Month: March 2018

March 22. 1967- The Book, Black Feeling, Black Talk, Goes Over

GM – FBF – “Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts.” – Nikki Giovanni

Remember – “When you are skinning your customers, you should leave some skin on to grow again so that you can skin them again.” – Nikki Giovanni

Today in our History – March 22, 1967 – The book, Black Feeling, Black Talk , goes over the millian selling mark in December 1967.

On June 7, 1943, Yolanda Cornelia “Nikki” Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1960, she entered Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she worked with the school’s Writer’s Workshop and edited the literary magazine. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1967, she organized the Black Arts Festival in Cincinnati before entering graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University.

In her first two collections, Black Feeling, Black Talk (Harper Perennial, 1968) and Black Judgement (Broadside Press, 1969), Giovanni reflects on the African-American identity. Recently, she has published Bicycles: Love Poems (William Morrow, 2009); Acolytes (HarperCollins, 2007); The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: 1968-1998 (2003); Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea: Poems and Not-Quite Poems (2002); Blues For All the Changes: New Poems (1999); Love Poems (1997); and Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni (University Press of Mississippi, 1996).

A lung cancer survivor, Giovanni has also contributed an introduction to the anthology Breaking the Silence: Inspirational Stories of Black Cancer Survivors (Hilton Publishing, 2005). Her honors include the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Dedication and Commitment to Service in 2009, three NAACP Image Awards for Literature in 1998, the Langston Hughes award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters in 1996, as well as more than twenty honorary degrees from national colleges and universities. She has been given keys to more than a dozen cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, and New Orleans. Several magazines have named Giovanni Woman of the Year, including Essence, Mademoiselle, Ebony, and Ladies Home Journal. She was the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award. She has served as poetry judge for the National Book Awards and was a finalist for a Grammy Award in the category of Spoken Word. She is currently Professor of English and Gloria D. Smith Professor of Black Studies at Virginia Tech, where she has taught since 1987.

Virginia Tech shooting

Seung-Hui Cho, the mass murderer who killed 32 people in the April 16, 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, was a student in one of Giovanni’s poetry classes. Describing him as “mean” and “menacing”, she approached the department chair to have Cho taken out of her class, and said she was willing to resign rather than continue teaching him. She stated that, upon hearing of the shooting, she immediately suspected that Cho might be the shooter.
Giovanni was asked by Virginia Tech president Charles Steger to give a convocation speech at the April 17 memorial service for the shooting victims (she was asked by Steger at 5pm on the day of the shootings, giving her less than 24 hours to prepare the speech). She expressed that she usually feels very comfortable delivering speeches, but worried that her emotion would get the best of her. On April 17, 2007, at the Virginia Tech Convocation commemorating the April 16 Virginia Tech massacre, Giovanni closed the ceremony with a chant poem, intoning:
“We know we did nothing to deserve it. But neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS. Neither do the invisible children walking the night awake to avoid being captured by a rogue army. Neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory. Neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water….We are Virginia Tech…. We will prevail.”

Her speech also sought to express the idea that really terrible things happen to good people: “I would call it, in terms of writing, in terms of poetry, it’s a laundry list. Because all you’re doing is: This is who we are, and this is what we think, and this is what we feel, and this is why – you know?… I just wanted to admit, you know, that we didn’t deserve this, and nobody does. And so I wanted to link our tragedy, in every sense, you know – we’re no different from anything else that has hurt….”
She thought that ending with a thrice-repeated “We will prevail” would be anticlimactic, and she wanted to connect back with the beginning, for balance. So, shortly before going onstage, she added a closing: “We are Virginia Tech.” Her performance produced a sense of unity and received a fifty-four second standing ovation from the over-capacity audience in Cassell Coliseum, including then-President George W. Bush.
The Civil Rights Movement and Black Power movements inspired her early poetry that was collected in Black Feeling, Black Talk (1967), which sold over ten thousand copies in its first year, Black Judgement (1968), selling six thousand copies in three months, and Re: Creation (1970). All three of these early works aided in establishing Giovanni as a new voice for African Americans.(30) In “After Mecca”: Women Poets and the Black Arts Movement, Cheryl Clarke cites Giovanni as a woman poet who became a significant part of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movement. Giovanni is commonly praised as one of the best African-American poets emerging from the 1960s Black Power and Black Arts Movements. Her early poetry that was collected in the late 1960s and early 1970s are seen as radical as and more militant than her later work. Her poems are described as being “politically, spiritually, and socially aware”. Evie Shockley describes Giovanni as “epitomizing the defiant, unapologetically political, unabashedly Afrocentric, BAM ethos”. Her work is described as conveying “urgency in expressing the need for Black awareness, unity, [and] solidarity.” Giovanni herself takes great pride in being a “Black American, a daughter, mother, and a Professor of English”. (29) She has since written more than two dozen books, including volumes of poetry, illustrated children’s books, and three collections of essays. Her work is said to speak to all ages and she strives to make her work easily accessible and understood by both adults and children. (29) Her writing has been heavily inspired by African-American activists and artists. Issues of race, gender, sexuality, and the African-American family also have influenced her work. Her book Love Poems (1997) was written in memory of Tupac Shakur, and she has stated that she would “rather be with the thugs than the people who are complaining about them.”[22] Additionally, in 2007 she wrote a children’s picture book titled Rosa, which centers on the life of Civil Rights leader Rosa Parks. In addition to this book reaching number three on the New York Best Seller list, it also received the Caldecott Honors Award along with its illustrator Brian Collier, receiving the Coretta Scott King award. (29)
Giovanni is often interviewed regarding themes pertaining to her poetry such as gender and race. In an interview entitled “I am Black, Female, Polite”, Peter Bailey questions her regarding the role of gender and race in the poetry she writes. The interview looks specifically at the critically acclaimed poem, “Nikki-Rosa”, and questions whether it is reflective of her own childhood experiences as well as the experiences in her community. In the interview, Giovanni stresses that she did not like constantly reading the trope of the black family as a tragedy and that “Nikki-Rosa” demonstrates the experiences that she witnessed in her communities.[23] Specifically the poem deals with black folk culture, and touches on such issues as alcoholism and domestic violence, and such issues as not having an indoor bathroom. (30)
Giovanni’s poetry in the late 1960s and early 1970s addressed black womanhood and black manhood amongst other themes. In a book she co-wrote with James Baldwin entitled A Dialogue, the two authors speak blatantly about the status of the black male in the household. Baldwin challenges Giovanni’s opinion on the representation of black women as the “breadwinners” in the household. Baldwin states, “A man is not a woman. And whether he’s wrong or right…. Look, if we’re living in the same house and you’re my wife or my woman, I have to be responsible for that house.”. Conversely, Giovanni recognizes the black man’s strength, whether or not he is “responsible” for the home or economically advantaged. The interview makes it clear that regardless of who is “responsible” for the home, the black woman and black man should be dependent on one another. Such themes appeared throughout her early poetry which focused on race and gender dynamics in the black community.
Giovanni tours nationwide and frequently speaks out against hate-motivated violence. At a 1999 Martin Luther King Day event, she recalled the 1998 murders of James Byrd, Jr. and Matthew Shepard: “What’s the difference between dragging a black man behind a truck in Jasper, Texas, and beating a white boy to death in Wyoming because he’s gay?”[26]
Those Who Ride the Night Winds (1983) acknowledged black figures. Giovanni collected her essays in the 1988 volume Sacred Cows … and Other Edibles. Her more recent works include Acolytes, a collection of 80 new poems, and On My Journey Now. Acolytes is her first published volume since her 2003 Collected Poems. The work is a celebration of love and recollection directed at friends and loved ones and it recalls memories of nature, theater, and the glories of children. However, Giovanni’s fiery persona still remains a constant undercurrent in Acolytes, as some of the most serious verse links her own life struggles (being a black woman and a cancer survivor) to the wider frame of African-American history and the continual fight for equality.
Giovanni’s collection Bicycles: Love Poems (2009) is a companion work to her 1997 Love Poems. They touch on the deaths of both her mother and her sister, as well as the massacre on the Virginia Tech campus. “Tragedy and trauma are the wheels” of the bicycle. The first poem (“Blacksburg Under Siege: 21 August 2006”) and the last poem (“We Are Virginia Tech”) reflect this. Giovanni chose the title of the collection as a metaphor for love itself, “because love requires trust and balance.”
In Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid (2013), Giovanni describes falling off of a bike and her mother saying, “Come here, Nikki and I will pick you up.” She has explained that it was comforting to hear her mother say this, and that “it took me the longest to realize – no, she made me get up myself.” Chasing Utopia continues as a hybrid (poetry and prose) work about food as a metaphor and as a connection to the memory of her mother, sister, and grandmother. The theme of the work is love relationships.
In 2004, Giovanni was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards for her album The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection. This was a collection of poems that she read against the backdrop of gospel music.(29) She also featured on the track “Ego Trip by Nikki Giovanni” on Blackalicious’s 2000 album Nia. In November 2008, a song cycle of her poems, Sounds That Shatter the Staleness in Lives by Adam Hill, was premiered as part of the Soundscapes Chamber Music Series in Taos, New Mexico.
She was commissioned by National Public Radio’s All Things Considered to create an inaugural poem for President Barack Obama. Giovanni read poetry at the Lincoln Memorial as a part of the bi-centennial celebration of Lincoln’s birth on February 12, 2009. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

April 21, 1985- Sherian Grace Cadoria

GM- FBF – “Deal with yourself as an individual worthy of respect, and make everyone else deal with you the same way.” – Nikki Giovanni

Remember – “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” – Lena Horne

Today in our History – April 21,1985 – The first Black Woman Brigadier General. Brigadier General Sherian Grace Cadoria was born January 26, 1943 in Marksville, Louisiana. A retired United States Army officer and the first African American female to achieve the rank of General in the Army, Cadoria was also the highest-ranking female in the army at the time of her retirement. After a distinguished 29-year military career, Cadoria retired as Brigadier General in 1990.

Majoring in Business Education, Cadoria attended Southern University Baton Rouge, and was selected by the Women’s Army Corps to represent the university at the College Junior program in her junior year. Cadoria spent four weeks at Fort McClellan in Alabama in the summer of 1960, experiencing firsthand the life of an enlisted soldier. Following her studies at SU, she enlisted and received her commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Women’s Army Corps.

When training in Fort McClellan, Cadoria encountered the first of her many obstacles due to her gender and race. In an interview with Essence Magazine in April of 1990, she recalled, “When I started in the Army in 1961, there were jobs a black, by unwritten code, could not do.” said Cadoria. “I can never foget that the coveted position of Platoon Leader… was denied me because a black could not carry out all the duties the job entailed. Specifically, in Anniston, Alabama, a black could not take the troops off the installation because of Jim Crow laws.” Cadoria finished.

On April 21,1985, Cadoria was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General, and later became the first black female director of Joint Chiefs of Staff. Regarding her status as a black female in what was a predominantly white male community, Cadoria was quoted saying, “I’ve gotten more pressure from being female in a man’s world, than from being black. I was always a role model. I had responsibility not just for black women, but black men as well.”

Cadoria has been recognized as one of the Top 10 Black Business and Professional Women, and has received the NAACP’s Roy Wilkens Meritorious Service Award and the National Athena Award. On November 11, 2002, she became the first woman and the first African American inducted into the Louisiana Veterans Hall of Honor. Additionally, Cadoria is a member of the Louisiana Black History Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame. Research more about black woman in the milatrary and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

March 21, 1973- Wilma Rudolph

GM – FBF – “I believe in me more than anything in this world.” Wilma Rudolph

Remember – “Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us. – “Wilma Rudolph

Today in our History – March 21, 1973 – Wilma Rudolph voted into the Black Athletes Hall of Fame in 1973.

Wilma Rudolph was a sight to behold. At 5-foot-11 and 130 pounds, she was lightning fast. Wilma watchers in the late 1950s and early ’60s were admonished: don’t blink. You might miss her. And that would be a shame.

Wilma Rudolph was the first American woman to win three gold medals in one Olympics.

At the 1960 Rome Olympics, Rudolph became “the fastest woman in the world” and the first American woman to win three gold medals in one Olympics. She won the 100- and 200-meter races and anchored the U.S. team to victory in the 4 x 100-meter relay, breaking records along the way.

In the 100, she tied the world record of 11.3 seconds in the semifinals, then won the final by three yards in 11.0. However, because of a 2.75-meter per second wind — above the acceptable limit of two meters per second — she didn’t receive credit for a world record. In the 200, she broke the Olympic record in the opening heat in 23.2 seconds and won the final in 24.0 seconds. In the relay, Rudolph, despite a poor baton pass, overtook Germany’s anchor leg, and the Americans, all women from Tennessee State, took the gold in 44.5 seconds after setting a world record of 44.4 seconds in the semifinals.

Rudolph’s Olympic performances (she also won a bronze medal at age 16 in the relay at Melbourne in 1956) were spectacular. But it is the story of how she got there that makes her accomplishments legendary.

She was born prematurely on June 23, 1940 in St. Bethlehem, Tenn. She weighed 4 1/2 pounds. The bulk of her childhood was spent in bed. She suffered from double pneumonia, scarlet fever and later she contacted polio. After losing the use of her left leg, she was fitted with metal leg braces when she was 6.

“I spent most of my time trying to figure out how to get them off,” she said. “But when you come from a large, wonderful family, there’s always a way to achieve your goals.”

Rudolph grew up in a poor family, the 20th of her father Ed’s 22 children (from two marriages). Although she never shared a home with all her siblings and half-siblings at once, there were still plenty of brothers and sisters to serve as “lookouts” if she mischievously removed her braces.

Her brothers and sisters took turns massaging her crippled leg every day. Once a week her mother Blanche, a domestic worker, drove her 90 miles roundtrip to a Nashville hospital for therapy.

Years of treatment and a determination to be a “normal kid” worked. Despite whooping cough, measles and chicken pox, Rudolph was out of her leg braces at age 9 and soon became a budding basketball star.

When she was 11, her brothers set up a basketball hoop in the yard. “After that,” her mother said, “it was basketball, basketball, basketball.”

At the all-African-American Burt High School, Rudolph played on the girls’ basketball team, where her coach, C.C. Gray, gave her the nickname, “Skeeter.”

“You’re little, you’re fast and you always get in my way,” he said.

Rudolph became an all-state player, setting a state record of 49 points in one game. Then Ed Temple came calling.

Temple, the Tennessee State track coach, asked Gray to form a girls’ track team so he could turn one of the forwards into a sprinter. And Wilma was the one.

She had natural ability she couldn’t explain. “I don’t know why I run so fast,” she said. “I just run.”

She loved it enough to begin attending Temple’s daily college practices while still in high school. Temple’s dedication was inspiring. He was a sociology professor at Tennessee State and unpaid coach. He drove the team to meets in his own car and had the school track, an unmarked and unsurfaced dirt oval, lined at his own expense.

But Temple was no soft touch. He made the girls run an extra lap for every minute they were late to practice. Rudolph once overslept practice by 30 minutes and was made to run 30 extra laps. The next day she was sitting on the track 30 minutes early.

Unity and teamwork were Temple’s passions. He reminded reporters after Rudolph became famous that there were three other gold medalists on the platform with her during the relay event. Almost the entire 1960 Olympic team, coached by Temple, came from his Tennessee State team.

Rudolph didn’t forget her teammates, either. She said her favorite event was the relay because she got to stand on the platform with them. Regardless, the press and fans in Rome flocked to her.

The newspapers called her “The Black Pearl” and “The Black Gazelle.” After the Olympics, when the team competed in Greece, England, Holland and Germany, it was the charming, beautiful Rudolph, fans wanted to watch perform.

Sports Illustrated reported that mounted police had to keep back her admirers in Cologne. In Berlin, fans stole her shoes then surrounded her bus and beat on it with their fists until she waved.

“She’s done more for her country than what the U.S. could have paid her for,” Temple said.

She did more than promote her country. In her soft-spoken, gracious manner, she paved the way for African-American athletes, both men and women, who came later.

When she returned from Rome, Tennessee Gov. Buford Ellington, who was elected as “an old-fashioned segregationist,” planned to head her welcome home celebration. Rudolph said she would not attend a segregated event.

Rudolph’s parade and banquet were the first integrated events in her hometown of Clarksville.

Rudolph especially inspired young African-American female athletes. Most notable was Florence Griffith Joyner, the next woman to win three gold medals in one Olympics (1988).

“It was a great thrill for me to see,” Rudolph said. “I thought I’d never get to see that. Florence Griffith Joyner — every time she ran, I ran.”

Bob Kersee, husband and coach of Jackie Joyner-Kersee, said Rudolph was the greatest influence for African-American women athletes that he knows. His wife went further. “She was always in my corner,” said Joyner-Kersee, winner of six Olympic medals. “If I had a problem, I could call her at home. It was like talking to someone you knew for a lifetime.”

Rudolph touched Olympians and non-Olympians alike. She had four kids of her own and in her post-Olympic years she worked as a track coach at Indiana’s DePauw University and served as a U.S. goodwill ambassador to French West Africa.

She said her greatest accomplishment was creating the Wilma Rudolph Foundation, a not-for-profit, community-based amateur sports program.

“I tell them that the most important aspect is to be yourself and have confidence in yourself,” she said. “I remind them the triumph can’t be had without the struggle.”

Honors kept coming for Rudolph. She was voted into the Black Athletes Hall of Fame in 1973 and the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1974. NBC made a movie about her life from her autobiography, “Wilma.”

Rudolph died of brain cancer at age 54 on Nov. 12, 1994 in Nashville. Her extraordinary calm and grace are what people remember most about her. Said Bill Mulliken, a 1960 Olympics teammate of Rudolph’s: “She was beautiful, she was nice, and she was the best.” Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

March 20, 1887- Anne Julia Cooper and George C. Cooper

GM – FBF – It is not the intelligent woman v. the ignorant woman; nor the white woman v. the black, the brown, and the red, it is not even the cause of woman v. man. Nay, tis woman’s strongest vindication for speaking that the world needs to hear her voice. – Anna Julia Cooper

Remember – The old, subjective, stagnant, indolent and wretched life for woman has gone. She has as many resources as men, as many activities beckon her on. As large possibilities swell and inspire her heart. – Anna Julia Cooper

Today in our History – March 20, 1887 – Anna Julia Cooper and George C. Cooper who was also a former slave in, 1877

Anna Julia Cooper was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on August 10, 1858. Cooper was the eldest of two daughters born to an enslaved black woman, Hannah Stanley and her white master George Washington Haywood (Rashidi, 2002). According to Rashidi (2002) “Cooper possessed an unrelenting passion for learning and a sincere conviction that black women were equipped to follow intellectual pursuits (on-line).” This was a claim that seemed reasonable, because at the age of seven, Cooper was accepted into a teacher’s training program at St. Augustine’s Normal School and Collegiate Institute, a placement that required prior academic training (Biography Resource Center, 2001 (BRC), 2001).
Cooper eventually graduated to the teachers level and married George C. Cooper who was also a former slave in, 1877. She was forced to leave her teaching position because of her marriage, which was quite an unfortunate situation because her husband died two years later (BRC, 2001). Cooper never remarried.

Although she was born into slavery she had no recollection of the events of her slavery as a child, but she does recall events from the civil war as well as the earlier stages or the feminist movement. Cooper declared herself “the voice of the South (BRC, 2001, on-line, extracted 10/30/2002),”because during the “fledging” of the feminist movement, it all but ignored minority women. According to the BRC (2001) when Cooper’s first book “A Voice from the South by a Black Woman of the South” was released to the public, it was declared the first work of an African-American feminist.

Cooper died of an heart attack on February 27, 1964 at the age of 105 in Washington, D.C. (BRC, 2001). She lived an eventful life that lead her from the belly of slavery to the dawn of the civil rights movement lead by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other prominent black leaders of the time. Cooper wrote two additional book from the one mentioned earlier, “L’Attitude de la France a l’Egard de l’Esclavage pendant la Revolution” and “Le Pelerinage de Charlemagne: Voyage a Jerusalem et a Constantinople.”

Cooper’s life is one that exemplifies an individual committed to social change and anyone’s ability to overcome the obstacles of sexism and or racism and this is why her work as a “scholar, educator, and activist is evidence of the tremendous energy demanded of those who wanted to create change in the black community during the tumultuous period in which she lived” – Research more about this proud America hero and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

March 19, 1969- James Sims Elected President

GM – FBF – “If you were Jewish, African American, Japanese, or Chinese, you lived in that neighborhood,” – Lydia Sims

Remember – “They dreamed of a place where you’d be able to send a kid to whatever school you wanted, you’d be able to buy a house wherever you could afford,” – Lydia Sims

Today in our History – March 19, 1969 – The Spokane, WA Community Action Council elected James Sims president.

During World War II, Lydia Sims moved from Newark, New Jersey, to Spokane with her husband, James Sims, an Army Air Force soldier stationed at Geiger Airfield. At the end of the war, the Sims family decided to remain in Spokane. For 10 years they lived in the Garden Springs housing project, a complex in west Spokane inhabited primarily by former military families. There they raised their sons, James McCormick and twins Ron and Donald. Lydia Sims’s political views were strongly influenced by racial discrimination, which she vehemently opposed. In the 1960s, as a student at Eastern Washington University, she participated in a movement to desegregate schools in Cheney, Washington. Later, she served on the state’s Human Rights Coalition, the League of Women Voters, the Human Rights Council, and the Washington State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

In the late 1960s, she became personnel director of the Spokane Community Action Council, an agency that managed Head Start and various community centers. In 1975 she became the city’s affirmative action specialist, and in 1976 joined the newly established Spokane City Affirmative Action Department. She was eventually appointed human resources director for the city of Spokane, the first African American department manager in that city’s history. In this position Sims helped African Americans, women, and other minority groups find opportunities in Spokane’s job market. In the 1980s, Sims became the first African American female branch president of the Spokane National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

After serving in the military, James Sims, who had a bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University and a master’s in history from Gonzaga University, applied for a position with the Washington state Office of Community Development. Although he excelled in the civil service exam for the position, the state denied Sims the job. Sims enlisted the help of renowned Spokane civil rights attorney Carl Maxey and sued the state. He won the case and was employed as a state social worker. He later worked with state employees as a union organizer.

In the 1950s, James Sims served as a minister at the Calvary Baptist Church, and in the mid-1960s, he became pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church. In 1956 Sims was elected president of the Spokane NAACP, replacing James Chase. As president, he often publicly criticized the city for its reluctance to hire African Americans. Sims also exposed restaurants, hotels, automobile repair shops, and banks for not hiring blacks. On March 19, 1969, the Spokane Community Action Council elected Sims president partly because of his year long campaign to get city agencies to hire African Americans.

After James Sims’s death in the 1990s, Lydia Sims retired to Edmonds, Washington, and continued her advocacy. In 2000, with her son, King County Executive Ron Sims, she co-launched the Healthy Aging Partnership, an information and assistance line for the elderly at the Central Area Senior Center in King County. Lydia Sims died on June 23, 2012. Research more thid great american and share with your babise. Make it a champion day!

March 18, 1963- Vanessa Lynn Williams

GM – FBF – “You’re always going to have people that are naysayers, that don’t believe in your talent, that don’t believe that you have any kind of longevity.” – Vanessa Williams

Remember – ” I am lucky to have three daughters who are completely different. I look at my daughters and I have different relationships with all three and there are parts of each personality that are very special.” – Vanessa Williams

Today in our History – March 18, 1963 –

Vanessa Lynn Williams is a Grammy nominated singer, former beauty queen and television and film actress. She was born on March 18, 1963 in Bronx, New York but soon moved to a more fashionable neighborhood. Her parents, Milton and Helen Williams, both worked as music teachers and so Williams and her brother Chris were exposed to and surrounded by music from their childhood. She was a talented musician and learnt to play the piano, violin and French horn by the age of 10. Other than playing, singing and songwriting, she also trained as a dancer and planned to become the first African American “Rockettes” dancer. She was a conscientious student and graduated from high school in 1981. She won the “Presidential Scholarship for Drama” and was one of only 12 students to gain admittance at the Carnegie Mellon University theater arts program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. However, she refused their offer and chose to attend Syracuse University in New York.

As a freshman at Syracuse, she took a job as a receptionist and makeup artist for local photographer Tom Chiapel for whom she later posed as a nude model. However, she was not happy with the results of the shoot and did not give permission for publication. While she was studying theater and music at Syracuse, she was offered a candidacy in the “Miss Greater Syracuse pageant” which she initially hesitated to accept, but later did and won with ease. In 1983, she was crowned Miss New York and just 6 months later, she made history by being crowned the first African American “Miss America”. She shot to fame overnight, receiving offers for dozens of product endorsements, $25,000 scholarship prize money and lines of interviews and magazine spreads.

Vanessa is the first African American recipient of the Miss America title when she was crowned Miss America 1984 in September 1983. Several weeks before the end of her reign, however, a scandal arose when Penthouse magazine bought and published unauthorized nude photographs of Vanessa. Vanessa was pressured to relinquish her title, and was succeeded by the first runner-up, Miss New Jersey 1983, Suzette Charles. Thirty-two years later, in September 2015, when Vanessa served as head judge for the Miss America 2016 pageant, former Miss America CEO Sam Haskell made a public apology to her for the events of 1984

Unfortunately however, her fame was rocked by an equally dreadful scandal. The nude photos of her which Chiapel had earlier taken were published in “Penthouse” magazine. This was a huge setback for her career, as the Miss America pageant board asked her to resign her post, and most, if not all of her product endorsements were withdrawn. She was officially allowed to keep her title, but requested not to attend next year’s coronation ceremony. She filed a $500 million lawsuit against Penthouse but later dropped it after several months of futile litigation. She also dropped out of university and chose to try to set her career back on track. Initially, it seemed too daunting a task as she only received minor roles because of her tarnished reputation. However, her public relations expert Ramon Hervey II, who was later to become her husband, managed to find her a worthy role in the 1987 movie “The Pick Up Artist” also starring Molly Ringwald and Robert Downey, Jr.

Williams then signed a record contract with PolyGram and released her first album titled “The Right Stuff” in 1988. The album was certified Gold, and won her the “Best New Female Artist” award from the NAACP. Her second album, “The Comfort Zone,” was released in 1991 and was a phenomenal success. It went triple platinum and received 5 Grammy nominations. The song “Save the Best for Last” from this album is her most popular song to date. Her third album “The Sweetest Days” was released in 1994. It went platinum and received 2 Grammy nominations. All in all, she has 11 Grammy nominations but no wins.

Williams has also appeared in a wide range of television shows and films. Her TV roles include the role of Wilhelmina Slater in “Ugly Betty” and Renee Filmore-Jones in “Desperate Housewives”. Her popular film roles include “Eraser”, “Soul Food”, “Hannah Montana: The Movie” and “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor”. She has also worked in theatre, and some of her shows include the musicals “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and “Into the Woods” as well as Tony Award nominated play “The Trip to Bountiful”.

Vanessa Williams has been married twice, first to her agent Ramon Hervey II, with whom she had three children, from 1987 to 1997. Next she married an NBA basketball player named Rick Fox. The marriage lasted from 1999 to 2004 and produced one child. The 51 year old actress has recently announced her third engagement to an accountant named Jim Skip. Reserach more about this American Shero T.V. Star, Movie Star, Theather Star, Model and Songbird. Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Eight GOLD Albums. Share with your babies and make it a champion day!

March 17, 1955- Billy McKinney

GM – FBF- “The United States has far more to offer the world than our bombs and missiles and our military technology.” -Rep. Cynthia McKinney (US Congress – D – GA)

Remember – “Eight generations of African-Americans are still waiting to achieve their rights – compensation and restitution for the hundreds of years during which they were bought and sold on the market. ( US Congress – D – GA) – Rep. Cynthia McKinney

Today in oue History – 
Cynthia Ann McKinney was born on March 17, 1955 in Atlanta, Georgia to parents Billy McKinney, who was a police officer and to a mother, Leola Christion McKinney, who was a nurse. Her father was a political activist who challenged his employer, the Atlanta Police Department, for its practice of racial discrimination. This desire to use activism in the cause of racial justice was inherited by Cynthia McKinney who initiated her first petition against racism while still in school. In 1971 she challenged a teacher at the Catholic institution for using racist language. Meanwhile, her father, Billy McKinney was elected to the Georgia State Legislature in 1973 as a Democrat.
After completing St. Joseph’s High School in Atlanta in 1973, McKinney in 1978 received a degree in international relations from the University of Southern California. This degree would serve her well in the future as became increasingly concerned about the role and impact of U.S. foreign around the world. McKinney then entered the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. There she met and Jamaican politician Coy Grandison and returned to Jamaica with him. 
McKinney’s political career began in 1986 when her father, Billy McKinney persuaded his 31-year-old daughter become a write-in campaign for another legislative seat. Without any campaigning because she lived in Jamaica at the time, and little help from other Democrats, Cynthia McKinney still managed to get 20% of the total vote. Two years later she decided to mount an all-out campaign for the seat. Elected in 1988 at the age of 33, McKinney was one of the youngest members of the state legislature. She and her father became the first father-daughter pair in the Georgia legislature. 
McKinney soon became controversial in the Georgia legislature for opposing the Gulf War and for challenging the chamber’s dress code by wearing slacks instead of dresses. She also joined Georgia civil rights leaders in a lawsuit to increase the number of black judges appointed in the state.
In 1992, McKinney ran for Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District seat. She won and remained in the U.S. House of Representatives for a decade. While in Congress McKinney was appointed to the Armed Services Committee and the International Relations Committee where she served as Ranking Member on its International Operations and Human Rights Subcommittee. A member of the Congressional Black Caucus, she also led the Women’s Caucus Task Force on Children, Youth and Families.
While agreeing with most of the Clinton administrations policies, she challenged the Administration on the North American Free Trade Agreement. She also called for the end of U.S. arms sales to nations with a history of human rights violations. She also continued to be a strong voice for racial justice issues. She opposed welfare reform in 1996 because she felt it would intensify the conditions facing impoverished black women and children. She called for election reform after the 2000 presidential election partly because of what she termed the disfranchisement of many Florida African American voters. 
In 2002, McKinney was defeated in the Democratic Primary race by DeKalb County Judge Denise Majette. An estimated 40,000 Republicans voted in the Democratic Primary to defeat McKinney, angry over a controversial interview she had given earlier that year at a Berkeley, California radio station where she alleged that the Bush Administration had prior knowledge about the 9-11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.
In 2004, McKinney returned to Congress where she became most noted for her criticism of the Bush Administration for its lack of support for Hurricane Katrina victims. In 2006 McKinney lost in the Democratic Primary to DeKalb County attorney Hank Johnson. On December 8, 2006, in her last major act as a member of Congress, McKinney introduced legislation to Impeach President George Bush because of his conduct of the Iraq War. Reserch more about black women in congress and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

March 16, 1956- Mahalia Jackson

GM – FBF -“God can make you anything you want to be, but you have to put everything in his hands”. Mahalia Jackson

Remember – “Time is important to me because I want to sing long enough to leave a message. I’m used to singing in churches where nobody would dare stop me until the Lord arrives!” Mahalia Jackson

Today in our History – In 1956, Mahalia Jackson made her debut on The Ed Sullivan Show.

20th century recording artist Mahalia Jackson, known as the Queen of Gospel, is revered as one of the greatest musical figures in U.S. history.
Born on October 26, 1911, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Mahalia Jackson started singing as a child at Mount Moriah Baptist Church and went on to become one of the most revered gospel figures in the U.S. Her recording of “Move On Up a Little Higher” was a major hit and she subsequently became an international figure for music lovers from a variety of backgrounds. She worked with artists like Duke Ellington and Thomas A. Dorsey and also sang at the 1963 March on Washington at the request of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She died on January 27, 1972.

Early Life
Born Mahala Jackson on October 26, 1911, in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Charity Clark and Johnny Jackson, she became one of gospel music’s all-time greats, known for her rich, powerful voice that cultivated a global following. The young Mahala grew up in a Pitt Street shack and started singing at 4 years old in the Mount Moriah Baptist Church. When she started to sing professionally, she added an “i” to her first name.

Brought up in a devout Christian family, Jackson still found herself influenced by the secular sounds of blues artists like Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey. Jackson’s sanctified style of performance would also rely upon freer movement and rhythm when contrasted to the styles seen in more conservative congregations.

Major Gospel Hit
After moving to Chicago as a teen with the aim of studying nursing, Mahalia Jackson joined the Greater Salem Baptist Church and soon became a member of the Johnson Gospel Singers. She performed with the group for a number of years. Jackson then started working with Thomas A. Dorsey, a gospel composer; the two performed around the U.S., further cultivating an audience for Jackson. She also took on a number of jobs — working as a laundress, beautician and flower shop owner for example — before her musical career went into the stratosphere. She wed Isaac Hockenhull in 1936, with the two later divorcing.

While she made some recordings in the 1930s, Mahalia Jackson tasted major success with “Move On Up a Little Higher” in 1947, which sold millions of copies and became the highest selling gospel single in history. She became more in demand, making radio and television appearances and going on tour, eventually performing in Carnegie Hall on October 4, 1950 to a racially integrated audience. Jackson also had a successful 1952 tour abroad in Europe, and she was especially popular in France and Norway. She had her own gospel program on the CBS television network in 1954 and scored a pop hit with “Rusty Old Halo.”

An International Star
In 1956, Jackson made her debut on The Ed Sullivan Show and in 1958 appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island, performing with Duke Ellington and his band. Ellington and Jackson worked together on an album released the same year under Columbia Records titled Black, Brown and Beige. Future Columbia recordings from Jackson included The Power and the Glory (1960), Silent Night: Songs for Christmas (1962) and Mahalia (1965).

In 1959, Jackson appeared in the film Imitation of Life. By the end of the decade, much of Jackson’s work featured crossover production styles; she was an international figure, with a performance itinerary that included singing at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration.

Civil Rights Work
Jackson was also an active supporter of the Civil Rights Movement. She sang at the March on Washington at the request of her friend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963, performing “I Been ‘Buked and I Been Scorned.” In 1966, she published her autobiography Movin’ On Up.After King’s death in 1968, Jackson sang at his funeral and then largely withdrew from public political activities.

In her later years, Mahalia Jackson had several hospitalizations for severe health problems, giving her final concert in 1971 in Munich, Germany. She died of a heart attack on January 27, 1972. Jackson is remembered and loved for her impassioned delivery, her deep commitment to spirituality and her lasting inspiration to listeners of all faiths. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

March 15, 2009- Condoleezza Rice

GM – FBF -“The day has to come when it’s not a surprise that a woman has a powerful position” Condoleezza Rice

Remember – “When people don’t have a hopeful vision before them or the possible resolution of their difficulties by peaceful means, then they can be attracted to violence and to separatism.” – Condoleezza Rice

Today in our History – March 15, 2009 – Rice returned to Stanford University as a political science professor and the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution.The first Black Woman to hold such a position at Stanford University.

Condoleezza Rice became one of the most influential women in the world of global politics when President George W. Bush (1946–) named her as his national security adviser in December of 2000. Her role became extremely important after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and the Pentagon in Washington. Rice has played a crucial part in shaping the most aggressive U.S. foreign policy in modern history, with wars launched against Afghanistan and Iraq during her time in office.

Became kindergarten piano prodigy
Rice grew up during a deeply segregated era of American history. She was born in 1954 in Birmingham, Alabama, to parents who were both educators. Her father, John Wesley Rice Jr., was a football coach and high school guidance counselor at one of Birmingham’s black public schools. He was also an ordained Presbyterian minister in Birmingham’s Westminster Presbyterian Church, which had been founded by his own father, also a minister. Rice’s mother, Angelena, was a teacher and church organist. Angelena loved opera, and so named her only child after an Italian-language term, con dolcezza. It is used in musical notation and means “to play with sweetness.”

Birmingham was clearly divided into black and white spheres during Rice’s childhood, and the two worlds rarely met. But her parents were determined that their only child would grow up to be an accomplished and well-rounded young woman. Rice began piano lessons at the age of three, and gave her first recital a year later. She became somewhat of a musical prodigy in the Birmingham area, performing often at school and community events. In addition to long hours spent practicing the piano, she also took French and Spanish lessons after school, and later became a competitive figure skater. “My whole community was determined not to let their children’s horizons be limited by growing up in segregated Birmingham,” Rice recalled in an interview with television personality Oprah Winfrey (1954–) for O, The Oprah Magazine. “Sometimes I think they overcompensated because they wanted their kids to be so much better.”

“I find football so interesting strategically. It’s the closest thing to war. What you’re really doing is taking and yielding territory, and you have certain strategies and tactics.”

Not surprisingly, Rice earned good grades in school, even at an early age. Attending segregated schools in Birmingham, she skipped the first grade entirely and was later promoted from the sixth directly into the eighth grade. Her city became a battleground during the emerging civil rights movement in the late 1950s, and the strife directly touched Rice’s early life. In 1963 the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, situated in the middle of Birmingham’s black community, was the site of a tragic firebombing that killed four little girls who were attending Sunday school. Rice knew two of them.

Finished high school at fifteen
Rice’s family moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, around 1965, when she was eleven years old. Her father had taken a job there as a college administrator. They later settled in Denver, Colorado, where she attended an integrated public school for the first time in her life, beginning with the tenth grade. She finished her last year of high school and her first year at the University of Denver at the same time.

“The Most Powerful Woman in the World”
U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice has sometimes been described as the most influential woman in global politics. A university professor and expert on Russian history, Rice is known for her cool, calm manner. When Bush appointed her to the job in 2000, some wondered if she was qualified for it. But Janne Nolan, a friend of Rice’s from her early days as a Stanford University professor, told New Yorker writer Nicholas Lemann that Rice had a solid track record for proving herself. “I’ve watched it over and over again—the sequential underestimation of Condi,” Nolan told Lemann. “It just gets worse and worse. She’s always thought of as underqualified and in over her head, and she always kicks everyone’s butt.”

A job such as Rice’s requires nerves of steel, and the French- and Russian-fluent academic, whose friends and family call her “Condi,” fits the bill. She explained in an interview with Essence writer Isabel Wilkerson, “My parents went to great lengths to make sure I was confident. My mother was also a great believer in being proper.” As an African American and a professional, Rice has experienced the occasional racial snub. She recalled one occasion when she asked to see some of the nicer jewelry in a store, and the saleswoman mumbled a rude remark under her breath. As Rice recalled to Wilkerson, she told the woman, “‘Let’s get one thing clear. If you could afford anything in here, you wouldn’t be behind this counter. So I strongly suggest you do your job.'”

The confidence that Rice’s parents instilled in her comes out in other ways, too. She favors suits by Italian designer Giorgio Armani, but the trim, fit national security adviser prefers her skirts to hit just above the knee. Her favorite lipstick comes from the Yves Saint Laurent cosmetics counter. When asked about her off-duty hours, Rice told Wilkerson that she watches sports and goes shopping. Wilkerson wondered about the Secret Service security detail that accompanies Rice in public, but Rice responded with a humor rarely on display in public, “They can handle shopping.”

For years Rice dreamed of becoming a concert pianist. At the University of Denver she was originally a music major, but eventually gave up on her dream after spending a summer at music camp. “Technically, I can play most anything,” she explained to Winfrey about her decision to change majors. “But I’ll never play it the way the truly great pianists do.” She fell in love with political science and Russian history after she took a class taught by Josef Korbel (1909–1977), a refugee from Czechoslovakia. In the 1990s Korbel’s daughter, Madeleine Albright (1937–), became the first female U.S. Secretary of State.

Rice began taking Russian-language and history courses, and became fascinated by Cold War politics. The term refers to the hostilities between the United States and the world’s first Communist state, Soviet Russia, in the years following World War II (1939–45). Each “superpower” tried to win allies to its brand of politics, and in the process each side built up a large arsenal of nuclear weapons. After she graduated from the University of Denver in 1974, Rice enrolled at Notre Dame University in Indiana, where she earned a master’s degree in government and international studies.

Drifted for a time
Years later Rice admitted, in the interview with Winfrey, “I am still someone with no long-term plan.” To begin her post-college career, she lined up a job as an executive assistant—in other words, a secretary—to a vice president at Honeywell, a large electronics corporation. But a company reorganization ended that career possibility. For a time she gave piano lessons. Then her former professor, Josef Korbel, suggested that she return to school, and she began work on a Ph.D. degree at the University of Denver.

Rice was a promising new talent in her field even before she earned a doctorate in 1981. Her dissertation investigated the relationship between the Czechoslovak Communist Party and its army. Soon she was offered a fellowship at Stanford University. No other woman had ever been offered a fellowship to its Center for International Security and Arms Control. She eagerly accepted, and the following year she was hired by Stanford to teach political science.

Rice became a tenured professor at Stanford in 1987. She was also a rising star in U.S. foreign policy circles. She served as the informal campaign adviser to a Colorado Democrat, Gary Hart (1936–), during his 1984 bid for the White House. She came to know a foreign policy expert, Brent Scowcroft (1925–), and was offered her first official job in government. Scowcroft had been named national security adviser by George H. W. Bush (1924–), who was elected president in 1988. Scowcroft then hired Rice as a staff member on the National Security Council.

Served in first Bush White House
The National Security Council helps analyze data and plan American foreign policy. It looks at potential global threats from hostile nations, and works to make strategic alliances with friendly ones. Rice eventually became a special assistant to the first President Bush, serving as his expert on Soviet and East European affairs. It was an important time in American foreign policy. The political system of the Soviet Union was crumbling, and by 1991 the Communist governments allied with Soviet Russia had been peacefully ousted throughout the Eastern Bloc (as the communist nations in Eastern Europe were known).

But Rice tired of the toll the White House job took on her personal life, and she resigned in 1991. She went back to teaching at Stanford, and in 1993 became the university’s first-ever female provost, which essentially made her second-in-command at the school. She was also the first African American to be selected for the position. “That was the toughest job I ever had,” she told Nicholas Lemann in a New Yorker profile. She was charged with eliminating a large budget deficit, and the university had also been accused of misusing government grant money intended for military research. There was internal turmoil as well, and some faculty members complained about Rice’s no-nonsense manner. “I told people, ‘I don’t do committees,'” she explained to Lemann.

Rice remained on friendly terms with the Bush family and came to know one of the sons, George W., during visits to the Bush summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. In 1999 George W. Bush decided to try and win the Republican Party’s nomination as its presidential candidate for 2000. He hired Rice to lead his team of foreign policy advisers, and she quit the Stanford job. She began working closely with Bush, who was governor of Texas at the time and had very little other political experience, especially in foreign relations.

Bush won his party’s nomination and later was declared the winner of a hotly contested November election. The president-elect immediately named Rice as his national security adviser. Though she was not the first African American ever to hold the post—Bush’s new Secretary of State, Colin L. Powell (1937–), had held the job for a year in the late 1980s—she was the first woman ever to serve in the position. The national security adviser helps shape American foreign policy, both on the public front and behind the scenes, in strategy sessions with the president and his team.

Plotted strategy from underground bunker
Rice’s duties also included coming up with ideas to combat threats to American interests at home and overseas. This became an important part of her job on the morning of September 11, 2001. She was in a meeting at the White House when an aide notified her that a plane had struck the World Trade Center. She quickly ended the meeting and notified the President, who was in Florida. After a second plane crashed into the other tower of the New York landmark, she and other key personnel gathered in what is known as the White House “Situation Room.” When a third plane crashed into the Pentagon Building, which is the command center for the U.S. Armed Forces, Rice and the others retreated to an underground bunker. The attack was the deadliest ever to occur on American soil.

Rice worked long days in the months afterward to shape U.S. foreign policy. The first order of business involved Afghanistan, which was suspected of harboring the shadowy Islamic fundamentalist group known as Al Qaeda. It was founded by a Saudi exile, Osama bin Laden (1957–), who quickly took responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. Less than a month later, U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan. Rice also worked to create a new policy for dealing with longtime Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (1937–). The Bush White House believed that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that could be used against the United States. In March of 2003 the United States invaded Iraq.

The fourth year of the Bush Administration was a difficult one for Rice and other top White House and Pentagon personnel. Though Hussein had been captured and the war in Iraq was officially declared over, U.S. troops stationed in Iraq had become the target of repeated attacks by insurgents. And American military operatives had yet to capture bin Laden. In April of 2004 Rice was called to testify before a

Condoleezza Rice testifies before the 9/11 Commssion, April 8, 2004.
AP/Wide World Photos. Reproduced by permission.
special panel that had been set up to investigate the 9/11 attacks, namely whether or not the attacks could have been prevented and how the emergency response to such an attack could be improved. There were charges that U.S. intelligence officials may have come across suspicious information but failed to put the pieces together. Rice sat before the official 9/11 Commission, in front of a barrage of television cameras, and held her ground. “There was nothing demonstrating or showing that something was coming in the United States,” she asserted, according to the New York Times. “If there had been something, we would have acted on it.”
Dreams of top NFL job
Rice lives in a luxury apartment complex in Washington known as Watergate. Her mother died in 1985, and her father died the same month that Bush named her to the national security adviser post. She attends church regularly, and is known to be close to the President and his wife, Laura (1946–). At the Maryland presidential retreat known as Camp David, she has been known to watch hours of televised sports with President Bush. Both are dedicated football fans, and Rice has also been known to spend an entire day on her own watching college and pro football games.

Rice’s name has been mentioned as a possible future vice-presidential candidate. Although she has joked that she would love to serve as commissioner of the National Football League, she has also said that she looks forward to returning to teaching once her service to the Bush White House comes to an end. “I miss my kids,” she said in the interview with Winfrey. “In a class of 20, there are always two or three for whom the lights go on. When that happens, I think I’ve done for them what Dr. Korbel did for me.” Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

March 14, 1977- Fannie Lou Hamer

GM – FBF – “You can pray until you faint, but unless you get up and try to do something, God is not going to put it in your lap” – Fannie Lou Hamer

Remember – , “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” – Fannie Lou Hamer

Today in our History – March 14, 1977 –

Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977) was a civil rights activist whose passionate depiction of her own suffering in a racist society helped focus attention on the plight of African-Americans throughout the South. In 1964, working with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Hamer helped organize the 1964 Freedom Summer African-American voter registration drive in her native Mississippi. At the Democratic National Convention later that year, she was part of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, an integrated group of activists who openly challenged the legality of Mississippi’s all-white, segregated delegation.
Born Fannie Lou Townsend on October 6, 1917, in Montgomery County, Mississippi. The daughter of sharecroppers, Hamer began working the fields at an early age. Her family struggled financially, and often went hungry.
Married to Perry “Pap” Hamer in 1944, Fannie Lou continued to work hard just to get by. In the summer of 1962, however, she made a life-changing decision to attend a protest meeting. She met civil rights activists there who were there to encourage African Americans to register to vote. Hamer became active in helping with the voter registration efforts.
Hamer dedicated her life to the fight for civil rights, working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). This organization was comprised mostly of African American students who engaged in acts of civil disobedience to fight racial segregation and injustice in the South. These acts often were met with violent responses by angry whites. During the course of her activist career, Hamer was threatened, arrested, beaten, and shot at. But none of these things ever deterred her from her work.In 1964, Hamer helped found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which was established in opposition to her state’s all-white delegation to that year’s Democratic convention.
She brought the civil rights struggle in Mississippi to the attention of the entire nation during a televised session at the convention. The next year, Hamer ran for Congress in Mississippi, but she was unsuccessful in her bid.Along with her political activism, Hamer worked to help the poor and families in need in her Mississippi community.
She also set up organizations to increase business opportunities for minorities and to provide childcare and other family services. Hamer died of cancer on March 14, 1977, in Mound Bayou, Mississippi.