Black History Month: Day 12

Welcome to day 12 of Black History Month. Today I’m turning the spotlight on Bridget “Biddy” Mason. She was able to support her family with her financial success.

Biddy was born in Mississippi in 1818 as a slave. She was owned in Georgia and South Carolina, even though she was from Mississippi. In 1848, she walked over 1,000 miles behind a wagon to Salt Lake City.

Her duties consisted of cooking, herding, setting up, and breaking camp.

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Black History Month: Day 11

Let’s keep the black history facts going. Today I would like to turn your attention to Benjamin O. Davis Jr. He was the first black Air Force General. He led the Tuskegee Airman flight squadron.

Benjamin Davis Jr. was born on December 18, 1912, in Washington D.C. When he was 13 years old, he attended an exhibition at Bolling Field. He took a ride on a plane, and enjoyed it so much that he decided that he wanted to be a pilot.


He graduated from Central High school, in Cleveland, Ohio in 1929. He then attended Case Western Reserve for a year, and later attended the University of Chicago.

Davis still hoped to become a military pilot. He reached out to Oscar De Priest. De Priest sponsored Davis for a position in the United States Military Academy, in New York.

Davis faced hardships in the academy. No one would speak to him, eat with him, or be his roommate. Despite what he went through, Davis graduated in 1936. Later on, he married the young lady he dated during his time at the academy, Agatha Scot.

He applied for the army air corps, and although he had a high standing in his graduating class, he was denied because of his color, and there wasn’t a black squadron.

He traveled to Tuskegee Alabama, to teach military tactics, at the Tuskegee institute. He was promoted to the First Lieutenant rank on June 19, 1939, and eventually up to Captain. In 1942, he completed his training at the Tuskegee Army Air Field, and became the first black officer to make a solo flight in an army air corps plane.


In 1942, he became the commander of the Tuskegee Airmen. After more than 30 years of military service, President Clinton honored him in 1970 with a four-star insignia, and in 1991, Davis wrote about his challenges and achievements in his book(Benjamin O. Davis Jr.: American).

Benjamin O. Davis Jr. died on July 4th 2002.



Welcome to day 10 of Black History month. Today I would like to turn your attention to someone who made contributions to establishing free public education for blacks. Matthew Gaines was a community leader and a minister.

Gaines was born on August 4, 1840 in Pineville, Louisiana. He was born a slave. He learned to read by candlelight. Books were sneaked to him by a young white boy.

Twice, Gaines attempted to escape slavery, but he was caught both times, and sent back to slavery. He worked as a blacksmith, and a sheepherder.


He settled in Burton, Washington county after the emancipation, and that is when he became a leader of the black community. He was elected as a senator during the reconstruction. He represented the 16th district in the Texas legislature.

He sponsored a bill that would work towards educational improvement for the black movement, and exempting organizations from taxation. On June 12, 1871, the bill became a law.

Gaines was concerned about blacks’ protection from mobs when exercising the 15th amendment. He also felt that a difference could be made with blacks at the polls. That is how the Militia Bill came about, and it was successful, but Gaines was not able to gain support to elect a black Texan to the House of Representatives.

He was elected to a six year term in the senate, but served only four years because he was convicted on the charge of bigamy in 1873. That conviction caused his seat to be challenged. The charge was overturned, and he was re-elected.

Gaines stayed active in politics, and expressed his political views at gatherings, conventions, and from his pulpit.

Gaines died on June 11, 1900 in Giddings Texas.


Today I would like to turn your attention to Barbara C. Jordan. She was the first African American elected from the deep south, and the first congresswoman from that area since 1883.

Jordan was born on February 21, 1936, in Houston Texas. She graduated from Phyllis Wheatley high school in 1952. In 1956, she earned her B.A from Texas Southern University, and her law degree in 1959 from Boston University. In 1960, she began to practice law.


She worked on the John F. Kennedy campaign in 1960 as well, and that’s when her political work came about. She organized a “get out and vote” campaign as well. She ran for the Texas House of Representatives in 1962 and 1964, but lost both times.

In 1966, she ran for Texas Senate, and won. She won over the other senators, showing them that she was worthy of the position. She helped with the passing of bills, establishing minimum wage for the state, and the Texas Fair Employment Practices Commission.


She was the first black woman to preside over a legislative body. She also became the first black chief executive in 1972. In 1974, she gave a 15 minute opening statement of the impeachment hearing for Richard Nixon.

In 1976, she delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, which made her the first African American to do so.

Although Jordan battled multiple sclerosis, she continued to work hard for equal rights and opportunites. Jordan never married, and kept her personal life private. She died on January 17, 1996 in Texas from pneumonia.

Read more about Barbara C. Joran at


Welcome to day seven of Black History Month everyone! Today I would like to turn your attention to Doctor Charles Drew. Drew was the most prominent African American in the medical field.

Drew was the first African American to develop ways of processing, and storing blood plasma in blood banks.

Charles R. Drew was born on June 3, 1904, to a middle class family in Washington D.C. He was athletic growing up. He won several medals for swimming in elementary school. Later on, he gained interest in football and basketball.


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In 1922, Drew graduated from high school, and attended Amherst college on a sports scholarship. He earned his bachelors in 1926. He wanted to pursue his medical career, but couldn’t afford to. He then became a biology teacher, and a coach for Morgan college.

In 1928, Drew attended McGill University in Canada. He was a top student, and was a memeber of the Alpha Omega Alpha. He completed internships at the Royal Victoria Hospital, and the Montreal General Hospital.

In 1938, Drew studied at Columbia University, and trained at the Presbyterian Hospital, in New York. That is when Drew discovered a method for processing, and storing blood. He also discovered that plasma lasts much longer than whole blood, making it possible to be stored for long periods of time.

Drew created two of the first blood banks. In 1941, he returned to Howard, and served as a professor. He became chief surgeon at Freedman’s Hospital, and became the first African American examiner for the American Board of Surgery.


Drew died on April 1, 1950 due to a car accident. He left behind a wife, and four children, and a legacy that will always be remembered.

Read more about Charles Drew at


Welcome to day six of Black History Month everyone. Today we are turning our attention to Elizabeth Freeman.

Freeman, also known as Mum Bett, was the first black slave to file a freedom suit and win in Massachusetts.



Freeman was born between 1742 and 1744 in Claverack, New York. Around six months old, she, and her sister, were sold to John Ashley in Massachusetts. She served Ashley until she was nearly 40 years old. She also had a daughter known as Little Bett.

Freeman was married, but her husband was killed during the Revolutionary War.

One day, the mistress of the house tried to hit Freeman’s sister with a heated shovel, but Freeman intervened, and took the hit instead. She was left with a deep wound. She also left the household and refused to return.

Ashley appealed to have Freeman returned, but Freeman called on lawyer, Theodore Sedgewick, for help with a freedom suit. Although she couldn’t read or write, Freeman heard that it was written in the constitution, that all men were created equal.

Sedgewick took the case, and another slave by the name of Brom, also joined the case. Brom&Bett VS. Ashley case made it to the county court in 1780. Brom and Bett, were the first slaves to win a freedom suit. Ashley was ordered to pay them.

Freeman went to work for the Sedgewicks after the case. Along with her daughter, Freeman lived with the Sedgewicks. She became a housekeeper, and was widely recognized for her skills as a healing nurse.

Her case brought an end to slavery in Massachusetts. Freeman died in 1829 as a free woman.


Today I would like to honor a soldier for his most honorable duty. Fred Moore is the first African American to hold a guard post at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Moore was drafted into the army in 1959 during the civil rights movement. He volunteered his services in the 3rd U.S Infantry Regiment, also known as the Old Guard.

Moore wasn’t familiar with the Old Guard, but with his excellent test scores, he was considered an excellent candidate for the job. An officer made note of his scores, and his physical appearance, and asked if he would like to be apart of the Old Guard.


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After a visit from former president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, to Arlington National Cemetery in 1961. Nkrumah stood by president Kennedy, and  inquired on the lack of black soldiers working on the grounds.

In 1961, Moore took his place. He was assigned to the firing party. Moore says, that he did military funerals in Arlington National Cemetery. He fired his rifle over the graves, and sometimes the Old Guard would participate in ceremonies, and parades.

Moore was in the inaugural parade for John F. Kennedy.

After completing his duties as a tomb sentinel, Moore attended NCO academy, and graduated with honors. He then went back home to Cleveland. He is currently a deacon at his home church, and is recognized as a black hero.