GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion is an American religious leader and political activist who heads the Nation of Islam (NOI). Earlier in his career, he served as the minister of mosques in Boston and Harlem and was appointed National Representative of the Nation of Islam by former NOI leader Elijah Muhammad.After Warith Deen Mohammed reorganized the original NOI into the orthodox Sunni Islamic group American Society of Muslims, he began to rebuild the NOI as “Final Call”. In 1981, he officially adopted the name “Nation of Islam”, reviving the group and establishing its headquarters at Mosque Maryam. The Nation of Islam is an organization which the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) describes as black nationalist and a hate group. Farrakhan’s antisemitic rhetoric has been condemned by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and other monitoring organizations. Also according to the SPLC, the NOI promotes a “fundamentally anti-white theology” amounting to an “innate black superiority over whites”. Some of his remarks have been considered homophobic. Farrakhan has disputed such assertions on many occasions including the SPLC characterizations.In October 1995, he organized and led the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. Due to health issues, he reduced his responsibilities with the NOI in 2007. However, he has continued to deliver sermons and speak at NOI events. In 2015, he led the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March: Justice or Else. He was banned from Facebook in 2019 along with other public figures considered to be extremists.Today in our History – May 11, 1933 – Louis Farrakhan Sr. (/ˈfɑːrəkɑːn/; born Louis Eugene Walcott, May 11, 1933), formerly known as Louis X.Farrakhan was born Louis Eugene Walcott on May 11, 1933, in The Bronx, New York City, the younger of two sons of Sarah Mae Manning (January 16, 1900 – November 18, 1988) and Percival Clark, immigrants from the Anglo-Caribbean islands. His mother was born in Saint Kitts, while his father was Jamaican. The couple separated before their second son was born, and Farrakhan says he never knew his biological father. In a 1996 interview with Henry Louis Gates Jr., he speculated that his father, “Gene”, may have been Jewish. After the end of his parents’ relationship, his mother moved in with Louis Walcott from Barbados, who became his stepfather. After his stepfather died in 1936, the Walcott family moved to Boston, where they settled in the largely African-American neighborhood of Roxbury.Walcott received his first violin at the age of five and by the time he was 12 years old, he had been on tour with the Boston College Orchestra. A year later, he participated in national competitions and won them. In 1946, he was one of the first black performers to appear on the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour, where he also won an award. Walcott and his family were active members of the Episcopal St. Cyprian’s Church in Roxbury.Walcott attended the Boston Latin School, and later the English High School, from which he graduated. He completed three years at Winston-Salem Teachers College, where he had a track scholarship.In 1953, Walcott married Betsy Ross (later known as Khadijah Farrakhan) while he was in college.Due to complications from his new wife’s first pregnancy, Walcott dropped out after completing his junior year of college to devote time to his wife and their child. Farrakhan has nine children in total.The Nation of Islam under the leadership of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is the catalyst for the growth and development of Islam in America. Founded in 1930 by Master Fard Muhammad and led to prominence from 1934 to 1975 by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Nation of Islam continues to positively impact the quality of life in America.Minister Louis Farrakhan, born on May 11, 1933 in Bronx, N.Y., was reared in a highly disciplined and spiritual household in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Raised by his mother, a native of St. Kitts, Louis and his brother Alvan learned early the value of work, responsibility and intellectual development.Having a strong sensitivity to the plight of Black people, his mother engaged her sons in conversations about the struggle for freedom, justice and equality. She also exposed them to progressive material such as the Crisis magazine, published by the NAACP.Popularly known as “The Charmer,” he achieved fame in Boston as a vocalist, calypso singer, dancer and violinist. In February 1955, while visiting Chicago for a musical engagement, he was invited to attend the Nation of Islam’s Saviours’ Day convention.Although music had been his first love, within one month after joining the Nation of Islam in 1955, Minister Malcolm X told the New York Mosque and the new convert Louis X that Elijah Muhammad had said that all Muslims would have to get out of show business or get out of the Temple. Most of the musicians left Temple No. 7, but Louis X, later renamed Louis Farrakhan, chose to dedicate his life to the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.The departure of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in 1975 and the assumption of leadership by Imam W. Deen Mohammed brought drastic changes to the Nation of Islam. After approximately three years of wrestling with these changes, and a re-appraisal of the condition of Black people and the value of the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Minister Farrakhan decided to return to the teachings and program with a proven ability to uplift and reform Blacks.His tremendous success is evidenced by mosques and study groups in over 120 cities in America, Europe, the Caribbean and missions in West Africa and South Africa devoted to the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. In rebuilding the Nation of Islam, Minister Farrakhan has renewed respect for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, his Teachings and Program.At 80 years of age, Minister Farrakhan still maintains a grueling work schedule. He has been welcomed in a countless number of churches, sharing pulpits with Christian ministers from a variety of denominations, which has demonstrated the power of the unity of those who believe in the One God.He has addressed diverse organizations, been received in many Muslim countries as a leading Muslim thinker and teacher, and been welcomed throughout Africa, the Caribbean and Asia as a champion in the struggle for freedom, justice and equality.In 1979, he founded The Final Call, an internationally circulated newspaper that follows in the line of The Muhammad Speaks. In 1985, Minister Farrakhan introduced the POWER concept. In 1988, the resurgent Nation of Islam repurchased its former flagship mosque in Chicago and dedicated it as Mosque Maryam, the National Center for the Re-training and Re-education of the Black Man and Woman of America and the World. In 1991, Minister Farrakhan reintroduced the Three Year Economic Program, first established by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad to build an economic base for the development of Blacks through business ventures. In 1993, Minister Farrakhan penned the book, “A Torchlight for America,” which applied the guiding principles of justice and good will to the problems perplexing America. In May of that year, he traveled to Libreville, Gabon to attend the Second African-African American Summit where he addressed African heads of state and delegates from America. In October of 1994, Minister Farrakhan led 2,000 Blacks from America to Accra, Ghana for the Nation of Islam’s first International Saviours’ Day. Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings officially opened and closed the five-day convention.The popular leader and the Nation of Islam repurchased farmland in Dawson, Georgia and enjoyed a banner year in 1995 with the successful Million Man March on the Mall in Washington, D.C., which drew nearly two million men. Minister Farrakhan was inspired to call the March out of his concern over the negative image of Black men perpetuated by the media and movie industries, which focused on drugs and gang violence. The Million Man March established October 16 as a Holy Day of Atonement, Reconciliation and Responsibility. Minister Farrakhan took this healing message of atonement throughout the world during three World Friendship Tours over the next three years. His desire was to bring solutions to such problems as war, poverty, discrimination and the right to education. Minister Farrakhan would return to the Mall on Washington, D.C. in 2000 convening the Million Family March, where he called the full spectrum of members of the human family to unite according to the principle of atonement. Minister Farrakhan performed thousands of weddings, as well as renewed the vows of those recommitting themselves in a Marriage Ceremony.As part of the major thrust for true political empowerment for the Black community, Minister Farrakhan re-registered to vote in June 1996 and formed a coalition of religious, civic and political organizations to represent the voice of the disenfranchised on the political landscape. His efforts and the overwhelming response to the call of the Million Man March resulted in an additional 1.7 million Black men voting in the 1996 presidential elections. In July 1997, the Nation of Islam, in conjunction with the World Islamic People’s Leadership, hosted an International Islamic Conference in Chicago. A broad range of Muslim scholars from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, along with Christian, Jewish and Native American spiritual leaders participated in the conference.Following the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States, Minister Farrakhan was among the international religious voices that called for peace and resolution of conflict. He also wrote two personal letters to President George Bush offering his counsel and perspective on how to respond to the national crisis. He advised President Bush to convene spiritual leaders of various faiths for counsel. Prior to the war on Iraq, Minister Farrakhan led a delegation of religious leaders and physicians to the Middle East in an effort to spark the dialogue among nations that could prevent war.Marking a new milestone in a life that has been devoted to the uplift of humanity, Minister Farrakhan launched a prostate cancer foundation in his name May 10-11, 2003. First diagnosed in 1991 with prostate cancer, he survived a public bout and endured critical complications after treatment that brought him 180 seconds away from death.In July of that year, Minister Farrakhan accepted the request to host the first of a series of summits centered on the principles of reparations. Nearly 50 activists from across the country answered his call to discuss operational unity within the reparations movement for Black people’s suffering in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Culminating the Nation of Islam’s Saviours’ Day convention in February 2004, Minister Farrakhan delivered an international address entitled, “Reparations: What does America and Europe Owe? What does Allah (God) promise?” stepping further into the vanguard position of leadership calling for justice for the suffering masses of Black people and all oppressed people throughout the world.On May 3, 2004, Minister Farrakhan held an international press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. themed, “Guidance to America and the World in a Time of Trouble.” The press conference sought to expose the plans and schemes of President George W. Bush and his neo-conservative advisers who plunged American soldiers into worldwide conflict with the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. This international press conference was translated into Arabic, French and Spanish.In October 2005, after months of a demanding schedule traveling throughout the U.S., Minister Farrakhan called those interested in establishing a programmatic thrust for Black people in America and oppressed people across the globe to participate in the Millions More Movement, which convened back at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on the 10th Anniversary of the Historic Million Man March. The Millions More Movement involved the formation of 9 Ministries that would deal with the pressing needs of our people. Also in 2005, Minister Louis Farrakhan was voted as BET.com‘s “Person of The Year” as the person users believed made “the most powerful impact on the Black community over the past year.”In April 2006, Minister Farrakhan led a delegation to Cuba to view the emergency preparedness system of the Cuban people, in the wake of the massive failure to prevent the loss of human life after Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.In January 2007, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan underwent a major 14-hour pelvic exoneration. In just a few weeks, and as a testament to the healing power of God, Minister Farrakhan stood on stage at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan on February 25, 2007 to deliver the first of several speeches that year with the theme “One Nation Under God.”On October 19, 2008, after nearly a year of extensive repairs and restoration, Minister Farrakhan opened the doors and grounds of Mosque Maryam to thousands of people representing all creeds and colors during a much anticipated Re-dedication Ceremony themed “A New Beginning.” This day also served as the commemoration of the 13th Anniversary of the Historic Million Man March and Holy Day of Atonement.The prayers of spiritual leaders representing the three Abrahamic faiths—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—were offered to bless this momentous affair. Those who were present that day, and who watched live via internet webcast throughout the world, witnessed Minister Farrakhan’s message of unity and peace for the establishment of a universal government of peace for all of humanity. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an American artist and founding president of the Charleston, South Carolina, branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Because of his race, he was excluded from the whites-only artistic movement known as the Charleston Renaissance.Today in our History – May 10, 1931 – Edwin Augustus Harleston (March 14, 1882 – May 10, 1931) died.He was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on March 14, 1882. He was one of five surviving children of Louisa Moultrie Harleston and Edwin Gaillard Harleston, a prosperous former coastal schooner captain who owned the Harleston Funeral Home . His mother traced her lineage through several generations of free people of color, while his father was descended from a white planter and one of his slaves.Harleston won a scholarship to study at the Avery Normal Institute, from which he graduated as valedictorian in 1900. He went on to Atlanta University, where he studied chemistry and sociology and took courses with W. E. B. Du Bois, who became a lifelong friend. After graduating in 1904, Harleston stayed on for a year as a teaching assistant in both sociology and chemistry while planning the next step in his education. Although he was admitted to Harvard University, he decided instead to attend the Boston Museum of Fine Art’s school. There he studied under the painters William McGregor Paxton and Frank Weston Benson from 1905 to December 1912. Edwin also attended the Art Institute of Chicago over the summer.Harleston returned to South Carolina in 1913 to help his father run the funeral home, continuing to do so until 1931, the year both he and his father died. He became active in local civil rights groups and in 1917 rose to be president of Charleston’s newly formed branch of the NAACP. One campaign he led succeeded in getting the local public school system to hire black teachers.Harleston painted in a realist style that was influenced by both his Boston training and his wife Elise Forrest Harleston’s photographic work. He mostly painted portraits, often on commission, and his sitters included notables such as Grace Towns, who later became the first African-American woman elected to the Georgia General Assembly; philanthropist Pierre S. du Pont; and Edward Twitchell Ware, a former president of Atlanta University. He also painted genre scenes of the daily life of Charleston’s African-American citizens, especially its rising middle class, as well as landscapes of South Carolina Lowcountry. Out of step with the rising modernism of the 1920s, he saw himself as continuing in the tradition of Henry Ossawa Tanner by portraying black people and their lives realistically instead of as caricatures or stereotypes. Harleston was described by W. E. B. Du Bois as the “leading portrait painter of the race” even though his responsibility for helping to run the funeral home meant he could never devote himself to being a painter full-time.In 1920, Harleston married photographer Elise Forrest, with whom he opened a studio across the street from the funeral home. This studio, which had both workspace and a public gallery to promote their artwork, was the first such public art establishment for Charleston’s African-American citizens.Harleston often used Elise’s photographs as the basis of his paintings and drawings; one of his best-known works, Miss Sue Bailey with the African Shawl, is based on a photograph by Elise. A three-quarter length seated portrait in dark colors and muted light, the painting exemplifies Harleston’s commitment to portraying his sitters with dignity. Edwin was actually so pleased with the painting that he entered it in the 1930 Harmon Foundation Awards.Starting in 1930, Harleston helped artist Aaron Douglas paint his Symbolic Negro History murals for Fisk University; these are now considered among Douglas’s most important works. This project was completed in 1930, the year before Harleston died. In 1930, Harleston painted Douglas’s portrait with the unfinished mural in the background, typically emphasizing the sitter’s profession and character while avoiding any suggestion of the picturesque. This mural is vastly different from his usual painting style, which consisted of muted colors like those seen in the painting of Miss Sue Bailey with the African Shawl. The colors he used in the mural showcase a much more vibrant range of shade, which display his range as an artist, and they way he could adjust to work with other other artists.Harleston won a number of awards for his work, including the top prize in NAACP-sponsored contests in 1925 (A Colored Grand Army Man) and 1931 (Ouida) and the William E. Harmon Foundation’s Alain Locke Prize for portrait painting, also in 1931 (The Old Servant).Despite this modest success, Harleston was largely excluded from the dominantly white artistic circles of the Charleston Renaissance with which his work is today associated. Only writer Julia Peterkin, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her writing about African-American life, appears to have visited Harleston. Although writer DuBose Heyward based a character on him in his novel Mamba’s Daughters, it seems they never met in person. Racial prejudice and segregation thwarted several potential commissions and blocked a planned 1926 exhibition of his work at the Charleston Museum that had been organized by museum director Laura Bragg and promoted by the city’s mayor, Thomas Porcher Stoney.By 1930, the funeral home business was suffering from the Great Depression. Harleston undertook a series of lectures at black colleges to earn money.In April 1931, Harleston’s father died of pneumonia, and Harleston himself (who is said to have kissed his dying father goodbye) succumbed to the same ailment less than a month later at the age of 49.Harleston’s paintings are in the collections of the Gibbes Museum of Art (Charleston), the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture (Charleston), the Savannah (GA) College of Art and Design Museum of Art, and the California African American Museum.Harleston’s papers are held by the South Carolina Historical Society and Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was the principal of Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey. He is also the subject of the 1989 film Lean on Me, starring Morgan Freeman. He gained public attention in the 1980s for his unconventional and controversial disciplinary measures as the principal of Eastside High.Today in our History – May 8, 1938 – Joe Louis Clark was born.Clark was seen as an educator who was not afraid to get tough on difficult students, one who would often carry a bullhorn or a baseball bat at school. During his time as principal, Clark expelled over 300 students who were frequently tardy or absent from school, sold or used drugs in school, or caused trouble in school.Clark’s practices did result in slightly higher average test scores for Eastside High during the 1980s. After his tenure as principal of Eastside High, Clark later served as director of the Essex County Detention House in Newark, New Jersey, a juvenile detention facility. Time magazine’s cover article notes that Clark’s style as principal was primarily disciplinarian in nature, focused on encouraging school pride and good behavior, although Clark was also portrayed as a former social activist in the film Lean on Me. “Clark’s use of force may rid the school of unwanted students,” commented Boston principal Thomas P. O’Neill Jr., “but he also may be losing kids who might succeed.” George McKenna, former principal of Washington Preparatory High School in Los Angeles, often cited as a contemporary of Joe Clark as a school reformer with a similarly outgoing approach, was also critical. “Our role is to rescue and to be responsible,” McKenna told Time. “If the students were not poor black children, Joe Clark would not be tolerated.”Other educators defended and praised Clark. “You cannot use a democratic and collaborative style when crisis is rampant and disorder reigns,” said Kenneth Tewel, a former principal. “You need an autocrat to bring things under control.” Some critics focused on the fact that while Clark had reestablished cleanliness and order, education scores had not substantially improved, which resulted in Eastside High being taken over by the state one year after Clark’s departure in 1991. Separate criticism focused on the social impact of expelling delinquent students to improve test scores, claiming that “tossing out the troublesome low achievers” simply moved the problems from the school onto the street. Clark defended the practice, saying teachers should not have to waste their time on students who do not want to learn.However, Time noted that the national dropout rate for such students remained high across the country, with few alternatives available, and that each inner city school that had been able to reverse the trend had done so through “a bold, enduring principal” such as Clark who was “able to maintain or restore order without abandoning the students who are in trouble.” Clark grew up in Newark, New Jersey and attended Central High School. Clark was also the father of Olympic track athletes Joetta Clark Diggs and Hazel Clark, and the father-in-law of Olympic track athlete Jearl Miles Clark. His son, JJ Clark, was their coach.He resided in Newberry, Florida during his retirement. Clark died following a long illness on December 29, 2020 at the age of 82. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an American agricultural scientist and inventor who promoted alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion. He was the most prominent black scientist of the early 20th century.While a professor at Tuskegee Institute, Carver developed techniques to improve soils depleted by repeated plantings of cotton. He wanted poor farmers to grow other crops, such as peanuts and sweet potatoes, as a source of their own food and to improve their quality of life. The most popular of his 44 practical bulletins for farmers contained 105 food recipes using peanuts. Although he spent years developing and promoting numerous products made from peanuts, none became commercially successful.Apart from his work to improve the lives of farmers, Carver was also a leader in promoting environmentalism. He received numerous honors for his work, including the Spingarn Medal of the NAACP. In an era of high racial polarization, his fame reached beyond the black community. He was widely recognized and praised in the white community for his many achievements and talents. In 1941, Time magazine dubbed Carver a “Black Leonardo”.Color film of Carver shot in 1937 at the Tuskegee Institute by African American surgeon Allen Alexander was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2019.The 12 minutes of footage includes Carver in his apartment, office and laboratory, as well as images of him tending flowers and displaying his paintings. The film was digitized by The National Archives as part of its multi-year effort to preserve and make available the historically significant film collections of the National Park Service. It can be seen on the US National Film Archives YouTube channel.Today in our History – May 7, 1943 – The SS George Washington Carver, launched at the Richmond Shipyard No. 1 in California on May 7, 1943, to honor an “outstanding Negro.”Carver was born into slavery, the son of a slave woman named Mary, owned by Moses Carver. During the American Civil War, the Carver farm was raided, and infant George and his mother were kidnapped and taken to Arkansas to be sold. Moses Carver was eventually able to track down young George but was unable to find Mary. Frail and sick, the motherless child was returned to his master’s home and nursed back to health. With the complete abolition of slavery in the United States in 1865, George was no longer a slave. Nevertheless, he remained on the Carver plantation until he was about 10 or 12 years old, when he left to acquire an education. He spent some time wandering about, working with his hands and developing his keen interest in plants and animals. He learned to draw, and later in life he devoted considerable time to painting flowers, plants, and landscapes.By both books and experience, George acquired a fragmentary education while doing whatever work came to hand in order to subsist. He supported himself by varied occupations that included general household worker, hotel cook, laundryman, farm labourer, and homesteader. In his late 20s he managed to obtain a high school education in Minneapolis, Kansas, while working as a farmhand. After a university in Kansas refused to admit him because he was Black, Carver matriculated at Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa, where he studied piano and art, subsequently transferring to Iowa State Agricultural College (later Iowa State University), where he received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science in 1894 and a master of science degree in 1896.Carver left Iowa for Alabama in the fall of 1896 to direct the newly organized department of agriculture at the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, a school headed by noted African American educator Booker T. Washington.At Tuskegee, Washington was trying to improve the lot of African Americans through education and the acquisition of useful skills rather than through political agitation; he stressed conciliation, compromise, and economic development as the paths for Black advancement in American society. Despite many offers elsewhere, Carver would remain at Tuskegee for the rest of his life.After becoming the institute’s director of agricultural research in 1896, Carver devoted his time to research projects aimed at helping Southern agriculture, demonstrating ways in which farmers could improve their economic situation. He conducted experiments in soil management and crop production and directed an experimental farm. At this time agriculture in the Deep South was in steep decline because the unremitting single-crop cultivation of cotton had left the soil of many fields exhausted and worthless, and erosion had then taken its toll on areas that could no longer sustain any plant cover.As a remedy, Carver urged Southern farmers to plant peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) and soybeans (Glycine max). As members of the legume family (Fabaceae), these plants could restore nitrogen to the soil while also providing the protein so badly needed in the diet of many Southerners. Carver found that Alabama’s soils were particularly well-suited to growing peanuts and sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas), but when the state’s farmers began cultivating these crops instead of cotton, they found little demand for them on the market.In response to this problem, Carver set about enlarging the commercial possibilities of the peanut and sweet potato through a long and ingenious program of laboratory research. He ultimately developed 300 derivative products from peanuts—among them milk, flour, ink, dyes, plastics, wood stains, soap, linoleum, medicinal oils, and cosmetics—and 118 from sweet potatoes, including flour, vinegar, molasses, ink, a synthetic rubber, and postage stamp glue.In 1914, at a time when the boll weevil had almost ruined cotton growers, Carver revealed his experiments to the public, and increasing numbers of the South’s farmers began to turn to peanuts, sweet potatoes, and their derivatives for income. Much exhausted land was renewed, and the South became a major new supplier of agricultural products. When Carver arrived at Tuskegee in 1896, the peanut had not even been recognized as a crop, but within the next half century it became one of the six leading crops throughout the United States and, in the South, the second cash crop (after cotton) by 1940. In 1942 the U.S. government allotted 2,023,428 hectares (5,000,000 acres) of peanuts to farmers. Carver’s efforts had finally helped liberate the South from its excessive dependence on cotton.Among Carver’s many honours were his election to Britain’s Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce (London) in 1916 and his receipt of the Spingarn Medal in 1923. Late in his career he declined an invitation to work for Thomas A. Edison at a salary of more than $100,000 a year. Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Franklin D. Roosevelt visited him, and his friends included Henry Ford and Mohandas K. Gandhi. Foreign governments requested his counsel on agricultural matters: Joseph Stalin, for example, in 1931 invited him to superintend cotton plantations in southern Russia and to make a tour of the Soviet Union, but Carver refused.In 1940 Carver donated his life savings to the establishment of the Carver Research Foundation at Tuskegee for continuing research in agriculture. During World War II he worked to replace the textile dyes formerly imported from Europe, and in all he produced dyes of 500 different shades.Many scientists thought of Carver more as a concoctionist than as a contributor to scientific knowledge. Many of his fellow African Americans were critical of what they regarded as his subservience. Certainly, this small, mild, soft-spoken, innately modest man, eccentric in dress and mannerism, seemed unbelievably heedless of the conventional pleasures and rewards of this life.But these qualities endeared Carver to many whites, who were almost invariably charmed by his humble demeanour and his quiet work in self-imposed segregation at Tuskegee. As a result of his accommodation to the mores of the South, whites came to regard him with a sort of patronizing adulation.Carver thus, for much of white America, increasingly came to stand as a kind of saintly and comfortable symbol of the intellectual achievements of African Americans. Carver was evidently uninterested in the role his image played in the racial politics of the time. His great desire in later life was simply to serve humanity, and his work, which began for the sake of the poorest of the Black sharecroppers, paved the way for a better life for the entire South. His efforts brought about a significant advance in agricultural training in an era when agriculture was the largest single occupation of Americans, and he extended Tuskegee’s influence throughout the South by encouraging improved farm methods, crop diversification, and soil conservation. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – The years as a young man growing up in Trenton, N.J. were the capitol city had much going on as the seat of power for the state but we had our share of athletes and entertainers. Dunn Field (The old Brunswick Circle) was the place to be to see this young great baseball star.Today’s American Champion is an American former professional baseball center fielder. He spent almost all of his 22-season Major League Baseball (MLB) career playing for the New York/San Francisco Giants (1951–52, 1954–72) before finishing his career with the New York Mets (1972–73). Regarded as one of the greatest baseball players of all time, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979.Mays joined the Birmingham Black Barons in 1948, playing with them until he was signed by the Giants once he graduated high school in 1950. He won the Rookie of the Year Award, spent two years in the United States Army during the Korean War, and won the National League (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award after leading the NL in batting with a .345 batting average in 1954. His over-the-shoulder catch of a Vic Wertz fly ball in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series is one of the most famous baseball plays of all time. The Giants swept the Cleveland Indians, the lone World Series triumph of Mays’s career.Mays led the NL with 51 home runs in 1955. In 1956, he stole 40 bases, leading the NL for the first of four straight years. He won his first of 12 Gold Glove Awards in 1957, a record for outfielders. The Giants moved to San Francisco after the 1957 season, and Mays contended for the batting title until the final day of 1958, hitting a career-high .347. He batted over .300 for the next two seasons, leading the league in hits in 1960. After leading the NL with 129 runs scored in 1961, Mays led the NL in home runs in 1962 as the Giants won the NL pennant and faced the New York Yankees in the World Series, which the Giants lost in seven games.By 1963, Mays was making over $100,000 a year. In 1964, he was named the captain of the Giants by manager Alvin Dark, leading the NL with 47 home runs that year. He hit 52 the next year, leading the NL and winning his second MVP award. 1966 was the last of 10 seasons in which he had over 100 runs batted in. In 1969, he hit the 600th home run of his career, and he got his 3,000th hit in 1970. Traded to the Mets in 1972, Mays spent the rest of that season and 1973 with them before retiring. He served as a coach for the Mets until 1979 and later rejoined the Giants as a Special Assistant to the President and General Manager.Mays finished his career batting .302 with 660 home runs, the sixth-most of all time, and 1,903 RBI. He holds MLB records for most putouts (7,095) and most extra-inning home runs (22). Over his career, he was selected to 24 All-Star Games, tied for the second-most of all time. Mays was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999 and ranked second on The Sporting News’s “List of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players”, behind only Babe Ruth. He was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015. “If somebody came up and hit .450, stole 100 bases and performed a miracle in the field every day, I’d still look you in the eye and say Willie was better,” manager Leo Durocher said.Today I our History – May 6, 1931 – Willie Howard Mays Jr. (born May 6, 1931), nicknamed “The Say Hey Kid”Both Mays’s father and his grandfather had been baseball players. Willie Mays, who batted and fielded right-handed, played semiprofessional baseball when he was 16 years old and joined the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro National League in 1948, playing only on Sunday during the school year.The National League New York Giants paid the Barons for his contract when he graduated from Fairfield Industrial High School in 1950. After two seasons in the minor leagues, Mays went to the Giants in 1951 and was named Rookie of the Year at the end of that season—one legendary in baseball. The Giants were far behind the Brooklyn Dodgers in the pennant race. With the great play of Mays and others, the Giants tied the Dodgers in the standings on the last day of the season, and a three-game play-off for the National League championship was won with a home run, known as “the shot heard ’round the world,” hit by the Giants’ Bobby Thomson.Mays became known first for his spectacular leaping and diving catches before he established himself as a hitter. He served in the army (1952–54), and upon his return to baseball in the 1954 season, when the Giants won the National League pennant and the World Series, Mays led the league in hitting (.345) and had 41 home runs. In 1966 his two-year contract with the Giants (who had moved to San Francisco in 1958) gave him the highest salary of any baseball player of that time. He was traded to the New York Mets midseason in 1972 and retired after the 1973 season. Late in his career he played in the infield, mainly at first base. His career home run total was 660 and his batting average .302. Mays had 3,283 hits during his career, which made him one of the small group of players with more than 3,000 career hits. He led the league in home runs in 1955, 1962, and 1964–65, won 12 consecutive Gold Gloves (1957–68), and was named an All-Star in 20 of his 22 seasons.After retiring as a player, Mays was a part-time coach and did public relations work for the Mets. In 1979 Mays took a public relations job with a company that was involved in gambling concerns, with the result that he was banned from baseball-related activities just three months after being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. In 1985 the ban was lifted, and in 1986 Mays became a full-time special assistant to the Giants. His autobiography, Say Hey (1988), was written with Lou Sahadi. In 2015 Mays was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion event is a Chicago-based online African-American newspaper. It was founded in 1905 by Robert S. Abbott and was once considered the “most important” newspaper of its kind. Abbott’s newspaper reported and campaigned against Jim Crow era violence and urged black people in the American South to come north in what became the Great Migration. Abbott worked out an informal distribution system with Pullman porters who surreptitiously (and sometimes against southern state laws and mores) took his paper by rail far beyond Chicago, especially to African American readers in the Southern United States. Under his nephew and chosen successor, John H. Sengstacke, the paper took on segregation, especially in the U.S. military, during World War II. Copies of the paper were passed along in communities, and it is estimated that at its most successful, each copy made its way into the hands of four out of five African-Americans. In 1919–1922, the Defender attracted the writing talents of Langston Hughes; from the 1940s through 1960s Hughes also wrote an opinion column for the paper. Washington D.C and international correspondent Ethel Payne, poet Gwendolyn Brooks, author Willard Motley, journalists Ida B. Wells and Louis Lomax wrote for the paper at different times. During the height of the civil rights movement era, it was published as The Chicago Daily Defender, a daily newspaper, beginning in 1956. It returned to a weekly paper in 2008. In 2019, its publisher, Real Times Media Inc., announced that the Defender would cease its print edition but continue as an online publication. The editorial board of the Chicago Tribune, noting the impact The Defender has had in its 114 years, praised the continuation of the publication in its new formGetting a Vehicle Special Ordered vs. Sticking to Dealer InventoryToday in our History – May 5 – The American Defender is born. The paper was the first African-American publication to have a circulation over 100,000.The Chicago Defender’s editor and founder Robert Sengstacke Abbott played a major role in influencing the Great Migration of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North by means of strong, moralistic rhetoric in his editorials and political cartoons, the promotion of Chicago as a destination, and the advertisement of successful black individuals as inspiration for blacks in the South.The rhetoric and art exhibited in the Defender demanded equality of the races and promoted a northern migration. Abbott published articles that were exposés of southern crimes against blacks. The Defender consistently published articles describing lynchings in the South, with vivid descriptions of gore and the victims’ deaths. Lynchings were at a peak at the turn of the century, in the period when southern state legislatures passed new constitutions and laws to disenfranchise most blacks and exclude them from the political system. Legislatures dominated by conservative white Democrats established racial segregation and Jim Crow.Abbott openly blamed the lynching violence on the white mobs who were typically involved, forcing readers to accept that these crimes were “systematic and unremitting”.The newspaper’s intense focus on these injustices implicitly laid the groundwork upon which Abbott would build his explicit critiques of society. At the same time, the NAACP was publicizing the toll of lynching at its offices in New York City.The art in the Defender, particularly its political cartoons by Jay Jackson and others, explicitly addressed race issues and advocated northern migration of blacks.After the movement of southern blacks northward became a quantifiable phenomenon, the Defender took a particular interest in sensationalizing migratory stories, often on the front page. Abbott positioned his paper as a primary influence of these movements before historians would, for he used the Defender to initiate and advertise a “Great Northern Drive” day, set for May 15, 1917. The movement to northern and midwestern cities, and to the West Coast at the time of World War I, became known as the Great Migration, in which 1.5 million blacks moved out of the rural South in early 20th century years up to 1940, and another 5 million left towns and rural areas from 1940 to 1970.Abbott used the Defender to promote Chicago as an attractive destination for southern blacks. Abbott presented Chicago as a promised-land with abundant jobs, as he included advertisements “clearly aimed at southerners,” that called for massive numbers of workers wanted in factory positions. The Defender was filled with advertisements for desirable commodities, beauty products and technological devices. Abbott’s paper was the first black newspaper to incorporate a full entertainment section. Chicago was portrayed as a lively city where blacks commonly went to the theaters, ate out at fancy restaurants, attended sports events, including “cheering for the American Black Giants, black America’s favorite baseball team”, and could dance all night in the hottest night clubs.The Defender featured letters and poetry submitted by successful recent migrants; these writings “served as representative anecdotes, supplying readers with prototype examples … that characterized the migration campaign”. To supplement these first-person accounts, Abbott often published small features on successful blacks in Chicago. The well-known African American mentalist Princess Mysteria had from 1920 to her death in 1930 a weekly column on the Defender, called “Advise to the Wise and Otherwise.” In 1923, Abbott and editor Lucius Harper created the Bud Billiken Club for black children through the “Junior Defender” page of the paper. The club encouraged the children’s proper development, and reading The Defender. In 1929 the organization began the Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic, which is still held annually in Chicago in early August. In the 1950s, under Sengstacke’s direction, the Bud Billiken Parade expanded and emerged as the largest single event in Chicago. Today, it attracts more than one million attendance with more than 25 million television viewers, making it one of the largest parades in the country.In 1928, for the first time, The Defender refused to endorse a Republican Party presidential candidate. Throughout the election it ran a series of articles critical of the party, its failures to advance black civil rights, and what it saw as Republican’s embrace or acquiescence in segregationism, party support in a revitalized Ku Klux Klan, and the Republican’s Lily White Movement. The paper’s final pre-election editorial read in part: “We want justice in America and we mean to get it. If 50 years of support to the Republican Party doesn’t get us justice, then we must of necessity shift our allegiance to new quarters.” For a variety of reasons, in the coming years, black support for the Republican Party fell rapidly. Abbott took a special interest in his nephew, John H. Sengstacke (1912–1997), paying for his education and grooming him to take over the Defender, which he did in 1940 after working with his uncle for several years. He urged integration of the armed forces. In 1948, he was appointed by President Harry S. Truman to the commission to study this and plan the process, which was initiated by the military in 1949.Sengstacke also brought together for the first time major black newspaper publishers and created the National Negro Publishers Association, later renamed the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). In the early 21st century, the NNPA consists of more than 200 member black newspapers. Two days following the publishers’ first meeting in Chicago, Abbott died.One of Sengstacke’s most striking accomplishments occurred on February 6, 1956, when the Defender became a daily newspaper and changed its name to the Chicago Daily Defender, the nation’s second black daily newspaper. It immediately became the largest black-owned daily in the nation. It published as a daily until 2003, when new owners converted the Defender back to a weekly. The Defender was one of only three African-American dailies in the United States; the other two are the Atlanta Daily World, the first black newspaper founded as a daily in 1928, and the New York Daily Challenge, founded in 1971. In 1965 Sengstacke created a chain of newspapers, which also included the Pittsburgh Courier, the Memphis Tri-State Defender, and the Michigan Chronicle. In a 1967 editorial, the Defender decried anti-Semitism in the community, reminding readers of the role of Jews in the civil rights movement. “These powerful voices,” the Defender wrote, “which have been lifted on behalf of the Negro peoples’ cause, should not be forgotten when resolutions are passed by the black power hierarchy. Jews and Negroes have problems in common. They can ill-afford to be at one another’s throats.” Control of the Chicago Defender and her sister publications was transferred to a new ownership group named Real Times Inc. in January 2003. Real Times, Inc. was organized and led by Thom Picou, and Robert (Bobby) Sengstacke, John H. Sengstacke’s surviving child and father of the beneficiaries of the Sengstacke Trust. In effect, Picou, then chairman and CEO of Real Times, Inc., led what was then labeled a “Sengstacke family-led” deal to facilitate trust beneficiaries and other Sengstacke family shareholders to agree to the sale of the company. Picou recruited Sam Logan, former publisher of the Michigan Chronicle, who then recruited O’Neil Swanson, Bill Pickard, Ron Hall and Gordon Follmer, black businessman from Detroit, Michigan (the “Detroit Group”), as investors in Real Times. Chicago investors included Picou, Bobby Sengstacke, David M. Milliner (who served as publisher of the Chicago Defender from 2003 to 2004), Kurt Cherry and James Carr.In July 2019, the Chicago Defender reported that recent print runs had numbered 16,000 but that its digital edition reached almost half a million unique monthly visitors. Research more about this American Champion event and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – – Today’s American Champion Is an American entrepreneur, fashion designer, TV personality, author, philanthropist and model.Today in our History May 4, 1975 – Kimora Lee Leissner (previously Simmons, née Perkins; born May 4, 1975) is born. Kimora Lee Perkins was born in St. Louis, Missouri and spent her early life in the northern St. Louis suburb of Florissant, Missouri. Kimora was born of African American and Japanese heritage. Nearly 6 feet tall by age 10, she was teased because of her height. To boost her confidence because of her height, Kimora’s mother enrolled her in a modeling class when she was eleven years old.At age 13, Perkins signed a modeling contract with Chanel and under the tutelage of Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld.Simmons helped inspire Lagerfeld’s creative vision and call for racial inclusion, and paved the way for other mixed race models in the fashion world. Lagerfeld deemed her the “Face of the 21st Century”.She gained attention in the fashion world when she closed Lagerfeld’s haute couture show in 1989 as the “bride” – the concluding bridal look signature to every Chanel show under Lagerfeld’s tenure.’Simmons later modeled for Fendi, Valentino, Emanuel Ungaro, Christian Dior, Roberto Cavalli, Kenzo, Anna Sui, Geoffrey Beene, and Yves Saint Laurent.In 1998, Simmons’ then husband, music mogul and entrepreneur, Russell Simmons, was at the helm of “Phat Farm”, an urban menswear brand. Simmons created a parallel women’s brand, “Baby Phat by Kimora Lee Simmons”, under the umbrella of “Phat Fashions”.Simmons stepped in as Baby Phat’s designer,reating a collection based on what she would wear.In 2000, Kimora was appointed president and creative director of the Baby Phat brand. In 2001, Baby Phat reported gross revenue earnings of $30 million. By 2002 Phat Farm and Baby Phat had made a combined profit of $265 million.In 2004, the Kellwood Company purchased Phat Fashions for $140 million. Simmons stayed on as President and Creative Director of Baby Phat, expanding the label into a “lifestyle brand” with denim, accessories, jewelry, swimwear, fragrance and lingerie categories.Later that year, the label expanded to selling a custom Motorola i833 mobile phone sold exclusively at Bloomingdale’s and partnered with Vida Shoes International, Inc. to create a shoe line. In 2006, she was named president of parent company Phat Fashions. In 2007, Phat fashions partnered with Silver Goose/Kidstreet to create an infant and toddler accessory line.In 2008 the Kellwood Company sold a majority stake in Phat Fashions to Sun Capital Partners, after which Simmons left Phat Fashions in 2010.In 2019 Simmons announced she had reacquired the Baby Phat brand and in August 2020 she announced Baby Phat Beauty line curated by her daughters Ming Lee and Aoki Lee.In 2005, Baby Phat by Kimora Lee Simmons collaborated with Coty Inc. to launch its first-ever fragrance, Baby Phat Goddess which was carried by department stores including Sears and Macy’s.Baby Phat Goddess was then joined by Golden Goddess, Seductive Goddess, Baby Phat Fabulosity, Luv Me and Baby Phat Dare Me. After Kimora’s exit as President of Phat Fashions in 2010, she retained ownership of all licensing rights for her fragrance and cosmetics collection.Simmons created the Simmons Jewelry Company to market jewelry items under the Phat Farm and Baby Phat labels, which resulted in Simmons’s “Diamond Diva” line of jewelry. She then partnered with pop culture icon, Hello Kitty owned by Sanrio Ltd., in 2006 to launch “Kimora Lee Simmons for Hello Kitty” in Neiman Marcus. The Hello Kitty collection by Kimora Lee was expanded in 2008 with another collection of jewelry and watches being released in conjunction with the Zales Corporation.In May 2006 Kimora launched KLS Cosmetics with beauty giant Sephora and Macy’s stores. The collection consisted of color cosmetics and fragrances.Renowned for pioneering the introduction of glamour and feminine appeal to the urban brand category, Kimora Lee Simmons created a line for JCPenney in 2008, which combined the two worlds she knows best—high fashion and hip hop. Fabulosity was merchandised at JCPenney as an urban lifestyle offering in Juniors with a complete sportswear line that featured tees, knit tops and sweaters, jeans, skirts and dresses, as well as hoodies, jackets and outerwear.In 2010 Kimora launched her contemporary KLS fashion collection, which retailed to department stores like Macy’s. In tandem, the designer and creative director launched Kouture by Kimora, a brand of under $40 clothes exclusively for Macy’s. “I wanted to do something that spoke to a different market for Macy’s. It sits in a different section.I wanted this to be crossover. I wanted this to be colorless and really about fashion. And it’s what I call recession-proof. It’s really important to say that,” said Simmons. Kimora Lee Simmons launched her own anti-aging skincare line with Swiss skincare company Makari de Suisse in 2011. The anti-aging line was geared toward multi-ethnic women and consisted of plumpers and products to keep moisture in the skin.In 2012 Kimora Lee Simmons announced a new position as President and Creative Director for Just Fab, a personalized shopping website which she ran until 2015. Kimora skyrocketed JustFab into the fashion subscription stratosphere.With Kimora Lee Simmons’s direction, JustFab offered individualized boutiques to monthly subscribers who had completed an online fashion assessment. Just Fab and Kimora Lee Simmons made it easy for anyone to be fashionable by creating entire on-trend looks, which gave women of all fashion tastes the ability to affordably make their home closet their dream closet.Kimora launched her new, evolved KIMORA LEE SIMMONS women’s designer line, featuring Italian fabrics and handmade embellishments. This marked the first time Kimora entered the luxury American designer category. The KIMORA LEE SIMMONS collection was picked up by Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor, Farfetch and a network of boutiques nationwide.Simultaneously, Kimora instituted her venture portfolio of new and innovative businesses in the fields of (i) fashion (KLS and Baby Phat clothing), entertainment (All Def Media and Screenbid), (ii) technology (Sentient Technologies, Contra Software and Friendsurance), (iii) sports (Inter Milan and the Association of Volleyball Professionals) as well as (iv) consumer goods including Codage, an advanced technical skin care line in France, Pureform Global, the first manufacturer of non-cannabis, non-hemp, all natural CBD products, and Celisus, a “clean energy” negative calorie drink acquired in 2015. In Spring 2019 she co-launched Pellequr, a Beverly Hills spa.On International Women’s Day on March 8, 2019, Kimora delivered the keynote address at the launch of the “She Innovates” initiative led by the UN Women and the Gender Innovation Coalition for Change (GICC).There, and to Bloomberg News, she officially leaked the news with a business announcement of her own – the reacquisition and forthcoming return of her ultra-iconic streetwear brand, Baby Phat by Kimora Lee Simmons. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion Lieutenant James A. Roston was a key organizer for the African American labor movement in Seattle in the early part of the 20th century.He was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1864. Roston was commissioned (from the District of Columbia) as a first lieutenant in the 10th U.S. Volunteer Infantry (Tenth “Immunes”), Company K, during the Spanish American War,1898-1899. The regiment never served outside the United States. After the War he enlisted a private in the 24th Infantry and served in the Phillippines (1899-1902) rising to the rank of corporal. While there he distinguished himself in the field when, as Chief of Scouts, he helped capture high-ranking rebel officers.Today in our History – May 3, 1924 – James A. Roston died.After his service ended in 1902, Roston settled in Brooklyn, New York where he sold real estate, lectured about the Philippines and Africa, and served as chairman and president of the 1903 Commercial American Negro Convention, a group whose goal was to tax African Americans and use the revenue to establish black-owned businesses. He also served as Exalted Ruler of Brooklyn Elks Lodge #32.Roston moved to Seattle after a year as a Pullman porter in Spokane, Washington, and soon established himself as a realtor for the many African Americans that were moving to the area during the shipbuilding boom of the early 1900s. During the Longshoreman’s strike of 1916, he helped recruit 400 African American strikebreakers. Roston established and became president of the Colored Marine Employees Benevolent Protective Association of the Pacific,the first African American labor organization in the Pacific Northwest, to “organize (black) workers and erase the false impression that the colored man…didn’t believe in organization.” The strike was marked by racial tensions and conflict with white workers attacking blacks who then retaliated in kind. On February 27, 1917 the Central Labor Council “by a practically unanimous vote” decided to include “negroes and whites in labor.” When the United States entered World War I in April, the strike was ended by government fiat and the waterfront was integrated.Lieutenant Roston was also a member of the local NAACP and the King County Colored Republican Club. He died in Seattle on May 3, 1924.
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champions were the brave soldiers who would go out and show both black and white audiences that were the best par none. The Negro leagues were United States professional baseball leagues comprising teams of African Americans and, to a lesser extent, Latin Americans.The term may be used broadly to include professional black teams outside the leagues and it may be used narrowly for the seven relatively successful leagues beginning in 1920 that are sometimes termed “Negro Major Leagues”.In 1885, the Cuban Giants formed the first black professional baseball team. The first league, the National Colored Base Ball League, was organized strictly as a minor league but failed in 1887 after only two weeks owing to low attendance. After integration, the quality of the Negro leagues slowly deteriorated and the Negro American League of 1951 is generally considered the last major league season. The last professional club, the Indianapolis Clowns, operated as a humorous sideshow rather than competitively from the mid-1960s to the 1980s.In December 2020, Major League Baseball announced that it was classifying the seven “Negro Major Leagues” as major leagues, recognizing statistics and approximately 3,400 players who played from 1920 to 1948.Today in our History – May 2 – THE NATIONAL NEGRO LEAGUE was FOUNDED and Played it first game.During the formative years of black baseball, the term “colored” was the accepted usage when referring to African-Americans. References to black baseball prior to the 1930s are usually to “colored” leagues or teams, such as the Southern League of Colored Base Ballists (1886), the National Colored Base Ball League (1887) and the Eastern Colored League (1923), among others. By the 20s or 30s, the term “Negro” came into use which led to references to “Negro” leagues or teams. The black World Series was referred to as the Colored World Series from 1924 to 1927, and the Negro World Series from 1942 to 1948.The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People petitioned the public to recognize a capital “N” in negro as a matter of respect for black people. By 1930, essentially every major US outlet had adopted “Negro” as the accepted term for blacks. By about 1970, the term “Negro” had fallen into disfavor, but by then the Negro leagues were mere historic artifacts.On May 2, 1920, the Indianapolis ABCs beat Charles “Joe” Green’s Chicago Giants (4–2) in the first game played in the inaugural season of the Negro National League, played at Washington Park in Indianapolis. But, because of the Chicago Race Riot of 1919, the National Guard still occupied the Giants’ home field, Schorling’s Park (formerly South Side Park). This forced Foster to cancel all the Giants’ home games for almost a month and threatened to become a huge embarrassment for the league. On March 2, 1920 the Negro Southern League was founded in Atlanta, Georgia.In 1921, the Negro Southern League joined Foster’s National Association of Colored Professional Base Ball Clubs. As a dues-paying member of the association, it received the same protection from raiding parties as any team in the Negro National League.Foster then admitted John Connors’ Atlantic City Bacharach Giants as an associate member to move further into Nat Strong’s territory. Connors, wanting to return the favor of helping him against Strong, raided Ed Bolden’s Hilldale Daisies team. Bolden saw little choice but to team up with Foster’s nemesis, Nat Strong. Within days of calling a truce with Strong, Bolden made an about-face and signed up as an associate member of Foster’s Negro National League.On December 16, 1922, Bolden once again shifted sides and, with Strong, formed the Eastern Colored League as an alternative to Foster’s Negro National League, which started with six teams: Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, Baltimore Black Sox, Brooklyn Royal Giants, New York Cuban Stars, Hilldale, and New York Lincoln Giants. The National League was having trouble maintaining continuity among its franchises: three teams folded and had to be replaced after the 1921 season, two others after the 1922 season, and two more after the 1923 season. Foster replaced the defunct teams, sometimes promoting whole teams from the Negro Southern League into the NNL. Finally Foster and Bolden met and agreed to an annual World Series beginning in 1924.1925 saw the St. Louis Stars come of age in the Negro National League. They finished in second place during the second half of the year due in large part to their pitcher turned center fielder, Cool Papa Bell, and their shortstop, Willie Wells. A gas leak in his home nearly asphyxiated Rube Foster in 1926, and his increasingly erratic behavior led to him being committed to an asylum a year later. While Foster was out of the picture, the owners of the National League elected William C. Hueston as new league president. In 1927, Ed Bolden suffered a similar fate as Foster, by committing himself to a hospital because the pressure was too great. The Eastern League folded shortly after that, marking the end of the World Series between the NNL and the ECL.After the Eastern League folded following the 1927 season, a new eastern league, the American Negro League, was formed to replace it. The makeup of the new ANL was nearly the same as the Eastern League, the exception being that the Homestead Grays joined in place of the now-defunct Brooklyn Royal Giants. The ANL lasted just one season. In the face of harder economic times, the Negro National League folded after the 1931 season. Some of its teams joined the only Negro league then left, the Negro Southern League.On March 26, 1932 the Chicago Defender announced the end of Negro National League.Some proposals were floated to bring the Negro leagues into “organized baseball” as developmental leagues for black players, but that was recognized as contrary to the goal of full integration. So the Negro leagues, once among the largest and most prosperous black-owned business ventures, were allowed to fade into oblivion.First a trickle and then a flood of players signed with Major League Baseball teams. Most signed minor league contracts and many languished, shuttled from one bush league team to another despite their success at that level.The Negro National League folded after the 1948 season when the Grays withdrew to resume barnstorming, the Eagles moved to Houston, Texas, and the New York Black Yankees folded. The Grays folded one year later after losing $30,000 in the barnstorming effort. So the Negro American League was the only “major” Negro league operating in 1949. Within two years it had been reduced to minor league caliber and it played its last game in 1958.The last All-Star game was held in 1962, and by 1966 the Indianapolis Clowns were the last Negro league team still playing. The Clowns continued to play exhibition games into the 1980s, but as a humorous sideshow rather than a competitive sport. Research more about this great American Champion event and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was Max Robinson was born in Richmond, VA on May 1, 1939 to Maxie and Doris Robinson. His siblings are sisters Jewell and Jean, and brother Randall. In 1959, at the age of 20, Max Robinson beat out four white applicants for a position at a local TV station in Portsmouth, VA where he read the news on the air. There was just one catch: his face had to be hidden behind a slide bearing the station’s logo. “One night,” Clarence Page wrote in Chicago, “[Robinson] ordered the slide removed so his relatives could see him. He was fired the next day.Today in our History – May 1, 1939 – Max Robinson was born. When he moved to Washington, he was the first African-American anchor on a local television news program on WTOP-TV Channel 9 in 1969, and the first African-American anchor on a network television news program. During his three and a half years at WRC he won six journalism awards for his coverage of such events as the 1968 riots after civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, the antiwar demonstrations, and the national election. It was during this time that Robinson won two regional Emmys for a documentary he did on black life in Anacostia titled The Other Washington.At WTOP, he was teamed with Gordon Peterson for 6:00 PM and 11:00 PM newscasts and the rest was history. There was such a rapport between Robinson and his viewers that when Hanafi Muslims took hostages at the Washington Mosque, they would only speak with Max Robinson. In 1978, when Roone Arledge was looking to revamp ABC News’ nightly news broadcast into World News Tonight, he remembered Max Robinson from a 60 Minutes interview, and hired him to be a part of his new three-anchor format: Frank Reynolds in Washington, Peter Jennings in London, and Robinson in Chicago. He became the first black man to anchor a nightly network news broadcast. Almost immediately, Robinson took it upon himself to fight racism at every turn and at whatever cost he thought necessary. He was constantly embroiled with his network bosses over the way news stories portrayed black America and how they neglected to reflect the black viewpoint. Robinson’s integrity as a journalist and his role as a leader in the fight against prejudice made him a mentor to many young black television journalists.Unfortunately, he never felt worthy of the admiration or satisfied with his accomplishments. It wasn’t long before friends and co-workers began to notice a significant change in his behavior. He became stubborn and moody, began showing up late for work or not at all, and his fondness for alcohol took on epidemic proportions. He had been married three times and fathered four children. Excerpted from AAP website: Management at ABC was getting frustrated with the image problems that Robinson was causing them. When they switched to a single anchor format, with the death of Frank Reynolds, Robinson was relegated to doing news briefs and anchoring the weekend news program.He left ABC in 1984 to become the first black anchor at WMAQ in Chicago. But it didn’t last, and he left WMAQ in ’85. Unfortunately, just when it appeared that he was about to put his life in order, he was hospitalized in Blue Island, Illinois, with pneumonia. It didn’t take doctors long to figure out the cause of his ailment. He kept his condition secret.It was thought that most news organizations knew already and decided to honor a fellow journalist’s privacy. To have AIDS at that time was to be a pariah. In some ways, it still is. But in 1988, it was much worse. In the fall of 1988, he traveled back to DC to give a speech at Howard University’s School of Journalism. Later that night, he became increasingly ill, and checked into Howard University Hospital.On the morning of December 20, 1988, Max Robinson passed away. The truth of his condition was finally revealed: he died from complications due to AIDS. Journalists from all corners came to his funeral in DC, The Reverend Jesse Jackson delivered the eulogy and his old partner Gordon Peterson said a few words. It was a beautiful service.Max Robinson deserves as much credit for his achievements in journalism as Edward R. Murrow or Frederick Douglass. But he’s fading from the collective memory. There are no books written about him. There are no documentaries or dramas made of his story. Yes, he was moody and temperamental. His drinking and bouts with depression got in the way of his work in later years. Sometimes the people who loved him were hurt by things he said or did. He made mistakes. And he died from AIDS. But that’s not all that he was. He took down the slide in 1959 so Portsmouth residents could see who had been delivering the news in such an eloquent fashion. He showed Washingtonians the other side of Washington with his documentary on Anacostia.He risked his life by agreeing to act as a negotiator during the hostage crisis at the Washington Mosque. He broke through the wall of racism by being the first time and time again. He mentored young black journalists who were coming through the door he had opened. He stood up and pointed out racism even in his own network when it would have been easier to just take the money and read the news. He tried to educate his children about their African heritage. He won numerous awards for his efforts and made things a whole lot easier for the African-American journalists of today. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!