August 30, 1983 – Guion “Guy” Bluford became the first African American to travel to space. Bluford received his BS from Pennsylvania State University in 1964, joined the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War and earned his master’s degree in aerospace engineering in1974. He was determined and kept his eye on the prize. There were 35 people chosen to be a part of NASA’s astronaut class of 1978. Of the 35, 3 were African-American males and six were females, including Sally Ride. It was evident to the three males (Bluford, Fred Gregory and Ron McNair) that one of them would make history by becoming the first African American astronaut to successfully go to space. Click on link below to watch the video and learn more about Guion Bluford.
Born November 22, 1942
“I felt an awesome responsibility, and I took the responsibility very seriously, of being a role model and opening another door to black Americans, but the important thing is not that I am black, but that I did a good job as a scientist and an astronaut.”
– Guion Bluford
- Huffington Post
- Biography Channel
- Youtube – WSHH
♡♥>> http://www.worldstarhiphop.com/videos/video.php?v=wshhYF9dn6W7RVbw838K <<♥♡
Continuing our ‘Black Heritage Series’ – take a few minutes to watch this short but informative video on Fredrick Douglas (please click on link above).
February 1818 – February 20, 1895
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”
– Frederick Douglass
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- image: voiceofdetroit.net
- Video courtesy of WSHH
After baseball became segregated in 1889, the Major Leagues had not seen an African American player until Jackie Robinson in 1947. Jackie Robinson was a jack-of-all-trades type of athlete. He excelled at baseball, football, track and basketball; he even was named to the All-American football team. Financial troubles struck Robinson, just as it did in many African American households, causing Robinson to put some dreams and talents on hold. He enlisted himself into the U.S. Army and remained active for two years before getting honorarily discharged.
In 1945 Robinson returned to baseball. He played with the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro League before being drafted by Brooklyn Dodgers’ president himself, Branch Rickey in 1947. Remember, baseball, the All-American sport, had been segregated for over 50 years. By Robinson accepting the offer to play for the Dodgers, he “pioneered the integration of professional athletics in America,” (jackierobinson.com). His brave participation in a sport where its players and fans hated the color of his skin and acted maliciously towards Robinson and his family because of their “blackness”, challenged the ill beliefs of whites in all of America. Like a true Hall of Fame-r, Jackie Robinson finished off his first year in the Major Leagues with an impressive resume of stats. Despite the cruelty he experienced from opposing teams, like being kicked in his ankles repeatedly by their spiked cleats, Robinson managed to still hit 12 home-runs, have “a league-leading 29 steals” and he walked away with the Rookie of the Year title. I’m curious if their mistreatment of him on the sly was more motivation for Robinson to hit those home-runs so he wouldn’t have to stop and endure discriminatory abuse… What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. And what tries to stop us, pushes us harder.
In 1962, Jackie Robinson was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame.
January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972
“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”
“There’s not an American in this country free until every one of us is free.”
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I help to change my nation by empowering our young girls and helping them realize their worth. How will you help change your nation? Comment below :)
- image: psacard.com (google images)
Despite our past or current circumstances, we are capable of greatness.
Don’t believe me? Read on to learn about Lewis Howard Latimer: the son of parents who escaped slavery; a boy who fell into the role of being the man of his mother’s household after his father fled; a man who self-taught himself to draft and bring ideas to realistic forms on paper; and a man who despite all of his tough circumstances, carved out his own path for success.
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Meet Mr. Lewis Latimer…
Born in 1848 to parents who escaped from slavery just six years before, Lewis Howard Latimer grew up for the most part without a father. His father was captured in Boston and trialed as a fugitive. Although his father eventually bought his freedom after his trial, he soon after left his family around the time of the Dred Scott decision in 1857, possibly fearing being captured again. From that day forward, Latimer’s focus was on providing for his mother and siblings. After an honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy during the Civil War, Latimer managed to teach himself a special skill of mechanical drawing and drafting from observing the men at a patent law office where he worked.
The inventions began.
Post-Civil War was all about scientific and engineering advancements. Latimer was promoted to a draftsman and began assisting others in their inventions. One of these inventions included the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell. Latimer worked directly with Bell in drafting the patent of his telephone. He worked with Thomas Edison, as well. “Latimer’s deep knowledge of both patents and electrical engineering made Latimer an indispensable partner to [the] Edison [company] as he promoted and defended his light bulb design,” (biography.com). Throughout it all, Latimer also did some inventing. He redesigned the railroad bathroom car along with an early air conditioner.
Lewis Howard Latimer
September 04, 1848 – December 11, 1928
“For who would live if life held no allurements?”
“Tomorrow may be fair, however stormy the sky of today.”
“We create our future, by well improving present opportunities: however few and small they be.”
– Lewis Latimer
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So what will you do or change today that will help carve out your own or your child’s unique path for success? Share with us below.
- image: muhammadyungai.com
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, known simply as W.E.B. Du Bois, was born in Massachusetts on February 23, 1868. He was an intelligent man who stood for equal rights and the advancement of blacks. Coming from a predominately white town and schooling where he was nurtured, received support, and identified himself as a “mullatto”, Du Bois moved to Nashville Tennesse in 1885 to attend Fisk University. If he had ever wondered what it was like to be hated for the mere color of your skin – living in Tennesse provided him with that experience. “For the first time he began analyzing the deep troubles of American racism,” (biography.com).
Du Bois began to focus his attention on the advancement of blacks – through his accomplishments and efforts, his popularity rose significantly over the years.
- Du Bois became the first African-American to earn a PhD from Harvard University in 1895
- Du Bois became the first publisher of an African American case study in 1899 with the study The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study** This study was the first significant piece that began his writing career. ** The talented tenth phrase was introduced in this study – which is “a term that described the likelihood of one in ten black men becoming leaders of their race,” (bio.com).
- Du Bois nationally became known after publicly expressing ill thoughts toward Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Exposition Speech, or as Du Bois called it, the “Atlanta Compromise”. **Washington believed that in order for blacks to advance, they must focus on getting a vocational education as to help them in the workforce which would then enable them to provide for their family. So he urged blacks to not work towards political goals-leave politics to white people, just as long as the blacks were given opportunities to work and a due process in court – separate but equal was A-ok. Du Bois strongly disagreed; he felt this was yet another method that would keep blacks inferior and dependent (much like sharecropping). He advocated equality, so whatever it was whites did, blacks should have the right to strive for, under the 14th amendment.
- Author of The Souls of Black Folk
- He was a known supporter of women’s rights
- Du Bois co founded NAACP in 1909 and had a big role in the making of the organization’s magazine, The Crisis
- Later, Du Bois moved to Africa where he also helped in the advancement of African colonies by aiding in their freedom from European rule
- Du Bois died at the age of 95, on August 27, 1963, one day shy of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech
W.E.B. Du Bois
February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963
“The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.”
“A classic is a book that doesn’t have to be written again.”
– W.E.B. Du Bois
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