28 DAYS Of FEBRUARY
By Victor Allen
Celebration of America’s Diversity
FEBRUARY 28th 1977
EDDIE “ROCHESTER” ANDERSON (Dies)
First Black American to have a regular role on a nationwide radio program
Edmund Lincoln Anderson (September 18, 1905 – February 28, 1977) was an American comedian and actor. To a generation of early radio and television comedy he was known as “Rochester.” During World War II, Anderson was the owner of the Pacific Parachute Company, an African-American owned and operated business that made parachutes for the Army and Navy. He also managed a boxer, Billy Metcalfe, in the 1940s.
Anderson had an astute business sense; in 1948, he saw the value and potential of Las Vegas as an entertainment center. With the idea of building and operating a hotel and casino there where African-Americans would be welcome, he asked for investors to join him in the venture. Anderson failed to attract enough people willing to invest, and he was unable to complete the plan. When the Moulin Rouge Hotel, an integrated hotel and casino, opened in 1955, Anderson was brought in for its opening.
FEBRUARY 28, 2019
Icon of the Month
Top Digital Songs Artist and Top Hot 100 Artist of this Century
Rihanna is Spotify and Apple Music‘s most streamed female artist of all time.
Robyn Rihanna Fenty, born 20 February 1988 is a Barbadian singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. Born in Saint Michael, Barbados, and raised in Bridgetown, she was discovered by American record producer Evan Rogers in her home country in 2003.
Rihanna received the Fashion Icon lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2014. In 2012, Forbes ranked her the fourth most powerful celebrity, while Time included her on the annual list of the most influential people in the world in 2012 and 2018. She was appointed as an Ambassador on behalf of the government of Barbados in 2018, with her duties involving the promotion of education, tourism and investment.
FEBRUARY 27th 1971
ROZONDA “CHILLI” THOMAS (Born)
TLC -American Girl Group
Worldwide Best-selling American girl group behind Spice Girls
Rozonda Ocielian Thomas (born February 27, 1971) known professionally as Chilli is an American dancer, singer-songwriter, actress, and television personality who rose to fame in the early 1990’s as a member of group TLC, one of the best-selling girl groups of the 20th century. Her father, Abdul Ali, is of Araband Indian descent, and her mother, Ava Thomas, is of African American and Native American descent. Thomas, who had been raised by her mother, later allowed the Sally Jessy Raphael television talk show to air footage of her meeting her father for the first time in 1996.
Her father, Abdul Ali, is of Araband Indian descent, and her mother, Ava Thomas, is of African American and Native American descent. Thomas, who had been raised by her mother, later allowed the Sally Jessy Raphael television talk show to air footage of her meeting her father for the first time in 1996. Thomas and the rest of the members of TLC were big proponents of encouraging safe sex. For the music video of the song, “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg” Thomas and other band members wore condoms on their clothing. In 2003, Thomas and Watkins teamed up with Agouron Pharmaceuticals to create a national education program about HIV/AIDS. The program supplied people with information about HIV/AIDS, including prevention and treatment.
FEBRUARY 27th 1973
SIEGE AT WOUNDED KNEE SOUTH DAKOTA
Oglala and AIM activists controlled the town for 71 days
The Wounded Knee incident began on February 27, 1973, when approximately 200 Oglala Lakota and followers of the American Indian Movement (AIM) seized and occupied the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The protest followed the failure of an effort of the Oglala Sioux Civil Rights Organization (OSCRO) to impeach tribal president Richard Wilson, whom they accused of corruption and abuse of opponents. Additionally, protesters criticized the United States government’s failure to fulfill treaties with Native American people and demanded the reopening of treaty negotiations.
Oglala and AIM activists controlled the town for 71 days while the United States Marshals Service, FBI agents, and other law enforcement agencies cordoned off the area. The activists chose the site of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre for its symbolic value. Only the military was armed and shooting was frequent. The occupation attracted wide media coverage, especially after the press accompanied the two U.S. senators from South Dakota to Wounded Knee. The events electrified Native Americans, who were inspired by the sight of their people standing in defiance of the government occupying their land. Many Native American supporters traveled to Wounded Knee to join the protest. At the time there was widespread public sympathy for the goals of the occupation, as Americans were becoming more aware of longstanding issues of injustice related to Natives.
FEBRUARY 26th 2019 (SPECIAL RECOGNITION)
VICTOR H. GREEN, Creator
The Green Book was created by Victor H. Green, a postal service worker from Harlem, N.Y., who began publishing the guide in 1936 to help African Americans avoid, as he put it, “embarrassing moments” after motorists started exploring long-distance roadways, including Route 66, the nation’s first transcontinental highway.
Victor Hugo Green (November 9, 1892 – October 16, 1960) was an African American postal employee and travel writer from Harlem, New York City, best known for developing and writing what became known as The Green Book, a travel guide for African Americans in the United States. During the time the book was published, choices of lodging, restaurants and even gas stations were limited for black people in many places, both in the South and outside it. It was first published as The Negro Motorist Green Book and later as The Negro Travelers’ Green Book. The books were published from 1936 to 1966.
The books helped black travelers navigate cities where many merchants refused to serve them.
“There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment.”
FEBRUARY 26th 2019 (SPECIAL RECOGNITION)
TARANA BURKE, FOUNDER ME TOO MOVEMENT
ALYSSA MILANO, ME TOO HASHTAG MOVEMENT
Awareness of the Pervasiveness of Sexual Abuse
Tarana Burke (born September 12, 1973) is a civil rights activist from The Bronx, New York who founded the Me Too movement. In 2006, Burke began using the phrase “Me Too” to raise awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and assault in society, and the phrase developed into a broader movement, following the 2017 use of #MeToo as a hashtag following the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. Time named Burke, among a group of other prominent activists dubbed “the silence breakers”, as the Time Person of the Year for 2017. Burke attends public speaking events across the country and is currently Senior Director at Girls for Gender Equity in Brooklyn.
On October 15, 2017, Milano posted the message which re-launched what is known as the #MeToo movement, which was started in 2006 by Tarana Burke. According to Milano, a friend suggested that she post a message on her Twitter account encouraging survivors of sexual harassment and assault to post #metoo as a status update. This was to gauge the widespread problem of sexual misconduct. She was inspired to bring awareness to the commonality of sex crimes among women in the wake of Harvey Weinstein‘s expulsion from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for alleged sex crimes against women in the film industry. Milano emphasized that the basis of her hashtag was to create a platform where women had an “opportunity without having to go into detail about their stories if they did not want to”
FEBRUARY 25th 2008
STEPHEN ELLIS GARRETT aka STATIC MAJOR DIES
Grammy Award-winning American recording artist and record producer
Static wrote most of the lyrics on Aaliyah’s self-titled 2001 album
Static Major, was a Grammy Award-winning American recording artist and record producer from Louisville, Kentucky, USA. He was a member of the R&B trio Playa. Static Major gained posthumous fame for writing and appearing on Lil Wayne‘s 2008 album Tha Carter III on the song “Lollipop“. He was a songwriter for several artists, including Aaliyah, Ginuwine, Pretty Ricky, and Destiny’s Child.
Static wrote most of the lyrics on Aaliyah’s self-titled 2001 album. A YouTube video featuring Static Major alongside Smoke E. Digglera of Playa was also heavily sampled on Drake‘s song “Look What You’ve Done” from his 2011 album Take Care.
STATIC MAJOR & AALIYAH
His songwriting collaborations with Aaliyah include: “Are You That Somebody?“, which was featured in the Dr. Dolittle soundtrack, and the Romeo Must Die soundtrack singles “Come Back in One Piece” and her first and only number-one Billboard Hot 100 single “Try Again“. The songs “More than a Woman,” “We Need a Resolution,” “Rock the Boat“, “Loose Rap” (which he was also featured on), “Extra Smooth”, “I Refuse“, “Read Between the Lines”, “Those Were The Days,” and “Never No More” were all featured on her third and final studio album Aaliyah. He earned Aaliyah four top 25 Billboard Hot 100 singles during his time working with the late R&B star.Garrett died suddenly at Baptist Hospital East in Louisville, Kentucky on February 25, 2008. After a number of tests over a 12 hour period, he was diagnosed with a rare condition called myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disorder with hallmark symptoms of muscle weakness and fatigue.
FEBRUARY 25th 1950
First Africa American To Win Pulitzer Prize
Gwendolyn Brooks is recognized as “one of the most highly regarded, highly influential” poets of the 20th-century. She was both the first Black author to win the Pulitzer Prize and the first Black woman to hold the position as poetry consultant for the Library of Congress. She won her award while living in a housing project. Gwendolyn Brooks’ apartment was dark on May 1, 1950. The brilliant, award-winning Black poet, who wrote about life on Chicago’s South Side, had not paid her electric bill.With no electrical power, little money and a nine-year old son to feed Brooks made headlines around the world while living in a housing project.
A reporter called Brooks and told her that she had won a Pulitzer award, one of the most prestigious prizes in literature. At 32 years-old, Brooks crashed the White-dominated literary world as the first Black woman to win the award. Throughout her prolific writing career, Brooks received many more honors. She was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968, a position she held until her death, and what is now the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress for the 1985–86 term. In 1976, she became the first African-American woman inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
FEBRUARY 24th 1999
Wins Five Grammys
First Woman to be Nominated in Ten Categories in a Single Year
Lauryn Hill won five Grammys, a record for a female artist, with the first hip-hop recording to be named album of the year, ”The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” at the 41st Annual Grammy Awards ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 422,624 copies in its first week, which broke a record for first-week sales by a female artist. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was promoted with three hit singles: “Doo Wop (That Thing)“, “Ex-Factor“, and “Everything Is Everything“. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill earned 10 nominations, winning five awards, making Hill the first woman to receive that many nominations and awards in one night.
Since its original release, the record has been ranked in numerous best-album lists, with a number of critics regarding it as one of the greatest albums of the 1990s, as well as one of the greatest albums of all time. In 2013, the album reached sales of 8 million copies in the US and over 19 million copies worldwide. Two years later, it was included by the Library of Congress in the National Recording Registry. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998) remains Hill’s only solo studio album. It received critical acclaim, showcasing a representation of life and relationships and locating a contemporary voice within the neo soul genre.
FEBRUARY 24th 1942
BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES
No Official Documented African American Response?
Army Says It Was Real
Between the late evening of February 24th, 1942 and the early morning hours of February 25th, the City of Angels flew into a panic as what were initially believed to be Japanese enemy aircraft were spotted over the city. This suspected Japanese raid — coming soon after the Pearl Harbor bombing, and just one day after a confirmed Japanese submarine attack off the Santa Barbara coast — touched off a massive barrage of anti-aircraft fire, with some 1400 shells shot into the skies over Los Angeles during the frantic evening. Initially, the target of the aerial barrage was thought to be an attacking force from Japan, but speaking at a press conference shortly afterward, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox called the incident a “false alarm”. Newspapers of the time published a number of reports and speculations of a cover-up.
On February 24, 1942, naval intelligence issued a warning that an attack could be expected within the next ten hours. That evening, a large number of flares and blinking lights were reported from the vicinity of defense plants. An alert was called at 7:18 pm, and was lifted at 10:23 pm. Renewed activity began early in the morning of the 25th. Air raid sirens sounded at 2:25 am throughout Los Angeles County. A total blackout was ordered and thousands of Air Raid Wardens were summoned to their positions. At 3:16 am the 37th Coast Artillery Brigade began firing .50 caliber machine guns and 12.8-pound anti-aircraft shells into the air at reported aircraft; over 1,400 shells would eventually be fired. Pilots of the 4th Interceptor Command were alerted but their aircraft remained grounded. The artillery fire continued sporadically until 4:14 am. The “all clear” was sounded and the blackout order lifted at 7:21 am.
FEBRUARY 23rd 1972
Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park in Tulare County, California
Founded, financed, and governed by African Americans
February 23, 1972 The Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park in Tulare County, California was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The park preserves the town of Allensworth, the only California town founded, financed, and governed by African Americans. The park is approximately 3,700 acres and features nine restored buildings, including a schoolhouse, hotel, general store, and several homes. The founder of the town, Allen Allensworth, was born enslaved April 7, 1842 in Louisville, Kentucky. Allensworth escaped slavery by joining the Union Army during the Civil War. He was ordained a Baptist minister in 1871 and led several churches in Kentucky. He was the only Black delegate from Kentucky to the Republican National Convention in 1880 and 1884. Allensworth was appointed military chaplain to a unit of Buffalo Soldiers in 1886 and had reached the rank of lieutenant colonel by the time that he retired in 1906, the first African American to reach that rank.
Allensworth moved to Los Angeles, California after leaving military service. He founded the town of Allensworth in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley as an all-Black community June 30, 1908. The town was reported to be 900 acres of deeded land worth more than $112,500 by 1914. Colonel Allensworth (1842–1914) had a friendship with Booker T. Washington and was inspired by the Tuskegee Institute and development in its neighboring town. Allensworth hoped to develop the “Tuskegee of the West”. In 1968 Cornelius “Ed” Pope, a former resident of Allensworth, worked in Sacramento as a draftsman and planner for the California Department of Parks and Recreation. With the help of a professor at California State University, Sacramento, he wrote a proposal to restore the Allensworth settlement as a state historical site. In 1972 “Allensworth Historic District” was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Finally, in 1974 then-Governor Ronald Reagan authorized the department to establish the park. Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park was established on 240 acres (97 ha) in 1976.
FEBRUARY 23rd 2019 (SPECIAL HONORING)
Second Black Athlete to win a world championship in any sport
First African American World Champion Cyclist 1899 world track championships
Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor (November 26, 1878 – June 21, 1932) was an American professional cyclist. Born and raised in Indianapolis, where he worked in in bicycle shops and began racing multiple distances in the track and road disciplines of cycling. As a teenager, he moved to Worcester, Massachusetts with his trainer and had successful amateur career, which included breaking track records. He was an also a national sprint champion in 1899 and 1900. He raced in the U.S., Europe and Australasia between 1901 to 1904, beating the world’s best riders. After a two-and-a-half year hiatus, he made a brief return in 1907, before retiring aged 32 to his home in Worcester in 1910.
While some of Taylor’s fellow racers refused to compete with him, others resorted to intimidation, verbal insults, and threats to physically harm him. While racing in Savannah, Georgia in the Winter of 1898, he received a written threat saying “Clear out if you value your life”; the previous day Taylor had challenged three riders together to a race after one of them had said they “didn’t pace niggers.” Throughout his career he challenged the racial prejudice he encountered on and off the track and became a pioneering role model for other athletes facing racial discrimination. Several cycling clubs, trails, and events in the U.S. have been named in his honor, as well as the Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis and Major Taylor Boulevard in Worcester. Other tributes include memorials and historic markers in Worcester, Indianapolis, and at his gravesite in Chicago. He has also been memorialized in film, music and fashion.
FEBRUARY 22nd 1898
POST MASTER LYNCHING
of Frazier B. Baker
Frazier B. Baker was an African-American teacher who was appointed as postmaster of Lake City, South Carolina in 1897 under the William McKinley administration. He and his infant daughter Julia Baker died at his house after being fatally shot during a white mob attack on February 22, 1898. The mob set the house on fire to force the family out. His wife and two of his other five children were wounded, but escaped the burning house and mob, and survived. Frazier Baker had been appointed postmaster of Lake City in 1897, but local whites objected and had undertaken a campaign to force his removal. When these efforts failed to dislodge Baker, a mob attacked him and his family at night at their house, which also served as the post office.
On February 22, 1898 the Baker family awoke to find their house (which also served as the post office) on fire. Frazier Baker attempted to put out the fire without success, and sent his son, Lincoln, to find help. As soon as Lincoln opened the door, he was met with gunfire, and Baker pulled him back into the house. A bullet struck and killed his two-year-old daughter, Julia, who was held by Lavinia. Realizing that his youngest daughter had been killed, Baker threw open the door and was cut down in a hail of gunfire. Lavinia, wounded by the same bullet that had killed her daughter, rallied her family to escape the burning house, and they ran across the road to hide under shrubbery in an adjacent field. After waiting for the flames and gunfire to subside, Lavinia made her way to a neighbor’s home, where she found one daughter waiting. They were later joined by the oldest, Rosa. Rosa had been shot through the right arm and fled the house as an unidentified armed white male pursued her.
|Frazier Baker||42||M||Killed by gunfire|
|Lavinia Baker||37||F||Gunshot to arm|
|Rosa Baker||18||F||Arm broken by gunshot|
|Cora Baker||14||F||Shot in right hand|
|Lincoln Baker||11||M||Shot in abdomen/Broken arm|
|Julia Baker||1||F||Killed by gunfire|
FEBRUARY 22, 2017
First Rapper in the Writers Hall of Fame
With his induction, Jay Z becomes the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall. His standout tracks include the Alicia Keys duet “Empire State of Mind,” “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” and “03 Bonnie & Clyde” with Beyoncé, among many others.
The 21-time Grammy winner “was in a space where, even though he’s had more pop albums than anyone else, because he did it through rap,” it took longer for traditional voters to consider him, said Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers. “It’s massive. He has changed the way that we listen to music. He’s changed the way that we have fun.”
Jay-Z is one of the world’s best-selling music artists. He has received 22 Grammy Awards, surpassing Kanye West for the most by a rapper. He also holds the record for the most number-one albums by a solo artist on the Billboard 200, and has recorded four number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100. The same publication ranked him as the biggest artist of the 2000s, while Rolling Stone named him one of the 100 greatest artists of all time.
FEBRUARY 21st 1970
JACKSON 5 DEBUTS ON AMERICAN BANDSTAND
“ABC” is a 1970 #1 hit by The Jackson 5
It was released on February 24. “ABC” knocked The Beatles‘ “Let It Be” off the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970, and was #1 on the soul singles chart for four weeks. ABC was performed on television on American Bandstand (February 21, 1970). “ABC” is considered one of the band’s signature songs. It is one of the shortest titles to hit #1, and is the first alphabetically in a list of #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. The upbeat lyrics compare learning to love to learning the alphabet. The song is considered by some to be one of the first disco songs.
50 Cent told NME that the song was the first he remembered hearing: “I’ve always loved MJ, so I guess it was probably a good place to start music: right here, with the ABCs.” On 27 November 2016, the Grammy Hall of Fame announced its induction, along with that of another 24 songs.
FEBRUARY 21st 2019
Native American – African American History – Intersects
QUANAH PARKER, COMANCHE WAR LEADER
He was born into the Nokoni (“Wanderers”) band, the son of Comanche chief Peta Nocona and Cynthia Ann Parker, an Anglo-American, who had been kidnapped as a child and assimilated into the tribe. Quanah Parker was never elected chief by his people but was appointed by the federal government as principal chief of the entire Comanche Nation, and became a primary emissary of southwest indigenous Americans to the United States legislature.
Native people and blacks were often allies. After emancipation, more blacks were free to join Native Americans. In March 1868, a Comanche party of 38 attacked settlements in north-central Texas. The party of “Indians” included two Mexicans and two blacks, one of whom was described as a “big negro” who led the attack. Apparently the “big negro” was a Comanche sub chief. In May 1869, ten cowboys were attacked by 30 to 40 Comanche “commanded by a large colored man, who gave his orders from his seat on a large rock out of gun range.” The attack ended when the Comanche “blew a bugle and went away.” Although stories of white women captives, such as Cynthia Ann Parker (the mother of Quanah Parker), who became incorporated into the Comanche nation are well enshrined in the folklore of the Texas frontier, black women captives also became wives of Comanche warriors. In 1852, an unnamed black woman was found at a Comanche camp.
FEBRUARY 20TH 1927
SIDNEY POITIER (BORN)
First African American to win an Academy Award in a lead role
In 1964, Poitier became the first Bahamian and first black actor to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his role in Lilies of the Field. The significance of these achievements was bolstered in 1967, when he starred in three successful films, all of which dealt with issues involving race and race relations: To Sir, with Love; In the Heat of the Night; and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, making him the top box-office star of that year. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Poitier among the Greatest Male Stars of classic Hollywood cinema, ranking 22nd on the list of 25.
Poitier was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974. From 1997 to 2007, he served as the Bahamian Ambassador to Japan. On August 12, 2009, Poitier was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States‘ highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama. In 2016, he was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship for outstanding lifetime achievement in film.
Honors and awards
- 1958: British Academy Film Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for The Defiant Ones
- 1958: Silver Bear for Best Actor (Berlin Film Festival) for The Defiant Ones
- 1963: Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama for Lilies of the Field
- 1963: Silver Bear for Best Actor (Berlin Film Festival) for Lilies of the Field
- 1964: Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Lilies of the Field
- 1974: Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE)
- 1982: Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award
- 1992: AFI Life Achievement Award
- 1995: Kennedy Center Honors
- 1997: Appointed non-resident Bahamian Ambassador to Japan
- 1999: SAG Life Achievement Award
- 2000: NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special for The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn
- 2001: NAACP Image Award – Hall of Fame Award
- 2001 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album – Rick Harris, John Runnette (producers) and Sidney Poitier for The Measure of a Man
- 2002: Honorary Oscar – “For his extraordinary performances and unique presence on the screen and for representing the industry with dignity, style and intelligence”
- 2009: Presidential Medal of Freedom
- 2011: Film Society of Lincoln Center Gala Tribute honoring his life and careers
- 2016: BAFTA Fellowship
FEBRUARY 19TH 2019 (SPECIAL HONORING)
Inventor of the Sanitary Belt
Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner (May 17, 1912 – January 13, 2006) was an African-American inventor most noted for her development of the sanitary belt.
Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner was an African American inventor most noted for her development of the sanitary belt. Now known as the maxi pad, Kenner’s invention changed feminine care forever. During an era when talk of periods was taboo, Kenner was able to patent her invention, but not until almost thirty years later. She later stated, “My inventions were never about money. I just want to help make life easier for people.”
Her device inspired modern-day menstrual pads, but thanks to racial prejudices, it languished without a patent for 30 years. The company she originally pitched it to scoffed at selling it once it was revealed that Kenner was an African American woman. Today, versions of her invention are sold across the planet to hundreds of millions of women regardless of their race or Kenner’s. All told, she was issued five patents for household and personal use items, including a bathroom tissue holder that kept the next tissue in the roll outside the box and readily available, a carrier attachment for an invalid walker, and a back washer mounted on a shower wall and bathtub.
FEBRUARY 19TH 2019 (SPECIAL HONORING)
First Black Supermodel
Donyale Luna (August 31, 1945 – May 17, 1979) was an American model and actress. Generally cited as “the first black supermodel”, Luna was the first African American model to appear on the cover of the British edition of Vogue, in May 1966. She also appeared in several underground films by Andy Warhol, and had roles in Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo? (1966), and most notably as Enotea in the 1969 Federico Fellini film Fellini Satyricon as well as Otto Preminger’s Skidoo, alongside Groucho Marx.
She was born Peggy Ann Freeman in Detroit, Michigan, to Nathaniel A. and Peggy Freeman (née Hertzog). She was the youngest of three daughters. In January 1965, her mother fatally shot her father in self-defense as he was reportedly abusive. Despite the parentage stated on her birth certificate, she insisted that her biological father was a man with the surname Luna and that her mother was Indigenous Mexican and of Afro–Egyptian lineage. According to Luna, one of her grandmothers was reportedly a former Irish actress who married a black interior decorator.
After being discovered by the photographer David McCabe, she moved from Detroit to New York City to pursue a modeling career. In January 1965, a sketch of Luna appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. She became the first black model to appear on the cover of a Vogue magazine, the March 1966 British issue. During the early morning hours of May 17, 1979, Donyale Luna died of an accidental heroin overdose in a Rome clinic. She was 33 years old. Luna was survived by her husband, Luigi Cazzaniga, and her 18-month-old daughter, Dream.
FEBRUARY 19, 2010
TIGER WOODS APOLOGIZES
FOR EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIRS
On February 19, 2010, Woods gave a televised statement in which he said he had undertaken a 45-day therapy program beginning at the end of December. He again apologized for his actions. “I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to,” he said. “I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn’t have to go far to find them. I was wrong. I was foolish.” He said he did not know yet when he would be returning to golf. In the days and months following Woods’s admission of multiple infidelities, several companies re-evaluated their relationships with him. Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade and General Motors completely ended their sponsorship deals, while Gillette suspended advertising featuring Woods.
In the days and months following Woods’s admission of multiple infidelities, several companies re-evaluated their relationships with him. Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade and General Motors completely ended their sponsorship deals, while Gillette suspended advertising featuring Woods. TAG Heuer dropped Woods from advertising in December 2009 and officially ended their deal when his contract expired in August 2011. Golf Digest suspended Woods’s monthly column beginning with the February 2010 issue. A December 2009 study estimated the shareholder loss caused by Woods’s affairs to be between $5 billion and $12 billion. After seven years of marriage, Woods and his wife Elin divorced on August 23, 2010.
FEBRUARY 18TH 2019 (SPECIAL HONORING)
First woman of African-American descent to receive the Miss America title
Vanessa Lynn Williams is an American singer, actress, and fashion designer. She initially gained recognition as the first woman of African-American descent to receive the Miss America title when she was crowned Miss America 1984 in 1983. However, a scandal arose the following year when, a few weeks prior to the end of her reign, Williams learned that Penthouse magazine would be publishing unauthorized nude photographs of her in an upcoming issue. Williams was pressured to relinquish her title, and was succeeded by the first runner-up, Miss New Jersey 1983, Suzette Charles. Thirty-two years later, in September 2015, when Williams served as head judge for the Miss America 2016 pageant, former Miss America CEO Sam Haskell made a public apology to her for the events of 1984.
Williams rebounded from the scandal with a successful career as a singer and actress. In 1988, she released her debut studio album The Right Stuff whose title single saw moderate success before “Dreamin’” peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. Her second and third studio albums, The Comfort Zone (1991) and The Sweetest Days (1994), saw continued commercial success and for which she received multiple Grammy Award nominations, including for her number-one hit and signature song, “Save the Best for Last“. Williams has also appeared in a number of feature films. She received a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for her portrayal of Teri Joseph for the 1997 feature film Soul Food. In 2007, she starred in the independent film My Brother, for which she won Best Actress honors at the Harlem International Film Festival, the African-American Women in Cinema Film Festival, and at the Santa Barbara African Heritage Film Festival.
FEBRUARY 18TH 1992
First African American director nominated for Academy Award
“Boyz N The Hood”
John Singleton attended the Film Writing Program at USC after graduating from high school in 1986. While studying there, he won three writing awards from the university, which led to a contract with Creative Artists Agency during his sophomore year. Columbia Pictures bought his script for Boyz n the Hood (1991). Columbia wanted to make the picture, but at first wanted someone else to direct this. Singleton believed only he could do this, and did. Boyz n the Hood is a 1991 American teen hood drama film written and directed by John Singleton in his directorial debut, and starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, Nia Long, Regina King and Angela Bassett. This film was the acting debut for both Ice Cube and Morris Chestnut.
Boyz n the Hood was filmed in (the-then district of) South Central Los Angeles, California, from October 1 to November 28, 1990, and was released cinematically in the United States on July 12, 1991. It was nominated for both Best Director and Best Original Screenplay during the 64th Academy Awards, making Singleton the youngest person ever nominated for Best Director and the first African-American to be nominated for the award. The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival. In 2002, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.
FEBRUARY 17TH 2019 (SPECIAL HONORING)
First female Muslim-American Olympic Medalist
(Olympic Fencing Bronze Medalist)
Ibtihaj Muhamma is an American sabre fencer, and a member of the United States fencing team. She is best known for being the first Muslim American woman to wear a hijab while competing for the United States in the Olympics. In individual sabre at the 2016 Summer Olympics, she won her first qualifying round bout, and was defeated in the second round by Cécilia Berder of France. She earned the bronze medal as part of Team USA in the Team Sabre, becoming the first female Muslim-American athlete to earn a medal at the Olympics. American-born and raised Sarah Attar had run in the 2012 Olympics with her hair covered, in keeping with a request that she do so to respect Islamic law by Saudi Arabia, for whom she ran on the basis of her father having been born in Saudi Arabia.
The 2016 Summer Olympics occurred during the U.S. Presidential campaign in which questions of Muslim assimilation were being discussed, including with respect to U.S.-born Muslims. Ibtihaj as visibly Muslim (due to her hijab) became “one of the best symbols against intolerance America can ever have”, according to The Guardian. However, Ibtihaj drew some criticism during the Olympics by describing the United States as a dangerous place for Muslims, saying that she did “not feel safe” as a Muslim living in America. In 2007, Ibtihaj graduated from Duke University with dual bachelor’s degrees in international relations and African and African-American studies.
FEBRUARY 17TH 1963
MICHAEL JORDAN (Born)
“The Greatest Basketball Player of All Time”
Jordan’s individual accolades and accomplishments include six NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards, ten scoring titles (both all-time records), five MVP Awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections, three All-Star Game MVP Awards, three steals titles, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. He holds the NBA records for highest career regular season scoring average (30.12 points per game) and highest career playoff scoring average (33.45 points per game).
Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was considered instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. He is currently the principal owner and chairman of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.
In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, and was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press‘ list of athletes of the century
Jordan is also known for his product endorsements. He fueled the success of Nike’s Air Jordan sneakers, which were introduced in 1984 and remain popular today. Jordan also starred as himself in the 1996 film Space Jam. In 2006, he became part-owner and head of basketball operations for the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets), and bought a controlling interest in 2010. In 2014, Jordan became the first billionaire player in NBA history. He is the third-richest African-American, behind Robert F. Smith and Oprah Winfrey.
In June 2014, Jordan was named the first NBA player to become a billionaire, after he increased his stake in the Charlotte Hornets from 80% to 89.5%. On January 20, 2015, Jordan was honored with the Charlotte Business Journal’s Business Person of the Year for 2014. In 2017, he became a part owner of the Miami Marlins of Major League Baseball.
FEBRUARY 16th 2018
BLACK PANTHER FILM RELEASED
9TH HIGHEST GROSSING FILM GLOBALLY OF ALL TIME
Black Panther was ultimately nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Original Score, Best Original Song (for “All the Stars”), Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. The film was the first superhero film ever to be nominated for Best Picture, while Beachler’s nomination for Best Production Design was the first for an African-American. Many critics considered it to be one of the best films set in the MCU and noted its cultural significance, with organizations including the National Board of Review and American Film Institute naming it one of the Top 10 Films of 2018. It became the 9th-highest-grossing film of all time with over $1.35 billion worldwide.
Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Ryan Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, and stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther, alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. In Black Panther, T’Challa is crowned king of Wakanda following his father’s death, but his sovereignty is challenged by an adversary who plans to abandon the country’s isolationist policies and begin a global revolution.
FEBRUARY 16th 1992
MAGIC JOHNSON JERSEY RETIRED
One of the 50 Greatest Players of All Time
On this day, February 16th, 1992, Magic Johnson’s iconic #32 jersey number was retired by the Los Angeles Lakers – which was extremely odd since this event was followed by two different comebacks to the NBA. Unlike Michael Jordan, Magic was allowed to wear his previously-retired jersey during his comeback stints. Other than Magic Johnson, the short list of athletes that have worn the #32 includes: Magic Johnson, Marcus Allen, Jim Brown, Steve Carlton, Julius Erving, Sandy Koufax, Karl Malone, Shaquille O’Neal and O.J. Simpson.
Johnson’s career achievements include three NBA MVP Awards, nine NBA Finals appearances, twelve All-Star games, and ten All-NBA First and Second Team nominations. He led the league in regular-season assists four times, and is the NBA’s all-time leader in average assists per game, at 11.2. Johnson was a member of the 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team (“The Dream Team”), which won the Olympic gold medal in 1992. After leaving the NBA in 1992, Johnson formed the Magic Johnson All-Stars, a barnstorming team that travelled around the world playing exhibition games. Johnson was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.
FEBRUARY 15th 2019 (Special Honoring)
First African American woman promoted to principal dancer in
American Ballet Theater’s 75-year history.
Misty Danielle Copeland is an American ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre (ABT), one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the United States.
On June 30, 2015, Copeland became the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in ABT’s 75-year history. In addition to her dance career, Copeland has become a public speaker, celebrity spokesperson and stage performer. In 2008, Misty was honored with the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts, a two-year fellowship awarded to young artists who exhibit extraordinary talent providing them additional resources in order to attain their full potential.
In December 2014, Misty performed the lead role of “Clara” in American Ballet Theatre’s production of The Nutcracker, also choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky. In the fall of 2014, she made history as the first black woman to perform the lead role of “Odette/Odile” in American Ballet Theatre’s Swan Lake during the company’s inaugural tour to Australia. Misty reprised the role during ABT’s Metropolitan Opera House spring season in June 2015, as well as debuted as “Juliet” in Romeo & Juliet.
FEBRUARY 15th 2019
COLIN KAEPERNICK – ERIC REID
NFL COLLUSION CASE SETTLED!
FINANCIAL SETTLEMENT – SAYS IT ALL
The NFL and lawyers for Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid released a joint statement on Friday, February 15th, 2019 announcing the resolution of the players’ grievances against the league.
Kaepernick first filed the grievance in October 2017, saying that NFL teams were in violation of the anti-collusion clause of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). In the grievance, Kaepernick’s attorney claimed he had gone unsigned because the NFL and its owners “colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick’s leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States.”
While Reid has found employment, the same can’t be said for Kaepernick. The 31-year-old quarterback continues to be overlooked by teams in need of a starter or backup despite Kaepernick’s experience. During his six-year career, he was 4-2 as a starter in the postseason and took the 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII. It’s also likely that the NFL viewed a settlement as an important milestone in moving past a controversy that drew the ire of President Donald Trump, among others. But the facts are eye-opening. Kaepernick began taking a knee during the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and system racism.
FEBRUARY 14th 1957
VAL JAMES (Born)
First African American to play in the National Hockey League
“I couldn’t watch Hockey for about 10 years,” he says. “And when I did come back to watching hockey
I could only take 15 minutes of it, and then I’d have to turn it off.”
Valmore Curtis James (born February 14, 1957) is a retired American professional ice hockey left winger, as well as defenseman, who played 2 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs. He signed with the Buffalo Sabres on July 22, 1981. Val James made his NHL debut for the Sabres during the 1981–82 NHL season, playing seven games. Val James decided to write a book about his time playing Ice Hockey and brought in John Gallagher to co-write Black Ice : The Val James Story. It took decades of soul searching to talk about it, James says.
Gallagher says James’ story can inspire another generation. “When he was the only black man — not only on the ice, but in the entire arena — the strength and the courage that he had, it’s remarkable,” he says. “I think that’s the lasting legacy of his story.” James quietly reflected on his life as a Pro hockey player and the abuse he suffered during this time from racial slurs and insults “I couldn’t watch Hockey for about 10 years,” he says. “And when I did come back to watching hockey I could only take 15 minutes of it, and then I’d have to turn it off. Because all the things would start again.”
“I don’t have any animosity towards the things that have happened, I just know that they happened,” he says. “And perhaps, through the book and the message that’s coming through, we can change a few minds and have people look at people as individuals instead of by the color of their skin.”
FEBRUARY 14, 2019 (SPECIAL RECOGNITION)
MOST INFLUENTIAL LATIN AMERICANS
They Changed Their Nations and Changed Their World
The history of Latin America is packed full of influential people: dictators and statesmen,
rebels and reformers, artists and entertainers.
Pelé later became famous for his tireless work on behalf of Brazil’s poor and downtrodden and as an ambassador for soccer. The universal admiration in which Brazilians hold him has also contributed to a decrease in racism in his home country.
JEWISH AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
FEBRUARY 13th 2019 (Special Honoring)
ESTHER JONES -SINGER
KNOWN AS “BABY ESTHER”
At the height of her fame, most people in Harlem knew who Esther Jones, otherwise known as “Baby Esther,” was. Jones was a regular performer in the Cotton Club, where she entertained the masses by singing in her signature “baby talk” style. She recorded Helen Kane’s “I Wanna Be Loved By You” with multiple uses of the words “boo-boo-boo” and “boop-boop-a-doop.” Those may sound familiar if you’ve ever seen or heard the famous cartoon character from the 1930s called Betty Boop. Though she is drawn to look like a white woman, she was directly inspired by Jones.
Kane brought a lawsuit against Fleischer Studios claiming the character was a deliberate caricature of her work, but the trial determined that Baby Esther was responsible for the “baby” style of singing, which proved to be the original inspiration for Boop. Jones never received the money or fame she deserved while she was alive and has since gone on to be known as Betty Boop’s “black grandmother.”
Though heads were nodding in favor of Baby Ester to have credit over Helen Kane in the courts for pioneering the “booping”, it was too late to credit her properly as she had since died.
FEBRUARY 13th 2019 (Special Honoring)
DR. MAE JEMISON – ASTRONAUT
First African American Woman to Travel in Space
She became the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992. Jemison served in the Peace Corps from 1985 until 1987, when she was selected by NASA to join the astronaut corps. She resigned from NASA in 1993 to found a company researching the application of technology to daily life. She has appeared on television several times, including as an actress in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She is a dancer and holds nine honorary doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and the humanities. She is the current principal of the 100 Year Starship organization.
Jemison’s involvement with NASA was delayed after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986, but after reapplying in 1987, she received the news of her acceptance into the astronaut program. “I got a call saying ‘Are you still interested?’ and I said ‘Yeah’,” recalls Jemison, as one of fifteen candidates chosen out of roughly 2,000 applicants.
FEBRUARY 12TH 1793
Fugitive Slave Act
Enforce the Capture and Return of Fugitive Slaves Including Free States
It required that all escaped slaves were, upon capture, to be returned to their masters and that officials and citizens of free states had to cooperate in this law.
The fugitive slave laws were laws passed by the United States Congress in 1793 and 1850 to provide for the return of slaves who escaped from one state into another state or territory.
The Act was strengthened at the insistence of the slave states of the South by the Compromise of 1850, which required even the governments and the residents of free states to enforce the capture and return of fugitive slaves. The enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 outraged Northern public opinion.
It also classified children born to fugitive slave mothers as slaves and the property of their mother’s master for the rest of their lives.
Many northern states enacted legislation to protect free black Americans (who could otherwise be abducted, brought before court without the ability to produce a defense, and then lawfully enslaved) as well as runaway slaves. Those laws came to be known as personal liberty laws and required slave owners and fugitive hunters to produce evidence that their captures were truly fugitive slaves, “just as southern states demanded the right to retrieve runaway slaves, northern states demanded the right to protect their free black residents from being kidnapped and sold into servitude in the south”
FEBRUARY 12, 1952
CORNELIUS H. CHARLTON
Posthumously Received the Medal of Honor for his Heroism in South Korea on
June 2, 1951
During a battle for Hill 543 near the village of Chipo-ri, Charlton took command of his platoon after its commanding officer was injured, leading it on three successive assaults of the hill. Charlton continued to lead the attack until the Chinese position was destroyed, at the cost of his life. For these actions, Charlton was awarded the medal. In the following years, Charlton was honored numerous times, but was controversially not given a spot in Arlington National Cemetery, which his family claimed was due to racial discrimination. The controversy attracted national attention before Charlton was finally reburied in Arlington in 2008.
“He got the rest of the men together, and we started for the top. The enemy had some good emplacements … we couldn’t get to him. Grenades kept coming at us and we were chased back down. Again we tried, but no luck. Sgt. Charlton said he was going to make it this time, and he yelled ‘Let’s go,’ and we started up again. We reached the top this time. I saw the sergeant go over the top and charge a bunker on the other side. He got the gun but was killed by a grenade.”
PFC Ronald Holmes, one of Charlton’s subordinates, recounting his Medal of Honor action.
FEBRUARY 11TH 1990
BILLED AS “MIKE TYSON IS BACK”
BUSTER DOUGLAS 42:1 UNDERDOG UPSETS MIKE TYSON
Widely considered one of the biggest upsets in sports history
Billed as Tyson Is Back!, was a professional boxing match that occurred at the Tokyo Dome on February 11, 1990. The event is historically significant, as the then-undefeated, undisputed heavyweight champion Tyson lost by knockout to the 42–1 underdog.
Buster Douglas went down in sports lore as a prize fighter that defied the odds to accomplish one of the biggest upsets in sports history. Among the honors was a cover photo on an issue of Sports Illustrated with the title, “Rocky Lives!” after the popular film series about a similarly underestimated boxing hero. For Tyson, though he retained a menacing aura for years afterwards, “the mystique of the untouchable, invincible ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’ had been shattered.” The fight is often ranked among the biggest upsets in sports history.
|Date||February 11, 1990|
|Venue||Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan|
|Title(s) on the line||WBA, WBC, IBF, lineal heavyweight titles|
|Tale of the tape|
|Douglas wins by knockout in round 10|
Going into the fight, Mike Tyson was the undefeated and undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. He held the WBC, WBA, and IBF titles. Despite the several controversies that marked Tyson’s profile at the time, such as his abusive relationship with Robin Givens; the contractual battles between longtime manager Bill Cayton and promoter Don King; and Tyson’s departure from longtime trainer Kevin Rooney;
FEBRUARY 11, 1978
‘THE LONGEST WALK”
The Longest Walk Takes Place To Protest Indian Treatment
Several hundred American Indian activists and supporters march for five months from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., to protest threats to tribal lands and water rights. The Longest Walk is the last major event of the Red Power Movement. “The Longest Walk was intended to symbolize the forced removal of American Indians from their homelands and to draw attention to the continuing problems of Indian people and their communities. The event was also intended to expose and challenge the backlash movement against Indian treaty rights that was gaining strength around the country and in Congress.
On July 15, 1978, The Longest Walk entered Washington, D.C. with several thousand Indians and a number of non-Indian supporters. The traditional elders led them to the Washington Monument, where the Pipe carried across the country was smoked. Over the following week, they held rallies at various sites to address issues: the 11 pieces of legislation, American Indian political prisoners, forced relocation at Big Mountain, the Navajo Nation, etc. Non-Indian supporters included the American boxer Muhammad Ali, US Senator Ted Kennedy and the actor Marlon Brando.
Nelson Mandela is freed from a South African Prison
after serving 27 years – February 11, 1990
FEBRUARY 10TH 1969 (Original)
PAN AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL OF QUAGADOUGOU
Created in 1969, it was first called the Pan-African film and television festival of Ouagadougou. It has evolved into an internationally recognized and respected event. Alimata Salambere, the cultural minister of Burkina Faso from 1987 to 1991, was one of the founders of the festival. African international film and television market: FESPACO is a festival which promotes African filmmakers and facilitates the screening of all African films. This unique festival in Africa enables contacts and exchange between film and audiovisual professionals of Africa and also contributes to the expansion and development of African cinema as a means of expression, education and awareness rising.
The most prestigious award of the festival is the “Étalon de Yennenga” (Stallion of Yennenga), named after the legendary founder of the Mossi empire. The “Étalon de Yennenga” is awarded to the African film that best shows “Africa’s realities”. Other special awards include the Oumarou Ganda Prize, given for the best first film, and the Paul Robeson Prize for the best film by a director of the African diaspora. (The latter is named for a major 20th-century American actor, singer and civil rights activist in the United States.)
FEBRUARY 10TH 1992
PAN AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL LA
The largest black film festival” in the United States
Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) is a non-profit corporation in Los Angeles, California, that states its goal to promote “cultural understanding among peoples of African descent” through exhibiting art and film. It hosts a film festival and an arts festival in Los Angeles in February of each year. The first official festival was organized in 1992 by actors Danny Glover and Ja’net Dubois and executive director Ayuko Babu. Glover and actress Whoopi Goldberg co-hosted the festival. It featured over 40 films by black directors from four continents. The Los Angeles Times said the films had universal themes as well as African themes: “the overthrow of colonial governments, the clash between modern values and traditional values, and tales of gifted artists”.
PAFF-LA presents awards of recognition to key industry players and rising stars who have soared in the film industry. Previous recipients include Forest Whitaker, Omari Hardwick, David Oyelowo, Alfre Woodard, Idris Elba, Taraji P. Henson, Sidney Poitier, Nicole Beharie, Nate Parker, Loretta Devine, Phylicia Rashad, Charles Dutton, Billy Dee Williams and a host of other extraordinary industry professionals. Not only are we the largest and most prestigious black film festival in America but PAFF-LA is the largest Black History Month event in the US during the month of February. PAFF is the quintessential Black festival.
2018 28 DAYS Of FEBRUARY
FEBRUARY 9TH SPECIAL HONORING
GARRETT AUGUSTUS MORGAN 1877-1963
African American inventor and businessman as well as an influential political leader
Notable inventions: Three-way traffic signal, hair straightener
After witnessing a traffic collision, Morgan decided to build a non-electric three-way traffic signal that featured Stop, Go, and all-directional stop positions. He would create another safety-inspired device, the gas mask, which he used to save 32 men trapped during an explosion in an underground tunnel in Lake Erie. The man even invented the first human-hair straighetner and sold it under the name G.A. Morgan Hair Refining Cream.
Morgan’s most notable invention was the gas mask originally named “smoke hood“. Morgan was born in 1877 at Claysville, an almost exclusively African American community outside of Paris, Kentucky. His father was Sydney Morgan, a son and freed chattel slave of Confederate Colonel John H. Morgan of the infamous Morgan’s Raiders. His mother was a slave called Elizabeth Reed, who was the result of a union between a White minister named Rev. Garrett Reed. Morgan experimented with a liquid that gave sewing machine needles a high polish that prevented the needle from scorching fabric as it sewed. In 1905, Morgan accidentally discovered that the liquid could also straighten hair. He made the liquid into a cream and launched the G. A. Morgan Hair Refining Company to market it. He also made a black hair oil dye and invented a curved-tooth comb for hair straightening in 1910.
FEBRUARY 9TH SPECIAL HONORING
OSCAR MICHEAUX (1884-1951)
“The most successful African-American filmmaker of the first half of the 20th Century”
Oscar Devereaux Micheaux was an African-American author, film director and independent producer of more than 44 films. Although the short-lived Lincoln Motion Picture Company was the first movie company owned and controlled by black filmmakers, Micheaux is regarded as the first major African-American feature filmmaker, a prominent producer of race film, and has been described as “the most successful African-American filmmaker of the first half of the 20th century”. He produced both silent films and sound films when the industry changed to incorporate speaking actors.
Micheaux’s films were made during a time of great change in the African-American community. His films featured contemporary black life. He dealt with racial relationships between blacks and whites, and the challenges for blacks when trying to achieve success in the larger society. His films were used to oppose and discuss the racial injustice that African Americans received. Topics such as lynching, job discrimination, rape, mob violence, and economic exploitation were depicted in his films. These films also reflect his ideologies and autobiographical experiences.
Legacy and honors
- The Oscar Micheaux Award for excellence was established.
- The Oscar Micheaux Society at Duke University continues to honor his work and educate about his legacy
- 1987, Micheaux was recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- 1989 the Directors Guild of America honored Micheaux with a Golden Jubilee Special Award.
- The Producers Guild of America created an annual award in his name.
- In 1989, the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame gave him a posthumous award.
- Gregory, South Dakota holds an annual Oscar Micheaux Film Festival.
- In 2001 Oscar Micheaux Golden Anniversary Festival (March 24–25) Great Bend, Kansas
- In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante included Oscar Micheaux on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.
- On June 22, 2010, the US Postal Service issued a 44-cent, Oscar Micheaux commemorative stamp.
- In 2011, the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia created a category for donors, the Micheaux Society, in honor of Micheaux.
- Midnight Ramble: Oscar Micheaux and the Story of Race Movies (1994) is a documentary whose title refers to the early 20th-century practice of some segregated cinemas of screening films for African-American audiences only at matinees and midnight. The documentary was produced by Pamela Thomas, directed by Pearl Bowser and Bestor Cram, and written by Clyde Taylor. It was first aired on the PBS show The American Experience in 1994, and released in 2004.
FEBRUARY 8TH SPECIAL HONORING
Singer, Composer, Producer
One of 15 To Win (E.G.O.T.) – Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony
First African American Man To Win All Four Awards
In 2007, Legend received the Hal David Starlight Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Legend won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and Golden Globe Award in 2015 for co-writing the song “Glory” from the film Selma. He has also won ten Grammy Awards. In 2017, Legend received a Tony Award for co-producing Jitney for the Broadway stage. In 2018, Legend portrayed Jesus Christ in the NBC adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. He received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for his acting role, and won for his role as a producer of the show, making him one of 15 people and the first black man to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.John Legend is also the second youngest to achieve the EGOT status.
According to Legend, he was offered admission to Harvard University and scholarships to Georgetown University and Morehouse College. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied English with an emphasis on African-American literature.
In 2001, Devo Springsteen introduced Legend to then up-and-coming hip-hop artist Kanye West; Legend was hired to sing during the hooks of West’s music. After signing to West’s label, he chose his stage name from an idea that was given to him by poet J. Ivy, due to what he perceived as an “old-school sound.” J. Ivy stated, “I heard your music and it reminds me of that music from the old school. You sound like one of the legends. As a matter of fact, that’s what I’m going to call you from now on! I’m going to call you John Legend.” After J. Ivy continued to call him by the new moniker “John Legend,” others quickly caught on, including Kanye West. Despite Legend’s reluctance to adopt a stage name, he eventually announced his new artist name as John Legend.
FEBRUARY 8, 1915
BIRTH OF A NATION FILM RELEASED
Highly controversial for its portrayal of black men (many played by white actors in blackface)
Birth of a Nation also portrayed black men as unintelligent and sexually aggressive towards white women, and the portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) as a heroic force. There were widespread black protests against The Birth of a Nation, such as in Boston, while thousands of white Bostonians flocked to see the film. The NAACP spearheaded an unsuccessful campaign to ban the film. Griffith’s indignation at efforts to censor or ban the film motivated him to produce Intolerance the following year. D.W. Griffith father served as a colonel in the Confederate States Army
The Birth of a Nation was very popular, despite the film’s controversy; it was unlike anything that American audiences had ever seen before. The Los Angeles Times called it “the greatest picture ever made and the greatest drama ever filmed”. It became a national cultural phenomenon: merchandisers made Ku-Klux hats and kitchen aprons, and ushers dressed in white Klan robes for openings. In New York there were Klan-themed balls, and in Chicago that Halloween, thousands of college students dressed in robes for a massive Klan-themed party.
In 1920, African-American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux released Within Our Gates, a response to The Birth of a Nation. Within Our Gates depicts the hardships faced by African Americans during the era of Jim Crow laws. The film was remixed in 2004 as Rebirth of a Nation, a live cinema experience by DJ Spooky at the Lincoln Center, and has toured at many venues around the world, including the Acropolis of Athens, as a live cinema “remix”. The remix version was also presented at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York. Quentin Tarantino has said that he made his film Django Unchained (2012) to counter the falsehoods of The Birth of a Nation.
2018 28 DAYS Of FEBRUARY
FEBRUARY 7TH, 1965 (Born)
American Comedian, Actor, Writer, Producer, and Director
Comedy Central voted Fifth-Greatest Stand-up Comedian
U.K. on Channel 4‘s Ninth-Greatest Stand-up Comic
Rock’s family history was profiled on the PBS series African American Lives 2 in 2008. A DNA test showed that he is of Cameroonian descent, specifically from the Udeme people of northern Cameroon. Rock’s great-great-grandfather, Julius Caesar Tingman, was a slave for 21 years before serving in the American Civil War as part of the United States Colored Troops. Chris Rock was moved to tears when he learned about one of his ancestors, who fought for the freedom of slaves, and became a state legislator at the age of 24.
On October 21, 2015 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Rock would host the 88th Academy Awards. When the subsequent acting nominations turned out to include no racial minorities, Rock was called upon to join a boycott of the ceremony. Rock declined however, stating at the ceremony that it would have accomplished little since the show would have proceeded anyway, with him simply replaced. Instead, Rock spoke of his concerns about the lack of diversity in AMPAS at various times during the show, closing by saying “Black Lives Matter.
Comedians who have claimed Rock as an influence are Dave Chappelle, Christian Finnegan, George Lopez, Kevin Hart, and
FEBRUARY 7, 1990
Former WNBA Champion & Hall of Famer
Lisa Leslie of Inglewood Morningside High School scored 101 points in only 16 minutes
Lisa Leslie is the Head Coach for Triplets in the BIG3 professional basketball league. She is a three-time WNBA MVP and a four-time Olympic gold medal winner. On July 30, 2002, Leslie became the first woman to dunk the ball in a WNBA game. Leslie was drafted on January 22 by the Los Angeles Sparks as part of the Initial Allocation phase of the draft. She helped the Sparks make the playoffs five consecutive times, but the team did not win a WNBA title until 2001. That year, Leslie was named the 2001 Sportswoman of the Year
By the time she was a sophomore in high school, she was able to dunk the ball in the open court, even though she was not able to palm the ball. She was her team’s leading scorer and rebounder and led them to the 1989 California state championship. Leslie was so talented that she was invited to participate in the USA’s Junior World Championship team. Entering her senior year, she developed into the top player in the country. She led her team to a state championship averaging 27 points and 15 rebounds per game. Leslie has made four consecutive Olympic appearances, and has earned four gold medals. She was the second female basketball player ever to earn that many gold medals, after Teresa Edwards. Leslie is one of seven USA Basketball’s three-time Olympians, and one of two players with four gold medals. She led the U.S. team in scoring during the 2004 Olympic Games. During her third Olympic completion, she became the USA’s all-time leading scorer, rebounder, and shot blocker in Olympic competition.
FEBRUARY 6TH, 2012 (Dies)
NORMA MERRICK SKLAREK
First African American Woman Licensed Architect
“The Rosa Parks of Architecture
Norma Merrick Sklarek (April 15, 1928 – February 6, 2012) was the first African American woman registered as an architect in the U.S. To do so, she overcame the double hurdle of being both African American and female in a predominately white male profession. She was also the second female architect in California, and the first African American in almost 100 years to be honored by the American Institute of Architects with fellowship for outstanding architectural contribution.
Sklarek’s race and gender often excluded her from recognition of her work on major architectural projects. While a director at Gruen Associates, Sklarek collaborated with César Pelli on a number of projects. Only the U.S. Embassy in Japan acknowledges Sklarek’s contributions.
- 1961-66 – Fox Plaza, San Francisco, California
- 1961-63 – California Mart, Los Angeles, California
- 1963-65 – San Bernardino City Hall, San Bernardino, California
- 1972-75 – Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles, California
- 1976-78 – Embassy of the United States in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
- 1980 – Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica
- 1989-92 – Mall of America, Minneapolis, Minnesota
FEBRUARY 6TH – SPECIAL RECOGNITION
African-American and Native American Heritage
Edmonia Lewis, First Professional African-American Sculptor
Mary Edmonia Lewis (July 4, 1844 – September 17, 1907) was an American sculptor who worked for most of her career in Rome, Italy. Born free in New York, she was the first woman of African-American and Native American heritage to achieve international fame and recognition as a sculptor in the fine arts world. Her work is known for incorporating themes relating to black people and indigenous peoples of the Americas into Neoclassical-style sculpture. In 2002, the scholar Molefi Kete Asante named Edmonia Lewis on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.
The associations between Cleopatra and a black Africa were so profound that … any depiction of the ancient Egyptian queen had to contend with the issue of her race and the potential expectation of her blackness. Lewis’ white queen gained the aura of historical accuracy through primary research without sacrificing its symbolic links to abolitionism, black Africa, or black diaspora. But what it refused to facilitate was the racial objectification of the artist’s body.
Edmonia Lewis was born in Ohio or New York in 1843 or 1845. Her father was a free African-American and her mother a Chippewa Indian. Orphaned before she was five, Lewis lived with her mother’s nomadic tribe until she was twelve years old. After traveling to London, Paris, and Florence, Lewis decided to settle in Rome where she rented a studio near the Piazza Barberini during the winter of 1865 and 1866. When Lewis arrived in Rome, sculptors favored the neoclassical style that was marked by a lofty idealism and Greco-Roman resources. She quickly learned Italian and became acquainted with two prominent white Americans living in Rome, the actress Charlotte Cushman and the sculptor Harriet Hosmer. Lewis was unique among sculptors of her generation in Rome as she rarely employed Italian workmen, and completed most of her work without assistance.
2018 28 DAYS Of FEBRUARY
FEBRUARY 5TH, 1957
PERRY H. YOUNG, JR.
First African-American Commercial Airline Pilot in the United States
His historic flight occurred on Feb. 5, 1957. With Mr. Young as the copilot, a 12-passenger New York Airways helicopter rose three feet, hovered gently for a moment, then soared straight up from La Guardia Airport. Nine minutes later, the snub-nose helicopter landed at Idlewild Airport, ending the racist notion ”that blacks could not fly,” said Perry Jones, the former chairman of the Organization of Black Airline Pilots. Young went so far as to turn his back on a promising academic career to become a pilot. Though he attended Oberlin College and received an offer of scholarship from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Young chose to complete his training instead.
With war on the horizon, the U.S. government founded the Civilian Pilot Training Program, partly to increase the number of capable aviators in the country. Through this program, Young became an instructor at the Coffey School of Aeronautics in Chicago in 1940. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, the Army Air Corps found itself scrambling to find men who could train its swelling ranks of new recruits. The military soon hired Young to teach pilots of the newly formed 99th Pursuit Squadron. These aviators, African American as well, became known as the Tuskegee Airmen. Young trained more than 150 of them, and many of his students went on to serve with distinction in Europe.
FEBRUARY 5TH, 2019
Protecting Native Voting Rights
The Washington State Legislature is considering a Native American Voting Rights Act, February 5th, 2019. Among other things it would ensure tribal IDs are valid at polling places. It also allows for alternative methods to listing physical addresses. The bill comes following concern about barriers to voting during the midterm elections in places like North Dakota where voters are required to provide a physical address rather than a post office box number in order to vote.
Mathew KM Tomaskin (citizen of the Yakama nation) – Yakama Nation legislative liaison
As the Legislative Liaison for the Yakama Nation, (Washington State), I serve the Tribal Council as a PolicyAnalyst, my objectives are to track legislation in local, state and national levels to ensure that the YakamaNation’s interest are protected and preserved.
NATIVE AMERICA CALLING
Voting Rights Protection
Too Pretty to be Native
FEBRUARY 4, 1952
JACKIE ROBINSON, (MLB Hall of Fame)
NBC Director of Communications – First Black Executive
1952 Jackie Robinson was named Director of Communication for NBC. He was the first black executive of a major radio-TV network
In 1957, Robinson was named vice president of Chock Full O’ Nuts and later co-founded the Freedom National Bank of Harlem. He was elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1962.
Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color line in 1947. He spent his entire 10-year MLB career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, helping lead them to six National League championships and, in 1955, the World Series championship.
2019 Recognizes 100 years since the birth of Jackie Robinson
Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color line in 1947. He spent his entire 10-year MLB career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, helping lead them to six National League championships and, in 1955, the World Series championship. Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color line in 1947. He spent his entire 10-year MLB career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, helping lead them to six National League championships and, in 1955, the World Series championship. After his death in 1972, in recognition of his achievements on and off the field, Robinson was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom.
FEBRUARY 4TH SPECIAL – TRAILBLAZING HISTORY
Software Engineer at Google & Tech Adviser
Software Engineer Lead on Google Ads Tools by day, Android and iOS Developer by night. Diversity and Inclusion is my #1 priority. Bria Sullivan and other black engineers at Google created a 3D installation for the African American History Museum.
DIVERSITY & MINORITIES IN TECH
“What is it like being a black woman in tech?” It’s a question I commonly get, and the answer always begins with a sigh. The sigh is followed by a few microseconds of internal coaching in order to not get emotional before responding. How I can explain that it’s difficult without losing sight of how privileged I am to have such a great career? Basically, working in tech as a black woman is a rewarding, but uphill battle.
FEBRUARY 4TH 2004 -FACEBOOK FOUNDED
2018 28 DAYS Of FEBRUARY
FEBRUARY 3RD SPECIAL RECOGNITION
DR HADIYA-NICOLE GREEN
African-American medical physicist
Green founded the Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation
Hadiyah-Nicole Green is known for her part in the development of a process that has the potential to help in the evolution of a novel cancer treatment using laser-activated nanoparticles. She is one of 66 black women to earn a Ph.D. in physics in the United States between 1973 and 2012. She earned her Master of Science in physics in 2009. Following graduate school, Green became an assistant professor at Tuskegee University in the Department of Material Science and Engineering. In 2016 she became an assistant professor at Morehouse School of Medicine in the Physiology department.
While conducting her doctoral research, Green was a member of a team that developed a laboratory method to insert nanoparticles into cancer cells while avoiding surrounding healthy cells. The tissue incorporating the nanoparticles heats up due to directed laser radiation, which then destroys the cancer cells. She first tested her ideas with cancer cells in a petri dish, then moved on to small animal models using mice. However much more research is needed to be able to extend this nanoparticle treatment to whole animals and then humans. Between her undergraduate and graduate work, Green’s aunt, Ora Lee, was diagnosed with cancer, but refused to go through treatment. Green spent about three months taking care of her aunt until she died. However, her uncle, General Lee Smith, was also diagnosed with cancer three months after her aunt’s death. While tending to her uncle, Green watched as her uncle suffered from the side-effects of chemotherapy and radiation, which, to her, seemed little better than what her aunt went through. These experiences led to Green’s interest in developing new cancer treatments. She realized the impact of chemotherapy on the body and wanted to find a better treatment for it.
FEBRUARY 3, 1967
“PURPLE HAZE” RECORDED
“Purple haze all in my brain” and “‘scuse me while I kiss the sky”
“Purple Haze” is one of Hendrix’s best-known songs and appears on many Hendrix compilation albums. The song featured regularly in concerts and each of Hendrix’s group configurations issued live recordings. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and is included on lists of the greatest guitar songs, including at number two by Rolling Stone and number one by Q magazine. The song placed at number two on Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time” list, which noted that the song “unveiled a new guitar language charged with spiritual hunger and the poetry possible in electricity and studio technology”. In 2008, it was given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award, which “honor[s] recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance”. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music”.
In 1995, “Purple Haze” was included as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame‘s “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll”. NPR named the song to its list of the “100 Most Important American Musical Works of the 20th Century” in 2000. In March 2005, Q magazine ranked “Purple Haze” at number one in its list of the “100 Greatest Guitar Tracks Ever!” Many fans and the press interpret the song as referring to a psychedelic experience due to lines such as “purple haze all in my brain” and “‘scuse me while I kiss the sky”.
In an interview on January 28, 1967, before the song was completed, Hendrix was asked how he wrote songs; he responded, “I dream a lot and I put my dreams down as songs. I wrote one called ‘First Look Around the Corner’ and another called ‘The Purple Haze,’ which was about a dream I had that I was walking under the sea.” He later expressed frustration that he was unable to more fully develop his ideas for the song:
2018 28 DAYS Of FEBRUARY
FEBRUARY 2, 1935 (Born)
First African American to win PGA Tour Event in 1964
Pete Brown was an American professional golfer who is best known as the first African American to win a PGA Tourevent with his win at the Waco Turner Open. Brown was born in Port Gibson, Mississippi and grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. He started in golf as a caddy at the municipal course in his hometown. He suffered from non-paralytic polio in the late 1950s but recovered and resumed playing competitive golf. Brown played on the Senior PGA Tour (now Champions Tour) beginning in 1985. His best finishes were a pair of T-6s in 1985 at the Senior PGA Tour Roundup and the MONY Syracuse Senior Classic.
He turned professional in 1954, winning the Negro National Open consecutively in 1961 and 1962. Brown received his PGA Tour card in 1963. He was not the first African American to obtain his PGA players card; that honor belonged to Charlie Sifford. Brown’s victory at the 1964 Waco Turner Open did, however, earn him a place in history as the first African American to win a PGA event. He played on the PGA Tour for 17 years and posted a second tour win at the 1970 Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational in a playoff over Tony Jacklin.
FEBRUARY 2, 1932 (Dies)
Captured as a child by Native Indians
(Lives among Apache and Comanche)
First African American To Receive The Medal of Honor
WHAT CONNECTION A BUFFALO SOLDIER
EMANUEL STANCE HAD WITH HERMAN LEHMANN?
Herman Lehmann (June 5, 1859 – February 2, 1932) was captured as a child by Native Americans. He lived first among the Apache and then the Comanche but eventually returned to his family later in life. The phenomenon of a white child raised by Indians made him a notable figure in the United States. On May 16, 1870, a raiding party of eight to ten Apaches (probably Lipans) captured Herman Lehmann, who was almost eleven, and his eight-year-old brother, Willie, while they were in the fields at their mother’s request to scare the birds from the wheat. Their two sisters escaped without injury. Four days later, the Apache raiding party encountered a patrol of ten AFRICAN-AMERICAN CAVALRYMEN led by Sgt. Emanuel Stance, who had been sent from Fort McKavett to recover the two Lehmann boys. In the short battle that followed, Willie Lehmann was able to escape, but the Apaches fled with young Herman. (Sergeant Stance became the first black regular to receive a Medal of Honor for his bravery on this mission.) The kidnapping site was designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1991, Marker number 11283.
FEBRUARY 2, 1915
Pioneering African-American biologist, academic and Science Writer
Ernest Just was the first recipient of the NAACP‘s Spingarn Medal,
which he received on February 12, 1915.
On November 17, 1911, Ernest Just and three Howard University students (Edgar Amos Love, Oscar James Cooper, and Frank Coleman), established the Omega Psi Phi fraternity on the campus of Howard. Love, Cooper, and Coleman had approached Just about establishing the first black fraternity on campus. Just went on to graduate magna cum laude from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Just won special honors in zoology, and distinguished himself in botany, history, and sociology as well. He was also honored as a Rufus Choate scholar for two years and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Just was also a candidate to deliver a commencement speech, but was not chosen because the faculty “decided it would be a faux pas to allow the only black in the graduating class to address the crowd of parents, alumni, and benefactors. It would have made too glaring the fact that Just had won just about every prize imaginable.
When he graduated from Dartmouth, Just faced the same problems as all black college graduates of his time: no matter how brilliant they were or how high were their grades, it was almost impossible for blacks to become faculty members at white colleges or universities. Just, however, became frustrated because he could not obtain an appointment at a major American university. He wanted a position that would provide a steady income and allow him to spend more time with his research. Just’s scientific career involved a constant struggle for an opportunity for research, “the breath of his life”. He was condemned by race to remain attached to Howard, an institution that could not give full opportunity to ambitions such as the ones Just had. In 1929, Just traveled to Naples, Italy, where he conducted experiments at the prestigious zoological station “Anton Dohrn”. Then, in 1930, he became the first American to be invited to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin-Dahlem, Germany, where several Nobel Prize winners carried out research.
2018 28 DAYS Of FEBRUARY
Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month in the U.S., is an annual observance in Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It began as a way for remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated annually in the United States and Canada in February, as well as in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Republic of Ireland in October.
FEBRUARY 1st 1974
Television’s first African American two-parent family Sitcom
Good Times is an American sitcom that aired on CBS from February 8, 1974, to August 1, 1979. Created by Eric Monte and Mike Evans, and developed by Norman Lear, the series’ primary executive producer, it was television’s first African American two-parent family sitcom. Good Times is a spin-off of Maude, which was itself a spin-off of All in the Family.
Good Times was intended to be a good show for Esther Rolle and John Amos. Both expected the show to deal with serious topics in a comedic way while providing positive characters for viewers to identify with. However, Jimmie Walker’s character of J.J. was an immediate hit with audiences and became the breakout character of the series. J.J.’s frequent use of the expression “Dy-no-mite!” (often in the phrase “Kid Dy-no-mite!”). Through seasons two and three, Rolle and Amos grew increasingly disillusioned with the direction of the show and especially with J.J.’s antics and stereotypically buffoonish behavior. Rolle was vocal about her hate of his character. In a 1975 interview with Ebony magazine she stated:
He’s 18 and he doesn’t work. He can’t read or write. He doesn’t think.they have made J.J. more stupid and enlarged the role. Negative images have been slipped in on us through the character of the oldest child. Although doing so less publicly, Amos also was outspoken about his dissatisfaction with the J.J. character.
FEBRUARY 1, 2003
First Indian-American Female In Space
Chawla was one of the seven crew members who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster
Kalpana Chawla was an American astronaut and the first female of Indian origin to go to space. She first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator. In 2003, Chawla was one of the seven crew members who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster when the aircraft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. Chawla was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and several streets, universities and institutions have been named in her honor.
In 1993, she joined Overset Methods, Inc. as Vice President and Research Scientist specializing in simulation of moving multiple body problems. Chawla held a Certificated Flight Instructor rating for airplanes, gliders and Commercial Pilot licenses for single and multi-engine airplanes, seaplanes and gliders. After becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in April 1991, Chawla applied for the NASA Astronaut Corps. She joined the corps in March 1995 and was selected for her first flight in 1996.
Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month in the U.S., is an annual observance in Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It began as a way for remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated annually in the United States and Canada in February, as well as in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Republic of Ireland in October.