Category: Males

January 7 1890- William B. Purvis

GM – FBF – The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.

Remember – There’s something special about writing by hand, writing with a fountain pen. – W.B. Purvis

Today in our History – January 7,1890 – William B. Purvis (August 12,1838 – August 10,1914) he was an inventor in the late 1800’s. He was a African American inventor who decided to make a better mouse trap. Mr. Purvis turned reality upside down when he invented what is known as the “Fountain Pen”.

On January 7, 1890, W.B. Purvis, one of our great African-American inventors, received a patent for the fountain pen. Purvis saw the need for a more convenient way to sign letters and documents and decided to take action. The fountain pen made the use of an ink bottle obsolete by storing ink within a reservoir within the pen which is then fed to the tip of the pen.
Of his accomplishment, Purvis said, “the object of my invention is to provide a simple, durable, and inexpensive construction of a fountain pen adapted to general use and which may be carried in the pocket.” The invention of the fountain pen is something that individuals and businesses all over the world are thankful for. They are cleaner and more efficient to use than a bottle of ink.

Between 1884 and 1897 Purvis, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native,also invented several other inventions including two machines for making paper bags (which Purvis sold to the Union Paper Bag Company of New York), a bag fastener, a self-inking hand stamp, and several devices for electric railroads. His first paper bag machine (patent #293,353) created satchel bottom type bags in an improved volume and greater automation than previous machines.

W.B. Purvis has played a major role in our lives. He’s just one of the many African-Americans whose inventions impact our lives on a daily basis. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

January 5 1943- George washington Carver

GM -FBF – The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.

Remember – From a child, I had an inordinate desire for knowledge and especially music, painting, flowers, and the sciences, Algebra being one of my favorite studies. – George Washington Carver

Today in our History – January 5, 1943

Born in Missouri around 1864 during the years of Civil War (the exact date and year in which he was born not being known), George Washington Carver was a son of an enslaved couple, Mary and Giles. Only a week after his birth, invaders from Arkansas, a neighboring state, kidnapped him along with his sister and mother. They were sold in Kentucky. However, George was found and sent back to Missouri.

With the end of slavery in Missouri post the Civil War, Moses Carver, the owner of the slaves, kept George and his brother at his home, raising and educating them. With no school accepting black pupils at the time, Moses himself taught George how to read and write.

George struggled a lot to receive education, travelling miles to reach a school for black students. He then went on to receive a diploma from the Minneapolis High School in Kansas. Later, he was accepted in Highland College in Kansas but once the college realized about George’s race, his acceptance was reversed. Thus he resorted to conducting biological experiments on his own.

While science was his primary area of interest, George was also fond of arts. He started studying music and art at Simpson College, Iowa, in 1890 and later moved to Ames to study botany at the Iowa State College of Agriculture where he was the first black student. After completing his bachelors and masters degree from the college, he gained popularity as an excellent botanist.

He then started his journey as a teacher and researcher. Booker T. Washington, the principal of the Tuskegee Institute built for African Americans, hired him to head the institute’s agricultural department in 1896. Under the guidance of Carver, Tuskegee’s agricultural department helped to stabilize many people’s livelihoods by developing new crops and introducing a diversified crop range that could bare harsh weather conditions.

At Tuskegee, Carver’s work as a researcher on plant biology brought him into the limelight. His work focused on finding out how crops such as peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes can be used as raw materials for many other products. His inventions included plastics, dyes and paints amongst others. His speech in 1920 to the Peanut Growers Association highlighting the importance of peanuts as commercial crops led to a tariff being introduced on imported peanuts. He rose to fame for his work as a scientific expert and achieved worldwide popularity in both professional and political groups.

George Washington Carver’s work was admired by President Roosevelt and Carver gave advice to the United States of America on matters pertaining to US agriculture. He was also honored membership of the British Royal Society of Arts in 1916. For ten years following 1923, Carver worked for Interracial Cooperation by visiting white Southern colleges.

While Carver was surely involved in government funded projects and research work, he tried his best to isolate himself from the political activities going on. Nevertheless, Carver did manage to greatly enhance the lives of many farming families and was particularly famous amongst African-Americans and Anglo-Americans. Having left a strong presence on many people, Carver died by falling from his house’s staircase on January 5, 1943.

However, George Washington Carver left this world as a legacy and several monuments have been made after him including one at Diamond Missouri where he was born. Several schools have been named after him and in 1948 and 1998, Carver’s name also appeared on U.S. commemorative postal stamps. Around more than 7 decades after his death, his name largely remains known as one of the most intellectuals African Americans to have graced the world. There is so much to know about this great American, research more to understand what he ment to our be and the world. Share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!

January 3- Adam Powell

GM – FBF – We stand the risk of failure, because you refused to take risks. So life demands risks.

Remember – “The black masses must demand and refuse to accept nothing less than that proportionate percentage of the political spoils such as jobs, elective offices and appointments… They must reject the shameful racial tokenism that characterizes the political life of America today.” Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. NYC (D)

Today in our History – Adam Powell was named as the Charman of the House. December 3, 1961

Adam Clayton Powell Jr. (November 29, 1908 – April 4, 1972) was a Baptist pastor and an American politician, who represented Harlem, New York City, in the United States House of Representatives (1945–71). He was the first person of African-American descent to be elected from New York to Congress. Oscar Stanton De Priest of Illinois was the first black person to be elected to Congress in the 20th century; Powell was the fourth.

Re-elected for nearly three decades, Powell became a powerful national politician of the Democratic Party, and served as a national spokesman on civil rights and social issues. He also urged United States presidents to support emerging nations in Africa and Asia as they gained independence after colonialism.

In 1961, after 16 years in the House, Powell became chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, the most powerful position held by an African American in Congress. As Chairman, he supported the passage of important social and civil rights legislation under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Following allegations of corruption, in 1967 Powell was excluded from his seat by Democratic Representatives-elect of the 90th Congress, but he was re-elected and regained the seat in the 1969 United States Supreme Court ruling in Powell v. McCormack. He lost his seat in 1970 to Charles Rangel and retired from electoral politics.

In 1961, after 15 years in Congress, Powell advanced to chairman of the powerful House Education and Labor Committee. In this position, he presided over federal social programs for minimum wage and Medicaid (established later under Johnson); he expanded the minimum wage to include retail workers; and worked for equal pay for women; he supported education and training for the deaf, nursing education, and vocational training; he led legislation for standards for wages and work hours; as well as for aid for elementary and secondary education, and school libraries. Powell’s committee proved extremely effective in enacting major parts of President Kennedy’s “New Frontier” and President Johnson’s “Great Society” social programs and the War on Poverty. It successfully reported to Congress “49 pieces of bedrock legislation”, as President Johnson put it in an May 18, 1966, letter congratulating Powell on the fifth anniversary of his chairmanship.Powell was instrumental in passing legislation that made lynching a federal crime, as well as bills that desegregated public schools. He challenged the Southern practice of charging Blacks a poll tax to vote. Poll taxes for federal elections were prohibited by the 24th Amendment, passed in 1964. Voter registration and electoral practices were not changed substantially in most of the South until after passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which provided federal oversight of voter registration and elections, and enforcement of the constitutional right to vote. In some areas where discrimination was severe, such as Mississippi, it took years for African Americans to register and vote in numbers related to their proportion in the population, but they have since maintained a high rate of registration and voting. Research more About this great American and tell your babies. Make it a champion day!

January 1 1863- Abraham Lincoln

GM – FBF – Happy New Year – Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men’s skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact.

Remember – Still, to use a coarse, but an expressive figure, broken eggs can not be mended. I have issued the emancipation proclamation, and I can not retract it.
— President Abraham Lincoln (R)

President Abraham Lincoln Signs The Emancipation Proclamation – January 1, 1863
Attempting to stitch together a nation mired in a bloody civil war, Abraham Lincoln made a last-ditch, but carefully calculated, decision regarding the institution of slavery in America.

By the end of 1862, things were not looking good for the Union. The Confederate Army had overcome Union troops in significant battles and Britain and France were set to officially recognize the Confederacy as a separate nation. In an August 1862 letter to New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, Lincoln confessed “my paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or to destroy slavery.” Lincoln hoped that declaring a national policy of emancipation would stimulate a rush of the South’s slaves into the ranks of the Union army, thus depleting the Confederacy’s labor force, on which the southern states depended to wage war against the North.

Lincoln waited to unveil the proclamation until he could do so on the heels of a Union military success. On September 22, 1862, after the battle at Antietam, he issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation declaring all slaves free in the rebellious states as of January 1, 1863. Lincoln and his advisors limited the proclamation’s language to slavery in states outside of federal control as of 1862, failing to address the contentious issue of slavery within the nation’s border states. In his attempt to appease all parties, Lincoln left many loopholes open that civil rights advocates would be forced to tackle in the future.

Republican abolitionists in the North rejoiced that Lincoln had finally thrown his full weight behind the cause for which they had elected him. Though slaves in the south failed to rebel en masse with the signing of the proclamation, they slowly began to liberate themselves as Union armies marched into Confederate territory. Toward the end of the war, slaves left their former masters in droves. They fought and grew crops for the Union Army, performed other military jobs and worked in the North’s mills. Though the proclamation was not greeted with joy by all northerners, particularly northern white workers and troops fearful of job competition from an influx of freed slaves, it had the distinct benefit of convincing Britain and France to steer clear of official diplomatic relations with the Confederacy.

Though the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation signified Lincoln’s growing resolve to preserve the Union at all costs, he still rejoiced in the ethical correctness of his decision. Lincoln admitted on that New Year’s Day in 1863 that he never “felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper.” Although he waffled on the subject of slavery in the early years of his presidency, he would thereafter be remembered as “The Great Emancipator.” To Confederate sympathizers, however, Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation reinforced their image of him as a hated despot and ultimately inspired his assassination by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865. Research more about what this means for all Americans and share it with your babies. Make It A Champion day!

January 14 1990- Wilder

GM – FBF – In the first rule of politics, you know, Harry Truman, the buck stops here. Take responsibility. What I’ve learned over the years is that people will give people in politics a lot of rope if they just take responsibility.

Remember – “My experience politically has always been that one-word definition of politics: money. Keep your eye on the buck. And that tells you where the American people are going to be.” – Douglas Wilder (Governor -VA – D)

Today in our History – Wilder was elected governor on November 8, 1989, defeating Republican Marshall Coleman by a spread of less than half a percent. The narrow victory margin prompted a recount, which reaffirmed Wilder’s election. He was sworn in on January 14, 1990 by former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr.. In recognition of his landmark achievement as the first elected African-American governor, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People awarded Wilder the Spingarn Medal for 1990.

Wilder had a comfortable lead in the last polls before the election. The unexpected closeness of the election may have been due to the Republicans’ strong get out the vote efforts. Wilder had been candid about his pro-choice position in relation to abortion. Some observers believed the close election was caused by the Bradley effect, and suggested that white voters were reluctant to tell pollsters that they did not intend to vote for Wilder.

During his tenure as governor, Wilder worked on crime and gun control initiatives. He also worked to fund Virginia’s transportation initiatives, effectively lobbying Congress to reallocate highway money to the states with the greatest needs. Much residential and office development had taken place in Northern Virginia without its receiving sufficient federal money for infrastructure improvements to keep up. He also succeeded in passing state bond issues to support improving transportation. In May 1990 Wilder ordered state agencies and universities to divest themselves of any investments in South Africa because of its policy of apartheid, making Virginia the first Southern state to take such action.

During his term, Wilder carried out Virginia’s law on capital punishment, although he had stated his personal opposition to the death penalty. There were 14 executions by the electric chair, including the controversial case of Roger Keith Coleman. In January 1994 Wilder commuted the sentence of Earl Washington, Jr, an intellectually disabled man, to life in prison based on testing of DNA evidence that raised questions about his guilt. Virginia law has strict time limits on when such new evidence can be introduced post-conviction. But in 2000, under a new governor, an STR-based DNA test led to the exclusion of Washington as the perpetrator of the murder for which he had been sentenced. He was fully exonerated by Governor Jim Gilmore for the capital murder and he was released from prison.

During his term, Wilder had strained relations with Charles Robb, US Senator and former Governor. Many papers described this as a “feud.”

Wilder left office in 1994 because of Virginia’s prohibition of successive gubernatorial terms. The next governor elected was Republican George Allen.arch more about this great American and teach your babies. Make it a Champion day!

February 23 1868 – William Edward Burghardt

GM – FBF – “Most men today cannot conceive of a freedom that does not involve somebody’s slavery.” W. E. B. Du Bois

Remember – “Education is the development of power and ideal.” W. E. B. Du Bois

Today in our History – February 23, 1868 – Throughout his career as a sociologist, historian, educator, and sociopolitical activist, William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B.) Du Bois argued for immediate racial equality for African-Americans. His emergence as an African-American leader paralleled the rise of Jim Crow laws of the South and the Progressive Era.

One of Du Bois’ most famous quotes encapsulates his philosophy, “Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season.

It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.”

Major Nonfiction Works:
The Study of the Negro Problems (1898)
The Philadelphia Negro (1899)
The Souls of Black Folk (1903)
The Talented Tenth, second chapter of The Negro Problem, a collection of articles by African Americans (September 1903).
Voice of the Negro II (September 1905)
Atlanta University’s Studies of the Negro Problem (1897-1910)
The Negro (1915)
The Gift of Black Folk (1924)
Africa, Its Geography, People and Products (1930)
Africa: Its Place in Modern History (1930)
Black Reconstruction in America (1935)
Black Folk, Then and Now (1939)
The Encyclopedia of the Negro (1946)
Africa in Battle Against Colonialism, Racialism, Imperialism (1960)

Early Life and Education:

Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Mass on February 23, 1868. Throughout his childhood, he excelled in school and upon his graduation from high school, members of the community awarded Du Bois with a scholarship to attend Fisk University. While at Fisk, Du Bois experienced racism and poverty that was very different to his experiences in Great Barrington.

As a result, Du Bois decided that he would dedicate his life to ending racism and uplifting African-Americans.

In 1888, Du Bois graduated from Fisk and was accepted to Harvard University where he earned a master’s degree, a doctorate and a fellowship to study for two years at the University of Berlin in Germany. Following his studies in Berlin, Du Bois argued that through racial inequality and injustice could be exposed through scientific research. However, after observing the remaining body parts of a man who was lynched, Du Bois was convinced that scientific research was not enough.

“Souls of Black Folk”: Opposition to Booker T. Washington:
Initially, Du Bois agreed with the philosophy of Booker T. Washington , the preeminent leader of African-Americans during the Progressive Era. Washington argued that African-Americans should become skilled in industrial and vocational trades so that they could open businesses and become self-reliant.

Du Bois, however, greatly disagreed and outlined his arguments in his collection of essays, Souls of Black Folk published in 1903. In this text, Du Bois argued that white Americans needed to take responsibility for their contributions to the problem of racial inequality, proved the flaws in Washington’s argument, argued that African-Americans must also take better advantage of educational opportunities to uplift their race.

Organizing for Racial Equality:

In July of 1905, Du Bois organized the Niagara Movement with William Monroe Trotter. The purpose of the Niagara Movement was to have a more militant approach to fighting racial inequality. Its chapters throughout the United States fought local acts of discrimination and the national organization published a newspaper, Voice of the Negro.

The Niagara Movement dismantled in 1909 but Du Bois, along with several other members joined with white Americans to establish the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Du Bois was appointed director of research and also served as the editor of the NAACP’s magazine Crisis from 1910 to 1934. In addition to urging African-American readers to become socially and politically active, the publication also showcased literature and visual artistry of the Harlem Renaissance.

Racial Upliftment:

Throughout Du Bois’ career, he worked tirelessly to end racial inequality. Through his membership and later leadership of the American Negro Academy, Du Bois developed the idea of the “Talented Tenth,” arguing that educated African-Americans could lead the fight for racial equality in the United States.

Du Bois’ ideas about the importance of education would be present again during the Harlem Renaissance. During the Harlem Renaissance, Du Bois argued that racial equality could be gained through the arts. Using his influence as editor of the Crisis, Du Bois promoted the work of many African-American visual artists and writers.

Pan Africanism:

Du Bois also concerned with people of African descent throughout the world. Leading the Pan-African movement, Du Bois organized conferences for the Pan-African Congress for many years. Leaders from Africa and the Americas assembled to discuss racism and oppression–issues that people of African descent faced all over the world. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Du Bois died on August 27, 1963 at the age of 95. Make it a champion Day!

January 28 2013- The movie “The Butler” Eugene Allen

GM – FBF – To see and hear what your nation is thinking and doing as it happens, now that is a fly on the wall.

Remember – “Over time they would ask me my opinion about our people and what should be done” – Eugene Allen

Today in our History – January 28, 2013 – The movie “The Butler” is finished and ready for market. Eugene Allen was a distinguished butler for the White House who served under eight presidents, including Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

Born on July 14, 1919, in Scottsville, Virginia, Eugene Allen was an African-American butler who served under eight U.S. presidents, including Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter. He witnessed firsthand some of history’s major events, as well as the changing perspectives on race in political arenas. Known as having been a modest man, Allen is the subject of the 2013 film The Butler. He died in 2010 in Washington, D.C.

Eugene Allen was born on July 14, 1919, in the town of Scottsville, Virginia. Growing up during the time of horrific Southern segregation and Jim Crow laws, Allen made his way to adulthood and found work as a waiter, first at a Virginia resort and then at a Washington, D.C., country club. By the early 1950s, Allen had landed a job at the White House as a pantry worker and was eventually promoted to the position of butler.

Allen met his future wife, Helene, at a 1942 D.C. birthday party; she tracked down the shy bachelor’s number and gave him a call. They wed the next year and would go on to have a son, Charles.

Allen served under eight U.S. presidents, beginning with Harry S. Truman. As a result, Allen had intimate knowledge of the inner goings-on of the White House. He heard both enlightened and offensive presidential remarks concerning race, and observed a gradually growing African-American presence among executive staff.

Allen, who went by the nickname Gene, was held in the highest regard by many and was noted to have an unassuming, humble spirit, bestowing his colleagues with excellent service and becoming quietly entwined in history’s notable moments. He was invited to President John F. Kennedy’s funeral after his assassination, but even while deeply mourning chose instead to remain at the White House to serve attendees as they came in from the services.

In the course of his work, Allen met famous people like civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and composer Duke Ellington, flew to Europe with President Richard Nixon and traveled with President Jimmy Carter to Camp David. He and President Gerald Ford shared the same birthday, and Allen was celebrated at the official festivities as well.

Allen was promoted to maître d’ during the Reagan Administration, and one year first lady Nancy Reagan invited him to attend as a guest a state dinner for West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Allen retired in 1986.

Helene died in the fall of 2008, she and Eugene having been married for 65 years. She passed right before Barack Obama was elected president. Allen received a VIP invitation to Obama’s inauguration with a Marine guard escort. He cried as he beheld the ceremony, thinking back on the harsh days of segregation. “You wouldn’t even dream that you could dream of a moment like this,” he told the Washington Post.

Though he received many requests to become a public figure via speaking engagements or book deals, Allen declined and remained private. He died at the age of 90 on March 31, 2010, from renal failure. He was survived by his son, Charles Allen, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Eugene Allen’s life is the focus of the 2013 film The Butler, directed by Lee Daniels, and starring Forest Whitaker as the title character and Oprah Winfrey as his wife. The film’s large supporting cast includes Mariah Carey, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz, Vanessa Redgrave, Alan Rickman and Robin Williams, among others. Research more about this great American and tell your babies. Make it a champion day!

December 31 1994- Woodrow Wilson (Woody)

GM – FBF – This is last entry for the year 2018 and I have a different story for every day of this year. I want to thank all of you who have stopped by and gotten something from the daily posts and for the ones who went on to share the daily posts.

One hundred years ago 1919 was called “The Red Summer” with all of the lynching’s that Black people faced. I will tell many of those stories in 2019.

Today’s Story is about a Black athlete who broke the color barrier in professional football in 1946 (a year before Jackie Robinson integrated major league baseball) and is regarded as having the first dignified role for a black actor in a feature motion picture. Enjoy!

Remember – “ I have been able to serve my country, play professional football and do acting in Hollywood. I have a good life” – Woodrow Wilson Stride

Today in our History – December 31, 1994 – Woodrow Wilson Woolwine (Woody) Strode dies.

(B. 28 July 1914 in Los Angeles, California; d. 31 December 1994 in Glendora, California), Strode was one of two sons of Baylous Strode, Sr., a brick mason, and Rose Norris Strode, a homemaker; Baylous Jr. was the couple’s only other child.

Strode was tall and thin as a youngster, and his athletic ability did not materialize until he reached junior high school. After a growth spurt, he developed into a fine all-around athlete, earning all-city honors in football and all-state recognition in track and field at Thomas Jefferson High School in Los Angeles. His athletic ability interested several major colleges on the West Coast. He chose the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), at the time a relatively young institution that had recently moved to a new campus in the Westwood section of Los Angeles. In going to college, Strode fulfilled his father’s wish that he “get an education.”

During the late 1930s Jackie Robinson and Kenny Washington, also black athletes, were the bright stars on the UCLA gridiron, but Strode was also outstanding. It was at this time that Strode prepared for the decathlon (a ten-event track and field sport) in the 1936 Olympic trials.

Because of his muscular physique, Strode was asked to pose for an art class. He also caught the attention of the acclaimed German cinematographer Leni Riefenstahl, who took several still photographs of Strode and had him pose for a sculptor. The Nazi leader Adolf Hitler saw the photographs and sent Riefenstahl to America to film Strode. A painting of Strode was used, ironically—given Hitler’s thoughts on Aryan supremacy—as part of the Berlin Olympic Festival in 1936.

When Strode finished his schooling at UCLA, the National Football League (NFL) was still an all-white organization. Blacks had no opportunity to play in the nation’s only major professional football league. However, Strode and Washington did play with the Hollywood Bears of the Pacific Coast League, a minor league, and they actually earned more money than many NFL players.

During the late 1930s Strode and his UCLA teammate Washington began working in the service department at Warner Brothers Studio. After he left UCLA, Strode’s contacts at Warner Brothers allowed him to secure small roles in motion pictures, including Sundown (1941), Star-Spangled Rhythm(1942), and No Time for Lave (1943). But Strode was mainly an athlete during this time. When not playing football, he trained as a wrestler and won several professional matches. In 1941 he married Luana Kalaeloa, a Hawaiian princess. They later had two children: a son, Kalaeloa (known as Kalai), and a daughter, June.

When World War II broke out, Strode joined the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was stationed at March Field in Riverside, California, where he was a member of one of the top service football teams, the Fourth Air Corps Flyers. Commenting on Strode, Paul Stenn (“Stenko”), a ten-year NFL player, recalled, “I played along side of him—and he was good. I had played pro football and I can tell you Woody Strode was as good as the NFL players. He just needed a chance to prove it.”

Strode got that chance after the war. When the Cleveland Rams moved their franchise to Los Angeles in 1946, they became the first major league team to play on the West Coast. The Rams wanted to play in Memorial Coliseum, a 100,000-seat stadium. Leaders of the black community reasoned that if the team was going to play in a public facility, then all Americans should be entitled to play on the team. Pressure was brought to bear, and in the spring of 1946 Strode and Washington signed on with the Rams, becoming the first blacks to play in the NFL since the league’s pioneering days in the 1920s. Unfortunately, both Strode, then age thirty-two, and Washington, then twenty-nine, were past their athletic prime. Underutilized by the Rams, Strode caught only four passes for thirty-seven yards and was waived at the end of the 1946 season.

The next season, Strode signed with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. Age and football injuries caught up with him by 1950, and Strode returned to the United States to pursue a professional wrestling career in Los Angeles. The “movie crowd” often attended the wrestling matches, and this led to Strode’s full-time acting career.

A talent agent signed him, and he appeared in several movies that today would be known as “action” films. Strode often played the role of a gladiator or jungle warrior. He gained notoriety as a gladiator in the 1960 epic film Spartacus. That same year Strode starred in the title role of Sergeant Rutledge, a part that many consider to be the first dignified black character in American cinema. Strode continued to land meaningful roles throughout the 1960s and made films in Italy in the 1970s. He also made regular television appearances, ranging from a starring role in Ramar of the Jungle to a part in The Quest.

One of Strode’s last major roles was in the 1984 film The Cotton Club. After he did several other feature films and a television movie (A Gathering of Old Men, 1987), Strode retired to a ranch in Glendora, California, with his second wife, Tina (Strode remarried on 10 May 1982 after Luana’s death in 1980 from Parkinson’s disease). Strode died on New Year’s Eve, 1994, in Glendora of natural causes about a year after he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was buried with full military honors in Riverside National Cemetery in California.

Strode was a versatile athlete who made his mark in the world of sports, but he is best remembered as one of the first blacks to integrate the modern NFL. He also left an important legacy of more than fifty feature films. His many significant roles opened the door for other black actors to follow—much like his role as a black pioneer in professional football led the way for future black athletes. Research more about Black athletes turning to movie stars and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

December 30 1928- Elias ” Bo Diddley” McDaniel

GM – FBF – Today’s Story is about an artist who broke new ground in rock and roll’s formative years with his unique guitar work, indelible African rhythms, inventive songwriting and larger-than-life persona.

He will forever be known for popularizing one of the foundational rhythms of rock and roll. This African-based 4/4 rhythm pattern (which goes bomp-bomp-bomp bomp-bomp) was picked up by other artists and has been a distinctive and recurring element in rock and roll through the decades. Enjoy!

Remember – “I thank you in advance for the great round of applause I’m about to get.” – Bo Diddley

Today in our History – December 30, 1928 – Ellas “Bo Diddley” McDaniel is born.

Bo Diddley, original name Ellas Bates, later Ellas McDaniel, (born December 30, 1928, McComb, Mississippi, U.S.—died June 2, 2008, Archer, Florida), American singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the most influential performers of rock music’s early period.

He was raised mostly in Chicago by his adoptive family, from whom he took the surname McDaniel, and he recorded for the legendary blues record company Chess as Bo Diddley (a name most likely derived from the diddley bow, a one-stringed African guitar popular in the Mississippi Delta region).

Diddley scored few hit records but was one of rock’s most influential artists nonetheless, because he had something nobody else could claim, his own beat: chink-a-chink-chink, ca-chink-chink. That syncopated beat (also known as “hambone” or “shave-and-a-haircut—two-bits”) had surfaced in a few big-band rhythm-and-bluescharts of the 1940s, but Diddley stripped it down and beefed it up. He made it, with its obvious African roots, one of the irresistible dance sounds in rock and roll. It was appropriated by fellow 1950s rockers (Johnny Otis’s “Willie and the Hand Jive” [1958]), 1960s garage bands (the Strangeloves’ “I Want Candy” [1965]), and budding superstars (the Rolling Stones’ version of Buddy Holly’s Diddley-influenced “Not Fade Away” [1964]). For all that, Diddley hit the pop charts just five times and the Top 20 only once (even though his 1955 debut single, “Bo Diddley,” backed with “I’m a Man,” was number one on the rhythm-and-blues charts).

After playing for several years on Chicago’s legendary Maxwell Street, Diddley signed with Chess subsidiary Checker in 1955. The lyrics to his songs were rife with African-American street talk, bluesy imagery, and raunchy humour (e.g., “Who Do You Love” [1957]). He used tremolo, fuzz, and feedback effects to create a guitar sound on which only Jimi Hendrix has expanded (consider sonic outbursts like “Bo Diddley”). His stage shows—featuring his half sister the Duchess on vocals and rhythm guitar and Jerome Green on bass and maracas—made an art out of bad taste. Commonly dressed in a huge black Stetson and loud shirts, Diddley no doubt influenced the dress of British Invasion groups such as the Rolling Stones. The odd-shaped guitars that he played reinforced his arresting look.

In the 1960s he recorded everything from surf music to straight-ahead blues with equal aplomb. But his last conquest was the sublime “You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover” (1962), until the British Invasion put him back on the map long enough for a minor 1967 hit, “Ooh Baby.” He was always outspoken about how black musicians had been underpaid, and he toured only sporadically after the 1970s, appeared in a few movies, and made occasional albums. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Research more about Black Rock and Roll stars and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

December 26 1849 – David Ruggles

GM – FBF – Our story today is about an African-American abolitionist in Manhattan, New York who resisted slavery by his participation in a Committee of Vigilance and the Underground Railroad to aid fugitive slaves reach free states.

He was a printer in New York City during the 1830s, who also wrote numerous articles, and “was the prototype for black activist journalists of his time.” He claimed to have led more than 600 fugitive slaves to freedom in the North, including Frederick Douglass, who became a friend and fellow activist.

He is also credited with opening the first African American bookstore in the United States. Did you know those things? Enjoy!

Remember – “A man is sometimes lost in a dust of his own raising” – David Ruggles

Today in our History – December 26, 1849 – David Ruggles dies.

David Ruggles (March 15, 1810 – December 26, 1849) was an African-American abolitionist in Manhattan, New York who resisted slavery by his participation in a Committee of Vigilance and the Underground Railroad to aid fugitive slaves reach free states. He was a printer in New York City during the 1830s, who also wrote numerous articles, and “was the prototype for black activist journalists of his time.” He claimed to have led more than 600 fugitive slaves to freedom in the North, including Frederick Douglass, who became a friend and fellow activist. Ruggles is also credited with opening the first African American bookstore in the United States.

Ruggles was born free in Lyme, Connecticut in 1810. His parents were David, Sr. and Nancy Ruggles, both free blacks. The family moved to Norwich, when David was very young and set up home in Bean Hill, a wealthy suburb. They lived in a small hut owned by his maternal aunt, Sylvia. His father David Sr. was a blacksmith and woodcutter, while his mother Nancy was a noted caterer, whose cakes were sought after for local social events. They were devout Methodists. David was the oldest of eight children. He was educated at Sabbath Schools, and was so bright that Bean Hill residents paid for a tutor from Yale to teach him Latin.

In 1826, at the age of sixteen, Ruggles moved to New York City, where he worked as a mariner before opening a grocery store. Nearby, other African-Americans ran grocery businesses in Golden Hill (John Street east of William Street), such as Mary Simpson (1752-March 18, 1836). After 1829, abolitionist Sojourner Truth (born Isabella (“Bell”) Baumfree; c. 1797 – November 26, 1883) also lived in lower Manhattan. At first, he sold liquor, then embraced temperance. He became involved in anti-slavery and the free produce movement. He was a sales agent for and contributor to The Liberator and The Emancipator, abolitionist newspapers.

After closing the grocery, Ruggles opened the first African American-owned bookstore in the United States. He edited a New York journal called The Mirror of Liberty, and also published a pamphlet called The Extinguisher. He also published “The Abrogation of the Seventh Commandment” in 1835, an appeal to northern women to confront husbands who kept enslaved black women as mistresses.

Ruggles was secretary of the New York Committee of Vigilance, a radical biracial organization to aid fugitive slaves, oppose slavery, and inform enslaved workers in New York about their rights in the state. New York had abolished slavery and stated that slaves voluntarily brought to the state by a master would automatically gain freedom after nine months of residence. On occasion, Ruggles went to private homes after learning that enslaved blacks were hidden there, to tell workers that they were free. In October 1838, Ruggles assisted Frederick Douglass on his journey to freedom, and reunited Douglass with his fiance Anna Murray.

Rev. James Pennington, a self-emancipated slave, married Murray and Douglass in Ruggles’ home shortly thereafter. Douglass’ autobiography ‘Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass’ explains “I had been in New York but a few days, when Mr. Ruggles sought me out, and very kindly took me to his boarding-house at the corner of Church and Lespenard Streets. 
Mr. Ruggles was then very deeply engaged in the memorable Darg case, as well as attending to a number of other fugitive slaves, devising ways and means for their successful escape; and, though watched and hemmed in on almost every side, he seemed to be more than a match for his enemies.”

Ruggles was especially active against “kidnappers,” bounty hunters who made a living by capturing escaped slaves. With demand high for slaves in the Deep South, there was also risk from men who kidnapped free blacks and sold them into slavery, as was done to Solomon Northup of Saratoga Springs, New York in 1841. With the Vigilance committee, Ruggles fought for fugitive slaves to have the right to jury trials and helped arrange legal assistance for them.

His activism earned him many enemies. Ruggles was physically assaulted and his business was destroyed through arson. He quickly reopened his library and bookshop. There were two known attempts to kidnap him and sell him into slavery in the South. His enemies included fellow abolitionists who disagreed with his tactics. He was criticized for his role in the well-publicized Darg case of 1838 involving a Virginia slaveholder named John P. Darg and his slave, Thomas Hughes.

Ruggles suffered from ill health, which intensified following the Darg case. In 1841, his father died, and Ruggles was ailing and almost blind. In 1842, Lydia Maria Child, a fellow abolitionist and friend, arranged for him to join a radical utopian commune called the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, in the present-day village of Florence, Massachusetts.

Applying home treatment upon hydropathic principles, he regained his health to some degree, but not his eyesight. He began practicing hydrotherapy, and by 1845, had established a “water cure” hospital in Florence. This was one of the earliest in the United States. Joel Shew and Russell Thatcher Trall (R.T. Trall) had preceded him in using this type of therapy. Ruggles died in Florence in 1849, due to a bowel infection. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!