Archive for February 2019

Lessons in Black History – Mary Ellen Pleasant

Mary Ellen Pleasant—Much has been written about the woman known to many as Mammy Pleasant, but so much of it is tall tales and legends, it is difficult to know what is true and what is not. What is known is that Mary Ellen Pleasant was a famous abolitionist and Underground Railroad operator who was…

Read More

Lessons in Black History – NOBLE JOHNSON

Noble Johnson – Born in 1881, actor and filmmaker Noble Johnson appeared in his first movie in 1915. His career spanned five decades, including 144 films, and incredibly, he never played an African-American character (although he did play many jungle savages). Johnson was a contemporary and friend of legendary actor Lon Chaney, Sr., and like…

Read More

Lessons in Black History – SPENCER WILLIAMS

Spencer Williams—A highly regarded actor and filmmaker, Spencer Williams will always be best remembered for being Andy on The Amos ‘n’ Andy Show that ran on television between 1951 and 1953 for a total of 78 episodes. Williams was born in 1873, and began his career in showbiz working for Oscar Hammerstein in the early…

Read More

Lessons in Black History – IDA B. WELLS

Ida B. Wells—Born in Mississippi just before the Emancipation Proclamation, Ida B. Wells would go on to become one of the foremost advocates for equal rights, a pioneer of the modern civil rights movement, and a tenacious anti-lynching activist. Orphaned at the age of 16, Wells took it upon herself to raise and care for…

Read More

Lessons in Black History – Frank Wills

  Frank Wills – On June 17, 1972, security guard Frank Wills was making his rounds at the Watergate Hotel, when he noticed that a lock on one of the doors was being held open by a piece of duct tape. Wills called the police to report a break-in at the Watergate Hotel, which was…

Read More

Lessons in Black History – FANNIE LOU HAMER

Fannie Lou Hamer—A sharecropper and the youngest of 19 children, Fannie Lou Hamer became a controversial figure in the Civil Rights movement in the early 1960s. Known for being equally plain-spoken and out-spoken, Hamer became politically active in 1962 when SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) began encouraging blacks in Mississippi to register vote. Despite the…

Read More

Lessons in Black History – Robert F. Williams

Robert F. Williams—Of all the key players of the Civil Rights movement to make national headlines, few were as influential and now as forgotten as Robert F. Williams. Born in 1925, Williams was a political activist and community organizer who became actively involved with the NAACP in the 1950s. Williams soon became something of a…

Read More

Lessons in Black History – Nina Mae McKinney

Nina Mae McKinney – Often referred to as “the Black Garbo” or “the Colored Garbo,” Nina Mae McKinney was the first black leading women in mainstream Hollywood. Nina (pronounced Nine-ah) was born in South Carolina in 1913, and moved to New York while still in her teens. She worked as a dancer when legendary director King…

Read More