Category: Education

June 29 1894- William J. Simmons

GM- FBF – Today, I am reflecting back to when I was a public school (High School History) teacher. Trenton, Ewing, Red Bank and Franklin Twp, N.J. I am proud that 427 students who went on to college on scholarships. I am now going to tell you about another great educator who had a college named after him. Enjoy!

Remember – “When one takes the time to invest in education past their high school learning years, they will place themselfs
in the oppertunity for a better econimc life.” – Dr. William J. Simmons

Today in our History – June 29, 1894 – William J. Simmons is born. Who will become an educator and have a College named for his dedication to young people learning.

William J. Simmons was an ex-slave who became Simmons College of Kentucky’s second president (1880–1890) and for whom the school eventually was named. Simmons greatly developed Howard University’s teacher training programs when he took over the school. In addition, he was a writer, journalist, and educator. In 1886 he became president of the American National Baptist Convention, one of the organizations that would merge to form the National Baptist Convention, USA. He was elected president of the Colored Press Association for his work as editor of the American Baptist, a newspaper in Louisville, Kentucky.

Rev. Dr. William J. Simmons was born a slave in Charleston, South Carolina, to Edward and Esther Simmons on June 29, 1849. While William was young, his Mother fled slavery with her three children, William and his two sisters Emeline and Anna. They initially landed in Philadelphia, PA, and was met by an uncle named Alexander Tardiff, who housed them, fed them and educated the children. Due to stemming pressures from slave traders, Tardiff relocated his extended family to Roxbury, Pennsylvania, Chester, PA, and ultimately settled down in Bordentown, New Jersey. Tardiff had received an education from the future Bishop Daniel Payneand undertook to give Simmons and his siblings an education on that basis. From 1862 to 1864 William served as an apprentice to a dentist.

He served in the Union Army during the US Civil War, enlisting September 15, 1864 and serving a one-year term. He took part in the siege of Petersburg, the Battle of Hatcher’s Run, and the Battle of Appomattox Court House and was present at the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. After the war, he returned to dentistry. In 1867, he converted to Baptist and joined a White Baptist church in Bordentown that was pastored by Reverend J. W. Custis. The congregation helped him through college. He attended Madison University (now Colgate University, graduated in 1868), Rochester University, and Howard University, from which he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1873. As a student, he worked briefly in Washington D.C. at Hillsdale School. In Hillsdale, he boarded with Simithsonian Institute employee, Solomon G. Brown. After graduating he moved to Arkansas on the advice of Horace Greeley to become a teacher there, but returned to Hillsdale soon after where he taught until June 1874.

The following summer, he married Josephine A. Silence on August 25, 1874 and moved to Ocala, Florida. The couple had seven children, Josephine Lavinia, William Johnson, Maud Marie, Amanda Moss, Mary Beatrice, John Thomas, and Gussie Lewis. In Florida, he invested in land to grow oranges, became principal of Howard Academy’s teacher training program and served as the pastor of a church, deputy county clerk and county commissioner. He campaigned for the Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. He served there until 1879. He was ordained that year and moved to Lexington, Kentucky where he pastored the First Baptist Church. The following year, he became the second president of the Kentucky Normal and Theological Institute, which he worked for a decade. The school was eventually renamed the State University of Louisville and later to Simmons College of Kentucky after Simmons due to schools progression under his tenure. He was succeeded in 1894 at Simmons College by Charles L. Purce.

In Kentucky he was elected for several years the chairman of the State Convention of Colored Men. On September 29, 1882, he was elected editor of the journal, the American Baptist where he criticized the failures of both political parties to support blacks in their civil rights and progress. He was also president of the American Baptist Company. in 1886 he was elected over T. Thomas Fortune to president of the Colored Press Association, having lost to W. A. Pledger the previous year. In 1883, Simmons organized the Baptist Women’s Educational Convention, and in 1884, Blanche Bruce appointed Simmons commissioner for the state of Kentucky at the 1884 World’s Fair in New Orleans. In 1886, he organized and was elected president of the American National Baptist Convention.[The convention was a call for African American Baptist unity and was also led by Richard DeBaptiste and featured notable presentations by Solomon T. Clanton and James T. White. In 1889 in Indianapolis, Simmons was a leader at the American National Baptist Convention and wrote a resolution to provide aid for blacks fleeing violence in the South and moving to the North.

Simmons received an honorary master’s degree from Howard University in 1881 and an honorary Doctorate degree from Wilberforce University in 1885. In 1887, he published a book entitled Men of Mark: Eminent, Progressive and Rising, which highlights the lives of 172 prominent African-American men, while serving as the school’s president. He was working on a sister edition of the title that would highlight the lives and accomplishments of prominent pre-1900 African-American women, but unfortunately died before its completion. He died on October 30, 1890, in Louisville, Kentucky. Research more about HBCU’s and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 1 1974 – Howard R. Amos

GM -FBF – Today we are going back home to New Jersey with a black man who was born in Pennsauken and graduated from the “”Castle on the Hill” – Camden High School. Enjoy!

Remember – ” Education is the new currency and I will teach this new currency to anyone who will listen” – Harold Amos

Today in our History – June 1, 1974 – Appointed advisor to President M. Richard.

Harold Amos (September 7, 1918 – February 26, 2003) was an American microbiologist and professor. He taught at Harvard Medical School for nearly fifty years and was the first African-American department chair of the school.

Amos was born in Pennsauken, New Jersey to Howard R. Amos Sr., a Philadelphia postman, and Iola Johnson. He attended a segregated school and graduate first in his class from Camden High School in New Jersey. He graduated from Springfield College with a baccalaureate. Amos was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving in the Quartermaster’s Corps in World War II as a warrant officer, eventually discharged in February 1946. In the fall of 1946 Amos enrolled in the biological sciences graduate program at Harvard Medical School, earning an MA in 1947 and graduated with a PhD from Harvard Medical School in 1952. Upon completing a Fulbright Scholarship, Amos joined the Harvard Medical School faculty in 1954. He was the chairman of the bacteriology department from 1968 to 1971 and again from 1975 to 1978. In 1975, he was named the Maude and Lillian Presley professor of microbiology and molecular genetics. He was a presidential advisor to Richard Nixon, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1974), the Institute of Medicine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Amos was awarded the National Academy of Sciences’ Public Welfare Medal in 1995 and the Harvard Centennial Medal in 2000. He directed the Minority Medical Faculty Development Program (MMFDP) of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation after his retirement from Harvard. A diversity award at Harvard Medical School is named after Amos. He inspired hundreds of minorities to become medical doctors. Amos’s research focused on using cells in culture to understand how molecules get into cells and how entry is regulated during cell starvation or in plentiful conditions. Amos published over seventy scientific papers. He was well known as an inviting and welcoming mentor to both students and junior faculty members. He spoke fluent French and was a devoted Francophile. Research more about this great American and share with your babies and make it a champion day!

May 30 1907- Charles Henry Turner

GM – FBF – How many of us as students had classes in zoology? Would you go and get a degree in that field? Thank God for Charles Henry Turner. Enjoy!

Remember – ” I loved science so much because it’s always hiding things from our past” – Dr. Charles Henry Turner

Today in our History – May 30, 1907 – On May 30,1907, Turner graduated from the University of Chicago with a Ph.D. in zoology, becoming the first African American to receive such a degree from the institution.

Charles Henry Turner, a zoologist and scholar, was the first person to discover that insects can hear and alter behavior based on previous experience.

Born in 1867 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Charles Henry Turner was a pioneering African-American scientist and scholar. Among his most notable achievements, Turner was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Chicago, and the first person to discover that insects can hear and alter behavior based on previous experience. He died in Chicago, Illinois, in 1923.

Pioneering African-American scientist Charles Henry Turner was born on February 3, 1867, in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father worked as a custodian and his mother was a practical nurse, and the young Turner was actively encouraged to read and learn.

Turner excelled at his studies, graduating from Gaines High School in 1886 as class valedictorian. He enrolled at the University of Cincinnati that same year, and in 1887, he wed Leontine Troy. The couple later had two sons, Henry and Darwin, before his wife’s death in 1895.

Turner graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1891, and earned a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati the following year. During his studies, Turner found work as a teacher at a number of schools, and had an assistantship at his alma mater from 1891 to 1893.

To help find a teaching position, Turner contacted Booker T. Washington at the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (later Tuskegee University) in Alabama. Some reports indicate that Turner lost out on a position at the institute to George Washington Carver, another distinguished African-American scientist. Instead Turner moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he taught at Clark College (later known as Clark Atlanta University) from 1893 to 1905.

On May 30,1907, Turner graduated from the University of Chicago with a Ph.D. in zoology, becoming the first African American to receive such a degree from the institution. Shortly after being turned down for a teaching position at the University of Chicago, Turner moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he taught at Sumner High School until 1922.

During his career, Turner published more than 70 research papers. He pioneered research techniques in the study of animal behavior and made several important discoveries that advanced our understanding of the natural world. Among his most notable achievements, Turner was the first person to discover that insects can hear and alter behavior based on previous experience. He showed that insects were capable of learning, illustrating (in two of his most famous research projects) that honey bees can see in color and recognize patterns. He conducted some of these experiments while working at Sumner without the benefit of research assistants or laboratory space.

In 1922, Turner moved to Chicago, Illinois, to live with his son Darwin. He died there on February 14, 1923. His last scientific paper was published the year after his death, in which he explored a method for conducting field research on fresh-water invertebrates.

Several schools have been named in Turner’s honor in St. Louis, Missouri, the city where he spent so many years as a teacher. On the campus of Clark Atlanta University, he is remembered on the Tanner-Turner Hall building. And children have learned about his influential work though the 1997 children’s book Bug Watching with Charles Henry Turner by M.E. Ross.

In recent years, his groundbreaking work has been reintroduced to the public through the publication of Selected Papers and Biography of Charles Henry Turner, Pioneer of Comparative Animal Behavior Studies (2003). Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

May 27 1973- Shirley Ann Jackson

GM – FBF – This powerful black woman taught at Rutgers University, so she has to be one of the best, Enjoy!

Remember – “We need to go back to the discovery, to posing a question, to having a hypothesis and having kids know that they can discover the answers and can peal away a layer.” – Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson

Today in our History – May 27, 1973 – Shirley Ann Jackson, earned her Ph.D.

Shirley Ann Jackson, born in 1946 in Washington, D.C., has achieved numerous firsts for African American women. She was the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.); to receive a Ph.D. in theoretical solid state physics; to be elected president and then chairman of the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); to be president of a major research university, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York; and to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Jackson was also both the first African American and the first woman to chair the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Jackson’s parents and teachers recognized her natural talent for science and nurtured her interest from a young age. In 1964, after graduating as valedictorian from her high school, Jackson was accepted at M.I.T., where she was one of very few women and even fewer black students. Despite discouraging remarks from her professors about the appropriateness of science for a black woman, she chose to major in physics and earned her B.S. in 1968. Jackson continued at M.I.T. for graduate school, studying under the first black physics professor in her department, James Young. In 1973, she earned her Ph.D.

Shirley Jackson completed several years of postdoctoral research at various laboratories, such as Fermi in Illinois, before being hired by AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1976, where she worked for 15 years. She conducted research on the optical and electronic properties of layered materials, surface electrons of liquid helium films, strained-layer semiconductor superlattices, and most notably, the polaronic aspects of electrons in two-dimensional systems. She is considered a leading developer of Caller ID and Call Waiting on telephones.

After teaching at Rutgers University from 1991-1995, Jackson was appointed chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission by Bill Clinton. In 1999, Jackson became President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she still serves today. In 2004, she was elected president of AAAS and in 2005 she served as chairman of the board for the Society. Dr. Shirley Jackson is married to a physicist and has one son. Research more about black women and science and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

May 21 1969- Willie Ernest Grimes

GM – FBF – Law and Order was at low on this HBSU Campus!

Remember – The streets looked like a war zone – Willie Ernest Grimes

Today in our History – May 21, 1969 – Police and National Guardsmen fired on North Carolina A&T Campus.

Willie Ernest Grimes was born in Winterville, North Carolina, a rural eastern town in Pitt County just outside Greenville. He grew up in a close knit family with his four siblings. Willie and his brother, George, who was four years younger, were the two youngest children and were especially close. His parents, Joe and Ella, were farmers.

Half the teachers at the high school Willie attended were A&T grads; therefore, it seemed like a natural decision for him to attend college there. Willie was known as a friendly and “good guy” among his classmates on campus. He worked part time and joined the Pershing Rifles, an Army ROTC fraternity.

In April 1969, the death of their grandfather brought the five Grimes’ siblings together. Although this was a sad occasion, Willie enjoyed being with his family and loved the home cooked meals that were prepared while he was there. He wondered when would he get home cooking like this again. When it was time for him to leave to go back to school, Willie told his family, “I’ll see you later” because his father always told him not to say goodbye.

On Wednesday night, May 21, 1969 Willie called home to tell his folks he had cashed his income tax refund check; his dad said that he would pick him up that week-end to take him home because the spring semester was nearly over. Later that night, he talked with his friends about the chaos taking place on A&T’s campus.

Three weeks earlier, at nearby Dudley High School, protests had erupted because of the results of a student council election. Claude Barnes, a junior at Dudley, had spoken out against the differences in the segregated schools and other issues of inequality and was considered a militant by Dudley High School administrators. By this time, student council elections had rolled around and because of his outspokenness, the administrators refused to let his name appear on the student council ballot but students wrote it in anyway which resulted in the win by Barnes. This victory was declared illegal by administrators causing Barnes and four of his friends to walk out of school and picket in protest. The next day nine students walked out.

Barnes has said he thinks the protest would have run its course but school authorities called the police which encouraged others to join the protest and on May 16, nearly four hundred students boycotted classes. Leaders in the African American community had asked school authorities to recognize Barnes’ election win; however, they would not.

On May 19, protests had exploded into violence and after two days, the violence got worse as police fired tear gas to disperse students as they threw rocks at the building where a representative from the schools’ central administration had set up an office. The hostilities spread to A&T’s campus where hundreds of N.C. A&T and Dudley High School students, including Barnes, were tear-gassed and beaten and/or arrested. Gunfire erupted between police and North Carolina National Guard troops on one side and people on the A&T campus on the other.

Willie and his friends decided to walk to Summit Avenue, less than a mile away, to buy food at a local fast food restaurant. They left Scott Hall to walk across campus. As they neared the edge of campus, gunshots were fired and Willie was hit near Carver Hall on A&T’s campus. Witnesses said someone fired on him from a car. Others said the shots came from an unmarked police car which was emphatically denied by the police. In the early hours on May 22, a speeding car carried Willie to Moses Cone Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival at 1:30 a.m. It was concluded that he died within fifteen to twenty minutes from a bullet that was lodged in the base of his brain.

Joe Grimes went to Greensboro the next morning and took Willie’s body back to Winterville.

The funeral of Willie Ernest Grimes, a twenty-year-old North Carolina A&T State University sophomore was attended by two thousand people, including many A&T students who came to pay their respects. The funeral was held at his high school to acommodate all who came. Grimes’ killing and the shootings of five police officers and two other students have never been solved.

Willie Grimes was described as “a studious young man… neither a militant nor an activist”. A memorial in his honor is located at the Memorial Student Union on the campus of A&T. Ella Grimes, Willie’s mother, and his sister, Gloria, still live in Winterville. Willie’s brother, George, is an A&T graduate. Like his brother, George joined the Army ROTC and pledged the Pershing Rifles fraternity. Make it a champion day!

May 19 1968- The Original Last Poets

GM – FBF – I was in Junior High School (Junior High School #1) Trenton, NJ. In that school year all 5 Junior High Schools came together and went undefeated in Mercer County, NJ Footbal, Jr. # 3 defeated Jr. # 1 as we lost the city Basketball Championship for the first time in 10 years. We also lost the Baseball Championship to Jr.# 3 but ran away with the City Track Championship for 15 years going undefeated.With three weeks left until the end of the school year, as President of the 9th grade class, I still had one last party to host in our brand new common area named after Thurgood Marshall. I travled to Harlem, N.Y. and purchased some music (Bootleg out of a car trunk) of The Last Poets. I got permission of the building Principal and I played three songs of The Last Poets at the start, middle and end of the dance. Peace to the words of the Last Poets.

Remember -“There wouldn’t be an America if it wasn’t for black people. So you have some dedicated black Americans who will die a million deaths to save America. And this is home for us.” – Abiodun Oyowele

Today in our History – May 19, 1968 – The Original Last Poets were formed on Malcolm X’s birthday, at Marcus Garvey Park in East Harlem. On October 24th 1968, the group performed on pioneering New York television program Soul!.

Luciano, Kain, and Nelson recorded separately as The Original Last Poets, gaining some renown as the soundtrack artists of the 1971 film Right On!

In 1972, they appeared on Black Forum Records album Black Spirits – Festival Of New Black Poets In America with “And See Her Image In The River” and “Song of Ditla, part II”, recorded live at the Apollo Theatre, Harlem, New York. A book of the same name was published by Random House (1972 – ISBN 9780394476209).

The original group actually consisted of Gylan Kain, David Nelson and Abiodun Oyowele. Nelson left in the fall of 1968 and was replaced by Felipe Luciano, then Luciano left to start the Young Lords and was replaced by Alafia Pudim (later known as Jalaluddin Mansur). Following the success of the reformed Last Poets first album, Luciano, Kain, and Nelson reunited to record their only album Right On in 1967, the soundtrack to a documentary movie of the same name that finally saw release in 1971. (See also Performance (1970 film featuring Mick Jagger) soundtrack song “Wake Up, Niggers”.) The Right On album was released under the group name The Original Last Poets to simultaneously establish their primacy and distance themselves from the other group of the same name.

The Jalal-led group coalesced via a 1969 Harlem writers’ workshop known as East Wind. Jalal Mansur Nuriddin a.k.a. Alafia Pudim, Umar Bin Hassan, and Abiodun Oyewole, along with poet Sulaiman El-Hadi and percussionist Nilaja Obabi, are generally considered the best-known members of the various lineups. Jalal, Umar, and Nilaja appeared on the group’s 1970 self-titled debut LP and follow-up This Is Madness. Nilija then left, and a third poet, Sulaiman El-Hadi, was added. This Jalal-Sulaiman version of the group made six albums together but recorded only sporadically without much promotion after 1977.

Having reached US Top 10 chart success with its debut album, the Last Poets went on to release the follow-up, This Is Madness, without then-incarcerated Abiodun Oyewole. The album featured more politically charged poetry that resulted in the group being listed under the counter-intelligence program COINTELPRO during the Richard Nixon administration. Hassan left the group following This Is Madness to be replaced by Sulaiman El-Hadi (now deceased) in time for Chastisment (1972). The album introduced a sound the group called “jazzoetry”, leaving behind the spare percussion of the previous albums in favor of a blending of jazz and funk instrumentation with poetry. The music further developed into free-jazz–poetry with Hassan’s brief return on 1974’s At Last, as yet the only Last Poets release still unavailable on CD.

The remainder of the 1970s saw a decline in the group’s popularity. In the 1980s and beyond, however, the group gained renown with the rise of hip-hop music, often being name-checked as grandfathers and founders of the new movement, often citing the Jalaluddin solo project Hustler’s Convention (1973) as their inspiration. Because of this the band was also interviewed in the 1986 cult documentary Big Fun In The Big Town. Nuriddin and El-Hadi worked on several projects under the Last Poets name, working with bassist and producer Bill Laswell, including 1984’s Oh My People and 1988’s Freedom Express, and recording the final El Hadi–Nuriddin collaboration, Scatterrap/Home, in 1994.

Sulaiman El-Hadi died in October 1995. Oyewole and Hassan began recording separately under the same name, releasing Holy Terror in 1995 (re-released on Innerhythmic in 2004) and Time Has Come in 1997.

Their lyrics often dealt with social issues facing African-American people. In the song “Rain of Terror”, the group criticized the American government and voiced support for the Black Panthers.

More recently, the Last Poets found fame again refreshed through a collaboration where the trio (Umar Bin Hassan) was featured with hip-hop artist Common on the Kanye West-produced song “The Corner,” as well as (Abiodun Oyewole) with the Wu-Tang Clan-affiliated political hip-hop group Black Market Militia on the song “The Final Call,” stretching overseas to the UK on songs “Organic Liquorice (Natural Woman)”, “Voodoocore”, and “A Name” with Shaka Amazulu the 7th. The group is also featured on the Nas album Untitled, on the songs “You Can’t Stop Us Now” and “Project Roach.” Individual members of the group also collaborated with DST on a remake of “Mean Machine”, Public Enemy on a remake of “White Man’s God A God Complex” and with Bristol-based British post-punk band the Pop Group.

In 2010, Abiodun Oyowele was among the artists featured on the Welfare Poets’ produced Cruel And Unusual Punishment, a CD compilation that was made in protest of the death penalty, which also featured some several current positive hip hop artists.

In 2004 Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, a.k.a. Alafia Pudim, a.k.a. Lightning Rod (The Hustlers Convention 1973), collaborated with the UK-based poet Mark T. Watson (a.k.a. Malik Al Nasir) writing the foreword to Watson’s debut poetry collection, Ordinary Guy, published in December 2004 by the Liverpool-based publisher Fore-Word Press. Jalal’s foreword was written in rhyme, and was recorded for a collaborative album “Rhythms of the Diaspora (Vol. 1 & 2 – Unreleased) by Malik Al Nasir’s band, Malik & the O.G’s featuring Gil Scott-Heron, percussionist Larry McDonald, drummers Rod Youngs and Swiss Chris, New York dub poet Ras Tesfa, and a host of young rappers from New York and Washington, D.C. Produced by Malik Al Nasir, and Swiss Chris, the albums Rhythms of the Diaspora; Vol. 1 & 2 are the first of their kind to unite these pioneers of poetry and hip hop with each other.[8]

In 2011, The Last Poets Abiodun Oyewole and Umar Bin Hassan performed at The Jazz Cafe in London, in a tribute concert to the late Gil Scott-Heron and all the former Last Poets.

In 2014, Last Poet Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin came to London and also performed at The Jazz Cafe with Jazz Warriors the first ever live performance in 40 years of the now iconic “Hustlers Convention”. The event was produced by Fore-Word Press and featured Liverpool poet Malik Al Nasir with his band Malik & the O.G’s featuring Cleveland Watkiss, Orphy Robinson and Tony Remy. The event was filmed as part of a documentary on the “Hustlers Convention” by Manchester film maker Mike Todd and Riverhorse Communications. The executive producer was Public Enemy’s Chuck D. As part of the event Charly Records re-issued a special limited edition of the vinyl version of Hustlers Convention to celebrate their 40th anniversary. The event was MC’d by poet Lemn Sissay and the DJ was Shiftless Shuffle’s Perry Louis.

In 2016, The Last Poets (World Editions, UK), was published. The novel, written by Christine Otten, was originally published in Dutch in 2011, and has now been translated by Jonathan Reeder for English readers. Research more about Black poets and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

May 9 1967- Phillipa Duke

GM – FBF – To be young, gifited and black, here is one of the best. Enjoy!

Remember – “Everyone loves a prodigy […]. Prodigies get us off the hook for living ordinary lives. We can tell ourselves we’re not special because we weren’t born with it, which is a great excuse.” – Phillippa Duke Schuyler

Today in our History – May 9, 1967 – Black Child Prodigy star dies.

Phillippa Duke Schuyler was a child pianist, composer, and later journalist. Schuyler, born August 2, 1931, grew up in Harlem, and was the only child of George S. Schuyler, a prominent black journalist, and Josephine Cogdell, a white Texan from a wealthy and socially prominent family. Her parents were not Harlem civil rights crusaders, but rather conservatives and members of the John Birch society, who believed that interracial marriage and the resulting children could solve America’s race issue. They also fed Phillippa a strict raw food diet, believing that cooking removed all of the vital nutrients from food. By playing Mozart at the age of four and scoring 185 on an IQ test at the age of five, Phillippa quickly proved to her parents and the world that she was a child prodigy.

Phillippa began giving piano recitals and radio broadcasts as child, and with the help of her journalist father she quickly attracted an enormous amount of press coverage. In 1940 when she was nine, Phillippa became the subject of “Evening with a Gifted Child,” a profile written by Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker, who heard several of her early compositions. Phillippa’s mother kept her isolated from other children by exclusively relying on tutors for her education. At the age of 13, Phillippa’s delusions and memories of her happy childhood were permanently tarnished when she stumbled across her mother’s scrapbook which described in detail how her parents thought of her as a genetic experiment. These feelings plagued Phillippa for the remainder of her life, and motivated her desire to travel, write, and play, so that she could find her place in the world.

She plunged herself into her music, and once she outgrew the child prodigy years she struggled to find a place in the American music community. On tour, especially in the South, she began to experience racial prejudice, something of which she had been mostly unaware during her sheltered upbringing. In order to continue to perform and make money, she became a world traveler, eventually visiting over 80 countries. Her world travels did not abate her sense of alienation from her native country and her parents and as a young woman Schuyler changed her name to Felipa Monterro and began to pass as white.

By her thirties, those world travels spawned her interest in journalism and afforded her fluency in numerous languages. Those travels placed her in dramatic locales at important moments of history. In 1960, for example, she was one of the few American journalists in Leopoldville (later Kinshasa), The Congo, to cover its independence. Through the 1960s she would author several books based on her experiences in world travel. Phillippa Schuyler died in a helicopter crash on May 9, 1967, when she, while working as a Vietnam War correspondent, attempted to evacuate a number of Vietnamese orphans threatened by an impending Viet Cong guerilla attack. Schuyler was 36. Research more about black child Prodigey stars and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

May 4 1961- 13 Original Freedom Fighters

GM – FBF – I had a client in Anniston, Alabama for four (4) years. Every visit I always asked where is the monument for the freedom riders who’s bus was set ablaze? I asked hotel workers, local business owners, schools principls, etc. that was 2011 through 2015. I am happy to announce that on January 12, 2017, The Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston, Alabama opened. Enjoy!

Remember – “Traveling in the segregated South for black people was humiliating. The very fact that there were separate facilities was to say to black people and white people that blacks were so subhuman and so inferior that we could not even use public facilities that white people used.” ~ Diane Nash, Freedom Rides Organizer

Today in our History – May 4, 1961 – The original group of 13 Freedom Riders—seven African Americans and six whites—left Washington, D.C., on a Greyhound bus on May 4, 1961.

Freedom Riders were groups of white and African American civil rights activists who participated in Freedom Rides, bus trips through the American South in 1961 to protest segregated bus terminals. Freedom Riders tried to use “whites-only” restrooms and lunch counters at bus stations in Alabama, South Carolina and other Southern states. The groups were confronted by arresting police officers—as well as horrific violence from white protestors—along their routes, but also drew international attention to their cause.
The 1961 Freedom Rides, organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), were modeled after the organization’s 1947 Journey of Reconciliation. During the 1947 action, African-American and white bus riders tested the 1946 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Morgan v. Virginia that found segregated bus seating was unconstitutional.

The 1961 Freedom Rides sought to test a 1960 decision by the Supreme Court in Boynton v. Virginia that segregation of interstate transportation facilities, including bus terminals, was unconstitutional as well. A big difference between the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation and the 1961 Freedom Rides was the inclusion of women in the later initiative.

In both actions, black riders traveled to the American South—where segregation continued to occur—and attempted to use whites-only restrooms, lunch counters and waiting rooms.

The original group of 13 Freedom Riders—seven African Americans and six whites—left Washington, D.C., on a Greyhound bus on May 4, 1961. Their plan was to reach New Orleans, Louisiana, on May 17 to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, which ruled that segregation of the nation’s public schools was unconstitutional.

The group traveled through Virginia and North Carolina, drawing little public notice. The first violent incident occurred on May 12 in Rock Hill, South Carolina. John Lewis, an African-American seminary student and member of the SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), white Freedom Rider and World War II veteran Albert Bigelow, and another African-American rider were viciously attacked as they attempted to enter a whites-only waiting area.

The next day, the group reached Atlanta, Georgia, where some of the riders split off onto a Trailways bus.

John Lewis, one of the original group of 13 Freedom Riders, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 1986. Lewis, a Democrat, has continued to represent Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, which includes Atlanta, into the early part of the 21st century.

On May 14, 1961, the Greyhound bus was the first to arrive in Anniston, Alabama. There, an angry mob of about 200 white people surrounded the bus, causing the driver to continue past the bus station.

The mob followed the bus in automobiles, and when the tires on the bus blew out, someone threw a bomb into the bus. The Freedom Riders escaped the bus as it burst into flames, only to be brutally beaten by members of the surrounding mob.

The second bus, a Trailways vehicle, traveled to Birmingham, Alabama, and those riders were also beaten by an angry white mob, many of whom brandished metal pipes. Birmingham Public Safety Commissioner Bull Connor stated that, although he knew the Freedom Riders were arriving and violence awaited them, he posted no police protection at the station because it was Mother’s Day.

Photographs of the burning Greyhound bus and the bloodied riders appeared on the front pages of newspapers throughout the country and around the world the next day, drawing international attention to the Freedom Riders’ cause and the state of race relations in the United States.

Following the widespread violence, CORE officials could not find a bus driver who would agree to transport the integrated group, and they decided to abandon the Freedom Rides. However, Diane Nash, an activist from the SNCC, organized a group of 10 students from Nashville, Tennessee, to continue the rides.

U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, brother of President John F. Kennedy, began negotiating with Governor John Patterson of Alabama and the bus companies to secure a driver and state protection for the new group of Freedom Riders. The rides finally resumed, on a Greyhound bus departing Birmingham under police escort, on May 20.

The violence toward the Freedom Riders was not quelled—rather, the police abandoned the Greyhound bus just before it arrived at the Montgomery, Alabama, terminal, where a white mob attacked the riders with baseball bats and clubs as they disembarked. Attorney General Kennedy sent 600 federal marshals to the city to stop the violence.

The following night, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. led a service at the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, which was attended by more than one thousand supporters of the Freedom Riders. A riot ensued outside the church, and King called Robert Kennedy to ask for protection.

Kennedy summoned the federal marshals, who used teargas to disperse the white mob. Patterson declared martial law in the city and dispatched the National Guard to restore order.

On May 24, 1961, a group of Freedom Riders departed Montgomery for Jackson, Mississippi. There, several hundred supporters greeted the riders. However, those who attempted to use the whites-only facilities were arrested for trespassing and taken to the maximum-security penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi.

During their hearings, the judge turned and looked at the wall rather than listen to the Freedom Riders’ defense—as had been the case when sit-in participants were arrested for protesting segregated lunch counters in Tennessee. He sentenced the riders to 30 days in jail.

Attorneys from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a civil rights organization, appealed the convictions all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which reversed them.

The violence and arrests continued to garner national and international attention, and drew hundreds of new Freedom Riders to the cause.

The rides continued over the next several months, and in the fall of 1961, under pressure from the Kennedy administration, the Interstate Commerce Commission issued regulations prohibiting segregation in interstate transit terminals. Research more about the summer of ’61 in the south and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

May 3 1919- Nella Larson

GM – FBF – Most people have heard about “The Harlem Renaissance” and the explosion of performing arts, music and literature. Have you heard of this award winning author? Enjoy!

Remember – “These people yapped loudly of race, of race consciousness, of race pride, and yet suppressed its most delightful manifestations, love of color, joy of rhythmic motion, naive, spontaneous laughter. Harmony, radiance, and simplicity, all the essentials of spiritual beauty in the race they had marked for destructions.” – Nella Larsen

Today in our History – May 3,1919 – Nella Larsen marries Dr. Elmer Samuel Imes, a black physicist who became the chairman of the Physics Department at Fisk University.

Nella Larsen, nurse, librarian, and, writer, was born Nella Marie Larsen in Chicago in 1891 to a Danish mother and a black West Indian father. Knowing little about her father after his death when she was two years old, she was reared in the home with her mother, remarried to a Danish man, and her half-sister. Larsen attended school in all white environments in Chicago until 1906-1907, when she moved to Nashville, Tennessee to attend high school at Fisk University’s Normal School. This was her introduction to a predominantly black environment.

After completing the year at Fisk, Larsen journeyed to Denmark where she spent three years (1909-1912) with relatives and audited courses from the University of Copenhagen. Returning to the United States, she entered a three-year course of study at Lincoln Hospital Training School for Nurses in New York City. Larsen later practiced nursing from 1915 to 1921 at John A. Andrew Hospital and Nurse Training School in Alabama and the City Department of Health in New York. On May 3, 1919, Larsen married Dr. Elmer Samuel Imes, a black physicist who became the chairman of the Physics Department at Fisk University.

From 1922 to 1926, Larsen served as a librarian at the New York Public Library. After resigning from this position, she began her literary career by writing her first novel, Quicksand (1928). Meshing autobiography and fiction in order to explore the psychology of racial dualism and marginality on black middle class women, Quicksand won Larsen the Harmon Foundation’s bronze medal (second prize) and secured her a position as an important literary figure of the Harlem Renaissance.

In her second novel, Passing (1929), Larsen suggests with the contrastive lives of two women that passing is as much a psychological state of mind as it is physical. After the publication of this novel, in 1930 Larsen was awarded the first Guggenheim Fellowship to an African American woman.

Working on her third book in Spain, Larsen was distracted by a charge of plagiarism of her short story, “Sanctuary” (1930) and an accidental discovery of her husband’s infidelity. Although she was cleared of the plagiarism charge, her marriage did not survive; she was divorced in Nashville, Tennessee in 1933. Added to these complications in her life, the stock market crash of 1929 reduced the financial assistance available to support black artists. Larsen never completed her third novel.

After her former husband’s death in 1941, the alimony payments ceased and Larsen returned to her nursing career, working at Bethel Hospital in Brooklyn until she died in 1964. Research more about THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

April 5, 1938- Walter Eugene Massey

GM – FBF – I will be facilitating. a sales training class and will not be be able to respond to any posts today. Make it a champion day!

Remember – ” Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” – Walter Eugene Massey

Today in our History –

Prominent educator Walter Eugene Massey was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on April 5, 1938. His father, Almar, was a steelworker and his mother, Essie, a teacher. Massey had an exceptional mind, even at an early age. By the time he finished 10th grade, his skills in mathematics were strong enough to earn him a college scholarship. Massey enrolled at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and graduated with a BS in math and physics in 1958.

While working on his master’s and doctorate degrees at Washington University in St. Louis, Massey conducted research on the quantum of liquids and solids. He received a PhD in 1966. Massey began his teaching career as an associate professor at the University of Illinois then moved to Brown University in 1970, becoming a full professor five years later.

While teaching at both Illinois and Brown, Massey began to focus on the gap in the achievement levels between his black, Latino and white students. He commended the dramatic increase in college enrollment of minority students in higher education in the 1970s, but recognized the small numbers of these students in math and the sciences. To address this issue, Massey became a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (founded 1848), where he pushed for greater science literacy especially in schools with large numbers of black and Latino students. Eventually Massey became the first African American president of the organization. He also served as director of the National Science Foundation (founded 1950) from 1991 to 1993 where he promoted more opportunities for minority students in math, science and engineering programs at predominately white institutions. He also called for increased funding for programs in these areas for students in African American institutions.

Between 1993 and 1995, Massey served as the University of California, Berkeley provost and senior vice president of academic affairs before being named president of his alma mater, Morehouse College, until his retirement in 2007. He has been a director of Bank of America since 1993 and currently serves as its chairman of the board.

Massey was also was appointed chair of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board in 1997 and was a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology during the terms of Presidents George Bush and George W. Bush. Over his career Walter Massey has received 30 honorary degrees. He and his wife Shirley Anne have two sons. Recearch more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!