Showing posts from February, 2017

Write It! - Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753 – December 5, 1784) was the first published African-American female poet. Born in West Africa, she was sold into slavery at the age of seven or eight and transported to North America. She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write and encouraged her poetry when they saw her talent.

The publication of her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773) brought her fame both in England and the American colonies


Write It! - Maggie L Walker

Maggie Lena Walker (July 15, 1864 – December 15, 1934) was an African-American teacher and businesswoman. Walker was the first female bank president of any race to charter a bank (The St. Luke Penny Savings Bank) in the United States. As a leader, she achieved successes with the vision to make tangible improvements in the way of life for African Americans and women.


Write It! - Fats Domino

On February 26 1928 Antoine "Fats" Domino, Jr. was born. Fats Domino a pianist and singer-songwriter was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Five of his records released before 1955 sold over a million copies and were certified as gold records, and he had 35 records in the U.S. Top 40. His musical style is based on traditional rhythm and blues, accompanied by saxophones, bass, piano, electric guitar, and drums.


Write It! - Ida B. Wells

Today is February 25, 2017 and today we are covering the life of Ida B Wells the journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist, and feminist. Her anti-lynching work makes her an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement. She is one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.


Write It! - Adele Addison

Today is February 24, 2017 and on July 24, 1925 acclaimed operatic soprano Adele Addison was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Performing in several operas, recitals, and concerts Adele Addison who was an acclaimed figure in the classical music world during the 1950s and 1960s. She is best remembered as the singing voice for Bess (played by Dorothy Dandridge) in the 1959 movie Porgy and Bess.


Write It! - National Negro Business League

Today is February 23, 2017 and on August 23, 1900 Booker T Washington organized the National Negro Business League an organization in Boston meant to promote the interests of African-American businesses. The National Negro Business League was "composed of negro men and women who have achieved success along business lines".


Write It! - Willa Brown

Today is February 22, 2017 and on January 22, 1906 Willa Beatrice Brown was born. Willa Brown went on to be an aviator, lobbyist, teacher, and civil rights activist. Willa Brown was the first African-American woman to earn her pilot's license in the United States.

Brown was also the first African-American woman to run for the United States Congress, the first African-American officer in the US Civil Air Patrol, and the first woman in the United States to have both a pilot's license and a mechanic's license.

Brown and her husband Cornelius Coffey opened the Cornelius Coffey School of Aeronautics together, which was the first private flight training academy in the United States owned and operated by African Americans. At their pilot school they trained hundreds of pilots. Brown even had a role in the training of some of the Tuskegee Airmen.


Write It! - The National Association of Colored Women

Today is February 21, 2017 and on July 21 1896 The National Association of Colored Women was established in Washington, D.C. Mary Church Terrell was elected as the first president of the National Association of Colored Women. And served as president from 1896 to 1900.

This organization was formed at the First Annual Convention of the National Federation of Afro-American Women and was a merging of about 100 different Afro-American women’s clubs including: the National Federation of African-American Women, the Woman's Era Club of Boston, and the National League of Colored Women of Washington, DC.

By 1918, 22 years after its founding The National Association of Colored Women now called the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs had grown to over 300,000 members nationwide.


Write It! - Wallace Thurman

Today is February 20, 2017 and on February 20, 1929 Harlem Renaissance  novelist Wallace Thurman’s play “Harlem: A Melodrama of Negro Life in Harlem”  began a successful run on Broadway.


Write It! - 1st Pan-African Congress

Today is February 19, 2017 and on   February 19, 1919 the 1st Pan-African Congress was organized by W. E. B. Du Bois and Ida Gibbs Hunt whose husband US Consul William Henry Hunt was working at the American consulate in France at that time. The delegates wanted to change the way Europeans were governing Africa. With the eventual goal being African independence. There were 57 delegates representing 15 countries.


Write It! - Mary McLeod Bethune

Today is February 18, 2017 and on May 18, 1955 Mary McLeod Bethune passed away after dedicating her 79 years of life to being an educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian and civil rights activist. After starting a private school for African American students in Daytona Beach, Florida Bethune used donations to develop her school into the college that is now known as Bethune-Cookman University.


Write It! - Lewis H Latimer

On Jan 17, 1882 - Lewis H Latimer was granted a patent for the so-called “Maxim lamp,”. This lamp used carbon filament which was better than what was being used at the time because this filament was tolerant of the high temperature needed to radiate light.

It was his post-war job at the Crosby and Gould patent attorney office that his interest in the craft of mechanical drawing peaked. He was very talented and his talents lead him to being deeply involved in the drawing of Alexander Graham Bell’s invention the telephone. After 11 years Latimer left Crosby and Gould and began work at the electrical lighting company of Hiram S. Maxim. After taking on the study of electricity Latimer quickly came up with the Maxim lamp; which was patented on Jan 17 1882.


Write It! - The Liberia Herald

On Feb 16 1826 The Liberia Herald was founded by Charles Force and became the first newspaper ever published in Liberia. Charles Force was only able to publish three papers before his death.

In March 1829  John B. Russwurm one of the original founders of the  Freedom's Journal (the first African - American newspaper in New York) resigned and emigrated to Liberia with the support of the American Colonization Society. Once in Liberia he carried on the mantel of chief editor of The Liberia Herald from 1830 to 1834.


Write It! - Freedmen’s Hospital School of Nursing

Today is February 15, 2017 and on November 15, 1894, the Freedmen’s Hospital School of Nursing in Washington, D.C., was founded for African–Americans nurses by Black surgeon Dr. Daniel Hale Williams. The hospital was connected to the Freedmen’s Bureau and created to care for former slaves and their descendants during the Civil War as well as train Black medical professionals.

After having graduated 1,700 nurses, the Freedmen’s Hospital School of Nursing was transferred to Howard University, became the Howard University College of Nursing, and was officially phased out in 1973. The Freedmen’s Hospital School of Nursing faithfully served the black community in the District of Columbia for over 150 years.


Write It! - National Steamboat Company

Today is February 14, 2017 and on January 14, 1895 the National Steamboat Company was organized in Washington, D.C by Blacks desiring a steamboat and leisure resort of their own. The company sailed a steamboat, the "George Leary," between DC and Norfolk, Virginia. The luxury boat held a capacity of 1,500 passengers and included three decks, sixty-four state rooms, on hundred berths, and a dining room.

Reference - Timetables of African-American History by Sharon Harley  - The Land Was Ours by Andrew W. Kahrl - United States Congressional serial set, Issue 3652 - Historically African American Leisure Destinations Around Washington by Patsy Mose Fletcher

Write It! - Wendell Dabney

Today is February 13, 2017 and on Feb 13 1907 Wendell Dabney established The Union; Cincinnati’s oldest Black newspaper.


Write It! - NCNW Black Family Reunion Celebration

Today is February
12, 2017 and on September 12, 1986 The National Council of Negro Women sponsors
its first Black Family Reunion at the National Mall in Washington.
In 1986 the
National Council of Negro Women was alarmed by negative publicity about “the
vanishing black family,” and decided to create the Black Family Reunion
Celebration to honor “the enduring strengths and traditional values of the
African American Family.”

What historical events would you like to see a documentary about?

Write It - William Grant Still

Today is February 11 2017 and on May 11, 1895 William Grant Still was born to two teachers in Woodville, Mississippi. William Grant Still became a composer of more than 150 works, including five symphonies and eight operas. Still became the first American composer to have an opera produced by the New York City Opera. Additionally, his first symphony is the most widely performed symphony composed by an American. His works have been performed internationally by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the BBC Orchestra.


Write It! - Nat Love

Today is February 10, 2017 and on June 1854  Nat Love aka Deadwood Dick was born. Born into slavery to two loving parents Nate Love went on to become one of the most famous African American Cowboys of the Old West.


Write It! - Fisk University

Today is February 9, 2017 and on  Jan 9 1866 Fisk University was founded in Nashville, Tennessee. Originally called the Fisk Free Colored School it was founded just six months after the end of the American Civil War for the education of freedmen. Fisk was incorporated as a normal school for college training in August 1867 and welcomed its first four students James Dallas Burrus, John Houston Burrus, Virginia E. Walker, and America W. Robinson who was the first woman to graduate from Fisk University.


Write It! - Fanny Jackson Coppin

Today is February 8, 2017 and on January 8, 1837 Fanny Jackson Coppin was born. Born a slave Fanny Jackson Coppin would work her way to becoming the first African American woman to become a school principal.


REMINISCENCES of School Life, and Hints on Teaching: by Fanny Jackson-Coppin

Write It! - Ralph J Bunche

Today is February 7, 2017 and on August 7, 1904 Ralph Johnson Bunche was born. Bunche would go on to be a political scientist, academic, and diplomat. In 1950 he became the first African American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his late 1940s mediation in Israel. He was also awarded the Medal of Freedom by President John F. Kennedy in 1963.


Slide Show:

Write It! Day 6 - Juanita Hall

Today is February 6, 2017 and on November 6, 1901 American musical theatre and film actress Juanita Hall was born. After developed her voice while singing in the local Catholic church choir. Hall went on to attended Juilliard School of Music in New York City. In 1950, she became the first African American to win a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Bloody Mary in South Pacific.

She is most remembered for her roles in the original stage and screen versions of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals Tony award winning role as Bloody Mary in South Pacific and as Auntie Liang in Flower Drum Song. Hall also enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a concert artist and nightclub singer.


Write It! 5 - Crispus Attucks

Today is February 5, 2017 and on March 5, 1770 Crispus Attucks became the first person killed in the Boston massacre and is widely considered to be the first American casualty in the American Revolutionary War.

It is believed that Attucks was born a slave in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1723. Both his parents were slaves owned by Colonel Buckminster from Framingham, Massachusetts. Documents describe Crispus as a man of mixed parentage. His father, Prince, was an African slave and his mother, Nancy, was a Wampanoag or Natick Indian forced into slavery. 
When he was about 27 years old he escaped seeking freedom. He used the name Michael Johnson as an alias and found work on a whaling ship. Being a whaler was a physically demanding and dangerous job. It is believed that Crispus left his whaler job sometime during the French Indian War between 1754 and 1760 to become a merchant seaman. He never raised suspicion as ran-away slave as his employers considered him Indian. Between sailings h…

Write It! #4 - The Divine Nine

Today is February 4, 2017 and on December 4, 1906
the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity was founded at Cornell University. After the
founding of these fraternity 8 other fraternities and sororities were founded.
These organizations went on to be called The Divine Nine.
Founding Dates: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity - Founded December
4, 1906 at Cornell University Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority - Founded January
15, 1908 at Howard University Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity - Founded January
5, 1911 at Indiana University Omega Psi Phi Fraternity - Founded November 17,
1911 at Howard University Delta Sigma Theta Sorority - Founded January
13, 1913 at Howard University Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity - Founded January 9,
1914 at Howard University Zeta Phi Beta Sorority - Founded January 16, 1920
at Howard University Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority - Founded November 12, 1922 at
Butler University Iota Phi Theta Fraternity -  Founded September 19, 1963 at Morgan State

The Divine Nine and the National Pan-Hellenic
Council …

Write It! Series #3 feat. William Tucker

Today is February 3, 2017 and on January 3,
1624 William Tucker was the first
recorded person of African ancestry born in the 13 British Colonies. William
Tucker was born in 1624 near Jamestown, Virginia to married African indentured
servants named “Antoney and Isabell,”.   William Tucker was named in honor of a
Virginia Planter.
References African American
Registry. (2013). First Black Birth Recorded in
America. Retrieved from (2017). Tucker,
William (1624- ? ). Retrieved from

Write It! #2 - Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander

Today is February 2, 2017 and on
January 2, 1898 Sadie Tanner Mossell was born. Born to an illustrious family in
Philadelphia  Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander
went on to lead a long life full of accomplishments. Including many firsts like
being the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in economics in 1919
or being the first woman to receive a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania
Law School and the first African-American woman to practice law in Pennsylvania
in 1927.

Check out these links for
more information on Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander.
Sadie Tanner Mossell
Alexander . (2011). Retrieved from
Sadie Tanner Mossell
Alexander. (2017). Retrieved from
The University of
Pennsylvania. (2017). The life and accomplishments of Sadie Tanner
Mossell Alexander. Retrieved from

Day 1 of the Write It! Series feat. John S. Rock

Today is February 1, 2017 and on February 1, 1865 John S. Rock became the first Black attorney admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was the first Black person received on the floor of the United States House of Representatives and the first Black man to earn a medical degree, John S. Rock spent his entire life breaking the mold of the average Black person. Starting with his birth John S. Rock was born free in 1825 Salem, New Jersey. Although, not much is known about his childhood we do know that he was born to free people of color and that education was encouraged in his household. He spent time as a teacher, doctor, dentist, lawyer, and abolitionist.

Check out these links down below for more information on John S Rock.

                                                                         References (2017). Rock, John S.
(1825-1866). Retrieved from
John Rock (abolitionist). (2017). Retriev…

Write It! Series Intro

An introduction to the new series for Black History Month called, Write It!