Category: 1950 – 1999

September 30 1975- Virgie M. Ammons

GM – FBF – The story that we will look at today is about a Black female Inventor that you may have never heard of from a state that most people don’t think of going to. I lived and worked there for two years in Morgantown, a University town and the county seat called Monongalia and found the state charming and the people kind and God fearing.

This Inventor took something that was an everyday concern for many people in the state and parts of the nation and discovered a way to prevent it. Like many black inventors there is no record that a manufacturer picked up the patented Invention and used it and it was hard to find out more about this Inventor’s life. Enjoy!

Remember – “You and I may go to Harvard, we may go to York of England, or go to Al Ahzar in Cairo and get degrees from all of these great seats of learning. But we will never be recognized until we recognize our women.” ― Elijah Muhammad

Today in our History – September 30, 1975 – Virgie M. Ammons invented the Fireplace Damper Actuating Tool.

Virgie M. Ammons was born on Dec. 29, 1908, in Gaithersburg, Maryland. At a young age, her family relocated to West Virginia, where she spent the rest of her life. Ammons was a self-employed caretaker and a Muslim woman by faith, attending services in Temple Hills.

Little is known about the life of Virgie Ammons. Ammons filed her patent on August 6, 1974, at which time she was living in Eglon, West Virginia.

Fireplace Damper Actuating Tool – Patent US 3,908,633
A fireplace damper actuating tool is a tool that is used to open and close the damper on a fireplace. It keeps the damper from opening or fluttering in the wind. If you have a fireplace or stove, you may be familiar with the sound of a fluttering damper.

A damper is an adjustable plate that fits in the flue of a stove or the chimney of a fireplace. It helps control the draft into the stove or fireplace. Dampers could be a plate that slides across the air opening, or it could be fixed in place in the pipe or flue and turned so the angle allows more or less air flow.
In the days when cooking was done on a stove that was powered by burning wood or coal, adjusting the flue was a way of controlling the temperature.

Virgie Ammons may be have been familiar with these stoves, given her date of birth. She may also have lived in an area where electric or gas stoves were not common until later in her life. We have no details as to what her inspiration was for the fireplace damper actuating tool.

With a fireplace, opening the damper allows more air to be drawn into the fireplace from the room and convey the heat up the chimney.

More air flow can often result in more flames, but also in losing more heat rather than warming the room.
The patent abstract says Ammons’ damper actuating tool addressed the problem of fireplace dampers that flutter and make noise when gusty winds affected the chimney Some dampers do not remain fully shut because they have to be light enough in weight so the operating lever can open them easily. This makes small differences in air pressure between the room and the upper chimney draw them open. She was concerned that even a slightly open damper could cause a significant loss of heat in winter, and could even result in loss of coolness in summer. Both would be a waste of energy.
Her actuating tool allowed the damper to be closed and held closed. She noted that when not in use, the tool could be stored next to the fireplace.No information was found as to whether her tool was manufactured and marketed.

Virgie M. Ammons, 91, Eglon, WV, died July 12, 2000, as the result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident near Aurora, WV. She was a daughter of the late Samuel and Mary (Jones) Claggett. She was also preceded in death by her husband, Charles Ammons, and three brothers, Joseph, Thomas, and Eugene Claggett. Survivors include one daughter, Sharon Ammons, Washington, DC and one sister, Rowena Leva Huggins, Frederick, MD. She was a self-employed caretaker. She was a Muslim by faith and attended church in Temple Hills. Cremation services were provided by the Browning Funeral Home in Kingwood, WV. Research more about this great Black Woman Inventor and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

September 25 1952- Gloria Jean WatKins

GM – FBF – This morning I would like to share with you a story that I first learned about when I was in Wisconsin attending college, then in 2014 while working with a client in Lexington, KY. I heard about more of her works while visiting Berea, KY. Her words were never weak and she has a strong unforgiving writing style that you either like or hate. No matter what she will always be remembered for her publication of “Ain’t I a woman”. If you are still not clear of whom I am talking about read her story. Enjoy!

Remember – “The greatest movement for social justice our country has ever known is the civil rights movement and it was totally rooted in a love ethic”. Bell Hook

Today in our History – September 25, 1952 – Gloria Jean Watkins , better known by her pen name bell hooks, was born. She is 66 years old today.

She is an American author, feminist, and social activist. The name “bell hooks” is derived from that of her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks.

The focus of hooks’ writing has been the intersectionality of race, capitalism, and gender, and what she describes as their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and class domination. She has published over 30 books and numerous scholarly articles, appeared in documentary films, and participated in public lectures. She has addressed race, class, and gender in education, art, history, sexuality, mass media, and feminism.

In 2014, she founded the bell hooks Institute at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. Hooks was born in Hopkinsville, a small, segregated town in Kentucky, to a working-class family. Her father, Veodis Watkins, was a custodian and her mother, Rosa Bell Watkins, was a homemaker. She had five sisters and one brother.

An avid reader, she was educated in racially segregated public schools, and wrote of great adversities when making the transition to an integrated school, where teachers and students were predominantly white. She later graduated from Hopkinsville High School in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. She obtained her BA in English from Stanford University in 1973, and her MA in English from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1976.

In 1983, after several years of teaching and writing, she completed her doctorate in literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a dissertation on author Toni Morrison. Hooks’ teaching career began in 1976 as an English professor and senior lecturer in Ethnic Studies at the University of Southern California. During her three years there, Golemics, a Los Angeles publisher, released her first published work, a chapbook of poems titled “And There We Wept” (1978), written under her pen name, “bell hooks”. She adopted her maternal great-grandmother’s name as a pen name because her great-grandmother “was known for her snappy and bold tongue, which [she] greatly admired”. She put the name in lowercase letters “to distinguish

[herself from]

her great-grandmother.” She said that her unconventional lowercasing of her name signifies what is most important is her works: the “substance of books, not who I am.”

She taught at several post-secondary institutions in the early 1980s and 1990s, including the University of California, Santa Cruz, San Francisco State University, Yale, Oberlin College and City College of New York. South End Press published her first major work, Ain’t I a Woman?: Black Women and Feminism in 1981, though it was written years earlier, while she was an undergraduate student. In the decades since its publication, Ain’t I a Woman? has gained widespread recognition as an influential contribution to feminist thought.

Ain’t I a woman? examines several recurring themes in her later work: the historical impact of sexism and racism on black women, devaluation of black womanhood, media roles and portrayal, the education system, the idea of a white-supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy, the marginalization of black women, and the disregard for issues of race and class within feminism. Since the publication of Ain’t I a Woman?, she has become eminent as a leftist and postmodern political thinker and cultural critic. She targets and appeals to a broad audience by presenting her work in a variety of media using various writing and speaking styles. As well as having written books, she has published in numerous scholarly and mainstream magazines, lectures at widely accessible venues, and appears in various documentaries.

She is frequently cited by feminists as having provided the best solution to the difficulty of defining something as diverse as “feminism”, addressing the problem that if feminism can mean everything, it means nothing. She asserts an answer to the question “what is feminism?” that she says is “rooted in neither fear nor fantasy… ‘Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression'”.

She has published more than 30 books, ranging in topics from black men, patriarchy, and masculinity to self-help, engaged pedagogy to personal memoirs, and sexuality (in regards to feminism and politics of aesthetic/visual culture). A prevalent theme in her most recent writing is the community and communion, the ability of loving communities to overcome race, class, and gender inequalities. In three conventional books and four children’s books, she suggests that communication and literacy (the ability to read, write, and think critically) are crucial to developing healthy communities and relationships that are not marred by race, class, or gender inequalities.

She has held positions as Professor of African-American Studies and English at Yale University, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and American Literature at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, and as Distinguished Lecturer of English Literature at the City College of New York.

In 2002, hooks gave a commencement speech at Southwestern University. Eschewing the congratulatory mode of traditional commencement speeches, she spoke against what she saw as government-sanctioned violence and oppression, and admonished students who she believed went along with such practices. This was followed by a controversy described in the Austin Chronicle after an “irate Arizonian” had criticized the speech in a letter to the editor. The newspaper reported that many in the audience booed the speech, though “several graduates passed over the provost to shake her hand or give her a hug”.

In 2004, she joined Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, as Distinguished Professor in Residence,[18] where she participated in a weekly feminist discussion group, “Monday Night Feminism”; a luncheon lecture series, “Peanut Butter and Gender”; and a seminar, “Building Beloved Community: The Practice of Impartial Love”.

Her 2008 book, belonging: a culture of place, includes a candid interview with author Wendell Berry as well as a discussion of her move back to Kentucky.

She has undertaken three scholar-in-residences at The New School. Mostly recently she did one for a week in October 2014. She engaged in public dialogues with Gloria Steinem, Laverne Cox, and Cornel West. Research more about Black woman authors and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

September 24 1957- The Little Rock Nine

GM – FBF – Today, I would like to share with you a story that is always close to my heart because I was part of the Supreme Court decision of “Brown v Board”. In 1957 I was ready to go to an elementary school that had black teachers for black students (segregation) but with this new law we can now go to a new elementary school in East Trenton called Woodrow Wilson. I hated the school and the teachers who seemed not to want to be there and during lunch many frequented the bar at the end of the corner and took it out on us during the classes in the afternoon. I was told repeatedly that I would not amount to nothing Not knowing that it was part of a national crises at the time and in Arkansas it was no different. Remember and never forget!

Remember – “We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” – Chief Justice Earl Warren – U.S. Supreme Court

Today in Our History – September 24, 1957 – The Little Rock Nine was a group of nine African American students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957.

Their enrollment was followed by the Little Rock Crisis, in which the students were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by Orval Faubus, the Governor of Arkansas. They then attended after the intervention of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, 347 U.S. 483, on May 17, 1954. Tied to the 14th Amendment, the decision declared all laws establishing segregated schools to be unconstitutional, and it called for the desegregation of all schools throughout the nation. After the decision, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) attempted to register black students in previously all-white schools in cities throughout the South. In Little Rock, the capital city of Arkansas, the school boardagreed to comply with the high court’s ruling. Virgil Blossom, the Superintendent of Schools, submitted a plan of gradual integration to the school board on May 24, 1955, which the board unanimously approved. The plan would be implemented during the fall of the 1957 school year, which would begin in September 1957.

By 1957, the NAACP had registered nine black students to attend the previously all-white Little Rock Central High, selected on the criteria of excellent grades and attendance. Called the “Little Rock Nine”, they were Ernest Green (b. 1941), Elizabeth Eckford (b. 1941), Jefferson Thomas (1942–2010), Terrence Roberts (b. 1941), Carlotta Walls LaNier (b. 1942), Minnijean Brown (b. 1941), Gloria Ray Karlmark (b. 1942), Thelma Mothershed (b. 1940), and Melba Pattillo Beals (b. 1941). Ernest Green was the first African American to graduate from Central High School.

By the end of September 1957, the nine were admitted to Little Rock Central High under the protection of the 101st Airborne Division (and later the Arkansas National Guard), but they were still subjected to a year of physical and verbal abuse (being spat on and called names) by many of the white students. Melba Pattillo had acid thrown into her eyes and also recalled in her book, Warriors Don’t Cry, an incident in which a group of white girls trapped her in a stall in the girls’ washroom and attempted to burn her by dropping pieces of flaming paper on her from above. Another one of the students, Minnijean Brown, was verbally confronted and abused. She said.

I was one of the kids ‘approved’ by the school officials. We were told we would have to take a lot and were warned not to fight back if anything happened. One girl ran up to me and said, ‘I’m so glad you’re here. Won’t you go to lunch with me today?’ I never saw her again.

Minnijean Brown was also taunted by members of a group of white male students in December 1957 in the school cafeteria during lunch. She dropped her lunch, a bowl of chili, onto the boys and was suspended for six days. Two months later, after more confrontation, Brown was suspended for the rest of the school year. She transferred to New Lincoln High School in New York City. As depicted in the 1981 made-for-TV docudrama Crisis at Central High, and as mentioned by Melba Pattillo Beals in Warriors Don’t Cry, white students were punished only when their offense was “both egregious and witnessed by an adult”. The drama was based on a book by Elizabeth Huckaby, a vice-principal during the crisis. Research more about this and other Civil Rights issues and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

September 20 1984- Emory A. Tate Jr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 17 1970- Flip Wilson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 15 1970- Eric Garner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 13 1981- Isabel Sandford

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 7 1962- Rosalind G. Brewer

GM – FBF – Today, I would like to share with you a story that is still unfolding every day. A story of a black woman who is still setting the bar for every young lady coming behind her, she came from the “Motor City” with a vision of taking her education to the fullest. She found a home at a fortune 500 company and never looked back, who knows what the future holds for her. Enjoy!

Remember – “Everywhere I travel and am blessed to tell my story in hopes that a brave young lady is listening and will rise to the top and grasp this American dream” – Rosalind G. Brewer

Today in our History – September 7, 1962 – Rosalind G. Brewer was born.

Rosalind G. Brewer is an American businesswoman and the first African American woman to become chief operations officer (COO) of Starbucks. Brewer was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1962. She was the youngest of five children and they were the first generation in her family to go to college.

In 1980, Brewer graduated from Cass Technical High School in Detroit. Right after graduation she enrolled in Spelman College where she earned bachelor degree in chemistry in 1984. Later she graduated from the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business in Illinois and Stanford Law School in California and completed the advanced management program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 2006.

Brewer worked for Kimberly-Clark, the paper manufacturer, for 22 years, right out of college. With her degree in chemistry, she started her career as a research technician. Frustrated by the lack of control in research and development she moved over to administration. By 2006 she worked her way up to be president for manufacturing and global operations in Kimberly-Clark.

Brewer left Kimberly-Clark in 2006 and joined Walmart as regional vice president over operations in Georgia. From there, she became the division president of Walmart’s Southeast market and finally a president of Walmart East.
In 2012, Brewer was named President and CEO of Sam’s Club, becoming the first African American to lead a Walmart division. She has focused on health and wellness by doubling the number of organic products offered at Sam’s Clubs and led the development of the company’s curbside pickup service and e-commerce efforts, including introducing a process that allows customers to scan items with their phones in order to speed up checkout.

During her time at Sam’s Club, Brewer connected with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who invited her to work for Starbucks but initially she declined his offer. After retiring from Walmart on February 1, 2017 she accepted the COO role at Starbucks.

In 2016, Brewer was listed as the 57th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine. She was also named as one of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes earlier in 2013. The magazine named her among the Most Powerful Black Women of 2013. She has been honored by Fortune magazine as one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. The Fortune 500’s Most Powerful Women List of September 15, 2015 issue ranked Brewer 15th. In 2016 she ranked 19th on Fortune’s annual ranking of all leaders in business. Research more about African American woman who are leading companies and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

September 3 1959- Francis X. Tolbert

GM – FBF – Today I would like to share with you a story that has been misunderstood and represented falsely for years. This story has been told in many ways through song , movies and books. This African American woman changed the fate of the Independence of the territory of Texas from the Mexican power of the time. Let’s look closer at the one they called “The Yellow Rose of Texas” – Enjoy!

Remember – “The Battle of San Jacinto was probably lost to the Mexicans, owing to the influence of a Mulatta girl (Emily) belonging to Col. Morgan who was closeted in the tent with g’l Santana, at the time the cry was made “the Enemy! They come! They come! + detained Santana so long, that order could not be restored readily again.” – Sam Houston

Today in our History – September 3, 1959 – Francis X. Tolbert, a prolific journalist, writes in his journal – The Day of San Jacinto (1959) that Emily was a “decorative long-haired mulatto girl…Latin looking woman of about twenty.”

Emily D. West (c.1815–1891), also known as Emily Morgan, is a folk heroine whose legendary activities during the Texas Revolution have come to be identified with the song “The Yellow Rose of Texas”.

West was a free woman of color, of mixed race, or a “high yellow”. She was born in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1835 she was contracted to James Morgan in New York to work as an indentured servant for one year in Morgan’s Point, Texas, at the New Washington Association’s hotel as a housekeeper. Several months into her year of indentureship, on April 16, 1836, West and other residents were kidnapped by Mexican cavalry. West was forced to travel with the forces of General Antonio López de Santa Anna as they prepared to face the army led by Sam Houston, and was in the Mexican camp on April 21 when Houston’s force attacked. The Texans won the Battle of San Jacinto in 18 minutes.

According to legend, Santa Anna had been caught unprepared because he was having sex with West. No contemporary accounts indicate that Santa Anna was with a woman at the time, but the story was recorded in the journal of Englishman William Bollaert in 1842, who was told the story by Sam Houston during a steamer trip. After Bollaert’s diary was published in 1956, amateur historians began to expand the tale, with Henderson Shuffler suggesting that West fit the description of the girl in the then-popular folk song “The Yellow Rose of Texas”. The story continued to grow, with many references to West’s beauty, as the legend took hold by the 1986 Texas Sesquicentennial.

Historian Philip Thomas Tucker questions the reliability of the tale pointing out that “Santa Anna possessed a distinct aversion to the intermingling of races.” Santa Anna held that much of Mexico’s political troubles were due to this, holding that “We have failed because of our deplorable racial mixture, and the responsibility for this sad state of affairs lies with the Spanish missionaries who saved the Indian from extinction
After the Battle of San Jacinto, the real Emily West wanted to leave Texas, but the papers that declared her “free” had been lost. Major Isaac Moreland, commandant of the garrison at Galveston, vouched for Emily in her application for a passport. Emily possibly returned to New York in March 1837.

It is unknown if she did carry James Morgan’s surname, as was supposed, although this was the custom for indentured servants and slaves at the time. Also, arriving coincidentally in Morgan’s Point on board Morgan’s schooner from New York was Emily West de Zavala, the wife of the interim Vice President of the Republic of Texas, Lorenzo de Zavala, and grandmother of Adina Emilia De Zavala The widowed Mrs Lorenzo de Zavala had returned to New York in 1837 at about the same time as Emily D. West, although West de Zavala returned to Texas in early 1839 Denise McVea suggests that the Emily West of the Yellow Rose of Texas legend was Emily West de Zavala. There is no contemporary or primary evidence that Emily D. West and Emily de Zavala were the same person. Research and play the song to your babies and make it a champion day!

August 28 1963

GM -FBF – Today, I want to share a story from the youth. At 10 years going to Washington, D.C. to hear people talk about jobs and other things. Many of the people were all right but the next speaker was a young preacher and he lit up the masses. I askes who was he and I was told that he was going to lift our race up in a few more years. Enjoy!

Remember – “We are tired. We are tired of being beaten by policemen. We are tired of seeing our people locked up in jail over and over again. And then you holler, ‘Be patient.’ How long can we be patient? We want our freedom and we want it now.” – Rep. John Lewis, then 23-year-old chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

Today in our History = August 28,1963 – 100,000, blacks are at the mall in D.C. to listen to many people give speaches.

The March on Washington was a massive protest march that occurred in August 1963, when some 250,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Also known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the event aimed to draw attention to continuing challenges and inequalities faced by African Americans a century after emancipation. It was also the occasion of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s now-iconic “I Have A Dream” speech.

In 1941, A. Philip Randolph, head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and an elder statesman of the civil rights movement, had planned a mass march on Washington to protest blacks’ exclusion from World War II defense jobs and New Deal programs.

But a day before the event, President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with Randolph and agreed to issue an executive order forbidding discrimination against workers in defense industries and government and establishing the Fair Employment Practice Committee (FEPC) to investigate charges of racial discrimination. In return, Randolph called off the planned march.

In the mid-1940s, Congress cut off funding to the FEPC, and it dissolved in 1946; it would be another 20 years before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was formed to take on some of the same issues.

Meanwhile, with the rise of the charismatic young civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. in the mid-1950s, Randolph proposed another mass march on Washington in 1957, hoping to capitalize on King’s appeal and harness the organizing power of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

In May 1957, nearly 25,000 demonstrators gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the third anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education ruling, and urge the federal government to follow through on its decision in the trial.

In 1963, in the wake of violent attacks on civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, Alabama, momentum built for another mass protest on the nation’s capital.

With Randolph planning a march for jobs, and King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) planning one for freedom, the two groups decided to merge their efforts into one mass protest.

That spring, Randolph and his chief aide, Bayard Rustin, planned a march that would call for fair treatment and equal opportunity for black Americans, as well as advocate for passage of the Civil Rights Act (then stalled in Congress).

President John F. Kennedy met with civil rights leaders before the march, voicing his fears that the event would end in violence. In the meeting on June 22, Kennedy told the organizers that the march was perhaps “ill-timed,” as “We want success in the Congress, not just a big show at the Capitol.”

Randolph, King and the other leaders insisted the march should go forward, with King telling the president: “Frankly, I have never engaged in any direct-action movement which did not seem ill-timed.”

JFK ended up reluctantly endorsing the March on Washington, but tasked his brother and attorney general, Robert F. Kennedy, with coordinating with the organizers to ensure all security precautions were taken. In addition, the civil rights leaders decided to end the march at the Lincoln Memorial instead of the Capitol, so as not to make members of Congress feel as if they were under siege.

Officially called the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the historic gathering took place on August 28, 1963. Some 250,000 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial, and more than 3,000 members of the press covered the event.

Fittingly, Randolph led off the day’s diverse array of speakers, closing his speech with the promise that “We here today are only the first wave. When we leave, it will be to carry the civil rights revolution home with us into every nook and cranny of the land, and we shall return again and again to Washington in ever growing numbers until total freedom is ours.”

Other speakers followed, including Rustin, NAACP president Roy Wilkins, John Lewis of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), civil rights veteran Daisy Lee Bates and actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. The march also featured musical performances from the likes of Marian Anderson, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and Mahalia Jackson.

King agreed to speak last, as all the other presenters wanted to speak earlier, figuring news crews would head out by mid-afternoon. Though his speech was scheduled to be four minutes long, he ended up speaking for 16 minutes, in what would become one of the most famous orations of the civil rights movement—and of human history.

Though it has become known as the “I Have a Dream” speech, the famous line wasn’t actually part of King’s planned remarks that day. After leading into King’s speech with the classic spiritual “I’ve Been ‘Buked, and I’ve Been Scorned,” gospel star Mahalia Jackson stood behind the civil rights leader on the podium.

At one point during his speech, she called out to him, “Tell ‘em about the dream, Martin, tell ‘em about the dream!” referring to a familiar theme he had referenced in earlier speeches.

Departing from his prepared notes, King then launched into the most famous part of his speech that day: “And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.” From there, he built to his dramatic ending, in which he announced the tolling of the bells of freedom from one end of the country to the other.

“And when this happens…we will be able to speed up that day when all God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’” Research more about this march for jobs and how we as a people endored, SARE WITH YOUR BABIES AND MAKE IT A CHAMPION DAY!