Black History Month: 02/05/2018

For day 5 of Black History Month, I would like to turn your attention to the first African American to win an Oscar in 1940 for her role in Gone With the Wind.

Hattie McDaniel was born in Wichita, KS on June 10, 1893. She was the 13th child. McDaniel and her family moved to Denver, CO. in 1901. She attended the 24th Street Elementary school and was one of the only two black students in her class.

She gained popularity in school from her singing. She started professionally singing and dancing in high school. She decided to drop out of school in 1909 to focus on her career. She was married in 1911, started an all ladies minstrel show and began working in radio.

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McDaniel earned her first small film role in 1931 as an extra in a musical. A year later, she was featured as a housekeeper in the Golden West. Movie roles were hard to come by so she had no choice but to take on odd jobs to support herself.

McDaniel returned to radio due to not finding a movie role. She took over the starring role on the Beulah Show in 1947. In 1951, she started filming a television version of the Beulah Show.

She faced controversy for her role in The Little Colonel. She was attacked by the black media because some of them felt that her role was negative and stereotypical. She was often criticized for the slave and servant roles.

McDaniel had to step away from her career after being diagnosed with breast cancer and suffering a heart attack. She passed away on October 26, 1952. After her passing, she was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was introduced into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1975.

For more information on Hattie McDaniel visit: https://www.biography.com/people/hattie-mcdaniel-38433

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Black History Month Day 02-03-2018

Welcome to day three of Black History Month. Today I would like to turn your attention to the first African American to win the men’s singles at Wimbledon, and the U.S open, and was the first African American to be ranked number one in the world.

Arthur Ashe was born on July 10, 1943 in Richmond, Virginia. Ashe was reading by the age of four. After the death of his mother, Ashe’s father became more strict on his children. They attended church every Sunday and would have to return straight home after school.

Not too long after the death of his mother, Ashe started playing tennis. At the age of seven he picked up a racket for the first time. Tennis coach. Dr. Robert Walter Johnson Jr., was drawn to Ashe and made sure that he excelled.

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Later on Ashe moved to St. Louis to work with another coach and he won the junior national title in 1960 and again one year later. He accepted a scholarship at the University of California and from there he graduated with a degree in business.

In 1975, Ashe defeated Jimmy Connors in the Wimbledon finals, which made him the first African American to win Wimbledon. A decade later, he became the first African American man to be introduced into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Not only was Ashe a great tennis player, but he was an inspiration. Ashe said: “One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation”.

On February 6, 1993, Ashe died of pneumonia at New York hospital. He was laid to rest in Richmond, VA. For more information on Arthur Ashe, visit https://www.biography.com/people/arthur-ashe-9190544.

Officially Black History Month

It is officially Black History month and I want to start it off by telling you the story of an African American artist by the name of Clarence Matthew Baker, also known as Matt Baker.

Baker was born on December 10th, 1921 in North Carolina. Baker and his two brothers moved to Pittsburgh, PA. with their parents. He graduated from high school in 1940, and moved to Washington working a government job.

Later on, Baker moved to New York city and there he studied art at the Cooper Union School of Engineering, Art and Design. Around 1944, he began his art career. He joined the S.M Igor Studio as a background artist.

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For his first assignment, he was a penciller and inker for a comic called Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. Unfortunately most of his work was inked by others who took credit for it. Baker had a good reputation as a skilled practitioner of drawing female forms, and one of the best “Good Girl” artist.

Baker became the principle artist of Sky Girl, which was a regular feature in Jumbo Comics in 1944. Later on Baker illustrated characters such as Lorna Dorne and Phantom Lady.

Baker is often known as the first most successful African American in comics. He was a hard worker. He would work for days and collapse into a deep sleep that would last for days. Many described him as handsome, cool and a nice dresser.

Baker continued to draw until his heart failed him. He died on August 11, 1959 from a heart attack in New York. In 2009, Matt Baker was introduced into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.

For more details on the life of Matt Baker, visit http://www.greatblackheroes.com/entertainment/matt-baker/

International Women’s Day!

Here’s a list of 21 great women:

  1. Billie Holiday– “The First Lady of the Blues”. She’s considered one of the greatest jazz singers of all time.
  2. Rosa Parks– Refused to give up her seat to a white man, which led to some civil rights legislation.
  3. Eva Peron– Was a political activist, and campaigned on behalf of the poor.
  4. Elizabeth Taylor– An award winning actress who co founded the AIDS Research charity in the 80’s.
  5. Maya Angelou– A gifted poet and writer.
  6. Elizabeth Cady Stanton– A leader in the early women’s rights movement.
  7. Mary Magdalene– First person to see Jesus Christ after his resurrection.
  8. Benazir Bhutto– First woman to lead a Muslim state.
  9. Wangari Maathai– Women’s right campaigner from Kenya.
  10. Aretha Franklin– “Queen of soul”. A legendary singer.
  11. Marie Curie– A chemist who discovered many chemical elements.
  12. Toni Morrison– The first black woman to win a Nobel prize in literature.
  13. Lily Ledbetter– An activist for women’s equal pay.
  14. Sally Ride– First American woman to go out of space.
  15. Ida B. Wells– Founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) .
  16. Harriet Quimby– The first woman to gain a pilot license in the United States.
  17. Madame C.J Walker– Became a wealthy woman by developing and selling hair products.
  18. Zora Neale Hurston-An African American writer and anthropologist.
  19. Dorothy Fields– A popular song writer during the 1920’s and 1930’s
  20. Sojourner Truth– An abolitionist and women’s rights activist.
  21. Sybil Ludington– A heroine of the American Revolutionary War.