Month: November 2018

November 10 1931- Benjamin Thonton

GM-FBF- Today’s Story is about something that generation x, the millennials and especially generation z doesn’t remember. The greatest generation and us baby boomers this was new to us and many of us still do not like to use it. It is a device that the military and business embraced as a form of modern communication. You will see that it was a black man that invented this technology. Learn and enjoy!

Remember – “I didn’t know how the world would take it but it seemed logical to me” – Benjamin Thornton

Today in our History – November 10, 1931: Benjamin Thornton received a patent for an Apparatus for Automatically recording Phone messages.

The answering machine is arguably the greatest asset to modern communication of the last century. While the telephone was important, one would have to be near it in order to receive and send vital messages. The answering machine changed all of that. With this incredible invention, you could receive communications regardless of whether you took the call first hand or not, and information could be distributed far more effectively. It is almost inconceivable to imagine a world without answering machines. We have all experienced the elation of good news, or the heartbreak of a breakup message. And all of this positivity comes down to the invention, an African American inventor who literally changed the way in which we communicate.

It was 1935, and the telephone had changed the way in which people communicated, did business, and thought about the world. There was one major shortcoming though – telephone owners would have to wait around for calls, and missed calls were permanently lost. Benjamin Thornton recognized this problem, and patented a recording system that allowed people to leave the kind of messages that we all do to this very day. Thanks to the inclusion of a recording device, the caller could leave a message for the phone owner, who could then play the message back, return a call, or jot down the information. It was really a revolution. But Thornton wasn’t done yet.
The etiquette around leaving voice messages had not been developed, and novice phone owners often forgot to give complete messages in their haste and excitement. For example, an urgent message could be left, but if the speaker did not include a time or date, the urgency would be lost, and the message would be rendered ineffective. To stop this from happening, Thornton included a clock mechanism that would alert people to the time that the missed call was made, and the message left. The test of invention is in the ability to endure, and the contribution of Thornton is the epitome of this quality. This is a phenomenal concept that we would never survive without. Thank you Benjamin Thornton!

When you do a search on who invented the automatic answering machine usually the names of Willy Muller or Mueller and Benjamin Thornton come up.

This device used to record phone messages while the receiver remains on the telephone has been referred as an ansafone, an answerphone, or just simply the automatic telephone answering device.

To confuse matters just a little more about who invented the answering machine we find the following pictures on a site called Recording History with this information to support the possibility that Thomas Alva Edison should receive credit for the invention.

“Edison recognized the need right away, developing a technology designed for telephone recording in 1877, merely months later than the announcement of the telephone in 1876. Unfortunately, his first telephone recorder did not work, but fortunately it could be used for other purposes. He called it the phonograph. “

Then in 1900 a Danish inventor named Valdemar Poulson invented the telegraphone. It worked in recording phone messages but not automatically. Edison answered back (no pun intended) in 1914 with a gadget called the Telescribe. Then in the 1920’s several inventors worked on wax cylinder concepts including Truman Steven who patented what could be considered legitimate answering machines.

In 1935 Willy Mueller a Swiss inventor commercialized an innovative invention to replace the old technology used in telephone recording devices. His answering machine was based on clock technology and could both record and send messages. It was however a huge device standing 3 feet in height. Meanwhile in the US Benjamin Thornton makes his contribution in 1936. Ipsophon was introduced in 1936 and worked on a magnetic tape concept. This was the Benjamin Thornton contribution.

Thornton’s patents for the answering machine
• 1931 patent # 1831331 – apparatus for automatically recording phone messages
• 1932 patent # 1843849 – apparatus for automatically transmitting messages over a telephone line
Research more about black Inventors and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 9 1935 Robert ” BOB” Gibson

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about one of the greatest Professional Baseball players during his era. He tunned down an opportunity to Play baseball at 17 years and instead went to college. He ensured himself to being a top prospect by starting and playing baseball and basketball which was the first for his college. He chooses baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals but also played with the Harlem Globetrotters to support his income. I saw him pitch when the Cardinals came to Philly to play the Phillies. I remember the 1961 all-star game with Mays, Aaron and Clemente in the field and Gibson on the mound. What a game. Enjoy!

Remember – Why do I have to be an example for your kid? You be an example for your own kid. – Bob Gibson

Today in our History – November 9, 1935 – Robert “BOB” Gibson was born.

Famous Major League baseball pitcher Robert “Bob” Gibson was Pack and Victoria Gibson’s seventh child born November 9, 1935 in Omaha, Nebraska. Pack died three months before Bob Gibson was born. Young Gibson suffered with asthma, pneumonia, rickets, hay fever, and a rheumatic heart. He and his family lived in a four bedroom dilapidated frame house in North Omaha and later moved to a segregated government housing project.

By high school Gibson had overcome most of his childhood illnesses and become a multisport athlete at Omaha Technical High School. By his senior year, however, he concentrated on baseball, and in 1952 the Kansas City (Missouri) Monarchs attempted to sign the seventeen year old. When he graduated one year later the St. Louis Cardinals attempted to sign him to a minor league contract. He declined, opting to attend Creighton University in Omaha which extended him a scholarship to play basketball. He would become Creighton’s first African American athlete to play both varsity basketball and baseball.

Gibson joined the St. Louis Cardinals Triple-A farm club as a pitcher in 1957, signing a contract for $3,000 with a $1,000 signing bonus. In the offseason, he played for the Harlem Globetrotters, earning another $4,000 annually. In 1958 Gibson signed a contract with the Cardinals which doubled his salary and eliminated his need to play for the Globetrotters.
The next three years, until mid 1961, he would spend with the Redbird farm system in Columbus, Georgia.

He finished in the majors that year with 12 wins and 13 losses, and struck out 166 batters. He remained with the Cardinals in the Major League from 1962 to 1972 and ranked amongst the best of all major league pitchers. His most notable year was 1968, when he won 22 of the 31 games he appeared in, threw for 305 innings, had 13 shut outs, and struck out a league-leading 268 batters. He finished the season with a record breaking 1.12 ERA for a pitcher throwing for over 300 innings.

Gibson’s achievements would earn him both the prestigious Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player of the Year Award.
Although his career had slowed by 1971, due to various injuries, he continued to play until his retirement in 1975. Six years later in 1981, he was a near unanimous choice for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Gibson finished his career having pitched in 528 games with 251 wins, 174 losses, 56 shutouts, 3,117 strikeouts, and career average 2.91 ERA.

After retirement, Gibson served as pitching coach to the New York Mets in 1981, and with the Atlanta Braves from 1982 to 1984. He returned to the Cardinals organization in 1994 as assistant coach to Manager Joe Torre. In between, he served as a radio announcer for the St. Louis Cardinals, ran a restaurant, served as chair of the board of a St. Louis bank and owned interest in a St. Louis radio station. Research more about black baseball players and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 8 1975- Syvilla Fort

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about a person who loved to dance. She loved it so much she began teaching dance at the age nine. She went to high school and attended one of the best dance schools in the nation. The rest is history as they say. Enjoy!

Remember – “ Many people love to dance in clubs and in houses and that is fine but when I think of dance, I think of flying and controlling one’s body to a point that you can express any feeling.” – Syvilla Fort

Today in our History – November 8, 1975 – Syvilla Fort died.

Syvilla Fort, born on July 3, 1917 in Seattle, was a professional dancer in the 1930s and early 1940s and prominent dance instructor in New York City for three decades between 1948 and 1975. Her dance style, which combined African, Caribbean, and American rhythms, influenced hundreds of professional dancers and actors.

Fort began studying ballet when she was three years old but was denied admission to several Seattle ballet schools because of her race. Forced to learn at home in private lessons, she soon excelled in dance and at age nine began to teach modern dance, tap, and ballet to the neighborhood kids.

In 1932 she graduated from high school and entered the Cornish School of Allied Arts in Seattle, becoming its first African American student. At Cornish she met John Cage, an American composer, who had Fort perform some of his first compositions. They continued this collaboration through her years at Cornish.

In 1937 Fort relocated to Los Angeles to begin her professional career. There she met dancer Katherine Dunham. Fort later joined Dunham’s dance company in Chicago. While with Dunham’s company, Fort injured her knee which ended her professional dance career prematurely in 1945. In 1948 Fort was appointed chief administrator and dance teacher at the Katherine Dunham School of Dance in New York. Fort retained that position until 1954 when the school closed due to financial problems.

Soon afterwards Fort and her husband, Buddy Philips, opened a dance studio in New York City on West 44th Street. It was here that Fort developed her Afro-Modern technique, which combined the modern styles of dance, learned from the Dunham School, with the techniques she had acquired at Cornish. Fort’s school became popular among aspiring actors and had a number of students who went on to illustrious careers including Marlon Brando, James Dean, Jane Fonda, and James Earl Jones. Fort was also a part time Professor of Physical Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College between 1954 and 1967.

Fort’s dance studio thrived until she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1975. The cancer spread rapidly and she died on November 8, 1975. Just days before her death, Syvilla Fort attended a concert in her honor organized by the Black Theater Alliance. Research more about black dance and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 7 1989- David Dinkins

GM – FBF – I hope that you had an opportunity to vote and if you didn’t shame on you. Today’s story is about a man who hails from Trenton, NJ and rose up to become New York City’s 1st Black Mayor, Enjoy!

Remember – “ The sign on my city says “Trenton Make the World Takes” and I am here NY” – Mayor David Dinkins

Today in our History – November 7, 1989 – David Dinkins becomes NYC’s first black mayor.

In 1989, David N. Dinkins defeated his challenger, former federal prosecutor Rudolph (Rudy) Giuliani, to become the first African American mayor of New York City.

David Norman Dinkins was born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1927. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Marine Corps at 18 and served briefly in World War II. After the war, he attended Howard University, graduating with a B.A. in Mathematics in 1950. Dinkins moved to New York City and received a law degree from the Brooklyn Law School in 1956. Dinkins is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
David Dinkins’s political career began when he joined the Carver Club headed by a charismatic politician, J. Raymond Jones who was known as the Harlem Fox. Dinkins befriended three up and coming black New York politicians; Charles Rangel, Basil Paterson, Sr., and Percy Sutton.

In 1965, Dinkins won his first electoral office, a seat in the New York State Assembly. Shortly afterwards Dinkins was offered the position of deputy mayor of New York by then Mayor Abraham Beam. Dinkins could not accept the post when it was revealed he had not paid income taxes for the past four years.

Dinkins did manage to secure the position of city clerk for New York which he held from 1975 to 1985. On his third run for the office, Dinkins was elected Manhattan’s Borough President in 1985. In 1989, Dinkins decided to run for Mayor of New York. He surprised political observers by defeating three time incumbent Mayor Ed Koch in the Democratic primaries. Despite facing a strong Republican challenger in former federal prosecutor Rudolph Giuliani, Dinkins narrowly won the mayor’s race.

Dinkins presided over a city well known for its municipal crises. His term, however, was particularly turbulent because an unprecedented crack epidemic and the resulting drug wars swept through the city. Especially affected were the impoverished African American and Puerto Rican neighborhoods that formed the core of Dinkins’s constituency. The crack epidemic also spawned a crime wave that exacerbated racial tensions.

Two episodes particularly tested the Mayor’s ability to be an effective municipal leader. In 1989, shortly after Dinkins took office, a young white woman was allegedly raped and brutalized by marauding black youth in Central Park. Months later a black teenager was murdered when he ventured into a white ethnic Brooklyn neighborhood. In both episodes Dinkins calmed racial tensions and earned an image as a peacemaker. Although Dinkins presided over a decrease in crime in the city, balanced the city budget by turning a $1.8 billion dollar deficit into a $200 million surplus, and maintained racial peace after the Rodney King verdict sparked rioting in a number of cities across the nation, he never completely shed his image as an ineffective political leader. The 1993 election proved a political rematch of 1989. This time, however, Rudolph Giuliani narrowly defeated David Dinkins for the Mayor’s office.

Former Mayor Dinkins accepted a professorship at Columbia University’s Center for Urban Research and Policy in 1994. Although he has endorsed various political candidates and clashed with fellow New Yorker and Presidential aspirant Al Shapton, Dinkins has not sought elective office. Research more about Black males in politics and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 6, 1900- James Weldon Johnson

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about a man who we should know about and one of the most basic black theme songs that was introduced to you when you were young, in school or church. Some of you may have never heard the song but that is alright. He was a composer, diplomat, social critic and civil rights activist. He started a newspaper and studied law but when asked to compose a song for the late United States President Abraham Lincoln that is where his fame came from as the Father of Negro National Anthem. Enjoy!

Remember – “ I was hoping that this song would be sung by every black man woman and child and never forgotten in order that they would be proud of their race” – James Weldon Johnson

Today in our History – November 6, 1900 – James Weldon Johnson composed the song “Life Ev’ry Voice & Sing.”

James Weldon Johnson, composer, diplomat, social critic, and civil rights activist, was born of Bahamian immigrant parents in Jacksonville, Florida on June 17, 1871. Instilled with the value of education by his father, James, a waiter, and teacher-mother, Helen, Johnson excelled at the Stanton School in Jacksonville. In 1889 he entered Atlanta University in Georgia, graduating in 1894.

In 1896, Johnson began to study law in Thomas Ledwith’s law office in Jacksonville, Florida. In 1898, Ledwith considered Johnson ready to take the Florida bar exam. After a grueling two hour exam, Johnson was given a pass and admitted to the bar. One examiner expressed his anguish by bolting from the room and stating “Well, I can’t forget he’s a nigger; and I’ll be damned if I’ll stay here to see him admitted.” In 1898, Johnson became one of only a handful of black attorneys in the state. 
Johnson, however, did not practice law. Instead he became principal at the Stanton School in Jacksonville where he improved the curriculum and added ninth and tenth grades.

Johnson also started the first black newspaper, the Daily American, in Jacksonville. With his brother Rosamond, who had been trained at the New England Conservatory of Music in Massachusetts, James W. Johnson’s interests turned to songwriting for Broadway.

Rosamond and James migrated to New York in 1902 and soon were earning over twelve thousand dollars a year by selling their songs to Broadway performers. Upon a return trip to Florida in 1900, the brothers were asked to write a celebratory song in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. The product, a poem set to music, became “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” now known as the Negro National Anthem.

In 1906, Johnson became United States consul to Puerto Cabello in Venezuela. While in the foreign service he met his future wife, Grace Nail, daughter of the influential black New York city real estate speculator, John E. Nail. The couple’s first year was spent in Corinto, Nicaragua, Johnson’s new diplomatic post.

While in the diplomatic service, Johnson had begun to write his most famous literary work, The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man. This novel, published in 1912, became a work of note during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. In 1914 Johnson became an editor for the New York Age. He soon gained notoriety when W.E.B. DuBois published Johnson’s critique of D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) publication The Crisis.

In 1916, Johnson became Field Secretary for the NAACP and dramatically increased NAACP membership and the number of branches. In 1917 he organized the famous “Silent March” down 5th Avenue to protest racial violence and lynching. The march, which numbered approximately ten thousand participants, was the largest protest organized by African Americans to that point. Johnson’s participation in the campaign against lynching continued for the next two decades.

Although he was a nationally recognized civil rights leader, Johnson continued to write and critique poetry in a column for the New York Age. His “Poetry Corner” column, published in 1922 as The Book of American Negro Poetry, became an important contribution to the emerging Harlem Renaissance particularly because of its inclusion of Claude McKay’s “If We Must Die.” Johnson’s other Harlem Renaissance contributions included The Book of American Negro Spirituals (1925), God’s Trombones(1927), and Seven Negro Sermons in Verse (1927).

In 1930 Johnson published Black Manhattan, a Social History of Black New York, and three years later (in 1933) his autobiography, Along This Way, appeared. 
Johnson resigned from the NAACP in 1930 and accepted a faculty position in creative writing and literature at Fisk University. He maintained an active life in teaching and public speaking until he died in an automobile accident in Maine in 1938. Research more about black artists and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 5 1901- Etta Moten Barnett

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about one of the great female pioneers of entertainment. She was so focused that she raised her children as a single parent and still finished her college which is tough during any era but in the 30’s was hard. Both Hollywood and New York Theater was honored with her talents, she mentored young black women, was a civil rights advocate and spent time in countries in Africa. She was the first Black Female entertainer to perform at the White House and lived to the age of 102. Enjoy!

Remember – “ I would not accept that my talents were not going to be seen because I was black, I got most of what I sat out for and I am at peace” – Etta Moten Barnett

Today in our History – November 5, 1901 – Etta Moten Barnett was born.

Etta Moten Barnett, singer, actress, civic activist and humanitarian, was born Nov. 5, 1901 to Rev. Freeman F. Moten and Ida Norman Moten in Weimar, Texas. As the daughter of an African Methodist Episcopal minister and a schoolteacher, the church and education were central to Etta Moten Barnett’s upbringing. As early as 10 years old, Barnett instructed Sunday school in her father’s church and performed in the church choir. Barnett was educated at Paul Quinn College’s secondary school for children in Waco, Texas, where she had received a full scholarship in singing. When her father was transferred to a church in Los Angeles in 1914, Barnett attended school there for two years. The family then moved to Kansas City, Kan., and she went to high school at Western University (a high school and junior college combined) in Quindaro, Kan.

At age 17, while attending Western University, Etta met and married Lieutenant Curtis Brooks – a former teacher – and moved to Oklahoma. Together she and Brooks had three daughters: Sue, Gladys and Etta Vee. After six of years of marriage, they divorced and she and her children returned to Kansas. Upon her return, Barnett enrolled in the University of Kansas. With her parents’ help raising her daughters, Barnett studied voice and drama and spent her summers touring with Jackson Jubilee Singers, a popular gospel group in Kansas, to pay her way through school. She also hosted a university radio program, where she sang gospel and popular music, and formed a quartet similar to the Jubilee Singers, which also performed on the university radio station.

Barnett received a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1931. Following graduation, Barnett joined the Eva Jessye Choir of New York. She also appeared on the professional stage in the Fast and Furious , an all-black musical revue written by Zora Neale Hurston, and another musical called Zombie . Zombie played in New York for two months, then toured to Chicago and California. Among Barnett’s other Broadway credits are Sugar Hill and Lysistrata .

When Zombie closed in California in 1932, Barnett decided to audition for film roles in Hollywood. However, at this time, because few parts were available to African American actresses, she found work dubbing vocals for Barbara Stanwyck in Ladies of the House (1932) and Ginger Rogers in Professional Sweetheart (1933). Finally, in 1933, Barnett received her first on-screen part singing “My Forgotten Man” in The Gold Diggers of 1933 . From this film appearance, Barnett won national acclaim for her musical talent, received invitations for lectures and concerts, and in 1934 was invited by Eleanor Roosevelt to sing “My Forgotten Man” at a birthday celebration for President Franklin D. Roosevelt—becoming the first African American woman to perform at the White House.

Barnett was also offered another on-screen singing role in Flying Down to Rio (1933) with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. In this role, she appeared as a Brazilian singer and sang “The Carioca,” which was nominated for an Academy Award for best song.

In 1934 she married Claude Barnett, founder and director of the Associated Negro Press. She met Barnett in Chicago in 1931 on her way to New York City. Once married, Etta and her three daughters, who had remained in Kansas City with her parents, moved to Chicago to live with Claude. Her daughters eventually changed their surname and were adopted by Barnett. Etta and Claude remained married until his death in 1967.
In 1942 Barnett returned to New York to play the part of Bess in George Gershwin’s opera, Porgy and Bess . Gershwin reportedly wrote the role of Bess with Barnett in mind, but when offered the role Barnett graciously declined the part because it required a soprano. Finally, seven years after the opera’s rather inauspicious Broadway debut in 1935, Barnett agreed to take the role in a 1942 revival. With Barnett in the role of Bess, the opera gained critical and commercial acclaim. It ran for one year on Broadway and then toured throughout the United States and Canada until 1945.

In addition to her accomplishments in Hollywood and on the Broadway stage, she hosted her own radio shows, “Etta Moten Sings,” “Etta Moten – with Music and Conversation” and “I Remember When;” performed with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony; was a soloist on Meredith Wilson’s radio show, “Carefree Karnival;” and served as community relations director for Chicago station WNUS.

Barnett’s influence was not limited to the artistic sphere; she also devoted considerable time to civic affairs, such as the African American Institute (AAI), the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, the Chicago Lyric Opera, the DuSable Museum, the Field Museum, the South Side Community Art Center, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the National Council for Community Services to International Visitors. She was active in women’s issues as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the Links, the National Council of Negro Women, the Women’s Board of the University of Chicago and the Women’s Board of the Chicago Urban League. She was also involved in the International Women’s Year and United Nations Decade for Women World Conference activities and events throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Along with her husband, Barnett supported African independence and progress. Together they traveled many times to Africa, often as part of official United States delegations to independence ceremonies and presidential inaugurations for Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia and Lusaka. In 1958, along with her husband, Barnett attended the All African People’s Conference. She was present at the All African Women’s Conference in 1960. Barnett participated in the Delta International of the Diaspora, a Delta Sigma Theta program to study the lives of people of African descent throughout the world, and represented the AAI as part of the women’s task force in Africa. In 1988 she received a citation from AAI recognizing her many years of service to Africa.

From the Barnetts’ visits to Africa, they amassed an impressive private African art collection. According to one Chicago Tribune reporter, who toured Barnett’s home in the 1990s, “Africa is far more evident than Broadway or Hollywood. In every one of Moten’s 14 rooms, the decor is punctuated with masks and sculptures, ivory and good-luck charms from Benin to Zimbabwe.”

In addition to her AAI citation, Barnett received a citation of merit from the University of Kansas in 1943; a citation for service from the National Association of Business and Professional Women in 1958; a citation in recognition for contributions to Afro-American Music from Atlanta University in 1973; and a 1974 citation from WAIT for her contributions to the City of Chicago. In 1979 she was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. She also was the recipient of a Living Legend Award from the National Black Arts Festival, the Order of Lincoln Medallion from the state of Illinois and a host of honorary degrees (Atlanta University in 1976, Spelman College in 1983, University of Illinois in 1987, and Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and North Carolina Central University, both in 1989).

She considered her 100th birthday (attended by Harry Belafonte, Studs Terkel, and about 400 others) as her life’s high water mark so no elaborate funeral arrangements were made. She suggested that donations could be given to Chicago’s Second Presbyterian Church Restoration Fund.
After a protracted struggle with pancreatic cancer, Barnett died on Jan. 2, 2004, at the age of 102. Research more about Black female entertainers and share with your babies. Mak eit a champion day!

November 4 1872- Pinckney Benton Stewart

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about the first Black man to sit as Governor in one of the U.S. States. This man was from Macon, GA. but found his way to the streets of New Orleans and to fame. Just like Revered S. Howard Woodson who sat in as Governor of New Jersey when as Lt. Governor the circumstances were right. This Black leader of reconstruction, civil rights, homeland defense and business. Will always be remembered as the first to sit as a Black Governor. Enjoy!

Remember – “A large number of white people feel just as sad as we do, but unfortunately for them, they dare not come out and express their opinion. They are ground down in a slavery worse than ours. They are slaves to a mistaken public opinion.” – P. B. S. Pinchback

Today in our History – November 4, 1872 – Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback was elected congressman at large from Louisiana.

Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback was born on May 10, 1837 to parents William Pinchback, a successful Virginia planter, and Eliza Stewart, his former slave. The younger Pinchback was born in Macon, Georgia during the family’s move from Virginia to their new home in Holmes County, Mississippi. In Mississippi, young Pinchback grew up in comfortable surroundings on a large plantation.

At the age of nine, he and his older brother, Napoleon, were sent by his parents to Ohio to receive a formal education at Cincinnati’s Gilmore School. Pinchback’s education was cut short, however, when he returned to Mississippi in 1848 because his father had become seriously ill. When his father died shortly after his return, his mother fled to Cincinnati with her children for fear of being re-enslaved in Mississippi. Shortly thereafter, Napoleon became mentally ill, leaving 12 year old Pinckney as sole-provider for his mother and four siblings.

Pinchback found work as a cabin boy on a canal boat and worked his way up to become a steward on the riverboats which ran the Ohio, Mississippi, and Red Rivers. He was taken under the wing of professional gamblers who worked the riverboats, and soon became a skilled swindler himself. During these years, he sent as much money as possible to Cincinnati to help support his mother and his siblings. In 1860 when he was 23, Pinchback married Nina Hawthorne, a 16 year-old from Memphis, Tennessee with whom he would have four children. When the Civil War began the following year, Pinchback ran the Confederate blockade on the Mississippi River to reach Union-occupied New Orleans, Louisiana where he raised a company of black volunteers to fight for the North. In 1863, after being passed over for promotion a number of times, Pinchback resigned from service.

At the close of the war, he moved his family to Alabama to test out their new freedom. After encountering dreadful levels of prejudice in Alabama, Pinchback moved his family to New Orleans.

Upon settling in New Orleans, Pinchback organized the Fourth Ward Republican Club, and was a member of the delegation that established a new constitution for the state of Louisiana in 1868. Later that year, he was elected to the Louisiana State Senate, and subsequently became the institution’s president pro tempore. In 1871, the Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, Oscar Dunn, died of pneumonia and Pinchback was chosen by the state senate to succeed Dunn. He served as lieutenant governor until the winter of 1872 when impeachment proceedings were initiated against Governor Henry Clay Warmouth. From December 9, 1872, to January 13, 1873 Pinchback served as acting governor of Louisiana, making him the first person of African descent to serve as governor of any state.

Before ascending to the office of governor, Pinchback had run for both a U.S Senate seat and a seat in the U.S. Congress simultaneously in 1872. He won both contests but was barred from taking his congressional post when his opponent contested the election and was awarded the position. Pinchback was denied his seat in the senate as well as a result of charges of election fraud.

In 1887, at age 50, Pinchback decided to embark on a new career and entered law school at New Orleans’ Straight College, where he graduated in 1889. He moved his family to New York City, New York in the 1890s where he served as U.S. Marshall from 1892 to 1895, before relocating again to Washington, D.C. Pinchback remained in Washington and was active in politics until his death on December 21, 1921. Research more about blacks in politics and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 3 1992- Carol Moseley Braun

GM – FBF – Today’s story coincides with the flavor of today which is the elections on this coming Tuesday, so I hope that you have early voted or have plans to vote on Tuesday. This young lady was born in Chicago, Illinois, came up through the city’s school system and graduated from the University of Illinois. Worked for the people in many aspects of government work and went on to become the first female Senator elected from Illinois and the first African American woman in the U.S. Senate. Enjoy!

Remember – “It’s not impossible for a woman – a Black woman – to become President.” Carol Moseley Braun

Today in our History – November 3, 1992 – Carol Moseley Braun, the first African American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

Carol Moseley Braun, the first African American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate, was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 16, 1947. She attended the Chicago Public Schools and received a degree from the University of Illinois in 1969. She earned her degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1972.

Moseley Braun served as assistant prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago from 1972 to 1978. In the latter year she was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives and served in that body for ten years. During her tenure Moseley Braun made educational reform a priority. She also became the first African American assistant majority leader in the history of the Illinois legislature. Moseley Braun returned to Chicago in 1988 to serve as Cook County Recorder of Deeds.

Capitalizing on the public furor over the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill controversy and in particular the way in which Hill was treated by U.S. Senators, Carol Moseley Braun upset incumbent Senator Alan Dixon in the Illinois Democratic Primary in 1992 and went on to become the first female Senator elected from Illinois and the first African American woman in the U.S. Senate. During her term in the U.S. Senate (1992-1998) Moseley Braun focused on education issues. She served on the Senate Finance, Banking and Judiciary Committee; the Small Business Committee; and the Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

In 1998, Moseley Braun was defeated for re-election in a campaign marred by allegations of illegal campaign donations during her 1992 campaign, although she was never formally charged with misconduct. Moseley Braun was also hurt by her business ties to Nigerian dictator Sami Abacha. After her 1998 defeat President Bill Clinton nominated Moseley Braun to the post of U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, a post she held until 2001.

Late in 2003 Moseley Braun announced her candidacy for the Democratic Nomination for President. However, she failed to attract financial support and withdrew from the race on January 14, 2004.

After teaching briefly at Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia, Moseley Braun returned to Chicago where she now lives. Research more about black female political figures and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 2 1894- Benedict College Opens

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about a school of higher education, some people believe today there is no reason to go to college and spend all of that money to have a degree in a field that you can’t get a job or further that profession. I agree why take something just to be taking it, it must serve a purpose besides a place to party and extend your high school foolishness. This school was one of the top HBCU’s in the country until Blacks were allowed to attend the bigger Intuitions around it. I have had the honor of speaking to the students on campus back in the day. Enjoy!

Remember – “Education is your ticket to the next phase in your life, don’t sleep on it” – Fredrick Douglass

Today in our History – November 2, 1894 – Benedict College opens.

Located within walking distance of downtown Columbia, South Carolina, Benedict College is a private four-year, co-educational, liberal arts college affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, USA. Benedict College was founded in 1870 by Rhode Island native Mrs. Bathsheba Benedict and the Baptist Home Mission. Its long-term goal was to educate emancipated African Americans and produce citizens with “powers for good in society.” Originally called Benedict Institute, on November 2, 1894, through a charter granted by the South Carolina legislature, the institution became a liberal arts college and changed its name to Benedict College. From 1870 until 1930 Benedict was led by northern white Baptist ministers, but in April 1930 Reverend John J. Starks became the first African American president of the college. Starks was a Benedict alumnus, class of 1891.

Benedict College is currently one of the fastest growing of the 39 United Negro College Fund schools. Amongst the twenty independent colleges in the state of South Carolina, Benedict with 2,770 students, has the largest undergraduate enrollment, and the second largest enrollment overall. On two occasions Money magazine has named Benedict among the top seven Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) nationally that offer the best value in American education. Benedict College has also been recognized by the Knight Foundation for its “commitment to high standards of quality in education” and for its “distinguished record of providing educational opportunities to African-American students.”

Today, Benedict College offers courses in business, government, social and health services, public and private school instruction, and in the civic, cultural, religious, and scientific fields. According to a recent survey conducted by the American Institute of Physics, Benedict ranks second in the nation in producing African American physics majors. Of the 2,700 students attending Benedict during the 2008-2009 academic year, 97% attended full time, 55% were from South Carolina, 69% lived in on-campus housing, and 3% were from outside the United States. A recent count showed that the balance between genders on campus was almost precisely equal. During that same academic year, Benedict had a total faculty of 158, 121 of whom taught full time. Research more about other HBCU’s and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 1 – Walter Payton

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about a man who could inspire you and got the best out of you in practice or in a game. He graduated in tiny Jackson State University but people knew then he was special. It always wasn’t easy for him until he had an offense line. Then the man turned in his greatness. His personal story was sad as I watched him maybe like some of you tell the world that he had cancer and would die. He broke down on the television and cried because he didn’t want to die. He will always be remembered because the NFL has a Man of The Year trophy named after him. Enjoy the story!

Remember – “I am happy to say that everyone that I have met in my life, I have gained something from them; be it negative or positive, it has enforced and reinforced my life in some aspect.” – Walter Payton

Today in our History – November 1 – Walter Payton dies from cancer.

Former Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton, the NFL’s all-time rushing leader and a man who ran with gritty determination and defiance that belied his nickname “Sweetness,” died from cancer of the bile duct.

Payton, looking shockingly frail and gaunt, announced at an emotional news conference Feb. 2 he was suffering from primary sclerosing cholangitis, a rare liver disease he said at the time could be cured only by a transplant.

But Greg Gores, a liver specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said today at a news conference at Bears headquarters in Lake Forest, Ill., that further evaluation of Payton’s illness had indicated “a diseased malignancy of the bile duct.”

Gores said Payton had undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatment in recent months in an attempt to stem the cancer. He added that because of the “aggressive nature” of the malignancy and its spread to other areas, “a liver transplant was no longer viable. . . . He made an informed decision regarding additional therapy.”

Surrounded by his wife, Connie, and two children, Jarrett and Brittney, Payton died shortly after noon at his home in Barrington, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, the city he captivated with his on-field heroics for 13 seasons, including a Super Bowl championship at the end of a 15-1 season in 1985.

“He’s the best football player I’ve ever seen. At all positions, he’s the best I’ve ever seen,” said Mike Ditka, who coached Payton for six of current Saints coach’s 11 years with the Bears, including the 1985 Super Bowl season. “There are better runners than Walter. But he’s the best football player I ever saw. To me, that’s the ultimate compliment.”

In a career that began with a debut of minus-eight yards in eight carries in the first game of his rookie season,
Payton rushed for 16,726 yards, breaking the record held by fellow Hall of Famer Jim Brown and a record as revered in his sport as Hank Aaron’s 744 home runs in baseball.

Payton was named to the Hall of Fame in January 1993 –– first year of eligibility – and was believed to be a unanimous choice by selectors.

Payton, 5 feet 10 and 200 pounds, was an awesome physical specimen who came into the league in 1975 as the Bears’ first-round choice out of Jackson State in Mississippi, the fourth overall pick that year. He finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in a year when Ohio State running back Archie Griffin won it for the second straight season. Payton got little support, mostly because Jackson State, a predominately black school, played a weaker Division I-AA schedule.

Payton gained 3,563 yards and scored 66 touchdowns over his college career and once scored 46 points in a game. He led the nation in scoring in 1973 with 160 points, and his 464 career points were an NCAA record.

But that was merely a prelude to a remarkable NFL career that ended in early 1988, when the Washington Redskins knocked the Bears out of the playoffs for the second straight season.
“My first year coaching with the Rams, we played the Chicago Bears in the [NFC] championship game, and I got to see first-hand what a great player Walter Payton was,” said Redskins Coach Norv Turner. “He was obviously much, much more than that – what a role model for anyone who ever wanted to play in this league or anyone who wanted to compete, and what a role model on and off the field.”

Payton was a driven athlete, a player who conditioned himself for the rigors of the game by running up steep hills in the offseason to the point of total exhaustion. He had arms like anvils, the thighs of Mr. Universe and an iron will. He missed only one game because of injury in his entire career when a coach, over Payton’s protest, rested him because of a sore ankle his rookie season.

As a rookie, Payton started seven games and rushed for 679 yards and seven touchdowns. The next season, he had the first of what would be 10 1,000-yard seasons, rushing for 1,390 yards and 13 touchdowns.

In ’77, only his third season in the league, Payton won the first of two MVP awards with the most productive season of his career. He rushed for 1,852 yards and 14 touchdowns, both career highs. His 5.5 yards per carry also was the best of his career.

In the Bears’ Super Bowl season, Payton gained 1,551 yards and had nine rushing touchdowns and also caught 49 passes, with two more for scores. In the Bears’ 46-10 rout of the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, Payton didn’t score a touchdown, a sore point with him that even caused Ditka to apologize to him afterward for what he said was simply an oversight.

Payton retired after the 1987 season and immediately launched himself into a successful business career that included part ownership of an Arena Football league team, several restaurants and a number of other businesses.
When Payton was inducted into the Hall of Fame, he asked 12-year-old Jarrett to be the first son to present his father at the ceremonies in Canton, Ohio. “Not only is he a great athlete, he’s a role model – he’s my role model,” said Jarrett, now a running back at the University of Miami who came home last Wednesday to be with his ailing father.

Jarrett Payton read a brief statement at the news conference at Halas Hall today, thanking well-wishers from around the world for their support and encouragement as well as the medical personnel who treated his father since his illness was first diagnosed.

“These last 12 months have been extremely tough for me and my family,” he said. “We’ve also learned about love and life.”
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue today called Payton “one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. . . . Walter was an inspiration in everything he did. The tremendous grace and dignity he displayed in his final months reminded us again why ‘Sweetness’ was the perfect nickname for Walter Payton.”
Mike Singletary, a fearsome middle linebacker who played with Payton from 1981 to ’87, said today he spent the weekend praying and reading scripture with Payton and saw him again Monday before he died.

“With all the greatest runs, the greatest moves I saw from him, what I experienced was by far the best of Walter Payton that I’ve seen,” Singletary said at Lake Forest. “As a football player, he was really the first running back I ever met that I truly respected in terms of how he prepared. . . . He was the first running back I had ever seen that I thought would be a great defensive player.

“His attitude toward life, you wanted to be around him. If you were down, he would not let you stay down. It was his duty to bring humor and light to any situation. No matter how tough it was, Walter could always make you feel great about playing the game and playing for the Chicago Bears. He was definitely a bright spot wherever darkness appeared.” Research more about this great American Hero an share with your babies. I will be speaking at Dacula High School about the Blacks who served during WWI and how Blacks on the home front lived. November 11, 2018 will be the 100th Anniversary of the end of WWI. I won’t be able to respond to any posts. Make it a champion day!