Month: March 2018

March 31, 2002- Bessie Stringfield

GM – FBF – I would like to thank everyone who visited my daily posts during Woman’s History Month, just like Black History month there is not enough time to tell all of the great stories that women have and still do everyday. We now will travel into the Month of April telling and reminding all that our history is 365 – 24/7 and I will share individuals and organizations that school books have left out and please share with our babies. PEACE!

Remember – ” I can ride and do as many stunts with a motor bike as any man but I am still proud to be a woman” – Bessie Stringfield

Today in our History – March 31, 2002 Bessie Stringfield was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

Bessie Stringfield (February 9, 1911 – February 16, 1993), nicknamed “The Motorcycle Queen of Miami”, was the first African-American woman to ride across the United States solo, and during World War II she served as one of the few motorcycle despatch riders for the United States military.

Credited with breaking down barriers for both women and Jamaican-American motorcyclists, Stringfield was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. the award bestowed by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) for “Superior Achievement by a Female Motorcyclist” is named in her honor.
Stringfield was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1911 to a black Jamaican father and a white Dutch mother. The family migrated to Boston when she was still young. Her parents died when Stringfield was five and she was adopted and raised by an Irish woman.

At the age of 16 Stringfield taught herself to ride her first motorcycle, a 1928 Indian Scout. In 1930, at the age of 19, she commenced traveling across the United States. She made seven more long-distance trips in the US, and eventually rode through the 48 lower states, Europe, Brazil and Haiti. During this time, she earned money from performing motorcycle stunts in carnival shows. Due to her skin color, Stringfield was often denied accommodation while traveling, so she would sleep on her motorcycle at filling stations. Due to her sex, she was refused prizes in flat track races she entered.

During WWII Stringfield served as a civilian courier for the US Army, carrying documents between domestic army bases. She completed the rigorous training and rode her own blue 61 cubic inch Harley-Davidson. During the four years she worked for the Army, she crossed the United States eight times. She regularly encountered racism during this time, reportedly being deliberately knocked down by a white male in a pickup truck while traveling in the South.

In the 1950s Stringfield moved to Miami, Florida, where at first she was told “nigger women are not allowed to ride motorcycles” by the local police. After repeatedly being pulled over and harassed by officers, she visited the police captain. They went to a nearby park to prove her riding abilities. She gained the captain’s approval to ride and didn’t have any more trouble with the police.

She qualified as a nurse there and founded the Iron Horse Motorcycle Club. Her skill and antics at motorcycle shows gained the attention of the local press, leading to the nickname of “The Negro Motorcycle Queen”. This nickname later changed to “The Motorcycle Queen of Miami”, a moniker she carried for the remainder of her life. In 1990 the AMA paid tribute to her in their inaugural “Heroes of Harley-Davidson” exhibition she having owned 27 of their motorcycles. Stringfield died in 1993 at the age of 82 from a heart condition, having kept riding right up until the time of her death.

In 2000 the AMA created the “Bessie Stringfield Memorial Award” to recognize outstanding achievement by a female motorcyclist. Stringfield was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2002. She married and divorced six times, losing three babies with her first husband. She ended up keeping the last name of her third husband, Arthur Stringfield, since she had made it famous. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

March 30, 1957- Edith Mae Savage

GM – FBF – ” The most that we can do is never give up on the Capitol City of Trenton because this is our home.” – Edith Savage.

Remember – ” Our chrildren need to be educated with our Black Institutions and Organizations at a young age in order for them to carry the tourch of our people in the future.” – Edith Savage

Today in our History – March 30, 1957 – Edith Savage was introduced to Martain Luther King and his wife who would become great friends until their deaths.

Edith Mae Savage-Jennings (March 17, 1924 – November 12, 2017) was an American civil rights leader from New Jersey. She was known for her association with civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

She was notable for being a guest to the White House under every president of the United States from Franklin D. Roosevelt through Barack Obama. She was inducted into the New Jersey Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011. Savage was born in 1924 at Jacksonville, Florida, one of six children in her family. Her parents died when she was two years old. Following the death of her parents, Savage and her siblings went to live with her aunt, who moved the family to New Jersey.

At age 10, Savage met First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt when she was selected to hand the First Lady flowers on behalf of the New Jersey State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs. Although told not to say anything, Savage thanked Roosevelt which led to the two becoming pen pals for the remainder of Roosevelt’s life.

At 12 years old, she joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
At only 13 years old, Savage helped to integrate the Capital Theater in Trenton, New Jersey, when she refused to sit in the balcony, which was the designated seating area for blacks. Savage’s first job was in the sheriff’s office, where she continued to speak out against discrimination.

On March 30, 1957, while Savage was raising funds for King’s Southern Leadership Conference, she was introduced to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, became Savage’s close friends. After Martin’s death, Savage worked with Coretta to found the King Center.

In 1964, Savage and then first lady of New Jersey Helen Meyner went on a presidential mission to integrate a school in Mississippi. Savage and Meyner met with local women in an effort to convince the locals to allow for the school to be integrated peacefully. Later that same year, she organized the New Jersey Democratic Coalition.

In 2017, she was a keynote speaker at the Women’s March in Trenton. Savage was the coordinator of the Mid-Atlantic States Poor People’s Campaign of SCLC in 1968. President Jimmy Carter appointed her as a U.S. Delegate at the World Women’s Conference in Houston, Texas in 1977.

Besides promoting civil rights, Savage wanted to combat problems in the African-American community through education. She believed the importance of parenting and mentoring to give children role models.On October 28, 1993, Savage married C. Donald Jennings. Rosa Parks attended the wedding and Coretta Scott King served as maid of honor. Her husband died on June 19, 2011 at age 94. ]Savage died on November 12, 2017 at her home in Trenton, New Jersey at the age of 93.Savage received more than 100 awards and honors for her work in Civil Rights. She was inducted into the New Jersey Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011. The city of Trenton proclaimed February 19, 2016 as Edith Savage-Jennings Day.

Savage was a guest to the White House under every president of the United States from Franklin Delano Roosevelt through Barack Obama. Mrs. Savage helped me in so many ways over my career that are to many to share right now and we all miss her. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

March 29 1993- Shirley K. Turner

GM – FBF – As we draw to a close of National Woman’s Month it would be remiss of me if I did not reconize our women of Trenton, NJ. and we have many – TRENTON MAKES THE WORLD TAKES!

Remember – “Women have to pay the same amount to buy gasoline or food as men. We don’t get a discount because we are not being paid the same salaries as men,” – (Shirley K. Turner – D- N.J. Senator)

Today in our History – March 29, 1993 – Shirley K. Turner decides to run for N.J.’s lower house – The General Assembly.

Senator Shirley Kersey Turner (born July 3, 1941) is serving her seventh term in the New Jersey Senate. Prior to serving in the Senate, Shirley served two terms in the Assembly in 1993 and 1995. During the 208th Legislature, Senator Turner became the first woman and first African-American to be elected as Senate President Pro Tempore.

Senator Turner is Vice Chair of the Senate Education Committee and the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee. She is a member of the Legislative Black Caucus and a Commissioner of the Education Commission of the States, a national, nonpartisan interstate compact devoted to education. She serves on the Education Commission of the States’ Steering and Finance Committees.

Senator Turner has worked in a bipartisan fashion to build a significant record of legislative accomplishments, working to enhance the health, safety, and well-being of New Jersey’s children, strengthen families, promote public education and affordable health care, develop and support small businesses, and also fostering economic development, and job growth. The breadth of legislation she has sponsored reflects the needs and interests of her diverse district.

Among Senator Turner’s legislative accomplishments, she has created laws to require that the health and safety of a child be the State’s paramount concern in cases where a child is placed outside the home; require criminal history checks of child care center employees, and school employees and volunteers; establish procedures for the placement of a minor child whose caretaker is incarcerated; enhance school bus safety; provide more scholarship opportunities, including allowing students to attend two-year and four-year state colleges at no cost; establish nutrition standards and eye exams for students; and promote mentoring and after-school programs for at-risk youth. Senator Turner has been critical of the State’s practice of placing at-risk children out of state and away from the support of their families. As Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Turner has overseen legislation which has improved education for children in primary and secondary schools and helped to keep New Jersey’s schools among the highest performing in the nation. She has worked to expand public school choice by permanently establishing an Interdistrict Public School Choice program in the Department of Education.

Senator Turner received national acclaim for her efforts to protect jobs by preventing publicly-funded jobs from being outsourced to foreign countries, setting the precedent for 21 other states that followed Senator Turner’s lead. She has also established laws to provide MicroCredit Business loans for women; mandate insurance coverage of minimum hospital stays for mastectomies and child birth; and protect consumers from identity theft, predatory lending, and telemarketing calls. She also pioneered the legislation that eventually established bars and restaurants as smoke-free. Senator Turner has also worked to create increased opportunities for affordable housing and homeownership.

Senator Turner was at the forefront of legislation to abolish the death penalty and worked to create drug court programs statewide for first-time, non-violent offenders to receive treatment instead of incarceration. In the fight against opioid addiction, Senator Turner’s legislation would help to curb addictions and expand treatment opportunities. She has fought to reduce gun and gang crimes and violence by establishing zero tolerance for illegal weapons and ammunition sales and transfers. She has fought to reform unfair and unaffordable motor vehicle surcharge laws, with a goal of restoring drivers’ licenses and removing the barrier to employment. Senator Turner has been a strong voice for government reform. She was the prime sponsor of the legislation that created the clean elections pilot programs and has been active in her support for other ethics and campaign reforms. Her voting record consistently reflects her efforts to reduce patronage and promote efficiency and transparency in government spending. She is continuing the fight to help reform New Jersey’s regressive property tax system and to promote and encourage shared services and consolidation of school districts and municipalities in order to reduce property taxes.

As a career educator, Senator Turner has been dedicated to New Jersey’s youth, helping them to build bright futures. She is a former Trenton public school teacher, a former EOF counselor to disadvantaged youth who are first-generation college students, and a former counselor for the New Jersey Youth Corps to help prepare youth for employment. She is the former Director of Career Services at Rider University, where she worked advising college students and alumni in their career plans. She received a B.S. in education from The College of New Jersey (formerly Trenton State College) and a M.A. in guidance and counseling from Rider University. She earned doctoral credits in education at Rutgers University. Senator Turner is a former Mercer County Freeholder and Freeholder vice president. She and her husband Donald live in Lawrenceville. They have two children, daughter, Jacqueline and son-in-law Gregory and son, Chet and daughter-in-law Tonia, and five grandchildren, Deron, Briana, Bryson, Faith, and Chandler. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

March 28, 1990- Shirley Chisholm

GM – FBF – First Black Woman to run for U.S. President

Remember – “You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” Shirley Chisholm

Today in our History – March 28, 1990 – Shirley Chisholm starts the African-American Women for Reproductive Freedom.

Shirley Anita Chisholm (née St. Hill; November 30, 1924 – January 1, 2005) was an American politician, educator, and author. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress, and she represented New York’s 12th Congressional District for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In 1972, she became the first black candidate for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

In 2015, Chisholm was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Shirley Anita St. Hill was born on November 30, 1924, in Brooklyn, New York, to immigrant parents from the Caribbean region. She had three younger sisters, two born within three years after St. Hill, one later. Their father, Charles Christopher St. Hill, was born in British Guiana, lived in Barbados for a while, and then arrived in the United States via Antilla, Cuba, on April 10, 1923, aboard the S.S. Munamar in New York City. Their mother, Ruby Seale, was born in Christ Church, Barbados, and arrived in New York City aboard the S.S. Pocone on March 8, 1921. Beginning in 1939, St. Hill attended Girls’ High School in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, a highly regarded, integrated school that attracted girls from throughout Brooklyn. St. Hill earned her Bachelor of Arts from Brooklyn College in 1946, where she won prizes for her debating skills. She was a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

St. Hill met Conrad O. Chisholm in the late 1940s. He had come to the U.S. from Jamaica in 1946 and later became a private investigator who specialized in negligence-based lawsuits. They married in 1949 in a large West Indian-style wedding.

Chisholm taught in a nursery school while furthering her education, earning her MA in elementary education from Teachers College at Columbia University in 1952.

Chisholm began exploring her candidacy in July 1971, and formally announced her presidential bid on January 25, 1972, in a Baptist church in her district in Brooklyn. There she called for a “bloodless revolution” at the forthcoming Democratic nomination convention. Chisholm became the first black major-party candidate to run for President of the United States, in the 1972 U.S. presidential election, making her also the first woman ever to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination (U.S. Senator Margaret Chase Smith had previously run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1964). By the time of the national convention, the loyalists were seated following a credentials challenge, and their delegates were characterized as mostly supporting McGovern, with some support for Humphrey. During the convention, some McGovern delegates became angry about what they saw as statements from McGovern that backed away from his commitment to end U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia, and cast protest votes for Chisholm as a result. During the actual balloting, Mississippi went in the first half of the roll call, and cast 12 of its 25 votes for Chisholm, with McGovern coming next with 10 votes.

During the campaign the German filmmaker Peter Lilienthal shot the documentary film Shirley Chisholm for President for German Television channel ZDF.
After leaving Congress, Chisholm made her home in suburban Williamsville, New York. She resumed her career in education, being named to the Purington Chair at the all-women Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. As such she was not a member of any particular department, but would be able to teach classes in a variety of areas; those previously holding the position included W. H. Auden, Bertrand Russell, and Arna Bontemps.

At Mount Holyoke, she taught politics and sociology from 1983 to 1987. She focused on undergraduate courses that covered politics as it involved women and race. Dean of faculty Joseph Ellis later said that Chisholm “contributed to the vitality of the College and gave the College a presence.” In 1985 she was a visiting scholar at Spelman College.

During those years, she continued to give speeches at colleges, by her own count visiting over 150 campuses since becoming nationally known. She told students to avoid polarization and intolerance: “If you don’t accept others who are different, it means nothing that you’ve learned calculus.” Continuing to be involved politically, she traveled to visit different minority groups and urging them to become a strong force at the local level. In 1984 and 1988, she campaigned for Jesse Jackson for the presidential elections. In 1990, Chisholm, along with 15 other black women and men, formed the African-American Women for Reproductive Freedom.

Chisholm retired to Florida in 1991. In 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated her to be United States Ambassador to Jamaica, but she could not serve due to poor health and the nomination was withdrawn. In the same year she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Chisholm died on January 1, 2005, in Ormond Beach near Daytona Beach, after suffering several strokes. She is buried in the Oakwood Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, where the legend inscribed on her vault reads: “Unbought and Unbossed”. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

April 27, 2009- Donna Edwards

GM – FBF – Last day of executive meetings and tomorrow I can start responding to your words about the posts. Today, we remember a brave black women who protested something she felt was wrong. Enjoy!

Remember -“Power is getting things done without having to demonstrate that you can bulldoze it through. I’m most effective when I’ve studied an issue, when I can make a credible argument, and then bring people along.” -( U.S. Congresswoman 4th District MD. – Donna Edwards)

Today in our History – April 27, 2009 – Donna Edwards Aressted.

Donna Edwards is a Democratic member of U.S. House of Representatives, representing the 4th Congressional District of Maryland since 2008. Early in 2009 she was among a group of U.S. Congress members who were handcuffed and arrested while protesting the expulsion of aid groups from Darfur in front of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Edwards earned her BA from Wake Forest University where she was one of six African American women in her class. She later earned a JD from Franklin Pierce Law Center in New Hampshire. Prior to her political career, she worked as a systems engineer with the Spacelab program at Lockheed Corporation’s Goddard Space Flight Center. During the 1980s, Edwards worked as a clerk for then district judge Albert Wynn when he served in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Edwards also was involved in numerous community organizations prior to entering political office. She co-founded, chaired, and served as the first executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, a legal support and advocacy group for battered women. She was instrumental in helping to pass the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. Edwards also headed the Center for a New Democracy and was a lobbyist for the nonprofit Public Citizen organization. Edwards participates on numerous nonprofit boards including Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Common Cause, and the League of Conservation Voters. Since 2000, she has served as executive director of the Arca Foundation.

After a controversial Democratic primary loss to Rep. Albert Wynn in 2006 in which there were substantial problems with the voting process, she defeated Wynn in the primary in 2008. Later that year, she filled the congressional seat after winning a special election when Wynn resigned mid-term. She serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Science and Technology Committee, and the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.

On April 27, 2009, Edwards was arrested outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington D.C., during a protest against genocide in Darfur. She and four other members of Congress were protesting the blocking of aid to victims.

March 27, 1924- Sarah Vaughn

GM – FBF – “When I sing, trouble can sit right on my shoulder and I don’t even notice.” – Sarah Vaughan

Remember – “When I sing a tune, the lyrics are important to me. Most of the standard lyrics I know well. And as soon as I hear an arrangement, I get ideas, kind of like blowing a horn. I guess I never sing a tune the same way twice.” – Sarah Vaughan

Today in our History – March 27, 1924 –

Sarah Vaughan was a popular twentieth century African-American Jazz singer. She was recognized for her beautiful voice and often nicknamed ‘Sassy’, ‘Sailor’ and ‘The Divine One’ for her salty speech. Moreover, she won a Grammy Award and was awarded the “highest honor in jazz” by The National Endowment for the Arts.

Sarah Lois Vaughan was born on March 27, 1924 in Newark, New Jersey to carpenter and guitarist father, Asbury Vaughan. Her mother also had a singing background as she used to sing in choir. During the First World War her family moved from Virginia to Newark. Sarah began to take piano lessons at the young age of seven. She would sing in the church choir and play piano at different services. The popular records and radio music were her favorite. Newark in those days had an active live music scene at night clubs. Seeing various bands on tour performing at those clubs inspired Sarah and she ventured into Newark’s night clubs and performed as pianist and sang occasionally.

At first Sarah went to Newark’s East Side High School and later transferred to Newark Arts High School. However, the academic pressure began to affect her love of music and late night performances, thus she dropped out of the high school. This time around Sarah and her friends began to wander across New York City to catch popular bands playing music. Inspired by their performances, Sarah tried her luck at Harlem’s Zeus Theater. It is recorded by some biographers that she immediately became popular after that amateur night performance. Soon after, she was introduced to bandleader and pianist Earl Hines. He took her under his wings and replaced the current male singer in his band with her. During 1943 to 1944, Sarah Vaughan toured with Hines’ band which she joined as a pianist. But when Hines brought another pianist to the band, her duties became limited exclusively to singing. The major band member Billy Eckstine, left the band in late 1943. He gathered various talented jazz artists to perform in his band. Upon invitation from him in 1944, Sarah accepted the offer to join his new band. It was an opportunity for her to develop and polish her skills as a musician under the supervision of such great talented music artists. She was given the opportunity to record her first song, “I’ll Wait and Pray”. Eventually, she left Eckstine’s band in order to pursue a solo music career. Although, they continued to work together on several music projects and remained close friends.

In 1945, Sarah launched her solo career as she did freelance performances at night clubs, such as the Onyx Club, the Famous Door and the Three Deuces. She recorded “Lover Man” for the Guild label, the same year on May 11. Henceforth, she recorded music for several record labels including the Musicraft label and the Crown and Gotham labels. During this time she was also performing at Café Society Downtown in New York, where she met trumpeter George Treadwell and they became friends. He later was appointed as her manager and handled the musical director responsibilities for her, which allowed Sarah to solely focus on singing.

Some of her well-known music that she recorded for Musicraft include “I’ve Got a Crush on You”, “If You Could See Me Now” and “Don’t Blame Me”. Her “Tenderly”, became a smashing hit in 1947. One after another hit led to Sarah Vaughan’s ultimate stardom.

In 1989, Vaughan’s health began to decline, although she rarely revealed any hints in her performances. She canceled a series of engagements in Europe in 1989 citing the need to seek treatment for arthritis in the hand, although she was able to complete a later series of performances in Japan. During a run at New York’s Blue Note Jazz Club in 1989, Vaughan received a diagnosis of lung cancer and was too ill to finish the final day of what would turn out to be her final series of public performances.

Vaughan returned to her home in California to begin chemotherapy and spent her final months alternating stays in the hospital and at home. Vaughan grew weary of the struggle and demanded to be taken home, where she died on the evening of April 3, 1990, while watching a television movie featuring her daughter, a week after her 66th birthday.

Vaughan’s funeral was held at the new location of Mount Zion Baptist Church, 208 Broadway in Newark, New Jersey, with the same congregation she grew up in. Following the ceremony, a horse-drawn carriage transported her body to its final resting place in Glendale Cemetery, Bloomfield in New Jersey. Please, please research more about this great American because I could not put her whole life in and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

March 26, 1962- Augusta Christine Fells

GM – FBF – From the time I can first recall the rain falling on the red clay in Florida. I wanted to make things. When my brothers and sisters were making mud pies, I would be making ducks and chickens with the mud. – Augusta Savage

Remember – “I have created nothing really beautiful, really lasting, but if I can inspire one of these youngsters to develop the talent I know they possess, then my monument will be in their work.” – Augusta Savage

Today in our History – March 26, 1962 – Augusta Savage, original name Augusta Christine Fells, (born February 29, 1892, Green Cove Springs, Florida, U.S.—died March 26, 1962, New York, New York), American sculptor and educator who battled racism to secure a place for African American women in the art world.

Augusta Fells began modeling figures from the red-clay soil of her native Florida at an early age. When just 15 years old, she married John T. Moore in 1907 and had her only child, Irene, in 1908. After Moore died a few years later, Augusta moved to West Palm Beach, Florida, in 1915. About that time she married James Savage, but she divorced him in the early 1920s and kept his name.

Once she discovered a good source for clay, Savage thrived artistically in West Palm Beach, receiving local encouragement and prizes. She moved to Jacksonville, Florida, hoping to make a living by executing commissioned busts of the city’s well-to-do African Americans. When that plan failed, she left her daughter with her parents in Florida and moved to New York City to study art. In 1921 she enrolled at Cooper Union in the four-year sculpture course, but her instructors quickly waived many of the classes in light of her talent. She graduated in three years.

In 1923 Savage became the focus of a racial scandal involving the French government and the American arts community. She was among some 100 young American women selected to attend a summer program at Fontainebleau, outside Paris, but her application was subsequently refused by the French on the basis of her race. The American sculptor Hermon A. MacNeil was the only member of the committee to denounce the decision, and he invited Savage to study with him in an attempt to make amends. Also in 1923 Savage married for the third and final time, but her husband, Robert L. Poston, died the next year. Following this period, Savage worked in steam laundries to earn money to care for her family and to save for studies in Europe.

In the 1920s Savage received commissions to sculpt portrait busts of W.E.B. Du Bois and black nationalist Marcus Garvey; both pieces were hailed for their power and dynamism. On the strength of these works and especially the poignant Gamin (1929)—a portrait bust of a streetwise boy and one of Savage’s few extant pieces—she received a Julius Rosenwald Fellowship that enabled her finally to study in Paris in 1929–31.

The Great Depression brought art sales to a virtual standstill, however, and so when she returned to New York she began to teach art, founding the Savage Studio of Arts and Crafts in Harlem in 1932. In 1934 Savage became the first African American elected to the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors (now National Association of Women Artists). In 1937 she became the first director of the Harlem Community Art Center, which was established under the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project (WPA/FAP). The art centre in Harlem played a crucial role in the development of many young black artists. Savage also fought successfully for the inclusion of black artists in WPA projects.

In the late 1930s Savage was commissioned to create a sculpture for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. The piece, The Harp, inspired by James Weldon Johnson’s poem “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” became one of her best known. Unfortunately, it and many other works by Savage were never cast in durable materials and were later lost or destroyed. Savage opened a gallery specializing in art by African Americans, but it did not survive for long. She retired from art in the 1940s, moving to a farm in Saugerties, New York. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

March 25, 1931- Wells Bennett

GM – FBF – “No nation, savage or civilized, save only the United States of America, has confessed its inability to protect its women save by hanging, shooting, and burning alleged offenders.” – Ida B. Wells

Remember – “There is nothing we can do about the lynching now, as we are out-numbered and without arms.” – Ida B. Wells

Today in our History – Ida B. Wells-Barnett, known for much of her public career as Ida B. Wells, was an anti-lynching activist, a muckraking journalist, a lecturer, and a militant activist for racial justice. She lived from July 16, 1862 to March 25, 1931.

Born into slavery, Wells-Barnett went to work as a teacher when she had to support her family after her parents died in an epidemic. She wrote on racial justice for Memphis newspapers as a reporter and newspaper owner.

She was forced to leave town when a mob attacked her offices in retaliation for writing against an 1892 lynching.

After briefly living in New York, she moved to Chicago, where she married and became involved in local racial justice reporting and organizing. She maintained her militancy and activism throughout her life.

Early Life
Ida B. Wells was enslaved at birth. She was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi, six months before the Emancipation Proclamation. Her father, James Wells, was a carpenter who was the son of the man who enslaved him and his mother. Her mother, Elizabeth, was a cook and was enslaved by the same man as her husband was. Both kept working for him after emancipation. Her father got involved in politics and became a trustee of Rust College, a freedman’s school, which Ida attended.

A yellow fever epidemic orphaned Wells at 16 when her parents and some of her brothers and sisters died.

To support her surviving brothers and sisters, she became a teacher for $25 a month, leading the school to believe that she was already 18 in order to obtain the job.

Education and Early Career
In 1880, after seeing her brothers placed as apprentices, she moved with her two younger sisters to live with a relative in Memphis.

There, she obtained a teaching position at a black school, and began taking classes at Fisk University in Nashville during summers.

Wells also began writing for the Negro Press Association. She became editor of a weekly, Evening Star, and then of Living Way, writing under the pen name Iola. Her articles were reprinted in other black newspapers around the country.

In 1884, while riding in the ladies’ car on a trip to Nashville, Wells was forcibly removed from that car and forced into a colored-only car, even though she had a first class ticket. She sued the railroad, the Chesapeake and Ohio, and won a settlement of $500. In 1887, the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned the verdict, and Wells had to pay court costs of $200.

Wells began writing more on racial injustice and she became a reporter for, and part owner of, Memphis Free Speech. She was particularly outspoken on issues involving the school system, which still employed her. In 1891, after one particular series, in which she had been particularly critical (including of a white school board member she alleged was involved in an affair with a black woman), her teaching contract was not renewed.

Wells increased her efforts in writing, editing, and promoting the newspaper.

She continued her outspoken criticism of racism. She created a new stir when she endorsed violence as a means of self-protection and retaliation.

Lynching in Memphis
Lynching in that time had become one common means by which African Americans were intimidated. Nationally, in about 200 lynchings each year, about two-thirds of the victims were black men, but the percentage was much higher in the South.

In Memphis in 1892, three black businessmen established a new grocery store, cutting into the business of white-owned businesses nearby. After increasing harassment, there was an incident where the business owners fired on some people breaking into the store. The three men were jailed, and nine self-appointed deputies took them from the jail and lynched them.

Anti-Lynching Crusade
One of the lynched men, Tom Moss, was the father of Ida B.

Wells’ goddaughter, and Wells knew him and his partners to be upstanding citizens. She used the paper to denounce the lynching, and to endorse economic retaliation by the black community against white-owned businesses as well as the segregated public transportation system. She also promoted the idea that African Americans should leave Memphis for the newly-opened Oklahoma territory, visiting and writing about Oklahoma in her paper. She bought herself a pistol for self-defense.

She also wrote against lynching in general. In particular, the white community became incensed when she published an editorial denouncing the myth that black men raped white women, and her allusion to the idea that white women might consent to a relationship with black men was particularly offensive to the white community.

Wells was out of town when a mob invaded the paper’s offices and destroyed the presses, responding to a call in a white-owned paper. Wells heard that her life was threatened if she returned, and so she went to New York, self-styled as a “journalist in exile.”

Anti-Lynching Journalist in Exile
Ida B. Wells continued writing newspaper articles at New York Age, where she exchanged the subscription list of Memphis Free Speech for a part ownership in the paper. She also wrote pamphlets and spoke widely against lynching.

In 1893, Wells went to Great Britain, returning again the next year. There, she spoke about lynching in America, found significant support for anti-lynching efforts, and saw the organization of the British Anti-Lynching Society.

She was able to debate Frances Willard during her 1894 trip; Wells had been denouncing a statement of Willard’s that tried to gain support for the temperance movement by asserting that the black community was opposed to temperance, a statement that raised the image of drunken black mobs threatening white women — a theme that played into lynching defense.

Move to Chicago
On returning from her first British trip, Wells moved to Chicago. There, she worked with Frederick Douglass and a local lawyer and editor, Frederick Barnett, in writing an 81-page booklet about the exclusion of black participants from most of the events around the Colmbian Exposition.

She met and married Frederick Barnett who was a widower. Together they had four children, born in 1896, 1897, 1901 and 1904, and she helped raise his two children from his first marriage. She also wrote for his newspaper, the Chicago Conservator.

In 1895 Wells-Barnett published A Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynchings in the United States 1892 – 1893 – 1894. She documented that lynchings were not, indeed, caused by black men raping white women.

From 1898-1902, Wells-Barnett served as secretary of the National Afro-American Council. In 1898, she was part of a delegation to President William McKinley to seek justice after the lynching in South Carolina of a black postman.

In 1900, she spoke for woman suffrage, and worked with another Chicago woman, Jane Addams, to defeat an attempt to segregate Chicago’s public school system.

In 1901, the Barnetts bought the first house east of State Street to be owned by a black family. Despite harassment and threats, they continued to live in the neighborhood.

Wells-Barnett was a founding member of the NAACP in 1909, but withdrew her membership, criticizing the organization for not being militant enough. In her writing and lectures, she often criticized middle-class blacks including ministers for not being active enough in helping the poor in the black community.

In 1910, Wells-Barnett helped found and became president of the Negro Fellowship League, which established a settlement house in Chicago to serve the many African Americans newly arrived from the South. She worked for the city as a probation officer from 1913-1916, donating most of her salary to the organization. But with competition from other groups, the election of an unfriendly city administration, and Wells-Barnett’s poor health, the League closed its doors in 1920.

Woman Suffrage
In 1913, Wells-Barnett organized the Alpha Suffrage League, an organization of African American women supporting woman suffrage. She was active in protesting the strategy of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the largest pro-suffrage group, on participation of African Americans and how they treated racial issues. The NAWSA generally made participation of African Americans invisible — even while claiming that no African American women had applied for membership — so as to try to win votes for suffrage in the South. By forming the Alpha Suffrage League, Wells-Barnett made clear that the exclusion was deliberate, and that African American women and men did support woman suffrage, even knowing that other laws and practices that barred African American men from voting would also affect women.

A major suffrage demonstration in Washington, DC, timed to align with the presidential inauguration of Woodrow Wilson, asked that African American supporters march at the back of the line. Many African American suffragists, like Mary Church Terrell, agreed, for strategic reasons after initial attempts to change the minds of the leadership — but not Ida B. Wells-Barnett. She inserted herself into the march with the Illinois delegation, after the march started, and the delegation welcomed her. The leadership of the march simply ignored her action.

Wider Equality Efforts
Also in 1913, Ida B. Wells-Barnett was part of a delegation to see President Wilson to urge non-discrimination in federal jobs. She was elected as chair of the Chicago Equal Rights League in 1915, and in 1918 organized legal aid for victims of the Chicago race riots of 1918.

In 1915, she was part of the successful election campaign that led to Oscar Stanton De Priest becoming the first African American alderman in the city.

She was also part of founding the first kindergarten for black children in Chicago.

Later Years and Legacy
In 1924, Wells-Barnett failed in a bid to win election as president of the National Association of Colored Women, defeated by Mary McLeod Bethune. In 1930, she failed in a bid to be elected to the Illinois State Senate as an independent.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett died in 1931, largely unappreciated and unknown, but the city later recognized her activism by naming a housing project in her honor. The Ida B. Wells Homes, in the Bronzeville neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, included rowhouses, mid-rise apartments, and some high-rise apartments. Because of the housing patterns of the city, these were occupied primarily by African Americans. Completed in 1939 to 1941, and initially a successful program, over time neglect and other urban problems led to their decay including gang problems. They were torn down between 2002 and 2011, to be replaced by a mixed-income development project.

Although anti-lynching was her main focus, and she did achieve considerable visibility of the problem, she never achieved her goal of federal anti-lynching legislation. Her lasting success was in the area of organizing black women.

Her autobiography Crusade for Justice, on which she worked in her later years, was published in 1970, edited by her daughter Alfreda M. Wells-Barnett.

Her home in Chicago is a National HIstoric Landmark, and is under private ownership. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

March 24, 1912- Dorothy Irene Height

GM – FBF – “Greatness is not measured by what a man or woman accomplishes, but by the opposition he or she has overcome to reach his goals.” – Dorothy Height

REMEMBER – “We’ve got to work to save our children and do it with full respect for the fact that if we do not, no one else is going to do it.” – Dorothy Height

Today in our History – Dorothy Irene Height (March 24, 1912 – April 20, 2010 was an American administrator and educator who worked as a civil rights and women’s rights activist, specifically focused on the issues of African-American women, including unemployment, illiteracy, and voter awareness. She was the president of the National Council of Negro Women for forty years and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.

Dorothy Height was born in Richmond, Virginia. When she was 5 years old, she moved with her family to Rankin, Pennsylvania, a steel town in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, where she graduated from Rankin High School in 1929. Height received a scholarship from the Elks, which helped her to attend college. She was admitted to Barnard College in 1929, but upon arrival was denied entrance because the school had an unwritten policy of admitting only two black students per year. She enrolled instead at New York University, earning an undergraduate degree in 1932 and a master’s degree in educational psychology the following year. She pursued further postgraduate work at Columbia University and the New York School of Social Work (the predecessor of the Columbia University School of Social Work).

Height started working as a caseworker with the New York City Welfare Department, and at the age of 25, she began a career as a civil rights activist, joining the National Council of Negro Women. She fought for equal rights for both African Americans and women. In 1944 she joined the national staff of the YWCA. She was also an active member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, throughout her life, developing leadership training programs and ecumenical education programs. She was initiated at Rho Chapter at Columbia University. She served as national president of the sorority from 1947 to 1956.

In 1957, Height was named president of the National Council of Negro Women, a position she held until 1997. During the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, she organized “Wednesdays in Mississippi,” which brought together black and white women from the North and South to create a dialogue of understanding. Height was also a founding member of the Council for United Civil Rights Leadership. In his autobiography, civil rights leader James Farmer described Height as one of the “Big Six” of the Civil Rights Movement, but noted that her role was frequently ignored by the press due to sexism.

American leaders regularly took her counsel, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.[clarification needed] Height encouraged President Dwight D. Eisenhower to desegregate schools and President Lyndon B. Johnson to appoint African-American women to positions in government. In the mid-1960s, she wrote a column called “A Woman’s Word” for the weekly African-American newspaper the New York Amsterdam News, and her first column appeared in the issue of March 20, 1965, on page 8.

Height served on a number of committees, including as a consultant on African affairs to the Secretary of State, the President’s Committee on the Employment of the Handicapped, and the President’s Committee on the Status of Women. In 1974, she was named to the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, which published the Belmont Report a response to the infamous “Tuskegee Syphilis Study” and an international ethical touchstone for researchers to this day.

In 1990, Height, along with 15 other African Americans, formed the African-American Women for Reproductive Freedom. Height was recognized by Barnard for her achievements as an honorary alumna during the college’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 2004.

The musical stage play If This Hat Could Talk, based on her memoirs Open Wide The Freedom Gates, debuted in 2005. The work showcases her unique perspective on the civil rights movement and details many of the behind-the-scenes figures and mentors who shaped her life, including Mary McLeod Bethune and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Height was the chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the largest civil rights for women’s rights organization in the USA. She was an honored guest at the inauguration of President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009, and was seated on the stage.

She attended the National Black Family Reunion that was celebrated on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., every year until her death in 2010. According to a family history DNA analysis performed by African Ancestry Inc., Height’s maternal line has a root among the Temne people of modern-day Sierra Leone. Dorothy Height was never married and never had children. On March 25, 2010, Height was admitted to Howard University Hospital in Washington D.C. for unspecified reasons. She died six weeks later, on April 20, 2010, at the age of 98. Her funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral on April 29, 2010 was attended by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as many other dignitaries and notable people. She was later buried at Fort Lincoln Cemetery in Colmar Manor, Maryland. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

March 1, 1927- Harry Belafonte

GM – FBF- “In the gun game, we are the most hunted. The river of blood that washes the streets of our nation flows mostly from the bodies of our black children,” – Harry Belafonte

Remember – “When I was born, I was colored. I soon became a Negro. Not long after that I was black. Most recently I was African-American. It seems we’re on a roll here. But I am still first and foremost in search of freedom.” – Harry Belafonte

Today in our History – March 1, 1927 – Harry Belafonte, byname of Harold George Belafonte, Jr.,born in New York City, New York, American singer, actor, producer, and activist who was a key figure in the folk music scene of the 1950s, especially known for popularizing the Caribbean folk songs known as calypsos. He was also involved in various social causes, notably the civil rights movement.

Belafonte was born in Harlem to emigrants from the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Jamaica. When his mother returned to Jamaica in 1935, he joined her, living there until 1940. He left high school to serve in the U.S. Navy in the mid-1940s. After returning to New York City, Belafonte studied drama at Erwin Piscator’s Dramatic Workshop, where a singing role led to nightclub engagements and a recording contract as a pop singer.

In 1950 Belafonte became a folk singer, learning songs at the Library of Congress’s American folk song archives. He sang Caribbean folk songs as well, in nightclubs and theatres; his handsome appearance added to his appeal as a frequent performer on television variety programs. With hit recordings such as “Day-O (Banana Boat Song)” and “Jamaica Farewell,” he initiated a fad for calypso music and became known as the King of Calypso. In the mid-1950s his Harry Belafonte and Mark Twain and Other Folk Favorites were the first of his series of hit folk song albums. During this time he made his Broadway debut, appearing in the musical John Murray Anderson’s Almanac (1953–54); for his performance, he won a Tony Award for supporting actor. Later in the decade he starred on the stage in 3 for Tonight and Belafonte at the Palace.

In 1953 Belafonte made his film debut in Bright Road, playing a school principal. The following year he was the male lead (but did not sing) in the musical Carmen Jones; his costar was Dorothy Dandridge. The film was a huge success, and it led to a starring role in the film Island in the Sun (1957), which also featured Dandridge. He produced the film Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), in which he starred. He also starred in the TV special Tonight with Belafonte (1959), a revue of African American music; Belafonte won an Emmy Award for his work on the show.

Belafonte then took a break from acting to focus on other interests. In the 1960s he became the first African American television producer, and over the course of his career he served in that capacity on several productions. During this time Belafonte continued to record, and his notable albums include Swing Dat Hammer (1960), for which he received a Grammy Award for best folk performance. His collaborations with South African singer Miriam Makeba and Greek singer Nana Mouskouri helped introduce them to American audiences, and An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba (1965) garnered a Grammy for best folk recording. In 1970 he returned to the big screen with the drama The Angel Levine. Later film credits include Buck and the Preacher (1972), Uptown Saturday Night (1974), The Player (1992), Kansas City (1996), and Bobby (2006).

Throughout his career, Belafonte was involved in various causes. He was a supporter of the civil rights movement and a close friend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Belafonte was active in African humanitarian efforts, notably appearing on the charity song “We Are the World” (1985). In 1987 he became a UNICEF goodwill ambassador. He received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2014. I will not be able to respond to all posts today as I will be speaking at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawerenceville, GA. as I finish my Black History Month Speaking tour. Make it a champion day!