Black History Month Bayside Elementary School Black History Month Activities 3rd Grade
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Black History Month Activities
Mrs. Pentolino - Marvelous Mobiles- Students will construct mobiles while identifying famous Black Americans and the history and heritage that made them famous. Students will be reading biographies of selected Black Americans. They will then complete a series of activities from a game book. They will keep score and win prizes for completing a series of games based on the knowledge acquired from the biographical information.
Mr. Macedo/Mrs. Pentolino – Students will be completing a book project during January/February on an African-American biography. These projects will be presented over the last week of February, which is Black History Month.
Mrs. Fine - The class will be researching famous African Americans through books and the internet. The students will then each create their own African-American Hero Collector Card.
Mrs. McCauley –Read a biography of Harriet Tubman. Students will write an informative paragraph about her. We will also read different biographies of African Americans. Students will draw pictures of them and write about the contributions they have made to America. They will also make timelines of the lives of various African Americans.
Mr. Kahn - For Black History Month, the students are independently researching African Americans of historical importance. They are designing a time capsule to present the last week of February.
Mrs. Wentz - For Black History Month, we are going to do a Reader's Theater entitled “Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King: The Montgomery Bus Boycott.” My students will also be doing a research paper on a famous African American. We will then put the reports onto the hallway bulletin board.
Mrs. Burger - We are doing a writing assignment on a famous African American, and we are using MLK Jr. to help start the information. We also have a bulletin board that is a calendar with information each day about Black History Month.
Mrs. Scherer – Students will participate in various computer lab activities.
Mrs. Willey will be doing plays on Fridays which focus on a variety of African Americans-
Mrs. Wells – We will read multicultural literature- Focus on Imagery (Stars Story, Tanya's Reunion)
Ms. Booze – My class will be completing a research project on a famous African American. The students will create a written report about their person.
Mrs. Beemiller - I will be doing a Martin Luther King, Jr. play in reading class.
Mrs. Kline – They are making a power point presentation on a variety of African Americans.
Ms. Martin - My students will be researching various African Americans and creating a group poster to be displayed.
Mrs. Baldwin - In honor of black history month students will be researching one person who has contributed to black history. They will have three days to create and complete the poster.
Ms. McCowan - My class will make a poster on a chosen Famous African American and will research using the internet. They will present these to the class on or about 20th.
Ms. Roberts - We will be working on researching various Famous African Americans. Then the students in small groups will be creating power point presentations.
Mrs. Chaney – Students will work in the computer lab to research a famous African American. They will present data in a Power-Point presentation.
Ms. Small -
Reflection journals will be created each student will create a journal using construction paper and lined paper.
Mrs. Broadwater/Music - For third grade we will be discussing an article about Ray Charles and then creating a poster based on his life and musical works. Fourth grade will improvise melodies and create rondo's based on a song created about Martin Luther King. Fifth grade will be discussing the Harlem Renaissance and the significance that it had on music
Mrs. Fisher/Art - Toward the end of the month I discuss Faith Ringgold's quilt paintings with my art classes.
Mrs. Feltz/Media - We will have a display of books for the entire month of February.
Mr. Edwards and Mr. Zindel/ Physical Education – We display a bulletin board for the month of February on African American Athletes.
Pre-K will be focusing on a unit about the continent of Africa studying the culture through literature, activities which include splitting the class into tribes, villages, different foods, and listening to music from the region.
Kindergarten will feature Black American authors in their reading and literature. They will use the book "The Lazy Bear" by Brian Wildsmith, "I Can Be Fair" by David Parker, and "The Doorbell Rang" by Pat Hutchins to teach fairness.
First grade will work on research reports on notable African Americans, past and present. Part will be completed as homework for the Home/School Connection. They will also be teaching the game Mancala in Math, Aftican Tribal music as well as Jazz (Ellington) during independent work time, African American author study, daily introduction of notable African Americans past and present, freedom quilt squares to be posted along the walls of first grade wing for daily visual as well as a gallery walk. Oral presentations
of African American research report projects will also be completed.
Second Grade will complete book quilts on famous African Americans. In reading they will focus on biographies of famous
African Americans and also focus on famous African Americans in Science.
In Music, students will be singing songs and playing instruments related to black history. They will also study the lives and music
of famous black musicians by using books and recording.
In Media, students will be reading books about famous African Americans such as a biography of Rosa Parks and Jim Thorpe. There is also a book that is a folk tale from Kenya. The books being shared have also been nominated for the Maryland
Black-Eyed Susan award.
In Art, students will study famous Black artists such as Faith Ringgold (story quilts) and Romaine Bearden (collages).
Students will study the artist and their art form and will then create their own original artwork in the artist's style.
African American Discussion Group will have an exhibit of American inventions. The students have researched these contributions and the display will be front hallway. The group was created to build self-esteem and set goals. During lunch meetings, we read literature and respond to higher level questions. It is a female group formed and supported by data… one of our lowest performing groups. February 5th – National African American Read-In sponsored by the Black Caucus of NCTE and endorsed by IRA. Community members and retired teachers will read books authored by African Americans. Our school is always representative of multicultural posters which include posters of famous African Americans. African American guest speakers will speak about their profession. Morning announcements will feature trivia questions. Fifth grade Enrichment groups will research famous African Americans. The culminating activity will include a power point presentation.
Prek: A Disney cruise to Africa is planned integrating the Houghton Mifflin skills of Animals Everywhere unit.
K: Kindergarten will read literature and have Friendship Friday activities. One example is as follows. Read and discuss the Rosa Parks book. A large bus will be made. Each Child will use multicultural paper to make his/her face and put their face on the bus to show we all ride together as friends.
Grade 1: Students will research famous African Americans and prepare a biography and poster.
Grade 2: Every morning in February one biography of famous or accomplished African Americans is read from a booklet.
Grade 3: Short biographies of famous African Americans will be read and followed up with an oral report.
Grade 4: Biographies of Benjamin Banneker, Harriett Tubman, Charles Albert Tindley, Eubie Blake, Thurgood Marshall, Frederick Douglass and Matthew Henson are used for students to create timelines, identify contribution to history, complete 5 w’s chart and support author’s opinion. Each student will research a famous African American and create an informative poster plus Readers’ Theatre. Plays on famous African Americans (Harriett Tubman, George Washington Carver and Jackie Robinson) will be taught along with Researching and writing informational reports on African Americans.
Grade 5: Study biographies of influential African Americans stressing the genre, text features and main ideas. Small group material consists of Reader’s Theatre scripts about Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King, Jr Rosa Parks and George W.Carver.
Speech: The use of pictures and little stories about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Harriet Tubman are utilized to answer questions, formulate sentences, apply concepts, and produce target sounds in context.
Media: Presentation of power point shows completed by previous Media classes will be shown. Students will gather books in various genres to set up a library display
Music: Songs will be sung and students will listen to African American Composers.
PreK and K
They will discuss famous African Americans and complete an ABC book about their contributions.
They will be doing mini-books and activity sheets about famous African Americans in our history.
They will read stories about famous African Americans, and identify their greatest accomplishments, make mini-books to take home about some famous African Americans, do some BCR response about short articles they read.
They will research a famous African American during Language Arts time and write about that person. Mrs. Clare is reading about famous African Americans during Listening Comprehension. They will read a novel about George Washington Carver.
They will be doing lessons about Black Waterman of the Chesapeake Bay, Breaking the Racial Barrier in Sports, and Harriet Tubman: Woman of Bravery.
They will be doing writing prompts about famous African American Inventors and Scientists, each student will read a biography about a famous African American and write a report using an organizer, and read articles in class about Martin Luther King Jr, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks and answering BCRs. We will also be using lessons from Mrs. Pauls later on in Social Studies entitled Benjamin Banneker: Trailblazer,Banneker, Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence,Triangular Trade and the Middle Passage, and Harriet Tubman: A Journey to Freedom.
Each morning, during announcements, a fifth grade student will be reading about a famous African American.
Fifth grade students are hoping to be able to read a book written by a famous African American to PreK, K, and 1st grade.
Some of our African American citizens in the county will read to our different grade levels.
Videotape will be made of Mrs. Darling’s fifth grade students reading to Mrs. Ward’s kindergarten.
Ayers Class …Study of famous African-Americans, including George Washington Carver , “Contemporary Achievers” packet; famous African-Americans as examples of Pillars of Character.
Stephanie Sferella – 1st grade
Read The Crayon Box that Talked and make crayon bulletin board of all races working together. Discuss various African-Americans
and their contribution to out culture such as, George Washington Carver, Rosa Parks,Louis Armstrong, Garrett Morgan, Martin Luther
King Jr. , Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson, and Ruby Bridges. The students will choose a black American and draw that person on a stamp. We will make a bulletin board of famous black Americans.
2nd grade Kent Island Elementary
Second Grade Computer Lab students will interact with Famous African Americans on the Scholastics Web site. Students will read
about and travel the Underground Railroad with Harriet Tubman. They will be able to make travel decisions that will affect the
outcome of their journey. Students will listen to music written to help, guide, and inspire others on the Freedom movement.
Malone – Kent Island Elementary
I Have a Dream…
Compare/contrast MLK and Harriet Tubman
Newnam – Pre-K Black History Month
Kent Island Elementary
. Jerdine Nolan – Harvey Potter’s Balloon farm
Jerry Pinkney – Going Someplace Special
Ezra-Jack Keats – The Snowy Day
Doeler – Pre-K
Unit on Africa
Literature and Illustrations on Ezra Jack Keats
Time Readers – Martin Luther King
Sequence events – timeline
Weekly Reader – M.L. King
People – to study
Rosa Parks Harriet Tubman
Ben Carson Martin Luther King
G.W. Carver Lt. Gov. Steele
T. Marshall Sojourner Truth
Maya Angelou Conzoleezza Rice
Doeler – Pre-K
Unit on Africa
Literature and Illustrations on Ezra Jack Keats
Jackson –MLK, Jr. - National Geographic – 4 lessons – 4 worksheets – 2 videos .. Young Explorer – Rosa Parks – also in N. Geographic
Read books about Jackie Robinson, read and discuss Garrett Morgan
Peggy Wolfe – 1st grade
Students will study Martin Luther King, Jr. and do a Reader’s Theater
Students will be introduced to famous black authors and their literature.
Students will learn about famous black inventors and their contributions to our lives.
Linda L. Jefferson – Kent Island Elementary
Black History Month
Morning Announcements will feature a famous African-American each day during the month of February
Famous African-American authors will be featured on morning announcements
A picture display of famous African-Americans will be placed in the hallway
George W. Carver
Stephanie Thompson – Music, Kent Island Elementary
To celebrate Black History Month the music department of KIES is selecting a 2nd grade class to learn and perform two songs. The first song, “Sing about Martin,” is about Martin Luther King Jr. and praises the way he cared for all people and worked for peace. The second song is “In This World Together.” This song is about how everyone should work together as sisters and brothers to make our world a better place. The second grade class will perform these songs for the kindergarten classes at KIES, traveling from room to room on February 26 between 9:15am and 10:00am. In all, seven kindergarten classes will be visited.
Make a book – read for comprehension
Add Dr. King poem to “Poem Book”
Timeline of Dr. King
Time Readers – Martin Luther King
Minibooks for people to study
Lt. Gov. Steele
Black History Weekly Reader
Mrs. Persina – Kent Island Elementary
TIME Readers-MLK, Jr.
People to Study:
Dr. Ben Carson
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Lt. Gov. Steele
George W. Carver
Faye Burns –
Consensus Chart Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Read Books and view Video of his life
Scholastic News about Dr. King, Ruby Bridges and Rosa Parks
Norma Boone –
Students will examine significant ideas, beliefs and themes
They will organize patterns and events
analyze how individuals and society has changes over time
learn about contributions made by Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and George Washington Carver.
J. Garber –
Martin Luther King
Read a book, Make booklets, Make dream clouds
Read About - Jackie Robinson, Sojourner Truth, Condoleezza Rice, George Washington Carver
Make a booklet about Harriet Tubman, and Thurgood Marshall
Dr. Ben Carson
Pre-Kindergarten & Kindergarten:
Pre-K and K, for Black History Month, will be looking at people from our past and seeing how they influence our lives now. We will be looking at inventors, sports personalities, people standing up for our rights… We have already started this in January and will continue in February.
- Weekly Reader about famous Black Americans…*Martin Luther King, Jr., Oprah Winfrey, Jackie Robinson, Faith Ringgold, Langston Hughes, Rosa Parks
- Activity-Which famous American would you like to meet? Why?
- Read-Alouds, Reading Activities, and Discussions…*Some examples of books are A Picture Book of Jesse Owens and Garrett Morgan.
- Some examples of Black Americans that may be discussed are: C.J. Walker, Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Benjamin Banneker, Benjamin Banneker, Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice.
- Multicultural Books and Activities…*Examples are Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, Busy Bea, I Have Heard of a Land, Aunt Flossie’s Hat (and Crab Cakes Later), and Ezra Jack Keats books.
The second grade does a variety of activities throughout the month of February. Many of us do reports on African Americans who had an impact on American history, along with comprehension activities with different types of questions, and share stories form different African American Authors. Mr. Pelan's class learns about famous musicians and compares their styles of music.
Third grade plans to have the students research a famous African American inventor and create an award. They will also explore some poems written by African Americans and talk about their meaning. Some classes will read biographies of African American and create a presentation.
Fourth grade plans to do the following activities during the month of February: Video and worksheets on African American athletes
Plays on Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Henry "Box" Brown (a slave), Weekly Reader article on Martin Luther King, George Washington Carver activity
Incorporating African American history throughout the month of February by reading various biographies during independent reading time. The students will be able to choose a biography to match their own interests. For example, a student interested in fashion design could choose Anthony Mark Hankins, a successful designer that studied in France and is still designing clothing for JC Penney and other stores. A young scientist may want to learn more about Percy Julian and his work as an organic chemist. The students will complete extensions such as creating "Slimy Slime" or other experiments.
I hope to have students share their extensions and information.
-Writing activities that incorporate historical perspectives of enslaved Africans during colonial times
-Read alouds including poetry from Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou and/or books such as "Through My Eyes- Ruby Bridges" or "Two Tickets to Freedom"
-Civil Rights Movement (timeline) using websites and S.S. text and other print materials
Unified Arts: (Music)
- The younger Children (Grades k-2) will be playing a variety of African American Singing Games and songs such as Miss Mary Mack, Draw Me a Bucket; Michael Row the Boat Ashore. In addition to the movement the singing games suggest, they will be using the genre as a basis for studying melody, call and response singing and instrumental accompaniment.
- Grades 3-5 will continue to sing the songs of Freedom: songs used in the civil rights movement as well as the abolition of slavery (spirituals): If I Had a Hammer, Hold On, Peace Like a River.
- Students in these grades will also be listening to recordings and reading short biographical articles of some of America's most influential musicians in the development of ragtime, gospel, jazz and rock and roll. They will be using their skills in compare and contrast as they describe the compositions they are listening to and prepare short written or pictorial responses using their music vocabulary.
SES will for the third consecutive year host a school-wide “African American History Month Read-In.” Locally recruited readers will conduct read-alouds in all grades of books relevant to the Black History Month theme. In addition, grade-by-grade activities are planned as follows:
Kindergarten: Teachers will read stories and simple books to students about famous African Americans including Martin Luther King, Jr. Jackie Robinson, and Harriet Tubman.
First Grade: First grade students will focus on the lives of three historically important African Americans: Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They will also read books by and about African Americans.
Grade Two: Students will use biographies and Scholastic News articles as a platform to discuss Dr. King’s contributions. A timeline of his life will also be studied within the context of a discussion that outlines the differences between fiction/non-fiction. An interactive bulletin board of famous African Americans will be posted that will allow students to match these persons with important facts. George Washington Carver and Harriet Tubman will be studied with a Reader’s Theatre presentation as the final product. Classroom libraries will feature books about important black Americans to be read during “Our Time to Enjoy Reading” (OTTER). Small group internet research projects on famous African Americans will be initiated throughout the month.
Grade Three: February book reports will concentrate on celebrating famous African Americans through the genre of biographies. Students will also be asked to complete a “can do” packet on African American leaders during their small flex reading group time. Teachers will include read-alouds about famous African Americans.
Grade Four: Students will perform a Readers Theatre about the life and times of a runaway slave who escaped via the Underground Railroad. This play will be presented to classes at the end of the month. Various websites will be explored for information about Harriet Tubman.
Grade Five: In math class, students will complete a coordinating graph and timeline activity using the dates of noteworthy achievements, birth dates, etc. of famous African Americans. In social studies, children will study the triangular trade route and slavery issues within the context of colonial American times. Discussion will center on the economic and social impact that slavery and its abolition had in early America. Pupils will be asked to compare/contrast these topics with modern American life. In reading class, youngsters will extend their historical fiction unit about colonial American life with independent readings about famous African Americans and their contributions to the American experience.
In addition, small tutoring groups will spend time reading Martin Luther King, Jr., A Man Who Changed Things” and discuss – and write about – Dr. King’s and Jackie Robinson’s contributions to history as well as their impact on modern American life.
In music class fourth and fifth grade classes will research significant African American music, compile information on composers and listen to their musical compositions.
Science students will be completing reports about African-American Scientists and their contributions to Science. These will be portrayed as SKITS, POETRY, SONGS, POSTERS, or any other creative way they would prefer. Presentations can be individualized, or with a partner. Students can make a choice.
We will again have a display of books that celebrate Black History Month. These books will be available for check-out by both staff and students. We also have a very nice display of posters that highlight African-Americans and their achievements. Please feel free to stop by and enjoy both
ALL SCHOOL BROADCAST
During our regular daily announcements we will be spotlighting Black Americans Past and Present. This will be a short biographical sketch presented by our students to the student body.
There will be a display in honor of Black History Month
Bryon Sofonowski - History
The entire month of January and February. We will be reviewing the struggle of African Americans after the Civil War. They will be learning of the early years of the African Americans civil rights movement - such as: 13th/14th and 15th Amendment, sharecropping, and people such as W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington.
Gillian Breedlove - Art
I may do Romare Bearden collages (Harlem Renaissance). At about that time.
Dr. Beverly Wolff – English/AP Literature
My AP classes will discuss the subject of "canon" and why so many black American and women authors were omitted from traditional texts. (My own Amer. Lit. text at U.of Ill. included two women (Dickinson and Wharton) and no blacks. My daughter is writing her dissertation on slave figures and other elements of "union" in art appearing after the Civil War.)
Glenn Brainer – Technology Projects
Black History Month Project will include….
Description: decade in which event took place, “exact date event occurred” , event name event relationship, etc. MOS Class will do similar project using Access Database
Christina Warren – English
My English classes will discuss the Civil Rights Movement and the significant Supreme Court cases surrounding education/segregation, in particular. We will read and listen to MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech. Also, we always read Maya Angelo's poetry and stories and read about local heroes like Harriett Tubman and Frederick Douglas.
In the media center--extensive display of books ,pictures art...There will be a Black History Scavenger hunt teachers may sign up to bring classes.
History classes - discuss historiography of traditionally "left out" origins of Black History month.
Several English classes - Special readings of black authors...several plan to go to the media center for the scavenger hunt...Friday videos to highlight Black author's books on film/historical events about events which impacted society with regards to Black History.
Use of bulletin boards to highlight Black History.
Weekly announcements highlighting black leaders in history.
Americans have recognized black history annually since 1926, first as "Negro History Week" and later as "Black History Month." What you might not know is that black history had barely begun to be studied-or even documented-when the tradition originated. Although blacks have been in America at least as far back as colonial times, it was not until the 20th century that they gained a respectable presence in the history books.
Blacks Absent from History Books
We owe the celebration of Black History Month, and more importantly, the study of black history, to Dr. Carter G. Woodson.
Born to parents who were former slaves, he spent his childhood working in the Kentucky coal mines and enrolled in high school
at age twenty. He graduated within two years and later went on to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard. The scholar was disturbed to find
in his studies that history books largely ignored the black American population-and when blacks did figure into the picture, it was
generally in ways that reflected the inferior social position they were assigned at the time.
Established Journal of Negro History
Woodson, always one to act on his ambitions, decided to take on the challenge of writing black Americans into the nation's history. He established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now called the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History) in 1915, and a year later founded the widely respected Journal of Negro History. In 1926, he launched Negro History Week as an initiative to bring national attention to the contributions of black people throughout American history. Woodson chose the second week of February for Negro History Week because it marks the birthdays of two men who greatly influenced the black American population, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. However, February has much more than Douglass and Lincoln to show for its significance in black American history. For example:
February 23, 1868…. E. B. DuBois, important civil rights leader and co-founder of the NAACP, was born.
February 3, 1870…The 15th Amendment was passed, granting blacks the right to vote.
February 25, 1870…The first black U.S. senator, Hiram R. Revels (1822-1901), took his oath of office.
February 12, 190…he National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded .
February 1, 1960…In what would become a civil-rights movement milestone, a group of black Greensboro, N.C., college students began a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter.
February 21, 1965…Malcolm X, the militant leader who promoted Black Nationalism, was shot to death by Black Muslims.
…to name a few…
Local elected official:John Mercer Langston, 1855, town clerk of Brownhelm Township, Ohio.
State elected official: Alexander Lucius Twilight, 1836, the Vermont legislature.
Mayor of major city:Carl Stokes, Cleveland, Ohio, 1967–1971. The first black woman to serve as a mayor of a major U.S. city was Sharon Pratt Dixon Kelly, Washington, DC, 1991–1995.
Governor (appointed):P.B.S. Pinchback served as governor of Louisiana from Dec. 9, 1872–Jan. 13, 1873, during impeachment proceedings against the elected governor.
Governor (elected):L. Douglas Wilder, Virginia, 1990–1994. The only other elected black governor has been Deval Patrick, Massachusetts, 2007–
U.S. Representative:Joseph Rainey became a Congressman from South Carolina in 1870 and was reelected four more times. The first black female U.S. Representative was Shirley Chisholm, Congresswoman from New York, 1969–1983.
U.S. Senator:Hiram Revels became Senator from Mississippi from Feb. 25, 1870, to March 4, 1871, during Reconstruction. Edward Brooke became the first African-American Senator since Reconstruction, 1966–1979. Carol Mosely Braun became the first black woman Senator serving from 1992–1998 for the state of Illinois. (There have only been a total of five black senators in U.S. history: the remaining two are Blanche K. Bruce [1875–1881] and Barack Obama (2005— ).
U.S. cabinet member: Robert C. Weaver, 1966–1968, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under Lyndon Johnson; the first black female cabinet minister was Patricia Harris, 1977, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under Jimmy Carter.
U.S. Secretary of State: Gen. Colin Powell, 2001–2004. The first black female Secretary of State was Condoleezza Rice, 2005—.
Editor, Harvard Law Review: Charles Hamilton Houston, 1919. Barack Obama became the first President of the Harvard Law Review.
Federal Judge:William Henry Hastie, 1946; Constance Baker Motley became the first black woman federal judge, 1966.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice:Thurgood Marshall, 1967–1991. Clarence Thomas became the second African American to serve on the Court in 1991.
U.S. diplomat: Ebenezer D. Bassett, 1869, became minister-resident to Haiti; Patricia Harris became the first black female ambassador (1965; Luxembourg).
U.S. Representative to the UN: Andrew Young (1977–1979).
Nobel Peace Prize winner:Ralph J. Bunche received the prize in 1950 for mediating the Arab-Israeli truce. Martin Luther King, Jr., became the second African-American Peace Prize winner in 1964.
…to name a few…
Combat pilot: Georgia-born Eugene Jacques Bullard, 1917, denied entry into the U.S. Army Air Corps because of his race, served throughout World War I in the French Flying Corps. He received the Legion of Honor, France's highest honor, among many other decorations.
First Congressional Medal of Honor winner: Sgt. William H. Carney for bravery during the Civil War. He received his Congressional Medal of Honor in 1900.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: Colin Powell, 1989–1993.
Science and Medicine
First patent holder:Thomas L. Jennings, 1821, for a dry-cleaning process. Sarah E. Goode, 1885, became the first African-American woman to receive a patent, for a bed that folded up into a cabinet.
M.D. degree: James McCune Smith, 1837, University of Glasgow; Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first black woman to receive an M.D. degree. She graduated from the New England Female Medical College in 1864.
Inventor of the blood bank: Dr. Charles Drew, 1940.
Successful open heart surgery:Daniel Hale Williams, 1893.
First astronaut: Robert H. Lawrence, Jr., 1967, was the first black astronaut, but he died in a plane crash during a training flight and never made it into space. Guion Bluford, 1983, became the first black astronaut to travel in space; Mae Jemison, 1992, became the first black female astronaut. Frederick D. Gregory, 1998, was the first African-American shuttle commander.
First Oscar:Hattie McDaniel, 1940, supporting actress, Gone with the Wind.
Oscar, Best Actor/Actress:Sidney Poitier, 1963, Lilies of the Field; Halle Berry, 2001, Monster's Ball.
Oscar, Best Actress Nominee:Dorothy Dandridge, 1954, Carmen Jones.
Film director: Oscar Micheaux, 1919, wrote, directed, and produced The Homesteader, a feature film.
Hollywood director:Gordon Parks directed and wrote The Learning Tree for Warner Brothers in 1969.
…to name a few…
Network television show host: Nat King Cole, 1956, "The Nat King Cole Show"; Oprah Winfrey became the first black woman television host in 1986, "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
Star of a network television show:Bill Cosby, 1965, "I Spy".
Major league baseball player:Jackie Robinson, 1947, Brooklyn Dodgers.
Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame: Jackie Robinson, 1962; first black woman, Effa Manley, co-owner of the Negro Leagues team Newark Eagles, 2006.
NFL quarterback: Willie Thrower, 1953.
NFL football coach:Fritz Pollard, 1922–1937.
Golf champion:Tiger Woods, 1997, won the Masters golf tournament.
NHL hockey player: Willie O'Ree, 1958, Boston Bruins.
Tennis champion:Althea Gibson became the first black person to play in and win Wimbledon and the United States national tennis championship. She won both tournaments twice, in 1957 and 1958. In all, Gibson won 56 tournaments, including five Grand Slam singles events. The first black male champion was Arthur Ashe who won the 1968 U.S. Open, the 1970 Australian Open, and the 1975 Wimbledon championship.
Heavyweight boxing champion:Jack Johnson, 1908.
Olympic medalist: George Poage, 1904, won two bronze medals in the 200 m hurdles and 400 m hurdles.
Olympic gold medalist:: John Baxter "Doc" Taylor, 1908, won a gold medal as part of the 4 x 400 m relay team.
Olympic gold medalist:DeHart Hubbard, 1924, for the long jump; the first woman was Alice Coachman, who won the high jump in 1948.
Olympic medalist: Debi Thomas, 1988, won the bronze in figure skating.
Olympic gold medalist: Vonetta Flowers, 2002, bobsled.
Olympic gold medalist: Shani Davis, 2006, 1,000 m speedskating.
Millionaire:Madame C. J. Walker.
Billionaire: Robert Johnson, 2001, owner of Black Entertainment Television; Oprah Winfrey, 2003.
Portrayal on a postage stamp: Booker T. Washington, 1940 (and also 1956).
Miss America:Vanessa Williams, 1984, representing New York. Explorer, North Pole: Matthew A. Henson, 1909, accompanied Robert E. Peary on the first successful U.S. expedition to the North Pole.
Explorer, South Pole: George Gibbs, 1939–1941 accompanied Richard Byrd.
…to name a few…
The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s challenged racism in America and made the country a more just and humane society for all. Below are a few of its many heroes.
On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks, an African-American seamstress, left work and boarded a bus for home. As the bus became crowded, the bus driver ordered Parks to give up her seat to a white passenger. Montgomery's buses were segregated, with the seats in the front reserved for "whites only." Blacks had to sit at the back of the bus. But if the bus was crowded and all the "whites only" seats were filled, black people were expected to give up their seats—a black person sitting while a white person stood would never be tolerated in the racist South. Rosa had had enough of such humiliation, and refused to give up her seat. "I felt I had a right to stay where I was," she said. "I wanted this particular driver to know that we were being treated unfairly as individuals and as a people." The bus driver had her arrested.
Martin Luther King, Jr., heard about Parks's brave defiance and launched a boycott of Montgomery buses. The 17,000 black residents of Montgomery pulled together and kept the boycott going for more than a year. Finally, the Supreme Court intervened and declared segregation on buses unconstitutional. Rosa Parks and the boycotters defeated the racist system, and she became known as "the mother of the civil rights movement.“
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
It wasn't just that Martin Luther King became the leader of the civil rights movement that made him so extraordinary—it was the way in which he led the movement. King advocated civil disobedience, the non-violent resistance against unjust laws: "Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it." Civil rights activists organized demonstrations, marches, boycotts, strikes, and voter-registration drives, and refused to obey laws that they knew were wrong and unjust.
These peaceful forms of protest were often met with vicious threats, arrests, beatings, and worse. King emphasized how important it was that the civil rights movement did not sink to the level of the racists and hate mongers they fought against: "Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred," he urged. "We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline." King's philosophy of "tough-mindedness and tenderheartedness" was not only highly effective, but it gave the civil rights movement an inspiring moral authority and grace.
…to name a few…
Read about Plessy v. Feguson, the Supreme Court's "separate but equal" doctrine that was overturned by Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Thurgood Marshall was a courageous civil rights lawyer during a period when racial segregation was the law of the land. At a time when a large portion of American society refused to extend equality to black people, Marshall astutely realized that one of the best ways to bring about change was through the legal system. Between 1938 and 1961, he presented more than 30 civil rights cases before the Supreme Court. He won 29 of them. His most important case was Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), which ended segregation in public schools. By law, black and white students had to attend separate public schools. As long as schools were "separate but equal"—providing equal education for all races—segregation was considered fair. In reality, segregated schools were shamefully unequal: white schools were far more privileged than black schools, which were largely poor and overcrowded. Marshall challenged the doctrine, pointing out that "separate but equal" was just a myth disguising racism. He argued that if all students were indeed equal, then why was it necessary to separate them? The Supreme Court agreed, ruling that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." Marshall went on to become the first African-American Supreme Court Justice in American history.
The Little Rock Nine
The Little Rock Nine pictured with Daisy Bates, the president of the Arkansas NAACP. The Little Rock Nine, as they later came to be called, were the first black teenagers to attend all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. These remarkable young African-American students challenged segregation in the deep South and won. Although Brown v. Board of Education outlawed segregation in schools, many racist school systems defied the law by intimidating and threatening black students—Central High School was a notorious example. But the Little Rock Nine were determined to attend the school and receive the same education offered to white students, no matter what. Things grew ugly and frightening right away. On the first day of school, the governor of Arkansas ordered the state's National Guard to block the black students from entering the school. Imagine what it must have been like to be a student confronted by armed soldiers! President Eisenhower had to send in federal troops to protect the students. But that was only the beginning of their ordeal. Every morning on their way to school angry crowds of whites taunted and insulted the Little Rock Nine—they even received death threats. One of the students, fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Eckford, said "I tried to see a friendly face somewhere in the mob. . . . I looked into the face of an old woman, and it seemed a kind face, but when I looked at her again, she spat at me." As scared as they were, the students wouldn't give up, and several went on to graduate from Central High. Nine black teenagers challenged a racist system and defeated it.