Black History Fact of the Day

It’s the last day of Black History Month, but I encourage you to continue educating yourself on black history. Today I would like to turn your attention to the first African American broadcaster.

Jack Leroy Cooper was born on September 18, 1888 in Memphis, Tennessee. He grew up poor in a single family home. He had to quit school at the age of 10 to work. He moved to Cincinnati, Ohio to work at a racetrack.

He worked at different jobs as a teen, and he was a successful boxer. He started his radio career in the 1920s as a comedian at WSBC in Chicago. Due to the lack of representation of African Americans in the industry, he left. He returned in 1929 and became the host and producer of the The All-Negro Hour.


He also wrote for black newspapers in Memphis and Indianapolis. He became the assistant theater editor at the Chicago Defender. He was hired at WCAP in Washington to assist with writing and performing skits in 1925.

He created Searching for Missing Persons in 1938. The show focused on uniting listeners with their loved ones after losing contact. He started Listen Chicago, which focused on current events in 1940. He also popularized playing records on the radio.

Cooper built his own radio studio and created an advertising agency. He paved the way for black personalities.

Cooper died on January 12, 1970.

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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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Black History Fact of the day

John Russwurm was born on October 1, 1799 in Jamaica. He was the son of a white American merchant and an unknown black Jamaican woman. He was sent to Canada by his father to receive an education.

Russwurm became the second African American to earn a degree in the United States in 1826. He moved to New York the following year, and partnered with Samuel Cornish and together they published the first issue of Freedom’s Journal.


He obtained control of the Freedom’s Journal paper until 1829. Russwurm decided to move to Liberia due to his frustration over the impossibility of ending slavery. He was the first nonwhite to become governor in Liberia Colony, West Africa.

Russwurm learned African languages and participated in politics. He died in Liberia in 1851.

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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 Fact of the Day

African American jazz singer Adelaide Hall was born on October 20, 1901 in Brooklyn, NY. She learned to play piano at the Pratt Institute in New York.

Hall and her sister, Evelyn, were encouraged to form a piano and vocal duo. The group’s time was cut short due to Evelyn’s death. In 1921, Hall earned a small part in a broadway musical called Shuffle Along.

She married Bertram Hicks in 1924, who soon became Hall’s business manager. In 1925, she made her way to German to perform in a musical called Chocolate Kiddies. She also met Duke Ellington. They performed Creole Love Call in 1927.


Hall replaced a member of the Blackbirds and instantly became well known. She would often use the scat technique.

Hall purchased a home in a white community in the 1930s. Some whites were not too happy about her being apart of the neighborhood. After a fire broke out at her home, she headed off to Europe with her family.

In 1939 she moved to London. She appeared in Kiss Me Kate and starred with Lena Horne in Jamaica in 1957. In 1963, her husband passed away. She took some time off but made a comeback in 1984 singing Creole Love. Her last performance was in March 1992.

In 1993, Hall passed away in her home in London.

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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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