kenya’s M-PESA, a mobile payment system which provides a problem-to-solution response to the fact that only 25% of Africans have a bank account, while 75% have access to mobile phones. To do your part in ensuring there is a brighter future for Africa, bring your youngest to The Wright Museum’s Links To Science Saturdays, where members of the Renaissance Chapter of the Links, Incorporated educate youth on technology and other S.T.E.M. related subjects.

• Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated sponsored a “No Cell Phone Day” in order promote early childhood literacy. African American author Delfeayo Marsalis and illustrator Reginald William Butler previously published a book by the same title, and on January 25th the national organization (@JackandJillInc) challenged parents to put their cell phones down and dedicate that time to reading with their children. This day went hand-in-hand with Jack and Jill’s Bedtime Stories series, an early childhood literacy initiative designed to make reading fun for children in pre-k – 3rd grades. Looking for ways to make reading exciting for your little one? Every second Sunday at 2 PM, The Don Barden Foundation and General Motors Foundation present Children’s Interactive Storytime. Bring your kids to hear and engage in live storytelling, and go home with a free book!

• This evening, the N.A.A.C.P. will host the 46th Annual Image Awards. The Image Awards (@naacpimageaward), this year hosted by Anthony Anderson (@anthonyanderson), historically acknowledge outstanding individuals of color in film, music, literature and television. This year’s notable nominations include Carmen Ejogo (@carmenejogo) of Selma and Quvenzhane Wallis (@IAMQUVENZHANE) of Annie battling for “Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture,” Al Jarreau (@AlJarreau) for “Outstanding Jazz Album,” and Selma’s Ava Duvernay (@AVAETC) for “Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture.” On March 1, The Wright Museum will host 2008 Image Award Nominee for “Best Jazz Artist” and Grammy Award-winner Patti Austin (@pattiaustin) as the feature performer of “Oh, Freedom: A Musical Journey Through African American History” at the Detroit Opera House. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster, (800) 745-3000 or at the Detroit Opera House (@DetOperaHouse) box office.

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Today in Black History, 2/6/2015

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• February 6, 1872 Turner Byrd, Jr. of Williamsville, Michigan received patent number 123,328 for an improved harness rein holder. Byrd later received patent numbers 124,790 March 19, 1872 for an improved apparatus for detaching horses from carriages, 126,181 April 30, 1872 for an improved neck-yoke for wagons, and 157,370 December 1, 1874 for an improvement in railcar couplings. Not much else is known of his life.

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Today in Black History, 2/5/2015

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• February 5, 1813 Jermain Wesley Loguen, Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and abolitionist, was born Jarm Logue enslaved in Davidson County, Tennessee. Loguen escaped bondage to Canada in 1834. He learned to read in Canada before moving to Rochester, New York in 1837 and studying at the Oneida Institute. He moved to Syracuse, New York in 1841 and worked as a school teacher and opened schools for Black children. His house was one of the most openly operated stations on the Underground Railroad. It is estimated that more than 1,500 previously enslaved people passed through his house. Loguen became an elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and held various church posts before being appointed a bishop in 1868. He published his autobiography, “The Rev. J. W. Loguen, as a Slave and as a Freeman, A Narrative of Real Life,” in 1859. Loguen died September 30, 1872.

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Today in Black Culture, 2/4/2015

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• FOX television series Empire (@EmpireFOX) shows the power of the Black viewer. With the top-rated new television drama surpassing ABC's "How To Get Away with Murder," another series with an African American female protagonist, Empire has boosted the success of Black programming on prime-time television. Critics praise the series and FOX for providing an authentic depiction of what is like to be African-American; Carole Bell, professor of communications studies at Northeastern University, says the show recognizes various "aspects of modern black life," such as code-switching, being Black in America, and hip hop culture. Tune into Empire tonight on FOX and join us at The Wright Museum for "Hip Hop & History: A Re-Education" presented by Dr. Pero Dagbovie, Michigan State University Professor of History Saturday, February 7 at 3 pm (free).


• Spoken word artist Ernestine Johnson tells the world why she is not "The Average Black Girl." Johnson's (@E_OnTheScene) piece dismisses the stereotypical woes which black women are expected to fall into to legitimize their blackness, while capturing the very essence of what a black woman represents. Since being featured on the Arsenio Hall Show, her performance went viral – you can see why here! In the mood for spoken word? Then you don't want to miss Mahogany @ The Museum #5: #BLKLUV February 13 at 8 pm ($15 online/$20 door).


 

• Legendary comedian and activist Dick Gregory was honored with the 2,542th Hollywood star Monday, February 2. The acknowledgment fell on his 56th anniversary to his wife and mother of their 10 children, Lillian Gregory. When asked if he was surprised to be given a star, due to his radical ways, he replied that he was "surprised it took so long." Dick Gregory (@IAmDickGregory) was a special guest at November's Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers event at The Wright Museum. View his talk on patience here and join the award-winning Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers as they present "Love and War" February 20 at 8 pm ($20).

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Today in Black History, 2/4/2015

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• February 4, 1900 John Percial Parker, inventor, Underground Railroad conductor and businessman, died. Parker was born February 2, 1827 in Norfolk, Virginia. At eight, he was sold into slavery. By 1845, he had earned enough money to buy his freedom for $1,800. As a free man, Parker became involved in abolitionist activities and aided in the freeing of over a thousand enslaved people. Parker established the Ripley Foundry and Machine Company in 1854. His foundry employed more than 25 workers and remained in operation until 1918. During the Civil War, Parker served as a recruiter for the Union Army and supplied castings for the war effort. Parker received patent number 304,552 September 2, 1886 for the Follower-Screw for Tobacco Presses. On May 19, 1885, he received patent number 318,285 for the Portable Screw Press, popularly known as the Parker Pulverizer. His home in Ripley, Ohio was designated a National Historic Landmark February 18, 1997. Parker’s autobiography, “His Promised Land: The Autobiography of John Parker, Former Slave and Conductor on the Underground Railroad,” was published in 1996.

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Today in Black Culture, 2/3/2015

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Welcome to the inaugural edition of #TodayInBlackCulture. Let us know what you think in the comments or by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

• Monday, February 2, before shooting the game winning shot against the Los Angeles Clippers, Jarret Jack (@jarrettjack03) of the Brooklyn Nets sported a t-shirt celebrating Black History Month while warming up. The twist: Jack’s shirt read “Black History Years,” with the word “Month” crossed out. This statement of a t-shirt was given to him by Atlanta entrepreneur Frank Cooker (@frankcooker), who has started a movement to dismiss the commercialization of Black History Month. Cooker is giving away the T-shirts for free Saturday, February 7, at Atlanta retail shop A Ma Maniere and will only accept donations, which are to benefit the Center for Civil and Human rights in Atlanta, GA.

• Washington D.C. makes a $20 million investment in the education of males of color. New D.C. Mayor, Muriel E. Bowser (@MurielBowser), and D.C. Public Schools Chancellor, Kaya Henderson (@HendersonKaya), join together to push the initiative “Empowering Males of Color,” which focuses on improving educational opportunities for preK – grade 12 Black and Latino males. The $20 million will be dedicated towards funding a prep school for D.C.’s young males of color, set to open in 2017. On Thursday, February 5 you can join in “Living Legacies of Hope: Desegregation, Literacy and Black Education Achievement,” a panel discussion at The Wright Museum sponsored by The National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc., in partnership with Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., and Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Inc. The event begins at 6 PM and is free of charge.

• This year, the legacy of J Dilla, late hip hop producer and Detroit native, is being celebrated across the world. Dilla, who passed away in 2006 due to Lupus-related complications, maintains a worldwide fan base. The Wright Museum has partnered with The Foundation for Women in Hip Hop (@WeFoundHipHop) and the J Dilla Foundation (@JDilla_Fndn) to present J Dilla Youth Day. On Sunday, Feb 8, free of charge, kids can discover the world of hip hop, while also engaging in leadership seminars led by the N.A.A.C.P. Detroit Branch and interactive activities focused around S.T.E.M. (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics).

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Today in Black History, 2/3/2015

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• February 3, 1867 Charles Henry Turner, behavior scientist, zoologist and educator, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Turner earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1891 and Master of Science degree in 1892 in biology from the University of Cincinnati. He taught at Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University) from 1893 to 1905. Turner earned his Ph. D. in zoology from the University of Chicago in 1907. Despite his advanced degrees, he taught science at a high school in St. Louis, Missouri from 1908 to his retirement in 1922. He also did significant insect research and published more than 70 papers. One of his more important findings was that insects could modify their behavior based on experience. He also discovered that ants find their way back to their nest in a circular pattern. Turner was also a leader in the Civil Rights Movement in St. Louis, arguing that only through education could the behavior of both White and Black racists be changed. Turner died February 15, 1923. Turner Middle School in St. Louis is named in his honor.

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Today in Black History, 2/2/2015

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• February 2, 1827 John Percial Parker, inventor, Underground Railroad conductor and businessman, was born in Norfolk, Virginia. At eight, Parker was sold into slavery. By 1845, he had earned enough money to buy his freedom for $1,800. As a free man, he became involved in abolitionist activities and aided in the freeing of over a thousand enslaved people. Parker established the Ripley Foundry and Machine Company in 1854. His foundry employed more than 25 workers and remained in operation until 1918. During the Civil War, Parker served as a recruiter for the Union Army and supplied castings for the war effort. Parker received patent number 304,552 September 2, 1884 for the Follower-Screw for Tobacco Presses. On May 19, 1885, he received patent number 318,285 for the Portable Screw Press, popularly known as the Parker Pulverizer. Parker died February 4, 1900. His home in Ripley, Ohio was designated a National Historic Landmark February 18, 1997. His autobiography, “His Promised Land: The Autobiography of John P. Parker, Former Slave and Conductor on the Underground Railroad,” was published in 1996.

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Today in Black History, 2/1/2015

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• February 1, 1810 Charles Lenox Redmond, orator, abolitionist and military organizer, was born in Salem, Massachusetts. Redmond began his activism against slavery as an orator while in his twenties. The Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society chose him as one of its agents in 1838 and he went to the 1840 World’s Anti-Slavery Convention in London, England. Redmond had a reputation as an eloquent lecturer and is reported to have been the first Black public speaker on abolition. During the Civil War, Redmond recruited Black soldiers in Massachusetts for the Union Army. After the war, he worked in the Boston Customs House and as a street lamp inspector. Redmond died December 22, 1873.

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Today in Black History, 1/31/2015

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• January 31, 1904 Henry Johnson, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, died. Johnson was born June 11, 1850 in Boydton, Virginia. On October 5, 1879, Johnson was serving as a sergeant in Company D of the 9th Cavalry Regiment at Milk River, Colorado during the Indian Wars when his actions earned him the medal. His citation reads,” Voluntarily left fortified shelter and under heavy fire at close range made the rounds of pits to instruct the guards, and fought his way to the creek and back to bring water to the wounded.” In recognition of his heroic actions, Johnson was awarded the medal, America’s highest military decoration, September 22, 1890. Not much else is known of Johnson’s later life except that he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

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Today in Black History, 1/30/2015

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• January 30, 1844 Richard Theodore Greener, the first African American to graduate from Harvard College, was born in Philhttp://image2.findagrave.com/photos250/photos/2007/195/20477831_118461091079.jpgadelphia, Pennsylvania. After three years at Oberlin College, Greener transferred to Harvard and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, in 1870. After teaching for two years at the Institute for Colored Youth (now Cheney University) and serving as principal of the Preparatory School for Colored Children (now Dunbar High School), he accepted a professorship at the University of South Carolina. From 1878 to 1880, Greener served as dean of the Howard University School of Law. He served as secretary of the Grant Monument Association from 1885 to 1892 and as a civil service examiner in New York City from 1885 to 1890. Greener was appointed the United States Commercial Agent in Russia in 1898, a position he held until 1905. He received honorary Doctorate of Laws degrees from Monrovia College in Liberia in 1882 and Howard University in 1907. Greener died May 2, 1922. Phillips Academy annually awards the Robert T. Greener 1865 Endowed Scholarship.

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2015 Black History Month at The Wright Museum; Museum’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations Include Highest Profile Month of the Year Programming

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The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History will present a wide range of exciting, insightful, and inspirational programming in celebration of Black History Month. The museum will be open every day of February to accommodate the expected record visitation by school groups and the general public as a result of the museum’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. Unless otherwise noted, all events take place at the museum, located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, and are free and open to the public. A complete listing of events is attached; of special note are the following:

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Voices of the Civil War Episode 36: "Special Field Order No. 15"

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JANUARY 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.

On the evening of January 12, 1865, Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton and Union General, William T. Sherman met with twenty of Georgia’s black ministers to discuss what some historians now call the nation’s first act of Reconstruction. The purpose of the meeting was for Sherman and Stanton to gather information on how freedmen understood the war, and how they imagined their future in a post-war America. Based on the conversation that took place that evening, on January 16, 1865, William T. Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 15. Upon Sherman’s order, 400,000 acres of land, including Georgia’s Sea Islands and the mainland thirty miles in from the coast, were redistributed to newly freed slaves.

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Today in Black History, 1/29/2015

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• January 29, 1850 Sarah Loguen Fraser, physician, was born in Syracuse, New York. At a young age, Fraser gained experience by helping to treat the illnesses and injuries of formerly enslaved Black people who passed through her parent’s house which was a stop on the Underground Railroad. She earned her Doctor of Medicine degree in 1876 from Syracuse University College of Medicine (now Upstate Medical University of the State University of New York), the first woman to gain that degree from the school. She went on to intern in pediatrics and obstetrics in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Boston, Massachusetts before opening her own practice in Washington, D. C. Fraser moved with her husband to the Dominican Republic in 1882 and became the country’s first female doctor and pediatric specialist. By law, she could only treat women and children. Because she also provided free treatment to the poor, Fraser became a revered figure in the nation. After her husband died, she returned to the United States and practiced pediatrics and mentored midwives from her home in Syracuse. She later moved back to D. C. where she joined the Order of Malachites, an African American professional services organization, and provided medical services to patients at a women’s clinic. Fraser died April 9, 1933. After her death, the Dominican Republic declared a nine-day period of national mourning with flags flown at half-mast. The Sarah Loguen Park in Syracuse and the child care center at Upstate Medical University are named in her honor.

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Today in Black History, 1/28/2015

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• January 28, 1896 Malvin Gray Johnson, painter, was born in Greensboro, North Carolina. Johnson started painting as a child and won top awards in local fairs and exhibitions as a teenager. He moved to New York City where he studied at the National Academy of Design. Johnson was one of the most versatile artist of his time and one of the first African American artist to paint in the cubist style. He won first prize at a Harmon Foundation exhibition in 1928 and won the Otto H. Kahn prize for painting in 1929. Johnson died October 4, 1934. In 2002, the North Carolina Central University Art Museum hosted the first retrospective exhibition devoted to his work. In 2010, Swann Galleries auctioned his work “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” (1928) for $228,000. His works “The Brothers” (1934) and “Self-Portrait” (1934) are in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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Today in Black History, 1/27/2015

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• January 27, 1869 Will Marion Cook, violinist and composer, was born in Washington, D. C. Cook’s musical talents were apparent at an early age and at 15 he was sent to the Oberlin Conservatory to study violin. Cook studied at the Berlin Hochschule fur Musik in Germany from 1887 to 1889 and made his professional debut in 1889. He became director of a chamber orchestra in 1890 and composed “Scenes from the Opera of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” His composition “Clorindy: or, The Origin of the Cakewalk” became the first all-Black show to play in a prestigious Broadway house July 4, 1898. Cook produced many successful musicals, including “Uncle Eph’s Christmas” (1901), “The Southerners” (1904), and “Swing Along” (1929). Cook died July 19, 1944. The Will Marion Cook House in New York City was declared a National Historic Landmark May 11, 1976. His biography, “Swing Along: The Musical Life of Will Marion Cook,” was published in 2008.

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Today in Black History, 1/26/2015

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• January 26, 1892 Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman, hall of fame civil aviator, was born in Atlanta, Texas. In her early 20’s, Coleman became interested in flying but could not gain admittance to American flight schools because she was Blhttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/95/Bessie_Coleman_and_her_plane_(1922).jpgack and a woman. Therefore, she traveled to Paris, France where she learned to fly and became the first African American woman to earn an international aviation license June 15, 1921. After completing an advanced training course, Coleman became a barnstorming stunt flier known as Queen Bess. On April 30, 1926, while flying to an air show, her plane crashed and she died instantly. In 1990, a road at O’Hara Airport was renamed Bessie Coleman Drive. The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in her honor and she was posthumously inducted into the Women in Aviation Hall of Fame in 1995. Biographies of Coleman include “Bessie Coleman: The Brownskin Lady Bird” (1994) and “She Dared to Fly: Bessie Coleman” (1997). Coleman’s 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, 1/25/2015

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• January 25, 1890 The National Afro-American League was formed by Timothy Thomas Fortune. The organization was dedicated to racial solidarity and self-help. The league also sought equal opportunities in voting, civil rights, education, public accommodations and an end to lynchings in the South. It became defunct in 1893 due to lack of support and funding. It was reformed as the National Afro-American Council in 1898 and existed until 1908. Many of the supporters of the league and council later became supporters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “Broken Brotherhood: The Rise and Fall of the National Afro-American Council” was published in 2008.

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