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.

For more information on Ignatius Sancho, visit

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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Black History Month 02/08/2018

James_Armistead   On the eight day of Black History Month, I would like to turn your attention to an African American who worked as a spy during the American Revolution.

James Armistead Lafayette was born into slavery around 1760 in Virginia. He volunteered to join the army in 1781. He was stationed to serve under the Marquis de Lafayette. He posed as a run away slave and was hired by the British to spy on Americans. He successfully invaded a British general.

James traveled through different camps, spying and gaining more information on different secret strategies from the British officers. He would make note of everything and deliver letters to the Americans. The letters contributed to the Americans gaining a victory in Yorktown.

James was praised for his dedication by Lafayette. Since he wasn’t eligible for emancipation under the Act of 1783 for slave soldiers, he returned home to his master in Virginia and continued to work as a slave.

Lafayette found James in 1784, and wasn’t pleased that he went back to slavery. Lafayette wrote a letter of recommendation on behalf of James. After two years the Virginia General Assembly emancipated him.

James moved, bought 40 acres of land and started farming. He was married and started a family. He was awarded $40 a year for his services by the Virginia legislature.

At the age of 72, James Armistead Lafayette died.

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Black History Month 02/07/2018

On the seventh day of Black History month, I would like to turn your attention to an African American inventor.

Elijah McCoy was born in Canada on May 2, 1844. His parents were fugitive slaves who escaped from Kentucky to Canada. They returned to the U.S settling in Michigan in 1847.

McCoy traveled to Scotland at the age of 15 for an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering. After becoming a certified engineer, he returned to Michigan. He was unable to find work as an engineer due to the color of his skin. Instead, he settled for a fireman and oiler position at the Michigan Central Railroad.


McCoy studied the system of oiling axles, and then invented a lubricating cup which distributes oil evenly. His invention contributed to the efficiency of travelling. He was able to obtain a patent for his invention. He received nearly 60 patents during his lifetime.

He created designs for an ironing board, a sprinkler and other machines. McCoy’s name didn’t appear on many of his inventions, so he would assign the patent rights to his employers or sell to investors.

In 1920, he formed the Elijah McCoy Manufacturing Company to produce items with his name on them.

On October 10, 1929 McCoy died in Detroit Michigan. For more information on Elijah McCoy, visit

Black History Month 02/06/2018

Today I would like to turn your attention to an African American lawyer, judge, educator and an advocate for the civil rights of African Americans.

William Henry Hastie was born on November 17, 1904 in Knoxville, TN. He spent his childhood in TN. until his family moved to Washington. In 1921, Hastie graduated from Dunbar High school and earned his A.B from Amherst College fours years later.

He attended Harvard Law school and received his LL.B degree in 1930. In 1931, Hastie was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar and practiced law. He returned to Harvard and earned his J.D degree in 1933.


Hastie became one of the first African American members of the Franklin Roosevelt Administration in 1933. In 1937 he was appointed judge of the federal district court in the Virgin Islands. He was the nation’s first African American federal judge. He resigned two years later to fulfill his role as Dean and Professor of Law at Howard University.

President Truman nominated Hastie for judge of the third United States Circuit Court of Appeals in 1949. This was the highest position held by an African American. Hastie retired from judging in 1971.

William Henry Hastie died on April 14, 1976. For more information visit:

Black History Month-02/04/2018

Today, I would like to focus on the first African American woman who is believed to have published a novel in the United States.

Harriet E. Wilson was born around 1828, possibly in Milford, NH. When she was 23, she moved to Massachusetts working as a seamstress. In 1851 she married Thomas Wilson, but Wilson abandoned Harriet less than a year later before the birth of their son.

Wilson was living in a poorhouse. She had no choice but to abandon her son and move to Boston to make a living and regain custody of her son. Wilson would write to support herself and her child.


She published her novel: Our Nig, or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black, in a Two-story White House, North. Showing that Slavery’s Shadows Fall Even Therein 1859.  Her son died six months later at the age of seven.

The few facts that we know of Wilson all comes from her book. Her story was published by Massachusetts publisher, George C. Rand and Avery.

Wilson died on June 28, 1900.

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