Category: 2000 & Later

July 14 2014- Alice Coachmen

GM – FBF – Today, I want to share with you one of the saddest sports stories in Track and Field that I have ever heard. I thought that sprinter Jesse Owens racing a horse at Monmouth, NJ Racetrack and other tracks around the states just to feed his family was sad but go anyplace and people will tell you Wilma Rudolph was the first black woman to win a medal — it’s not true, Rudolph’s three gold medals in the sprints at the Rome Olympics in 1960, was 12 years later than Coachman but Rudolph was on television. Alice Coachman was not. Enjoy!

Remember – “I had accomplished what I wanted to do, It was time for me to start looking for a husband. That was the climax. I won the gold medal. I proved to my mother, my father, my coach and everybody else that I had gone to the end of my rope.” – Alice Coachman


Alice Coachman became the first African American woman from any country to win an Olympic Gold Medal when she competed at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, UK.

Born November 9, 1923, in Albany, Georgia, to Evelyn and Fred Coachman, Alice was the fifth of ten children. As an athletic child of the Jim Crow South, who was denied access to regular training facilities, Coachman trained by running on dirt roads and creating her own hurdles to practice jumping.
Even though Alice Coachman parents did not support her interest in athletics, she was encouraged by Cora Bailey, her fifth grade teacher at Monroe Street Elementary School, and her aunt, Carrie Spry, to develop her talents.

After demonstrating her skills on the track at Madison High School, Tuskegee Institute offered sixteen-year-old Coachman a scholarship to attend its high school program. She competed on and against all-black teams throughout the segregated South.

In 1943, Coachman entered the Tuskegee Institute college division to study dressmaking. She played on the basketball team and ran track-and-field, where she won four national championships for events in sprinting and high jumping. Coachman completed a degree in dressmaking in 1946. In 1947, Coachman enrolled in Albany State College (now University) to continue her education. Coachman completed a B.S. degree in Home Economics with a minor in science at Albany State College in 1949 and became teacher and track-and-field instructor.

During World War II, the Olympic committee cancelled the 1940 and 1944 games. Alice Coachman’s first Olympic opportunity came in 1948 in London, when she was twenty-four. On August 8, 1948, Alice Coachman leapt 5 feet 6 1/8 inches to set a new Olympic record and win a gold medal for the high jump.

Coachman (who was later known as Alice Coachman Davis) received her medal from King George VI. She was invited aboard a British Royal yacht, she was congratulated by President Harry S. Truman at the White House, and Count Basie gave a party for her. She was lauded in a motorcade that wound its way through Georgia from Atlanta to her hometown, Albany.

But she had returned to a segregated South. Blacks and whites were seated separately in the Albany city auditorium when she was honored there. The mayor sat on the stage with her but would not shake her hand, and she had to leave by a side door.

As a youngster in Albany, she had run and jumped barefoot, using ropes and sticks for makeshift high jumps. She had not been allowed to train at athletic fields with whites.

“You had to run up and down the red roads and the dirt roads,” Coachman told The Kansas City Star. “You went out there in the fields, where there was a lot of grass and no track. No nothing.”

At a time when there were few high-profile black athletes beyond Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis, Coachman became a pioneer. She led the way for female African-American Olympic track stars like Wilma Rudolph, Evelyn Ashford, Florence Griffith Joyner and Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

“I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” she told The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the Games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps. It encouraged the rest of the women to work harder and fight harder.”

During her career, she won thirty-four national titles, ten for the high jump in consecutive years. Alice Coachman was inducted into nine halls of fame including the National Track-and-Field Hall of Fame (1975) and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame (2004). Coachman became the first black woman to endorse an international product when Coca-Cola signed her as a spokesperson in 1952.

Coachman married Frank A. Davis and is the mother of two children. She taught for the later part of her life at South Carolina State College, Albany State University and the Job Corps. The Alice Coachman Elementary School in Albany, Georgia is named in her honor.

In 1994, she founded the Alice Coachman Track and Field Foundation to provide assistance to young athletes and former Olympic competitors. Coachman died in Albany, Georgia on July 14, 2014. She was 90.

Albany is located in Southwest Georgia closer to the Florida border and further away from the capitol city of Atlanta, GA where Dr. Martin L. King – Lost “The Albany Movement ” a desegregation campaign formed on November 17, 1961. Almost all of Albany’s public facilities remained segregated after King’s departure, making the Albany Movement one of the few failures among the 1960s civil rights campaigns. Research more about black female track athletes and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

July 11 2000- Vashti Murphy McKenzie

GM – FBF – Today, I want to tell you about a great American who was the first female bishop of the AME Church. Enjoy!

Remember – ” Doing God’s work and lifting people up is the way I show Love. – Vashti Murphy McKenzie

Today in our History – On July 11, 2000, journalist and clergywoman Vashti Murphy McKenzie became the first female bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. In 2005 she became the denomination’s first woman to serve as Titular Head. Her commitment to community development is evident in her work with urban American cities as well as in AIDS-stricken Africa.

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie was born on May 28, 1947 into a prominent Baltimore, Maryland family. Her great-grandfather John Henry Murphy, Sr. founded the Afro-American Newspaper in 1892, and her grandmother Vashti Turly Murphy was a founding member of Delta Sigma Theta, an African American college sorority. Bishop McKenzie graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland in 1978. She later earned a master’s of divinity from Howard University and a doctor of ministry from United Theological Seminary.

Bishop McKenzie began her career in journalism, working as a radio and television broadcaster and newspaper reporter before pursuing studies in divinity. After being ordained in 1984, she served as pastor for small congregations before being assigned in 1990 to the Payne Memorial AME Church in Baltimore’s inner city. Under her direction, the congregation grew from 300 to 1,700 members. She initiated community development projects including job service programs and a senior care center. Ten years later, at its annual convention in Cincinnati, the AME Church elected her to be its first female bishop, presiding over the 18th Episcopal District in southeast Africa. In that capacity she was responsible for several congregations in Africa comprised of nearly 10,000 people. Her project initiatives again centered on community development, encouraging entrepreneurial business programs and building mission housing. She also expanded services to homeless children and those infected with HIV/AIDS.

In 2005 she became the first woman to serve as Titular Head of the AME Church, overseeing the Council of Bishops as its president. She currently presides over the 13th Episcopal District.

She is the author of three books and is married to Stan McKenzie, a former professional basketball player who now works alongside of his wife as Episcopal Supervisor in her district. They have three children. McKenzie, Vashti. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

July 9 2018- James Baskett

GM – FBF – Today, I would like to remind you that in Hollywood, actors of color over the last 25 years have been winning a lot more Academy Awards. Do you know who was the first Black Man to receive one? Enjoy!

Remember – ” Many people of my my race called me all kinds of bad names for the work that I was doing in Hollywood. That hurts because I only wanted to act and find/keep work. – James Baskett

Today in our History – July 9, 2018 –

James Baskett, the first male African American to win an Academy Award, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on February 16, 1904. After high school Baskett planned to study pharmacy, but after he was offered a small part in a show in Chicago, Illinois his career path was forever changed. Baskett continued to take small roles in Chicago plays for a time, but later he went to New York City, New York and joined the Lafayette Players Stock Company, where he stayed for many years.

Baskett first appeared on film in a feature role in Harlem is Heaven, and continued on in such films as Policy Man and Straight to Heaven. Baskett was not confined to film and theater; he also played Gabby Gibson, a slick-talking lawyer on the popular radio program Amos ‘n’ Andy.

Baskett is best remembered for his portrayal of Uncle Remus in Disney’s 1946 picture Song of the South. Baskett had actually only tested earlier for a minor role, but Disney remembered him and he was asked play as Uncle Remus. In 1947, after some lobbying by popular Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper, Baskett was awarded a special Academy Award “for his able and heartwarming characterization of Uncle Remus, friend and storyteller to the children of the world.” Yet, although the film was praised by the academy, Baskett and Disney both met with heavy criticism from many in the African American community who felt that the film was rife with racist undertones and that it encouraged harmful stereotypes. The debate over Song of the South continues, and due to this Disney has refused to release the film on home video in the United States. James Baskett passed away on July 9, 1948. Research more about Black Actors and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 30 2010- Recy Corbitt Taylor

GM – FBF – Today, I want to share a story with you, Recy Corbitt Taylor was a 24-year-old sharecropper who was gang-raped in September 1944 in Abbeville, Alabama. Her attackers were local white teenagers who were never indicted, despite the efforts of Rosa Parks (then an investigator for the NAACP), a nationwide campaign that brought attention to this miscarriage of justice and even a confession from one assailant. The case received renewed public attention with a 2010 book, a 2017 documentary and when Taylor was mentioned by Oprah Winfrey during her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2018 Golden Globes. The movie comes on your stations next week July 2nd. Please watch and share with your babies.

Remember – “The people who done this to me … they can’t do no apologizing. Most of them is gone.” – Recy Taylor

Today in our History – June 30, 2010 – Taylor’s case, despite the involvement of Rosa Parks and the NAACP, faded from public attention as the 1940s progressed. But with the publication of At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance — a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power (June 30, 2010), historian Danielle L. McGuire brought fresh attention to Taylor’s ordeal. McGuire was able to unearth primary documents and linked activist work on Taylor’s case to the Civil Rights Movement.

Director Nancy Buirski read McGuire’s book, which inspired her to make the documentary The Rape of Recy Taylor (2017). The movie contains interviews with Taylor, her brother and sister, as well as talks with family members of the accused rapists, to shine a light on both the attack and what caused such a miscarriage of justice.

Taylor’s attack began on the night of September 3, 1944, as she was walking home from a church revival meeting with two companions. A car that had been following the threesome stopped, and the occupants — seven white teenagers armed with guns and knives — accused Taylor of an attack that had taken place earlier in the day. Held at gunpoint, Taylor had no choice but to get into the car.

Instead of taking her to the police station, as they’d said, the teens took Taylor to a secluded area. Though she begged for mercy, they forced her to undress, and at least six raped her for several hours (one kidnapper would later say he did not participate in the sexual assault because he knew Taylor). Taylor said they threatened to kill her if she spoke out about what had happened before leaving her blindfolded at the side of a lonely road.

Taylor’s father, who’d been informed of the abduction, found her making her way home. Despite the warning, Taylor related details of the attack to her father, husband and the sheriff. She couldn’t name her rapists, but told the sheriff the car she’d been in was a green Chevrolet; he recognized the vehicle and brought Hugo Wilson to Taylor, who identified him as one of her assailants.

Wilson named the others who’d been with him: Herbert Lovett, Dillard York, Luther Lee, Willie Joe Culpepper, Robert Gamble and Billy Howerton (Howerton was the one who said he didn’t take part in the rape). However, Wilson also claimed that they had paid Taylor to have sex. (Though Taylor was known to be a diligent worker and dedicated churchgoer, the sheriff and others would eventually make false claims that Taylor had been jailed and had a history of venereal disease.)

Taylor’s house was soon firebombed, so she, her husband and daughter had to move in with her father and younger siblings. To protect his family, Taylor’s father maintained an armed vigil at night and slept during the day.

Rosa Parks (a victim of attempted rape herself who documented such crimes against black women) came from the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP to talk with Taylor. The official investigation didn’t even include a lineup for Taylor to try to identify her attackers. The grand jury met in early October, but only Taylor and her associates testified, and no indictments were issued.

Parks and other activists formed the “Committee for Equal Justice for Mrs. Recy Taylor” to bring attention to the case. There were committee branches in multiple states, and well-known people such as W.E.B. DuBois, Mary Church Terrell and Langston Hughes got involved. Alabama Governor Chauncey Sparks received numerous telegrams, postcards and petitions calling for justice.

An article in the Chicago Defender highlighted how Taylor and her husband had been offered money to “forget” the rape. And some writers drew attention to the fact that America was fighting fascism abroad during World War II while taking no steps to ensure that every citizen at home would be treated fairly and equally under the law.

Governor Sparks did order a private investigation; Willie Joe Culpepper even corroborated Taylor’s version of her ordeal, admitting, “She was crying and asking us to let her go home to her husband and baby.” Yet a second grand jury still failed to provide indictments in February 1945 (like the first, the members were all white and male, and some had family connections to the accused).

Sadly, after Taylor’s attack there was a consistent supply of new crimes — from black women who were sexually assaulted to black men lynched following unfounded accusations of sexual crimes — to draw activist attention, and her case faded from public view.

With help from Rosa Parks, Taylor spent a few months in Montgomery before returning to an area filled with people who’d contributed to her case passing without justice. Taylor ended up moving to Florida in 1965, where she found work picking oranges. She remained in Florida until her health worsened and relatives brought her back to Abbeville.

Through the years, the memory of her assault lingered for Taylor. But she was thankful she hadn’t been killed, telling NPR’s Michel Martin in 2011, “They was talking about killing me … but the Lord is just with me that night.”
Recy Corbitt Taylor (1919-2017). Make it a champion day!

May 1 2014- Janet Emerson Bashen

GM – FBF – We have made it to another new month and I have been blessed to bring you every day reminders and people that you have not heard about. Today we examine a strong black woman.

Remember – ” Our black women can do anything in life as they want. You must have a vision and go for it everyday” – Janet Emerson Bashen

Today in our History – May 1, 2014 – Woman Inventor elected to the Black Inventor’s Hall of Fame.

Janet Emerson Bashen is the founder and CEO of the Bashen Corporation, a private consulting group that investigates Equal Employment Opportunity complaints under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. She is the first African American woman in the United States to hold a software patent.

Born Janet Emerson in Mansfield, Ohio on February 12, 1957, Bashen grew up in a working class family. Early in her childhood, her family moved to Huntsville, Alabama, where her father worked as a garbage collector and her mother was the city’s first black woman emergency room nurse.

Bashen attended Alabama A&M until she married and relocated to Houston, Texas. She finished her degree in legal studies and government at the University of Houston and then continued her education at Rice University’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Administration. She also attended Harvard University’s “Women and Power: Leadership in a New World.”

Working in the insurance industry after graduation, Bashen called for the creation of third-party teams to investigate Equal Employment Opportunity claims as they arose in her company’s workplace. She argued that third party investigators would be less subject to influence from either side in complaints. Her CEO did not listen but with encouragement from officials at the National Urban League, Bashen in 1994, borrowed $5,000 from her mother to start her own EEO complaints management business from her dining room table.

The new Bashen Corporation specialized in investigating complaints made to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Companies brought in the Bashen Corporation in as a third-party fact-finder if employees complained of discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The Bashen Corporation then worked with the company’s human resource departments to remedy the situation through education, mediation, or policy changes which often avoided lengthy and costly discrimination trials. Within the first five years of the company’s history, Bashen herself oversaw EEO investigations at Flagstar Corporation, Compaq Computers, Goodyear Tires, and General Motors.

As her company grew, Bashen faced a new problem: storing and retrieving information related to Equal Employment Opportunity cases. In 2001, she worked with her cousin, Donny Moore, a computer scientist from Tufts University, to develop software that could securely store information about her cases. She also used the Internet to make public information about the cases available to employers and employees at multiple worksites.

Bashen filed a patent for LinkLine in 2001, and when that patent was approved in 2006, she became the first African American woman in the U.S. to hold a software patent. The Bashen corporation has since developed several other software programs to facilitate corporate adherence to Title VII including AAPLink Affirmative Action Software which helps institutions manage their affirmative action cases; 1-800Intake which serves as a hotline for discrimination reporting for smaller companies; and EEOFedSoft which facilitates EEO complaints and manages case files within government agencies.

Janet Bashen and her business have received multiple awards, including the 2003 Pinnacle Award from the Houston Chamber of Commerce, the 2004 Crystal Award from the National Association of Negro Women in Business, and recognition from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for LinkLine at the World Festival of Black Arts and Culture in Dakar, Senegal in 2010. In 2014, Bashen was elected to the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard’s Kennedy School. She is also a member of the Black Inventor’s Hall of Fame. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

April 25, 2013- Gabourey Sidibe

GM – FBF – The third (3) day of executive meetings and it’s hump day, thanks for bearing with me this week. I still can’t respond to any post but I thank you for stopping by. Today we have a younf black actress who took America by surprise. Make it a champion day!

Remember – “I think people look at me and don’t expect much. Even though, I expect a whole lot.” – Gabourey Sidibe

Today in our History – April 25, 2013 – Gabourey Sidibe, joins cast of American Horror Story.

Gabourey Sidibe, born (May 6, 1983) is an American actress. Sidibe made her acting debut in the 2009 film Precious, a role that earned her the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead in addition to nominations for the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Actress. Her other film roles include Tower Heist (2011), White Bird in a Blizzard (2014), and Grimsby (2016).

From 2010 to 2013, she was a main cast member of the Showtime series The Big C. Sidibe co-starred on the television series American Horror Story: Coven as Queenie and American Horror Story: Freak Show as Regina Ross, and later reprised her role as Queenie in American Horror Story: Hotel. Since 2015, she stars in the Fox musical drama series Empire as Becky Williams.

Sidibe was born in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York, and was raised in Harlem. Her mother, Alice Tan Ridley, is an American R&B and gospel singer who appeared on the fifth season of America’s Got Talent, on June 15, 2010. Her father, Ibnou Sidibe, is from Senegal and is a cab driver. Growing up, Sidibe lived with her aunt, the noted feminist activist Dorothy Pitman Hughes. She holds an associate’s degree from Borough of Manhattan Community College, and attended but did not graduate from City College of New York and Mercy College. She worked at The Fresh Air Fund’s office as a receptionist before she went on to pursue a career in acting.

In Precious, Sidibe played the main character, Claireece “Precious” Jones, a 16-year-old mother of two (both of whom are the results of being raped by her father) trying to escape abuse at the hands of her mother. The film won numerous awards, including two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Award. On December 15, 2009, she was nominated for a Golden Globe in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for her performance in Precious. The next month she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

Her next film, Yelling to the Sky, was a Sundance Lab project directed by Victoria Mahoney and starring Zoe Kravitz, in which she played Latonya Williams, a bully. In 2011, Sidibe was in the film Tower Heist and voiced a “party girl” character in “Hot Water”, the season 7 premiere of American Dad!. She appeared in the season 8 American Dad! episode “Stanny Tendergrass” early in 2013 and also stars in the music video for “Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls)” by indie pop band Foster the People. Sidibe also appeared in the Showtime network series entitled The Big C as Andrea Jackson.

During an interview, Sidibe reported that before landing her role in the 2009 film, Precious, Joan Cusack advised her that the entertainment industry was not for her and to quit, leaning over and stating: “Oh honey, you should really quit the business. It’s so image-conscious.”

On April 25, 2013, it was announced that Sidibe would be joining the cast of the third season of American Horror Story, portraying Queenie, a young witch. She returned to the series for its fourth season, American Horror Story: Freak Show as a secretarial school student, Regina Ross. As of 2015, she stars in Lee Daniels Fox musical series Empire as Becky Williams alongside Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson. Sidibe portrays the head of A&R in the Empire company. In April 2015, it was announced Sidibe would be promoted to a series regular beginning in Season 2. She also starred in the Hulu series Difficult People as Denise.

On June 3, 2015 it was confirmed Sidibe would be writing her memoir and it would be published in 2017. On January 6, 2016, Sidibe appeared in the penultimate episode for American Horror Story: Hotel, reprising her Coven role as Queenie, marking her third season in the series.

She announced on Twitter in January 2018 that she will be taking time off from acting the entire year to recover from having her tonsils removed. In March 2017, Sidibe revealed that she has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and that as a consequence she underwent laparoscopic bariatric surgery in an effort to manage her weight. Research more about this American actress or watch one of her productions with your babies on video. Make it a champion day!

April 20, 2014-Rubin Carter

GM – FBF – Today is Earth Day and I will be speaking at Georgia Tech University in downtown Atlanta and won’t be able to respond to any posts. Make it a champion day!

Remember – “You can gain reconciliation from your enemies, but you can only gain peace from yourself.” – Rubin Carter

Today in our History – April 20, 2014 – “The Hurricane” Dies

Rubin Carter was an American middleweight boxer, who is best known not because of his sports career but because of his murder conviction in 1967 and exoneration in 1985. Carter, born in Clifton, New Jersey on May 6, 1937, the fourth of seven children. Shortly after his fourteenth birthday, he was sentenced to a juvenile reformatory for assault and robbery. Carter was a 5-foot 8-inch, 160-pound boxer who got his start fighting after he enlisted in the U.S. Army. After leaving the army, he fought in the amateur circuit, knocking out thirty-six opponents and eventually working his way into the professional ranks in 1961. Because of his rapid boxing style, he was given the nickname “the Hurricane.”

Carter’s middleweight title shot came in 1964 when he faced defending champion Joey Giardello in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The fight went fifteen rounds, and Carter lost on a split decision. Carter continued boxing and was training for his second title bout with the new champ, Dick Tiger, when he and his friend, John Artis, were arrested in 1966 and charged with murdering three white people during a robbery in Paterson, New Jersey. Although the two key prosecution witnesses were felons who had been recently released from prison, an all-white jury convicted Carter and Artis on May 27, 1967.

Nearly eight years later, in 1975, after the two key witnesses recanted their testimony, blaming the police for pressuring them into testifying, and new information surfaced about the robbery. Carter and Artis appealed their convictions. A new trial was granted, but on December 22, 1976, both Carter and Artis were once again convicted of murder.

Despite being twice convicted, Carter continued to claim his innocence and work for his release. With the help of new attorneys, in 1985, he petitioned to have his conviction overturned. U.S. District Court Judge Haddon Lee Sarokin granted his petition, stating that the two previous convictions, “were based upon an appeal to racism rather than reason, and concealment rather than disclosure.”

After his release, Carter became an activist for the writ of habeas corpus—the process that allows incarcerated individuals a chance to argue the legitimacy of their conviction in front of a judge. Carter became a motivational speaker who often described to his audiences the various events and the legal process that led to his freedom. He also worked with a number of groups that support wrongly imprisoned individuals. In 1999, the movie The Hurricane was released about Carter’s life, with Denzel Washington playing the embattled boxer. Although some critics challenged portions of the film’s historical accuracy, it nevertheless brought attention to Carter and his long fight for freedom and to others who have been wrongly convicted.

In 1993, Carter moved to Toronto, Ontario and became a Canadian citizen. While there, he was executive director of the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted (ADWC). In 1996, he received the Abolition Award from the organization Death Penalty Focus, and in 2005, he received honorary Doctor of Law degrees from York University in Toronto and Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. In March 2012, Carter revealed that he had terminal prostate cancer. He died in Toronto on April 20, 2014, at age seventy-six. Research more about this great American or watch his movie and share with your babies. Today is earth day and I will be speaking at Georgia Tech University in downtown Atlanta and won’t be able to respond to any posts. Make it a champion day!

March 31, 2002- Bessie Stringfield

GM – FBF – I would like to thank everyone who visited my daily posts during Woman’s History Month, just like Black History month there is not enough time to tell all of the great stories that women have and still do everyday. We now will travel into the Month of April telling and reminding all that our history is 365 – 24/7 and I will share individuals and organizations that school books have left out and please share with our babies. PEACE!

Remember – ” I can ride and do as many stunts with a motor bike as any man but I am still proud to be a woman” – Bessie Stringfield

Today in our History – March 31, 2002 Bessie Stringfield was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

Bessie Stringfield (February 9, 1911 – February 16, 1993), nicknamed “The Motorcycle Queen of Miami”, was the first African-American woman to ride across the United States solo, and during World War II she served as one of the few motorcycle despatch riders for the United States military.

Credited with breaking down barriers for both women and Jamaican-American motorcyclists, Stringfield was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. the award bestowed by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) for “Superior Achievement by a Female Motorcyclist” is named in her honor.
Stringfield was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1911 to a black Jamaican father and a white Dutch mother. The family migrated to Boston when she was still young. Her parents died when Stringfield was five and she was adopted and raised by an Irish woman.

At the age of 16 Stringfield taught herself to ride her first motorcycle, a 1928 Indian Scout. In 1930, at the age of 19, she commenced traveling across the United States. She made seven more long-distance trips in the US, and eventually rode through the 48 lower states, Europe, Brazil and Haiti. During this time, she earned money from performing motorcycle stunts in carnival shows. Due to her skin color, Stringfield was often denied accommodation while traveling, so she would sleep on her motorcycle at filling stations. Due to her sex, she was refused prizes in flat track races she entered.

During WWII Stringfield served as a civilian courier for the US Army, carrying documents between domestic army bases. She completed the rigorous training and rode her own blue 61 cubic inch Harley-Davidson. During the four years she worked for the Army, she crossed the United States eight times. She regularly encountered racism during this time, reportedly being deliberately knocked down by a white male in a pickup truck while traveling in the South.

In the 1950s Stringfield moved to Miami, Florida, where at first she was told “nigger women are not allowed to ride motorcycles” by the local police. After repeatedly being pulled over and harassed by officers, she visited the police captain. They went to a nearby park to prove her riding abilities. She gained the captain’s approval to ride and didn’t have any more trouble with the police.

She qualified as a nurse there and founded the Iron Horse Motorcycle Club. Her skill and antics at motorcycle shows gained the attention of the local press, leading to the nickname of “The Negro Motorcycle Queen”. This nickname later changed to “The Motorcycle Queen of Miami”, a moniker she carried for the remainder of her life. In 1990 the AMA paid tribute to her in their inaugural “Heroes of Harley-Davidson” exhibition she having owned 27 of their motorcycles. Stringfield died in 1993 at the age of 82 from a heart condition, having kept riding right up until the time of her death.

In 2000 the AMA created the “Bessie Stringfield Memorial Award” to recognize outstanding achievement by a female motorcyclist. Stringfield was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2002. She married and divorced six times, losing three babies with her first husband. She ended up keeping the last name of her third husband, Arthur Stringfield, since she had made it famous. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

April 27, 2009- Donna Edwards

GM – FBF – Last day of executive meetings and tomorrow I can start responding to your words about the posts. Today, we remember a brave black women who protested something she felt was wrong. Enjoy!

Remember -“Power is getting things done without having to demonstrate that you can bulldoze it through. I’m most effective when I’ve studied an issue, when I can make a credible argument, and then bring people along.” -( U.S. Congresswoman 4th District MD. – Donna Edwards)

Today in our History – April 27, 2009 – Donna Edwards Aressted.

Donna Edwards is a Democratic member of U.S. House of Representatives, representing the 4th Congressional District of Maryland since 2008. Early in 2009 she was among a group of U.S. Congress members who were handcuffed and arrested while protesting the expulsion of aid groups from Darfur in front of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Edwards earned her BA from Wake Forest University where she was one of six African American women in her class. She later earned a JD from Franklin Pierce Law Center in New Hampshire. Prior to her political career, she worked as a systems engineer with the Spacelab program at Lockheed Corporation’s Goddard Space Flight Center. During the 1980s, Edwards worked as a clerk for then district judge Albert Wynn when he served in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Edwards also was involved in numerous community organizations prior to entering political office. She co-founded, chaired, and served as the first executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, a legal support and advocacy group for battered women. She was instrumental in helping to pass the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. Edwards also headed the Center for a New Democracy and was a lobbyist for the nonprofit Public Citizen organization. Edwards participates on numerous nonprofit boards including Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Common Cause, and the League of Conservation Voters. Since 2000, she has served as executive director of the Arca Foundation.

After a controversial Democratic primary loss to Rep. Albert Wynn in 2006 in which there were substantial problems with the voting process, she defeated Wynn in the primary in 2008. Later that year, she filled the congressional seat after winning a special election when Wynn resigned mid-term. She serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Science and Technology Committee, and the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.

On April 27, 2009, Edwards was arrested outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington D.C., during a protest against genocide in Darfur. She and four other members of Congress were protesting the blocking of aid to victims.

April 21, 1985- Sherian Grace Cadoria

GM- FBF – “Deal with yourself as an individual worthy of respect, and make everyone else deal with you the same way.” – Nikki Giovanni

Remember – “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” – Lena Horne

Today in our History – April 21,1985 – The first Black Woman Brigadier General. Brigadier General Sherian Grace Cadoria was born January 26, 1943 in Marksville, Louisiana. A retired United States Army officer and the first African American female to achieve the rank of General in the Army, Cadoria was also the highest-ranking female in the army at the time of her retirement. After a distinguished 29-year military career, Cadoria retired as Brigadier General in 1990.

Majoring in Business Education, Cadoria attended Southern University Baton Rouge, and was selected by the Women’s Army Corps to represent the university at the College Junior program in her junior year. Cadoria spent four weeks at Fort McClellan in Alabama in the summer of 1960, experiencing firsthand the life of an enlisted soldier. Following her studies at SU, she enlisted and received her commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Women’s Army Corps.

When training in Fort McClellan, Cadoria encountered the first of her many obstacles due to her gender and race. In an interview with Essence Magazine in April of 1990, she recalled, “When I started in the Army in 1961, there were jobs a black, by unwritten code, could not do.” said Cadoria. “I can never foget that the coveted position of Platoon Leader… was denied me because a black could not carry out all the duties the job entailed. Specifically, in Anniston, Alabama, a black could not take the troops off the installation because of Jim Crow laws.” Cadoria finished.

On April 21,1985, Cadoria was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General, and later became the first black female director of Joint Chiefs of Staff. Regarding her status as a black female in what was a predominantly white male community, Cadoria was quoted saying, “I’ve gotten more pressure from being female in a man’s world, than from being black. I was always a role model. I had responsibility not just for black women, but black men as well.”

Cadoria has been recognized as one of the Top 10 Black Business and Professional Women, and has received the NAACP’s Roy Wilkens Meritorious Service Award and the National Athena Award. On November 11, 2002, she became the first woman and the first African American inducted into the Louisiana Veterans Hall of Honor. Additionally, Cadoria is a member of the Louisiana Black History Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame. Research more about black woman in the milatrary and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!