Month: July 2018

July 21 1818-Charles Lewis Reason

GM – FBF – Today, I want to share a story of the first black to teach at a predominantly white college in the United States. Imagine the everyday pressures he endured with courage and confidence. We have shown you that W.E.B. Dubois and William Monroe Trotter were against Booker T. Washington’s way of educating black youth. However, Charles L. Reason saw the importance of both industrial and classical education and even started a normal school (teachers’ training college) in New York City.

Remember – “O Freedom! Freedom! O! how oft
Thy loving children call on Thee!
In wailings loud, and breathings soft,
Beseeching God, Thy face to see. – from the poem FREEDOM – Charles Lewis Reason

Today in our History – July 21, 1818 – The first Black educator to teach at a predominantly white college is born.

Charles Lewis Reason was an Black American mathematician, linguist, and educator.

Reason was born on July 21, 1818, in New York City. His parents were Michael and Elizabeth Reason, who were immigrants from Guadeloupe and Saint-Dominque Haiti. Both of Reasons came as refugees in 1793 shortly after the early years of the Haitian Revolution of 1793.

The Reason’s were big on education for their children, and early on young Reason showed a aptitude for mathematics. Reason began his American education at the New York African Free School, and at the age fourteen Reason began teaching mathematics at the same school. His salary was $25 per year. Reason went on to study at New-York Central College, McGrawville, an predominantly white college in the United States.

In 1850, Reason began teaching at the same college and began professor of belles lettres, Greek, Latin, and French, while serving as an adjust professor of mathematics to majority white students. He was actually the first African-American to serve as a serve at a majority-white college.
Two years before becoming an professor in 1847, Reason along with other prominent African-Americans, such as Charles Bennett Ray (December 25, 1807 – August 15, 1886), founded the New York – Based Society, for the promotion of Education among colored children.

After three years at New-York Central College, Reason gave up his positions and moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and assume an position as principal at the Institute for Colored Youth first black principal. The institution was founded in 1837, and was one of the best schools for African- Americans in the United States. (later the school was renamed to Cheyney University).

During his time at ICY, Reason increased enrollment from six students to 118 students. He also expanded the library holdings and exposed the students to outstanding African-American intellectuals and leaders of that time. He held this position until 1856. reason returned to New York City, where he became an administrator, and reformer of New York public schools. A position he held for decades.

Reason was active and very instrumental in efforts to abolish slavery and segregation and 1873, he successfully lobbied for passage to integrate New York’s public schools. After the public schools were desegregated in New York, he became the principal of Grammar School No. 80 at 252 West 42nd street.

Reason was also a poet. He contributed to the Colored American in the 1830s and was a leader of New York City’s Phoenix Society in the 1840s. He wrote the poem “Freedom”, which celebrated the British abolitionist Thomas Clarkson; it was published in Alexander Crummell’s 1849 biography of Clarkson.

Not much documentation has been found on Reason’s personal life, but he was said to have been married and widowed three times. His third and final wife was Clorice (Duplessis) Esteve (1819–1884), whom he married in New York City on July 17, 1855. They had no children, although she had a daughter from her previous marriage to John Lucien Esteve (1809–1852), a French West Indian confectioner, restaurateur and caterer in New York City.

Reason suffered two strokes one in 1885, and another in 1890. The effects of the strokes left him physically incapacitated.

Three years after his last stroke and at the age 75, Charles Lewis Reason passed away in New York City on August 16, 1893, and is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY. Research more about great Black mathmaticians and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

July 20 2017- Jesse L. Jackson

GM – FBF – Today, I want to share with you a story about a man who is a civil rights Icon and also the first Black Man to run for President of the United States.

Remember – “At the end of the day, we must go forward with hope and not backward by fear and division”. Jesse Jackson

Today in our History July 20, 2017 – Jackson wins another award.

Reverend Jesse L. Jackson Sr. received the highest honor presented by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) at its annual convention in Norfolk, Virginia.

The legendary activist received the NNPA Lifetime Legacy Award for his decades of service as one of the country’s foremost civil rights, religious and political figures.

After a video tribute that chronicled Jackson’s life and a surprise solo performance of “Hero,” by Jackson favorite, Audrey DuBois Harris, the iconic preacher accepted the award from NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., and NNPA Chairman Dorothy R. Leavell.

“I’m not easy to surprise,” Jackson told the crowd, which gave him a standing ovation as he headed to the podium to accept the honor.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, Jackson has been called the “Conscience of the Nation,” and “The Great Unifier,” challenging America to be inclusive and to establish just and humane priorities for the benefit of all.

Born in 1941 in Greenville, South Carolina, Jackson began his theological studies at Chicago Theological Seminary, but deferred his studies when he began working full time in the Civil Rights Movement alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“This honor takes on a special meaning for me because my first job was selling the ‘Norfolk Journal and Guide’ newspaper and then the ‘Baltimore AFRO-American’ and then the ‘Pittsburgh Courier,’” Jackson said of the iconic Black-owned newspapers. “We couldn’t see the other side of Jackie Robinson. We couldn’t see the other side of Sugar Ray Robinson,” he said, noting that the Black Press told the full stories of those sports heroes.

He reminisced about the fateful night in Memphis in 1968 when an assassin’s bullet cut down King.

“I was with Dr. King on that chilly night in Memphis and I went to the phone to talk to Mrs. King. I couldn’t really talk,” he said. “I told her, ‘I think Dr. King was shot in the shoulder,’ even though I knew he was shot in the neck. I just couldn’t say it.”

During the ceremony, Leavell and Chavis said Jackson has carried King’s legacy well.

“We still need him,” Leavell said of Jackson.

Chavis called Jackson a “long-distance runner who’s made a difference not only in this country, but all over the world.”

Leavell recalled Jackson’s historic run for the presidency in 1984 in a campaign that registered more than 1 million new voters and catapulting Democrats in their successful effort to regain control of the Senate.

Four years later, Jackson ran again, this time registering more than 2 million new voters and earning 7 million popular votes.

“It’s a wonder that my neighbors didn’t call the police the night he gave that iconic speech at the Democratic National Convention [in 1984],” said Leavell, whom Jackson presided over her wedding ceremony more than 40 years ago. “There was so much emotion that night that I felt, they told me that I could be anything that I wanted to be,” Leavell said, pointing to Jackson and photographers flocked to take pictures of the civil rights leader while holding his coveted NNPA award.

Dubois Harris said Jackson is a “King of a man,” and, although she had been under the weather all week, nothing would stop her from attending Jackson’s big night, she said.

“We stand on his shoulders,” Dubois Harris said. “He continues to be a pioneer of civil rights and humanity and he’s all that’s good and right in the world.”

Over decades, Jackson has earned the respect and trust of presidents and dignitaries and his Rainbow PUSH organization has aided countless Black and minority families with various struggles.

But his work not only has helped the poor or minorities.

In 1984, Jackson secured the release of captured Navy Lt. Robert Goodman from Syria, and he also help shepherd the release of 48 Cuban and Cuban-American prisoners in Cuba.

Jackson was the first American to bring home citizens from the United Kingdom, France, and other countries who were held as human shields by Saddam Hussein in Kuwait and Iraq in 1990.

He also negotiated the release of U.S. soldiers held hostage in Kosovo and, in 2000, Jackson helped negotiate the release of four journalists working on a documentary for Britain’s Channel 4 network who were held in Liberia.

Jackson said President Trump should and can be defeated, with the aid of the Black Press, who this year has led a drive to register 5 million new African-American voters.

“The first time I saw an image of Black achievement was in the Black Press,” Jackson said. “Today, the Black Press is more important than ever. This is the season of ‘Fake News,’ but we need the truth now more than ever.” Research more about Jesse Jackson and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

July 19 1822- Alvin Coffy

GM – FBF – Today, I want to share with you a man who would purchase his freedom from slavery. Enjoy!

Remember – ” I never enjoyed being a slave, so my goal was to be free. – Alivan Coffy

Today in our History – July 19, 1822 – Alvin Coffy was born a slave and would earned enough to purchase his freedom for $1,000.

Alvin Aaron Coffey was born a slave in Mason County, Kentucky on July 14, 1822 as the property of Margaret Cooke. His parents were Lewis (Larkin) Coffey and Nellie Cook[e]. Coffey arrived in California in 1849 at the beginning of the Gold Rush. He was one of the few Californians who left a written account, Book of Reminiscences, which described his journey to California and his subsequent history in the Golden State.

Coffey was sold to Henry H. Duvall in 1834 who took him to Missouri. Duvall then sold him to Dr. William Bassett in 1846. In the spring of 1849, Bassett joined a wagon train that assembled in St. Joseph, Missouri for a departure for California. Dr. Bassett took Coffey with him, separating him from his wife, Mahala, and two children. Mahala was also pregnant with a third child. On May 2, 1849, the wagon train left St. Joseph, Missouri on a five month journey to California.

Alvin Coffey arrived at Redding Springs, California on October 13, 1849. He searched for gold on behalf of Dr. Bassett and himself. Bassett, who had been ill the entire time, decided to return to Missouri in 1851. Coffey had saved $616 from his diggings which Bassett kept as his own, and then returned to Missouri with Coffey. Once there in 1852, Bassett sold Coffey for $1,000 to Mary Tindall. Another slaveholder, Nelson Tindall, already owned Coffey’s wife, Mahala, and their three children. Since he was already familiar with the California gold fields, Coffey persuaded Nelson Tindall to allow him to return to California to earn money to purchase his freedom. He agreed and Coffey was back in the gold fields by the fall of 1854. By 1856, 34-year-old Alvin Coffey earned enough to purchase his freedom for $1,000. He then earned another $3,500 to purchase the freedom of the rest of his family by 1857. Coffey returned to Missouri to bring his wife and three sons to California while two older daughters were left with a grandmother in Canada until he was able to reunite them with the family in 1860. On December 22, 1858, their next child, Charles Oliver Coffey, was born free in California.

The Coffey family settled in Shasta County, California where he homesteaded a small plot of land. The 1870 Census listed the Coffey family as having $1,500 in property. During the Modoc Indian Wars in 1872, Coffey provided horses to the U.S. Army and offered his services as a teamster. Later, Coffey operated a laundry and raised turkeys. He and his wife raised their children on property he had homesteaded. Those children attended a school for African American and Native American children in Shasta County that Coffey had helped found in 1858.

In 1887 Alvin Coffey was inducted into the California Society of Pioneers and was a member for more than 15 years prior to his death. He is the only African American to achieve that distinction. Coffey died in Beulah, Alameda County, California on October 28, 1902. Research more blacks who pursage their freedom and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

July 18 1863- William Harvey Carney

GM – FBF – Today, I want to remind you of the brave men who served in The Civil War. They like in the American Revaluation wanted to show that they (Negro’s) should be looked upon as free men. This individual today was one of the rare people who received one of the highest honors that one can get during battles. Enjoy!

Remember – “The bullet I now carry in my body came whizzing like a mosquito, and I was shot. Not being prostrated by the shot, I continued my course, yet had not gone far before I was struck be a second shot.” – William Carney

Today in our History – William H. Carney earns the Medal of Honor for his bravery during this Battle.

William Harvey Carney (February 29, 1840 – December 9, 1908) was an African American soldier during the American Civil War. Born as a slave, he was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1900 for his gallantry in saving the regimental colors (American Flag) during the Battle of Fort Wagner in 1863. Because his actions preceded those of other medal honorees, he is considered to be the first African American to be granted the Medal of Honor.

William H. Carney was born as a slave in Norfolk, Virginia, on February 29, 1840. How he made his way to freedom is not certain. According to most accounts, he escaped through the Underground Railroad, and joined his father in Massachusetts. Other members of their family were freed by purchase or by the death of their master.

Carney joined the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in March 1863 as a Sergeant. He took part in the July 18, 1863, assault on Fort Wagner in Charleston, South Carolina. His actions there ultimately earned him the Medal of Honor. When the color guard was killed, Carney retrieved the American flag and marched forward with it, despite multiple serious wounds. When the Union troops were forced to retreat under fire, he struggled back across the battlefield, eventually returning to his own lines and turning over the colors to another survivor of the 54th, saying, “Boys, I only did my duty; the old flag never touched the ground!” He received an honorable discharge due to disability from his wounds in June 1864.

After his discharge, Carney returned to New Bedford, Massachusetts, and took a job maintaining the city’s streetlights. He then delivered mail for thirty-two years. He was a founding vice president of the New Bedford Branch 18 of the National Association of Letter Carriers in 1890. He married Susannah Williams, and they had a daughter, Clara Heronia. He spent a few years in California, then returned again in 1869.

Carney received his Medal of Honor on May 23, 1900, nearly 37 years after the events at Fort Wagner. (More than half such awards from the Civil War were presented 20 or more years after the fact.) Twenty African Americans had received the medal before him, but because his battle actions happened earlier than the others, he is generally considered the first. His citation reads,

When the color sergeant was shot down, this soldier grasped the flag, led the way to the parapet, and planted the colors thereon. When the troops fell back he brought off the flag, under a fierce fire in which he was twice severely wounded.
Carney died at the Boston City Hospital on December 9, 1908, of complications from an elevator accident at the Massachusetts State House where he worked for the Department of State. His body lay in state for one day at the undertaking rooms of Walden Banks 142 Lenox Street at the wish of his wife and daughter. It was buried in the family plot at Oak Grove Cemetery in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Engraved on his tombstone is an image of the Medal of Honor.

Carney’s face is shown on the monument to Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th on the Boston Common designed by Augustus Saint Gaudens. A New Bedford, Massachusetts, elementary school was named in his honor, and his New Bedford home at 128 Mill Street is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 2015, Carney was honored as one of the Library of Virginia’s “Strong Men & Women in Virginia History” because of his actions during the Civil War.In December 1908, all the flags in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts were lowered to half-mast in tribute to Sgt. William H. Carney, who had died on Dec. 8. Never before had this honor been paid to an ordinary citizen and African American; but Carney was far from ordinary.

Research more about Black Americans fighting in U.S. Wars and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

July 17 1915- Jass Person

GM – FBF – Today , I would like to share with you, a black female who was one of the most influential jazz singers of all time. She had a thriving career for many years before she lost her battle with addiction. She is considered one of best Enjoy!

Remember – “In this country, don’t forget, a habit is no damn private hell. There’s no solitary confinement outside of jail. A habit is hell for those you love. And in this country it’s the worst kind of hell for those who love you.” – Billie Holiday

Today in our Hsitory – July 17, 1915 – Actress, singer, and Jass person, Billie Holiday was born.

Jazz vocalist Billie Holiday was born in 1915 in Philadelphia. Considered one of the best jazz vocalists of all time, Holiday had a thriving career as a jazz singer for many years before she lost her battle with substance abuse.

Also known as Lady Day, her autobiography was made into the 1972 film Lady Sings the Blues. In 2000, Billie Holiday was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan on April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Some sources say her birthplace was Baltimore, Maryland, and her birth certificate reportedly reads “Elinore Harris.”)

Holiday spent much of her childhood in Baltimore. Her mother, Sadie, was only a teenager when she had her. Her father is widely believed to be Clarence Holiday, who eventually became a successful jazz musician, playing with the likes of Fletcher Henderson.

Unfortunately for Billie, her father was an infrequent visitor in her life growing up. Sadie married Philip Gough in 1920 and for a few years Billie had a somewhat stable home life. But that marriage ended a few years later, leaving Billie and Sadie to struggle along on their own again. Sometimes Billie was left in the care of other people.

Holiday started skipping school, and she and her mother went to court over Holiday’s truancy. She was then sent to the House of Good Shepherd, a facility for troubled African American girls, in January 1925.

Only 9 years old at the time, Holiday was one of the youngest girls there. She was returned to her mother’s care in August of that year. According to Donald Clarke’s biography, Billie Holiday: Wishing on the Moon, she returned there in 1926 after she had been sexually assaulted.

In her difficult early life, Holiday found solace in music, singing along to the records of Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong. She followed her mother, who had moved to New York City in the late 1920s, and worked in a house of prostitution in Harlem for a time.

Around 1930, Holiday began singing in local clubs and renamed herself “Billie” after the film star Billie Dove.
At the age of 18, Holiday was discovered by producer John Hammond while she was performing in a Harlem jazz club. Hammond was instrumental in getting Holiday recording work with an up-and-coming clarinetist and bandleader Benny Goodman.

With Goodman, she sang vocals for several tracks, including her first commercial release “Your Mother’s Son-In-Law” and the 1934 top ten hit “Riffin’ the Scotch.”

Known for her distinctive phrasing and expressive, sometimes melancholy voice, Holiday went on to record with jazz pianist Teddy Wilson and others in 1935.

She made several singles, including “What a Little Moonlight Can Do” and “Miss Brown to You.” That same year, Holiday appeared with Duke Ellington in the film Symphony in Black.
Around this time, Holiday met and befriended saxophonist Lester Young, who was part of Count Basie’s orchestra on and off for years. He even lived with Holiday and her mother Sadie for a while.

Young gave Holiday the nickname “Lady Day” in 1937—the same year she joined Basie’s band. In return, she called him “Prez,” which was her way of saying that she thought it was the greatest.

Holiday toured with the Count Basie Orchestra in 1937. The following year, she worked withArtie Shaw and his orchestra. Holiday broke new ground with Shaw, becoming one of the first female African American vocalists to work with a white orchestra.

Promoters, however, objected to Holiday—for her race and for her unique vocal style—and she ended up leaving the orchestra out of frustration.

Striking out on her own, Holiday performed at New York’s Café Society. She developed some of her trademark stage persona there—wearing gardenias in her hair and singing with her head tilted back.

During this engagement, Holiday also debuted two of her most famous songs, “God Bless the Child” and “Strange Fruit.” Columbia, her record company at the time, was not interested in “Strange Fruit,” which was a powerful story about the lynching of African Americans in the South.

Holiday recorded the song with the Commodore label instead. “Strange Fruit” is considered to be one of her signature ballads, and the controversy that surrounded it—some radio stations banned the record—helped make it a hit.

Over the years, Holiday sang many songs of stormy relationships, including “T’ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do” and “My Man.” These songs reflected her personal romances, which were often destructive and abusive.

Holiday married James Monroe in 1941. Already known to drink, Holiday picked up her new husband’s habit of smoking opium. The marriage didn’t last—they later divorced—but Holiday’s problems with substance abuse continued.

That same year, Holiday had a hit with “God Bless the Child.” She later signed with Decca Records in 1944 and scored an R&B hit the next year with “Lover Man.”

Her boyfriend at the time was trumpeter Joe Guy, and with him she started using heroin. After the death of her mother in October 1945, Holiday began drinking more heavily and escalated her drug use to ease her grief.

Despite her personal problems, Holiday remained a major star in the jazz world—and even in popular music as well. She appeared with her idol Louis Armstrong in the 1947 film New Orleans, albeit playing the role of a maid.

Unfortunately, Holiday’s drug use caused her a great professional setback that same year. She was arrested and convicted for narcotics possession in 1947. Sentenced to one year and a day of jail time, Holiday went to a federal rehabilitation facility in Alderston, West Virginia.

Released the following year, Holiday faced new challenges. Because of her conviction, she was unable to get the necessary license to play in cabarets and clubs. Holiday, however, could still perform at concert halls and had a sold-out show at the Carnegie Hall not long after her release.

With some help from John Levy, a New York club owner, Holiday was later to get to play in New York’s Club Ebony. Levy became her boyfriend and manager by the end of the 1940s, joining the ranks of the men who took advantage of Holiday.

Also around this time, she was again arrested for narcotics, but she was acquitted of the charges.
While her hard living was taking a toll on her voice, Holiday continued to tour and record in the 1950s. She began recording for Norman Granz, the owner of several small jazz labels, in 1952. Two years later, Holiday had a hugely successful tour of Europe.

Holiday also caught the public’s attention by sharing her life story with the world in 1956. Her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues (1956), was written in collaboration by William Dufty. 
Some of the material in the book, however, must be taken with a grain of salt. Holiday was in rough shape when she worked with Dufty on the project, and she claimed to have never read the book after it was finished.

Around this time, Holiday became involved with Louis McKay. The two were arrested for narcotics in 1956, and they married in Mexico the following year. Like many other men in her life, McKay used Holiday’s name and money to advance himself. 
Despite all of the trouble she had been experiencing with her voice, she managed to give an impressive performance on the CBS television broadcast The Sound of Jazz with Ben Webster, Lester Young, and Coleman Hawkins.

After years of lackluster recordings and record sales, Holiday recorded Lady in Satin (1958) with the Ray Ellis Orchestra for Columbia. The album’s songs showcased her rougher sounding voice, which still could convey great emotional intensity.

Holiday gave her final performance in New York City on May 25, 1959. Not long after this event, Holiday was admitted to the hospital for heart and liver problems. 
She was so addicted to heroin that she was even arrested for possession while in the hospital. On July 17, 1959, Holiday died from alcohol- and drug-related complications.

More than 3,000 people turned out to say good-bye to Lady Day at her funeral held in St. Paul the Apostle Roman Catholic Church on July 21, 1959. A who’s who of the jazz world attended the solemn occasion, including Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Tony Scott, Buddy Rogers and John Hammond.
Considered one of the best jazz vocalists of all time, Holiday has been an influence on many other performers who have followed in her footsteps.

Her autobiography was made into the 1972 film Lady Sings the Blues with famed singer Diana Ross playing the part of Holiday, which helped renew interest in Holiday’s recordings. 
In 2000, Billie Holiday was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Diana Ross handling the honors. Research more about Black singers in American and share with you babies. Make it a champion Day!

July 16 1934- Donald Payne

GM – FBF – Today, I would like to tell you about my late friend, who was truly a person who loved to help school children out as he supported my students out on many occasions. Enjoy!

Remember – ” Education is the new currency in America and those who don’t Invest in it will never reach the American Dream. – Donald Payne – (D) N.J. 10th District

Today in our History – July 16, 1934 – The first Black U.S. Congressman from The State of New Jersey was born on this day.

Donald Payne, a Democrat, was the first African American elected to Congress from the State of New Jersey. Payne was born in Newark, New Jersey on July 16, 1934. He earned a B.A. degree in social studies from Seton Hall University in 1957 and also has honorary doctorates from Chicago State University, Drew University, Essex County College, and William Patterson University.

After graduating in 1957 Payne began working for the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), traveling around the world as its representative. In 1970 Payne became its first African American president. From 1973 to 1981 he chaired the YMCA Refugee and Rehabilitation Committee that was based in Geneva. In 1972 he was elected to the Essex County (New Jersey) Board of Chosen Freeholders, and became its director in 1977.

Donald Payne challenged longtime Congressional incumbent Peter W. Rodino Jr. in the Democratic primary in both 1980 and 1986 but failed both times. In 1988 however, when Rodino said he would not seek a 21st term, Payne won nomination and was elected to Congress.

Payne was a former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, a member of the Democratic Whip Organization, and had been on the House Democratic Leadership Advisory Group and the Democratic Steering Committee. Payne received a presidential appointment in 2003 and again in 2005 from President George W. Bush to be one of two Congressional delegates to the United Nations.

A dedicated advocate of education, Payne was a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor through which he worked with the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections and the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. He was also a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, and belonged to the Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight.

Payne headed a presidential humanitarian mission to Rwanda, had been heavily supportive of the Northern Ireland peace process, and worked with the International Relations Committee to improve the Microenterprise Act, which provides loans to small business owners in developing countries. He also won the passage of a resolution condemning the genocide in Darfur, Sudan.

Payne gained national recognition when he was selected to manage the House debate over using force in Iraq in 2003. Congressman Donald Payne died in Livingston, New Jersey on March 6, 2012 from colon cancer. He was 77. He left behind three children and four grandchildren. Don Payne supported my efforts with the “Spectrum” project that I did as a High School teacher at Red Bank Regional in New Jersey. I will never see another person who helped and supported Public Education like he did and I thank you. Reserach more about this great American and share wit your babies. Make it a champion day!

July 15 1864- Maggie Lena

GM – FBF – Today, I want to share with you a story of a great 
black woman who as an activist and business woman who rose to be a role model for her community and the Nation. Enjoy!

Remember – “Let us put our moneys together; let us use our moneys; let us put our money out at usury among ourselves, and reap the benefit ourselves … Let us have a bank that will take the nickels and turn them into dollars.” – Maggie Lena Walker

Today in our History – July 15,1864 – the first woman—white or black—to establish and become president of a bank in the United States is born.

Maggie Lena Walker was grand secretary of the Independent Order of St. Luke, an organization dedicated to the social and financial advancement of African Americans.

Maggie Lena Walker was born on July 15, 1864, in Richmond, Virginia. She attended school and graduated in 1883, having been trained as a teacher. She married a brick contractor in 1886 and left her teaching job, at which point she became more active within the Independent Order of St. Luke, an an organization dedicated to the social and financial advancement of African Americans. In 1899, Maggie Walker became grand secretary of the organization—a position that she would hold for the rest of her life. During her tenure, she founded the organization’s newspaper, and opened a highly successful bank and a department store. By the time she died, on December 15, 1934, Walker had turned the nearly bankrupt organization into a profitable and effective one.

Maggie Lena Walker was born Maggie Lena Draper on July 15, 1864, in Richmond Virginia. Her mother, Elizabeth Draper, was a former slave and the assistant cook for Elizabeth Van Lew, an abolitionist on whose estate Maggie was born. Maggie’s biological father was Eccles Cuthbert, an Irish American who had met Elizabeth on the Van Lew estate. The two were never married, and shortly after Maggie’s birth, Elizabeth married William Mitchell, the butler of the estate. In 1870, the Mitchells had a child, Maggie’s half-brother Johnnie.

Soon thereafter, William obtained a job as the headwaiter at the St. Charles Hotel in Richmond, and the family moved away from the estate and into a small house of their own. Tragedy struck, however, when in 1876 William was found drowned in the river. His death was ruled a suicide by police, though Elizabeth maintained that he had been murdered. William’s death left Elizabeth and her children in poverty. To make ends meet, Elizabeth began a laundry business, with which Maggie assisted by delivering clean laundry to their white patrons. It was during this time that she first developed an awareness of the gap between the quality of life for whites and blacks in the United States—a gap that she would soon devote her life to narrowing.

In her teens, Maggie attended the Lancaster School and, later, the Richmond Colored Normal School, both institutions dedicated to the education of African Americans. While attending the latter, she also joined the Independent Order of St. Luke, a fraternal organization dedicated to the advancement of African Americans in both financial and social standing.

Maggie graduated in 1883, having completed her training as a teacher. She returned to the Lancaster School to teach and remained there until 1886, when she married Armstead Walker Jr., a brick contractor, and was forced to leave her job, due to the school’s policy against married teachers. Over the next decade, Maggie Walker’s life was split between family and her work for the Order of St. Luke. In 1890, she gave birth to her first son, Russell, and in 1893, Armstead, who died while still an infant.

In 1895, Walker, who had been rising quickly through the ranks of the Order, became grand deputy matron. She also established a youth arm of the order to inspire social consciousness in young African Americans. In 1897, Walker gave birth to another son, Melvin, and two years later, became the Order of St. Luke’s grand secretary.

When Maggie Walker assumed control of the Order of St. Luke, the organization was on the verge of bankruptcy. In a speech she gave in 1901, she outlined her plans to save it, and in the coming years, she would follow through on each item she had described. In 1902, Walker founded the St. Luke Herald to carry news of the Order of St. Luke to local chapters and to help with its educational work. The following year, she opened the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank (of which she would be remain president until 1929). In 1905, she opened the St. Luke Emporium, a department store that offered African-American women opportunities for work and gave the black community access to cheaper goods.

In the midst of all of these accomplishments, however, tragedy visited Maggie Walker once more: In 1915, Russell Walker, mistaking his father for an intruder, shot and killed him as he was returning home one night. Russell was tried for murder, but was found innocent. Also around this time, Maggie Walker developed diabetes. Yet this did not deter her in her work.

In 1921, Walker ran for the seat of superintendent of public instruction on the Republican ticket, though she was defeated along with the other black Republican candidates. Her work for the Order of St. Luke, however, was meeting with much more favorable results. By 1924, under Maggie Walker’s continued leadership, the bank served a membership of more than 50,000 in 1,500 local chapters. Additionally, she managed to keep the bank alive during the Great Depression, despite the fact that many were failing, by merging it with two other banks in 1929.

For the last few years of her life, Maggie Walker was confined to a wheelchair and continued to suffer from her diabetic condition, and on December 15, 1934, at age 70, she died from complications of the disease. She was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Richmond. In 1979, her home on East Leigh Street, in the Jackson Ward neighborhood of Richmond, known as the “Harlem of the South,” was purchased by the National Parks Service and became a National Historic Site. Research more about Black women in finance and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

July 14 2014- Alice Coachmen

GM – FBF – Today, I want to share with you one of the saddest sports stories in Track and Field that I have ever heard. I thought that sprinter Jesse Owens racing a horse at Monmouth, NJ Racetrack and other tracks around the states just to feed his family was sad but go anyplace and people will tell you Wilma Rudolph was the first black woman to win a medal — it’s not true, Rudolph’s three gold medals in the sprints at the Rome Olympics in 1960, was 12 years later than Coachman but Rudolph was on television. Alice Coachman was not. Enjoy!

Remember – “I had accomplished what I wanted to do, It was time for me to start looking for a husband. That was the climax. I won the gold medal. I proved to my mother, my father, my coach and everybody else that I had gone to the end of my rope.” – Alice Coachman


Alice Coachman became the first African American woman from any country to win an Olympic Gold Medal when she competed at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, UK.

Born November 9, 1923, in Albany, Georgia, to Evelyn and Fred Coachman, Alice was the fifth of ten children. As an athletic child of the Jim Crow South, who was denied access to regular training facilities, Coachman trained by running on dirt roads and creating her own hurdles to practice jumping.
Even though Alice Coachman parents did not support her interest in athletics, she was encouraged by Cora Bailey, her fifth grade teacher at Monroe Street Elementary School, and her aunt, Carrie Spry, to develop her talents.

After demonstrating her skills on the track at Madison High School, Tuskegee Institute offered sixteen-year-old Coachman a scholarship to attend its high school program. She competed on and against all-black teams throughout the segregated South.

In 1943, Coachman entered the Tuskegee Institute college division to study dressmaking. She played on the basketball team and ran track-and-field, where she won four national championships for events in sprinting and high jumping. Coachman completed a degree in dressmaking in 1946. In 1947, Coachman enrolled in Albany State College (now University) to continue her education. Coachman completed a B.S. degree in Home Economics with a minor in science at Albany State College in 1949 and became teacher and track-and-field instructor.

During World War II, the Olympic committee cancelled the 1940 and 1944 games. Alice Coachman’s first Olympic opportunity came in 1948 in London, when she was twenty-four. On August 8, 1948, Alice Coachman leapt 5 feet 6 1/8 inches to set a new Olympic record and win a gold medal for the high jump.

Coachman (who was later known as Alice Coachman Davis) received her medal from King George VI. She was invited aboard a British Royal yacht, she was congratulated by President Harry S. Truman at the White House, and Count Basie gave a party for her. She was lauded in a motorcade that wound its way through Georgia from Atlanta to her hometown, Albany.

But she had returned to a segregated South. Blacks and whites were seated separately in the Albany city auditorium when she was honored there. The mayor sat on the stage with her but would not shake her hand, and she had to leave by a side door.

As a youngster in Albany, she had run and jumped barefoot, using ropes and sticks for makeshift high jumps. She had not been allowed to train at athletic fields with whites.

“You had to run up and down the red roads and the dirt roads,” Coachman told The Kansas City Star. “You went out there in the fields, where there was a lot of grass and no track. No nothing.”

At a time when there were few high-profile black athletes beyond Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis, Coachman became a pioneer. She led the way for female African-American Olympic track stars like Wilma Rudolph, Evelyn Ashford, Florence Griffith Joyner and Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

“I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” she told The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the Games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps. It encouraged the rest of the women to work harder and fight harder.”

During her career, she won thirty-four national titles, ten for the high jump in consecutive years. Alice Coachman was inducted into nine halls of fame including the National Track-and-Field Hall of Fame (1975) and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame (2004). Coachman became the first black woman to endorse an international product when Coca-Cola signed her as a spokesperson in 1952.

Coachman married Frank A. Davis and is the mother of two children. She taught for the later part of her life at South Carolina State College, Albany State University and the Job Corps. The Alice Coachman Elementary School in Albany, Georgia is named in her honor.

In 1994, she founded the Alice Coachman Track and Field Foundation to provide assistance to young athletes and former Olympic competitors. Coachman died in Albany, Georgia on July 14, 2014. She was 90.

Albany is located in Southwest Georgia closer to the Florida border and further away from the capitol city of Atlanta, GA where Dr. Martin L. King – Lost “The Albany Movement ” a desegregation campaign formed on November 17, 1961. Almost all of Albany’s public facilities remained segregated after King’s departure, making the Albany Movement one of the few failures among the 1960s civil rights campaigns. Research more about black female track athletes and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

July 13 1787 – The Northwest Ordinance Passed

GM – FBF – Today, I want talk about a Congressional law which kept African slaves in check. When if fact, slavery was officially barred from the new western states in 1787. In fact it did not happen in this case or in later years, The Louisana Purchase also did nothing for the Africans. Don’t forget the Dread Scott case that went to The Supreme Court.
Enjoy and learn!

Remember – If we give them (Slaves) an opportunity to be part of America, it will strive forward for another 100 years. – Thomas Jefferson

Today in our History – July13, 1787 – The Northwest Ordinance, passed. Incorporating the Western Territories.

Under the Treaty of Paris (1783) which ended the Revolutionary War, Britain relinquished to the United States a large tract of land west of the Appalachian mountains, doubling the size of the new nation. How would this territory be incorporated into the United States? Congressional debates about the division and government of the new territories resulted in precedents which were followed throughout the settlement of the west.

Congress Discusses Slavery in the Western Territories
[Detail] Resolution for the Exclusion of Slavery in Future States. New York: s.n., 1785. Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

In 1783, Congress formed a committee to “prepare a plan for the temporary government of the western territory.” Thomas Jefferson, chairman of the committee, delivered a report in March 1784 proposing the division of the land into ten territories, and their eventual admission to the Union on an equal footing with the original thirteen states. In addition, Jefferson proposed the prohibition of slavery in any of the new states. Congress rejected Jefferson’s ban on slavery, but in 1785 Rufus King attempted to restore it, offering the displayed resolution. Congress, once again, rejected the proposal by a slight margin. Slavery was officially barred from the new western states in 1787.

Congress Decides How to Divide the Western Territories
[Detail] An ordinance for ascertaining the mode of disposing of lands in the Western Territory. New York : s.n., 1785. LC copy annotated by Rufus King and by an unknown hand, with some changes reflected in the ordinance passed May 20 (cf. JCC 477). Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Congressman David Howell of Rhode Island complained that America’s new western territories were “the most complicated and embarrassing Subject before Congress since peace has taken place.” Deliberation over what to do with the territory continued for several years, but on May 18, 1785, a burst of activity resulted in a proposal for the orderly settlement of the western public lands. Rufus King of Massachusetts, a key figure in the debate, made many of the notations that appear in the document’s margins. Congress adopted the final version of the Land Ordinance of 1785 on May 20.

Congress Determines How New States Can Enter the Union
In 1787, Congress was approached by agents of the Ohio Company, a group of New England Revolutionary War veterans seeking to purchase vast tracts of western land. The prospect of earning real revenue for the western territories inspired Congress to resolve the long debate over the west; the Northwest Ordinance, passed on July 13, 1787, provided for a government in the western territories, created a procedure for the formation of states, established a formal method for the new states to enter the union as equals, guaranteed the inhabitants civil and religious liberties, and prohibited slavery. The president of Congress, Arthur St. Clair, was named first governor of the territory. Research more about this Territorel event and others which held Balec people and share with your babies. Make it a champon Day!

July 12 1967- “BURN BABY BURN”

GM – FBF – Today, I would like to share with you a story about New Jersey’s largest City. The Riots during that summer of 1967 not only hit Newark but from Jersey City down to New Brunswick. I f you lived in Trenton, our city had a few people around town but thank God not as bad as North Jersey.

Remember – ” It was a scene in the old west, people shooting at police and police shooting back” – Mayor Hugh Addonizio of Newark, NJ.

Today in our History – July 12, 1967 – “BURN BABY BURN”

The Newark Riot of 1967 which took place in Newark, New Jersey from July 12 through July 17, 1967, was sparked by a display of police brutality. John Smith, an African American cab driver for the Safety Cab Company, was arrested on Wednesday July 12 when he drove his taxi around a police car and double-parked on 15th Avenue. According to a police report later released to the press, the police claimed that Smith was charged with “tailgating” and driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street. Smith was also charged with using offensive language and physical assault.

A witness who had seen Smith’s arrest called members of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the United Freedom Party, and the Newark Community Union Project. These civil rights leaders were given permission to see Smith in his 4th Precinct holding cell. After noticing his injuries inflicted by the police, they demanded that he be transported to a hospital. Their demands were granted and Smith was moved to Beth Israel Hospital in Newark.

Around 8:00 p.m. black Newark cab drivers began to circulate the report of Smith’s arrest on their radios. Word spread down 17th Avenue, west of the precinct police station where Smith had been held. Residents in this predominantly black city recalled a long history of similar events with the Newark Police. Many of them angrily gathered on the streets facing the 4th Precinct.

At 11:00 p.m. one of the civil rights leaders informed the police that a peaceful protest would be organized across the street from the precinct. A police officer handed the leader a bullhorn to address the crowd. Bob Curvin, a member of CORE, was joined by Timothy Still, the president of a poverty program, and Oliver Lofton, who was the administrator of the Newark Legal Services Project. Although the three speakers urged a nonviolent protest march, an unidentified local resident took the bullhorn and urged violence. Young men from the neighborhood began to pick up bricks and bottles and searched for gasoline. Shortly afterwards, objects were thrown at the precinct windows.

Shortly after midnight, two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the precinct. Then a group of 25 people on 17th Avenue began to loot stores. The looting drew larger crowds and Newark was now engulfed in rioting.

Despite the violence, on Thursday morning Newark Mayor announced that Wednesday night’s activities were isolated incidents and were not of riot proportions. At 6:00 p.m. Thursday night, a large group of young kids gathered on the street where traffic had been blocked. Word spread along 17th Avenue that people would again demonstrate against the precinct. Human Rights Commission Director James Threatt arrived and told the crowds to disperse. They refused and rioting commenced for a second night.

After midnight Thursday, looting spread throughout the major commercial district of the ghetto in Newark. Groups of young adults smashed windows while chanting “Black Power.” At the same time the looting spread, the police were given clearance to use firearms to defend themselves. At 2:20 a.m. Mayor Addonizio asked New Jersey Governor Richard J. Hughes to send in the National Guard to help in restoring order.

At around 4:00 a.m. a looter was shot while trying to flee from two police officers. By early Friday morning five people had been killed and 425 people were jailed. Hundreds were wounded. More than 3,000 National Guardsmen arrived later in the day along with five hundred state troopers. By mid-afternoon, the Guardsmen and the troopers arrived, formed convoys, and were moving throughout the city.

Despite the presence of National Guardsmen and state troopers rioting continued for three more days. As the riot approached its final hours, 26 people, mostly African Americans, were reported killed, another 750 were injured and over 1,000 were jailed. Property damage exceeded $10 million. The riot, the worst civil disorder in New Jersey history, ended on July 17, 1967. Research more about this wild time in “BRICK CITY” and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!