Black History Month 2020 [The BHM ERA Challenge]


Oct 17, 2018
This is a great thread and I don't have a ton to contribute immediately, but I thought something more lighthearted would be good:

Per Wikipedia:

In 1968, Johnson represented his high school in the Alabama science fair. He was the only black student in the fair at a time when African Americans did not have much presence in science. He created a robot he named "Linex," which was a compressed-air powered robot and took home first prize.

Also, this bit just seemed too funny to not mention:

He also almost burned down his own house while making rocket fuel.


Oct 29, 2017
William Dorsey Swann was someone I didn't know existed until only these past few weeks. They're notable for being the first drag queen, a former slave who held drag balls in post-Antebellum Washigton D.C.:

The Nation said:
His name was William Dorsey Swann, but to his friends he was known as “the Queen.” Both of those names had been forgotten for nearly a century before I rediscovered them while researching at Columbia University. Born in Maryland around 1858, Swann endured slavery, the Civil War, racism, police surveillance, torture behind bars, and many other injustices. But beginning in the 1880s, he not only became the first American activist to lead a queer resistance group; he also became, in the same decade, the first known person to dub himself a “queen of drag”—or, more familiarly, a drag queen.
My research on Swann began 15 years ago, when I stumbled upon a Washington Post article from April 13, 1888. The headline leaped off the page: “Negro Dive Raided. Thirteen Black Men Dressed as Women Surprised at Supper and Arrested.” According to another news account, more than a dozen escaped as the officers barged in and Swann tried to stop them, boldly telling the police lieutenant in charge, “You is no gentleman.” In the ensuing brawl, the Queen’s “gorgeous dress of cream-colored satin” was torn to shreds. (The fight was also one of the first known instances of violent resistance in the name of LGBTQ rights.)

To 19th century observers, Swann’s dance party was a shocking and immoral fiasco perpetrated by a vanishingly tiny minority of “freaks.” The National Republican, another Washington daily, said of the men arrested in the raid, “It is safe to assert that the number living as do those who were taken into custody last night must be exceedingly small.” Yet, despite their minuscule numbers, they made quite an impression: Hundreds of onlookers followed the men to the station to steal a glimpse of silk and skin.

Swann’s gatherings continued, featuring folk songs and dances, including the wildly popular cakewalk (so named because the best dancer was awarded a hoecake or other confection). Many guests dressed in women’s clothes, though some wore men’s suits. Harlem’s famous Hamilton Lodge masquerade balls, which began in 1883, were traditional masked dances and would not be “taken over by the gentry from fairyland,” as one Baltimore Afro-American reporter colorfully put it, until 1925 at the very earliest.

The actions of Swann and his followers were particularly significant in light of 19th century attitudes toward masculinity. At the start of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, glossing Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, urged an apprehensive nation to “go forward without fear and with manly hearts” (emphasis added) to fight a war that would eventually lead to full citizenship for all black men. In 1879, the Evening Star reported that the abolitionist Frederick Douglass advised that “with a full complement of manly qualities the negro could and would make himself respected in every part of the republic.” In post–Civil War America, there was very little patience for men who subverted gender norms.

Channing Joseph is the researcher who unearthed the history alongside being a former drag queen himself and is planning a book entitled The House of Swann:

The Bookseller said:
The House of Swann by journalist Channing Joseph explores the “extraordinary" true story of William Dorsey Swann, a man born into slavery who became the world’s first self-described “drag queen”, as well tracing the untold history of the birth of drag culture.

Joseph, a former drag queen, discovered a "startling cutting" in the archives whilst he was a journalism student. The news report from April 1888 described the arrest of a group of black men who had been discovered dancing together in satin ball gowns only blocks away from the White House. At the centre of the party was William Dorsey Swann, the self-proclaimed 'queen' of the ball. As his friends fled the scene, Swann ran towards the arresting officer and reportedly said: "You is no gentleman.” The discovery prompted Joseph's "years-long quest to learn the truth about William Dorsey Swann and his forgotten world".

Georgina Morley acquired UK and Commonwealth rights for Joseph's The House of Swann from Rachel Clements at Abner Stein on behalf of Alia Hanna Habib at The Gernert Company. It will be published in 2021.

"Combining ground-breaking historical discoveries with larger-than-life characters, The House of Swann shows how the nascent spirit of queer pride was forged amid raucous debates over black civil rights and women’s equality at the end of the American Civil War," a Picador spokesperson said.

Swann’s rebellious group of butlers, messengers, coachmen and cooks risked their livelihoods and reputations - even their lives - to carve out a space for themselves at the centre of American power, prestige, and influence. Joseph also "captures 19th century Washington DC's transgressive underground with its forbidden sex, dazzling fashions, shocking pseudoscience, and political intrigue".


The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
He was here in Colorado to talk. I'd read both of his books already, but it was great hearing him speak. My favorite anti-racist writer right now.

I recommend Stamped from the Beginning as well. It's a ridiculously extensive and thorough examination of the roots of racism in America.
Damn, I'm real sad I didn't know about that now. I would've loved to see him speak :(
Oct 27, 2017
In more recent African history, in 2017 the Botswana High Court officially recognized a transgender man's gender identity. While homosexuality can still technically be prosecuted in Botswana under an antiquated law, the courts have increasingly forced the government to recognize LGBT+ rights in recent years.

From the judge's decision: "Recognition of the applicant’s gender identity lies at the heart of his fundamental right to dignity... Gender identity constitutes the core of one’s sense of being and is an integral of a person’s identity. Legal recognition of the applicant’s gender identity is therefore part of the right to dignity and freedom to express himself in a manner he feels …comfortable with.”

And from the man whose documents now represent his gender identity: “Closure has never felt this sweet... To live years in a mistaken identity is beyond the unthinkable. I am excited to finally move on with my life. I hope that many others in my position would have a similar opportunity to live their life with dignity.”
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The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
Damn, I'm real sad I didn't know about that now. I would've loved to see him speak :(
If you're in Colorado, be sure to pay attention to Colorado College's website for speakers. They're a private school with a fuckton of money. They've brought Ta Nehisi Coates, Roxanne Gay, and Tim Wise in to speak in just the past year or so, lol.

Finale Fireworker

Love each other or die trying.
Oct 25, 2017
United States
This month I've been introduced to George Lee Jr (@TheConsciousLee) who is a black public speaker I'm only just getting to know. I am still consuming his speaking in bits and pieces but I've liked everything I've seen so far.

George believes in the educational power of discomfort and always deploys what he calls “purposeful provocative ” that spurs critical engagement, push limits of perspective and sparks thought provoking descriptive analysis and prescriptive solutions.
He's very active on TikTok, which seems to be a great avenue to introduce people to big ideas in bite-sized packages. The mandatory time limit on the platform makes his arguments very succinct. Here are a few I've seen that I like a lot:

This video briefly responds to the argument white people make about calling identity politics divisive and how it's black people's fault that they are vocalizing their experiences with racism. He makes a point I'd not heard verbalized before about how white people fled cities to avoid black people and now white people are gentrifying those same cities and pushing black people out. This got me thinking a lot about gentrification as a reverse white-flight, something I hadn't connected to previously. The historical displacement of black people is a continuous thread through generations of Americans.

This video (which he cheekily calls an "unpopular opinion") talks about how history tends to favor and lionize black figures who gained a footing or had an impact on white institutions in the white world. This has the consequence of devaluing blackness by treating it like something these figures left behind to find success in the white world. The emphasis placed on how these figures assimilated against adversity distracts from their role within the black communities themselves. He connects this to the devaluation of black neighborhoods and schools because they become something young black people want to escape in favor of the white world, which is mistaken as the true measure of success.

This video (another "unpopular opinion") talks about how the identity of black queer historical figures is rarely part of their legacy, which erases the work queer black people have done throughout black history. He refers to homophobia within some parts of the black community and says that if these people knew how important LGBTQ+ figures were to black history they would hopefully understand that it's their history too. I've noticed a concerted effort to discuss and champion queer black figures this month and have been taking a personal interest in that.

This video is really cool. Just summarizes who Rosa Parks was "before the bus" and how she was a sexual assault investigator. This is just a tip of the iceberg thing that is meant to encourage more reading but it also exemplifies how the white canon of black historical figures is extremely narrow. Rosa Parks was a lifelong activist whose story is not really discussed or explored. The video also briefly mentions hypersexuality stereotypes that have hurt black men for many generations. I want to pair this with this video too, though. [Since this is a short clip and I don't want anyone to get the idea that he is arguing that rape accusations against black men are always false. He is absolutely not. He publicly decries people who defend people like Bill Cosby and R Kelly as defending black men's right to rape the way white men do. He is totally unforgiving:]

Great video about code switching and racialized language. Not much more than that to say.

Something I'm really prioritizing this month is to hear about black history from actual black people. George Lee Jr has prompted me to research or learn more about all kinds of different people, things, and events. I didn't see him shared here yet so I thought I'd post about his speaking.


Now there's one thing I don't understand
Oct 25, 2017
Washington, D.C.
I don't have a lot to contribute, but I'm just thrilled that my daughter's daycare (here in Texas) is teaching about Dr. King and BHM. Hard for kids their age to understand, but I have no problem trying to explain it to them.
Dec 6, 2019
I don't have a lot to contribute, but I'm just thrilled that my daughter's daycare (here in Texas) is teaching about Dr. King and BHM. Hard for kids their age to understand, but I have no problem trying to explain it to them.
Once upon a time ago, I lived in an area that was so anti-black, that instead of BHM, they observed Chinese New Year.

This statue is dedicated to Mary Seacole, a Jamaican-born woman whose claim to fame is her nurse work during the Crimean War.

Sound familiar? That's because you've probably been taught the name Florence Nightingale, who is famous for her nurse work during the Crimean War, but history only tells you about what the white woman did. Suffice to say, Their relationship was less cordial than the Booker T/DuBois rivalry, but you know the deal—if you're black, you gotta put up with the BS to save face, which is what Seacole did. Nightingale, though, tried to defame Seacole.

OFC, there are some white folks mad that Seacole's statue is outside of St Thomas' Hospital despite the fact that her nursing contributions and worldy travels were nearly erased from history.

If you are interested in Afro-Caribbean lit, I recommend her memoir.


Urban Scholar

Oct 30, 2017
Miami, FL
Came across these tweets about Dr. Shirley Jackson

Some awesome facts via Black Enterprise

  1. She is currently the president of the prestigious Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She’s also the highest-paid president of a private college.
  2. She is a theoretical physicist and held senior leadership positions in academia, government, industry, and research.
  3. She has a B.S. in Physics and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics, both from MIT.
  4. She is the first African American woman to receive a doctorate from MIT, and the first African American woman to serve as president at a top-ranked research university.
  5. Her invention of the technology responsible for Caller ID and Call Waiting stems from days at AT&T Bell Labs where she conducted research in theoretical physics, solid state and quantum physics, and optical physics.
  6. She has been awarded 53 honorary doctoral degrees.
  7. She was awarded the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest honor for contributions in science and engineering by President Obama in 2015.

D i Z

Oct 25, 2017
Where X marks the spot.
Dr. Samuel Lee Kountz Jr. (October 30, 1930 – December 23, 1981) was an African-American kidney transplantation surgeon from Lexa, Arkansas. He was most distinguished for his pioneering work in the field of kidney transplantations, and in research, discoveries, and inventions in Renal Science. In 1961, while working at the Stanford University Medical Center, he performed the first successful Kidney transplant between humans who were not identical twins. Six years later, he and a team of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, developed the prototype for the Belzer kidney perfusion machine, a device that can preserve kidneys for up to 50 hours from the time they are taken from a donor's body. It is now standard equipment in hospitals and research laboratories around the world.

D i Z

Oct 25, 2017
Where X marks the spot.
Doris "Dorie" Miller (October 12, 1919 – November 24, 1943) was an American sailor in the United States Navy.[1] He manned anti-aircraft guns during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 for which he had no training and tended to the wounded. He was recognized by the Navy for his actions and awarded the Navy Cross.

He was the first black American to be awarded the Navy Cross, the third highest honor awarded by the Navy at the time, after the Medal of Honor and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal.[2] The Navy Cross now precedes the Navy Distinguished Service Medal.[3] Miller's acts were heavily publicized in the black press, making him an iconic emblem of the war for black Americans.[4] Nearly two years after Pearl Harbor, he was killed in action when his ship Liscome Bay was sunk by a Japanese submarine during the Battle of Makin.

On January 19, 2020, the Navy announced that CVN-81 would be named after him, a Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier scheduled to be laid down in 2023 and launched in 2028



Oct 28, 2017
Once upon a time ago, I lived in an area that was so anti-black, that instead of BHM, they observed Chinese New Year.

This statue is dedicated to Mary Seacole, a Jamaican-born woman whose claim to fame is her nurse work during the Crimean War.

Sound familiar? That's because you've probably been taught the name Florence Nightingale, who is famous for her nurse work during the Crimean War, but history only tells you about what the white woman did. Suffice to say, Their relationship was less cordial than the Booker T/DuBois rivalry, but you know the deal—if you're black, you gotta put up with the BS to save face, which is what Seacole did. Nightingale, though, tried to defame Seacole.

OFC, there are some white folks mad that Seacole's statue is outside of St Thomas' Hospital despite the fact that her nursing contributions and worldy travels were nearly erased from history.

If you are interested in Afro-Caribbean lit, I recommend her memoir.

In school I actually learned about Mary Seacole long before Florence Nightingale and when we were taught about Nightingale it was alongside Seacole (again)


Nov 16, 2017
Im back. What a crazy ass week man.... Got a lot to catch up! lol

I figured this week I was going to focus on wonderful Black Women who've done so much in history with one exception

Angela Davis

Angela Davis is an activist, scholar and writer who advocates for the oppressed. She has authored several books, including 'Women, Culture & Politics.' Angela Davis became a master scholar who studied at the Sorbonne. She joined the U.S. Communist Party and was jailed for charges related to a prison outbreak, though ultimately cleared. Known for books like Women, Race & Class, she has worked as a professor and activist who advocates gender equity, prison reform and alliances across color lines.Davis was born on January 26, 1944, in Birmingham, Alabama. She grew up in a middle-class neighborhood dubbed "Dynamite Hill," due to many of the African American homes in the area that were bombed by the Ku Klux Klan. Davis is best known as a radical African American educator and activist for civil rights and other social issues. She knew about racial prejudice from her experiences with discrimination growing up in Alabama. As a teenager, Davis organized interracial study groups, which were broken up by the police. She also knew some of the four African American girls killed in the Birmingham church bombing of 1963.

After spending time traveling and lecturing, Davis returned to teaching. She was a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she taught courses on the history of consciousness, retiring in 2008.

Davis has continued to lecture at many prestigious universities, discussing issues regarding race, the criminal justice system and women's rights.

Davis is the author of several books, including Women, Race, and Class (1980), Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday (1999), Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003), Abolition Democracy: Beyond Empire, Prisons, and Torture (2005), The Meaning of Freedom: And Other Difficult Dialogues (2012) and Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement (2016).

In 2017, Davis was a featured speaker and made an honorary co-chair at the Women's March on Washington after Donald Trump's inauguration.
Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth was an African American abolitionist and women's rights activist best-known for her speech on racial inequalities, "Ain't I a Woman?", delivered extemporaneously in 1851 at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention.

Truth was born into slavery but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. She devoted her life to the abolitionist cause and helped to recruit black troops for the Union Army. Although Truth began her career as an abolitionist, the reform causes she sponsored were broad and varied, including prison reform, property rights and universal suffrage.

The state of New York, which had begun to negotiate the abolition of slavery in 1799, emancipated all slaves on July 4, 1827. The shift did not come soon enough for Truth.

After John Dumont reneged on a promise to emancipate Truth in late 1826, she escaped to freedom with her infant daughter, Sophia. Her other daughter and son stayed behind.

Shortly after her escape, Truth learned that her son Peter, then 5 years old, had been illegally sold to a man in Alabama. She took the issue to court and eventually secured Peter's return from the South. The case was one of the first in which a black woman successfully challenged a white man in a United States court.

On June 1, 1843, Isabella Baumfree changed her name to Sojourner Truth and devoted her life to Methodism and the abolition of slavery.

In 1844, Truth joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry in Northampton, Massachusetts. Founded by abolitionists, the organization supported a broad reform agenda including women's rights and pacifism. Members lived together on 500 acres as a self-sufficient community.

Truth met a number of leading abolitionists at Northampton, including William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass and David Ruggles. Although the Northampton community disbanded in 1846, Truth's career as an activist and reformer was just beginning.

In 1850, Truth spoke at the first National Women's Rights Convention in Worcester, Massachusetts. She soon began touring regularly with abolitionist George Thompson, speaking to large crowds on the subjects of slavery and human rights.

As Truth's reputation grew and the abolition movement gained momentum, she drew increasingly larger and more hospitable audiences. She was one of several escaped slaves, along with Douglass and Harriet Tubman, to rise to prominence as an abolitionist leader and a testament to the humanity of enslaved people.

Truth put her growing reputation as an abolitionist to work during the Civil War, helping to recruit black troops for the Union Army. She encouraged her grandson, James Caldwell, to enlist in the 54th Massachusetts Regiment.

In 1864, Truth was called to Washington, D.C., to contribute to the National Freedman's Relief Association. On at least one occasion, Truth met and spoke with President Abraham Lincolnabout her beliefs and her experience.

True to her broad reform ideals, Truth continued to agitate for change even after Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. In 1865, Truth attempted to force the desegregation of streetcars in Washington by riding in cars designated for whites.

A major project of Truth’s later life was the movement to secure land grants from the federal government for former slaves. She argued that ownership of private property, and particularly land, would give African Americans self-sufficiency and free them from a kind of indentured servitude to wealthy landowners. Although Truth pursued this goal forcefully for many years, she was unable to sway Congress.

Until old age intervened, Truth continued to speak passionately on the subjects of women's rights, universal suffrage and prison reform. She was also an outspoken opponent of capital punishment, testifying before the Michigan state legislature against the practice. She also championed prison reform in Michigan and across the country.
Trayvon Martin

It was only fitting to add Trayvon for the fifth post seeing as his birthday was the 5th of Feb. He should have turned 25 that day.... instead he is mourned and remembered due to his tragic murder and celebrated as an inspiration for one of the most prolific Black Movements in the last decade.

Trayvon was a 17 year old who was slain by a then 28 year old Latino man named George Zimmerman, after walking home one night from a convenience store trip. Zimmerman confronted Trayvonn in suspicion of him committing a crime after the neighborhood reported issues in the past. Zimmerman was part of the neighborhood watch program. After a reported struggle, Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon with his personal firearm while Trayvonn was unarmed. This sparked complete outrage from the public media all over the country. At first, Zimmerman was release without any charges but after nationwide petition and outrage, the Stanford police went back to charge Zimmerman with 2nd Degree Murder and Manslaughter. Overall, Zimmerman was found not guilty of the crime creating a firestorm of unification and protests amongst the black community. Trayvon's case is one of the clear breaking points that organized the "Black Lives Matter" movement which was an organization that strove to fight for proper representation in the criminal justice system and the prosecution of aggressive unarmed killings of black people committed by law enforcement or others.

For me and Im sure a lot of other Black Americans. Trayvon's case affected us on a personal note, as it was deafening reminder of the criminalization of black youth. Here was a kid who went to the store, and never returned home. Because of rampant racism. Trayvon represented anyones son, brother, cousin or friend and how viciously targeted black kids and men are within America. It didn't help that a swath of White Americans celebrated the death of a black child, taking joy in the acquittal, circulating the picture of Tryavons murder around the web, and memes of hoodies with bullet holes from younger people. I definitely urge you to go read on the details of the case as it was an absolute shit show full of doubt, cover ups, and clear as day protections that were placed in order to create the environment for Zimmerman's court exoneration. Despite all this, there are a few facts of this case that make Zimmermans actions inexcusable.

= Zimmerman was a known hothead with a lengthy rap sheet of dealing with police and calling police on black people he deemed "suspicious"
- The Stanford Police chief at the time was known to have protected police officers from cases of murder against Black citizens
- Trayvon was 17. A child in the eyes of Florida Law. Zimmerman was 28, clearly a grown adult.
- During Zimmerman's 911 call, he was explicitly instructed to not follow or start an altercation with Trayvon. He did anyway.
- Despite being neighborhood watch, Zimmerman walked around and brandished his own pistol (while legal in Florida law), but signifies clearly someone willing and ready to enter confrontation
- Zimmermans criminal history and past was expunged from being used as evidence in the court case
- Zimmermans actions after the trial also signify someone who doesn't have a drop of remorse for the murder he committed (selling the firearm as a trophy, more aggressive police altercations)


Mae C. Jemison

Mae C. Jemison is the first African American female astronaut. In 1992, she flew into space aboard the Endeavour, becoming the first African American woman in space.

Mae C. Jemison is an American astronaut and physician who, on June 4, 1987, became the first African American woman to be admitted into NASA’s astronaut training program. On September 12, 1992, Jemison finally flew into space with six other astronauts aboard the Endeavour on mission STS47, becoming the first African American woman in space. In recognition of her accomplishments, Jemison has received several awards and honorary doctorates.

During her time at Morgan Park High School, she became convinced she wanted to pursue a career in biomedical engineering. When she graduated in 1973 as a consistent honor student, she entered Stanford University on a National Achievement Scholarship.

As she had been in high school, Jemison was very involved in extracurricular activities at Stanford, including dance and theater productions, and served as head of the Black Student Union. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the university in 1977. Upon graduation, she entered Cornell University Medical College and, during her years there, found time to expand her horizons by studying in Cuba and Kenya and working at a Cambodian refugee camp in Thailand. After Jemison obtained her M.D. in 1981, she interned at Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center and later worked as a general practitioner. For the next two and a half years, she was the area Peace Corps medical officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia where she also taught and did medical research.

Following her return to the United States in 1985, Jemison made a career change and decided to follow a dream she had nurtured for a long time: In October, she applied for admission to NASA's astronaut training program. The Challenger disaster of January 1986 delayed the selection process, but when she reapplied a year later, Jemison was one of the 15 candidates chosen from a field of about 2,000. On June 4, 1987, Jemison became the first African American woman to be admitted into the NASA astronaut training program. After more than a year of training, she became the first African American woman astronaut, earning the title of science mission specialist — a job that would make her responsible for conducting crew-related scientific experiments on the space shuttle.

When Jemison finally flew into space on September 12, 1992, with six other astronauts aboard the Endeavour on mission STS47, she became the first African American woman in space.

During her eight days in space, Jemison conducted experiments on weightlessness and motion sickness on the crew and herself. In all, she spent more than 190 hours in space before returning to Earth on September 20, 1992. Following her historic flight, Jemison noted that society should recognize how much both women and members of other minority groups can contribute if given the opportunity.

After leaving the astronaut corps in March 1993, Jemison accepted a teaching fellowship at Dartmouth. She also established the Jemison Group, a company that seeks to research, develop and market advanced technologies.
fun fact: I went to school with her cousin. Im famous! lol

Fannie Lou Hamer

Born into a Mississippi sharecropping family in 1917, Fannie Lou Hamer spent much of her early life in the cotton fields. She became involved with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in 1962, through which she led voting drives and relief efforts. In 1964, she co-founded and ran for Congress as a member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, drawing national attention to their cause at that year's Democratic Convention. Hamer continued her activism through declining health, until her death in 1977.

A leader of the Civil Rights Movement, Fannie Lou Hamer was born Fannie Lou Townsend on October 6, 1917, in Montgomery County, Mississippi, the youngest of 20 children. Her parents were sharecroppers in the Mississippi Delta area, and Hamer began working in the fields when she was only 6 years old.

Around the age of 12, Hamer dropped out of school in order to work full time and help out her family. She continued to work as a sharecropper after her 1944 marriage to Perry "Pap" Hamer. The couple toiled on a cotton plantation near Ruleville, Mississippi, eventually adopting children. Hamer was unable to have children of her own; while undergoing surgery to remove a tumor, she was given a hysterectomy without her consent.

In the summer of 1962, Hamer made a life-changing decision to attend a local meeting held by the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), who encouraged African Americans to register to vote. On August 31, 1962, she traveled with 17 others to the county courthouse in Indianola to accomplish this goal. They encountered opposition from local and state law enforcement along the way; only Hamer and one other person were allowed to fill out an application.

Such bravery came at a high price for Hamer. She was fired from her job and driven from the plantation she had called home for nearly two decades—just for registering to vote. But these actions only solidified Hamer's resolve to help other African Americans get the right to vote. According to The New York Times, she said "They kicked me off the plantation, they set me free. It's the best thing that could happen. Now I can work for my people."

Hamer became a community organizer for the SNCC in 1962 and dedicated her life to the fight for civil rights. She spearheaded voter registration drives and relief efforts, but her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement often left her in harm's way; during the course of her activist career, Hamer was threatened, arrested, beaten and shot at. In 1963, after she and other activists were arrested, she was beaten so badly in a Winona, Mississippi, jail that she suffered permanent kidney damage.

In 1964, Hamer helped found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), established in opposition to her state's all-white delegation to that year's Democratic Convention, and announced her bid for Congress. Although she lost the Democratic primary, she brought the civil rights struggle in Mississippi to the attention of the entire nation during a televised session at the convention.

Along with her focus on voter registration, Hamer set up organizations to increase business opportunities for minorities and to provide childcare and other family services. She helped establish the National Women's Political Caucus in 1971. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1976, Fannie Hamer continued to fight for civil rights. She died on March 14, 1977, in a hospital in Mound Bayou, Mississippi.

The activist is buried in the peaceful Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden in Ruleville, beneath a tombstone engraved with one of her most famous quotes: "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."
Henrietta Lacks

Henrietta Lacks was born in 1920 in Roanoke, Virginia. Lacks died of cervical cancer in 1951.

Cells taken from her body without her knowledge were used to form the HeLa cell line, which has been used extensively in medical research since that time.

Lacks's case has sparked legal and ethical debates over the rights of an individual to his or her genetic material and tissue.

On January 29, 1951, Lacks went to Johns Hopkins Hospital to diagnose abnormal pain and bleeding in her abdomen. Physician Howard Jones quickly diagnosed her with cervical cancer.

During her subsequent radiation treatments, doctors removed two cervical samples from Lacks without her knowledge. She died at Johns Hopkins on October 4, 1951, at the age of 31. The cells from Lacks's tumor made their way to the laboratory of researcher Dr. George Otto Gey. Gey noticed an unusual quality in the cells. Unlike most cells, which survived only a few days, Lacks's cells were far more durable.

Gey isolated and multiplied a specific cell, creating a cell line. He dubbed the resulting sample HeLa, derived from the name Henrietta Lacks.

The HeLa strain revolutionized medical research. Jonas Salk used the HeLa strain to develop the polio vaccine, sparking mass interest in the cells. As demand grew, scientists cloned the cells in 1955.

Since that time, over ten thousand patents involving HeLa cells have been registered. Researchers have used the cells to study disease and to test human sensitivity to new products and substances.

The Lacks family learned about the HeLa cells in the 1970s. In 1973, a scientist contacted family members, seeking blood samples and other genetic materials--but inquiries from the family regarding the use of HeLa cells, and publications that included their own genetic information, were largely ignored.

The case gained new visibility in 1998, when the BBC screened an award-winning documentary on Lacks and HeLa. Rebecca Skloot later wrote a popular book on the subject, called The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

The HeLa case has raised questions about the legality of using genetic materials without permission. Neither Lacks nor her family granted permission to harvest her cells, which were then cloned and sold.

The California Supreme Court upheld the right to commercialize discarded tissue in the 1990 case Moore v. Regents of the University of California. In 2013, German researchers published the genome of a strain of HeLa cells without permission from the Lacks family.

The Lacks family has had limited success in gaining control of the HeLa strain. In August 2013, an agreement between the family and the National Institutes of Health granted the family acknowledgement in scientific papers and some oversight of the Lacks genome.
Ida B Wells

Ida B. Wells was an African American journalist and activist who led an anti-lynching crusade in the United States in the 1890s.

Ida B. Wells was an African American journalist, abolitionist and feminist who led an anti-lynching crusade in the United States in the 1890s. She went on to found and become integral in groups striving for African American justice.

Born a slave in Holly Springs, Mississippi, on July 16, 1862, Wells was the oldest daughter of James and Lizzie Wells. The Wells family, as well as the rest of the slaves of the Confederate states, were decreed free by the Union thanks to the Emancipation Proclamation about six months after Ida's birth.

Living in Mississippi as African Americans, they faced racial prejudices and were restricted by discriminatory rules and practices.

Wells' parents were active in the Republican Party during Reconstruction. Her father, James, was involved with the Freedman’s Aid Society and helped start Shaw University, a school for the newly freed slaves (now Rust College), and served on the first board of trustees.

It was at Shaw University that Wells received her early schooling. However, at the age of 16, she had to drop out when tragedy struck her family. Both of her parents and one of her siblings died in a yellow fever outbreak, leaving Wells to care for her other siblings. Ever resourceful, she convinced a nearby country school administrator that she was 18, and landed a job as a teacher.

Wells wrote about issues of race and politics in the South. A number of her articles were published in black newspapers and periodicals under the moniker "Iola." Wells eventually became an owner of the Memphis Free Speech and Headlight, and, later, of the Free Speech.

On one fateful train ride from Memphis to Nashville, in May 1884, Wells reached a personal turning point that resulted in her activism. After having bought a first-class train ticket, she was outraged when the train crew ordered her to move to the car for African Americans. She refused on principle.

As Wells was forcibly removed from the train, she bit one of the men on the hand. She sued the railroad, winning a $500 settlement in a circuit court case. The decision was later overturned by the Tennessee Supreme Court. This injustice led Wells to pick up a pen and write.

A lynching in Memphis incensed Wells and led her to begin an anti-lynching campaign in 1892. Three African American men — Tom Moss, Calvin McDowell and Will Stewart — set up a grocery store. Their new business drew customers away from a white-owned store in the neighborhood, and the white store owner and his supporters clashed with the three men on a few occasions.

One night, Moss and the others guarded their store against attack and ended up shooting several of the white vandals. They were arrested and brought to jail, but they didn't have a chance to defend themselves against the charges. A lynch mob took them from their cells and murdered them.

Wells wrote newspaper articles decrying the lynching of her friend and the wrongful deaths of other African Americans. Putting her own life at risk, she spent two months traveling in the South, gathering information on other lynching incidents.

One editorial seemed to push some of the city's whites over the edge. A mob stormed the office of her newspaper, destroying all of her equipment. Fortunately, Wells had been traveling to New York City at the time. She was warned that she would be killed if she ever returned to Memphis.

Staying in the North, Wells wrote an in-depth report on lynching in America for the New York Age, an African American newspaper run by former slave T. Thomas Fortune.

Wells established several civil rights organizations. In 1896, she formed the National Association of Colored Women. Wells is also considered a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). NAACP co-founders included W.E.B. Du Bois, Archibald Grimke, Mary Church Terrell, Mary White Ovington and Henry Moskowitz, among others.

After brutal assaults on the African American community in Springfield, Illinois, in 1908, Wells sought to take action: The following year, she attended a special conference for the organization that would later become known as the NAACP. Wells later cut ties with the organization, explaining that she felt the organization, in its infancy at the time she left, lacked action-based initiatives.

Working on behalf of all women, as part of her work with the National Equal Rights League, Wells called for President Woodrow Wilson to put an end to discriminatory hiring practices for government jobs.

Wells also created the first African American kindergarten in her community and fought for women's suffrage. In 1930, she made an unsuccessful bid for the Illinois state senate.
Wow, Im loving all the posts in the thread. Really love the stories. Def gotta keep up, 21 days to go!!!!


Baby, Pink is my favourite part
Mar 30, 2018
Trying to keep this a daily thing because of the challenge and it's just been nice to learn.

Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner was the inventor of the sanatary belt. Before her inventory came along women were using rags during their periods, this design was a massive game changer that ultimately didn't get utilized until 30 years after she came up with the idea. The company who would go on to produce her product had rejected her purely because it was created by an African American.

“One day I was contacted by a company that expressed an interest in marketing my idea. I was so jubilant,” she said. “I saw houses, cars, and everything about to come my way.” A company rep drove to Kenner’s house in Washington to meet with their prospective client. “Sorry to say, when they found out I was black, their interest dropped. The representative went back to New York and informed me the company was no longer interested.”

She also had invented a bathroom tissue holder and a back washer that mounted onto shower or bathtub walls, all while being a full-time florist in the D.C. area and Kenner holds the most patents for any African American woman in history. She didn't earn the money she should have it bit she worked for the love of inventing.

She's probably one of the coolest inventors their are, she fell in love with the craft as a child and made that a focus for the rest of her life. And on terms of what she invented she actively made the world a cleaner, healthier place. And even after 30 years of rejection she continued to push through her revolutary ideas.

I was coming in here to post a tweet about her and her invention, but instead came across your post which is even more detailed and informative and inspiring, so thanks a lot for that! She's truly cool as hell, love me some women inventors!
Oct 25, 2017
Carter G. Woodson

In the early 20th century, historian Carter G. Woodson chafed at the world’s silence on black achievement. In a racist society that mischaracterized black people and overlooked their contributions, he worked tirelessly to tell the world about their rich history. In doing so, he created a legacy of his own: Woodson is the reason the United States celebrates Black History Month each February.
Over time, Woodson became convinced that the world needed a better understanding of black people’s contributions to society to counter racist misperceptions about their abilities and aspirations. “The Negro has not been educated,” he wrote. “He has merely been informed about other things which he is not permitted to do.”
Woodson continually looked for other ways to spread the word about black history and accomplishments, like Africans’ contribution to animal domestication and farming techniques and the revolutionary activities of Crispus Attucks, who is thought to be the American Revolutionary War’s first casualty. In 1920, he encouraged his Omega Psi Phi fraternity brothers to begin observing a week that celebrated black literature and history. In 1926, he took over the celebration of what he called “Negro History Week” and began observing it every February to coincide with the birthdays of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. During the week, educators put on pageants acting out critical moments in black history, black newspapers published history-related articles, and local businesses sponsored and participated in the festivities. The week wasn’t just devoted to historical accomplishments, notes historian Jeffrey Aaron Snyder: It also celebrated current black artistry in music, literature, and art. (See black America’s story, told like never before.)
Oct 25, 2017

This doc captures the story of New Orleans piano legend James Booker, a black, gay, one-eyed, musical genius who inspired countless.
Flamboyant in personality, he was known as "the Black Liberace".
Booker's death was mourned by music lovers and numerous admirers have emerged in the time since. Harry Connick Jr., Henry Butler, and Dr. John, among others, recorded songs with titles and musical styles referencing Booker. Connick Jr. explained his mentor's piano-playing style in an interview: "Nothing was harder than that. It's insane. It's insanity." and called him "the greatest ever


The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
I don't know if it fits but I wanted to bring another perspective by acknowledging the incredible work that Assa Traoré is doing not only for her brother but also for black people and poor minorities as a whole in France.

It all started when under police custody, her brother Adama Traoré was found dead back in 2016. The circumstances of his death were unclear and ever since then she's been fighting to bring to light the truth about her brother's death.

You can find more information in these two articles:

She's now facing a defamation suit coming from the police officers who were in charge of Adama Traoré's custody while none them were charged for his death. Nonetheless she's still working for the memory of her brother and I find her extremely brave to do so. As the wider French population began to notice since last year, our police is extremely brutal and extremely protected by our judiciary system. So for her to try and fight them all without any backing is inspiring.


Oct 25, 2017
Charlotte NC
So, I’ve got something to share I’ll preface that it’s tragic but it NEEDS to be known because my home town refuses to talk about what they did. And it’s painful what they stole from my family and all of the families in the African American community there.
I’m originally from Wilmington, NC. And growing up my Grandma was a retired teacher, my grandpa who had passed in the 50s owned his own business and they lived in the black community known as Brooklyn back in the 40s and 50s. So when I was growing up my grandma told me how her Dad was part of this well to do black community in Wilmington until he had to leave and go to Columbus county where she was born. I asked why and all she ever said was they kicked them out.
I never really understood it until she passed and my great Uncle told me about the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898, which is some absolute bullshit. He was older than my Grandma and said it happened about 20 years before she was born, so she wouldn’t have really known herself. Anyway, I’ve got some videos about it and links to books written about it as well. Just so people know and they remember.

Wikipedia link


Oct 25, 2017
Great thread, I’ve been lurking and reading through when I get a chance. Appreciate everyone sharing.


Oct 25, 2017
Just wanted to share that as Latino we are not exposed too much to black history. It’s really a pleasure to learn about these people. Thanks for the thread.


Oct 25, 2017
Welcome Everyone to the 2020 Black History Month (Challenge) Thread.

Every year, posters come together to create our annual Black History Month topic in which we share stories and talk about figures of Black History. It gives us time to reflect, learn, and explore the vast amounts of feats and accomplishments of Black People throughout our history who often don't get enough shine or awareness in general.

This year, I figured it would interesting to pose a 'Black History Month Challenge' of some sort!

The Challenge will be to post in this thread daily about any Person, Group, or Event related to Black History. One post a day about something you learned or maybe decided to do more research on out of curiosity.

The idea is that after the month of Feb concludes, with all our participants in the thread, we should have a rather wonderful catalog of Black History that anyone can enjoy and read. 28 Days worth of knowledge from everyone!

I don't really have rules per say but here are some guidelines:

- Of course, please limit our submissions to Black Historical Figures, Groups, or Events (I think it would be self explanatory but you never know)

- Trolling will not be tolerated. Inflammatory remarks made to derail will be reported for action.

- Your post doesn't have to be about Black Americans. There is Black History ALL around the world! It would be incredible if we learned more about Black History that transpired in other countries. This is what Black History Month is all about!

- Duplicate subjects are fine, Different people tend to find different information and more information is never a bad thing!

- Please keep everything factual and accurate (of course)

- There is a lot of tragedy and pain involved in Black History, however there is just as much triumph and success. There is an importance in remembering and talking about the tragic events and the struggle but please also consider to look for inspiring and powerful Black Historic subjects that aren't tied to such events as well.

- Rather than doing a blurb on 'Jim Crow' for example, try to find someone or something that happened during Jim Crow that can be elaborated on. Focus on the human rather than the oppressive policy itself for your subject

- Have Fun, lets turn this into an incredible learning experience and discussion!

I made this thread a little late so forgive me with all the busy timings. I've decided to kick off with 2 blurbs for Feb 1st and 2nd. I will hop on later today to do my 3rd blurb for the month. Feel free to jump right in and begin on the 3rd or if you want to do 2 prior posts, you can as well.

Looking forward to seeing all the posts!!

Seneca Village

Seneca Village was a community that was founded by free blacks in 1825, until it was seized under 'Eminent Domain' from the Government in 1857, in order for the creation of New York's Central Park. It has been a tale that has been lost in American History until recent efforts have been made to spread the awareness of this community starting with a book that was published in 1992 called 'The Park and the People: A History of Central Park' by Roy Rosenzweig and Elizabeth Blackmar.

It started with a Black American named Andrew Williams who bought 3 lots of land from a white farmer named John Whitehead in 1825. On the same day, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church bought 18 lots as well. By 1832, 24 lots were owned by Black Americans. In 1827, Many Black Americans started moving to Seneca Village after slavery was outlawed in New York. In 1830, Irish began to settle in Seneca Village as they immigrated to New York after the potato famine back in their home country. By 1855, 1/3rd of the community was Irish and the town. By this point in time, 55% of the black residents owned property with 1/5th of them also owning their own residence.

In 1840, New York city elites started the planning of Central Park, as they requested a public place for other city residents to mingle and converse. Inspired by the construction and design of London city parks, their main concern was that Manhattan had run out of space for construction of such a park. It was then they turned their eyes to Seneca Village. They started to refer to the community as "squatters", "vagabonds" and "scoundrels". They claimed the town was full of crime (sound familiar?) and graduated to even harsher terms such as "Nigger Village". By 1853, The City began assessing the land and the majority of residents received an average of 700$ for their property. The residents fought as much as they could to stop the destruction of their town but 'eminent domain' was truly eminent and the city began to enforce tax laws upon the residents and pushing them out with brute force via police. By 1857, All the residents were given final notices of eviction and later by October 1st that year, every single last resident of the Village was removed.

Seneca Village is a stinging reminder of what was lost among Black Americans who thrived against all odds in a cruel societal system. Its a representation of the Black Middle Class that existed before which was often hatefully sabotaged and destroyed as a result of blatant racism that exists within American history. To allow this community to grow without interference would have changed the entire fabric of the Black American community and its placement in New York City.

This event was so buried within history, some even thought it to be urban legend. In 2001, A group called the 'Seneca Village Project' lobbied the city to install a plaque to memorialize the Village. Later, Archeolegists were allowed to dig in 2004, 2005, and mid 2011 later proving that such a community existed and bringing light to an event that every American should be aware of.


Madam C.J Walker

Madam C.J Walker was born as Sarah Breedlove in 1867. She was a Black female entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a political and social activist. What drove me to learning a little bit more about her is the title she bestows as the first self-made millionaire while also being the wealthiest at her time of death. Such a title is intriguing with her status as a Black Woman and the time period she lived in. The claim isn't necessarily true, and Walker actually admits that in her own words however her estate was appraised at 600,000$ at the time of her death. That amount would be 8 million dollars if inflated to match today's currency rate so you tell me if she qualifies for the title 🤷🏿‍♂️

She started her life on a plantation in Louisiana, born as free woman under the Emancipation Proclamation despite her family being in captivity. She was one of 6 children. Her parents died when she was younger leaving her to stay with her sister. She married but soon left to St. Louis after her husband died and complications with her abusive brother in law emerged. She and her daughter left to St Louis where her 3 brothers lived. She ended up remarrying however the relationship was toxic and she left to Colorado in 1905. It was here she met Charles Joseph Walker to which her name derives.

In 1903, she took a job with Annie Pope-Turnbo as a sales consultant, selling hair growth products. It was here where she began to go door to door teaching black women how to style and maintain their hair. From this work, she realized their was a national market for hair care and looked to create her own mail-order business in Pittsburgh. She worked and created a company (Madam CJ Walker Manufacturing Company of Indiana) that ended up with majority of key positions mostly being run by women. At the height of her career between 1911 and 1919, Walker had employed thousands of women as sales agents. Walker was also noted to teach women how to budget, become financially independent, and build businesses.

Another noted quality of Madam CJ Walker was her philanthropy. She was known to give to different organizations and was dedicated to helping Black Americans in different capacities. She politicked in order for Black World War 1 Vets to receive their civil rights. She funded Anti-Lynching programs that were headed by the NAACP. Even in her death on May 25th 1919, she left a majority of her wealth to charity, majority of them being educational.

Madam CJ Walker is arguably an example of capitalism done with a purpose. She provided a service that was not offered nor considered to Black Women, while actively using her money to uplift her community around her and her people. Walker represented success in an Era where many Black Americans couldn't see themselves striving and even still to this day still represents a level of foundation that one can build through sheer determination and willpower. Her philanthropy, social activism, and her will to teach and spread knowledge is an example of how much one person is able to change the world around them and their environment. A significant representation of how much change a person with resources can influence. If this writeup isn't enough of a testament, let her words ring instead.

"I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South, From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing. . . . I have built my own factory on my own ground"

"I am in the business world, not for myself alone, but to do all the good I can for the uplift of my race."
Beautiful. Will read through everything after tomorrow. Don't know why but I never watch the sticky threads because I think they're always the same. Should maybe have a sign when it's new or maybe I'm just blind :l


Oct 25, 2017
As a young civil rights attorney in the 1950’s South, Fred Gray set out to obliterate every law that kept it segregated. That practice began 62 years ago, when Gray came back from Ohio to practice law in Alabama — the state that forbid him from attending law school because of the color of his skin.

While greats like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks mobilized the masses in Montgomery where he was born, Gray quietly filed lawsuits that legally made it possible for the civil rights movement to keep moving.

He defended King and Parks from criminal charges. He worked with the Montgomery Bus Boycott, filing the suit that led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s condemnation of segregated bus systems. Suits he filed later desegregated higher learning institutions in Alabama.

Fred Gray and Benjamin Crump are two renowned attorneys known for their work in civil rights. Gray was the lawyer for Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, while Crump more recently represented the families of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Michael Brown in Missouri. “CBS This Morning” brought them together to talk about their lives’ work as part of our Trailblazers series honoring Black History Month. In this extended interview, Gray and Crump detail growing up during a time of segregation and what inspired them to pursue a career in civil rights.
Oct 26, 2017

This doc captures the story of New Orleans piano legend James Booker, a black, gay, one-eyed, musical genius who inspired countless.
Flamboyant in personality, he was known as "the Black Liberace".
Booker's death was mourned by music lovers and numerous admirers have emerged in the time since. Harry Connick Jr., Henry Butler, and Dr. John, among others, recorded songs with titles and musical styles referencing Booker. Connick Jr. explained his mentor's piano-playing style in an interview: "Nothing was harder than that. It's insane. It's insanity." and called him "the greatest ever
I've not heard of James Booker, so I pulled him up on spotify. Chose Resurrection of the Bayou Maharajah (Live at the Maple Leaf Bar) at random. This is damn good. Will listen to the full album tonight then give the documentary a watch.


Oct 27, 2017
I made a thread but nobody posted in it but here's a brief overview of Milestone Comic and it's impact it had on the comic industry especially on representation of people of color.



Oct 27, 2017
Thanx for this thread and the people posting. Amazing (and sometimes shocking when you realize how recent it all actually is).

D i Z

Oct 25, 2017
Where X marks the spot.

Can't read the article? Wikipedia got you, fam.

Hiram Rhodes Revels (September 27, 1827[note 1] – January 16, 1901) was a Republican U.S. Senator, minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and a college administrator. Born free in North Carolina, he later lived and worked in Ohio, where he voted before the Civil War. He became the first African American to serve in the U.S. Congress when he was elected to the United States Senate as a Republican to represent Mississippi in 1870 and 1871 during the Reconstruction era.

During the American Civil War, Revels had helped organize two regiments of the United States Colored Troops and served as a chaplain. After serving in the Senate, Revels was appointed as the first president of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Alcorn State University) and served from 1871 to 1873 and 1876 to 1882. Later in his life, he served again as a minister.


Dec 24, 2017
Thought you guys and gals might dig this, this was the gear a wrestler (Bianca BelAir) had last night



Nov 3, 2017
Voter's Rights Act of 1965

As popular as it is known, I don't think people understand the immediate effects of the VRA and just how effective the bill was outside of giving us the protections we enjoy (for now) today. In the then-Confederate states, before VRA enactment, there were only 3 Black state lawmakers in the South. By 1985, that number jumped to 176. For more crazy numbers, nationwide, African Americans in local, state, and federal offices was at 1,469 and more than tripled to 4,912 in ten years. The VRA also enabled black folks to essentially kick out white conservatives from the Democratic party as they registered en masse for the party and forced the nation to listen to black voices. Today, African Americans are a major voice in the Democratic party that must be heard if the party wants to win elections.

Hopefully I wowed someone with those stats as I was when first reading it and happy BHM!

Source [pg 919]
Source [pg 113]
Mar 3, 2019
Yearly reminder that George Washington Carver was a pretty dope dude. He is much more than his image as the great mind behind peanuts and peanut butter. He was also an avid painter, an inventor, and a teacher at Tuskegee university. Seriously if you ever get the chance, go to the Tuskegee Institute National Heritage Site and goo see all his inventions and paintings
Oct 25, 2017
Elgin Baylor
Sadly most people only know him as the GM for when the LA clippers were hot garbage and run by racist Donald Sterling
Not only did this man invent hang time, but he would also one of the first to take a stand on separate housing for black players in the south
When the Lakers arrived at their Charleston hotel, they were told Baylor and two other black players would not be allowed to stay. The Lakers subsequently picked their stuff up and stayed at a black motel as a team in the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

But that wasn't enough for Baylor. Despite attempted persuasion from the team and Hundley, he opted to sit out the game.

"I got the guys together and said, 'Listen, if we don't stay together, I'm not gonna be part of it.,'" Baylor remembers. "I told the coach that. I told him I wasn't going to play. And I didn't. We lost and the media the next day blasted me. But I thought it was the right thing to do."
And then along with fellow players (most notably Oscar Robertson and Jerry West) paved the way for player rights and led to our current era of incredible player prosperity we know now
Long before the labor lockout in 1998-99 and before whatever awaits the NBA this summer in a new labor negotiation, in 1964 a group of players became pioneers of a sort, banding together to fight for a pension, among other things.

The howling blizzard outside the Boston Garden was an appropriate metaphor for what was happening inside on that January night.

Angry team owners fumed in a hallway inside the arena as their star players, including Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Oscar Robertson, barricaded themselves in a locker room and announced they would not play unless they were guaranteed benefits originally forwarded to the commissioner’s office the previous summer.

The players wanted a pension. They wanted athletic trainers on every team. They wanted improved playing conditions — no more Sunday afternoon games after a Saturday night game.
Lakers owner Bob Short approached the locker room in a fury.

“He said to an Irish cop that guarded the door, ‘Tell Elgin Baylor if he doesn’t get out there, he’s through,’ ” Heinsohn said.

Baylor’s response: Sorry, Bob.
The league and pro sports in general wouldn't be the same without this man
Oct 27, 2017
SoCal public media ran this quality story on Black history in Santa Barbara, CA the other day. While these days, African-Americans are measured at just 2% of the population of the city, there's a history of culture there. If you're in the area, check out the the Black History Month Culture House. It has programming this weekend and next, running through February 29.

D i Z

Oct 25, 2017
Where X marks the spot.
Shelby Jacobs
Throughout 2019, organizations across America will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo program with events, programs, and exhibitions.

The Columbia Memorial Space Center, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is hosting an exhibit that honors Shelby Jacobs, the engineer who developed the camera systems that captured amazing images during the Apollo missions, like the famous “Blue Marble” image.