GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion is an American lawyer and corporate executive. She first came into public prominence while serving as deputy White House Counsel for President Bill Clinton, whom she defended during his 1999 impeachment trial.She has worked for New York University as Senior Vice President, served as Senior Adviser and Counsel for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, and is considered a member of Hillary Clinton’s group of core advisers, self-designated as “Hillaryland”. She served as Counselor and Chief of Staff to Hillary Clinton during her whole tenure as United States Secretary of State. After leaving the State Department in January, 2013, she founded BlackIvy Group, which builds businesses in Africa. On September 3, 2015, she testified before the House Select Committee on Benghazi regarding her and former Secretary Clinton’s actions and role during the 2012 Benghazi attack, although the fact that she no longer held a security clearance may have limited the scope of the committee’s questioning.Today in our History – January 20, 1999 – Cheryl Mills, White House Deputy Counsel, becomes the first Black to argue a case before a U.S. Senate Impeachment hearing in the case of President William J. Clinton.Mills is the daughter of a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and grew up on Army posts all over the world, including Belgium, West Germany, and the U.S. She attended Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland. Mills received her B.A. from the University of Virginia in 1987, where she was Phi Beta Kappa, and her J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1990, where she was elected to Stanford Law Review. She worked as an associate at the Washington law firm of Hogan & Hartson. While there, she represented school districts seeking to achieve racial integration per Brown v. Board of Education. After serving as Deputy General Counsel of the Clinton/Gore Transition Planning Foundation after Clinton’s 1992 election, she served as Associate Counsel to the President in the White House from 1993 on. Until the impeachment, she was little known to the public, although she did rise to public attention when a burglar reportedly broke into her car and stole documents relating to the handling of the late Vincent Foster’s papers related to the Whitewater controversy, as well as the 1993 federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. During the impeachment trial, the BBC reported that she was “widely regarded as the shining star of the defense team, and gave an effective presentation on President Clinton’s behalf on the second day of defense arguments.” Other media outlets also viewed her work quite favorably.Her presentation to the Senate focused on refuting the obstruction of justice charge and the House Managers’ claim that failure to convict the President would damage the rule of law. Her summation became known for its endorsement of Clinton’s record with respect towards women and minorities; she said, “I stand here before you today because President Bill Clinton believed I could stand here for him … I’m not worried about civil rights, because this President’s record on civil rights, on women’s rights, on all of our rights is unimpeachable.” After Clinton was acquitted, Mills was offered the White House Counsel position when Charles Ruff stepped down, but she declined. After leaving the Clinton administration, Mills took a break from the practice of law. From 1999 to 2001, she served as Senior Vice President for Corporate Policy and Public Programming at Oxygen Media. By 2002, she was working for New York University (NYU). While at NYU, she played a central role in the university administration’s efforts around union contracts with adjunct faculty and graduate students.The Washington Post reported in October 2015 that, during Mills’ first four months at the State Department, she continued to work at NYU on a part-time basis, negotiating with officials in Abu Dhabi to build a campus in the United Arab Emirates city.She worked for no pay in those first months at the State Department, and was officially designated as a “temporary expert-consultant”, which allowed her to continue receiving outside income while serving as Clinton’s Chief of Staff. On her financial disclosure forms, she reported $198,000 in income from NYU in 2009, during the period her university work overlapped with her time at the State Department, and that she collected an additional $330,000 in vacation and severance payments when she left the university’s payroll in May 2009.Additionally, Mills remained on the Clinton Foundation’s unpaid board for a short time after joining the State Department. Another Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, spent her final six months employed as Clinton’s deputy chief of staff in 2012, while also simultaneously employed by the Clinton Foundation.As has Abedin’s, Mills’ employment arrangement has raised questions regarding potential conflicts of interest, in Mills’ case about how one of the State Department’s top employees set boundaries between her public role and a private job that involved work on a project funded by a foreign government. Under Federal ethics laws, employees are prohibited from participating in matters that would have any direct and predictable effect on themselves or an outside employer. Mills told the Washington Post that she did not “recall any issues” at the State Department that would have required her recusing herself, and said she would have consulted with the ethics office if such an issue had come up. Nick Merrill, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, declined to comment. Mills served as the Counselor and Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton beginning in January 2009. In her capacity as Counselor, she was a principal officer who served the Secretary as a special adviser on major foreign policy challenges.As Chief of Staff, Mills managed the Department’s staff, providing support to the Secretary in administering operations of the Department. Several months after her appointment, former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart noted in an interview: “I think Secretary Clinton wants to know you’re a team player, but she wants to hear it straight and she gets exactly that from Cheryl.” In summer 2016, CNN reported on another ethical question pertaining to Mills’ relationship with the Clinton Foundation during her tenure at the State Department: In 2012 Mills had traveled to New York City in order to assist the foundation by conducting interviews in a high-level candidate search.Mills’ attorney emphasized that she had assisted on a strictly volunteer basis, and was not paid for her services or travel; a State Department spokesperson indicated that such an undertaking was not in conflict with federal ethics rules. As an employee of the United States Department of State, Mills was Counselor to the Secretary of State; it is unclear under the Federal Rules of Evidence whether attorney–client privilege applies to these communications in the private and public sectors. Law Professor Patricia Salkin writes inThe Urban Lawyer that “government lawyers would be well advised to caution their government clients, particularly if the client is believed to be an individual public official, about the uncertainty of the privilege for what may be about to be disclosed”. Mills’ attorney raised this protection in May 2016, as Mills was being questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in connection with the investigation of Clinton’s private email server. In 2002, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reiterated that government lawyers may not exercise an attorney-client privilege in an effort to shield information from a grand jury. On June 18, 2018 U.S. Senators posed questions regarding Miss Mills and her colleague Heather Samuelson within the unprecedented relationships between her government duties and her private practice in light of possible scenario of obstruction of justice to Michael Horowitz and Christopher Wray. Horowitz indicated that the decision to delete emails would have been limited to “non-work related” emails. FBI boss Wray said that he could not come up with a scenario concerning a precedent of such relations between “witnesses” or “suspects” in response to Senator Whitehouse. Shortly after taking office Secretary Clinton asked Mills to lead an interagency consultation of current agriculture and food security efforts. The subsequent strategy became (Feed the Future). The Obama administration pledged $3.5 billion over three years to boost agricultural productivity. Describing the importance of food security Mills said, “We are always worried whenever people can’t feed themselves. And particularly worried when that actually might translate to destabilization of a country. It is one of the reasons why this program is such an important one.” Throughout her career, Mills has been active in community service and civic affairs. In 1990, she worked with DCWorks, a non-profit organization that supported the academic and social development of underprivileged high school students of color.She served on the Boards of the See Forever Foundation, National Partnership for Women and Families, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the Center for American Progress, and the William J. Clinton Presidential Library Foundation. In 2010, Mills received UVA’s Distinguished Alumna Award. In the corporate world, Mills served on the board of Cendant Corporation. Mills has spoken about women in the work place and work-life balance. “There weren’t often a lot of models where you could see women at the height of what they were doing and balancing their family,” she told ABC News. “And being able to see her [Clinton] with Chelsea, see what their relationship was like, see when she took the time, all those things helped you to be thoughtful about how to be an effective parent yourself.” On March 26, 2014, Elle magazine honored Mills at the Italian Embassy in the United States during its annual “Women in Washington Power List” celebration. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion event is located in Savannah, Georgia, claims to be derived from the first black Baptist congregation in North America. While it was not officially organized until 1788, it grew from members who founded a congregation in 1773. Its claim of “first” is contested by the Silver Bluff Baptist Church, Aiken County, South Carolina (1773), and the First Baptist Church of Petersburg, Virginia, whose congregation officially organized in 1774. The Church operates a museum which displays memorabilia dating back to the 18th century.Today in our History – January 19, 1788 – First African Baptist Church was founded.First African Baptist Church (FABC) was organized in 1773 under the leadership of Reverend George Leile. The 1773 organization date for the church makes it clear that FABC is older than the United States (1776). In May of 1775 Rev. Leile was ordained as the pastor and December of 1777 the church was officially constituted as a body of organized believers. Four converts Rev. Andrew Bryan, his wife, Hannah Bryan, Kate Hogg, and Hagar Simpson would form a part of the nucleus of First African Baptist Church’s early membership.In 1782, rather than risk reenslavement, Pastor Leile left with the British when Savannah was evacuated and migrated to Jamaica. He became the first American missionary, 30 years before Adoniram Judson left for Burma. He was also the first Baptist missionary in Jamaica.Under the leadership of the 3rd Pastor Reverend Andrew C. Marshall, the congregation obtained the property where the present sanctuary stands. Reverend Marshall also organized the first black Sunday School in North America and changed the name of the church from “First Colored Baptist” to “First African Baptist”. The sanctuary was completed in 1859 under the direction of the 4th Pastor, Reverend William J. Campbell. The light fixtures and baptismal pool are all original to the church. They were installed during the Pastorate of Reverend Emmanuel King Love. The light fixtures were originally gas, but were later converted into electrical.The solid oak pews were installed in the main sanctuary during the early 1900’s under the leadership of the 7th Pastor Reverend James Wesley Carr. The pews located in the balcony are original to the church. These pews were made by enslaved Africans, and are nailed into the floors. On the outside of some of the pews are writings done in a classical West African Arabic script from the 1800s. The pipe organ, also, located in the balcony, was commissioned in 1834 by St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, the local white Catholic church. St. John the Baptist passed the organ on to St. Joseph Catholic Church, the local black Catholic church who eventually donated the organ, presumably in 1888, to First African Baptist Church.The holes in the floor are in the shape of an African prayer symbol known to some as a BaKongo Cosmogram. In parts of Africa, it also means “Flash of the Spirits” and represents birth, life, death, and rebirth. March Haynes, a deacon of the church, enlisted in the Civil War on the Union side and did valiant service. He was active in helping captive Africans to escape to the Union side, where they enjoyed freedom. Deacon Haynes was an unsung hero of the movement of freedom known popularly as the “Underground Railroad”.First African Baptist Church has been a place of leadership and service since its inception. Reverend Emmanuel King Love, 6th Pastor, led the movement to establish Savannah State University, formerly known as Georgia State Industrial College for Colored Youth. Rev. Love also played a big role in the establishment of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA; Paine College in Augusta, GA.Visitors from all walks of life have visited out sanctuary and left inspired including Grammy award-winning artist John Mellencamp, actor and civil rights activist Lou Gossett, Jr., Rev. Dr. Jesse Jackson, former Vice President Al Gore, Debbie Allen, and Wally Amos.Currently, Reverend Thurmond N. Tillman currently serves as the 17th pastor of the church. He was called to serve as pastor in 1982. He serves on many organization boards that help empower the people of Savannah, GA. Our present mission is to Seek God, Shape Lives, and Serve the World.First African Baptist Church is a National Historic Landmark and, as such, is registered with the National Register of Historic Places. Additional historic designations are as follows: Buildings of religious function of the National Register of Historic Places in Georgia (U.S. state); 1850’s churches in Georgia (U.S. state); Built in Georgia (U.S. state) in 1859; and, Churches in the United States built in 1859.Research more about this American Champion building and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was the second son born to William H. Furniss and Mary Elizabeth J. Williams, in Jackson, Mississippi, on January 30, 1874. His family moved to Indianapolis when he was young, and his father became the superintendent of the Special Delivery Department of the Indianapolis Post Office.Today in our History – January 18, 1953 – SUMNER ALEXANDER FURNISS dies.His family moved to Indianapolis when he was young, and his father became the superintendent of the Special Delivery Department of the Indianapolis Post Office. Furniss received his early education in the local city schools and then enrolled in Lincoln University (formerly the Lincoln Institute). Just before his graduation in 1891, Furniss enrolled in the Medical College of Indiana and received his medical degree in 1894, ranking second in a class of fifty-two. Furniss was the only African American. While in medical school, he worked as a clerk for Dr. E. S. Elder, a prominent Indianapolis physician, to pay for his education. On October 26, 1905, he married Lillian Morris, but no children were born to this union.After competing in a rigorous exam given to fourteen selected candidates from across the country, Furniss served as an intern at the Indianapolis City Hospital and became the first African American professional to serve at the hospital. He then opened a general practice that continued for the next fifty years. His brother, Dr. Henry W. Furniss, assisted him in his practice in the early years. In 1909, Furniss founded the first African American hospital in Indianapolis—Lincoln Hospital—where he served as a chief surgeon until its closing in 1915.Rare for black physicians at the time, Furniss held memberships in the American Medical Association, the Indiana State Medical Society, and the Indianapolis Medical Society. He was the state vice-president of the predominantly black National Medical Association. Furniss was also a lifetime member of the Flanner House, an Indianapolis settlement house, and was a charter member of the Senate Avenue YMCA, serving as its first president.Active in politics in the early 1900s, he was an alternate delegate for the 1912 Republican National Convention and frequently served as a member of the Marion County Republican Executive Committee. In 1917, Furniss was elected to a four-year term on the Indianapolis City Council (1917-1921).Furniss was the Sovereign Grand Commander of the United Supreme Council for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry (Prince Hall Affiliation, Northern Jurisdiction, USA Inc.) from 1921 to 1949; A Prince Hall Lodge and a Sickle Cell Research Center bears his name. Additionally, he was a founder of Iota Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and remained active until his death. Sumner Alexander Furniss died on January 18, 1953, at his home in Indianapolis, Indiana. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an American businessman, whaler and abolitionist. Born free into a multiracial family on Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts, he became a successful merchant and sea captain. His mother, Ruth Moses, was a Wampanoag from Harwich, Cape Cod and his father an Ashanti captured as a child in West Africa and sold into slavery in Newport about 1720. In the mid-1740s, his father was manumitted by his Quaker owner, John Slocum. His parents married in 1747 in Dartmouth. After his father died when the youth was thirteen, he and his older brother, John, inherited the family farm (their mother had life rights). They resided there with their mother and three younger sisters. The following year he signed on to the first of three whaling voyages to the West Indies. During the Revolutionary War, he delivered goods to Nantucket by slipping through a British blockade on a small sailboat. After the war, he built a lucrative shipping business along the Atlantic Coast and in other parts of the world. He also built his own ships in a boatyard on the Westport River. In Westport, Massachusetts, he founded the first racially integrated school in the United States.A devout Quaker, he joined the Westport Friends Meeting in 1808. He often spoke at the Sunday services at the Westport Meeting House and also at other Quaker meetings in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1813, he donated half the money for a new meeting house in Westport, and oversaw the construction. The building still survives. Few Americans of color were admitted to the Friends Meeting at that time.He became involved in the British effort to found a colony in Sierra Leone, to which the British had transported more than 1,000 freed slaves originally from America. Some were slaves of American Patriots who had sought refuge and freedom with British during the war. After the British were defeated, they took those freed slaves first to Nova Scotia and London. In 1792 they offered them a chance for a colony of their own in Sierra Leone, where they were resettled.At the urging of leading British abolitionists, in 1810 he sailed to Sierra Leone to learn about conditions for the settlers and whether he could help them. He concluded that efforts should be made to increase the local production of exportable commodities and develop their own shipping capabilities rather than continuing to export freed slaves.He sailed to England to meet with members of The African Institution, who were also leading abolitionists. He offered his recommendations to improve the lives of all the people in Sierra Leone. His recommendations were well received in London and he subsequently made two more trips to Sierra Leone to try to implement them.On his last trip in 1815–16, he transported nine families of free blacks from Massachusetts to Sierra Leone to assist and work with the former slaves and other local residents to develop their economy. Some historians relate his work to the “Back to Africa” movement being promoted by the newly organized American Colonization Society (ACS). A group made up of both Northerners and Southerners, it was focused on resettling free blacks from the United States to Africa – eventually resulting in development of Liberia. The leaders of the ACS had sought his advice and support for their effort.After some hesitation, and given the strong objections by free blacks in Philadelphia and New York City to the ACS proposal, he chose not to support the ACS. He believed his efforts in providing training, machinery and ships to the people of Africa would enable them to improve their lives and rise in the world. Today in our History – January 17, 1759 – Paul Cuffe, also known as Paul Cuffee (January 17, 1759 – September 7, 1817) was born.He was one of 10 children born to Kofi (or Cuffe) Slocum, a freed slave, and Ruth Moses, a Native American of the Wampanoag tribe. Kofi, a skilled carpenter who gained his freedom in 1745, raised his family on a farm in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. After Kofi’s death in 1772, Paul took his father’s first name as his surname. Upon coming of age, he went to sea, and during the American Revolution he served on a privateer and often participated in running American supplies through British blockades. In 1783 he married a Native American woman named Alice Pequit, and the couple eventually had seven children.After the war’s end, Cuffe and his brother-in-law, Michael Wainer, opened a shipyard, and they soon had three small ships. Cuffe would later build a number of larger vessels, including the Hero and the Alpha.He and various relatives manned the ships and went on long whaling expeditions and trading voyages to Europe and other parts of the Americas. In addition to his maritime ventures, Cuffe was a prosperous merchant as well as the owner of a grist mill and a farm. As a result of his labours, Cuffe was perhaps the wealthiest African American of his time.Despite his financial success, Cuffe was keenly aware of the inequities and difficulties faced by blacks in the United States. In the late 1770s Paul and his brother John Cuffe refused to pay taxes, arguing that, despite being free blacks, they were denied the right to vote. The two were briefly jailed, and in 1780 Cuffe and several other free blacks petitioned the Massachusetts General Court, requesting that they be exempted from taxation because they were denied the benefits of citizenship. The result was that Massachusetts passed a law making “all free persons of color liable to taxation, according to the ratio established for white men and granting them the privileges belonging to the other citizens.”In 1808 Cuffe became a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers), and he joined the Friends Meeting in nearby Westport, Massachusetts, where he bought a farm. Asked by the Society to assist in the resettlement of free blacks to the British colony of Sierra Leone, Cuffe became interested in the possibility of freed slaves’ returning to Africa. He thus embarked on efforts to establish settlements on Africa’s west coast and to develop trade routes to the area.In 1811 he founded the Friendly Society of Sierra Leone and subsequently sailed there. Later that year he journeyed to England, where he met with British abolitionists and sought support for his resettlement plans; he eventually secured a land grant. In 1812 Cuffe returned to the United States, at which time his cargo was seized on charges that he broke the 1807 Embargo Act, which restricted imports from Great Britain.Cuffe traveled to Washington, D.C., where he met with U.S. Pres. James Madison, who ordered the release of his cargo.Cuffe continued to advocate for his colonization plans, and he initially gained support from a number of African American leaders.In December 1815 Cuffe and 38 black settlers sailed for Sierra Leone, and they landed in February 1816. He returned to the United States later that year and sought backing for another voyage. However, his health soon began to decline, and he died the following year. He wrote Memoir of Captain Paul Cuffee (1811). Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an American lawyer, judge, educator, public official, and civil rights advocate. He was the first African American to serve as Governor of the United States Virgin Islands, as a federal judge, and as a federal appellate judge.He served as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and previously served as District Judge of the District Court of the Virgin Islands.Today in our History – January 16, 1943 – William Henry Hastie Jr. (November 17, 1904 – April 14, 1976) Hastie resigned his position in protest against racially segregated training facilities in the United States Army Air Forces, inadequate training for African-American pilots, and the unequal distribution of assignments between whites and non-whites.William Henry Hastie was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, to William Henry and Roberta (Child) Hastie on November 17, 1904. He received his primary education in the Knoxville public schools and in the schools of Washington, D. C. After being graduated from Dunbar High School in Washington, Hastie entered Amherst College. He later was elected president of Amherst’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter. First in his class, Hastie was graduated from Amherst College in 1925 with an A.B. degree. Following his graduation, he joined the staff of New Jersey’s Bordentown Manual Training School, where he taught until 1927. Three years later, he earned an LL.B. degree from Harvard University, where he served on the staff the Harvard Law Review. Attorney Hastie joined the faculty of Howard University Law School, and in 1931 he was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar. He entered private practice in association with the law firm of Houston and Houston. In 1932, he was graduated from Harvard University with the degree of Doctor of Juridical Science.Following the 1932 election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as President of the United States, Dr. William H. Hastie was one of the bright young African Americans who achieved high visibility as a race relations advisor to the Roosevelt administration. In 1933, Hastie left his private law practice to accept the position of assistant solicitor of the Department of the Interior.Subsequent to his tenure with the Department of the Interior, in 1937 President Roosevelt appointed Dr. Hastie judge of the Federal District Court in the Virgin Islands. Confirmed on March 26, 1937, he became the nation’s first African-American federal magistrate.Although the Virgin Islands were ninety percent black, no person of African descent before Hastie had been appointed to a federal judgeship. Judge Hastie served on the bench for two years before resigning his judgeship to return to Howard University’s School of Law as dean and professor of law.From 1941 to 1943, William H. Hastie served as civilian aide to Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson. On January 16, 1943, he resigned his position as Secretary of War Stimson’s civilian aide to protest the govemment’s racial policies of segregation and discrimination in America’s armed forces. Later in 1943, William Hastie was awarded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s prestigious Springarn Medal “for his distinguished career as jurist and as an uncompromising champion of equal justice.” In 1944, Hastie supported the position of the National Committee to Abolish the Poll Tax, demanding senatorial authorization of the proposed law to enjoin the levy in elections.On May 7, 1946, Hastie was inaugurated as the first African-American governor of the Virgin Islands. On October 15, 1949, he was nominated judge of the Third United States Circuit Court of Appeals by President Harry S. Truman.It was the highest judicial position attained by an African American. He served on the appellate court bench for twenty-one years. In 1968, he became chief judge of his circuit and in 1971, the year of his retirement from the bench, William Henry Hastie was senior judge.Dr. William Henry Hastie died on April 14, 1976, at Suburban General Hospital ill East Norriton, Pennsylvania. Funeral services were held on April 17 at the Temple University Baptist Chapel in Philadelphia.He was survived by his wife, the former Beryl Lockhart; a son, attorney William H., Jr.; and a daughter, attorney Karen H. Williams. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an African American nurse who worked in the state of Alabama. She is best known for her work as the coordinator of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment from 1932 to 1972. The Tuskegee Experiment was an inhumane study that deliberately allowed black men to develop syphilis when there was treatment for the disease.Today in our History – January 15, 1932 – Eunice Verdell Rivers Laurie (1899 – 1986) starts Rivers worked for the United States Public Health Service on The Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male in Macon County, Alabama, popularly known as the Tuskegee syphilis experiment.There is no simple answer to this question. Nurse Eunice Rivers Laurie (she married relatively late in life) was by far the most interesting health care professional in the Tuskegee Study, and I believe that race, professional hierarchies, class, and gender all played distinct and important roles in shaping her dedication and commitment to the Tuskegee Study.Nurse Rivers, as she was known to the subjects of the Tuskegee Study for most of its forty-year history, was, above all, an African-American woman. She was born in the deep South at the turn of the 20th century when race relations in the United States were at their nadir, and she lived and worked her entire adult life in Alabama, where race formed the soul of southern culture. White supremacy was the defining feature of race relations, and Jim Crow laws ruled the land, segregating every conceivable contact between the races.Jim Crow laws were intended not simply to make African-Americans submit to white domination by force of law, but to denigrate them so completely that they would accept white supremacy and African-American inferiority as the natural order of things.Nurse Rivers, then, grew up in a society in which African-Americans functioned as the anvil of race relations. Whites hammered down; African-Americans sustained the blows. She, along with other members of her race, was expected to accept white domination and to defer to white demands as a matter of course. Most (but not all) of the PHS physicians for whom Nurse Rivers worked on the Tuskegee Study were white, and the South’s apartheid system of race relations demanded that she follow the orders she received from her white supervisors without questioning.Yet in this instance, race was a two-edged sword. While whites did everything in their power to deny blacks their basic rights as citizens, African-Americans never accepted the moral legitimacy of Jim Crow, and they struggled to find ways to undermine segregation and move toward equal rights. In many respects, Nurse River’s career illustrates this point beautifully. After she finished nursing school at the Tuskegee Institute, she landed a highly coveted job doing bona fide public health work with the Alabama Health Department.As one of the first African-Americans to gain employment in the state’s public health bureaucracy, she helped to desegregate this important field of employment. Her position in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study cast her in the same role at the federal level, for she was one of the first African-American nurses to be employed by the United States Public Health Service.Over the years, Nurse Rivers earned the respect of her white supervisors. Their letters and reports were filled with praise for her professional competence and acute human relations skills. Proving that a nurse could play an essential role in a scientific experiment, she underscored her professional status by publishing an article in a respected journal chronicling her extraordinary role in the Tuskegee Study. [FN3] Nor did her contributions go unrecognized. Although the experiment was not mentioned by name during the award ceremony, Nurse Rivers in 1958 became the third annual recipient of the Oveta Culp Hobby Award. Named after the first secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW), the award was the highest commendation HEW could bestow on an employee. Ironically, by working on the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, a thoroughly racist experiment, Nurse Rivers struck mighty blows for desegregation and made a place for herself (and, by extension, her race) in the liminal space between black professionalism and the world of white medicine.Despite her success, Nurse Rivers had to operate within very narrow boundaries, and it was a testimonial to her singular gift for functioning in two worlds that she negotiated these boundaries with consummate skill. Like all nurses, she had to deal with the status incongruity and differential power between physicians and nurses. Within the medical profession, physicians exercised unquestioned authority, and nurses were taught to follow their orders without questioning. All of the PHS officers for whom Nurse Rivers worked were physicians, and everything in her training and professional experience taught Nurse Rivers to do as she was told. Yet within sharply delimited boundaries, Nurse Rivers found a way to make herself invaluable.As the African-American nurse charged with the responsibility of persuading African-American men to participate in a scientific experiment conducted by white physicians (with the assistance and support of black physicians), she served as both a (buffer( and a (bridge( between the subjects and the doctors, white and black. Over time, the physicians who supervised her came to respect both her professional competence and her extraordinary human relations skills.While race relations shaped the boundaries of her professional world, Nurse Rivers also had to contend with the cultural authority of science. As a nurse, she was a clinician whose primary role within medicine was to serve as a caregiver. She understood full well that scientific discovery was crucial to medical progress and that medical researchers occupied positions of great respect and authority within the medical profession. In fact, when PHS officers first offered her a job, she worried that her clinical background had not prepared her to work on a scientific experiment, and she shared her concerns with her mentor, Dr. Eugene H. Dibble, the head of the Andrew Hospital at the Tuskegee Institute and the man who had helped train her as a nurse. Dr. Dibble told her in no uncertain terms that she was the best nurse the Tuskegee Institute had ever graduated, and he declared that whatever the PHS officers asked her to do, she could do it. Dr. Dibble also stressed how important the experiment was to science and what a wonderful opportunity it presented for white and black professionals to work together. Thus, respect for the importance of scientific research, deference to the professional authority of scientists, and the chance to make advances for black professionals within the white world of medicine all influenced Nurse Rivers’ decision to accept the position.Gender roles in American culture intensified the pressure on Nurse Rivers to do as she was told. The United States in the 1930s was very much a patriarchal society, and this was particularly true of the American South. The rules of gender established the relationship between men and women, stipulating that men had the right to exercise power and control over women. All of the physicians, both white and African-American, who served as her supervisors were males, and the South’s cult of domesticity demanded that she defer to men.Class identity also shaped the reality of Nurse Rivers’ professional life. She was born into a poor, working class family, and she was extremely fortunate that education had offered her an escape hatch into middle class life. As an upwardly mobile woman, Nurse Rivers adopted the values and attitudes of middle class culture. When she was offered a job working for the PHS, the United States was in the worst economic depression in American history, and she recently had lost her job with the Alabama State Health Department due to severe budget cuts. Good jobs were hard for anyone to find in 1932, let alone an African-American nurse looking for work in a predominantly white profession. She needed a job to preserve her foothold in the middle class, the class to which she long had aspired and had worked so hard to enter. When the PHS offered her a job, it must have seemed as though Jacob’s ladder had descended. Thus, hard times, economic austerity and upward mobility all conspired to make Nurse Rivers accept the position. And once she was on board, class distinctions helped to separate her from the subjects in the Tuskegee Study. In essence she identified more with middle class African-Americans than she did with working class men.Together, then, race, professional hierarchy, gender, and class worked to pull Nurse Rivers into the Tuskegee Study. What made it easy for her to stay, however, was her heartfelt conviction that she was doing important work. Dr. Dibble (her mentor) and all of the PHS supervisors for whom she worked over the decades assured Nurse Rivers that the Tuskegee Study was an important scientific experiment that would make major contributions to medical knowledge, and all of them acted as though there was nothing ethically wrong with the study. Who was she to say otherwise?Finally, Nurse Rivers’ self-image cast her in a benevolent role, allowing her to perform her duties with a clear conscience. Her work on the Tuskegee Study, it must be stressed, occupied only about half of her time, leaving her free to devote the rest of her working days to bona fide public health assignments that greatly benefited the people she served.As she once put it, when she was not busy with the Tuskegee Study, (I was minding my mommas, my old folks and my babies. (African-American families throughout Macon County and the contiguous counties were indebted to Nurse Rivers for the vital public health work she performed in their communities, and they also had her to thank for many acts of personal kindness.The part of her career that she devoted to clinical work nurtured the caregiver in Nurse Rivers and made it possible for her to maintain a positive self-image. Over time, the two roles she performed in her career (her work on the Tuskegee Study and her duties as a public health nurse) melded in her mind, and Nurse Rivers saw herself as the nurse who took care of everyone. As she put it, working with the men in the study (was the joy of my life. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion show is an American sitcom television series that ran on the NBC television network from January 14, 1972, to March 25, 1977. It was based on the BBC Television programme Steptoe and Son, which had its original broadcast run in the United Kingdom from 1962 to 1974. Known for its edgy racial humor, running gags, and catchphrases, the series was adapted by Norman Lear and considered NBC’s answer to CBS’s All in the Family. Sanford and Son has been hailed as the precursor to many other African-American sitcoms. It was a ratings hit throughout its six-season run, finishing in the Nielsens top ten for five of those seasons.While the role of Fred G. Sanford was known for his bigotry and cantankerousness, the role of Lamont Sanford was that of Fred’s long-suffering, conscientious, peacemaker son. At times both characters involved themselves in schemes, usually as a means of earning cash quickly to pay off their various debts. Other colorful and unconventional characters on the show included Aunt Esther, Grady Wilson, Bubba Bexley, and Rollo Lawson.Today in our History – January 14, 1972 – Sanford and Son airs on national television.Sanford and Son stars Redd Foxx as Fred G. Sanford, a widower and junk dealer living at 9114 South Central Avenue in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, and Demond Wilson as his son Lamont Sanford. In his youth, Fred moved to South Central Los Angeles from his hometown of St. Louis.After the show’s premiere in 1972, newspaper ads touted Foxx as NBC’s answer to Archie Bunker, the bigoted white protagonist of All in the Family. Both shows were adapted by Norman Lear from BBC programs. Sanford and Son was adapted from Steptoe and Son and All in the Family from Till Death Us Do Part.An earlier pilot for an American version of Steptoe and Son was produced by Joseph E. Levine in 1965. Starring Lee Tracy and Aldo Ray as Albert and Harold Steptoe, it was unscreened, and did not lead to a series. The pilot was released on DVD in the UK in 2018. As the series progressed, it focused more on Fred’s antics and schemes, with Lamont often adopting the role of the gentler, more open-minded progressive who attempts to broaden his father’s horizons. It closely mirrored the relationship between Archie and Mike on All in the Family.A notable example of the softening of Lamont’s character is his change in attitude towards Donna Harris (Lynn Hamilton), Fred’s girlfriend. Early in the show’s run, Lamont derides her as “the barracuda” and is openly hostile towards her, attempting to ruin her relationship with his father at least twice, but in a later episode he invites her to dinner with his own girlfriend, remarking that it would do his reputation good to be seen with “two lovely ladies.”Similarly, Fred is initially depicted as a man who, though not always ethically or culturally sensitive, has the wisdom of experience and significant street smarts.As the series progressed, Fred got into increasingly ludicrous situations, such as faking an English accent to get a job as a waiter, convincing a white couple that an earthquake was really the “Watts Line” of the then-nonexistent L.A. subway (a wordplay on the common phrase “WATS line”), taking over a play featuring George Foreman, or sneaking into a celebrity’s private area, such as Lena Horne’s dressing room or Frank Sinatra’s hotel room. Some of these situations revolve around Fred’s trying to make a quick buck.One constant throughout the show is the loyalty of father and son to each other. Even in the show’s earliest episodes when one or the other leaves the house, seemingly for good (Lamont moves out at least twice, and at one point he even puts Fred in a retirement home), something always occurs to return the situation to normal. (Lamont gets homesick and worries about his father, or something does not work out and Lamont schemes his way back in, Lamont feels lonely without his father around the house thanks to a plan Fred hatched with his friend Bubba, etc.)Perhaps the best example of this bond between father and son occurs in the episode in which a friend from Fred’s past shows up and claims to be Lamont’s real father. After hearing the news, Lamont tells a tearful Fred that he is “the only pop I’ve ever known” and as far as he is concerned, it will “always” be Sanford and Son.(In the humorous twist that closes the episode, it turns out that the friend had actually slept with Aunt Esther, thinking she was her sister Elizabeth.) Lamont’s birthday is mentioned in the third-season episode “Libra Rising All Over Lamont” as September 27, 1940. However, in a season-five episode called “Ebenezer Sanford”, Lamont says his birthday is in February. In yet another episode, Fred says Lamont was born in 1942.Sanford and Son was enormously popular during most of its run, and was one of the top 10 highest-rated series on American television from its first season (1972) through the 1975–76 season.With its coveted 8:00 p.m. Eastern Friday-night time slot, Sanford and Son put enough of a dent into the middling audience of ABC’s The Brady Bunch to drive it off the air in 1974. Sanford and Son peaked at #2 in the Nielsen ratings during the 1972–73 season and the 1974–75 season, and the series was second only to All in the Family in ratings during those years. By the 1974–75 season, Sanford and Son’s lead-in helped the entire NBC Friday night lineup place in the coveted bracket of the Top 15 shows (Chico and the Man, following Sanford, ranked #3 for the season, while the police dramas The Rockford Files and Police Woman aired later in the evening and ranked at #12 and #15 respectively).The show’s ratings dipped substantially in its final season, though it was still quite popular at the time of its cancellation.In 2007, Time magazine included the show on its list of the “100 Best TV Shows of All Time”.Sanford and Son was a ratings hit through its six-season run on NBC. Despite airing in the Friday night death slot, it managed to peak at No. 2 in the ratings (behind All in the Family, and ranked less than one ratings point behind during the 1974–75 season). Research more about this great American Champion show and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion organization is a historically African American Greek-lettered sorority. The organization was founded by college-educated women dedicated to public service with an emphasis on programs that assist the African American community. Delta Sigma Theta was founded on January 13, 1913, by twenty-two women at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Membership is open to any woman who meets the requirements, regardless of religion, race, or nationality. Women may join through undergraduate chapters at a college or university, or through an alumnae chapter after earning a college degree.One of the largest sororities founded in the U.S., the more than 300,000 initiated members are mostly college-educated women. The sorority currently has over 940 chapters located in the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, England, Germany, Jamaica, Japan, Liberia, South Korea, and the United States. Delta Sigma Theta is also a member of the umbrella organization National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) – an organization of nine international Black Greek-letter sororities and fraternities. The current (26th) national president is Dr. Beverly Evans Smith.The first public act of Delta Sigma Theta was participating in the Women’s Suffrage March in Washington D.C., on March 3, 1913. Today, it is the largest African-American Greek-lettered organization. Since its founding, Delta Sigma Theta has created programming to improve political, education, and social and economic conditions, particularly within black communities. In addition to establishing independent programming, the sorority consistently collaborates with community organizations and corporations to further its programming goals.The sorority reached a centennial year by being the first black Greek-lettered organization to participate in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California on January 1, 2013, with a float entitled “Transforming Communities through Sisterhood and Service”.Today in our History – January 13, 1913 – Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (ΔΣΘ) is founded.On January 13, 1913, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated was founded by twenty-two women at Howard University, some who had earlier been initiated into the Alpha chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, including the elected officers of Alpha Kappa Alpha: Myra Davis Hemmings, president; Ethel Cuff Black, vice-president; Edith Motte Young, secretary; Jessie McGuire Dent, corresponding secretary; Winona Cargile Alexander, custodian; Frederica Chase Dodd, sergeant-at-arms; and Pauline Oberdorfer Minor, treasurer. The twenty-two were dismayed at the lack of progress of Alpha Kappa Alpha to move beyond its function of orchestrating the affairs of campus society at Howard and wanted to reorganize the sorority to address a variety of purposes like public service and women’s advancement. The new initiates wanted to establish a national organization, enlarge the scope of the sorority’s activities, and change the sorority’s name to reflect a new purpose. They felt Alpha Kappa Alpha was solely a female derivative of the Beta chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity with no individual meaning and were not “Greek distinctive” letters.They also wanted to change the symbols, change the sorority colors, and be more politically oriented. In 1912, they voted to change the organization’s name to Delta Sigma Theta. This new name was to reflect the group’s desire to change the direction of the group and change in the philosophical underpinnings. The members of the new organization sought to move towards social activism and greater public service, rather than continue to focus on social activities. According to Delta Sigma Theta’s historian Paula Giddings, the twenty-two young women were concerned that since Alpha Kappa Alpha was not incorporated, there was no “legal entity”. Since there was no charter, there was no authority to form other chapters, thus limiting their ability to enlarge the scope of activity.”The undergraduate members push to establish a national organization, to engage in activities that were national in scope, to change the sorority’s name and symbols as well as to be more politically oriented caused conflict between one alumnae member who wished to keep the previous name and functional status quo, and the remaining collegiate Alpha Chapter members who voted to change the name of Alpha Kappa Alpha to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. When the graduate member, Nellie Quander, was informed about some of the students’ desire to change the sorority’s name, colors and constitution, she disagreed and gave the students a deadline to stop the efforts to reorganize the sorority. The women declined and unanimously voted to reorganize, even prior to Delta Sigma Theta being approved by the Howard University administration. Thus Delta Sigma Theta was founded on January 13, 1913. The new sorority was officially incorporated in 1930 making Delta the second sorority composed of undergraduate African American women to apply to the trustees of any university for the right to become an incorporated body.On January 20, 1930, the organization’s Grand Chapter was nationally incorporated. Delta Sigma Theta was the one of the African American organization to participate in the Women’s Suffrage March on March 3, 1913. Research more about this great American Champion organization and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion is an American former professional basketball player. He was a nine-time NBA All-Star and is widely viewed as one of the best dunkers in NBA history, earning the nickname “the Human Highlight Reel”. In 2006, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.In addition to his 11 seasons with the Hawks, he had short stints with the Los Angeles Clippers, the Boston Celtics, Panathinaikos Athens (a professional team in Greece’s top-tier level Greek Basket League, with whom he won his first titles, the FIBA European League and the Greek Cup), Fortitudo Bologna (a professional team in Italy’s top-tier level LBA), the San Antonio Spurs, and the Orlando Magic before he retired in 1999.Today’s in our History – January 12, 1960 – Jacques Dominique Wilkins (born January 12, 1960).The most celebrated player to ever put on a Hawks uniform and represented in front of State Farm Arena by an 18,500-pound bronze statue erected in March, 2015, Hall-of-Famer Dominique Wilkins is the Hawks’ Vice President of Basketball and Special Advisor to the CEO. Wilkins works in various management functions within the organization’s basketball and business areas, and as the team’s analyst for the Hawks broadcasts on FOX Sports Southeast.Wilkins is responsible for advising the senior management team on basketball-related issues and working as a strong voice in the community. The 6-8 forward, who concluded his NBA career with 26,668 points, is the 13th all-time leading scorer in league history and his 24.8 career scoring average is tied for 13th on the all-time charts.Wilkins’ 23,292 points with the Hawks are the franchise’s best, and he ranks second in team history in steals (1,245), fourth in rebounds (6,119), seventh in blocked shots (588) and eighth in assists (2,321). One of league’s true marquee players, his outstanding contributions on the court were recognized by the organization in January 2001 when he became the third player in club history to have his uniform number (#21) retired, joining Hawks legends Bob Pettit and Lou Hudson.Familiar to area sports fans from his collegiate days at the University of Georgia, Wilkins entered the 1982 NBA Draft after his junior season with the Bulldogs. He ended his Georgia career as the school’s all-time scoring leader with averages of 21.6 points to go along with his 7.5 rebounds. A three-time All-SEC performer who also took home the Most Valuable Player award from the 1981 Southeastern Conference tournament, he was selected with the third overall pick in the first round by the Utah Jazz.Hawks officials valued his talents enough to send two players (John Drew and Freeman Williams) and cash to the Utah Jazz on September 2, 1982 for his draft rights, and the end result was beneficial for both parties. Wilkins was able to continue his career in front of familiar faces, and Atlanta had its first superstar since Pete Maravich.Instrumental in the team’s success in the mid-to-late ’80s, Wilkins electrified Atlanta sports fans as the club recorded 50-win seasons four straight times from 1985-86 to 1988-89. He averaged 29.1 points over that period, and in the 1988 All-Star Game he ripped the nets for 29 points in 30 minutes of action.Wilkins led the Hawks to the playoffs in eight of his 12 seasons with the Hawks, his finest hour came during the 1988 postseason when Atlanta narrowly missed reaching the Eastern Conference Finals, as the Boston Celtics eked out a two-point victory in Game 7 of the conference semifinals. Wilkins averaged 31.2 points in 12 playoff contests that year, and having participated in 10 years of playoff competition, scored 25.4 points per game.After missing only 18 of a possible 738 regular season games his first nine years, Wilkins suffered a season-ending tear of Achilles tendon midway through the 1991-92 season. Wilkins responded the next season by scoring 29.9 points per game to finish second to Michael Jordan for the league scoring title.He was a member of the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1983 and was named to seven All-NBA teams, nine consecutive all-star squads and was a two-time winner of the NBA Slam Dunk Championship (1985 and 1990).On November 6, 1992 against the New York Knicks, a patented baseline jumper led to Wilkins becoming the 17th person in league history to join the 20,000-point club, and later that season (February 2, 1993 against Seattle), he supplanted Pettit as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer. His stellar career in Atlanta came to an end on February 24, 1994 when he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. At the conclusion of the year, Wilkins decided to test the free agent market and signed with the Boston Celtics.Wilkins joined Panathinaikos Athens of the Greek League the following season (1995-96). He was named MVP of the European Final Four after averaging 20.9 points and 7.0 rebounds and leading the team to the European Men’s Championship.Seeking a return to the States, Wilkins signed a free agent contract with San Antonio and provided more than the Spurs possibly imagined, leading the Spurs in scoring with an 18.2 average and grabbing 6.4 rebounds.He returned overseas for the 1997-98 campaign, signing with Italy’s Teamsystem before rejoining the NBA for his final professional season (1998-99), as Wilkins saw action in 27 games for the Orlando Magic.Extremely active with local and national charity endeavors, Wilkins has done work with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Special Olympics, Muscular Dystrophy Association and American Lung Association. In July 2007, Wilkins launched “Nique and Newt’s Full-Court Press on Diabetes” with former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich.In March 2010, Wilkins was honored by the Georgia State Legislature as they presented a State Resolution naming him the Diabetes Ambassador for the state of Georgia. He is also a diabetes ambassador for Novo Nordisk, a world leader in Diabetes care.Wilkins, 57, was born on January 12, 1960 in Paris, France. He joined basketball’s immortals with his entry into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on September 8, 2006, was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame on April 3, 2004, the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame’s inaugural class on June 10, 2005 and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame on November 18, 2016. Wilkins was honored in October 2011 with his induction into the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Alumni Hall of Fame. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion is an American singer-songwriter, actress, and philanthropist. Her career began in 1991 when she was signed to Uptown Records. She went on to release 13 studio albums, eight of which have achieved multi-platinum worldwide sales.She has sold 50 million albums in the United States and 80 million records worldwide. She has won nine Grammy Awards, four American Music Awards, twelve Billboard Music Awards and has also received three Golden Globe Award nominations, including one for her supporting role in the film Mudbound (2017) and another for its original song “Mighty River”. Furthermore, she also received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song, becoming the first person nominated for acting and songwriting in the same year.In 1992, she released her debut album, What’s the 411? Her 1994 album My Life is among Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and Time magazine’s All-Time 100 Albums. She received a Legends Award at the World Music Awards in 2006, and the Voice of Music Award from ASCAP in 2007. Billboard ranked her as the most successful female R&B/Hip-Hop artist of the past 25 years. In 2017, Billboard magazine named her 2006 song “Be Without You” as the most successful R&B/Hip-Hop song of all time, as it spent an unparalleled 15 weeks atop the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and over 75 weeks on the chart. In 2011, VH1 ranked her as the 80th greatest artist of all time. In 2012, VH1 ranked her at number 9 in “The 100 Greatest Women in Music” list. She has also made a successful transition to both the small and silver screens, with supporting roles in films such as Prison Song (2001), Rock of Ages (2012), Betty and Coretta (2013), Black Nativity (2013), her Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated breakthrough performance as Florence Jackson in Mudbound (2017), Trolls World Tour (2020), Body Cam (2020) and starring as Dinah Washington in the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic Respect (2021). In 2019, she starred in the first season as Cha Cha in the Netflix television series The Umbrella Academy. She currently stars as Monet Tejada in the spin-off of the highly rated TV drama Power in Power Book II: Ghost.Today in our History – January 11, 1971 Mary Jane Blige (/blaɪʒ/; born January 11, 1971)Mary Jane Blige is an American singer, songwriter and actress who has been making hit records for almost 25 years. She was born on January 11, 1971 in the Bronx, New York to Cora and Thomas Blige.She grew up in a very neglected and disastrous neighborhood and her childhood was marked by violence, abuse and drugs. Her mother was an alcoholic and her father suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in the Vietnam War. Thomas Blige would often beat his wife and left the family when Blige was 4, but reappeared sometimes and almost certainly abused his wife on those occasions. Blige and her mother moved to a public housing project to escape her father, but this turned out to be no better. Blige was sexually abused as a child by some friends that her mother trusted her with, but who took advantage of her when she was just 5 years old.Mary J. Blige became a devout Christian from a young age and talked about the feeling of security she felt when she was at church. She joined the church choir and sang hymns to soothe herself. However, by the age of 16 she had succumbed to the negative influences in her environment and turned to sex, drugs and alcohol as a means of escape.During this time, one of her karaoke performances that had been recorded on tape reached Andre Harrell, the CEO of Uptown Records. He was instantly enthralled with Blige’s voice and signed her on to the label. She began singing backup at first, but soon started working with a talented young music producer named Sean “Puffy” Combs.She released her debut album in 1992, titled “What’s the 411?”. The album was a huge success with hit singles such as “You Remind Me” and “Real Love” and sold more than 3 million copies.Her second album was released in 1994, and was titled “My Life”. Blige was involved in writing almost all of the songs on the album. The biggest hit on this album was the song “I’ll be There For You/You’re All I Need to Get By” which was a duet sung with the singer Method Man of the band Wu-Tang Clan. The song won her the first Grammy award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. She released an album in 2001, titled “No More Drama” which was followed by her 2003 album “Love & Life”. Her most popular album to date, however, has been “The Breakthrough” which was released in 2005. The album sold more than 7 million copies globally and was nominated for 8 Grammy awards of which it won 3. This was followed by “Growing Pains” in 2007 and “Stronger with Each Tear” in 2009. Blige has also ventured into acting, such as the film “I Can Do Bad All By Myself” and “Betty & Coretta” as well as the musical “Rock of Ages”.Blige had led an unhappy life and became deeply addicted to cocaine and alcohol. Her outlook on life changed when she fell in love with a music executive named Kendu Isaacs. Isaacs tried to steer her in the right direction and took her away from her life of addiction and depression. They were married in 2003 and Blige took charge of his 3 children from a previous relationship. In 2011, she released the album “My Life: Part II … The Journey Continues”. She also has her own record label by the name of “Matriarch Records” as well as her own perfume and a line of sunglasses.Mary J. Blige is a greatly talented and respected performer who is often titled the “Queen of Hip-hop Soul” for her contributions to the fusion of the two genres. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!