Black History Month: February 2023
To recall and celebrate the positive contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week beginning on Feb. 12, 1926. In 1976, as part of the nation's bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month.
TODAY'S SPOTLIGHT ON
Minister Louis Farrakhan was born Louis Eugene Walcott on May 11, 1933, in Roxbury, Massachusetts. After his mother recognized his artistic talent, young Louis was given a violin by his mother before his sixth birthday and began years of formal training. Later he became popularly known as “The Charmer,” and achieved fame in Boston as a vocalist, calypso singer, dancer, and violinist, but in 1955 after hearing the Honorable Elijah Muhammad speak he joined the Nation of Islam and gave up his career as a musician. By the late '70s Farrakhan was leading the organization. One of his greatest accomplishments to date has been organizing the Million Man March in Washington in 1995.
MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN TRIVIA:
- Raised by his mother, who was from St. Kitts.
- Played with the Boston College Orchestra and the Boston Civic Symphony at the age of 13.
- Won the Ted Mack Amateur Hour at age 14. He was also one of the first blacks to appear on the popular show.
- Graduating from high school at age 16, he earned an athletic scholarship for his prowess as a track sprinter and attended Winston-Salem Teachers' College in North Carolina, excelling in the study of English.
- Introduced the POWER concept and in 1986 introduced a line of personal care products and a program for black economic development.
- Developed The Final Call in 1979, an internationally circulated newspaper that follows in the line of The Muhammad Speaks.
- Married his childhood sweetheart in September 1953, fathered nine children, and has 23 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.
- In 2015, Farrakhan speaks at the “Justice or Else” rally in Washington, DC, marking the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March.
- In 2019, Facebook designates Farrakhan “dangerous,” and bans him from its social media platforms.
MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN'S QUOTES:
- On being gifted: “We are all gifted, but we have to discover the gift, uncover the gift, nurture and develop the gift and use it for the Glory of God and for the liberation struggle of our people.”
- On white people: “White people are potential humans – they haven't evolved yet.”
- On justice: “There really can be no peace without justice. There can be no justice without truth. And there can be no truth, unless someone rises up to tell you the truth.”
- On growth: “I am not the same man I was 35 years ago. And I hope that five years and ten years from now, I'll be a better man, a more mature man, a wiser man, a more humble man and a more spirited man to serve the good of my people and the good of humanity.”
- On black leadership: “Black leadership has to recognize that principles more than speech, character more than a claim, is greater in advancing the cause of our liberation than what has transpired thus far.”
(Source: Brainy Quotes)
TODAY IN BLACK HISTORY:
- In 1854, Dr. Joseph Charles Price, who was the founder and first president of Livingstone College, was born.
- In 1868, Conservatives, aided by military forces, seized a convention hall and established effective control over the Reconstruction process in Florida. Republican conservatives drafted a new constitution which concentrated political power in hands of the governor and limited the impact of the black vote.
- In 1907, Civil rights activist and politician Grace Towns Hamilton was born in Atlanta. Hamilton served as executive director of the Atlanta Urban League from 1943 to 1960, and also sat on the board of the Southern Regional Council and the Governor's Commission On The Status Of Women. But she made her most lasting mark by becoming the first African-American woman elected to the Georgia General Assembly in 1965. She served in Georgia House Of Representatives until 1984.
- In 1927, Leontyne Price was born in Laurel, Mississippi. Price first attracted widespread attention while she was at Julliard. Her fame in the United States led to her being selected to play of Bess in a European tour of George Gershwin's Porgy And Bess. She was so popular in Europe that she signed a contract to record songs in most of the major European languages. In 1961, Price debuted with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, singing the part of Leonora in Giuseppe Verdi's II Trovatore. For her performance, she received a standing ovation that lasted 42 minutes.
- In 1956, Little Richard recorded “Long Tall Sally.”
- In 1964, After 12 days of debate and voting on 125 amendments, the U.S. House Of Representatives passed the Civil Rights Act Of 1964 by a vote of 290 to 130. The bill prohibited any state or local government or public facility from denying access to anyone because of race or ethnic origin. It further gave the U.S. Attorney General the power to bring school desegregation law suits.
- In 1966, Andrew Brimmer became the first African-American governor of the Federal Reserve Board when he was appointed by President Johnson.
- In 1992, author Alex Haley died. Haley's novel, Roots, traced his ancestry back to Africa and covered seven American generations. The book was adapted to television series, and woke up an interest in genealogy, particularly among African-Americans. Haley himself commented that the book was not so much history as a study of mythmaking. “What Roots gets at in whatever form, is that it touches the pulse of how alike we human beings are when you get down to the bottom, beneath these man-imposed differences.”
- In 2007, Barack Obama formally announced the start of his historic Presidential campaign in Springfield, IL.
- In 2008, Barack Obama won his second Grammy for Best Spoken Word album Audacity of Hope.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH QUESTION OF THE DAY
Who is the first black pro golfer?
A) Tiger Woods
B) John Shippen
C) Robert Hawkins
- Answer: John Shippen. At 16-year-old, he became the first black pro golfer at the 1896 US Open at Shinnecock Hills.(Source: blackamericaweb.com)
BLACK HISTORY MONTH FACT OF THE DAY:
- Underground Railroad: The Underground Railroad, a vast network of people who helped fugitive slaves escape to the North and to Canada, was not run by any single organization or person. Rather, it consisted of many individuals — many whites but predominantly black — who knew only of the local efforts to aid fugitives and not of the overall operation. Still, it effectively moved hundreds of slaves northward each year — according to one estimate, the South lost 100,000 slaves between 1810 and 1850.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH SPOTLIGHT: JESSE OWENS
Jesse Owens achieved what no other Olympian before him of any race had ever accomplished — including breaking the world record for the 200-meter dash in 1936 at the height of American segregation and during games held in Nazi Germany. Born to sharecropper parents in Alabama in 1913, Owens suffered from both chronic bronchial congestion and several bouts of pneumonia as a child . The Owens family relocated to Cleveland, Ohio, in the 1920s, and that is where Owens met Charles Riley, the man who would eventually become his motivator and coach. Owens married Minnie Ruth Solomon in 1935 and was elected captain of Ohio State University's track team in 1936, making him the first African-American to hold such a position on any Ohio State team.
At the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, he won gold medals in four events: the 100-meter dash in 10.3 seconds (tying the world record); the long jump with a jump of 26 feet, 5 1/4 inches (Olympic record); the 200-meter dash in 20.7 seconds (Olympic record); and the 400-meter relay (first leg) in 39.8 seconds (Olympic and world record). These achievements were further highlighted by the hostile environment in which they took place.
- After the Olympics, Owens worked to benefit other people and would often lend his name to advertisers for their products. In 1976, he was awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest honor the government can present to a civilian. Owens died from lung cancer in 1980 and was posthumously honored with the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1990.