Two early African-American scientists, namely mathematician and astronomer Benjamin Banneker and agricultural chemist George Washington Carver, have become legendary for their intellect and ingenuity. From 1792 through 1797 Benjamin Banneker, an African American mathematician and amateur astronomer, calculated ephemerides (tables of the locations of stars and planets) for almanacs that were widely distributed and influential. Because of these works, Banneker became one of the most famous African Americans in early U.S. history. Born free in Maryland, Banneker was largely self-taught . He constructed the first striking clock to be made in America, helped survey the boundaries for Washington, D.C., and published an almanac, which he compiled based on his own astronomical observations and calculations. -
George Washington Carver educator, scientist Born: 1864 Birthplace: Diamond Grove, Mo. After a university in Kansas refused to admit him because he was African American, George Washington Carver attended Simpson College before transferring to Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (now Iowa State University), from which he earned a B.S. degree in agricultural science, and an M.S. degree in 1896. Carver's fame is closely associated with Tuskegee University (then Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute ), of which he became the director of agricultural research in 1896, and where he remained until his death in 1943. Carver revolutionized southern agriculture by introducing peanut, soybean, and sweet potato production to replenish nitrogen in the soil, which had been largely depleted by cotton growth. When southern farmers grew peanuts and soybeans and found a limited market for them, Carver set to work developing commercial applications for them, creating more than 300 peanut-based products, including milk, cheese, flour, ink, dyes, wood stains, soap, and cosmetics. In addition he developed 118 sweet potato-based products, including vinegar, molasses, rubber, ink, and postage stamp glue. Shortly before his death in 1940, Carver donated his entire savings to Tuskegee to found the Carver Research Foundation, for research in agriculture.
Daniel Hale Williams Janesville may not be the site of the world’s first successful heart surgery, nor the birthplace of Daniel Hale Williams, the surgeon who performed it, but the city is the birthplace of Dr. Williams’ career. Daniel Hale Williams was born in Hollidaysburg, Pa., in 1856. He came from a large family, and as the fifth of seven children, Williams had to start earning his keep at a young age. His mother sent him to Baltimore to apprentice for a shoemaker, but that path was not for him. Williams ran away from Baltimore and rejoined his family at their new home in Rockford, Ill. As a teenager Williams moved to Janesville, Wis. There he worked as a barber and attended the Classical Academy studying bass violin. But Williams decided to trade in his scissors and strings for a scalpel when he met Dr. Henry Palmer. Palmer was not only a surgeon, but also a Civil War hero. He was nicknamed “the Fighting Surgeon” because, while stationed as the head of the military hospital in York, Pa., he armed civilians and wounded men, and repelled a Confederate force that was attacking the city. Daniel Hale Williams became Dr. Palmer’s apprentice in 1877 and in 1880 Palmer helped Williams enter Chicago Medical School. Williams graduated in 1883 and began his medical practice in Chicago, where he was one of only four African-American doctors. Williams’ skill and reputation grew and in 1889 he was appointed to the Illinois Board of Health. At this time, Williams began to address the problems facing Chicago’s African-American community. African-American students were rarely allowed into medical and nursing schools and African-American patients often received inferior medical care so Williams founded Provident Hospital — the city’s first multi-racial hospital— and a nursing school for African-Americans. The hospital employed white and African-American doctors and was dedicated to the belief that everyone deserved the best medical care possible. It was at Provident Hospital in 1893 that Williams performed his famous heart surgery. His patient was James Cornish, a young man who had been stabbed in the chest. Cornish’s wound had been treated, but he was bleeding internally and would have soon died if not for Williams’ decision to perform surgery. He opened Cornish’s chest cavity and sutured a damaged blood vessel, and a tear in the tissue surrounding the heart. This surgery also was remarkable because, at a time when many patients died of infections, Williams was pioneering antiseptic techniques. He had opened up the man’s chest, repaired his heart and had done it without causing an infection. James Cornish made a full recovery and lived a long life because of Dr. Williams. Daniel Hale Williams had a long and successful career as a surgeon and a medical professor. He was active in the NAACP and the National Medical Association, and continued to work for equal rights for minority patients and medical providers all of his life.
Percy Lavon Julian chemist Born: 4/11/1899 Birthplace: Montgomery, Ala. In addition to an extensive teaching career at such colleges as DePauw University, which would not offer him a professorship because he was African American, Howard University and West Virginia State College, Percy Lavon Julian made significant discoveries in the private sector. In 1935 Julian developed physostigmine, a drug that is used in the treatment of glaucoma. While working for the Glidden Company, Julian worked with the soya bean, developing a protein that helped to develop AeroFoam a fire extinguisher used by the Navy. After leaving Glidden, Julian, who held a bachelor's degree from DePauw, a Master's degree from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Vienna, founded Julian Research, focusing on the production of sterols. He synthesized the female hormone progesterone, and the male hormone testosterone by extracting sterols from soybean oil. His most famous exploit however, is his synthesis of cortisone which is used to treat arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
Jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong and pianist Duke Ellington rehearse Leonard Feather's song &quot;Long, Long Journey&quot; at the RCA Victor recording studio in New York City on Jan. 12, 1946. T Music In his early years, Armstrong was best known for his virtuosity with the cornet and trumpet. The greatest trumpet playing of his early years can be heard on his Hot Five and Hot Seven records. The improvisations which he made on these records of New Orleans jazz standards and popular songs of the day continue to stack up brilliantly alongside those of any other later jazz performer. The older generation of New Orleans jazz musicians often referred to their improvisations as &quot;variating the melody&quot;; Armstrong's improvisations were daring and sophisticated for the time while often subtle and melodic. He often essentially re-composed pop-tunes he played, making them more interesting. Armstrong's playing is filled with joyous, inspired original melodies, creative leaps, and subtle relaxed or driving rhythms. The genius of these creative passages is matched by Armstrong's playing technique, honed by constant practice, which extended the range, tone and capabilities of the trumpet. In these records, Armstrong almost single-handedly created the role of the jazz soloist, taking what was essentially a collective folk music and turning it into an art form with tremendous possibilities for individual expression. Armstrong's work in the 1920s shows him playing at the outer limits of his abilities. The Hot Five records, especially, often have minor flubs and missed notes, which do little to detract from listening enjoyment since the energy of the spontaneous performance comes through. By the mid 1930s, Armstrong achieved a smooth assurance, knowing exactly what he could do and carrying out his ideas with perfectionism. As his music progressed and popularity grew, his singing also became important. Armstrong was not the first to record scat singing , but he was masterful at it and helped popularize it. He had a hit with his playing and scat singing on &quot; Heebie Jeebies &quot; when, according to some legends, the sheet music fell on the floor and he simply started singing nonsense syllables. Armstrong stated in his memoirs that this actually occurred. He also sang out &quot;I done forgot the words&quot; in the middle of recording &quot;I'm A Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas&quot;. Such records were hits and scat singing became a major part of his performances. Long before this, however, Armstrong was playing around with his vocals, shortening and lengthening phrases, interjecting improvisations, using his voice as creatively as his trumpet. During his long career he played and sang with the most important instrumentalists and vocalists; among the many, singing brakeman Jimmie Rodgers , Bing Crosby , Duke Ellington , Fletcher Henderson , Bessie Smith , and notably with Ella Fitzgerald . His influence upon Bing Crosby is particularly important with regard to the subsequent development of popular music: Crosby admired and copied Armstrong, as is evident on many of his early recordings, notably &quot;Just One More Chance&quot; (1931). The New Grove Dictionary Of Jazz describes Crosby's debt to Armstrong in perfect detail, although it does not acknowledge Armstrong by name: &quot;Crosby...was important in introducing into the mainstream of popular singing an Afro-American concept of song as a lyrical extension of speech...His techniques - easing the weight of the breath on the vocal cords, passing into a head voice at a low register, using forward production to aid distinct enunciation, singing on consonants (a practice of black singers), and making discreet use of appoggiaturas, mordents, and slurs to emphasize the text - were emulated by nearly all later popular singers&quot;. Armstrong recorded three albums with Ella Fitzgerald: Ella and Louis , Ella and Louis Again , and Porgy and Bess for Verve Records . His recordings Satch Plays Fats , all Fats Waller tunes, and Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy in the 1950s were perhaps among the last of his great creative recordings, but even oddities like Disney Songs the Satchmo Way are seen to have their musical moments. And, his participation in Dave Brubeck 's high-concept jazz musical The Real Ambassadors was critically acclaimed. For the most part, however, his later output was criticized as being overly simplistic or repetitive. Armstrong had many hit records including &quot; Stardust &quot;, &quot; What a Wonderful World &quot;, &quot; When The Saints Go Marching In &quot;, &quot; Dream a Little Dream of Me &quot;, &quot; Ain't Misbehavin' &quot;, and &quot;Stompin' at the Savoy&quot;. &quot; We Have All the Time in the World &quot; featured on the soundtrack of the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service , and enjoyed renewed popularity in the UK in 1994 when it featured on a Guinness advert. It reached number 3 in the charts on being re-released. In 1964, Armstrong knocked the Beatles off the top of the Billboard Top 100 chart with &quot; Hello, Dolly &quot;, which gave the 63-year-old performer a U.S. record as the oldest artist to have a #1 song. In 1968, Armstrong scored one last popular hit in the United Kingdom with the highly sentimental pop song &quot; What a Wonderful World &quot;, which topped the British charts for a month; however, the single did not chart at all in America. The song gained greater currency in the popular consciousness when it was used in the 1987 movie Good Morning, Vietnam , its subsequent rerelease topping many charts around the world. Armstrong even appeared on the 28 October 1970 Johnny Cash Show , where he sang Nat &quot;King&quot; Cole 's hit &quot; Rambling Rose &quot; and joined Cash to re-create his performance backing Jimmie Rodgers on &quot; Blue Yodel # 9 .&quot;&quot; Armstrong enjoyed many types of music, from the most earthy blues to the syrupy sweet arrangements of Guy Lombardo , to Latin American folksongs, to classical symphonies and opera . Armstrong incorporated influences from all these sources into his performances, sometimes to the bewilderment of fans who wanted Armstrong to stay in convenient narrow categories. Armstrong was inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence . Some of his solos from the 1950s, such as the hard rocking version of &quot; St. Louis Blues &quot; from the WC Handy album, show that the influence went in both directions. his is the first time Armstrong and Ellington have made a recording together. (AP Photo)
Dorothy West, shown in this 1995 photo, one of the last living figures of the Harlem Renaissance movement, died Sunday. She was 91. Her first novel, The Living Is Easy, about the black middle class in Boston, came out in 1948. Her second novel, The Wedding, didn't come out until 1995, when she was 88. (AP Photo/Alison Shaw Harlem Renaissance Main article: Harlem Renaissance Shortly before winning, West moved to Harlem with her cousin, the poet Helene Johnson. There West met other writers of the Harlem Renaissance, including Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, and the novelist Wallace Thurman. Hughes gave West the nickname of &quot;The Kid&quot;, by which she was known during her time in Harlem. West's principal contribution to the Harlem Renaissance was to publish the magazine Challenge, which she founded in 1934 with $40. She also published the magazines successor, New Challenge. These magazines were among the first to publish literature featuring realistic portrayals of African Americans. Among the works published were Richard Wright's groundbreaking essay &quot;Blueprint for Negro Writing,&quot; together with writings by Margaret Walker and Ralph Ellison. Literary works After both magazines folded because of insufficient financing, West worked for the Works Progress Administration's Federal Writers' Project until the mid-1940s. During this time she wrote a number of short stories for the New York Daily News. She then moved to Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard, where she wrote her first novel, The Living Is Easy. Published in 1948, her novel was well received critically but did not sell many copies. In the four decades after, West worked as a journalist, primarily writing for a small newspaper on Martha's Vineyard. In 1982 a feminist press brought The Living Is Easy back into print, giving new attention to West and her role in the Harlem Renaissance. As a result of this attention, at age 85 West finally finished a second novel, titled The Wedding. Published in 1995, the novel was a best-seller and resulted in the publication of a collection of West's short stories and reminiscences called The Richer, the Poorer. Oprah Winfrey turned the novel into a two-part television miniseries, The Wedding. West died on August 16, 1998, at the age of 91. At her death, she was the last surviving member of the Harlem Renaissance.
Oprah Gail Winfrey (born January 29, 1954) is the American multiple-Emmy Award winning host of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the highest-rated talk show in television history. She is also an influential book critic, an Academy Award-nominated actress, and a magazine publisher. She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century, the most philanthropic African American of all time, and the world's only black billionaire for three straight years. She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world. Born in rural Mississippi to a poor unwed teenaged mother, and later raised in a Milwaukee ghetto, Winfrey was raped at the age of nine, and at fourteen, gave birth to a son who died in infancy. Sent to live with the man she calls her father, a barber in Tennessee, Winfrey landed a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19. Her emotional ad-lib delivery eventually got her transferred to the daytime talk show arena, and after boosting a third rated local Chicago talk show to first place, she launched her own production company and became internationally syndicated. Credited with creating a more intimate confessional form of media communication, she is thought to have popularized and revolutionized   the tabloid talk show genre pioneered by Phil Donahue, which a Yale study claimed broke 20th century taboos and allowed gays, transsexuals, and transgender people to enter the mainstream.  By the mid 1990s she had reinvented her show with a focus on literature, self-improvement, and spirituality. Though criticized for unleashing confession culture and promoting controversial self-help fads, she is generally admired for overcoming adversity to become a benefactor to others.
Morgan Freeman Actor Born: 1 June 1937 Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee Best known as: The Oscar-winning co-star of Million Dollar Baby Morgan Freeman won the Academy Award as best supporting actor for his role as a world-weary ex-boxer in the 2004 film Million Dollar Baby . Freeman kicked around TV and movies during the 1970s and '80s as a reliable supporting character, then became a familiar face in the movies after his Oscar-nominated role in 1987's Street Smart . He was nominated again for Driving Miss Daisy (1989) and received much critical attention for The Unforgiven (1992, with Clint Eastwood ), The Shawshank Redemption (1994, with Tim Robbins ) and Se7en (1995, with Brad Pitt ). Freeman has the kind of face that audiences trust, and he is known for bringing a certain gravitas to the table, often portraying authority figures like the U.S. president in Deep Impact (1998) and God in Bruce Almighty (2003, with Jim Carrey ). In 2005 he finally won the Oscar for Million Dollar Baby , again directed by Eastwood and co-starring Hilary Swank . Freeman's other film credits include Chain Reaction (1996, with Keanu Reeves ), and Amistad (1997, directed by Steven Spielberg ). Extra credit: Million Dollar Baby also won the Academy Award as the best film of 2004... Freeman is a founding partner in the film production company Revelations Entertainment... In 1993 he directed Bopha! , a feature film set in South Africa... Freeman was a regular on the 1970s educational show The Electric Company .
Actors Halle Berry, left, and Denzel Washington hold their Academy awards, the first time black actors received both best-actor and best-actress statues, during the Academy Awards in this March 24, 2002, file photo taken in Los Angeles. Nine months after their wins, 2002 has turned out to be a good year for African-American actors and themes in an industry perpetually rebuked for it's lack of racial diversity. (AP Photo/Doug Mills,file)
Career Glover has had a variety of film, stage, and television roles. He is best known for his role as Los Angeles police Sgt. Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon movie series, and his role as the abusive husband to Whoopi Goldberg's character Celie in The Color Purple. He was given top billing for the first time in Predator 2, the sequel to the sci-fi actioner Predator. In addition, Glover has been a live[vague] and voice actor in many children's movies. Among many awards, he has won five NAACP Image Awards, for his achievements as an actor of color Purple. Danny Glover also worked in 2001 blockbuster Royal Tenenbaums also starring Gywneth paltrow, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. He joined the ranks of actors, such as Humphrey Bogart, Elliott Gould, and Robert Mitchum, who have portrayed Raymond Chandler's private eye detective Philip Marlowe in the episode 'Red Wind' of the Showtime network's 1995 series Fallen Angels. Glover made his directorial debut with the Showtime channel short film Override in 1994. Also in 1994, Glover and actor Ben Guillory formed the Robey Theatre Company in Los Angeles, focusing on theatre by and about the Black experience. In 2005, Glover and Joslyn Barnes announced plans to make &quot;No FEAR,&quot; a movie about Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo's experience. Coleman-Adebayo won a 2000 jury trial against the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The jury found the EPA guilty of violating the civil rights of Coleman-Adebayo on the basis of race, sex, color and a hostile work environment, under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Coleman-Adebayo was terminated shortly after she revealed the environmental and human disaster taking place in the Brits, South Africa, vanadium mines. Her experience inspired passage of the No FEAR Act. In 2007, it was announced that Venezuela would give Glover $18 million to make a film version of the 18th-century Haiti slave uprising that was led by Toussaint Louverture. Glover is known for saying &quot;I'm too old for this shit!&quot; in multiple films. It has become a trademark phrase associated with the actor the way Arnold Schwarzenegger is known for saying &quot;I'll be back.&quot;  Activism Glover speaks at a March for Immigrants Rights in Madison, Wisconsin.While attending San Francisco State University, Glover was a member of the Black Students Union who along with the Third World Liberation Front led the five month strike for Ethnic Studies. Not only did this create the first school of Ethnic Studies in the U.S., but it was also the longest student strike in the history of the United States. During the strike, he protested alongside Hari Dillon who is now the president of the Vanguard Public Foundation of which Glover sits on the advisory board. Glover serves as a board member to numerous national and international organizations. He is presently chair of the TransAfrica Forum, &quot;a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the general public — particularly African-Americans — on the economic, political and moral ramifications of U.S. foreign policy as it affects Africa and the Diaspora in the Caribbean and Latin America&quot; and a board member of Cheryl Byron's Something Positive Dance Group. In March 1998, he was appointed ambassador to the United Nations Development Programme. Glover is among a number of high-profile U.S. supporters of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. The group also includes singer Harry Belafonte and Princeton University scholar Cornel West, who have defended the Venezuelan president against accusations of democratic abuses. He also serves on the Advisory Council for TeleSUR, &quot;Television of the South&quot;, a pan-Latin American television network based in Caracas. It began broadcasting on July 24, 2005. His role in this capacity and resulting interaction with Chávez have drawn criticism for Glover from some Western media, due to, among other things, Chavez's frequent and vehement anti-Bush speeches. For instance, Glover introduced Chavez at an event in which Chavez reasserted his opinion of President Bush as a devil. On Friday May 4, 2007 Glover endorsed former Senator John Edwards for the Democratic nomination for President in the 2008 Presidential Race. On January 24, 2008, he was convicted of trespassing during a union rally at a Sheraton Hotel in Niagara Falls, Ontario. He was convicted along with union representative Alex Dagg and Ontario Federation of Labour president Wayne Samuelson.Although Canadian Niagara Hotels were seeking $22,000 in a private prosecution, Glover, Dagg and Samuelson were sentenced with a $100 fine on February 8, 2008. The justice of the peace suggested that &quot;the prosecution was unnecessary to protect the interests of the hotel's owner, and that the company should have put more effort toward good faith negotiations with the union&quot;.
Rapping (also known as emceeing, MCing, spitting, or just rhyming) is the rhythmic spoken delivery of rhymes and wordplay, one of the elements of hip hop music and culture. Although the word rap has sometimes been claimed to be a backronym of the phrase &quot;Rhythmic African Poetry&quot;, &quot;Rhythm and Poetry&quot;, &quot;Rhythmically Applied Poetry&quot;, &quot;Rapping About Poetry,&quot; &quot;Racing Always Pacing,&quot; or &quot;Rhythmically Associated Poetry&quot;, use of the word to describe quick speech or repartee long predates the musical form, meaning originally &quot;to hit&quot;. The word had been used in British English since the 16th century, and specifically meaning &quot;to say&quot; since the 18th. It was part of the African American dialect of English in the 1960s meaning &quot;to converse&quot;, and very soon after that in its present usage as a term denoting the musical style. Rapping can be delivered over a beat or without accompaniment. By the United States 2000 Census, three quarters of the United States' population is white, while one eighth is black. However, most mainstream rappers in the United States are black. Some believe this discrepancy is a good thing; popular rapper Kanye West has said: &quot;I hate music where white people are trying to sound black. The white music I like is white&quot;. Other artists reject such distinctions and argue that it's absurd to racially segregate music four decades after the civil rights movement. Some prominent Caucasian MCs include Eminem, Aesop Rock, R.A. The Rugged Man, and the UK's The Streets. Very few white hip hop artists claim Anglo-Saxon or Caucasian ancestry; virtually all of them are members of other ethnic groups that have faced varying degrees of discrimination only to be later assimilated. For artists like House of Pain, the Beastie Boys, and Beltaine's Fire; hip hop culture provides a way to reject that assimilation and differentiate themselves from the dominant Anglo-American culture by asserting a separate ethnic identity. Wealth and class have always been significant issues in hip hop, a culture which was developed mainly among the lower and lower-middle class blacks of inner-city New York. Any view of money that can be seen in real life can also be seen in the lyrics of rap—just as there are rappers who often brag about their extravagant wealth or more specifically their &quot;rags to riches&quot; stories, there are political militants who decry materialism. Although most of hip hop's famous and influential rappers have come from inner-city ghettos, hip hop has always represented a variety of economic backgrounds. For example, Run-D.M.C., Beastie Boys, Rakim, Black Sheep, and Kanye West were middle-class when they began rapping. Race issues often intersect with class issues. Vanilla Ice, a white pop rapper, went so far as to lie about his place of origin, claiming that he came from the inner-city of Miami, Florida, when he was actually from suburban Texas. According to Vanilla Ice, he was encouraged to lie by his record company to increase their profits. In juxtaposition to Vanilla Ice stand the Beastie Boys, a rap group composed of white Jewish teenagers. The Beastie Boys didn't lie about their middle-class and suburban upbringing, and managed to sell millions of records while maintaining the respect of the hip hop community. House of Pain, an Irish-American crew with members from Los Angeles and New York, were downright assertive about their ethnicity, including footage of a St. Patrick's Day parade in the music video for their first hit single Jump Around and name-checking prominent Irish Americans in their lyrics. They also incorporated time signatures associated with traditional Irish folk music such as jigs and reels into their songs—a major deviation from mainstream hip hop where virtually every song is done in 4/4 time. The most recent mainstream exception to the skin color trend in mainstream rap is Eminem, who is of mainly Scottish descent, and who grew up in the primarily black city of Detroit. In his song &quot;White America&quot;, Eminem attributes his selling success to his being more easily digestible by a white audience, because he &quot;looks like them.&quot; Other prominent American rappers of primarily European decent include Sage Francis, Paul Wall (who is 1/4 Mexican), Emcee Lynx, Mike Shinoda (who is half Japanese), El-Producto, Aesop Rock, and many others. Race, class, and ethnicity remain prominent themes in hip hop music in general, regardless of race. Emcee Lynx in particular is notable for addressing these issues from an explicitly anti-racist and anti-imperialist perspective in his music, while referencing his Scottish and Irish heritage as a point of pride. Despite the fact that the majority of American rap artists in the mainstream are black, some statistics indicate that most hip hop record purchasers are white, reflecting demographics and economics. According to musicologist Arthur Kempton, &quot;Today 70 percent of hip-hop is bought by white kids&quot;. Boots Riley has criticized these figures, pointing out that they only count SoundScan sales, which exclude the mom-and-pop record stores located in majority black and Latino neighborhoods that major music chains tend to avoid, and thus dramatically underrepresents the number of sales made in such communities. According to political rapper Zion of Zion I, socially conscious hip hop in particular has a majority white audience: &quot;...so many black people don't want to hear it. They want that thug shit.&quot; In addition to Zion, several other underground rappers such as Boots Riley of The Coup, report nearly all white audiences.
Du Bois, W. E. B. Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt Du Bois) (d u bois') [ key ], 1868–1963, American civil-rights leader and author, b. Great Barrington, Mass., grad. Harvard (B.A., 1890; M.A., 1891; Ph.D., 1895). Du Bois was an early exponent of full equality for African Americans and a cofounder (1905) of the Niagara Movement, which became (1909) the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Unlike Booker T. Washington , who believed that unskilled blacks should focus on economic self-betterment, and Marcus Garvey , who advocated a “back to Africa” movement, Du Bois demanded that African Americans should achieve not only economic parity with whites in the United States but full and immediate civil and political equality as well. Also, he introduced the concept of the “talented tenth,” a black elite whose duty it was to better the lives of less fortunate African Americans. From 1897 to 1910, Du Bois taught economics and history at Atlanta Univ. In 1910 he became editor of the influential NAACP magazine, Crisis, a position he held until 1934. That year he resigned over the question of voluntary segregation, which he had come to favor over integration, and returned to Atlanta Univ. (1934–44). His concern for the liberation of blacks throughout the world led him to organize the first (Paris, 1919) of several Pan-African Congresses. In 1945, at the Fifth Congress in Manchester, England, he met with the African leaders Kwame Nkrumah and Jomo Kenyatta . In 1961 he became a member of the American Communist party, and shortly thereafter he renounced his American citizenship. In the last two years of his life Du Bois lived in Ghana. His books include The Souls of Black Folks (1903), The Negro (1915), Black Reconstruction in America (1935), Color and Democracy (1945), The World and Africa (1947), and In Battle for Peace: The Story of My 83rd Birthday (1952).
Marshall, Thurgood Marshall, Thurgood, 1908–93, U.S. lawyer and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1967–91), b. Baltimore. He received his law degree from Howard Univ. in 1933. In 1936 he joined the legal staff of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. As its chief counsel (1938–61), he argued more than 30 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, successfully challenging racial segregation, most notably in higher education. His presentation of the argument against the “separate but equal” doctrine achieved its greatest impact with the landmark decision handed down in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954). His appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1961 was opposed by some Southern senators and was not confirmed until 1962. President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him to the Supreme Court two years later; he was the first black to sit on the high court, where he consistently supported the position taken by those challenging discrimination based on race or sex, opposed the death penalty, and supported the rights of criminal defendants. His support for affirmative action led to his strong dissent in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978). As appointments by Presidents Nixon and Reagan changed the outlook of the Court, Marshall found himself increasingly in the minority; in retirement he was outspoken in his criticism of the court.
Hiram Revels Senator from Mississippi; first African American senator Born: September 27, 1827 Birthplace: Fayetteville, N.C. Born a free black, Revels worked as a barber and as a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. During the Civil War he helped recruit two regiments of African American troops in Maryland and served as the chaplain of a black regiment. After the war he moved to Natchez, Miss., where he was elected an alderman (1868) and a state senator (1870). In 1870 Revels was elected as the first African American member of the United States Senate. A few senators objected, arguing that Revels had not been a U.S. citizen for the nine years, a requirement for serving in the Senate--African Americans had only technically become citizens four years earlier, after the passage of the 1866 Civil Rights Act. But this ploy to keep him out of the Senate failed--the Senate voted 48 to 8 in favor of Revels. Revels served as senator from Feb. 25, 1870, to March 4, 1871. (His term was an abbreviated one because he was elected to complete the term vacated ten years earlier by Jefferson Davis, who left the Senate to become the president of the Confederacy.) After the Senate, Revels served as the president of a black college and returned to the ministry. Died: Jan. 16, 1901
U.S. Representative: Joseph Rainey became a Congressman from South Carolina in 1870 and was reelected four more times. The first black female U.S. Representative was Shirley Chisholm , Congresswoman from New York, 1969–1983. Joseph Hayne Rainey (June 21, 1832 – August 1, 1887) was the first African American person to serve in the United States House of Representatives and the second black person to serve in the United States Congress (U.S. Senator Hiram Revels was the first). Rainey was born in Georgetown, South Carolina. His parents were both slaves, but his father, Edward, had a successful business as a barber, enabling him to purchase his family's freedom shortly after Joseph Rainey's birth. As an adult, Rainey followed his father by becoming a barber. In 1861, with the outbreak of the American Civil War, Rainey was drafted by the Confederate government to work on fortifications in Charleston, South Carolina, as well as to work as a laborer on blockade runner ships. In 1862, he and his wife were able to escape to Bermuda. They settled in the town of St. George, Bermuda, where Rainey worked as a barber, while his wife established herself as a successful dressmaker. In 1865, the couple moved to the town of Hamilton when an outbreak of yellow fever threatened St. George. Rainey worked at the Hamilton Hotel as a barber and a bartender, while becoming a respected member of the community. In 1866, following the war's end, Rainey returned to South Carolina. He quickly involved himself in politics, joining the executive committee of the state Republican Party. In 1868, he was a delegate to the convention which wrote the state's new constitution. In 1870, Rainey was elected to the State Senate of South Carolina. Later that year, he was elected to fill a vacancy in the Forty-first Congress of the United States as a Republican. This vacancy had been created when the previous incumbent, B. Franklin Whittemore, was censured by the House for corruption and subsequently re-elected, after which the House refused to seat him. Rainey was seated December 12, 1870 and was re-elected to Congress four times; he served until March 3, 1879, which made him the longest-serving black Congressmen prior to William L. Dawson in the 1950s. Joseph Rainey First African American Congressman Born: June 21, 1832 Birthplace: Georgetown, South Carolina. Rainey was born a slave, but his father bought the family's freedom. During the Civil War, the Confederacy drafted Rainey to work on the military fortifications in the Charleston, S.C., harbor. He and his wife eventually escaped during the war to Bermuda. When he returned to Charleston after the war, he became politically active, championing civil rights causes. In 1870, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and was reelected four times. As a Congressman, Rainey was dedicated to passing civil-rights legislation.
Rosa Parks Civil Rights Figure Born: 4 February 1913 Died: 24 October 2005 Birthplace: Tuskegee, Alabama Best known as: The civil rights icon who wouldn't give up her bus seat Name at birth: Rosa Louise McCauley In 1955, Rosa Parks was an African-American living in Montgomery, Alabama -- a city with laws that strictly segregated blacks and whites. On 1 December 1955, after her day of work as a seamstress at a local department store, Parks boarded a city bus. When she refused to give up her seat to a white man, the bus driver called police, and Parks was arrested and fined. The resulting bus boycott by African-Americans, led by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. , caused a national sensation. The boycott was a success and led to desegregation in Montgomery and elsewhere in the United States. Over time, Parks became a national icon of civil rights and African-American pride. Parks worked as an aide to Michigan Congressman John Conyers, Jr. from 1966 until her retirement in 1988, and she founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development in 1987. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Bill Clinton in 1996.
Martin Luther King, Jr., Biography 1929—1968, American clergyman and civil rights leader Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., graduated from Morehouse College (B.A., 1948), Crozer Theological Seminary (B.D., 1951), and Boston University (Ph.D., 1955). The son of the pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, King was ordained in 1947 and became (1954) minister of a Baptist church in Montgomery, Ala. He led the black boycott (1955-56) of segregated city bus lines and in 1956 gained a major victory and prestige as a civil-rights leader when Montgomery buses began to operate on a desegregated basis. King organized the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), which gave him a base to pursue further civil-rights activities, first in the South and later nationwide. His philosophy of nonviolent resistance led to his arrest on numerous occasions in the 1950s and 60s. His campaigns had mixed success, but the protest he led in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963 brought him worldwide attention. He spearheaded the Aug., 1963, March on Washington , which brought together more than 200,000 people. In 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize . King's leadership in the civil-rights movement was challenged in the mid-1960s as others grew more militant. His interests, however, widened from civil rights to include criticism of the Vietnam War and a deeper concern over poverty. His plans for a Poor People's March to Washington were interrupted (1968) for a trip to Memphis, Tenn., in support of striking sanitation workers. On Apr. 4, 1968, he was shot and killed as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel (since 1991 a civil-rights museum). James Earl Ray , a career criminal, pleaded guilty to the murder and was convicted, but he soon recanted, claiming he was duped into his plea. Ray's conviction was subsequently upheld, but he eventually received support from members of King's family, who believed King to have been the victim of a conspiracy. Ray died in prison in 1998. In a jury trial in Memphis in 1999 the King family won a wrongful-death judgment against Loyd Jowers, who claimed (1993) that he had arranged the killing for a Mafia figure. Many experts, however, were unconvinced by the verdict, and in 2000, after an 18-month investigation, the Justice Dept. discredited Jowers and concluded that there was no evidence of an assassination plot. King wrote Stride toward Freedom (1958), Why We Can't Wait (1964), and Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community ? (1967). His birthday is a national holiday, celebrated on the third Monday in January. King's wife, Coretta Scott King , has carried on various aspects of his work. She also wrote My Life with Martin Luther King (1989). See biographies by K. L. Smith and I. G. Zepp, Jr. (1974), S. Oates (1982), and M. Frady (2001); C. S. King, My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr . (1969); D. J. Garrow, Bearing the Cross (1986); T. Branch, Parting the Waters (1988) and Pillar of Fire (1997); M. E. Dyson, I May Not Get There with You (2000). Martin Luther King is arrested and jailed during anti-segregation protests in Birmingham, Ala. He writes &quot; Letter from Birmingham Jail ,&quot; which advocated nonviolent civil disobedience . The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom is attended by about 250,000 people, the largest demonstration ever seen in the nation's capital. Martin Luther King delivers his famous &quot; I Have a Dream &quot; speech. The march builds momentum for civil rights legislation (Aug. 28). Despite Governor George Wallace physically blocking their way, Vivian Malone and James Hood register for classes at the University of Alabama . Four young black girls attending Sunday school are killed when a bomb explodes at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, a popular location for civil rights meetings. Riots erupt in Birmingham, leading to the deaths of two more black youths (Sept. 15).
He was raised in Michigan, where the family house was burned by the Ku Klux Klan; his father was later murdered and his mother was institutionalized. He moved to Boston, drifted into petty crime, and was sent to prison for burglary in 1946. He converted to the Black Muslim faith ( Nation of Islam ) the same year. On his release in 1952, he changed his last name to X to signify his rejection of his “slave name.” Soon after meeting the Nation of Islam's leader, Elijah Muhammad , he became the sect's most effective speaker and organizer. He spoke with bitter eloquence against white exploitation of blacks and derided the civil rights movement and integration, calling instead for black separatism, black pride, and the use of violence for self-protection. Differences with Elijah Muhammad prompted Malcolm to leave the Nation of Islam in 1964. A pilgrimage to Mecca led him to acknowledge the possibility of world brotherhood and to convert to orthodox Islam. Rival Black Muslims made threats against his life, and he was shot to death at a rally in a Harlem ballroom. His celebrated autobiography (1965) was written by Alex Haley on the basis of numerous interviews conducted shortly before Malcolm's death.
Powell, Colin Luther Powell, Colin Luther, 1937–, U.S. army general and government official, b. New York City, grad., City College (B.S., 1958); George Washington Univ. (M.A., 1969). The son of Jamaican immigrants, Powell was the first African American and the youngest person to chair (1989–93) the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the first African American to serve (2001–5) as secretary of state. He entered the U.S. army (1958) as a commissioned officer and served two tours of duty (1962–63, 1968–69) during the Vietnam War . In the 1970s he worked in several staff positions in the White House, including in the Office of Management and Budget, and also served in military command positions. In 1979 he was made a major general and the military assistant to the deputy secretary of defense, a position he held until 1981, when he assumed command of the 4th Infantry Division. From 1983 to 1986 Powell was military assistant to the secretary of defense, and in 1986 he served as commander of the V Corps in Western Europe. The next year he was named assistant to the president for national security affairs. In 1989, Powell was promoted to four-star general, becoming the first African American to hold that rank, and was named chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He had an important role in planning the American invasion of Panama in late 1989, and prior to the Persian Gulf War (1991) he played a crucial role in planning and coordinating the victory of U.S. and allied forces. He declined to run for the U.S. presidency in 1995, despite widespread encouragement to do so, and in 1997 became chairman of America's Promise–the Alliance for Youth, a charitable organization formed to help needy and at-risk U.S. children. Powell was appointed secretary of state by President George W. Bush in 2001. He advocated the so-called Powell doctrine—that U.S. military power only be used in overwhelming strength to achieve well-defined strategic national interests—while promoting “a uniquely American internationalism,” and he also showed a particular interest in African affairs. As secretary of state, however, his influence on foreign policy issues was not as great as that of National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice (who succeeded him in 2005), Vice President Dick Cheney, and others. Powell was subsequently publicly critical of a number of administration policies, such as the Guantánamo military prison.
Rice, Condoleezza Rice, Condoleezza, 1954–, U.S. government official and educator, b. Birmingham, Ala. A political scientist who has specialized in Russian and E European studies, Rice has been a professor at Stanford Univ. since 1981. From 1989 to 1991 she was an adviser on Soviet and E European affairs on President George H. W. Bush's National Security Council. Subsequently, she served (1993–99) as Stanford's provost. During the 2000 presidential campaign she was George W. Bush 's foreign policy adviser, and in 2001 she became President Bush's national security adviser—the first woman and second African American (after Colin Powell ) to hold the post. A member of the president's inner circle, she has been an advocate of U.S. military power, a supporter of the Iraq invasion (see Persian Gulf Wars ), and a spokeswoman for the administration's assertive foreign policy. In 2004, Bush nominated her to succeed Powell as secretary of state. Her books include The Gorbachev Era (1986, with A. Dallin) and Germany Unified and Europe Transformed (1995, with P. Zelikow). See biographies by A. Felix (2002) and M. Mabry (2007); J. Mann, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet (2004).
Clarence Thomas is sworn in to the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., October 18, 1991, by Justice Byron White. Looking on from left is First Lady Barbara Bush, President George Bush, behind Thomas, and Thomas' wife, Virginia Lamp Thomas. (AP Photo)
Barack Obama U.S. Senator Born: 4 August 1961 Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii Best known as: U.S. Senator from Illinois, 2005-present Barack Obama is a U.S. senator from Illinois and a Democratic candidate for president in the elections of 2008. Obama has spoken often of his multicultural background: his father was from Kenya, his mother from Kansas, and they met at the University of Hawaii. After his parents divorced and his father returned to Africa, Obama stayed with his mother and was raised in Indonesia and Hawaii. He earned an undergraduate degree from Columbia University in 1983 and a law degree from Harvard in 1991. He then joined the Chicago law firm of Miner, Barnhill & Galland, which specialized in civil rights legislation. He also lectured at the University of Chicago. He was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996, and then to the U.S. Senate in 2004, beating Republican candidate Alan Keyes . Obama shot to national fame after delivering the keynote speech in support of John Kerry at the 2004 Democratic national convention. The speech established Obama as a rising star in the party. Obama announced in February of 2007 that he would be a Democratic candidate for president in 2008. He published the personal memoir Dreams from My Father in 1995, and published a second book, The Audacity of Hope , in 2006. The title of the latter book was also the title of his 2004 keynote speech, and both books won Grammys for best spoken word album.
African-Americans and their achievements
Their achievements and contributions have changed the American society as we it know today
Benjamin Banneker mathematician and astronomer <ul><li>From 1792 through 1797 Benjamin Banneker, an African American mathematician and amateur astronomer, calculated ephemerides (tables of the locations of stars and planets) for almanacs that were widely distributed and influential. Because of these works, Banneker became one of the most famous African Americans in early U.S. history. </li></ul>
George Washington Carver educator, scientist <ul><li>Carver revolutionized southern agriculture by introducing peanut, soybean, and sweet potato production to replenish nitrogen in the soil, which had been largely depleted by cotton growth. When southern farmers grew peanuts and soybeans and found a limited market for them, Carver set to work developing commercial applications for them, creating more than 300 peanut-based products, including milk, cheese, flour, ink, dyes, wood stains, soap, and cosmetics </li></ul>
Daniel Hale Williams Surgeon <ul><li>Williams, Daniel Hale, 1858–1931, as surgeon of the South Side Dispensary in Chicago (1884–91), he became keenly aware of the lack of facilities for training African Americans like himself as doctors and nurses. As a result he organized the Provident Hospital, the first black hospital in the United States. In 1893, Williams performed the first successful closure of a wound of the heart and pericardium. </li></ul>
Percy Lavon Julian chemist <ul><li>In addition to an extensive teaching career at such colleges as DePauw University, Percy Lavon Julian made significant discoveries in the private sector. In 1935 Julian developed physostigmine, a drug that is used in the treatment of glaucoma. </li></ul>
Jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong and pianist Duke Ellington
Dorothy West <ul><li>One of the last living figures of the Harlem Renaissance movement </li></ul>
Oprah Winfrey <ul><li>Credited with creating a more intimate confessional form of media communication, she is thought to have popularized and revolutionized the tabloid talk show genre </li></ul>
Morgan Freeman <ul><li>The Oscar-winning co-star of Million Dollar Baby </li></ul><ul><li>Morgan Freeman won the Academy Award as best supporting actor for his role as a world-weary ex-boxer in the 2004 film Million Dollar Baby . </li></ul>
Halle Berry and Denzel Washington <ul><li>Actors Halle Berry, left, and Denzel Washington hold their Academy awards. </li></ul><ul><li>Nine months after their wins, 2002 has turned out to be a good year for African-American actors and themes in an industry perpetually rebuked for it's lack of racial diversity. </li></ul>
Danny Glover <ul><li>Glover has had a variety of film, stage, and television roles. He is best known for his role as Los Angeles police Sgt. Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon movie series, and his role as the abusive husband to Whoopi Goldberg's character Celie in The Color Purple. </li></ul>
Rap Music <ul><li>Rapping (also known as emceeing, MCing, spitting, or just rhyming) is the rhythmic spoken delivery of rhymes and wordplay, one of the elements of hip hop music and culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Rapping can be delivered over a beat or without accompaniment. </li></ul>
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois <ul><li>Du Bois was an early exponent of full equality for African Americans and a cofounder (1905) of the Niagara Movement, which became (1909) the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). </li></ul>
Thurgood Marshall <ul><li>His presentation of the argument against the “separate but equal” doctrine achieved its greatest impact with the landmark decision handed down in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954). </li></ul>
Hiram Revels <ul><li>In 1870 Revels was elected as the first African American member of the United States Senate. </li></ul>
First African-American Representatives <ul><li>U.S. Representative: Joseph Rainey became a Congressman from South Carolina in 1870 and was reelected four more times. </li></ul>The first black female U.S. Representative was Shirley Chisholm, Congresswoman from New York, 1969–1983.
Rosa Parks <ul><li>When she refused to give up her seat to a white man, the bus driver called police, and Parks was arrested and fined. The resulting bus boycott by African-Americans, led by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., caused a national sensation. The boycott was a success and led to desegregation in Montgomery and elsewhere in the United States. Over time, Parks became a national icon of civil rights and African-American pride. </li></ul>
MLK <ul><li>Martin Luther King delivers his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. The march builds momentum for civil rights legislation (Aug. 28). </li></ul><ul><li>The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom is attended by about 250,000 people, the largest demonstration ever seen in the nation's capital. </li></ul>
Malcolm X <ul><li>Malcolm X, black nationalist and founder of the Organization of Afro-American Unity </li></ul>
Colin Powell <ul><li>Powell was the first African American and the youngest person to chair (1989–93) the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the first African American to serve (2001–5) as secretary of state. </li></ul>
Condoleezza Rice U.S. Secretary of State <ul><li>Rice, Condoleezza, U.S. government official and educator. </li></ul><ul><li>A political scientist who has specialized in Russian and E European studies </li></ul>
Clarence Thomas <ul><li>Clarence Thomas is sworn in to the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., October 18, 1991 </li></ul>
Barack Obama <ul><li>U.S. senator from Illinois and a Democratic candidate for president in the elections of 2008 </li></ul>