Month: March 2019

October 12 1908- Ann Penty

GM – FBF – Toda’s story is about a Black woman who loved to write children’s books and journalism. She has been all around the globe signing books and telling her story she loved people and wanted everyone to enjoy their lives. Enjoy!
Remember – “Having solved one problem, there was always a new one cropping up to take its place.” – Ann Penty

Today in our History – October 12, 1908 – Ann Penty was born.

Ann Petry (October 12, 1908 – April 28, 1997) was an American writer of novels, short stories, children’s books and journalism. Her 1946 debut novel The Street became the first novel by an African-American woman to sell more than a million copies.

Ann Lane was born on October 12, 1908, in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, as the youngest of three daughters to Peter Clark Lane and Bertha James Lane. Her parents belonged to the black minority numbering 15 inhabitants of the small town. Her father was a pharmacist and her mother was a shop owner, chiropodist, and hairdresser. Ann was also the niece of Anna Louise James.

Ann and her sister were raised “in the classic New England tradition: a study in efficiency, thrift, and utility (…) They were filled with ambitions that they might not have entertained had they lived in a city along with thousands of poor blacks stuck in demeaning jobs.”

The family had none of the trappings of the middle class until Petry was well into adulthood. Before her mother became a businesswoman, she worked in a factory, and her sisters worked as maids. The Lane girls were raised sheltered from most of the disadvantages other black people in the United States had to experience due to the color of their skin; however there were a number of incidents of racial discrimination.

As Petry wrote in “My Most Humiliating Jim Crow Experience”, published in Negro Digest in 1946, there was an incident where a racist decided that they did not want her on a beach. Her father wrote a letter to The Crisis in 1920 or 1921 complaining about a teacher who refused to teach his daughters and his niece. Another teacher humiliated her by making her read the part of Jupiter, the illiterate ex-slave in the Edgar Allan Poe short story “The Gold-Bug”.

Petry had a strong family foundation with well-traveled uncles, who had many stories to tell her when coming home; her father, who overcame racial obstacles, opened a pharmacy in the small town; and her mother and aunts set a strong example: Petry, interviewed by the Washington Post in 1992, says about her tough female family members that “it never occurred to them that there were things they couldn’t do because they were women.”

Petry’s desire to become a professional writer was raised first in high school when her English teacher read her essay to the class and commented on it with the words: “I honestly believe that you could be a writer if you wanted to.” The decision to become a pharmacist was her family’s. After graduating in 1929 from Old Saybrook High School, she went to college and graduated with a Ph.G. degree from the University of Connecticut College of Pharmacy in New Haven in 1931 and worked in the family business for several years, while also writing short stories. On February 22, 1938, she married George D. Petry of New Iberia, Louisiana, which brought her to New York.

She worked as a journalist writing articles for newspapers including The Amsterdam News (between 1938 and 1941) and The People’s Voice (1941–44), and published short stories in The Crisis, where her first story appeared in 1943, Phylon, and other outlets. Between 1944 and 1946 she studied creative writing at Columbia University. She also worked at an after-school program at P.S. 10 in Harlem. It was during this period that she experience and understood what the majority of the black population of the United States had to go through in their everyday life. Traversing the Harlem streets, living for the first time among large numbers of poor black people, seeing neglected children up close—Petry’s early years in New York inevitably made impressions on her and led her to put her experiences to paper. Her daughter Liz explained to the Post that “her way of dealing with the problem was to write this book [The Street], which maybe was something that people who had grown up in Harlem couldn’t do.”

Petry’s first and most popular novel, The Street, was published in 1946 and won the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship with book sales exceeding one million copies.

Back in Old Saybrook in 1947, Petry worked on Country Place (1947), The Narrows (1953), other stories, and books for children, but they never achieved the same success as her first book. She drew on her personal experiences of the hurricane in Old Saybrook in Country Place. Although the novel is set in the immediate aftermath of World War II, Petry identified the 1938 New England hurricane as the source for the storm that is at the center of her narrative.

Petry was a member of the American Negro Theater and appeared in productions including On Striver’s Row. She also lectured at University of California, Berkeley, Miami University and Suffolk University, and was Visiting Professor of English at the University of Hawaii.

She died in Old Saybrook at the age of 88 on April 28, 1997. She was outlived by her husband George, who died in 2000, and her only daughter, Liz Petry. Research more about Black writers abd share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

October 11 1887- Alexander Miles

GM – FBF – Today I would like to share with you a story about an Inventor who came up with an Invention that is still being used today. We don’t think about it that much but without his Invention many of the tallest buildings in the word could not have been built. Enjoy!

Remember -“I think it is time that the nation should awaken to the fact that the negro is a citizen and not a pest,” Alexander Miles.

Today in our History – October 11, 1887 Alexander Miles was awarded the patent, U.S. Patent 371,207 for his automatic opening and closing elevator door design.

Alexander Miles was an African-American inventor who was best known for being awarded a patent for an automatically opening and closing elevator door design in 1887. Contrary to many sources, Miles was not the original inventor of this device. In 1874, 13 years before Miles’ patent was awarded, John W. Meaker was awarded U.S. Patent 147,853 for the invention of the first automatic elevator door system.

Alexander Miles was born in 1838 in Duluth, Minnesota. He moved to Waukesha, Wisconsin where he earned a living as a barber in the 1860s. After a move to Winona, Minnesota in 1870, he met his wife, Candace J. Dunlap, a white woman born in New York City in 1834. Together they had a daughter named Grace who was born in April 1879. Shortly after her birth, the family relocated to Duluth, Minnesota.

While in Duluth, Alexander operated a barbershop in the four-story St. Louis Hotel and purchased a real estate office. His wife found work as a dress maker. Miles became the first black member of the Duluth Chamber of Commerce. In 1884, Miles built a three-story brownstone building at 19 West Superior Street in Duluth. This area became known as the Miles Block. It was at this time that Miles was inspired to work on elevator door mechanisms.

While riding in an elevator in with his young daughter, Alexander Miles saw the risk associated with an elevator shaft door carelessly left ajar. This led him to draft his design for automatically opening and closing elevator doors and apply for a patent. When the elevator would arrive or depart from a given floor, the doors would move automatically. Previously, the opening and closing of the doors of both the shaft and the elevator had to be completed manually by either the elevator operator or by passengers, contributing greatly to the hazards of operating an elevator.

Miles attached a flexible belt to the elevator cage, and when the belt came into contact with drums positioned along the elevator shaft just above and below the floors, it allowed the elevator shaft doors to operate at the appropriate times. The elevator doors themselves were automated through a series of levers and rollers.

Before working on elevator engineering, Miles experimented with the creation of hair products. The influence of his elevator patent is still seen in modern designs, since the automatic opening and closing of elevator and elevator shaft doors is a standard feature.

By 1900, Alexander, Candace, and Grace had moved to Chicago. In Chicago, Alexander created an insurance agency with the goal of eliminating discriminatory treatment of blacks. In his own words, Miles stated that insurance companies “persist in holding out discriminative rates to these colored people…” In 1900, it was believed that Alexander Miles was the “wealthiest colored man in the Northwest.”

Alexander Miles died sometime after 1905 and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2007. Research more about American Black Inventors and share with your babies. Make it a champion Day!

October 10 1966- The Black Panther Party

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about the misinformation that many American’s black and white still have or had about this organizations. I was a benefactor of one of their programs that helped me and my brother by giving us a good meal before we went to school. The U.S. Government could not afford to have many programs during that time that would uplift black communities, so they found ways to infiltrate or ways to discrete the organizations true purpose. Read – Research and understand. Enjoy!

Remember – “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” – Gill Scott -Heron.

Today in our History – October 10, 1966 – The Black Panther Party (BPP) was given lite to the world.

The Black Panther Party (BPP), originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, was a political organization founded by Bobby Seale and Huey Newton in October 1966. The party was active in the United States from 1966 until 1982, with international chapters operating in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s, and in Algeria from 1969 until 1972.

At its inception on October 10,1966, the Black Panther Party’s core practice was its armed citizens’ patrols to monitor the behavior of officers of the Oakland Police Department and challenge police brutality in Oakland, California. In 1969, community social programs became a core activity of party members. The Black Panther Party instituted a variety of community social programs, most extensively the Free Breakfast for Children Programs, and community health clinics to address issues like food injustice.The party enrolled the largest number of members and made the greatest impact in the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Philadelphia.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director J. Edgar Hoover called the party “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country”, and he supervised an extensive counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO) of surveillance, infiltration, perjury, police harassment, and many other tactics designed to undermine Panther leadership, incriminate party members, discredit and criminalize the Party, and drain the organization of resources and manpower. The program was also accused of assassinating Black Panther members.

Black Panther Party members were involved in many fatal firefights with police including Huey Newton allegedly killing officer John Frey in 1967 and the 1968 Eldridge Cleaver led ambush of Oakland police officers which wounded two officers and killed Panther Bobby Hutton. The party was also involved in many internal conflicts including the murders of Alex Rackley and Betty Van Patter.

Government oppression initially contributed to the party’s growth, as killings and arrests of Panthers increased its support among African Americans and on the broad political left, both of whom valued the Panthers as a powerful force opposed to de facto segregation and the military draft. Black Panther Party membership reached a peak in 1970, with offices in 68 cities and thousands of members, then suffered a series of contractions. After being vilified by the mainstream press, public support for the party waned, and the group became more isolated. In-fighting among Party leadership, caused largely by the FBI’s COINTELPRO operation, led to expulsions and defections that decimated the membership.

Popular support for the Party declined further after reports appeared detailing the group’s involvement in illegal activities such as drug dealing and extortion schemes directed against Oakland merchants. By 1972 most Panther activity centered on the national headquarters and a school in Oakland, where the party continued to influence local politics. Though under constant police surveillance, the Chicago chapter remained active and maintained their community programs until 1974. The Seattle chapter lasted longer than most, with a breakfast program and medical clinics that continued even after the chapter disbanded in 1977. Party contractions continued throughout the 1970s, and by 1980, the Black Panther Party had just 27 members.

The history of the Black Panther Party is controversial. Scholars have characterized the Black Panther Party as the most influential black movement organization of the late 1960s, and “the strongest link between the domestic Black Liberation Struggle and global opponents of American imperialism”. Other commentators have described the Party as more criminal than political, characterized by “defiant posturing over substance”.

Ten-Point Program
The Black Panther Party first publicized its original Ten-Point program on May 15,1967, following the Sacramento action, in the second issue of The Black Panther newspaper. The original ten points of “What We Want Now!” follow:

We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our Black Community.
We want full employment for our people.
We want an end to the robbery by the Capitalists of our Black Community.
We want decent housing, fit for shelter of human beings.
We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present day society.
We want all Black men to be exempt from military service.
We want an immediate end to POLICE BRUTALITY and MURDER of Black people.
We want freedom for all Black men held in federal, state, county and city prisons and jails.
We want all Black people when brought to trial to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from their Black Communities, as defined by the Constitution of the United States.
We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace.Research more about the BPP and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

October 9 1944- Nona Hendryx

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about one of the greatest entertainers of all time. She hails from the Capitol City of New Jersey. I am going back home again, so for my friends on FB who don’t live in the city of Trenton, N.J. you might not understand. She is still one of the greatest entertainers out today and if you go to the Smithsonian African American History on the top floor you will find one of her outfits that is on display. Please enjoy the story!

Remember – “The title song is the reunion song by Patti, Sarah and I, and that will be in the film’s credits and also in the trailer “ – -Nona Hendryx

Today in our History – October 9,1944 -Nona Hendryx is born in Trenton, New Jersey.

One-third of the pop/soul act Labelle (their big hit was “Lady Marmalade”), Nona Hendryx, by far and away, made the hippest solo records of any member of that group (the others being Patti LaBelle and Sarah Dash). After LaBelle called it quits in 1976, Hendryx released her self-titled debut record, which was an amazingly strong amalgam of soul and hard rock. It also went almost completely ignored by critics, soul fans, and even Labelle fans, and Hendryx took her strong, clear, booming voice and did lots of session work in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

It was here that she fell in with a hip crowd of musicians, including David Johansen, Peter Gabriel, Prince, Yoko Ono, Cameo, Garland Jeffreys, and Afrika Bambaataa, and sang backup for a time with Talking Heads. The association with the Heads’ David Byrne led to her working with bassist/producer/conceptualist Bill Laswell, who, along with his band Material, helped Hendryx put together a second solo record entitled Nona. A strong album not as wild-eyed as her debut, Nona did spark greater interest in Hendryx’s considerable talents, and after that, her solo career flourished to the point where she no longer needed d studio work to supplement her income.

In 1984, Hendryx again collaborated with Laswell on The Art of Defense. She returned with Heat, produced by Arthur Baker in 1985. The latter album featured a stellar cast of players including guitarists Ronnie Drayton and Keith Richards, bassists Doug Wimbish and Bernard Edwards, saxophonist Lenny Pickett, and vocalists Will Downing and Gang of Four’s Hugo Burnham. Female Trouble appeared in 1987 with a slew of producers and featured guest spots from Gabriel and David Van Tieghem.

In 1989, Hendryx shifted gears; she issued the almost solely keyboard-driven Skin Diver on former Tangerine Dream member Peter Baumann’s Private Music label. After a three-year break, Hendryx surprised again with You Have to Cry Sometime, in 1992. The album, a collection of soul covers in collaboration with Billy Vera, was issued as part of a benefit offering 50-percent of its profits to the Rhythm and Blues Foundation charity. Exhausted by touring, switching labels, and the changing nature of the music business in general, she stopped releasing her own records for the remainder of the decade.

Hendryx returned to studio work in the ’90s and throughout the 21st century, appearing on recordings by Lisa Lisa, Morgan Heritage, and the reunited Bush Tetras, as well as on soundtrack recordings.

LaBelle reunited in 2007 and issued Back to Now on Verve in 2008. The set was produced by the legendary Philadelphia International team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, and included several Hendryx compositions. She also scored playwright Charles R. Wright’s Blue, guested on Terri Lynne Carrington’s Mosaic Project album, and contributed a cut to the soundtrack for the film Precious.

Apparently, the Labelle reunion was the impetus for Hendryx to begin recording and touring as a solo artist again. She released the jazz-funk It’s Time in collaboration with Kahil El’zabar’s Ethnics in 2011 to critical acclaim. In the summer of 2012, she followed it with the self-produced Mutatis Mutandis, for Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe label. Hendryx collaborated with eclectic guitarist Gary Lucas for the 2017 album The World of Captain Beefheart, featuring new interpretations of the music of the experimental rock icon. Research more about this great artist and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

October 8 1952- Clifford Adams

GM – FBF – Today I woud like to share with you a story of my High School track teammate and friend. He would go on and become one of Trenton, New Jersey’s finest. Enjoy!

Remember – ” Trenton Makes, The World Takes”!

Today in our History – October 8,19 52 – Clifford Adams was born.

If you’re a fan of ’70s band Kool and the Gang, Kool and the Gang’s trombonist Clifford Adams died at 62. Adams fought for his life ever since he learned he needed a liver transplant. Sadly, he didn’t have health insurance for the necessary medical care. A Trenton, New Jersey native, Adams’ family, friends, fellow musicians, and fans tried to raise money for the jazz musician while he was in the hospital. It remains unclear whether he ever received the transplant.

Even his fellow Kool and the Gang band member, trumpet player Michael Ray, was hoping for a miracle for his longtime friend. He told,He is my oldest friend in life and he has put two kids through college playing the trombone, which is a miracle.

Ray and Adams were childhood friends who grew up together in Trenton. Ray describes Adams as a wonderful father, husband, and friend. He also said, also added the following

If you knew Cliff you knew his infectious smile and his strong spirit. He was powered by family values and he was one of the baddest trombone players in all the planet. We miss you my friend. Make it a champion day!

October 7 1993- Toni Morrison

GM – FBF – Our story today is about one of the greatest writers of all time. I had a chase to meet with her because she came to Ewing High School, New Jersey to receive the Mickey Leland Award from my student club called The Spectrum Project and my Varsity Debate team from Red Bank Regional High School, New Jersey had a chase to sit in on one of her classes at Princeton University. She is both knowledgeable and kind and I hope that you enjoy her story. I won’t be able to return any response to your posts today last day of workshop. Make it a champion day!

Remember – “If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.” Toni Morrison

Today in our History – October 7, 1993 – Writer, Toni Morrison awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Toni Morrison, original name Chloe Anthony Wofford, (born February 18, 1931, Lorain, Ohio, U.S.), American writer noted for her examination of black experience (particularly black female experience) within the black community. She received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.

Morrison grew up in the American Midwest in a family that possessed an intense love of and appreciation for black culture. Storytelling, songs, and folktales were a deeply formative part of her childhood. She attended Howard University (B.A., 1953) and Cornell University (M.A., 1955). After teaching at Texas Southern University for two years, she taught at Howard from 1957 to 1964. In 1965 she became a fiction editor. From 1984 she taught writing at the State University of New York at Albany, leaving in 1989 to join the faculty of Princeton University.

Morrison’s first book, The Bluest Eye (1970), is a novel of initiation concerning a victimized adolescent black girl who is obsessed by white standards of beauty and longs to have blue eyes. In 1973 a second novel, Sula, was published; it examines (among other issues) the dynamics of friendship and the expectations for conformity within the community. Song of Solomon (1977) is told by a male narrator in search of his identity; its publication brought Morrison to national attention. Tar Baby (1981), set on a Caribbean island, explores conflicts of race, class, and sex. The critically acclaimed Beloved (1987), which won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction, is based on the true story of a runaway slave who, at the point of recapture, kills her infant daughter in order to spare her a life of slavery. Jazz (1992) is a story of violence and passion set in New York City’s Harlem during the 1920s.

Subsequent novels are Paradise (1998), a richly detailed portrait of a black utopian community in Oklahoma, and Love (2003), an intricate family story that reveals the myriad facets of love and its ostensible opposite. A Mercy (2008) deals with slavery in 17th-century America. In the redemptive Home (2012), a traumatized Korean War veteran encounters racism after returning home and later overcomes apathy to rescue his sister. God Help the Child (2015) chronicles the ramifications of child abuse and neglect through the tale of Bride, a black girl with dark skin who is born to light-skinned parents.

A work of criticism, playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, was published in 1992. Many of her essays and speeches were collected in What Moves at the Margin: Selected Nonfiction (edited by Carolyn C. Denard), published in 2008. Additionally, Morrison released several children’s books, including Who’s Got Game? The Ant or the Grasshopper? and who’s Got Game? The Lion or the Mouse?, both written with her son and published in 2003. Remember (2004) chronicles the hardships of black students during the integration of the American public school system; aimed at children, it uses archival photographs juxtaposed with captions speculating on the thoughts of their subjects. She also wrote the libretto for Margaret Garner (2005), an opera about the same story that inspired Beloved.

The central theme of Morrison’s novels is the black American experience; in an unjust society her characters struggle to find themselves and their cultural identity. Her use of fantasy, her sinuous poetic style, and her rich interweaving of the mythic gave her stories great strength and texture.

In 2010 Morrison was made an officer of the French Legion of Honour. Two years later she was awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom. Research more about great American Black writers and share with your babies and make it a champion day!

October 6 1971

GM – FBF – Our story today is about love and no matter who is in love the law prevents you from being together. The Interracial marriage laws in the country were updated in some areas of the country by local law but in this state the couple had to take their fight up to the Supreme Court. This famous couple had books and articles named for them and even a famous movie that hit the BIG SCREEN. Enjoy!

Remember – “Intermarriage is one of the most provocative words in the English language” – Dr. Martin Luther King, JR.

Today in our History – October 6, 1971 is Loving Day, a holiday that celebrates the anniversary of Loving v Virginia. Even though the courts had listened to a similar case in North Carolina on October 6, 1971 the marriage case was John A. Wilkinson’s to Lorraine Mary Turner was officially recognized by that state. The Supreme Court case which declared interracial marriage legal across the US. It’s shocking to remember that the ruling — which was a blow against institutionalized racism, a step towards greater marriage equality for all, and the basis for last year’s award-winning film Loving, about the couple at the center of the legal storm — is only 50 years old, and that many of our parents were alive in an era when states could uphold laws barring people of different races from marrying. But it is true; and the fact that we’re only a generation removed from a time when people were locked up, fined and exiled for daring to marry or cohabit with somebody of a different race is one of the most glaring examples of the racism that runs deep throughout our country’s foundations.

The story of how childhood sweethearts Mildred and Richard Loving brought about one of the most important US legal rulings of the 20th century is a long one — and one that did not begin with them and their case. “Anti-miscegenation laws” — specific laws that prohibited marriage between people of different races — have a long and brutal history in the US that reaches back to the colonial era; a history that we’re still fighting today. In honor of Loving Day, let’s be sure that we know our history. Research more about Interacial marriages in the United States and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

October 5 1957- Bernard Jeffery McCullough

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about a Black man coming from where many of our people come from the “GHETTO” it has been called many names across the country from the slums, to the hood, purlieus and black bottom.In essence the other side of the tracks. Coming from East Trenton, NJ I can relate. This person didn’t let it get to him because he had a vision for doing something with his life. Like many of us he made a few decisions that set him back but he always held onto that dream of a better life for himself and his family.

Whenever he could he would practice on his craft so that one day someone would see him and give him a shot. One day it happened for him because he was ready and hungry for the opportunity. The rest is history because he wanted so much so fast, his health suffered and he left us too soon but most would say he was one of the best in his profession. Enjoy!

Remember – “I can act. I’ve been acting for a long time, but like anything else, don’t anybody owe you anything. You’ve go to pay your dues. You go from A to Z; you don’t go from M to Z” -. Bernie Mac

Today in our History – October 5, 1957 – Bernard Jeffrey “Bernie” McCullough, or Bernie Mac, was born. He was an American comedian and actor, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
After losing his mother at the age of 16, Mac would set up stand-up comedy shows for neighborhood kids and spent most of his 20s serving various jobs such as a Furniture Mover and a UPS Agent. He derived most of his influences from legends such as Nipsey Russell, Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor, and admired centering his shows on themes pertaining to everyday life, marriage, parenting, family, race relations and racism.

This dimension of comedy expands to other genres in satire that Mac was particularly fond of, including Observational Comedy, Black Comedy and Insult Comedy.

While Mac was widely recognized as a state-of-the-art comedian as well as a popular film star, his popularity initially grew after he participated in some low-profile comedy shows in local clubs. Around 1990, a performance on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam furthered his popularity amongst a growing number of fans in the domestic, as well as the international setting. After taking a supporting role in the 1994 comedy film House Party 3, Mac was recognized for his abilities by Ice Cube in his 1995 film Friday. This drove his presence in the U.S film industry in full throttle, as he was called for acting positions in close to 12 films until 2001.

In the same year of 1995, he acted in trending films such as The Walking Dead and Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood. Two years down the line, Mac was acknowledged to have played stunning roles in the hit films How to Be a Player and Don King: Only in America. After gaining his first acting role in the 1998 classic The Players Club as the character ‘Dollar Bill’, Bernie Mac was now fully recognized as one of the most prominent and forthcoming comedian in Hollywood.

In 2000, Mac starred as himself in the documentary The Original Kings of Comedy in which together with Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley and Cedric the Entertainer, gave their own views about African-American culture, race relations, religion and family.

In 2001, Mac casted together with an ensemble crew including George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon in what was the first film in a tri-series, Ocean Eleven. In the years to follow, Mac was called up to star in Oceans Twelve (2004) and Oceans Thirteen (2007). In the same year, he was the host of the semi-autobiographical sitcom called The Bernie Mac Show, broadcasted by Fox Network. For this show, he was nominated twice for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. The show also managed to win other awards such as won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing, the Peabody Award for broadcasting, and the Humanitas Prize for television writing.

The show was a major success, and perhaps the climax of Mac’s career, as he managed to communicate truly with the audience. One of his last major works came in 2004, when Mac played the role of a retired baseball player in the film Mr. 3000. Research more about American comedians and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

October 4 1987- Will Mercer Cook

GM – FBF – Today’s lesson in our quest to find as many unsung Black history makers, was an U.S. Ambassador, Peace Corp worker , special envoy to Senegal where I was married. He comes from a musical family background. Worked at a HBCU and authored a book. Let’s learn more about him. Enjoy!

Remember –I have always viewed my role as a sort of ambassador or bridge between groups to help provide a dialog. – Will Mercer Cook

Today in our History – October 4 ,1987 Will Mercer Cook died of pneumonia at the age of 84 in a Washington, D.C. hospital.

Will Mercer Cook served as the United States ambassador to the Republic of Niger from 1961 to 1964. Cook directed U.S. economic, social, and cultural programs in Niger, which included the Peace Corps. During the mid-1960s he also became the special envoy to Gambia and Senegal. 
Will Mercer Cook was born on March 30, 1903, in Washington, D.C., to Will Marion Cook, a composer and Abbie Mitchell Cook, an actress and classical singer. Cook had one sibling, Abigail, an older sister. During his childhood, he frequently traveled with his family as they performed at various venues throughout the United States and abroad. Jazz superstar Duke Ellington lived on the same block in Cook’s middle class Washington, D.C. neighborhood.

Cook attended Washington, D.C. public schools and graduated from the historic Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in the city. In 1925 he earned his bachelor’s degree in French language and literature from Amherst College in Massachusetts and a teacher’s diploma the following year from the University of Paris in France. In 1929 Cook married Vashti Smith and they had two sons, Mercer and Jacques. Cook earned a master’s degree in French language and literature in 1931 from Brown University in Rhode Island and a doctorate from the same institution in 1936.

While still a graduate student, Cook was hired as an assistant professor of romance languages for one year at Howard University in Washington, D.C. After he earned his doctorate, Cook joined the foreign language faculty of Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia where he taught French until 1943.

During his career at Atlanta University, Cook received the prestigious Rosenwald Fellowship to conduct research abroad in Paris and the French West Indies. In 1943 Cook also became a professor at the University of Haiti. While in Haiti he authored the Handbook for Haitian Teachers of English and other studies related to the Haitian experience.

Cook completed his tenure in Haiti in 1943 and moved that same year to Washington, D.C. to accept what would become a permanent position as professor of romance languages at Howard University. While at Howard, Cook continued to produce scholarship on Haiti and he translated the works of African authors.

During the late 1950s Cook shifted his career to focus more on international relations. In 1958 he became foreign representative for the American Society of African Culture and later an administrator in the Congress of Cultural Freedom. President John F. Kennedy, in 1961, appointed Cook to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Niger, a position he held until 1964. Cook also served from 1964 to 1966 as special envoy to Senegal and Gambia.

Upon the completion of his foreign relations service, Cook rejoined the faculty of Howard, serving as chair of the department of romance languages. He also became a visiting professor at Harvard University. During the final phase of his teaching career, Cook continued to produce scholarship and translate texts of African and Caribbean scholars. In 1969, he co-authored with Stephen Henderson the groundbreaking anthology The Militant Black Writer in Africa and the United States. In 1970 Cook retired from teaching, but continued to publish books and articles.

On October 4, 1987, Will Mercer Cook died of pneumonia at the age of 84 in a Washington, D.C. hospital. Research more about Black Ambassadors and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

October 3 1881- Dudley Weldon Woodard

GM – FBF – As the last quarter of the year 2018 is upon us, I would like to thank all of the readers who have come to this history page on a daily basis. Many of the stories you have never known about and some were just a reminder of something you knew but just forgotten and some to reinforce what you already know and maybe shared with your friends and families. Today’s story is no different a look at, a math wizard who earned a PHD in mathematics and ta. ught at some of the best colleges in America. He walked in circles that other blacks would not go and he demanded respect everywhere he went and would always say “ Black is beautiful” long before it became a standard in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s. Enjoy!

Remember – “One of the noblest men I’ve ever known.”- Leo Zippin- former president of the American Mathematical Society
Today in our History – October 3, 1881 – Dudley Weldon Woodard was born

Dudley Woodard was a gifted teacher in mathematics. Always the scholar, Weldon earned numerous degrees and was the second African American to receive a PHD in mathematics. Woodard taught as such prestigious schools as the Tuskegee Institute, Howard University, and the University of Chicago. He attained he PHD from Penn in 1928. Dudley Woodard devoted his entire professional life to the promotion of excellence in mathematics through the advancement of his students, teaching and research.

Dudley Weldon Woodard was born October 3, 1881, in Galveston, Texas, where his father worked for the U. S. Postal Service. Woodard was a smart child whose curiosity was supported by his family. After finishing his primary education in his home state, Woodard attended Wilberforce College in Ohio, receiving a bachelor degree in mathematics in 1903, and an M. S. degree in mathematics at the University of Chicago in 1907. From 1907 to 1914, Woodard taught mathematics at Tuskegee Institute and then moved to join the Wilberforce faculty from 1914-1920.

When Dudley Woodard enrolled in the Graduate School at Penn in 1927, he had already accumulated a remarkable set of achievements. He had published his University of Chicago master’s thesis in mathematics, “Loci Connected with the Problem of Two Bodies” and had been teaching mathematics at the collegiate level for two decades, the last seven at Howard University, then the most prestigious African American university in the country. At Howard, he also held the post of Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

In the early 1920s Dudley Woodard began taking advanced mathematics courses in the summer sessions at Columbia University. It then became clear that he was among the gifted mathematicians in the nation. Columbia’s loss was Penn’s gain when in 1927 Woodard took scholarly leave from Howard and spent a year at Penn, working under the direction of John R. Kline, one of the best and brightest of Penn’s mathematics faculty. On Wednesday, June 28, 1928, Woodard became the 38th person to receive a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Penn. More significantly, Woodard was only the second African American in the nation to receive that degree.

Deane Montgomery, former president of the American Mathematical Society and the International Mathematical Union, described Woodard as, “an extremely nice man, well-balanced personally.” Leo Zippin, who was an internationally known specialist in Woodard’s field, said that he was “one of the noblest men I’ve ever known.

Dr. Woodard was not only a brilliant mathematician, but a man of dignity; he enjoyed life in spite of his racial environment. He used the phrase “Black is beautiful” in the 1930s; he often ignored the “colored” signs and visited any men’s restroom of his choice. He also ate at many “nice” restaurants and enjoyed the theaters of his choice in New York. He and his family once moved into what had been an all-white neighborhood because it was aesthetically nice and it was near Howard.

When he retired in 1947 as chairman of the department, he had led Howard’s mathematics faculty through a quarter century of steady advancement. In an age of discrimination, Dudley Weldon Woodard had competed and triumphed in the face of overwhelming odds. Penn is proud to claim him among its most distinguished alumni. Dudley Weldon Woodard died July 1, 1965 in his home in Cleveland Ohio. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!