Black History Fact of the Day

Ever heard of Daniel “Chappie” James? James was born on February 11, 1920 in Pensacola, Florida. In 1937, he graduated from Pensacola’s Washington High School and enrolled in Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

He graduated in 1942, earning his B.S degree in physical education. The following year, James earned his commission as a Second Lieutenant and became one of the first black pilots of the U.S Air Corps.

James had assignments in the Philippines, Korea and Vietnam. In 1975, James moved up to flag officer and was then promoted to the rank of four star general. He was known as the “Black Eagle” because of his ethics, hard work, and self determination.


In 1967 after receiving the George Washington Freedom Medal, James wrote an essay on what he stood for. “Today’s world situation requires strong men to stand up and be counted – no matter what their personal grievances are. Our greatest weapon is one we have always possessed – our heritage of freedom, our unity as a nation”, said James.

In 1970, James was promoted Brigadier General and became the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. He served until his retirement in 1978.

On February 25, 1978, James died of a heart attack.

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Black History Fact of the Day

We often hear the story of Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat to a white passenger, but there was someone else who did the same thing months before Parks did.

Claudette Colvin was born in Montgomery, AL on September 5, 1939. She grew up in a poor neighborhood. She was an A student who studied very hard. She studied black leaders such as Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth.

On March 2, 1955, Colvin refused to give up her seat to a white passenger. “It’s my constitutional right to sit here as much as that lady. I paid my fare, it’s my constitutional right”, said Colvin.


After being charged and spending several hours in jail, her minister bailed her out. The NAACP considered taking on her case, but they refused it because of her age(15). Plus she became pregnant out of wedlock and they thought that could bring negative attention.

During her case she declared herself not guilty, but the court ruled against her and she was placed on probation. She gained a reputation as a troublemaker, dropped out of school, and it was difficult for her to find a job.

She became one of the four women that were plaintiffs in the Browder v. Gayle case. The decision in the case ruled that the Montgomery’s segregated bus system was unconstitutional.

In 1958, Colvin moved to New York where she found work as a nurse’s aid at a nursing home. She retired in 2004.

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Day 15 of Black History Month

He was a Trinidadian-American civil rights activist who originated the slogan “black power”. Stokely Carmichael was born on June 29, 1941 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

His parents immigrated to New York when he was a toddler. He was left in the care of his grandmother at the age of 11. In 1956, Carmichael became a student at the Bronx High School of Science. After graduating from high school in 1960, Carmichael was offered scholarships to a variety of predominately white universities.

Carmichael chose to attend Howard University in Washington D.C. He majored in philosophy. He graduated in 1964 with honors. He joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee(SNCC) and was appointed field organizer of Lowndes County, AL.


In one year, he increased the number of registered black voters over the number of registered white voters in the county. He founded the Lowndes County freedom Organization and he chose a black panther for the official logo. In May of 1966, he was elected as the national chairman of SNCC.

“We been saying ‘freedom’ for six years,” he said. “What we are going to start saying now is ‘Black Power’”, says Carmichael. The phrase became a slogan of resistance. He defined the meaning of black power as ”It is a call for black people in this country to unite, to recognize their heritage, to build a sense of community. It is a call for black people to define their own goals, to lead their own organizations.”

Carmichael married Miriam Makeba in 1968 and was remarried to someone else later on. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1985 and died three years later on November 15.

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Black History Month Fact of the Day

Maggie Walker was born on July 15, 1864 in Richmond VA. After the death of her father, her mother would support her and her brother by working as a laundress. Walker would help her mother by delivering the clean clothes.

Walker attended Lancaster and the Richmond Colored Normal School. She joined the Independent Order of St. Luke, an organization that supports the advancement of African Americans.

In 1883, Walker completed her training as a teacher and graduated. She taught for a few years and ended her teaching career in 1886 when she got married.


In 1902, she established a newspaper called the St. Luke Herald. In 1903, she founded the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank. She was president of the bank until 1929. She is recognized as the first African American woman to charter a bank. She opened an emporium in 1903. She would offer African American women jobs and offered the black community access to cheaper goods.

In 1915, her husband died. She had to manage a home with her large family. In 1921 she ran for superintendent of public instruction. She did not receive the position but she continued working as an advocate for African Americans and served on the board of trustees for several women groups.

Her health started declining and eventually she was confined to a wheelchair. She died on December 15, 1934.

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Black History Month Day 11

An African American lawyer, publisher and newspaper editor. Robert Abbott founded the Chicago Defender, a black owned newspaper.

Abbott was born in 1870 to enslaved parents in Georgia. He attended Hampton Institute in Virginia then graduated from Kent Law school in 1899. He started publishing the Chicago Defender in 1905.


The newspaper spoke against racial injustice and lynching in the south. The newspaper was banned in different places in the south. Abbott convinced African Americans to move north. He was able to get railroad porters to deliver the newspapers south.

Over one million blacks migrated north. Majority of them moved to Chicago.

Abbott became a millionaire from the sales of his newspapers.

After his death in 1940, his newspaper was still a success.

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Black History Month Day 10

Ignatius Sancho was born in 1729 on a slave ship. Around his second or third birthday, Sancho was brought to England to work as a servant for the Duke of Montagu. While working as a butler, he was reading, writing poetry and music.

In 1758, Sancho married a west Indian woman. They had six children. They began a grocer’s shop in Westminster in 1773. Sancho sold tea, sugar, tobacco and other little things out of his shop.


Sancho became the first black first person to vote in Great Britain. He was also known for his letters about slavery. He would send letters to novelists making it known that he was a black man and a former slave. He wanted his writings to condemn slavery in the British West Indies.

He also published his own music. He had a total of 62 short compositions. Sancho died in London in 1780.

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Black History Month 02/09/2018

She was a mathematician, scientist and part of a small group of African American women who worked as an aeronautical engineer.

Mary Jackson was born in Virginia on April 9, 1921. She attended an all black school and graduated in 1937 with high honors. In 1942, she earned her bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physical science.

In 1951, she was hired at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in Virginia. She worked as a research mathematician (human computer). A couple of years later she moved to the Compressibility Research Division of NACA.

Mary Jackson

Due to discrimination against people of color, Jackson considered quitting, but she changed her mind after speaking with her supervisor. She was promoted to aeronautical engineer, which made her the first African American female engineer for NASA.

In 1978, Jackson became a human resources administrator. She helped women minorities with their careers and advancement. She encouraged them to study and take extra classes. Jackson was honored by many charities for her service.

Mary Jackson died at the age of 83 on February 11, 2005. The story of Jackson and her colleagues was told through the film Hidden Figures in 2016, and in 2018 it was announced that Jackson Elementary, which was named for President Andrew Jackson in Utah, will be renamed Mary W. Jackson Elementary School.

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