Category: 1850 – 1899

May 15 1895- Mary Fields

GM – FBF – Today you will read the story of one of the most self detremind women during her time. Enjoy!

Remember – “I am Mary Fields, People call me Black Mary,
People call me Stagecoach MaryI live in Cascade, Tennessee.
I am six feet tall. I weigh over two hundred pounds.” – Mary Fields

Today in our History – May 15, 1895 – First African American woman to work for the U.S. Postal Service.

Born a slave in Hickman County, Tennessee, circa 1832, Fields was freed when slavery was outlawed in the United States, in 1865. She then worked in the home of Judge Edmund Dunne. When Dunne’s wife Josephine died in 1883, in San Antonio, Florida, Fields took the family’s five children to their aunt, Mother Mary Amadeus, the mother superior of an Ursuline convent in Toledo, Ohio.

In 1884, Mother Amadeus was sent to Montana Territory to establish a school for Native American girls at St. Peter’s Mission, west of Cascade. Learning that Amadeus was stricken with pneumonia, Fields hurried to Montana to nurse her back to health. Amadeus recovered, and Fields stayed at St. Peter’s, hauling freight, doing laundry, growing vegetables, tending chickens, and repairing buildings, and eventually became the forewoman.

The Native Americans called Fields “White Crow”, because “she acts like a white woman but has black skin”. Local whites did not know what to make of her. One schoolgirl wrote an essay saying, “She drinks whiskey, and she swears, and she is a republican, which makes her a low, foul creature.”

In 1894, after several complaints and an incident with a disgruntled male subordinate that involved gunplay, the bishop ordered her to leave the convent. Mother Amadeus helped her open a restaurant in nearby Cascade. Fields would serve food to anyone, whether they could pay or not, and the restaurant went broke in about 10 months.

In 1895, although approximately 60 years old, Fields was hired as a mail carrier because she was the fastest applicant to hitch a team of six horses. This made her the second woman and first African American woman to work for the U.S. Postal Service.

She drove the route with horses and a mule named Moses. She never missed a day, and her reliability earned her the nickname “Stagecoach”. If the snow was too deep for her horses, Fields delivered the mail on snowshoes, carrying the sacks on her shoulders.

She was a respected public figure in Cascade, and the town closed its schools to celebrate her birthday each year. When Montana passed a law forbidding women to enter saloons, the mayor of Cascade granted her an exemption. In 1903, at age 71, Fields retired from star route mail carrier service. She continued to babysit many Cascade children and owned and operated a laundry service from her home.

Fields died in 1914 at Columbus Hospital in Great Falls, but she was buried outside Cascade. Research more of Blacks in the West and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

May 8 1858- John Brown

GM – FBF – Today we Introduce a man who gave his life for the freedom of Blacks and his last words before he was hung is below. For in less than two (2) years the Civil War will begin. Enjoy!

Remember – “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with Blood.” ―John Brown

Today in our History – May 8, 1858 – John Brown holds antislavery convention in Canada.

As the October elections saw a free-state victory, Kansas was quiet. Brown made his men return to Iowa, where he fed them tidbits of his Virginia scheme. In January 1858, Brown left his men in Springdale, Iowa, and set off to visit Frederick Douglass in Rochester, New York. There he discussed his plans with Douglass, and reconsidered Forbes’ criticisms. Brown wrote a Provisional Constitution that would create a government for a new state in the region of his invasion. Brown then traveled to Peterboro, New York, and Boston to discuss matters with the Secret Six. In letters to them, he indicated that, along with recruits, he would go into the South equipped with weapons to do “Kansas work”.

Brown and twelve of his followers, including his son Owen, traveled to Chatham, Ontario, where he convened on May 8th – 10th a Constitutional Convention. The convention, with several dozen delegates including his friend James Madison Bell, was put together with the help of Dr. Martin Delany. One-third of Chatham’s 6,000 residents were fugitive slaves, and it was here that Brown was introduced to Harriet Tubman. The convention assembled 34 blacks and 12 whites to adopt Brown’s Provisional Constitution. According to Delany, during the convention, Brown illuminated his plans to make Kansas rather than Canada the end of the Underground Railroad. This would be the Subterranean Pass Way.[citation needed] Delany’s reflections are not entirely trustworthy. Brown was no longer looking toward Kansas and was entirely focused on Virginia. Other testimony from the Chatham meeting suggests Brown did speak of going South. Brown had long used the terminology of the Subterranean Pass Way from the late 1840s, so it is possible that Delany conflated Brown’s statements over the years. Regardless, Brown was elected commander-in-chief and he named John Henrie Kagi as his “Secretary of War”. Richard Realf was named “Secretary of State”. Elder Monroe, a black minister, was to act as president until another was chosen. A.M. Chapman was the acting vice president; Delany, the corresponding secretary. In 1859, “A Declaration of Liberty by the Representatives of the Slave Population of the United States of America” was written.

Although nearly all of the delegates signed the constitution, very few delegates volunteered to join Brown’s forces, although it will never be clear how many Canadian expatriates actually intended to join Brown because of a subsequent “security leak” that threw off plans for the raid, creating a hiatus in which Brown lost contact with many of the Canadian leaders. This crisis occurred when Hugh Forbes, Brown’s mercenary, tried to expose the plans to Massachusetts Senator Henry Wilson and others. The Secret Six feared their names would be made public. Howe and Higginson wanted no delays in Brown’s progress, while Parker, Stearns, Smith and Sanborn insisted on postponement. Stearns and Smith were the major sources of funds, and their words carried more weight. To throw Forbes off the trail and to invalidate his assertions, Brown returned to Kansas in June, and he remained in that vicinity for six months. There he joined forces with James Montgomery, who was leading raids into Missouri. He will lead a raid on Harpers Ferry Armory,VA. in October 1859 and was captured with others and hung. Research more about John Brown and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

May 7 1845- Mary Eliza

GM – FBF – Yesterday, someone stole my Information on FB. If you receive a request for an Invite or messanger wants you to do something please don’t do it. Today we honor the first black nurse to practice in America. Enjoy!

Remember – “When you’re a nurse you know that every day you will touch a life or a life will touch yours.” – Mary Eliza Mahoney

Today in our History – May 7, 1845 –

Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first African American nurse to study and work professionally in the United States. She was also a co-founder of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN) with Adah B. Thoms.

Mahoney was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, May 7,1845 to Charles and Mary Jane Sterwart Mahoney. She grew up with her parents, a sister and one brother in Boston, Massachusetts where her interest in nursing began as a teenager.

When Mahoney began working at the New England Hospital for Women and Children, she initially did not work as a nurse. Instead, she held positions that included cook, janitor, washerwoman and an unofficial nurse’s aide – all over a 15-year period.

At age 33 Mahoney entered the 16-month nursing program at the New England Hospital for Women and Children. Coursework included many hours of lectures and hands-on patient care. The rigorous workload proved too tough for all but four of the 42 students – Mahoney being one of them who successfully made it through the program. She received her nursing certification in 1879, making her the first African American in history to earn a professional nursing license.

Mahoney spent the good part of the next 30 years working as a private care nurse. Her reputation was impeccable as she worked all across the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. In addition, Mahoney served as director of the Howard Orphan Asylum for black children in Long Island, New York.

Mahoney was an original member of the predominately white Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States and Canada – known later as the American Nurses Association (ANA). She later co-founded the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN), in 1908. Serving as the NACGN’s national chaplain, Mahoney gave the welcoming address at the first convention of the NACGN. In 1951, the NACGN would merge with the ANA.

After over 40 years of nursing service, Mahoney retired and turned her focus to women’s equality. The progression was natural given her fight for minority rights during her professional career. In 1920, she was among the first women to register to vote in Boston, Massachusetts.

Mary Mahoney died on January 4, 1926 at the age of 80, after a three-year battle with breast cancer. She was laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett, Massachusetts.

Ten years after her death, the NACGN established the Mary Mahoney award, which is given to women who contributed to racial integration in nursing. After the NACGN was dissolved in 1951, the ANA continued presenting the award. In recognition of significant contributions in advancing equal opportunities in nursing for members of minority groups, the award is still given out today.

The national African American sorority, Chi Eta Phi, erected a monument of Mahoney after restoring her gravesite in 1973. Nurses from across the country came to remember Mary Mahoney. Three years later, Mary Eliza Mahoney was inducted into the Nursing Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.

Mary Mahoney was not just an inspiration to African American women, but to the entire nursing profession. Her drive and passion for nursing helped shape the standards at which the profession has come to expect and continues to develop. Research more about blacks in the health profession and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

May 6 1888- Matthew A. Cherry

GM – FBF – Who in our time have not seen, sat in or rode a tricycle, protection for the front of a street car is the forrunner to an automobile fender. Give thanks to Mr. Matthew A. Cherry. Enjoy!

Remember – “Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.” – Matthew A. Cherry

Today in our History – May 6,1888 – A black man invents the tricycle!

Matthew A. Cherry was a African American Inventor who created several devices for the transportation industry, including the velocipede, the tricycle and the street car fender.

The velocipede consisted of a metal seat frame upon which were attached two or three wheels which allowed someone sitting on the seat to propel themselves forward at considerable speeds by moving their feet along the ground in a fast walking or running motion. Cherry’s model of the velocipede greatly improved upon other similar devices, and over time evolved into the tricycle and the bicycle.

In May 1888 Cherry received a patent for creating the tricycle, a three wheeled vehicle that is used today mostly by pre-schoolers although it is used for many other purposes in different countries. In Asia and Africa tricycles are used for commercial transportation and deliveries, while in the USA and Canada they are also used extensively for shopping and exercise.

After receiving the patent for the tricycle, Cherry set out to solve a problem with streetcars.

At the time, whenever the front of a streetcar accidentally collided with another object, the streetcar was severely damaged, often having to be totally replaced, so he invented the street car fender – a piece of metal that was attached to the front of the street car and acted as a shock absorber which diminished the impact of an accident and added safety for passengers and employees.

Cherry received a patent for the street car fender on January 1, 1895 and the device has been modified through the years and is now used on almost every transportation device. Research more about African American Inventors and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

April 23, 1871- James Monroe Whitfield

GM – FBF – In exeutive meetings every day this week and will not be able to respond to any posts. Thanks for stopping and make it a champion day!

Remember – ” Painting is silent poetry and poetry is painting that speaks.” – James Monroe Whitfield

Today in our History – April 23, 1871 – Black Poiet Dies – 
James Monroe Whitfield, a black abolitionist and colonizationist, was born on April 10, 1822 in New Hampshire. Little is known about his early life except that he was a descendant of Ann Paul, the sister of prominent black clergyman Thomas Paul. Whitfield had little formal education. Nonetheless by the age of 16, he was publishing papers for Negro rights conventions.
Although his main occupation was as a barber, Whitfield eventually became well known as a poet whose work was published in North Star as well as Frederick Douglass’ Paper and The Liberator during the period he lived in Buffalo, New York. While living in Buffalo between 1839 and 1859, Whitfield worked with other abolitionists and emigrationists such as James T. Holly and Martin Delany. Whitfield promoted the National Emigration Convention in 1854 and 1856 and the African-American Repository one of the earliest black-oriented national publications.

Frederick Douglass initially recognized Whitfield’s leadership and activism and gave the young poet national exposure in his publications. Eventually Whitfield would disagree with Douglass whom he saw as too accommodating to the mostly white abolitionist movement. The men also disagreed on the wisdom of large scale emigration of African Americans from the United States. Despite their differences, Douglass allowed Whitfield to publish his views in a series of letters to Douglass’s newspaper the North Star in 1853.

In 1858 Whitfield publicly supported the proposal by Missouri Congressman Frank P. Blair to acquire land in Central America, to be used for black colonization. The following year, Whitfield was given the position of fact-finding commissioner by the proponents of this scheme and was sent to Central America where he lived for two years.

Upon his return to the United States in 1860, he found the nation on the verge of civil war. Like Martin R. Delany and other emigrationists, Whitfield now turned his efforts toward supporting the war effort which he believed would emancipate the slaves and potentially allow blacks to live as full citizens in the United States.

Settling in San Francisco, California Whitfield worked as a barber but continued to write poetry. Abdicating his role in political activism, Whitfield moved to the Pacific Northwest, working first in Portland, Oregon and later in Placerville, Idaho. Whitfield returned to California and became Grand Master of the Prince Hall Masons for the state, a post he held between 1864 and 1869. In May of 1869, he moved to Elko, Nevada, where he and three other black men sat on a jury, a first for the state of Nevada. He continued to write and publish poetry.

James Monroe Whitfield died in San Francisco on April 23, 1871 of heart disease and was buried in a Masonic cemetery in that city. Research more about blacks and the spoken word. Share with your babies and make it a champion day!

April 2, 1872-John Mercer Langston

GM – FBF – “The black people of America, will rise up through proper education.” – John Mercer Langston

Remember – “A nation may lose its liberties and be a century in finding it out. Where is the American liberty? … In its far-reaching and broad sweep, slavery has stricken down the freedom of us all.” – John Mercer Langston

Today in our History – April 2, 1872. John Mercer Langston, serve as dean of Howard University’s law school; it was the first black law school in the country. Appointed acting president of the school in 1872.

Together with his older brothers Gideon and Charles, John Langston became active in the abolitionist movement. He helped runaway slaves to escape to the North along the Ohio part of the Underground Railroad. In 1858 he and Charles partnered in leading the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society, with John acting as president and traveling to organize local units, and Charles managing as executive secretary in Cleveland.

In 1863 when the government approved founding of the United States Colored Troops, John Langston was appointed to recruit African Americans to fight for the Union Army. He enlisted hundreds of men for duty in the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth regiments, in addition to 800 for Ohio’s first black regiment. Even before the end of the war, Langston worked for issues of black suffrage and opportunity. He believed that black men’s service in the war had earned their right to vote, and that it was fundamental to their creating an equal place in society.

After the war, Langston was appointed inspector general for the Freedmen’s Bureau, a Federal organization that assisted freed slaves and tried to oversee labor contracts. The Bureau also ran a bank and helped establish schools for freedmen and their children.

In 1864 Langston chaired the committee whose agenda was ratified by the black National Convention: they called for abolition of slavery, support of racial unity and self-help, and equality before the law. To accomplish this program, the convention founded the National Equal Rights League and elected Langston president. He served until 1868. Like the later National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the League was based in state and local organizations. Langston traveled widely to build support. “By war’s end, nine state auxiliaries had been established; some twenty months later, Langston could boast of state leagues nearly everywhere.”

In 1868 Langston moved to Washington, D.C. to establish and serve as dean of Howard University’s law school; it was the first black law school in the country. Appointed acting president of the school in 1872, and vice president of the school, Langston worked to establish strong academic standards. He also engendered the kind of open environment he had known at Oberlin College. Langston was passed over for the permanent position of president of Howard University School of Law by a committee that refused to disclose the reason.

During 1870, Langston assisted Republican Senator Charles Sumner from Massachusetts with drafting the civil rights bill that was enacted as the Civil Rights Act of 1875. The 43rd Congress of the United States passed the bill in February 1875 and it was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1875.

President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Langston a member of the Board of Health of the District of Columbia.

In 1877 President Rutherford Hayes appointed Langston as U.S. Minister to Haiti; he also served as chargé d’affaires to the Dominican Republic.

After his diplomatic service, in 1885 Langston returned to the US and Virginia. He was appointed by the state legislature as the first president of Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute, a historically black college (HBCU) at Petersburg. There he also began to build a political base.

In 1888, Langston was urged to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives by fellow Republicans, both black and white. Leaders of the biracial Readjuster Party, which had held political power in Virginia from 1879 to 1883, did not support his candidacy. Langston ran as a Republican and lost to his Democratic opponent. He contested the results of the election because of voter intimidation and fraud.

After 18 months, the Congressional elections committee declared Langston the winner, and he took his seat in the U.S. Congress. He served for the remaining six months of the term, but lost his bid for reelection as Democrats regained control of Virginia. Langston was the first black person elected to Congress from Virginia, and he was the last for another century. In a period of increasing disenfranchisement of blacks in the South, he was one of five African Americans elected to Congress during the Jim Crow era of the last decade of the nineteenth century. Two were elected from South Carolina and two from North Carolina. After them, no African Americans would be elected to Congress from the South until 1972, after passage of federal civil rights legislation enforcing constitutional rights for all citizens.

In 1890 Langston was named as a member of the board of trustees of St. Paul Normal and Industrial School, a historically black college, when it was incorporated by the Virginia General Assembly. In this period, he also wrote his autobiography, which he published in 1894.

From 1891 until his death in 1897, he practiced law in Washington, D.C. He died at his home, Hillside Cottage at 2225 Fourth Street NW in Washington, DC, on the morning of November 15 from malaria induced acute indigestion. After spending time at Harmony Cemetery in Maryland, and despite talk of sending him to Nashville for burial, he was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Washington, DC.

Langston’s house in Oberlin has been designated as a National Historic Landmark, Langston was the great-uncle of the poet James Mercer Langston Hughes (called Langston Hughes). Research more about this great American and share with your babies and make it a champion day!

March 20, 1887- Anne Julia Cooper and George C. Cooper

GM – FBF – It is not the intelligent woman v. the ignorant woman; nor the white woman v. the black, the brown, and the red, it is not even the cause of woman v. man. Nay, tis woman’s strongest vindication for speaking that the world needs to hear her voice. – Anna Julia Cooper

Remember – The old, subjective, stagnant, indolent and wretched life for woman has gone. She has as many resources as men, as many activities beckon her on. As large possibilities swell and inspire her heart. – Anna Julia Cooper

Today in our History – March 20, 1887 – Anna Julia Cooper and George C. Cooper who was also a former slave in, 1877

Anna Julia Cooper was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on August 10, 1858. Cooper was the eldest of two daughters born to an enslaved black woman, Hannah Stanley and her white master George Washington Haywood (Rashidi, 2002). According to Rashidi (2002) “Cooper possessed an unrelenting passion for learning and a sincere conviction that black women were equipped to follow intellectual pursuits (on-line).” This was a claim that seemed reasonable, because at the age of seven, Cooper was accepted into a teacher’s training program at St. Augustine’s Normal School and Collegiate Institute, a placement that required prior academic training (Biography Resource Center, 2001 (BRC), 2001).
Cooper eventually graduated to the teachers level and married George C. Cooper who was also a former slave in, 1877. She was forced to leave her teaching position because of her marriage, which was quite an unfortunate situation because her husband died two years later (BRC, 2001). Cooper never remarried.

Although she was born into slavery she had no recollection of the events of her slavery as a child, but she does recall events from the civil war as well as the earlier stages or the feminist movement. Cooper declared herself “the voice of the South (BRC, 2001, on-line, extracted 10/30/2002),”because during the “fledging” of the feminist movement, it all but ignored minority women. According to the BRC (2001) when Cooper’s first book “A Voice from the South by a Black Woman of the South” was released to the public, it was declared the first work of an African-American feminist.

Cooper died of an heart attack on February 27, 1964 at the age of 105 in Washington, D.C. (BRC, 2001). She lived an eventful life that lead her from the belly of slavery to the dawn of the civil rights movement lead by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other prominent black leaders of the time. Cooper wrote two additional book from the one mentioned earlier, “L’Attitude de la France a l’Egard de l’Esclavage pendant la Revolution” and “Le Pelerinage de Charlemagne: Voyage a Jerusalem et a Constantinople.”

Cooper’s life is one that exemplifies an individual committed to social change and anyone’s ability to overcome the obstacles of sexism and or racism and this is why her work as a “scholar, educator, and activist is evidence of the tremendous energy demanded of those who wanted to create change in the black community during the tumultuous period in which she lived” – Research more about this proud America hero and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

March 3, 1886- Robert Francis Flemming Jr.

GM – FBF – ” Who would have thought that sailors could be in a boat under the water, what will they think of next” – Robert Francis Flemming

Remember – “I know that they had forms of guitars in the old days, like in Africa but my guitar has what they call a aacoustic guitar. I just know that the sound can be controled” – Robert Francis Flemming

Today in our History – March 3, 1886 – A Black Man Invents The First Aacoustic guitar. Robert Francis Flemming Jr. (July 4, 1839 – February 23, 1919) was an African-American inventor and Union sailor in the American Civil War. He was the first crew member aboard the USS Housatonic to spot the H.L. Hunley before it sank the USS Housatonic. The sinking of USS Housatonic is renowned as the first sinking of an enemy ship in combat by a submarine.

Robert Flemming was working in New York City as a marble cutter when he enlisted in the United States Navy on May 14, 1863. He was rated as Landsman (rank), the equivalent of the current naval rating of seaman recruit. His first posting was to the USS Wyoming (1859) the following June; he was present when the sloop engaged the naval forces of the Japanese Empire at the Naval battle of Shimonoseki on July 16 of that year.

The following October, Flemming transferred to the sloop of war USS Housatonic (1861), which was sent to join the blockade of Southern seaports as part of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. On the evening of February 17, 1864, Flemming was on watch when he noticed a strange object in the water about 400 feet off the starboard bow. He alerted the officer of the guard, who dismissed the object as a log. “Queer-looking log,” Flemming replied. Taking a closer look, he soon realized that the “log” wasn’t floating with the tide, but was actually coming at a high rate of speed toward the Housatonic. Shouting that there was a torpedo approaching the ship, Flemming alerted the rest of the crew, who started to get the Housatonic under way. However, it was too late; there was an explosion and, within five minutes, the Housatonic sank in 25 feet of water with a loss of five crewmen. The crew immediately began climbing the rigging or entering life boats as the sloop began to sink; once it hit bottom, however, the masts and rigging were still above the water, and Flemming and others hung on for forty-five minutes until help arrived.

Flemming finished his naval service on the gunboat USS E. B. Hale after June 1865 and subsequently returned to Massachusetts, living and working in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Boston, Massachusetts where he went into business as a guitar manufacturer and music teacher.

Flemming invented a guitar he called the “Euphonica” that he believed would produce a louder and more resonant sound than a traditional guitar. The U.S. Patent Office granted Flemming a patent (no. 338,727) on March 3,1886. He also received a Canadian patent (no. 26,398) on April 5,1887. Flemming then went into business for himself, building and demonstrating his musical instruments from a storefront on Washington Street in Boston.

After 1900, Robert Flemming retired to his home in Melrose, Massachusetts where he continued to give lessons and perform at various functions. In 1907, he composed a “National Funeral Hymn” dedicated to the Grand Army of the Republic. A member of the Grand Army of the Republic Post no. 30 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Robert Flemming died in February 1919. He is buried in Wyoming Cemetery in Melrose, MA. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

February 23, 1868 – William Edward Burghardt

GM – FBF – “Most men today cannot conceive of a freedom that does not involve somebody’s slavery.” W. E. B. Du Bois

Remember – “Education is the development of power and ideal.” W. E. B. Du Bois

Today in our History – February 23, 1868 – Throughout his career as a sociologist, historian, educator, and sociopolitical activist, William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B.) Du Bois argued for immediate racial equality for African-Americans. His emergence as an African-American leader paralleled the rise of Jim Crow laws of the South and the Progressive Era.

One of Du Bois’ most famous quotes encapsulates his philosophy, “Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season.

It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.”

Major Nonfiction Works:
The Study of the Negro Problems (1898)
The Philadelphia Negro (1899)
The Souls of Black Folk (1903)
The Talented Tenth, second chapter of The Negro Problem, a collection of articles by African Americans (September 1903).
Voice of the Negro II (September 1905)
Atlanta University’s Studies of the Negro Problem (1897-1910)
The Negro (1915)
The Gift of Black Folk (1924)
Africa, Its Geography, People and Products (1930)
Africa: Its Place in Modern History (1930)
Black Reconstruction in America (1935)
Black Folk, Then and Now (1939)
The Encyclopedia of the Negro (1946)
Africa in Battle Against Colonialism, Racialism, Imperialism (1960)

Early Life and Education:

Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Mass on February 23, 1868. Throughout his childhood, he excelled in school and upon his graduation from high school, members of the community awarded Du Bois with a scholarship to attend Fisk University. While at Fisk, Du Bois experienced racism and poverty that was very different to his experiences in Great Barrington.

As a result, Du Bois decided that he would dedicate his life to ending racism and uplifting African-Americans.

In 1888, Du Bois graduated from Fisk and was accepted to Harvard University where he earned a master’s degree, a doctorate and a fellowship to study for two years at the University of Berlin in Germany. Following his studies in Berlin, Du Bois argued that through racial inequality and injustice could be exposed through scientific research. However, after observing the remaining body parts of a man who was lynched, Du Bois was convinced that scientific research was not enough.

“Souls of Black Folk”: Opposition to Booker T. Washington:
Initially, Du Bois agreed with the philosophy of Booker T. Washington , the preeminent leader of African-Americans during the Progressive Era. Washington argued that African-Americans should become skilled in industrial and vocational trades so that they could open businesses and become self-reliant.

Du Bois, however, greatly disagreed and outlined his arguments in his collection of essays, Souls of Black Folk published in 1903. In this text, Du Bois argued that white Americans needed to take responsibility for their contributions to the problem of racial inequality, proved the flaws in Washington’s argument, argued that African-Americans must also take better advantage of educational opportunities to uplift their race.

Organizing for Racial Equality:

In July of 1905, Du Bois organized the Niagara Movement with William Monroe Trotter. The purpose of the Niagara Movement was to have a more militant approach to fighting racial inequality. Its chapters throughout the United States fought local acts of discrimination and the national organization published a newspaper, Voice of the Negro.

The Niagara Movement dismantled in 1909 but Du Bois, along with several other members joined with white Americans to establish the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Du Bois was appointed director of research and also served as the editor of the NAACP’s magazine Crisis from 1910 to 1934. In addition to urging African-American readers to become socially and politically active, the publication also showcased literature and visual artistry of the Harlem Renaissance.

Racial Upliftment:

Throughout Du Bois’ career, he worked tirelessly to end racial inequality. Through his membership and later leadership of the American Negro Academy, Du Bois developed the idea of the “Talented Tenth,” arguing that educated African-Americans could lead the fight for racial equality in the United States.

Du Bois’ ideas about the importance of education would be present again during the Harlem Renaissance. During the Harlem Renaissance, Du Bois argued that racial equality could be gained through the arts. Using his influence as editor of the Crisis, Du Bois promoted the work of many African-American visual artists and writers.

Pan Africanism:

Du Bois also concerned with people of African descent throughout the world. Leading the Pan-African movement, Du Bois organized conferences for the Pan-African Congress for many years. Leaders from Africa and the Americas assembled to discuss racism and oppression–issues that people of African descent faced all over the world. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Du Bois died on August 27, 1963 at the age of 95. Make it a champion Day!

February 18, 1867 – James Nathaniel Brown

GM – FBF – Make sure when anyone tackles you he remembers how much it hurts.

Remember – “I think the National Football League needs a new union. The heavyweights of this union are not heavyweights enough.” Jim Brown

Today in our History – February 17, 1936 – James Nathaniel Brown was born. Brown was taken in the first round of the 1957 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns, the sixth overall selection. In the ninth game of his rookie season, against the Los Angeles Rams he rushed for 237 yards, setting an NFL single-game record that stood unsurpassed for 14 years[a] and a rookie record that remained for 40 years. After only nine years in the NFL, he departed as the league’s record holder for both single-season (1,863 in 1963) and career rushing (12,312 yards), as well as the all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (106), total touchdowns (126), and all-purpose yards (15,549). He was the first player ever to reach the 100-rushing-touchdowns milestone, and only a few others have done so since, despite the league’s expansion to a 16-game season in 1978 (Brown’s first four seasons were only 12 games, and his last five were 14 games).

Brown’s record of scoring 100 touchdowns in only 93 games stood until LaDainian Tomlinson did it in 89 games during the 2006 season. Brown holds the record for total seasons leading the NFL in all-purpose yards (five: 1958–1961, 1964), and is the only rusher in NFL history to average over 100 yards per game for a career. In addition to his rushing, Brown was a superb receiver out of the backfield, catching 262 passes for 2,499 yards and 20 touchdowns, while also adding another 628 yards returning kickoffs.

Every season he played, Brown was voted into the Pro Bowl, and he left the league in style by scoring three touchdowns in his final Pro Bowl game. He accomplished these records despite not playing past 29 years of age. Brown’s six games with at least four touchdowns remains an NFL record. Tomlinson and Marshall Faulk both have five games with four touchdowns.

Brown led the league in rushing a record eight times. He was also the first NFL player ever to rush for over 10,000 yards.

He told me, ‘Make sure when anyone tackles you he remembers how much it hurts.’ He lived by that philosophy and I always followed that advice. — John Mackey, 1999

Brown’s 1,863 rushing yards in the 1963 season remain a Cleveland franchise record. It is currently the oldest franchise record for rushing yards out of all 32 NFL teams. His average of 133 yards per game that season is exceeded only by O. J. Simpson’s 1973 season. While others have compiled more prodigious statistics, when viewing Brown’s standing in the game, his style of running must be considered along with statistical measures. He was very difficult to tackle (shown by his leading 5.2 yards per carry), often requiring more than one defender to bring him down.

Brown retired in July 1966, after only nine seasons, as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. He held the record of 12,312 yards until it was broken by Walter Payton on October 7, 1984, during Payton’s 10th NFL season. Brown is still the Cleveland Browns all-time leading rusher. Currently Jim Brown is ninth on the all-time rushing list.

During Brown’s career, Cleveland won the NFL championship in 1964 and were runners-up in 1957 and 1965, his rookie and final season, respectively. Research more about this American hero, his acting career and his community activistism. Make it a champion day!