Category: Inventors/ or firsts

August 21 1893- George Speck

GM – FBF – Today I would like to share with you a story that you all love or his Invention anyway. You love it so much that your parents introduced it to you and you have welcomed it to your family. It was a hard road for this Black man but he overcame the odds. Enjoy!

Remember – ” Who would have thought that potato shavings would be a treat for the world. – George Crum

Today in our History – August 21,1893 – The Potato Chip was massed produced.

George Speck (also called George Crum; 1824– July 22, 1914) was an American chef. He worked as a hunter, guide, and cook in the Adirondack mountains, and became renowned for his culinary skills after being hired at Moon’s Lake House on Saratoga Lake, near Saratoga Springs, New York.

Speck’s specialities included wild game, especially venison and duck, and he often experimented in the kitchen. During the 1850s, while working at Moon’s Lake House in the midst of a dinner rush, Speck tried slicing the potatoes extra thin and dropping it into the deep hot fat of the frying pan. Although recipes for potato chips were published in several cookbooks decades prior to the 1850s, a local legend associates Speck with the creation of potato chip.

Speck was born on July 15, 1824 in Saratoga County in upstate New York. Some sources suggest that the family lived in Ballston Spa or Malta; others suggest they came from the Adirondacks. Depending upon the source, his father, Abraham, and mother Diana, were variously identified as African American, Oneida, Stockbridge, and/or Mohawk. Some sources associate the family with the St. Regis (Akwesasne) Mohawk reservation that straddles the US/Canada border. Speck and his sister Kate Wicks, like other Native American or mixed-race people of that era, were variously described as “Indian,” “Mulatto,” “Black,” or just “Colored,” depending on the snap judgement of the census taker.

Speck developed his culinary skills at Cary Moon’s Lake House on Saratoga Lake, noted as an expensive restaurant at a time when wealthy families from Manhattan and other areas were building summer “camps” in the area. Speck and his sister, Wicks, also cooked at the Sans Souci in Ballston Spa, alongside another St. Regis Mohawk Indian known for his skills as a guide and cook, Pete Francis. One of the regular customers at Moon’s was Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who, although he savored the food, could never seem to remember Speck’s name. On one occasion, he called a waiter over to ask “Crum,” “How long before we shall eat?” Rather than take offense, Speck decided to embrace the nickname, figuring that, “A crumb is bigger than a speck.”[

Speck developed his culinary skills at Cary Moon’s Lake House on Saratoga Lake, noted as an expensive restaurant at a time when wealthy families from Manhattan and other areas were building summer “camps” in the area. Speck and his sister, Wicks, also cooked at the Sans Souci in Ballston Spa, alongside another St. Regis Mohawk Indian known for his skills as a guide and cook, Pete Francis.[

One of the regular customers at Moon’s was Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who, although he savored the food, could never seem to remember Speck’s name. On one occasion, he called a waiter over to ask “Crum,” “How long before we shall eat?” Rather than take offense, Speck decided to embrace th e nickname, figuring that, “A crumb is bigger than a speck.” a yed no favorites.” Guests were obliged to wait their turn, the millionaire as well as the wage-earner. Mr. Vanderbilt once was obliged to wait an hour and a half for a meal…With none but rich pleasure-seekers as his guests, Speck kept his tables laden with the best of everything, and for it all charged Delmonico prices.”[

Recipes for frying potato slices were published in several cookbooks in the 19th century. In 1832, a recipe for fried potato “shavings” was included in a United States cookbook derived from an earlier English collection. William Kitchiner’s The Cook’s Oracle (1822), also included techniques for such a dish. Similarly, N.K.M. Lee’s cookbook, The Cook’s Own Book (1832), has a recipe that is very similar to Kitchiner’s.

The New York Tribune ran a feature article on “Crum’s: The Famous Eating House on Saratoga Lake” in December 1891, but mentioned nothing about potato chips. Neither did Crum’s commissioned biography, published in 1893, nor did one 1914 obituary in a local paper. Another obituary states “Crum is said to have been the actual inventor of “Saratoga chips.”” When Wicks died in 1924, however, her obituary authoritatively identified her as follows: “A sister of George Crum, Mrs. Catherine Wicks, died at the age of 102, and was the cook at Moon’s Lake House. She first invented and fried the famous Saratoga Chips.”

Wicks recalled the invention of Saratoga Chips as an accident: she had “chipped off a piece of the potato which, by the merest accident, fell into the pan of fat. She fished it out with a fork and set it down upon a plate beside her on the table.” Her brother tasted it, declared it good, and said, “We’ll have plenty of these.” In a 1932 interview with the Saratogian newspaper, her grandson, John Gilbert Freeman, asserted Wicks’s role as the true inventor of the potato chip.

Hugh Bradley’s 1940 history of Saratoga contains some information about Speck, based on local folklore as much as on any specific historical primary sources. In their 1983 article in Western Folklore, Fox and Banner say that Bradley had cited an 1885 article in the Hotel Gazette about Speck and the potato chips. Bradley repeated some material from that article, including that “Crum was born in 1828, the son of Abe Speck, a mulatto jockey who had come from Kentucky to Saratoga Springs and married a Stockbridge Indian woman,” and that, “Crum also claimed to have considerable German and Spanish blood.”

In any event, Speck helped popularize the potato chip, first as a cook at Moon’s and then in his own place. Cary Moon, owner of Moon’s Lake House, later rushed to claim credit for the invention, and began mass-producing the chips, first served in paper cones, then packaged in boxes. They became wildly popular: “It was at Moon’s that Clio first tasted the famous Saratoga chips, said to have originated there, and it was she who first scandalized spa society by strolling along Broadway and about the paddock at the race track crunching the crisp circlets out of a paper sack as though they were candy or peanuts. She made it the fashion, and soon you saw all Saratoga dipping into cornucopias filled with golden-brown paper-thin potatoes; a gathered crowd was likely to create a sound like a scuffling through dried autumn leaves.” Visitors to Saratoga Springs were advised to take the 10-mile journey around the lake to Moon’s if only for the chips: “the hobby of the Lake House is Fried Potatoes, and these they serve in good style. They are sold in papers like confectionary.”

A 1973 advertising campaign by the St. Regis Paper Company, which manufactured packaging for chips, featured an ad for Speck and his story, published in the national magazines, Fortune and Time. During the late 1970s, the variant of the story featuring Vanderbilt became popular because of the interest in his wealth and name, and evidence suggests the source was an advertising agency for the Potato Chip/Snack Food Association.

A 1983 article in Western Folklore identifies potato chips as having originated in Saratoga Springs, New York, while critiquing the variants of popular stories. In all versions, the chips became popular and subsequently known as “Saratoga chips” or “potato crunches”.

The 21st-century Snopes website writes that Crum’s customer, if he existed, was more likely an obscure one. Vanderbilt was indeed a regular customer at both Crum’s Malta restaurant and Moon’s Lake House, but there is no evidence that he played a role by requesting or promoting potato chips. Research more about Black Inventors and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

August 16 1947-Carol Moseley Braun

GM – FBF – Get ready for a great day! Let’s go back and examine the story of the first Black woman elected to sreve in the United States Senate. Enjoy!

Remember – “Bush is giving the rich a tax cut instead of putting that cut in the pockets of working people.” – Carol Moseley

Today in our History – August 16, 1947 – Carol Moseley Braun, the first African American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate, was born in Chicago, Illinois.

Braun, attended the Chicago Public Schools and received a degree from the University of Illinois in 1969. She earned her degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1972.

Moseley Braun served as assistant prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago from 1972 to 1978. In the latter year she was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives and served in that body for ten years. During her tenure Moseley Braun made educational reform a priority. She also became the first African American assistant majority leader in the history of the Illinois legislature. Moseley Braun returned to Chicago in 1988 to serve as Cook County Recorder of Deeds.

Capitalizing on the public furor over the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill controversy and in particular the way in which Hill was treated by U.S. Senators, Carol Moseley Braun upset incumbent Senator Alan Dixon in the Illinois Democratic Primary in 1992 and went on to become the first female Senator elected from Illinois and the first African American woman in the U.S. Senate. During her term in the U.S. Senate (1992-1998) Moseley Braun focused on education issues. She served on the Senate Finance, Banking and Judiciary Committee; the 
Small Business Committee; and the Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

In 1998, Moseley Braun was defeated for re-election in a campaign marred by allegations of illegal campaign donations during her 1992 campaign, although she was never formally charged with misconduct. Moseley Braun was also hurt by her business ties to Nigerian dictator Sami Abacha. After her 1998 defeat President Bill Clinton nominated Moseley Braun to the post of U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, a post she held until 2001

Late in 2003 Moseley Braun announced her candidacy for the Democratic Nomination for President. However, she failed to attract financial support and withdrew from the race on January 14, 2004.

After teaching briefly at Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia, Moseley Braun returned to Chicago where she now lives. Research more about the great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

August 11 1872- Soloman Carter Fuller

GM – FBF – Today I want to share with you the story of the first Black psychiatrist. He also was at the forefront of understanding the effects of Alzheimer’s, a disease which I have lost some family members and parents of some of my friends. When people tell you that our race is just about entertainment and sports let them know that we have a rich background in all fields of the human race. Enjoy!

Remember – “When you know that you don’t know, you’ve got to read.” Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller

Today in our History – August 11, 1872 – Solomon Carter Fuller was born.

Solomon Carter Fuller, an early 20th century psychiatrist, researcher, and medical educator, was born on August 11, 1872 in Monrovia, Liberia. His parents, Solomon C. and Anna Ursilla (James) Fuller, were Americo-Liberians. Solomon Carter Fuller was the first African American psychiatrist. He also performed considerable research concerning degenerative diseases of the brain. Solomon’s grandfather was a Virginia slave who bought his and his wife’s freedom and moved to Norfolk, Virginia. The grandfather then emigrated to Liberia in 1852 to help establish a settlement of African Americans.

Fuller always showed an interest in medicine, especially since his grandparents were medical missionaries in Liberia. In 1889, Solomon migrated to the United States to attend Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina. He then attended Long Island College Medical School and completed his medical degree at the Boston University School of Medicine in 1897. Fuller completed an internship at Westborough State Hospital in Boston and stayed on as a pathologist. He eventually became a faculty member of the Boston University School of Medicine. In 1909 Fuller married Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, an internationally known sculptor. The couple had three children, Solomon C., William T., and Perry J. Fuller.

Fuller faced discrimination in the medical field in the form of unequal salaries and underemployment. His duties often involved performing autopsies, an unusual procedure for that era. While performing these autopsies Fuller made discoveries which allowed him to advance in his career as well contribute to the scientific and medical communities.

Solomon Fuller’s major contribution was to the growing clinical knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease. As part of his post-graduate studies at the University of Munich (Germany), Fuller researched pathology and specifically neuropathology. In 1903 Solomon Carter Fuller was one of the five foreign students chosen by Alois Alzheimer to do research at the Royal Psychiatric Hospital at the University of Munich. He also helped correctly diagnose and train others to correctly diagnose the side effects of syphilis to prevent black war veterans from getting misdiagnosed, discharged, and ineligible for military benefits. He trained these young doctors at the Veteran’s Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama before the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiments (1932-1972).

Through much of his early professional career (1899-1933) Fuller was employed with Boston University’s School of Medicine where the highest position he attained was associate professor. Solomon Carter Fuller died of diabetes in 1953 in Framingham, Massachusetts. In 1974, the Black Psychiatrists of America created the Solomon Carter Fuller Program for young black aspiring psychiatrists to complete their residency. The Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center in Boston is also named after Dr. Fuller. Research more about blacks in the medical profession and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

August 10 1965- Cassandra Quin Butt

GM – FBF – Today, I would like to share with you the story of a young lady who was with President Obama from his early days in IL. throught his time in the White House, Enjoy!

Remember – ” Dreams are just thant unless you work on turning a dream into your reality” – 
Cassandra Quin Butt

Today in our History – August 10, 1965 – Deputy White House Counsel to President Barack Obama is born.

Cassandra Quin Butt is Deputy White House Counsel to President Barack Obama on issues relating to civil rights, domestic policy, healthcare, and education. She brought seventeen years of experience in politics and policy to her position. She is a long-time friend of the President, acting as an advisor during his term in the U.S. Senate and throughout his presidential campaign. Additionally, she served as a member of the presidential transition team.

Butts was born on August 10, 1965, in Brooklyn, New York, and at age nine moved to Durham, North Carolina. She graduated from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill with a BA in political science. While at UNC she participated in anti-apartheid protests. She entered Harvard Law School in 1988 where her friendship with future President Barack Obama began when both were filling out forms in the student financial aid line. Butts continued her activism at Harvard where she joined in protests regarding hiring practices for faculty of color. She received a JD from Harvard in 1991.

The first black woman to function as Deputy White House Counsel gradually rose to prominence Her first job was as a counselor at the YMCA in Durham, North Carolina, and after graduating from UNC she worked for a year as a researcher with the African News Service in Durham. For six years she was a registered lobbyist with the Center for American Progress (CAP), rising to Senior Vice President.

Butts served as an election observer in the 2000 Zimbabwean parliamentary elections and was a counsel to Senator Harris Wofford of Pennsylvania. Butts then performed litigation and policy work as assistant counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., where she worked on civil rights policy and litigated voting rights and school desegregation cases. She spent seven years working as a senior advisor to U.S. Congressman and Democratic Majority Leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri. Working with Gephardt honed her political skills with her appointment as policy director on his 2004 presidential campaign, during which she helped formulate a universal health care plan. She also was his principal advisor on matters involving judiciary, financial services, and information technology issues. By 1998 Butts provided strategic advice to the Majority Leader on a range of issues including the 1998 presidential impeachment and legislation relating to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. While working for Gephardt she helped draft the groundbreaking September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001.

In her current White House position, Butts advises President Obama on general domestic policy concerns. Additionally, she specializes in matters related to presidential policy, ethical questions, financial disclosures, and legal issues surrounding the President’s decision to sign or veto legislation. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it A champion day!

August 4 1896- Archia L. Ross

GM – FBF – Today, I would like to share with you a story of two different people and the paths that they took in America at the turn of the 20th century to be successful. One was a hard working blue collar business owner and hustler, who’s Inventions kept him in business because he relied on the Inventions to feed himself and his family and the other was a College graduate who became a doctor and did his Inventions as a hobby. Both will receive one of their Inventions patents from the U.S. Government the same day. Enjoy!

Remember – “America is full of entrepreneurs, inventors, and dreamers.” – Archia L. Ross – Black Inventor and Business Owner

Today in our History – August 4, 1896 – Two Black Inventors receive U.S. patents on the same day.

Archia L. Ross received a patent for a runner to be used on doorsteps and stoops (565,301). George Franklin Grant received a patent for Curtain Rod Support (565,075).

Archia L. Ross, an African American inventor, received five U.S. patents for inventions at the turn of the 20th century. The inventions were a runner for stoops (1896), a bag closure device (1898), a wrinkle-preventing trouser stretcher (1899), a garment-hanger (1903), and a holder for brooms and like articles. Ross was a resident of the New York City metropolitan area, who also patented some of the inventions in Canada.

Ross received a patent August 4, 1896 for a runner to be used on doorsteps and stoops (565,301). Runners were used to prevent slipping and falling on icy walkways. It could be used for private and public places. The basic design was a series of interlocking mats. The runner could be removed as needed and required minimal place for storage. Ross lived in New York City when the patent was filed. The runner was also patented in Canada.

In 1915, Archia L. Ross had a store at 763 Lexington in Manhattan which sold wardrobe fixtures for hanging clothes. The home residence was 818 E. 214th Street. Three years later, the listing was for Archie L. Ross and the business was located at 419 Lexington Avenue, with the same home residence. No date of birth or death or pictures of A.L. Ross.

George Franklin Grant (September 15, 1846 – August 21, 1910) was the first African-American professor at Harvard. He was also a Boston dentist, and an inventor of a wooden golf tee and Curtain Rod Support.

He was born on September 15, 1846, in Oswego, New York, to Phillis Pitt and Tudor Elandor Grant former slaves.

When he was fifteen years old a local dentist, Dr. Albert Smith, hired him as an errand boy. He soon became a lab assistant, and Dr. Smith encouraged him to pursue a career in dentistry. In 1868 he and Robert Tanner Freeman, another son of former slaves, became the first blacks to enroll in Harvard Dental School. After receiving his degree in 1870, he became the first African American faculty member at Harvard, in the School of Mechanical Dentistry, where he served for 19 years.

While there he specialized in treating patients with congenital cleft palates. His first patient was a 14 year-old girl, and by 1889 he had treated 115 cases. He patented the oblate palate, a prosthetic device that allowed patients to speak more normally. He was a founding member and president of the Harvard Odonatological Society, and, in 1881, he was elected President of the Harvard Dental Association.

He got into inventing when he faced a problem at his office and the curtains bulging in the middle and he received a patent for the curtain rod support on August 4, 1896.

Grant was an avid golfer. In 1899 he improved on Percy Ellis’ “Perfectum” tee. He invented and patented a golf tee whittled from wood and capped with gutta-percha, a latex resin used in dentistry for root canals.

He died on August 21, 1910, at his vacation home in Chester, New Hampshire, of liver disease.

U.S. Patent 565,075 – Curtain Rod Support – 8/4/1896 – U.S. Patent 638,920 – Wooden Golf Tee 12/12/1899. Research more about Black Inventors and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

August 2 1887- Joseph H. Rainy

GM – FBF – Today, I would like to share with you the story of the first African American to be elected and seated as a United States House of Represenatives member from South Carolina. Still today, you may be elected by the people of your home district but if not seated in Washington, D.C. by the body that you were elected to you will not represent them in Congress. Article I, section 5 of the U.S. Constitution provides the House with the authority to determine whether Members -elect are qualified to be seated. Did you know that? or U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 2, clause 2, kept many Blacks from serving in Washington during the early stages of Reconstruction. “Each house shall be the judge of the … qualifications of its own members.” Read the constitution and learn. Enjoy!

Remember – “We love freedom more, vastly more, than slavery. Consequently, we hope to keep clear of the Democrats!” – Speech on the the Ku Klux Klan Bill of April 1871 on the floor of the U.S. House of Represenatives – Joseph H. Rainey (R-SC)

Today in oue History – August 2, 1887 – Joseph Hayne Rainey died in Georgetown,S.C., the city of his birth – of congestive fever, interment in the Baptist Cemetery.

In 1870 Republican Joseph Hayne Rainey became the first African American to be elected to the United States House of Representatives and take his seat. Others were elected earlier but were not seated. Rainey was born in Georgetown, South Carolina, on June 21,1832. His parents had been slaves but his father purchased his family’s freedom and taught him to be a barber. The family moved to Charleston in 1846. Rainey, however, traveled frequently outside the South and married in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1859.

In 1861 Joseph Rainey was drafted to work on a Confederate blockade runner during the Civil War. In 1862 he escaped to Bermuda with his wife and worked there as a barber before returning to South Carolina in 1866.

Once back in the state, he joined the executive committee of the newly formed South Carolina Republican party. In 1868 he was elected a delegate to the state Constitutional Convention. Two years later in 1870 Rainey was elected to a four-year term in the state senate where he soon became the Chairman of the Finance Committee. His tenure in the South Carolina State Senate was brief. When South Carolina Congressman Benjamin F. Whittemore resigned Rainey won the seat in a special election. He served in the 41st Congress and was appointed to the Committee on Freedmen’s Affairs and the Committee on Indian Affairs. Rainey ran for reelection in 1872 without opposition. In May 1874 he became the first African American representative to preside over a House session.

In 1876, with the Democrats reemerging as the dominant force in South Carolina at the end of Reconstruction, Rainey barely defeated Democrat John S. Richardson for Congress. Richardson, who never conceded the election, contested Rainey’s seat for the next two years. In 1878 Richardson won the seat, ending Rainey’s Congressional career.

Rainey returned to South Carolina and in 1879 was appointed an Internal Revenue Agent in the state by President Rutherford B. Hayes. He held the post until 1881 when he returned to Washington, D.C. where he hoped to serve as Clerk of the House of Representatives. Unable to obtain the appointment, Rainey instead started a brokerage and banking firm. After this failed he managed a coal and wood yard before returning to South Carolina impoverished and ill. Joseph Hayne Rainey died in Georgetown on August 2,1887, leaving a widow and five children. Research more about Blacks serving in Congress during Reconstruction and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

July 28 1868-

GM – FBF – Today, I want to share with you an article that I wrote for a newspaper back in 1996 – 128 years since the admendment was passed. Now it’s has been 150 years is there any changes since the article?

Remember – ” We as a people need all of the support of this President as the Civil War is ending and slaves will truely be free” – Frederick Douglass

Today in our History – July 28, 1868 – The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adoped by all states.

This is an artilce that I wrote back in 1996 when I was Teaching at Red Bank Regional High School in Little Silver, New Jersey as Director of Black Studies:

What will it take for African-Americans to gain their citizenship? Brought to the shores of this land for the sole purpose of hard labor and a permanent, inherited and inherent state of servitude, Black people never were meant to become citizens. And yet this is what happened on July 28,1868, when the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted. It was on that day that Secretary of State William Seward issued a proclamation in which he certified the ratification of the 14th Amendment by the states.

Since that time, it has been an uphill battle for the descendants of slaves to remove the badge of slavery, even when the physical shackles were removed.

Malcolm X articulated the extent of the problem of citizenship for African-Americans in a 1963 interview, when journalist Louis Lomax pressed the issue.

“If they were citizens, you wouldn’t have a race problem. If the Emancipation Proclamation was authentic, you wouldn’t have a race problem. If the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution were authentic, you wouldn’t have a race problem,” Malcolm insisted. “If the Supreme Court desegregation decision was authentic, you wouldn’t have a race problem. All of this hypocrisy that has been practiced by the so-called white so-called liberal for the past 400 years, that compounds the problem, makes it more complicated, instead of eliminating the problem.”

Civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer said, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” And Hamer wanted to become a “first-class citizen,” as she testified at the 1964 Democratic Convention as a founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, in opposition to her state’s whites-only delegation. She spoke of the beatings, harassment and threats she faced from white supremacists for attempting to exercise her rights as a citizen.

“Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off of the hooks because our lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings, in America?” she asked.

Black people in America are constantly made to fight for their rights, and are subjected to the whims of a hostile white majority. Being a citizen on paper and under the law proves illusory when the institutional racism against us has not abated.

New movements are necessary every few decades or so in order to secure the rights we were told we already have. And even today, there is a struggle among Black people, who are fighting for an existence free from state violence, mass incarceration and institutional racism.

Section 1 of the amendment says the following:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

With the enactment of the 14th Amendment, the infamous Dred Scott v. Sanford decision — which held that the descendants of African people could not be citizens — was no more. In Dred Scott, Blacks, according to Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it.”

“The Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment guaranteed formal citizenship to ‘all persons born in the United States’ including African Americans.

In its original conception, the 14th Amendment was an anti-subordination law designed to lift African-Americans out of slavery and allow them to be equal citizens. This requires remedial action ordered by the courts or passed by Congress (see Section 5). However, when the U.S. Supreme Court took a conservative turn in the 1970s, it began viewing the 14th Amendment as an anti-classification law, which meant that remedial actions designed to help African-Americans attain true citizenship became suspect. We saw this through the Court’s hostility toward desegregation and affirmative action.

Slavery was abolished in part to promote the industrial future of America and steer it away from being an agrarian society. De jure segregation was eliminated because it was an international embarrassment after World War II, when the United States wanted to expand its global influence and, in the wake of the Cold War, to prevent African-Americans from being drawn to communism.

So in my view, laws are not enough. Activism is not enough. But we need both laws and activism, and at the right historical moment, African-Americans will gain some more citizenship rights. It will not be full citizenship, and it is a slow climb — certainly not satisfying to advocates of racial justice. But this is the unfortunate reality in my view. Research more about this and the other Civil Rights Admendments and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

July 24 1954- Mary Eliza Church

GM – FBF – Today, I would like to share with you a story of an American social activist who was co – founder and first president of the National Association of Colored Women. She was an early civil rights advocate, an educator, an author, and a lecturer on woman suffrage and rights for African Americans. Enjoy!

Remember – “”Keep on going, keep on insisting, keep on fighting injustice.” – Mary Eliza Church Terrell

Today in our History – July 24,1954 – Mary Eliza Church Terrell Annapolis, MD.. Born Sept. 23, 1863, Memphis, Tenn.,

Civil rights activist and suffragist. She was born in Memphis, Tennessee,the daughter of Robert Church and Louisa Ayers, both former slaves. Robert was the son of his white master, Charles Church. During the Memphis race riots in 1866 Mary’s father was shot in the head and left for dead.

He survived the attack and eventually became a successful businessman. He speculated in the property market and was considered to be the wealthiest black man in the South. Although she was fair skinned enough to “pass” as a white person if she had so chosen, she placed herself firmly in the struggle for African American empowerment. She was an outstanding student and after graduating from Oberlin College, Ohio, in 1884, she taught at a black secondary school in Washington and at Wilberforce University in Ohio.

Through her father, Mary met Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington. She was especially close to Douglass and worked with him on several civil rights campaigns. After a two year traveling and studying in France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and England (1888-1890), Mary returned to the United States where she married Robert Heberton Terrell, a lawyer who was later to become the first black municipal court judge in Washington. In 1892 Church’s friend, Tom Moss, a grocer from Memphis, was lynched by a white mob. Church and Frederick Douglass had a meeting with Benjamin Harrison concerning this case but the president was unwilling to make a public statement condemning lynching.

Terrell was an active member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and was particularly concerned about ensuring the organization continued to fight for black women getting the vote. With Josephine Ruffin she formed the Federation of Afro-American Women and in 1896 she became the first president of the newly formed National Association of Colored Women. In 1904 she was invited to speak at the Berlin International Congress of Women. She was the only black woman at the conference and, determined to make a good impression, she created a sensation when she gave her speech in German, French and English.

During the First World War Terrell and her daughter Phillis joined Alice Paul and Lucy Burns of the Congressional Union for Women Suffrage (CUWS) in picketing the White House. She was particularly upset when in one demonstration outside of the White House, leaders of the party asked the black suffragist, Ida Wells-Barnett, not to march with other members. It was feared that identification with black civil rights would lose the support of white women in the South. Despite pressure from people like Mary White Ovington, leaders of the CUWS refused to publicly state that they endorsed black female suffrage. In 1909 Terrell joined with Ovington to form the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

The first meeting of the NAACP was held on 12th February, 1909. Early members included Josephine Ruffin, Jan Addams, Inez Milholland, William B. DuBois, Charles Darrow, Charles Edward Russell, Lincoln Steffens, Ray Stannard Baker, and Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Terrell wrote several books including her autobiography, “A Colored Woman in a White World” (1940). In the early 1950s she was involved in the struggle against segregation in public eating places in Washington. Her motto was “Keep on going, keep on insisting, keep on fighting injustice.” Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

July 22 1939-Jane Matilda Bolin

GM – FBF – Today I would like to share with you the story of Jane M. Bolin a trailblazing attorney who became the first African-American female judge in the United States, serving on New York’s Family Court for four decades. Enjoy!

Remember – “I’d rather see if I can help a child than settle an argument between adults over money” – Jane Matilda Bolin

Today in our History – July 22,1939 -Jane Matilda Bolin made history as the first African-American female judge in the United States.

Born in Poughkeepsie, New York, on April 11, 1908, Jane Bolin graduated from Yale Law School and, after relocating to New York City, became sworn in by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia as the first African-American female judge in the U.S. She served on the Family Court bench for four decades, advocating for children and families via outside institutions as well. She died at age 98 on January 8, 2007.

Jane Matilda Bolin was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, on April 11, 1908, to an interracial couple, Matilda Ingram Emery and Gaius C. Bolin. Her father was an attorney who headed the Dutchess County Bar Association and cared for the family after his wife’s illness and death, which occurred when Bolin was a child.

Jane Bolin was a superb student who graduated from high school in her mid-teens and went on to enroll at Wellesley College. Though facing overt racism and social isolation, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1928 and was officially recognized as one of the top students of her class. She then attended Yale Law School, contending with further social hostilities, yet nonetheless graduating in 1931 and thus becoming the first African-American woman to earn a law degree from the institution.

Bolin worked with her family’s practice in her home city for a time before marrying attorney Ralph E. Mizelle in 1933 and relocating to New York. As the decade progressed, after campaigning unsuccessfully for a state assembly seat on the Republican ticket, she took on assistant corporate counsel work for New York City, creating another landmark as the first African-American woman to hold that position.

On July 22, 1939, a 31-year-old Bolin was called to appear at the World’s Fair before Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, who—completely unbeknownst to the attorney—had plans to swear her in as a judge. Thus Bolin made history again as the first African-American female judge in the United States.

Having already been assigned to what would be known as Family Court, Bolin was a thoughtful, conscientious force on the bench, confronting a range of issues on the domestic front and taking great care when it came to the plight of children. She also changed segregationist policies that had been entrenched in the system, including skin-color based assignments for probation officers.

Additionally, Bolin worked with first lady Eleanor Roosevelt in providing support for the Wiltwyck School, a comprehensive, holistic program to help eradicate juvenile crime among boys.
Bolin faced personal challenges, as well. Her first husband died in 1943, and she raised their young son, Yorke, for several years on her own. She remarried in 1950 to Walter P. Offutt Jr.

Bolin was reinstated as a judge for three additional terms, 10 years each, after her first, also serving on the boards of several organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the New York Urban League. Though she preferred to continue, Bolin was required to retire from the bench at the age of 70, subsequently working as a consultant and school-based volunteer, as well as with the New York State Board of Regents. She died in Long Island City, Queens, New York, on January 8, 2007, at the age of 98.

A 2011 biography was published on Bolin’s career—Daughter of the Empire State: The Life of Judge Jane Bolin by Jacqueline A. McLeod for the University of Illinois Press. The cover of the book features a mid-1940s painting of Bolin by Betsey Graves Reyneau, which is part of the National Portrait Gallery’s collection. Research more about black woman lawer’s and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

July 21 1818-Charles Lewis Reason

GM – FBF – Today, I want to share a story of the first black to teach at a predominantly white college in the United States. Imagine the everyday pressures he endured with courage and confidence. We have shown you that W.E.B. Dubois and William Monroe Trotter were against Booker T. Washington’s way of educating black youth. However, Charles L. Reason saw the importance of both industrial and classical education and even started a normal school (teachers’ training college) in New York City.

Remember – “O Freedom! Freedom! O! how oft
Thy loving children call on Thee!
In wailings loud, and breathings soft,
Beseeching God, Thy face to see. – from the poem FREEDOM – Charles Lewis Reason

Today in our History – July 21, 1818 – The first Black educator to teach at a predominantly white college is born.

Charles Lewis Reason was an Black American mathematician, linguist, and educator.

Reason was born on July 21, 1818, in New York City. His parents were Michael and Elizabeth Reason, who were immigrants from Guadeloupe and Saint-Dominque Haiti. Both of Reasons came as refugees in 1793 shortly after the early years of the Haitian Revolution of 1793.

The Reason’s were big on education for their children, and early on young Reason showed a aptitude for mathematics. Reason began his American education at the New York African Free School, and at the age fourteen Reason began teaching mathematics at the same school. His salary was $25 per year. Reason went on to study at New-York Central College, McGrawville, an predominantly white college in the United States.

In 1850, Reason began teaching at the same college and began professor of belles lettres, Greek, Latin, and French, while serving as an adjust professor of mathematics to majority white students. He was actually the first African-American to serve as a serve at a majority-white college.
Two years before becoming an professor in 1847, Reason along with other prominent African-Americans, such as Charles Bennett Ray (December 25, 1807 – August 15, 1886), founded the New York – Based Society, for the promotion of Education among colored children.

After three years at New-York Central College, Reason gave up his positions and moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and assume an position as principal at the Institute for Colored Youth first black principal. The institution was founded in 1837, and was one of the best schools for African- Americans in the United States. (later the school was renamed to Cheyney University).

During his time at ICY, Reason increased enrollment from six students to 118 students. He also expanded the library holdings and exposed the students to outstanding African-American intellectuals and leaders of that time. He held this position until 1856. reason returned to New York City, where he became an administrator, and reformer of New York public schools. A position he held for decades.

Reason was active and very instrumental in efforts to abolish slavery and segregation and 1873, he successfully lobbied for passage to integrate New York’s public schools. After the public schools were desegregated in New York, he became the principal of Grammar School No. 80 at 252 West 42nd street.

Reason was also a poet. He contributed to the Colored American in the 1830s and was a leader of New York City’s Phoenix Society in the 1840s. He wrote the poem “Freedom”, which celebrated the British abolitionist Thomas Clarkson; it was published in Alexander Crummell’s 1849 biography of Clarkson.

Not much documentation has been found on Reason’s personal life, but he was said to have been married and widowed three times. His third and final wife was Clorice (Duplessis) Esteve (1819–1884), whom he married in New York City on July 17, 1855. They had no children, although she had a daughter from her previous marriage to John Lucien Esteve (1809–1852), a French West Indian confectioner, restaurateur and caterer in New York City.

Reason suffered two strokes one in 1885, and another in 1890. The effects of the strokes left him physically incapacitated.

Three years after his last stroke and at the age 75, Charles Lewis Reason passed away in New York City on August 16, 1893, and is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY. Research more about great Black mathmaticians and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!