Lessons in Black History – NOBLE JOHNSON

February 11, 2019

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 – Mary “Stagecoach Mary” Fields

February 10, 2019

Mary “Stagecoach Mary” Fields – Born a slave in Tennessee (most likely in 1832), Mary Fields, also known as “Stagecoach Mary,” would go on to become one of the most legendary figures in the settling of the Old West. After the Civil War, Fields made her way west, to Cascade County in Montana. She took…

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Lessons in Black History – SPENCER WILLIAMS

February 9, 2019

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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Lessons in Black History – Hubert Fauntleroy Julian (a.k.a. Black Eagle)

February 8, 2019

Hubert Fauntleroy Julian – Perhaps best known to the world as the Black Eagle, Hubert Julian was a world famous aviator and soldier of fortune. Something of a controversial figure in the 1920s and 30, Julian was a supporter of Marcus Garvey and one of the first, if not the first black men to get…

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Lessons in Black History – IDA B. WELLS

February 7, 2019

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…

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Lessons in Black History – Frank Wills

February 6, 2019

  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…

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Lessons in Black History – FANNIE LOU HAMER

February 5, 2019

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…

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Lessons in Black History – Robert F. Williams

February 4, 2019

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…

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Lessons in Black History – Nina Mae McKinney

February 3, 2019

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…

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Lessons in Black History – Florynce “Flo” Kennedy

February 2, 2019

Florynce “Flo” Kennedy – Flo Kennedy was born in Kansas City in 1916, and moved to New York City after she graduated high school. After graduating Columbia University in 1948, she applied to the Columbia Law School, but was rejected because she was a woman. After threatening a lawsuit on the grounds of racial discrimination,…

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