Posts by David F. Walker

Lessons in Black History – ALTHEA GIBSON

ALTHEA GIBSON– Long before the Williams sisters took the world of tennis by storm, there was Althea Gibson, the South Carolina-born woman who broke the color barrier of competitive tennis. Gibson’s family moved to Harlem in the 1930s, and it was there that she became involved in tennis. She had a successful career in the…

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Lessons in Black History – BASS REEVES

Bass Reeves – Born a slave in 1838, Bass Reeves escaped to freedom in the early 1860s. Fleeing north to the Indian Territories (Oklahoma), he lived for a time with different Native American tribes, becoming fluent in various languages. In 1875, U.S. marshal James Fagan recruited Reeves as a deputy U.S. marshal, in part because…

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Lessons in Black History – The Lovings

Richard and Mildred Loving – On June 12, 1967, the United States Supreme Court made a landmark decision in the case of Loving vs. Virginia, effectively clearing the way for interracial marriages in all fifty states. When the court ruled on the case, sixteen states still had anti-miscegenation laws that made it illegal for people…

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Lessons in Black History – BLACK BASKETBALL PLAYERS

Black Basketball Players—It seems impossible to believe that there was ever a time when basketball was a segregated sport, but up until the 1950-51 season, the NBA was a white-only league. Before the NBA desegregated, the only integrated basketball league was the National Basketball League (NBL), which had been around since 1937 and became integrated…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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