Month: September 2018

September 21 2008 – Nancy Alene Hicks Maynard

GM – FBF – Today, I would like to share with you a story of a Black women who was a great believer of the press, who would go on to become the first Black woman to own a newspaper. Enjoy!

Remember – A newspaper is the center of a community, it’s one of the tent poles of the community, and that’s not going to be replaced by Web sites and blogs.- Nancy Alene Hicks Maynard

Today in our History – September 21, 2008 – Nancy Alene Hicks Maynard dies.

Nancy Alene Hicks Maynard (1 November 1946 – 21 September 2008) was an American publisher, journalist, former owner of The Oakland Tribune, and co-founder of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. She was the first African-American female reporter for The New York Times, and at the time of her death, The Oakland Tribune was the only metropolitan daily newspaper to have been owned by African Americans.

Maynard was born Nancy Alene Hall in Harlem, New York City, to jazz bassist Alfred Hall and Eve Keller, a nurse. Maynard first became interested in journalism when, after a fire destroyed the elementary school she once attended, she was unhappy with the portrayal of her community in the coverage by the news media. She went on to attend Long Island University Brooklyn and graduated with a journalism degree in 1966.

Maynard began her journalism career as a copy girl and reporter with the New York Post. She was hired by The New York Times in September 1968, at the age of 21. Almost immediately, she was sent to Brooklyn to help cover the Ocean Hill-Brownsville school decentralization controversy, which drew accusations of racism and anti-Semitism and resulted in a citywide teachers’ strike and the establishment of new school districts throughout the city. After less than one year at the Times, Maynard was hired as a full-time reporter, becoming the first African-American woman to work as a reporter at the newspaper.

During her first few years at The New York Times, Maynard covered important race-related stories such as race riots and Columbia and Cornell University black student takeovers, as well as politically significant events like a memorial for Robert F. Kennedy. She later wrote for the paper’s education and science news departments, primarily on health-care coverage. In 1973, she spent a month in China analyzing its medical system, including stories about the use of acupuncture in surgical operations. Among her other story topics were the Medicare system, an explanation of the arrangement of whiskers on a lion’s face and coverage of Apollo program.

Maynard and her husband Robert C. Maynard left their jobs and founded the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education in Oakland, California where she served as its first president in 1977. Since its founding, the institute has been credited with training and preparing hundreds of minority students for careers in news editing, newsroom managers, and other careers in journalism. Maynard served as a member of the board until 2002.

In 1983, Maynard and her husband purchased The Oakland Tribune, which was in poor financial shape at the time. The Oakland Tribune became the first and, at the time of Maynard’s death, the only major metropolitan daily newspaper to be owned by African Americans. The two served as co-publishers for almost 10 years together, and were credited with bringing a significant amount of diversity into the newsroom. After Robert C. Maynard died in 1993, Maynard sold the paper, which was experiencing declining revenues, to ANG Newspapers.

Not long after graduation, Maynard was married to Daniel D. Hicks, with whom she had her first child, her son David. After Hicks’s death in 1974, she married Robert C. Maynard in 1975 after they met at a convention. He already had a daughter, Dori. As a couple, they had their third child, Alex.
Maynard, who made her home with partner Jay T. Harris in Santa Monica, California, died at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles on September 21, 2008 at the age of 61 after an extended illness. Research more about Black women in the press and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

September 20 1984- Emory A. Tate Jr

GM – FBF – Today, I would like to share with you a story that is uplifting but sad at the same time. It is about a man who enjoyed the “ART” of Chess. I played the game of chess and was good for many pickup games with family and friends or strangers at the park. This father, husband, veteran of the service and speaker of multiple languages died doing what he did best while participating in a chess tournament. Read this great true adventure of one of the best African American chess ARTISTS in the world. Enjoy!

Remember – “The beauty of chess is it can be whatever you want it to be. It transcends language, age, race, religion, politics, gender and socioeconomic background. Whatever your circumstances, anyone can enjoy a good fight to the death over the chess board.”- Emory A. Tate, Jr

Today in our History – September 20, 1984: Chess player and Air Force Sergeant Emory A. Tate, Jr. won the 25th Annual Armed Forces Chess Championship Tournament. Remembering -Emory Andrew Tate Jr : December 27, 1958 – October 17, 2015

When one dies, he leaves a lot of sadness in the hearts of those who knew him, and considered him a friend. This is surely the case for International Master Emory Tate. But at the same time, I cannot think of a better way to die than doing what one truly loves, and has done all his life. IM Emory Tate died while playing chess in a tournament near San Jose, California. Like a Viking, fighting and dying on the battle field, the Valkyries flew to lift his spirit, and now he is surely visiting other great chess players from history that we all keep in our hearts.

When you see your name next to Emory Tate’s on the pairings chart, adrenaline may rush through your body as you prepare face a vicious predator. One of the most feared players in the U.S., Tate had built a reputation over the years as a swashbuckling tactician who will try to slash you to bits as brilliantly as possible… and he didn’t disappoint.

Born on the west side of Chicago, but spending formative years in Indiana, (USA) Emory Tate Jr. was taught the game of chess by his father Emory Sr. Indiana is a fairly active chess state, but in the early days of stardom, Tate spent a lot of time in the Chicago area creating a buzz with his hyperactive play. If one observes closely, it is easy to get a glimpse of his brilliant mind.

Tate’s reputation received a boost while he served in the Air Force and was 5-time Armed Forces Champion. His travels have given him the opportunity to make a foray into European chess. Of course, Tate has some comfort in these environments since he is fluent in Russian and has decent command of other languages.

What is most amazing about Tate was his ability to analyze complicated variations with amazing clarity and speed. His post-mortem analysis sessions often draw huge crowds (some standing in chairs) to witness his entertaining spectacle. Tate pepper his vivid commentary with “triple exclam!” while rattling off a series of moves with a quickness. During his sessions, the crowds are spellbound by his amazing ideas, humorous barbs and incisive color commentary. He has even received generous applause after his sessions. Amazing!

Tate had a large collection of GM scalps (80 by his estimate) and many often wonder why he never achieved the rank of Grandmaster.

He also reached the 2500-rating barrier after winning the Eastern Open in December 1996. Tate qualified for participation in the prestigious 2006 U.S. Championship after a sterling performance at the 2005 National Chess Congress. His appearance was a highly-anticipated an will add a new level of excitement to the field. Tate added another chapter in his long history of accomplishments by clinching the International Master title at the 2006 World Open. For many years, Tate’s strength at this level has not been in question and as mentioned before has scored some fascinating victories. Hopefully Tatel gained more opportunities to earn GM norms so he add a final “triple exclam” to his litany of accomplishments. Tate has inspired chess players the world over, but in particular, he is considered by many players of African descent to be a legendary figure in the annals of chess history.

Born to Emma Cox Tate and Emory Andrew Tate, Sr. The five-time Armed Forces champion was a pioneering black chess master. His legendary career came to an end on October 17, 2015 as he collapsed in the middle of a tournament game. Research more about this amazing piece of American history and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

September 19 2002- Etta Zuber Falconer

GM – FBF – Today I would like to share with you a story that most people have forgotten or have never been told. It is about a woman who was born in the South but gained fame in a lot of places outside the South as a mathematician. Enjoy!

Remember – “Mathematics is the heart of everything that we do in life, not to understand it is like saying I don’t care to know myself” – Etta Zuber Falconer

Today in our History – September 19, 2002 Etta Zuber Falconer died.

Mathematician Etta Zuber Falconer was born on November 21, 1933, in Tupelo, Mississippi. Her mother, Zadie L. Montgomery, was a musician, and her father, Dr. Walter A. Zuber, was a physician. She graduated from George Washington Carver High School in 1949. Zuber was only fifteen years old when she enrolled into Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. One of her early instructors was Evelyn Boyd Granville, an associate professor of mathematics.

Zuber graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1953 with a bachelor’s degree, with a major in mathematics and minor in chemistry. While at Fisk, Zuber was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa academic honors society. At the age of nineteen, Zuber enrolled into the University of Wisconsin at Madison, supporting herself with various jobs. She graduated with her Master’s Degree in Mathematics in 1954.

Zuber returned to Mississippi in 1955 to teach math at Okolona Junior College. It was there that she met Dolan Falconer, and the two married the same year. They had three children: Dolan Falconer Jr., Dr. Alice Falconer Wilson, and Dr. Walter Falconer, and were separated only by the Dolan’s death in 1990.

During the summer of 1962, Falconer began attending the National Science Foundation (NSF) Teacher Training Institute summer program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign while beginning her PhD studies at the University of Illinois. In 1963 she left Okolona College to accept a teaching position at Howard High School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Falconer was named institute director of NSF in 1964, but her time was cut short when her husband was offered a teaching position at Morris Brown College, and the family relocated to Atlanta, Georgia. Falconer began teaching at Spelman College in 1965 and was awarded an NSF Faculty Fellowship (1967–1969) that enabled her to teach part time, while continuing to work on her PhD at Emory University.

In 1969 Falconer became the eleventh African American woman to receive a PhD in mathematics. She specialized in Abstract Algebra. In 1971 when her husband accepted a teaching position in Virginia, Falconer obtained a position as an associate professor of mathematics at Norfolk State College. After a year, they returned to Georgia, and Falconer returned to Spelman College in 1972 where she was named associate professor of mathematics and chairperson of the Mathematics Department. She held those positions until 1985.

Additionally, Falconer chaired the Natural Sciences Division from 1975 to 1990. She also became one of the first African American women in the nation to earn a Master’s Degree in Computer Science, which she received from Atlanta University in 1982. While teaching at Spelman College, Falconer was responsible for instituting a summer science program for pre-freshmen, an annual Spring Science Day, the NASA Women in Science Program, the NASA Undergraduate Science Research Program, and the College Honors Program. She was also founder of the local chapter of the National Association of Mathematicians.

Falconer was awarded the UNCF Distinguished Faculty Award (1986–1987), the Spelman Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching (1988), the Spelman Presidential Faculty Award for Distinguished Service (1994), NAM’s Distinguished Service Award (1994), the AWM Louise Hay Award, for outstanding achievements in mathematics education (1995), QEM’s Giants in Science Award (1995), and an honorary doctorate of science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1996). She has also been a member of countless panels, societies, organizations, and committees.

Dr. Etta Zuber Falconer died of pancreatic cancer on September 19, 2002, in Atlanta, Georgia, at the age of sixty-eight. She is survived by her three children. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

September 18 1866- Mary Burnett

GM – FBF – The story that I would like to share with you today is about a Black woman who was a civil rights leader, a college graduate, educator and a high school principal. She was involved with the Niagara movement and the N.A.A.C.P. Enjoy her story!

Remember – “The greatness of nations is shown by their strict regard for human rights, rigid enforcement of the law without bias, and just administration of the affairs of life.” -Mary Burnett Talbert

Today, in our History – September 18, 1866 – Mary Burnett Talbert was born.

Mary Burnett Talbert, clubwoman and civil rights leader, was originally born Mary Burnett on September 18, 1866 in Oberlin, Ohio, to Cornelius and Caroline Nicholls Burnett. Mary Burnett graduated from Oberlin High School at the age of sixteen and in 1886 graduated from Oberlin College with a literary degree at nineteen. Shortly afterwards, Burnett accepted a teaching position at Bethel University in Little Rock, Arkansas and quickly rose in the segregated educational bureaucracy of the city.

In 1887, after only a year at Bethel University, Burnett became the first African American woman to be selected Assistant Principal of Little Rock High School. Four years later in 1891, however, Burnett married William H. Talbert, an affluent business man for Buffalo, New York and resigned her position at Little Rock High School and moved to her husband’s hometown. One year later Mary B. and William Talbert gave birth to their only child, a daughter, Sarah May Talbert.

Over the next thirty years Mary Talbert established herself as an accomplished public and civic leader in Buffalo. In 1899 she became one of the founding members of the Phyllis Wheatley Club of Colored Women, Buffalo’s first affiliate of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW). Six years later in 1905, Mary B. Talbert secretly hosted black political activists including W.E.B Du Bois, John Hope and nearly thirty others around her dining room table for the first meeting of what would eventually become the Niagara Movement, a forerunner to the National Association of Advancement for Colored People (NAACP). Talbert became one of the first women to join the NAACP after its founding in 1909. In 1916, Talbert was elected President of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) and the Vice President of the NAACP. In 1917 Talbert became one of a handful of black Red Cross nurses to serve on the Western Front of Europe after the United States entered World War I.

After the war Talbert returned to Europe to lecture on the importance of women’s rights and race relations. She also became a dedicated advocate of the Dyer Anti–Lynching Bill introduced in 1919 by Missouri Congressman Leonidas Dyer. In 1921 she became chair of the NAACP’s Anti–Lynching Committee. The next year, Mary B. Talbert became the first African American Women to win the NAACP’s Spingarn Award, the organization’s most significant honor for civil rights activity. Mary Burnett Talbert died in Buffalo, New York on October 15, 1923 at the age of 57. Research more about Black women and civil rights and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

September 17 1970- Flip Wilson

GM – FBF – Today, I want to share with you a story of the first successful Black television variety show, Nat “King” Cole tried in the ‘50’s but they were not ready to sponsor his show. Bill Cosby showed that the 60’s were better to be a co-star in a hour show. While Black singing groups and others had summer one show specials even the great Sammy Davis, Jr. tried in 1966 but in 1970, Clerow Wilson Jr.from Jersey City, N.J. struck gold. Enjoy!

Remember – “I was number one in the ratings four times last year and twice this season. What could be more damn equal than that? If they get any more equal, I don’t want it”. Flip Wilson

The Flip Wilson Show was an hour-long variety show that originally aired in the U.S. on NBC from September 17, 1970 to June 27, 1974. The show starred American comedian Flip Wilson; the program was one of the first American television programs starring a black person in the title role to become highly successful with a white audience. Specifically, it was the first successful network variety series starring an African American.[1] During its first two seasons, its Nielsen ratings made it the nation’s second most watched show.

The show consisted of many skits in a 60-minute variety format. It also broke new ground in American television by using a “theatre-in-the-round” stage format, with the audience seated on all sides of a circular performance area (with some seats located behind the sketch sets on occasion).
Wilson was most famous for creating the role of Geraldine Jones, a sassy, modern woman who had a boyfriend named Killer (who, when not in prison, was at the pool hall). Flip also created the role of Reverend Leroy, who was the minister of the Church of What’s Happening Now! New parishioners were wary of coming to the church as it was hinted that Reverend Leroy was a con artist. Wilson popularized the catchphrase “The Devil made me do it!”.

Geraldine Jones was a huge part of The Flip Wilson Show and was played by Wilson wearing women’s clothing. Some of “Geraldine’s” most famous quotes are, “The Devil made me buy this dress!”, “Don’t you touch me, honey, you don’t know me that well! You devil, you!” and “What you see is what you get!”

In one episode of the show, “Geraldine” and Bill Cosby were in a skit called “The Night Nurse” in which Geraldine and Bill were in a hospital. Cosby was supposed to be the sick patient and Geraldine was the nurse. “She” was convinced that he was there for a swollen ego. It ends with Geraldine lying in the hospital bed watching her favorite show, Iron Hips, while Cosby leaves. In another, she is with Ray Charles and presents him with a reward from the Ray Charles Fan Club, which is a kiss on the cheek. Ray asks what he can do for her, and she says that she has been rehearsing a song in the shower for the past week that she wanted to sing with him.

All in all, Geraldine Jones was a favorite of Flip Wilson Show fans, and a major part of the show and the years that the show was running.
In addition to the skits, Wilson also signed many popular singers to provide entertainment. African-American singers such as Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Pointer Sisters, Charley Pride, Johnny Mathis, The Temptations, and The Supremes appeared on the program, as well as many contemporary white entertainers like Bobby Darin (a frequent guest on his show), Bing Crosby (two appearances),[2] Roy Clark, Joan Rivers, The Osmonds, Johnny Cash, Roger Miller, and Pat Boone. Usually, the singers also chose to partake in skits with Wilson.

Wilson’s clout allowed him to get both the new breakout performers (such as The Jackson 5, Roberta Flack, Sandy Duncan, Lily Tomlin, George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Albert Brooks, Lola Falana, and Melba Moore, all of whom became very popular during this period) as well as established singers. In late 1971, gospel legend Mahalia Jackson made one of her last public performances on The Flip Wilson Show.
While The Flip Wilson Show first shared a studio with other television series, Wilson’s massive popularity allowed for him to get his own set of soundstages, starting in the fall 1972 season. As the seasons went on, however, the show’s ratings slipped; ratings across the variety show genre began a terminal decline in the mid-1970s. This, coupled with Wilson’s repeated demands for higher raises in his salary, caused the series to go over its budget and led to its cancellation.

Half-hour versions of the series aired on TV Land from 1997 to 2006. From 2011 to 2012, the show aired on TV One. From 2012 to 2016, half-hour versions of the show aired on the Aspire network. Research more about blacks on television and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

September 16 1934- Elgin Gay Baylor

GM – FBF – Today, I would like to share with you a story about one of the most gifted Professional Basketball players during his day. Setting records that only a handful of players have duplicated or surpassed today, he will always be called one of the 50 best who have ever played the game. It was a joy of watching him play during his later years. Enjoy!

Remember – “If you look up the definition of greatness in the dictionary, it will say Michael Jordan” – Elgin Baylor

Today in our History – September 16, 1934 – Elgin Gay Baylor was born.

Elgin Gay Baylor was a professional basketball player, who played for Los Angeles Lakers. He was born on September 16, 1934 and began playing basketball from an early age. Two of his older brothers were also basketball players, and Baylor took naturally to the game. He was already known to be a gifted player by the time he was in high school, and was selected to be a three time All City player. However, his academic record had always been poor, and he dropped out of high school to work odd jobs and play in local leagues.

He rejoined high school a few years later, by which time he had grown to his full height of 6 feet 5 inches and weighed 190 lbs. During this time he won a trophy for being the Area’s Best Basketball player for 1954. He broke several records that season and maintained his outstanding performance.

Because of his lackluster academic record, he did not get admitted to college but a friend helped him to get a scholarship to attend the College of Idaho. There he played both basketball and football, after which he set out to attend Seattle University. He led them to NCAA Championship finals, which the team lost to the Kentucky Wildcats. In 1958, he was drafted by the National Basketball Association, where he joined the Minneapolis Lakers (later renamed the Los Angeles Lakers). He left his final year of college at Seattle University and chose to play full time for the Lakers.

The team had been performing poorly when Baylor joined and he was given a $20,000 contract to help bring them back on their feet. His contribution to the team’s improved performance has been acknowledged by all, including the owner of the LA Lakers Bob Short himself, who says that if Elgin Baylor hadn’t joined the team, it probably would have continued to perform miserably and might even have gone out of business entirely.

In his first season with the NBA, Baylor was named “The Rookie of the Year” with some of the best statistics in the game. He finished fourth in the league in scoring, third in rebounding and eighth in assists. He led the Lakers all the way from last place previous year to the NBA Finals, which they lost to the Boston Celtics. Baylor continued to perform at the top of his form, pushing the boundaries and setting new records each year. During the 1960-61 season, he scored 71 points in a single game against the New York Knicks, which was the record for most points scored by a single player in a game at the time, breaking his own record of 64 points set the previous year. He led the Lakers to a total of 8 NBA finals during his career.

During his later years, he began to be plagued by knee problems, which caused him to retire early. This came at a great personal cost to him, as the very same year his team set an NBA record of 33 consecutive wins, and also won the NBA Championships that season. As a sign of his tremendous contribution, he was honored with a championship ring by his team, even though he had not been an active member of the team at the time. Elgin Baylor officially retired from the NBA during the 1971-72 season. Some of his records still stand to date, such as most number of points scored in an NBA Final (61 points in game 5 of the 1962 NBA Finals).

He was selected to the All-NBA First Team 10 times, and to the NBA All-Star team 11 times. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 197. He has also been ranked among the Top 50 NBA Players of All Time by several magazines. Research more about this great player and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

September 15 1970- Eric Garner

GM – FBF – Today, I want to review with you the story of a husband and father who was taken off the earth because of a perceived Idea of Indent to selling something with little to no street value. This Man’s story would be of National Interest and the guilty will go unpunished but the family would receive monies from this city.

Remember – “ How many times does it take for a person to plead to grown men that what you are doing is harming me and you need to stop” – Esaw Garner

Today in our History – Eric Garner was born on September 15, 1970.

The choking death of Eric Garner on video in 2014 helped bring the debate on interactions between white police officers and unarmed African Americans to the national forefront. Eric Garner was born on September 15, 1970, in New York City, New York. Garner, whose mother was a subway operator, grew to 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighed 350 pounds. He worked as a mechanic and then in the city’s horticulture department for several years before health problems, including asthma, sleep apnea, and complications from diabetes, forced him to quit. He had six children, ranging in age from eighteen years to three months, and was with his wife, Esaw, for over twenty years. Although Garner was known in his community as a “gentle giant,” had been arrested over thirty times in his life, mostly for lower-level offenses such as selling untaxed cigarettes, driving without a license, and marijuana possession.

On July 17, 2014, Garner reportedly broke up a fight broke on a busy street in the Staten Island neighborhood of Tompkinsville. Upon arrival at the scene, New York Police Department officers confronted Garner and accused him of illegally selling individual cigarettes, or “loosies.” A passerby recorded Garner, who had filed a 2007 harassment complaint against the NYPD in federal court, responding, “I’m tired of it. This stops today.” Several officers now surrounded the unarmed Garner and one of them, Daniel Pantaleo, who was white, placed Garner in a chokehold and took him to the ground. With Pantaleo’s arm around his neck Garner could be heard repeatedly gasping his last words: “I can’t breathe.”

A short time later, forty-three-year-old Eric Garner was pronounced dead at Richmond University Hospital. Although police argued Garner was resisting arrest, the chokehold used by Officer Pantaleo had been cited as a “dangerous maneuver” by the NYPD and officially banned in 1993. On August 1, 2014, the city medical examiner classified Garner’s death as a homicide, and a grand jury was convened on August 19 to hear possible charges against the officers involved. On August 23, over a thousand protesters demonstrated peacefully near the site where Garner died.

As November 2014 came to a close, a grand jury decision in the Garner case was imminent. Meanwhile another unarmed black man, twenty-eight-year-old Akai Gurley, had been mistakenly shot and killed by an NYPD officer on November 20 in the darkened stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project, and officials in Ferguson, Missouri, declined to charge an officer there in the shooting death of yet another unarmed African American, eighteen-year-old Michael Brown. In response, thousands of protesters rallied in New York City on November 25, blocking traffic on busy streets, bridges, and tunnels. On December 3, the grand jury declined to bring criminal charges against Officer Pantaleo.

In the aftermath of Eric Garner’s death and the grand jury’s decision, “I can’t breathe” became a massive topic on social media and a rallying call among protesters around the country. During warm-ups before a December 8, 2015 NBA game in Brooklyn between the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland (Ohio) Cavaliers, players on both teams, including Cleveland superstar LeBron James, wore “I can’t breathe” t-shirts. Other NBA stars such as Derrick Rose of the Chicago (Illinois) Bulls and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles (California) Lakers also wore the shirt. These high-profile demonstrations were publicly endorsed by President Barack Obama afterward.

On July 2015, a $5.9 million settlement was paid to the Garner family, with the city of New York admitting no liability. Research more about this case or other cases across America that are the same and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

September 14 1921- Constance Baker

GM – FBF – This morning I would like to share with a story that was first told to me when I was attending college in Wisconsin. A story of a Black Woman who was named to the Federal Bench and became Chief Judge in the 1980’s. Why is that Important? Well if you have been hearing that in Washington, D.C. the congress through the U.S. Senate is considering a Judge to be placed on the United States Supreme Court, the best way to get there today is from the Federal Bench. Let’s examine this trail blazer’s story. Enjoy!

Remember – “Lack of encouragement never deterred me. I was the kind of person who would not be put down.” – Judge Constance Baker Motley

Today in our History – September 14, 1921 Constance Baker was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the ninth of twelve children. Her parents, Rachel Huggins and McCullough Alva Baker, were immigrants from Nevis, in the Caribbean. Her mother was a domestic worker, and her father worked as a chef for different Yale University student societies, including the secret society Skull and Bones.

While growing up in New Haven, Baker attended the integrated public schools, but was occasionally subject to racism. In two separate incidents she was denied entrance, once to a skating rink, the other to a local beach. By the time Baker reached high school she had already cultivated a profound sense of racial awareness, sparking her interest to get involved with civil rights. A speech by Yale Law School graduate George Crawford, a civil rights attorney for the New Haven Branch of the NAACP, inspired Baker to attend law school.

With financial help from a local philanthropist, Clarence W. Blakeslee, she started college at Fisk University, a historically black college in Nashville, Tennessee, but later returned north to attend integrated New York University. At NYU, she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1943. Motley received her Bachelor of Laws in 1946 from Columbia Law School.

In October 1945, during Baker’s second year at Columbia Law School, future United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall hired her as a law clerk. She was assigned to work on court martial cases that were filed after World War II.
After graduating from Columbia’s Law School in 1946, Baker was hired by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) as a civil rights lawyer. As the fund’s first female attorney, she became Associate Counsel to the LDF, making her a lead trial attorney in a number of early and significant civil rights cases. Baker visited churches that were fire bombed, sang freedom songs, and visited Rev. Martin Luther King while he sat in jail, as well as spending a night with civil rights activist Medgar Evers under armed guard.

In 1950 she wrote the original complaint in the case of Brown v. Board of Education. The first African-American woman ever to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, in Meredith v. Fair she won James Meredith’s effort to be the first black student to attend the University of Mississippi in 1962. Motley was successful in nine of the ten cases she argued before the Supreme Court. The tenth decision, regarding jury composition, was eventually overturned in her favor. She was otherwise a key legal strategist in the civil rights movement, helping to desegregate Southern schools, buses, and lunch counters.

Motley was elected on February 4, 1964, to the New York State Senate (21st district), to fill the vacancy caused by the election of James Lopez Watson to the New York City Civil Court. She was the first African American woman to sit in the State Senate. She took her seat in the 174th New York State Legislature, was re-elected in November 1964 to the 175th New York State Legislature, and resigned her seat when she was chosen on February 23, 1965, as Manhattan Borough President—-the first woman in that position. In November 1965, she was elected to succeed herself for a full four-year term.

Motley was nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson on January 26, 1966, to a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated by Judge Archie Owen Dawson. she was confirmed by the United States Senate on August 30, 1966, and received her commission on August 30, 1966, becoming the first African American female federal judge. She served as Chief Judge from 1982 to 1986. She assumed senior status on September 30, 1986. Her service terminated on September 28, 2005, due to her death in New York City.

Motley handed down a breakthrough decision for women in sports broadcasting in 1978, when she ruled that a female reporter must be allowed into a Major League Baseball locker room.

She received a Candace Award for Distinguished Service from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women in 1984. In 1993, she was inducted into National Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2001, President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Citizens Medal. The NAACP awarded her the Spingarn Medal, the organization’s highest honor, in 2003. Motley was a prominent honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

Constance Baker married Joel Motley, Jr., a real-estate and insurance broker, in 1946 at Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church in New Haven, Connecticut. They were married until her death of congestive heart failure on September 28, 2005, fourteen days after her 84th birthday, at NYU Downtown Hospital in New York City. Her funeral was held at the Connecticut church where she had been married; a public memorial service was held at Riverside Church in Manhattan. She left one son, Joel Wilson Motley III, co-chairman of Human Rights Watch, and three grandchildren, Hannah Motley, Ian Motley, and Senai Motley.

An award-winning biographical documentary, Justice is a Black Woman: The Life and Work of Constance Baker Motley, was first broadcast on Connecticut Public Television in 2012. A documentary short, The Trials of Constance Baker Motley, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 19, 2015. Research more about Black women judges and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

September 13 1981- Isabel Sandford

GM – FBF – Today I would like to share with you a story of a great lady who had pride and dignity and took that power to be seen on “The great white way” or Broadway in NYC. She started like most did at The world famous APPOLO THEATER, because they fans will tell you in a New York minuite if you have juice or not. She had a good time at the Appolo and the rest is history. Enjoy!

Remember – “If there’s anything in life you consider worthwhile achieving – go for it. I was told many times to forget show business – I had nothing going for me. But I pursued it, anyway.” Isabel Sanford

Today in our History – September 13, 1981 – Isabel Sanford wins an Emmy award as best comedic actress for The Jeffersons.
Isabel Sanford (born Eloise Gwendolyn Sanford; August 29, 1917 – July 9, 2004) was an American stage, film, and television actress and comedian best known for her role as Louise “Weezy” Mills-Jefferson on the CBS sitcoms All in the Family (1971–1975) and The Jeffersons (1975–1985). In 1981, she became the second black American actress to win a Primetime Emmy Award, and the first to win for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

Sanford was born Eloise Gwendolyn Sanford in Harlem, New York City, to Josephine (née Perry) and James Edward Sanford. She was the youngest of seven children and was the only child to survive beyond infancy. Sanford’s mother Josephine was devoutly religious and insisted that her daughter attend church every Sunday and occasionally made her attend on weeknights. As a teenager, Sanford aspired to be an actress, but her mother discouraged her dream, as she felt that show business was “the road to degradation”. Sanford disobeyed her mother and began performing at local clubs. She also performed at amateur night at the Apollo Theater.

After graduating from high school, Sanford joined Harlem’s American Negro Theater and the Star Players. She made her professional stage debut in 1946 in On Strivers Row and appeared in several off-Broadway productions while also working as a keypunch operator at IBM. Sanford married house painter William Edward “Sonny” Richmond with whom she had three children. Their marriage was tumultuous and they later separated.

After separating from her husband, Sanford and her three children relocated to California in 1960. Soon after her arrival, she was asked to join the national production of Here Today by actress Tallulah Bankhead. In 1965, she made her Broadway debut in James Baldwin’s Th Amen Corner. The role led to her being cast in the 1967, film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

In the film, she was credited as Isabell Sanford and portrayed the role of the maid Tillie Binks which earned her good reviews. She caught the attention of major Hollywood players, including Norman Lear, who cast Sanford in the role of Louise Jefferson in All in the Family. Sanford and her TV husband, Sherman Hemsley, were so popular that Norman Lear decided to spin-off the characters into their own weekly series, The Jeffersons.

Sanford was initially reluctant to commit to working on a weekly series, as she was already working steadily, but decided to accept the offer. The Jeffersons premiered in January 1975 and was an immediate hit with audiences, and ultimately ran for 11 seasons. For her role on the series, Sanford earned five Golden Globe Award nominations, and seven Primetime Emmy Award nominations. She won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1981, making her the first African American actress to win in that category.

After The Jeffersons cancelation in 1985, Sanford continued her career with guest starring roles in television and film. In January 1987, she starred in her own sitcom Isabel’s Honeymoon Hotel, which aired five days a week in syndication. The series was created to showcase Sanford’s comedic skills, but it failed to attract an audience and was quickly cancelled. In the 1990s, Sanford mainly appeared in television guest appearances and cameo appearances in movies. She appeared on Dream On, Living Single, Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, In the House, Lois & Clark, 
The New Adventures of Superman in a season-two episode entitled, “Seasons Greedings”, The Steve Harvey Show, and Hearts Are Wild. In 1996, had a supporting role in the action movie Original Gangstas, starring blaxploitation film stars Fred Williamson, Pam Grier, Jim Brown, and Richard Roundtree.

Sanford later reprised her role as Louise Jefferson in a touring company of The Real Live Jeffersons stage show in the mid-1990s alongside Sherman Hemsley. Hemsley and she also made cameo appearances in films such as Sprung, Mafia!, and two episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The two also appeared in a series of advertisements for Denny’s and Old Navy. In January 2004, Sanford received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to the television industry. She made her final television appearance the following month as an animated version of herself on The Simpsons episode “Milhouse Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”.

Sanford was married to house painter William Edward “Sonny” Richmond. The couple had three children, two sons and a daughter, before separating. After their separation, Sanford and the children moved to California in 1960, while Richmond remained in New York. Shortly after their arrival, Richmond died after being involved in an altercation. Sanford was a Democrat who attended an event with Dennis Weaver for presidential candidate Jesse Jackson in 1988.

In September 2003, Sanford underwent preventive surgery on her carotid artery. In the ensuing months, her health steadily declined. She was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on July 4, 2004, where she died five days later—a month before her 87th birthday. Her publicist attributed it to unspecified natural causes. She was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles. For her contribution to the television industry, Isabel Sanford has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 7080 Hollywood Boulevard. Research more about black women in entertainment and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

September 11 2001- America Is Attacked in Washington D.C

GM – FBF – Today, I would like to share with you a story that shook my life as well as other Americans. I was working for Minolta in the Regional Headquarters at Broadway and Reade in the Tribecca section on NY.. Since we were just a couple of blocks from the World Trade Center we entertained our guests who visit our offices. So the famous Windows on the World our company had standing reservations every day for those who don’t know it was located on the top floors 106th and 107th floors of the North Tower (Building One).

On Monday, September 10th we had a celebration for signing a contract with Con-Edison. My VP of sales was so happy that he gave us the next day off. The rest is History as you know. I was not the only one who traveled from Willingboro, NJ to Manhattan but the ones who do over the years you get to know here is the story of another person who lived in Willingboro but did not make it out of the towers that horrible morning called 9/11.

Remember – The attacks of September 11th were intended to break our spirit. Instead we have emerged stronger and more unified. We feel renewed devotion to the principles of political, economic and religious freedom, the rule of law and respect for human life. We are more determined than ever to live our lives in freedom. –Rudolph W. Giuliani – New York City Mayor

Today in our History – September 11, 2001 – America is attacked in Washington, D.C., Shanksville, PA. and New York City, New York. – Joan D. Griffith of Willingboro, N.J. dies.

Joan D. Griffith, 39, of Willingboro, N.J. worked in the World Trade Center as an office manager and assistant vice president for Fiduciary Trust. She and her husband, Peter, lived in Willingboro for nine years, raising two daughters, Paula and Joann. Griffith used her first name at work, but friends and family called her Donna, her middle name. Just days before the attack, Griffith and her husband returned from a Caribbean cruise taken to celebrate their 20th anniversary.

Peter Griffith described his wife as a wonderful spouse and devoted mother. He said she enjoyed cooking and reading romance novels. Research more about this American tragity and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!