Black History - Site Content


Mum Bett  -  Civil Rights Activist black history civil rights activists civil rights movement


Maurice Ashley - Grandmaster


 Dick Gregory - Comedian, Civil Rights Activist, Diet Guru,Civil Rights Activist 


Zora Neale Hurston - Author black history civil rights activists civil rights movement


Alain LeRoy Locke - Philosopher black history civil rights activists civil rights movement


Langston Hughes - Poet  American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist  

Bunnieshottips - Black History Celebrated


  Toni Morrison

 American Novelist, Essayist, Editor, Teacher and Professor Emeritus  


   James Baldwin  

American Novelist, Playwright and Activist.


Malcolm X

NOI Minister, Activist,  MMI and the OAAU  Founder & Minister


 Shirley Chisholm

American Politician, Educator and Author



Josephine Baker

American-born French Entertainer, Civil Rights Activist, and French Resistance Agent 


Alice Walker

Novelist, Short Story Writer, Poet, and Activist. 

Black History - Site Content


Billie Holiday

 American jazz singer 


 Angela Davis

Activist, Educator, Scholar, and Politician black history civil rights activists civil rights movement


Leontyne Price

American Soprano


 Mum Bett 

 Civil Rights Activist black history civil rights activists civil rights movement


Maya Angelou

 Activist, Actress, Author, Poet, Director, and Producer black history civil rights activists civil rights movement


 Zora Neale Hurston

Author black history civil rights activists civil rights movement

Women In History - Site Content


Madam CJ Walker 

African-American Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, and Political / Social Activist 


Coretta Scott-King

Public Speaker, Civil Rights Activist


Nina Simone 

American Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Arranger, and Civil Rights Activist black history civil rights activists civil rights movement


 Susan Unterberg 

 American Contemporary Photographer and Philanthropist. 


 Katherine Johnson   

 African-American mathematician black history civil rights movement


Madam Curie

 Polish and Naturalized-French Physicist and Chemist  

Women In History - Site Content


  Chief Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti 

 Teacher, Political Campaigner, Women's Rights Activist and Aristocrat black history


 Annie Jiagge 

 Lawyer, Judge and Women's Rights Activist. black history civil rights activists


  Luisa Capetillo

 Social Labor Organizer and Author 


  Ida B Wells

 African-American Investigative Journalist, Educator and Civil Rights Activist black history civil rights movement


  Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg

 Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States


  Susan B Anthony

 American Writer, Lecturer, Abolitionist and Activist 

Women In History - Site Content


 Bell Hooks  

American Author and Activist


  Oprah Winfrey

 American media proprietor , Philanthropist and Actress


Rosa Parks

Civil Rights Activist black history civil rights activists civil rights movement


  Gloria Marie Steinem 

 American Feminist, Journalist, and Social Political Activist  


Alice Walker

American Novelist, Short Story Writer, Poet, and Activist.


  Madam C.J. Walker 

 Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, and Political and Social Activist black history civil rights activists civil rights movement

Black History Celebrated: Josephine Baker

   Born Freda Josephine McDonald, Josephine Baker,  was an American-born French Entertainer, Civil Rights Activist, and French Resistance Agent. Josephine was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother, Carrie, was adopted in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1886 by Richard and Elvira McDonald, both of whom were former slaves of African and Native American descent. 

Josephine spent her early life in the Mill Creek Valley neighborhood of St. Louis, a racially mixed low-income neighborhood near Union Station, consisting mainly of rooming houses, brothels, and apartments without indoor plumbing. Josephine was always poorly dressed and hungry as a child playing in the railroad yards of Union Station. She had little formal education and attended Lincoln Elementary School only through the fifth grade.

At 13 she worked as a waitress at the Old Chauffeur's Club on Pine Street. She also lived as a street child in the slums of St. Louis, sleeping in cardboard shelters, scavenging for food in garbage cans, and making a living with street-corner dancing. It was at the Old Chauffeur's Club where Josephine met Willie Wells and married him the same year. The marriage lasted less than a year. Following her divorce from Wells, she found work with a street performance group called the Jones Family Band.

Her career was centered primarily in Europe, mostly in her adopted France. During her early career she was renowned as a dancer and was among the most celebrated performers to headline the revues of the Folies Bergère in Paris. Her performance in 1927 caused a sensation in Paris. Her costume, consisting of only a girdle of artificial bananas, became her most iconic image and a symbol of the Jazz Age and the 1920s.

Josephine Baker became one of the most successful American entertainers working in France. Ernest Hemingway called her "the most sensational woman anyone ever saw. "The author spent hours talking with her in Paris bars. Picasso drew paintings depicting her alluring beauty. Jean Cocteau became friendly with her and helped vault her to international stardom.

In January 1966, Fidel Castro invited Baker to perform at the Teatro Musical de La Havana in Cuba, at the 7th anniversary celebration of his revolution. Her spectacular show in April broke attendance records. In 1968, Baker visited Yugoslavia and made appearances in Belgrade and in Skopje. In 1973 she performed at Carnegie Hall to a standing ovation.

Europe dubbed her the “Black Venus”, the "Black Pearl", the "Bronze Venus", and the "Creole Goddess". She renounced her U.S. citizenship and became a French national after her marriage to French industrialist Jean Lion in 1937. 

Although based in France, Baker supported the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s. When she arrived in New York with her husband, they were refused reservations at 36 hotels because of racial discrimination. She was so upset by this treatment that she wrote articles about the segregation in the United States. She also began traveling into the South. She gave a talk at Fisk University, a historically black college in Nashville, Tennessee, on "France, North Africa And the Equality of The Races in France. In 1968 she was offered unofficial leadership in the movement in the United States by Coretta Scott King, following Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. After thinking it over, Baker declined the offer out of concern for the welfare of her children. 

In 1951, Baker made charges of racism against Sherman Billingsley's Stork Club in Manhattan, where she had been refused service. Actress Grace Kelly, who was at the club at the time, rushed over to Baker, took her by the arm and stormed out with her entire party, vowing never to return. The two women became close friends after the incident.

She refused to perform for segregated audiences in the United States, although she was offered $10,000 by a Miami club. The club eventually met her demands. Her insistence on mixed audiences helped to integrate live entertainment shows in Las Vegas, Nevada. After this incident, she began receiving threatening phone calls from people claiming to be from the Ku Klux Klan but said publicly that she was not afraid of them.

Baker worked with the NAACP and her reputation as a crusader grew to such an extent that the NAACP had Sunday, 20 May 1951 declared "Josephine Baker Day". She was presented with life membership with the NAACP by Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Ralph Bunche. The honor she was paid spurred her to further her crusading efforts with the "Save Willie McGee" rally after he was convicted of the 1948 beating death of a furniture shop owner in Trenton, New Jersey. In 1963, she spoke at the March on Washington at the side of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.  In her powerful speech, one of the things Baker notably said was:

“I have walked into the palaces of kings and queens and into the houses of presidents. And much more. But I could not walk into a hotel in America and get a cup of coffee, and that made me mad. And when I get mad, you know that I open my big mouth. And then look out, 'cause when Josephine opens her mouth, they hear it all over the world.”

As the decorated war hero of France, who was bolstered by the racial equality she experienced in Europe, Baker became increasingly regarded as controversial. Some Black people even began to shun her, fearing that her outspokenness and racy reputation from her earlier years would hurt the cause.

During Baker's work with the Civil Rights Movement, she began adopting children, forming a family she often referred to as "The Rainbow Tribe". Baker wanted to prove that  "children of different ethnicity and religion could still be brothers."   She also raised them as different religions to further her model for the world, taking two children from Algeria and raising one Muslim and the other Catholic. Baker raised two daughters, French-born Marianne and Moroccan-born Stellina, and 10 sons from Venezuela, Finland, Japan, Korea, Colombia, Algeria, Morocco, Israel, and France.

In 1968, Baker lost her castle owing to unpaid debts and Princess Grace offered her an apartment in Roquebrune, near Monaco.

In 1968 Baker was back on stage in Paris, Belgrade and at Carnegie Hall in 1973, the London Palladium and at the Gala du Cirque in Paris in 1974. On 8 April 1975, Baker starred in a retrospective revue at the Bobino in Paris, celebrating her 50 years in show business. The revue, financed notably by Prince Rainier, Princess Grace, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, opened to rave reviews. Demand for seating was such that fold-out chairs had to be added to accommodate spectators. The opening night audience included Sophia Loren, Mick Jagger, Shirley Bassey, Diana Ross, and Liza Minnelli.

Only days after the concert Ms. Baker was found lying peacefully in her bed surrounded by newspapers with glowing reviews of her performance. She was in a coma after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. She was taken to the hospital, where she died, age 68, on April 12, 1975.

However eccentric, scandalous, sexual and outspoken Josephine Baker has been portrayed her personal style and refusal to be subservient and ignore the injustices perpetrated against Blacks in America continues to influence people more than a century after her birth. In a 2003 interview with USA Today, Angelina Jolie cited Baker as "a model for the multiracial, multi-national family she was beginning to create through adoption." and Beyoncé performed Baker's banana dance at the Fashion Rocks concert at Radio City Music Hall in September 2006.

Geoffrey Holder talks about Josephine Baker

1951 Interview with Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker : The Conga


Black History Celebrated-Shirley Chisholm

  Shirley Anita St. Hill (Shirley Chisholm) was born on November 30, 1924, in Brooklyn, New York, to immigrant parents from British Guiana and Barbados. In 1929, at five years old Shirley and her two sisters were sent to Barbados to live with their maternal grandmother, Emaline Seale, to provide them with a full-time well-disciplined upbringing and education. Shirley and her sisters were educated in a one-room schoolhouse where education was taken very seriously, while her parents worked multiple jobs in the US to support their family. Ms. Chisholm did not return to the US until 1934. In her 1970 autobiography Unbought and Unbossed, she wrote: "Years later I would know what an important gift my parents had given me by seeing to it that I had my early education in the strict, traditional, British-style schools of Barbados. If I speak and write easily now, that early education is the main reason.” As a result of her time on the island, and regardless of her U.S. birth, St. Hill would always consider herself a Barbadian American.

"Granny gave me strength, dignity, and love. I learned from an early age that I was somebody. I didn't need the black revolution to tell me that."

in 1939, Ms. Chisholm attended Girls' High School in the Bedford–Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, a highly regarded and integrated school that attracted girls from throughout the borough and earned her Bachelor of Arts from Brooklyn College in 1946 as a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, where she won prizes for her debating skills. Ms. Chisholm worked at a nursery school while earning her MA in elementary education from Teachers College at Columbia University in 1952. She also met and married Conrad O. Chisholm, a native of Jamaica, during this period in 1949.

Ms. Chisholm became known as an authority on issues involving early education and child welfare because of her post graduate work as the Director of the Friends Day Nursery in Brownsville, Brooklyn and the Hamilton-Madison Child Care Center in lower Manhattan. 

Political Career

Member of the New York Assembly

from King's 17th district


One of her early activities in the Assembly was to argue against the state's literacy test requiring English, arguing that just because a person "functions better in his native language is no sign a person is illiterate"

Member of the New York Assembly

from the 45th district


By early 1966 she was a leader in a push by the statewide Council of Elected Negro Democrats for black representation on key committees in the Assembly. 

sponsored the introduction of a SEEK program (Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge) to the state, which provided disadvantaged students the chance to enter college while receiving intensive remedial education.

Unemployment benefits extended to domestic workers.

Member of the New York Assembly

from the 55th district


She was elected as the Democratic National Committeewoman from New York State in 1968.

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives

from New York's 12th congressional district


Ms. Chisholm was elected to the House of Representatives from New York's 12th congressional district, which resulted in her becoming Brooklyn's first black member of Congress.

All those Chisholm hired for her office were women and half were Black women. 

Chisholm said that she had faced much more discrimination during her New York legislative career because she was a woman than because of her race.

Chisholm was assigned to the House Agricultural Committee. Given her urban district, she felt the placement was irrelevant to her constituents. She confided to Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson that she was upset and insulted by her assignment, Schneerson suggested that she use the surplus food to help the poor and hungry. Chisholm subsequently worked to expand the food stamp program.

She was one of the founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971 and the National Women's Political Caucus.

In May 1971 she, along with fellow New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug, introduced a bill to provide 10 billion dollars in federal funds for childcare services by 1975. A less expensive version introduced by Senator Walter Mondale eventually passed the House and Senate as the Comprehensive Child Development Bill, which was vetoed by President Richard Nixon in December 1971.

Chisholm created controversy when she visited rival and ideological opposite George Wallace in the hospital soon after his shooting in May 1972, during the presidential primary campaign. Several years later, when Chisholm worked on a bill to give domestic workers the right to a minimum wage, Wallace helped gain votes of enough Southern congressmen to push the legislation through the House.

She played a critical role in the creation of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. 

She also served as a member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee and the Education and Labor Committee, which was her preferred committee. She was the third highest-ranking member of this committee when she retired from Congress.

Secretary of the House Democratic Caucus


US Presidential Bid

Ms. Chisholm began exploring her candidacy in July 1971, and formally announced her presidential bid on January 25, 1972, in a Baptist church in her district in Brooklyn. There she called for a "bloodless revolution" at the forthcoming Democratic nomination convention. Chisholm became the first black major-party candidate to run for President of the United States, in the 1972 U.S. presidential election, making her also the first woman ever to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. 

In her Presidential announcement, Chisholm describes herself as representative of the people and offered a new articulation of American identity: "I am not the candidate of black America, although I am black and proud. I am not the candidate of the women's movement of this country, although I am a woman and equally proud of that. I am the candidate of the people and my presence before you symbolizes a new era in American political history." 

But her historic campaign as the first African American woman to run for a major-party presidential nomination was never about winning. She ran in only twelve state primaries. Indeed, her candidacy was treated with so little seriousness that she had to bring an FCC challenge in order to join in even one presidential debate, and to mount protests to get one speech televised. During the campaign three confirmed threats were made against her life; Conrad Chisholm served as her bodyguard until U.S. Secret Service protection was given to her in May 1972.  As coined by the irrepressible Flo, her slogan was “Protest the white-out!”

Looking back and remembering the forces at play during that time; I can remember the lack of support Ms. Chisholm received from members of the Black Community because she was a woman. I remember hearing businessmen, like my father describe her efforts as being frivolous and a grand standing gesture. He, who had always been one of her most ardent political supporters. I believe this is when the terms “sexist” and “male chauvinism” became real for me and I began to question why? It was then that I realized I was going to have 2 major societal hurdles to overcome when I began to pursue my business career. 

After her campaign, she wrote, “I ran … to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo. The next time a woman runs, or a black or a Jew … I believe that he or she will be taken seriously … I ran because somebody had to do it first.”

In 1984, The National Black Women's Political Caucus was established during the presidential campaign of Geraldine Ferraro. African American women from various political organizations convened to set forth a political agenda emphasizing the needs of women of African descent. Chisholm was chosen as its first chair.

In 1993, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Shirley Chisholm on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.

In February 2005, Shirley Chisholm '72: Unbought and Unbossed, a documentary film, aired on U.S public television. The film chronicled Chisholm's 1972 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. It was directed and produced by independent African American filmmaker Shola Lynch. The film was featured at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004. On April 9, 2006, the film was announced as a winner of a Peabody Award.

2014 Catalyst for Change, by Barbara Winslow (the first adult biography of Shirley Chisholm) 

The Presidential Medal of Freedom (posthumously awarded) by President Barack Obama at a ceremony in the White House in November 2015

In January 2018, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his intent to build the Shirley Chisholm State Park, a 407-acre state park along 3.5 miles of the Jamaica Bay coastline, adjoining the Pennsylvania Avenue and Fountain Avenue landfills south of Spring Creek Park's Gateway Center section. The park was dedicated to Chisholm in September 2019

Ms. Shirley Chisholm died on January 1, 2005, in Ormond Beach, after suffering several strokes. She is buried in the Oakwood Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, where the legend inscribed on her vault reads: "Unbought and Unbossed".

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said upon her death on New Year’s Day 2005 “She was the daughter of a Guyanese man and Barbadian woman who was an activist and a woman of great courage who refused to accept the ordinary.”


Black History Celebrated-James Baldwin



James Arthur Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an American novelist, playwright, and activist.


Baldwin's novels and plays fictionalize fundamental personal questions and dilemmas amid complex social and psychological pressures of not only African Americans, but also gay and bisexual men in their quest for acceptance.

The Child

James Arthur Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924 in Harlem hospital. His mother, Emma Berdis Jones, left his biological father and married a Baptist preacher, David Baldwin, with whom she had eight children. The family was poor and Baldwin's stepfather, whom in essays he referred to as his father, treated him harshly His intelligence together with the abuse by his stepfather caused Baldwin to spend much of his time alone in libraries. By the time Baldwin had reached adolescence, he had discovered his passion for writing. His educators deemed him gifted, and in 1937, at the age of thirteen, he wrote his first article, titled "Harlem—Then and Now", which was published in his school's magazine, The Douglass Pilot. His stepfather died of tuberculosis in the summer of 1943 on the day his last child was born, just before Baldwin turned 19. The day of the funeral was Baldwin's 19th birthday and the day of the Harlem riot of 1943, which is portrayed at the beginning of his essay "Notes of a Native Son."

Primary Education

Baldwin attended P.S. 24 on 128th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues in Harlem, where he wrote the school song which was used until the school closed. "I knew I was black, of course, but I also knew I was smart. I didn't know how I would use my mind, or even if I could, but that was the only thing I had to use," he said. 

His middle-school years were spent at Frederick Douglass Junior High where he was influenced by poet Countee Cullen, a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance, and was encouraged by his math teacher to serve as editor of the school newspaper, The Douglass Pilot.

The Adolescent

James Baldwin attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx. It was here that Baldwin worked with Richard Avedon on the school magazine as literary editor but disliked school because of the constant racial slurs.


During his teenage years, Baldwin followed his stepfather's shadow into the religious life. At 17, however, Baldwin came to view Christianity as based on false premises and later regarded his time in the pulpit as a way of overcoming his personal crises. Baldwin accused Christianity of reinforcing the system of American slavery by palliating the pangs of oppression and delaying salvation until a promised after life. Baldwin praised religion, however, for inspiring some Black Americans to defy oppression. He once wrote, "If the concept of God has any use, it is to make us larger, freer, and more loving.

The Man

While working odd jobs, Baldwin wrote short stories, essays, and book reviews, some of them later collected in the volume Notes of a Native Son (1955). He befriended the actor Marlon Brando in 1944 and the two were roommates for a time. They remained friends for more than twenty years.

During his teenage years Baldwin started to realize that he was gay. In 1948, in New Jersey, he walked into a restaurant where he knew he would be denied service. When the waitress explained that African Americans were not served there, Baldwin threw a glass of water at her, which shattered against the mirror behind the bar. Disillusioned by American prejudice against blacks, he left the US at the age of 24 and settled in Paris. He wanted to distance himself from American prejudice and see himself and his writing outside an African American context. Baldwin stated that he did not want to be labeled "merely a Negro; or, even, merely a Negro writer." He also hoped to come to terms with his sexual ambivalence and escape the hopelessness that many young African American gay men like himself succumbed to in New York.

Baldwin lived in France for most of his later life. He also spent some time in Switzerland and Turkey. During his lifetime as well as since his death, Baldwin was seen not only as an influential African-American writer but also as an influential emigrant writer, particularly because of his numerous experiences outside the United States and the impact of these experiences on his life and his writing.

Baldwin settled in the south of France in 1970. His house was always open to his friends, who frequently visited him while on trips to the French Riviera. American painter Beauford Delaney made Baldwin's house in Saint-Paul-de-Vence his second home, often setting up his easel in the garden. Delaney painted several colorful portraits of Baldwin. Nall also befriended Baldwin during this time. Actors Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier were also regular house guests.

Many of Baldwin's musician friends dropped in during the Jazz à Juan and Nice Jazz Festivals. They included Nina Simone, Josephine Baker, Miles Davis, and Ray Charles, for whom he wrote several songs. In his autobiography, Miles Davis wrote:

“I'd read his books and I liked and respected what he had to say. When I got to know him better, Jimmy and I spoke openly to each other. We became great friends. Every time I was in the South of France, in Antibes, I would spend a day or two at his villa. We'd get comfy in that beautiful, big house and he would tell us all sorts of stories ... He was a great man.

  His years in France were also years of work. Sitting in front of his sturdy typewriter, his days were devoted to writing and to answering the huge amount of mail he received from all over the world. It was here that he wrote several of his last works including Just Above My Head in 1979 and Evidence of Things Not Seen in 1985. It was also in his Saint-Paul-de-Vence house that Baldwin wrote his famous "Open Letter to My Sister, Angela Y. Davis" in November 1970.

The Activist

Baldwin's next book-length essay, No Name in the Street (1972), also discussed his own experience in the context of the later 1960s, specifically the assassinations of three of his personal friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Baldwin's writings of the 1970s and 1980s largely have been overlooked by critics as homosexuality was frowned upon during this period by the black majority and religious communities. Now even these texts are beginning to receive attention. Several of his essays and interviews of the 1980s discuss homosexuality and homophobia with fervor and forthrightness. Eldridge Cleaver's harsh criticism of Baldwin in Soul on Ice and Baldwin's return to southern France contributed to the sense that he was not in touch with his readership. Always true to his own convictions rather than to the tastes of others, Baldwin continued to write what he wanted to write. As he had been the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, he became an inspirational figure for the emerging gay rights movement. His two novels written in the 1970s, If Beale Street Could Talk (1974) and Just Above My Head (1979), placed a strong emphasis on the importance of Black American families. He concluded his career by publishing a volume of poetry, Jimmy's Blues (1983), as well as another book-length essay, The Evidence of Things Not Seen (1985), an extended meditation inspired by the Atlanta child murders of the early 1980s.

Baldwin aligned himself with the ideals of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Joining CORE gave him the opportunity to travel across the American South lecturing on his views of racial inequality. His insights into both the North and South gave him a unique perspective on the racial problems the United States was facing. In 1963 he conducted a lecture tour of the South for CORE, traveling to locations such as Durham and Greensboro in North Carolina, and New Orleans, Louisiana. During the tour, he lectured to students, white liberals, and anyone else listening about his racial ideology, an ideological position between the "muscular approach" of Malcolm X and the nonviolent program of Martin Luther King, Jr. Baldwin expressed the hope that socialism would take root in the United States.

After a bomb exploded in a Birmingham church three weeks after the March on Washington, Baldwin called for a nationwide campaign of civil disobedience in response to this "terrifying crisis." He traveled to Selma, Alabama, where SNCC had organized a voter registration drive; he watched mothers with babies and elderly men and women standing in long lines for hours, as armed deputies and state troopers stood by—or intervened to smash a reporter's camera or use cattle prods on SNCC workers. After his day of watching, he spoke in a crowded church, blaming Washington—"the good white people on the hill." Returning to Washington, he told a New York Post reporter the federal government could protect Negroes—it could send federal troops into the South. He blamed the Kennedys for not acting. In March 1965, Baldwin joined marchers who walked 50 miles from Selma, Alabama, to the capitol in Montgomery under the protection of federal troops.

Nonetheless, he rejected the label "civil rights activist", or that he had participated in a civil rights movement, instead agreeing with Malcolm X's assertion that if one is a citizen, one should not have to fight for one's civil rights. In a 1964 interview with Robert Penn Warren, for the book Who Speaks for the Negro?, Baldwin refuted the idea that the civil rights movement was an outright revolution, instead calling it "a very peculiar revolution because it has to ... have its aims the establishment of a union, and a ... radical shift in the American mores, the American way of life ... not only as it applies to the Negro obviously, but as it applies to every citizen of the country." In a 1979 speech at UC Berkeley, he called it, instead, "the latest slave rebellion."

Baldwin was a close friend of the singer, pianist, and civil rights activist Nina Simone. With Langston Hughes and Lorraine Hansberry, Baldwin helped awaken Simone to the Civil Rights Movement. Baldwin also provided her with literary references influential on her later work. Baldwin and Hansberry met with Robert F. Kennedy, along with Kenneth Clark and Lena Horne and others to persuade Kennedy of the importance of civil rights legislation. He also wrote at length about his "political relationship" with Malcolm X. 

Maya Angelou called Baldwin her "friend and brother," and credited him for "setting the stage" for her 1969 autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. 

Toni Morrison. Upon his death, wrote a eulogy for Baldwin that appeared in The New York Times. In the eulogy, entitled "Life in His Language," Morrison credits Baldwin as being her literary inspiration and the person who showed her the true potential of writing. She writes:

“You knew, didn't you, how I needed your language and the mind that formed it? How I relied on your fierce courage to tame wildernesses for me? How strengthened I was by the certainty that came from knowing you would never hurt me? You knew, didn't you, how I loved your love? You knew. This then is no calamity. No. This is jubilee. 'Our crown,' you said, 'has already been bought and paid for. All we have to do,' you said, 'is wear it.”

Early on December 1, 1987, Baldwin died with friends close by from stomach cancer in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France. He was buried at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, near New York City.


Black History Celebrated 1

Mum Bett - Civil Rights Activist

Mum Bett - Civil Rights Activist

Mum Bett - Civil Rights Activist


  Born into slavery in 1742, Mumbet (as she was then known) became the first woman to sue successfully for her freedom in the American Republic.  She was working for her slave owner, Colonel John Ashley, in Sheffield, Massachusetts when she heard people discussing the new Massachusetts Constitution and its Declaration of Rights.  She then approached attorney Theodore Sedgwick to bring a case in the Court of Common Pleas, arguing that she too had rights under this constitution.  The name of her fellow slave, Brom, was added to the case,  Brom and Bett v. Ashley, which in 1781, succeeded in winning them their freedom.  Afterwards, John Ashley asked her to return to his home as a paid employee, but instead she worked as a housekeeper and nurse for the Sedgwicks under her new name, Elizabeth Freeman.  She died in 1829 and was buried in the Sedgwick family plot. 
>> Learn more: black history civil rights activists civil rights movement

Maurice Ashley - Grandmaster

Mum Bett - Civil Rights Activist

Mum Bett - Civil Rights Activist


 Maurice Ashley is a Jamaican American chess grandmaster, author, commentator, app designer, puzzle inventor, and motivational speaker. In 1999 he earned the Grandmaster title, making him the world's first Grandmaster of a dark skin colour.  I was schooled by the best hustlers back in the day! This was actually in Washington Square Park  

Learn more:


 Octavia Spencer will be an executive producer on the indie film, Mumbet, which is based on the film A Free Woman on God’s Earth by Jana Laiz and Ann-Elizabeth Barnes. 

List of available books can be found here:


Maurice Ashley playing 30 chess tables with the kids !! 

Black History Celebrated 2

Zora Neale Hurston - Author

Zora Neale Hurston - Author

Zora Neale Hurston - Author


 Zora Neale Hurston, (born January 7, 1891, Notasulga, Alabama, U.S.—died January 28, 1960, Fort Pierce, Florida), American folklorist and writer associated with the Harlem Renaissance who celebrated the African American culture of the rural South. 


Zora Neale Hurston is considered one of the pre-eminent writers of twentieth-century African-American literature. Hurston was closely associated with the Harlem Renaissance and has influenced such writers as Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Gayle Jones, Alice Walker, and Toni Cade Bambara.

In 1975, Ms. Magazine published Alice Walker's essay, "In Search of Zora Neale Hurston" reviving interest in the author. Hurston's four novels and two books of folklore resulted from extensive anthropological research and have proven invaluable sources on the oral cultures of African America.

Through her writings, Robert Hemenway wrote in The Harlem Renaissance Remembered, Hurston "helped to remind the Renaissance--especially its more bourgeois members--of the richness in the racial heritage."


Zora Hurston Fieldwork 1928 (Rare Footage)

Cudjo Lewis "Black Cargo" 

(Barracoon e-book  written by Zora Neale Hurston)

Africa Town A Story Worth Knowing

black history civil rights activists civil rights movement

Alain LeRoy Locke

Zora Neale Hurston - Author

Zora Neale Hurston - Author


  Alain LeRoy Locke was born on September 13, 1885, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Alain LeRoy Locke was a philosopher best known for his writing on and support of the Harlem Renaissance. He was the first African American to be named a Rhodes Scholar. Locke served as secretary and editor of the newly established Associates in Negro Folk Education. Between 1936 and 1942 this organization published nine "Bronze Booklets" written by leading African American scholars. Locke wrote two of these, "Negro Art: Past and Present" and "The Negro and His Music", and edited a third, "The Negro in Art: A Pictorial Record of the Negro Artist and of the Negro Theme in Art." The latter reemphasized his belief that African American artists should look to the works of their African ancestors for subject matter and styles to apply to modern painting and sculpture.

Locke continued his work in philosophy, actively promoting his theory of cultural pluralism (a society made up of several different cultures and their beliefs). This interest led to his pioneering the 1942 social science anthology, co-edited with Bernhard Stern, "When Peoples Meet: A Study in Race and Culture Contacts", an examination of dominant and minority populations in various countries around the world.

Ossie Davis speaks about Dr. Locke:

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes


Born: February 1, 1902
Died: May 22, 1967


I discovered Langston Hughes at age 15 while shopping for posters and books with friends on 125th St, Harlem, NY. I glanced at a poster in an incense filled dimly lit store with his poem "Harlem" What happens to a dream deferred? on it and after reading it, I was immediately hooked. Who was this man that was able to put into words my personal thoughts and feelings in so few sentences so eloquently.

 Like many African Americans, Langston Hughes had a complex ancestry. Both of Hughes' paternal great-grandmothers were enslaved African Americans and both of his paternal great-grandfathers were white slave owners in Kentucky.   

During high school in Cleveland, Hughes wrote for the school newspaper, edited the yearbook, and began to write his first short stories and poetry. While at Columbia in 1921, Hughes managed to maintain a B+ grade average. He left in 1922 because of racial prejudice among students and teachers.   Hughes enrolled in Lincoln University in 1926, a historically black university in Pennsylvania and joined the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Thurgood Marshall, who later became an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, was a classmate of Hughes during his undergraduate studies. Langston Hughes was one of the most important writers and thinkers of the Harlem Renaissance, which was the African American artistic movement in the 1920s that celebrated black life and culture. His literary works helped shape American literature and politics. Hughes, like others active in the Harlem Renaissance, had a strong sense of racial pride. Through his poetry, novels, plays, essays, and children's books, he promoted equality, condemned racism and injustice, and celebrated African American culture, humor, and spirituality.  He was also one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry, an art form which remains very much alive today and is considered by some as the "foundation of modern day Hip Hop and Rap music"

 "My seeking has been to explain and illuminate the Negro condition in America and obliquely that of all human kind,"Hughes is quoted as saying. He confronted racial stereotypes, protested social conditions, and expanded African America's image of itself.  Known as a "people's poet" who sought to reeducate both audience and artist by lifting the theory of the black aesthetic into reality.   

On May 22, 1967, Hughes died in the Stuyvesant Polyclinic in New York City at the age of 65 from complications after abdominal surgery related to prostate cancer.

2 of my favorite Langston Hughes poems, "Harlem"  and

Po' Boy Blues

Jazz as Communication 


 Andrew Neuendorf discusses the influence of Hughes & Locke on the Harlem Renaissance, black history civil rights activists and the civil rights movement  Great Video!!

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

Black History Celebrated: Minister Malcolm X

Malcolm X

Born Malcolm Little May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.

Died February 21, 1965 (aged 39) in Manhattan, New York, U.S.

Malcolm X was an  African  American Muslim Minister and Human Rights Activist who was a popular figure during the civil rights movement. He is best known for his controversial advocacy for the rights of black people.  While sentenced to ten years in prison in 1946 for larceny and breaking and entering Minister Malcolm joined the Nation of Islam and Upon his release in 1952, he adopted X as his surname. 

After his release, Malcolm quickly became one of the organization's most influential leaders. During the Civil Rights Movement, Malcolm X served as the public face of the Nation of Islam for a dozen years; where he advocated for black supremacy, the separation of black and white Americans, and rejected the notion of the civil rights movement for its emphasis on racial integration.

The Minister’s intellect, skill as a speaker, impressive physical presence and spotlessly well-groomed attire were attributes that were admired by a downtrodden people in search of a way out of decades of oppression and false promises of physical, emotional & financial freedom and equality. In June 1953 he was named assistant minister of the Nation's Temple Number One in Detroit. Later that year he established Boston's Temple Number 11 in March 1954, he expanded Temple Number 12 in Philadelphia; and two months later he was selected to lead Temple Number 7 in Harlem, where he rapidly expanded its membership. He also established temples in Springfield, Massachusetts (Number 13); Hartford, Connecticut (Number 14); and Atlanta, Georgia (Number 15). Hundreds of Black Americans were joining the Nation of Islam every month.

He expressed pride in some of the social achievements he made with the Nation, particularly the free drug rehabilitation program and the Hinton Johnson incident. 

Minister Malcolm became known as the second most influential leader of the Nation of Islam after Elijah Muhammad.  He inspired the boxer Cassius Clay (who would take on the Muslim name, Muhammad Ali) to join the Nation and the two became close friends. Malcolm also mentored and guided Louis X (later known as Louis Farrakhan), and who would eventually become the current leader of the Nation of Islam.  In the 1950s, Malcolm X endured relentless surveillance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the Nation's supposed links to communism. 

In 1961, the violent confrontations between the Nation of Islam members and police in South Central Los Angeles, where numerous Muslims were arrested and acquitted, came to a head on April 27, 1962, when two LAPD officers shoved and beat several Muslims outside Temple Number 27 without provocation. A large crowd of angry Muslims came outside from the mosque and the officers responded with intimidation. One officer was disarmed by the crowd and his partner was shot in the elbow by a third officer. When more than seventy backup officers arrived, they raided the mosque and randomly beat NOI members. Police officers shot seven Muslims, including William X Rogers, who was hit in the back and paralyzed for life, and Ronald Stokes, a Korean War veteran, who was shot from behind while raising his hands over his head to surrender, killing him.

Many Muslims were indicted after the event, but no charges were made against the police and to add insult to injury, the coroner ruled that Stokes's killing was justified. To Malcolm X, the desecration of the mosque and the violence demanded action. He rallied the more hardened of the Nation’s members to take violent action against the police. The Minister sought Elijah Muhammad's approval but was denied. Malcolm, stunned by this response started to work with civil rights organizations, local black politicians, and religious groups, which was also blocked by Muhammad. This is reportedly where the relationship between Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad began to deteriorate.

When Elijah Muhammad confirmed the rumors in 1963 of his extra marital affairs with young Nation secretaries, ‍ ‌which would constitute a serious violation of Nation teachings, the divide between the two men grew even larger.

On March 8, 1964, Malcolm X publicly announced his break from the Nation of Islam. He was still a Muslim, he said, but felt that the Nation had "gone as far as it can" because of its rigid teachings. Malcolm X then began to advocate for racial integration and disavowed racism after completing Hajj (his 1964 pilgrimage to Mecca symbolic of his spiritual journey to Orthodox Islam) and formally adopted the name el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz. Malcolm X later said that seeing Muslims of "all colors, from blue-eyed blonds to black-skinned Africans," interacting as equals led him to see Islam as a means by which racial problems could be overcome. After his separation from the Nation of Islam, the Minister founded Muslim Mosque, Inc. (MMI) and the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) to emphasize Pan-Africanism. When Malcolm X left the Nation of Islam, he tried to convince Mohammad Ali to join him in converting to Sunni Islam, Ali refused and instead broke ties with him, which Ali later described as one of his greatest regrets. 

After returning to the U.S., Malcolm X addressed a wide variety of audiences. He spoke regularly at meetings held by MMI and the OAAU and was one of the most sought-after speakers on college campuses. One of his top aides later wrote that he "welcomed every opportunity to speak to college students". He was interviewed about segregation and the Nation of Islam by Robert Penn Warren for Warren's 1965 book Who Speaks for the Negro?

On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was addressing the OAAU in Manhattan when he was assassinated.

It was reported that the Minister was assassinated by Thomas Hagan, Thomas Johnson, and Norman Butler, three members of the Nation of Islam. The trio was sentenced to indeterminate life sentences and were required to serve a minimum of 20 years in prison. However, now released from prison each man has shared his story and 2 state that they had nothing to do with Malcolm’s assassination, while only one, Thomas Hagan has admitted his guilt… and along with the disclosure of judicial improprieties it appears that some parts of the Conspiracy theories regarding his assassination and law enforcement’s involvement in it are most likely true ....with or without the aid of any member of the Nation. As with the other assassinations of leading Civil Rights and Government Leaders during the 1960s, the background story reported to the public at the time of the occurrence has fallen apart. In January 2019, members of the families of Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy were among dozens of Americans who signed a public statement calling for a truth and reconciliation commission to persuade Congress or the Justice Department to review the assassinations of all four leaders during this period.

Reactions to Malcolm X's assassination were varied. In a telegram to Betty Shabazz:

Martin Luther King Jr. expressed his sadness at "the shocking and tragic assassination of your husband". He said,

While we did not always see eye to eye on methods to solve the race problem, I always had a deep affection for Malcolm and felt that he had a great ability to put his finger on the existence and root of the problem. He was an eloquent spokesman for his point of view, and no one can honestly doubt that Malcolm had a great concern for the problems that we face as a race.

Writer James Baldwin, who had been a friend of Malcolm X's, was in London when he heard the news of the assassination. He responded with indignation towards the reporters interviewing him, shouting, "You did it! It is because of you …. the men that created this white supremacy … that this man is dead. You are not guilty, but you did it ... Your mills, your cities, your rape of a continent started all this."

in Africa, the press was sympathetic. The Daily Times of Nigeria wrote that Malcolm X would "have a place in the palace of martyrs"

The Ghanaian Times likened him to John Brown, Medgar Evers, and Patrice Lumumba, and counted him among "a host of Africans and Americans who were martyred in freedom's cause".

The Guangming Daily, published in Beijing, China, stated that "Malcolm was murdered because he fought for freedom and equal rights".

In Cuba, El Mundo described the assassination as "another racist crime to eradicate by violence the struggle against discrimination".

Malcolm X was posthumously honored with Malcolm X Day, which commemorates him in various cities and countries worldwide. Hundreds of streets and schools in the U.S. have been renamed in his honor, while the Audubon Ballroom, the site of his assassination, was in-part redeveloped in 2005 to accommodate the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center.

…. RIP Minister Malcolm …. A rest you so deserved... for you fought demons in your youth, while on your road to self-discovery, during your fight to educate, assist and protect your people and at the end when the demons thought they won …. They lost. They took your life but your spirit has remained throughout the decades and as the struggle continues … your teachings give us strength still !!


 The Johnson Hinton Incident

1965 Malcolm X Front Page

1970 Interview with Thomas Hagan (Self Confessed Murderer of Malcolm X)w/Gil Noble

Malcolm X  Mini Bio


The Final Speeches (Malcolm X Speeches and Writings)

Malcolm X Talks to Young People (Speeches)

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley

By Any Means Necessary


Black History Celebrated 4

Dick Gregory

Born Richard Claxton Gregory on  October 12, 1932 in St. Louis, MO was better known as Dick Gregory to his millions of fans, followers and supporters.   

Dick Gregory was drafted in 1954 while attending Southern Illinois University. He began his career as a comedian while serving in the military in the mid-1950s and while working for the United States Postal Service, after being discharged from the army, Gregory performed as a comedian in small, Black patronized nightclubs. He was one of the first black comedians to gain widespread acclaim while performing for white audiences. In 1961, Gregory was working at the black-owned Roberts Show Bar in Chicago when he was spotted by Hugh Hefner (owner of the infamous Playboy Club). Impressed with his cutting-edge performance at the Show Bar, Hefner hired Gregory to work at the Chicago Playboy Club.

Early in his career, Gregory was offered an engagement on “Tonight” a late-night show hosted by Jack Paar. The show was known for helping propel entertainers to the next level of their careers. At the time, Black comics did perform on the show, but after their performances, they were never asked to stay and sit on the famous couch and talk with the host. Dick Gregory declined several invitations from Jack Paar to perform on the show. Finally, Parr personally called him to find out why he refused to perform on his show. In order to have Gregory perform, the producers eventually agreed to allow him to stay after his performance and talk with the host on air. This was a first in the show's history. Gregory's interview on “Tonight” spurred conversations across America.

In 1964, Gregory became more involved in civil rights activities, activism against the Vietnam War, economic reform, and anti-drug issues. As a part of his activism, he went on several hunger strikes and campaigns in America and overseas. In the early 1970s, he was banned from Australia, where government officials feared he would "...stir up demonstrations against the Vietnam war." Gregory was an outspoken feminist, and in 1978 joined Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Bella Abzug, Margaret Heckler, Barbara Mikulski, and other suffragists to lead the National ERA March for Ratification

The autobiography of Dick Gregory, “Nigger”, was originally published in September 1964 by E. P. Dutton during the Civil Rights Movement and has since 1965 been reprinted numerous times in an edition available through Pocket Books. In total more than one million copies have been sold to date. Dick Gregory comments on his choice of title in the book's primary dedication, addressing his maternal ancestors:

“Dear Momma -- Wherever you are, if ever you hear the word "nigger" again, remember they are advertising my book.”

Gregory continued his life story in two subsequent books, “Up From Nigger” and “Callus On My Soul”.

Even as late as 2013, Gregory continued to be a ringing voice of the black power movement. Towards the end of his life, he was featured in a Fanta graphics book by Pat Thomas entitled “Listen, Whitey: The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965–1975”, which uses the political recordings of the Civil Rights era to highlight sociopolitical meanings throughout the movement. 

Gregory is known for comedic performances that not only made people laugh, but also mocked the establishment. In 1998, Gregory spoke at the celebration of the birthday of Dr Martin Luther King Jr., with President Bill Clinton in attendance. Not long after, the President told Gregory's long-time friend and public relations consultant Steve Jaffe, "I love Dick Gregory; he is one of the funniest people on the planet." They spoke of how Gregory had made a comment on Dr. King's birthday that broke everyone into laughter, when he noted that the President made Speaker Newt Gingrich ride "in the back of the plane," on an Air Force One trip overseas. According to Thomas, Gregory's monologues reflect a time when entertainment needed to be political to be relevant, which is why he included his standup in the collection. Gregory is featured along with the likes of Huey P. Newton, Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther King Jr., Langston Hughes and Bill Cosby. 

At a civil rights rally marking the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Gregory criticized the United States, calling it "the most dishonest, ungodly, unspiritual nation that ever existed in the history of the planet. As we talk now, America is 5 percent of the world's population and consumes 96 percent of the world's hard drugs".

On July 21, 1979, Gregory appeared at the Amandla Festival where Bob Marley, Patti LaBelle, and Eddie Palmieri, amongst others, performed. Gregory gave a speech before Marley's performance, blaming President Carter, and showing his support for the international Anti-Apartheid Movement.

Gregory was an outspoken activist during the US Embassy Hostage Crisis in Iran. In 1980, he traveled to Tehran to attempt to negotiate the hostages' release and engaged in a public hunger strike there, weighing less than 100 pounds when he returned to the United States.

In 2008, Gregory stated he believed that air pollution and intentional water contamination with heavy metals such as lead and possibly manganese may be being used against black Americans, especially in urban neighborhoods, and that such factors could be contributing to high levels of violence in black communities… (Does Flint, MI come to mind?)

Dick Gregory ran for President of the United States in 1968 as a write-in candidate of the Freedom and Peace Party, which had broken off from the Peace and Freedom Party. He garnered 47,097 votes in Chicago. The campaign had printed dollar bills with Gregory's image on them, some of which made it into circulation, causing considerable problems, but priceless publicity. 

In 1984, he founded Health Enterprises, Inc., a company that distributed weight-loss products. With this company, Gregory made efforts to improve the life expectancy of African Americans, which he believed was being hindered by poor nutrition, drug and alcohol abuse. In 1985, Gregory introduced the "Slim-Safe Bahamian Diet", a powdered-diet mix. He launched the weight-loss powder at the Whole Life Expo in Boston under the slogan "It's cool to be healthy". The diet mix, if drunk three times a day, was said to provide rapid weight loss. Gregory received a multimillion-dollar distribution contract to retail the diet. In 1985, the Ethiopian government adopted, to reported success, Gregory's formula to combat malnutrition during a period of famine in the country. Gregory had a laundry list of famous clients including Muhammad Ali.  In 2014, He updated his original 4X formula, which was the basis for the Bahamian Diet and created his new and improved "Caribbean Diet for Optimal Health".

The admittedly controversial politically outspoken Dick Gregory died on August 17, 2017 as a result of severely damaged blood vessels from starving himself in protest of injustices throughout the years after being admitted to the hospital for an infection. RIP Sir and thank you for raising our conscientiousness and devoting a lifetime to fighting our fights for justice !

Dick Gregory: The Civil Rights Movement

Dick Gregory:  Wisdom on Tiger, Cosby, Jordan and Magic


Black History 4: Women in History

Luisa Capetillo

Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg

Luisa Capetillo


  Luisa Capetillo (October 28, 1879 – October 10, 1922) was one of Puerto Rico's most famous labor leaders. She was a social labor organizer and a writer who fought for equal rights for women, free love and human emancipation.

Capetillo was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, to a Spanish father Luis Capetillo Echevarría from the Basque country and Luisa Margarita Perone, a Corsican immigrant. In Arecibo, she was home schooled by her parents, who were both very liberal regarding their philosophical and political ideologies. After the Spanish–American War, the American Tobacco Company, which had gained control of most of the island's tobacco fields, would hire people to read novels and current events to the workers. It was at the cigar making factory in Arecibo that she found a job as a reader and had her first contact with labor unions. In 1904, Capetillo began to write essays, titled "Mi Opinión" (My Opinion), about her ideas, which were published in radical and union newspapers. In her book "Mi Opinion" she urges women to fight for social equality: "Oh you woman! who is capable and willing to spread the seed of justice; do not hesitate, do not fret, do not run away, go forward! And for the benefit of the future generations place the first stone for the building of social equality in a serene but firm way, with all the right that belongs to you, without looking down, since you are no longer the ancient material or intellectual slave." 

Ida B Wells

Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg

Luisa Capetillo


Ida Bell Wells-Barnett (July 16, 1862 – March 25, 1931), more commonly known as Ida B. Wells, was an African-American investigative journalist, educator, and an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement. She was one of the founders of the NAACP. She became one of the most famous black women in America, during a life that was centered on combating prejudice and violence.

Wells was born into slavery in Holly Springs, Mississippi. She was freed by the Emancipation Proclamation during the American Civil War. At the age of 16, she lost both her parents and her infant brother in the 1878 yellow fever epidemic. She went to work and kept the rest of the family intact with the help of her grandmother. Wells moved with some of her siblings to Memphis, Tennessee, where she found better pay as a teacher. Soon she co-owned the newspaper, Memphis Free Speech and Headlight.

In the 1890s, Wells documented lynching in the United States, investigating frequent claims of whites that lynchings were reserved for black criminals only. Wells exposed lynching as a barbaric practice of whites in the South used to intimidate and oppress African Americans, who created economic and political competition. A white mob destroyed her newspaper office and presses, as her investigative reporting was carried nationally in black-owned newspapers.

Subjected to continued threats, Wells left Memphis for Chicago. She then married and had a family, while continuing her work writing, speaking, and organizing for civil rights for the rest of her life. Wells was outspoken regarding her beliefs as a Black female activist and faced regular public disapproval, including that of leaders with diverging viewpoints from both the civil rights movement and the women's suffrage movement. She was none-the-less active in women's rights and the women's suffrage movement, establishing several notable women's organizations. Wells was a skilled and persuasive speaker and traveled nationally and internationally on lecture tours.

Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg


  Ruth Bader Ginsburg born Joan Ruth Bader; March 15, 1933 is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Ginsburg was appointed by President Bill Clinton and took the oath of office on August 10, 1993. She is the second female justice (after Sandra Day O'Connor) of four to be confirmed to the court. Following O'Connor's retirement, and until Sotomayor joined the court, Ginsburg was the only female justice on the Supreme Court; a position she still holds today.  During that time, Ginsburg became more forceful with her dissents, which were noted by legal observers and in popular culture. She is generally viewed as belonging to the liberal wing of the court. Ginsburg has authored notable majority opinions, including United States v. Virginia, Olmstead v. L.C., and Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc.

Before her tenure as Supreme Court justice, Bader Ginsburg co-founded the Women's Rights Law Reporter in 1970, the first U.S. law journal to focus exclusively on women's rights. Two years later, she co-founded the Women's Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), once again making sure women's voices were heard in law as she continues to advocate for women's rights. 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Interview

Bell Hooks

Susan Brownell Anthony

Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg



The American author was known for her social activism that was often mirrored through her writing of oppression, women's rights and race. Some of Bell Hooks' most notable works include Ain't I A Woman?, Black Women and Feminism and The Feminist Theory in which she declared, "Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression."

Bell Hooks Interview: Culturism & Criticism

Bell Hooks: Spike Lee black history civil rights movement civil rights activists

Susan Brownell Anthony

Susan Brownell Anthony

Susan Brownell Anthony



Susan B. Anthony (February 15, 1820 – March 13, 1906) was an American social reformer and women's rights activist. Born into a Quaker family committed to social equality, she collected anti-slavery petitions at the age of 17. In 1856, Anthony began working as the New York State agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society. She spent years promoting the society's cause up until the Civil War. After which she played a pivotal role in the women's suffrage movement. She even took matters into her own hands in 1872, when she voted illegally in the presidential election. Anthony was arrested for the crime, and she unsuccessfully fought the charges; she was fined $100, which she never paid. In recognition of her dedication and hard work, the U.S. Treasury Department put Susan B. Anthony's portrait on dollar coins in 1979, making her the first woman to be so honored.

Oprah Winfrey

Susan Brownell Anthony

Susan Brownell Anthony



Motivated by the unequal pay she received in the start of her broadcasting career, Oprah set out to start her own television show and from there built an empire catering to helping women grow, develop and thrive. "I never did consider or call myself a feminist, but I don't think you can really be a woman in this world and not be." She has since developed the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, the Oprah Winfrey Network and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013


Oprah's speaks about "The Power of Women"

Black History 5: Women in History II

Rosa Parks

Gloria Marie Steinem

Gloria Marie Steinem


  Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The United States Congress has called her "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement"

Click here :The Rosa Parks Story

Gloria Marie Steinem

Gloria Marie Steinem

Gloria Marie Steinem


  Gloria Marie Steinem (born March 25, 1934) is an American feminist, journalist, and social political activist who became nationally recognized as a leader and a spokeswoman for the American feminist movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Steinem was a columnist for New York magazine, and a co-founder of Ms. magazine. In 1969, Steinem published an article, "After Black Power, Women's Liberation", which brought her to national fame as a feminist leader. In 2005, Steinem, Jane Fonda, and Robin Morgan co-founded the Women's Media Center, an organization that works "to make women visible and powerful in the media".

As of May 2018, Steinem travels internationally as an organizer and lecturer, and is a media spokeswoman on issues of equality.

Click here: Gloria Steinem Interview

Alice Walker

Gloria Marie Steinem

Madam C. J. Walker


 Alice Walker (born February 9, 1944) is an American novelist, short story writer, poet, and activist. She wrote the novel The Color Purple (1982), for which she won the National Book Award for hardcover fiction, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. She also wrote the novels Meridian (1976) and The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970), among other works. An avowed feminist, Walker coined the term "womanist" to mean "A black feminist or feminist of color" in 1983.

Click here: Alice Walker Interview1

                    Alice Walker Interview2

Madam C. J. Walker

Madam C. J. Walker

Madam C. J. Walker


  Sarah Breedlove (December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919), known as Madam C. J. Walker, was an African-American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a political and social activist. Walker was considered the wealthiest African-American businesswoman and wealthiest self-made woman in America at the time of her death in 1919. Although she was eulogized as the first female self-made millionaire in the US, her estate was worth an estimated $600,000 upon her death. According to Walker's obituary in The New York Times, "she said herself two years ago that she was not yet a millionaire, but hoped to be some time".

Walker made her fortune by developing and marketing a line of cosmetics and hair care products for black women through the business she founded, Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company. Walker was also known for her philanthropy and activism. She made financial donations to numerous organizations and became a patron of the arts. Villa Lewaro, Walker's lavish estate in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, served as a social gathering place for the African-American community.

Her name, Madam C. J. Walker, came as a result of her marriage to Charles Joseph Walker who died in 1926. black history civil rights movement

Coretta Scott-King

Madam C. J. Walker

Coretta Scott-King



Coretta Scott King, (born April 27, 1927, Marion, Alabama, U.S.—died January 30, 2006, Rosarito, Mexico),

Although most known for her marriage to Martin Luther King Jr. and her work with Civil Rights, Coretta Scott King devoted much of her life to women's equality. She helped found NOW (National Organization for Women) in 1966 and played a key role in the organization's development. In her efforts for women's rights, King was also notably the first woman to deliver the class day address at Harvard.

Coretta Scott King Interview 

Coretta Scott King - Life w/Martin black history civil rights activists civil rights movement

Nina Simone

Madam C. J. Walker

Coretta Scott-King



Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), known professionally as Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.

Nina Simone was not only a trained classical pianist and accomplished musician; Simone also performed and spoke at civil rights meetings, such as at the Selma to Montgomery marches. Like Malcolm X, her neighbor in Mount Vernon, New York, she supported black nationalism and advocated violent revolution rather than Martin Luther King's non-violent approach. She hoped that African Americans could use armed combat to form a separate state, though she wrote in her autobiography that she and her family regarded all races as equal. Simone's social commentary was not limited to the civil rights movement; the song "Four Women" exposed the Eurocentric beauty standards imposed on black women in America, as it explored the internalized dilemma of beauty that is experienced between four black women with skin-tones ranging from light to dark. She explains in her autobiography “I Put a Spell on You” that the purpose of the song was to inspire black women to define beauty and identity for themselves without the influence of societal impositions.

Nina Simone's "Four Women"

Black History 6: Women In History III

Susan Unterberg

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson


  Susan Unterberg (born 1941) is an American contemporary photographer and philanthropist. Her work often focuses on themes of familial relationships and nature, and it is included in several permanent collections of major museums across the United States. In 2018, she stepped forward as the founder and funder of the Anonymous Was A Woman Award.

In July 2018, Unterberg revealed herself as the founder and sole funder of the Anonymous Was A Woman Award. Between 1996 and 2018, she had secretly contributed $5.5 million to the fund. which was then awarded to 220 underrecognized female artists over the age of 40.

In a recent interview, she stated her reasons for coming forward as being a great time for women to speak up. “I feel I can be a better advocate having my own voice," and that she can now work openly to further the organization's cause and to encourage philanthropists and women artists. On top of the grant award program, Unterberg is considering other forms of programs, possibly seminars, to add balance to the organization.

Susan Unterberg Interview

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson


  Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson (born August 26, 1918) is an African-American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. manned space-flights. During her 35-year career at NASA and its predecessor, she earned a reputation for mastering complex manual calculations and helped the space agency pioneer the use of computers to perform the tasks. Katherine’s life story is highlighted in the movie, “Hidden Figures.”

Johnson graduated from high school at 14 and entered West Virginia State, a historically black college. As a student, she took every math course offered by the college. Multiple professors mentored her, including chemist and mathematician Angie Turner King, who had also mentored Johnson throughout high school, and W. W. Schieffelin Claytor, the third African American to receive a PhD in math. Claytor added new math courses just for Katherine. She graduated summa cum laude in 1937, with degrees in mathematics and French, at age 18. She took on a teaching job at a black public school in Marion, Virginia.

Katherine Johnson Interview black history civil rights movement

Madam Curie

Katherine Johnson

Madam Curie



Marie Skłodowska-Curie Born Maria Salomea Skłodowska (November 7, 1867 – July 4 1934) was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. She was part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris. 

Her achievements included the development of the theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined),[4][5] techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium. Under her direction, the world's first studies into the treatment of neoplasms were conducted using radioactive isotopes. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw, which remain major centers of medical research today. During World War I she developed mobile radiography units to provide X-ray services to field hospitals.

Madam Curie


Black History 7: Women In History IV

Billie Holiday

Angela Davis cont'd

Billie Holiday

Eleanora Fagan (April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959), known as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz singer

  Eleanora Fagan (April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959), known as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz singer with a career spanning nearly thirty years. Nicknamed "Lady Day" Holiday had a huge influence on jazz music and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. She is known for having the most recognizable voice in vocal jazz history.  Her vocal delivery and improvisational skills were her trade mark.

She won four Grammy Awards, all of them posthumously, for Best Historical Album. She was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1973. Lady Sings the Blues, a film about her life was released in 1972. 

In November 1938, Holiday was asked to use the service elevator at the Lincoln Hotel, instead of the passenger elevator, because white patrons of the hotel complained. This was totally unacceptable to Billy and she left the band shortly after. Holiday spoke about the incident weeks later, saying, "I was never allowed to visit the bar-lounge, or the dining room as did other members of the band ... and I was made to leave and enter through the kitchen."

Holiday said her father, Clarence Holiday, was denied medical treatment for a fatal lung disorder also because of racial prejudice, and that singing "Strange Fruit" reminded her of the incident. "It reminds me of how Pop died, but I have to keep singing it, not only because people ask for it, but because twenty years after Pop died the things that killed him are still happening in the South", she wrote in her autobiography. "The version I recorded for Commodore", Holiday said of "Strange Fruit", "became my biggest-selling record.", which was the equivalent of a top-twenty hit in the 1930s.

**Them There Eyes -

Lover Man -

**All of Me -

**Strange Fruit -

Angela Davis

Angela Davis cont'd

Billie Holiday


   Angela Davis, (born January 26, 1944) is an American political activist, academic, and author who emerged as a prominent Black Activist in the 1960s with the Black Panther Party during the Civil Rights Movement. Davis, a professor emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in its History of Consciousness Department, is also a former director of the university's Feminist Studies department. Her research interests are feminism, African-American studies, critical theory, Marxism, popular music, social consciousness, and the philosophy and history of punishment and prisons. She attended the University of Frankfurt for graduate work in philosophy and in 1965, she graduated magna cum laude, a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She co-founded Critical Resistance, an organization working to abolish the prison–industrial complex. In a 2007 television interview, Davis said, "Herbert Marcuse taught me that it was possible to be an academic, an activist, a scholar, and a revolutionary." 

She was in France when she learned of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, committed by members of the Ku Klux Klan, in which four young black girls were killed. She grieved deeply as she was personally acquainted with the victims.

In 1970 on August 18, four days after the warrant was issued, the FBI director J. Edgar Hoover listed Davis on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List; she was the third woman to be so listed. She was accused of aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder in the death of Judge Harold Haley" involving 17-year-old African-American high-school student Jonathan Jackson, whose brother was George Jackson, one of the three Soledad Brothers. In a daring attempt to free his brother, he gained control over a courtroom in Marin County, California; armed the black defendants and took Judge Harold Haley, the prosecutor, and three female jurors as hostages. As Jackson transported the hostages and two black convicts away from the courtroom, the police began shooting at the vehicle. The judge and the three black men were killed in the melee; one of the jurors and the prosecutor were injured. Across the nation, thousands of people began organizing a movement to gain her release.  In New York City, black writers formed a committee called the Black People in Defense of Angela Davis. 

Angela Davis cont'd

Angela Davis cont'd

Angela Davis cont'd


Angela Davis Continued ....  

   By February 1971 more than 200 local committees in the United States, and 67 in foreign countries, worked to free Davis from prison. John Lennon and Yoko Ono contributed to this campaign with the song "Angela". On June 4, 1972, after 13 hours of deliberations, the all-white jury returned a verdict of not guilty. The fact that she owned the guns used in the crime was judged insufficient to establish her role in the plot.  

As early as 1969, Davis began public speaking engagements. She expressed her opposition to the Vietnam War, racism, sexism, and the prison–industrial complex, and her support of gay rights and other social justice movements. In 2001 she publicly spoke against the war on terror following the 9/11 attacks and discussed the broken immigration system. She said that to solve social justice issues, people must "hone their critical skills, develop them and implement them." Later, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she declared that the "horrendous situation in New Orleans" was due to the country's structural racism, capitalism, and imperialism. Davis was an honorary co-chair of the January 21, 2017 Women's March on Washington, which occurred the day after President Trump's inauguration.

Bob Dylan's song "George Jackson" (1971) is a tribute to George Jackson, one of the Soledad Brothers and the older brother of Jonathan Jackson, who was killed during an escape attempt from San Quentin.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono recorded their song "Angela" on their album Some Time in New York City (1972) in support, and a small photo of her appears on the album's cover at the bottom-left.

The jazz musician Todd Cochran, also known as Bayete, recorded his song "Free Angela (Thoughts...and all I've got to say)" that same year.

Tribe Records co-founder Phil Ranelin released a song dedicated to Davis, titled "Angela's Dilemma," on Message From The Tribe (1972), a spiritual jazz collectible.

If you are interested in learning more about Angela Davis, here are a few books written by Ms. Davis that I’m sure you will enjoy.

Women, Race, and Class

An Autobiography

Women, Culture, and Politics

The Prison Industrial Complex 

Angela Davis Speaks! 

Angela Davis cont'd


Black History 8: Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Cont'd

Maya Angelou Cont'd


  Through her literature, public speaking and powerful writing, Maya Angelou inspired both women and men to overcome gender and race discrimination. In 2011, President Obama, awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her works during the Civil Rights Movement. She wrote 36 books, seven autobiographies and received over 50 honorary degrees throughout her career that spanned over 50 years. 

Maya Angelou met novelist John Oliver Killens in 1959 and, at his urging, moved to New York to concentrate on her writing career. She joined the Harlem Writers Guild, where she met several major African-American authors, including John Henrik Clarke, Rosa Guy, Paule Marshall, and Julian Mayfield, and was published for the first time.  As an award-winning author she is known for her acclaimed memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” 1969, which tells of her life up to the age of 17. It was this book that first brought her international recognition and acclaim.

She worked as a nightclub dancer and performer, cast member of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the decolonization of Africa. She was an actress, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs. In 1982, she was named the first Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was active in the Civil Rights Movement and worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Beginning in the 1990s. She made approximately 80 appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. In 1993, Ms. Angelou recited her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" (1993) at the first inauguration of Bill Clinton, making her the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961. black history civil rights activists

Maya Angelou Cont'd

Maya Angelou Cont'd

Maya Angelou Cont'd


 Maya Angelou Cont'd

In Accra, she became close friends with Malcolm X during his visit in the early 1960s. Ms. Angelou returned to the U.S. in 1965 to help him build a new civil rights organization, the Organization of Afro-American Unity; he was assassinated shortly afterward, which left her devastated. 

In 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. asked Ms. Angelou to organize a march. She agreed but postponed and he was assassinated on her 40th birthday (April 4, 1968). Devastated once again, she was encouraged out of her depression by her friend James Baldwin. As Gillespie states, "If 1968 was a year of great pain, loss, and sadness, it was also the year when America first witnessed the depth of Maya Angelou's spirit and creative genius". Despite having almost no experience, she wrote, produced, and narrated Blacks, Blues, Black!

In late 2010, Maya Angelou donated her personal papers and career memorabilia to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.

"Why The Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou

The Story of Maya Angelou

I Know Why Caged Bird Sing

Maya Angelou recites: Phenomenal Woman

Maya Angelou Cont'd



 Coming Soon 

Black History Celebrated 3

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin



"Aretha helped define the American experience," former President Barack Obama said in a statement "In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard won respect. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace." 

 She was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1942, but was raised mostly in Detroit, where her father, C.L. Franklin, was a prominent minister and a nationally known gospel singer. Franklin sang in the choir of her father's church and, though she declined her dad's offer of piano lessons and taught herself instead, began recording gospel music at age 14. 

 The first woman admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she had 88 Billboard chart hits during the rock era, tops among female vocalists. At the peak of her career from 1967 to 1975 she had more than 24 Top 40 hits. 

 She won 18 Grammy awards, including the honor for best female R&B performance for eight straight years. black history civil rights movement

Leontyne Price

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin



Mary Violet Leontyne Price (born February 10, 1927) is an American Soprano. Born and raised in Laurel, Mississippi she rose to international 

acclaim in the 1950s and 1960s, and was the first African American to become a Prima Donna at the Metropolitan Opera

After her retirement from the opera stage in 1985, she continued to appear in recitals and orchestral concerts until 1997.

Leontyne Price talks about opening the Metropolitan Opera House

Alex Haley

Aretha Franklin

Alice Walker



Alexander Murray Palmer Haley August 11, 1921 – February 10, 1992 was an American writer and the author of the 1965 book “The Autobiography of Malcom X” and 1976 book “Roots: The Saga of an American Family.” ABC adapted the book as a television miniseries of the same name and aired it in 1977 to a record-breaking audience of 130 million viewers. In the United States, the book and miniseries raised the public awareness of African American history and inspired a broad interest in genealogy and family.

Alex Haley talks about "Roots: The Saga of an American Family" black history

Alice Walker

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

Alice Walker



Alice Walker (born February 9, 1944) is an American novelist, short story writer, poet, and activist. She wrote the novel The Color Purple (1982), for which she won the National Book Award for hardcover fiction, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. She also wrote the novels Meridian (1976) and The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970), among other works. An avowed feminist, Walker coined the term "womanist" to mean "A black feminist or feminist of color" in 1983

Alice Walker Interview

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti



Chief Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, (October 25, 1900 –  April 13, 1978), was also known as Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti. She was a teacher, political campaigner, women's rights activist and traditional aristocrat in Nigeria. She served with distinction as one of the most prominent leaders of her generation. She was also the first woman in the country to drive a car. Ransome-Kuti's political activism led to her being described as the doyen of female rights in Nigeria and regarded as "The Mother of Africa." Early on, she was a very powerful force advocating for the Nigerian woman's right to vote. She was described in 1947, by the West African Pilot, as the "Lioness of Lisabi" for her leadership of the Egba women on a campaign against their arbitrary taxation. That struggle led to the abdication of the high king Oba Ademola II in 1949. black history

Annie Jiagge

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti



Annie Ruth Jiagge (October 7, 1918 – June 12, 1996), also known as Annie Baëta Jiagge, was a Ghanaian lawyer, judge and women's rights activist. The first Ghanaian woman to become a lawyer, she was also the first woman in Ghana and the Commonwealth of Nations to become a judge. She was a principal drafter of the Declaration on the "Elimination of Discrimination Against Women" and a co-founder of the organisation that became Women's World Banking. black history civil rights activists

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