African-American Firsts: Government
- Local elected official: John Mercer Langston, 1855, town clerk of Brownhelm Township, Ohio.
- State elected official: Alexander Lucius Twilight, 1836, the Vermont legislature.
- Mayor of major city: Carl Stokes, Cleveland, Ohio, 1967–1971. The first black woman to serve as a mayor of a major U.S. city was Sharon Pratt Dixon Kelly, Washington, DC, 1991–1995.
- Governor (appointed): P.B.S. Pinchback served as governor of Louisiana from Dec. 9, 1872–Jan. 13, 1873, during impeachment proceedings against the elected governor.
- Governor (elected): L. Douglas Wilder, Virginia, 1990–1994. The only other elected black governor has been Deval Patrick, Massachusetts, 2007–
- U.S. Representative: Joseph Rainey became a Congressman from South Carolina in 1870 and was reelected four more times. The first black female U.S. Representative was Shirley Chisholm, Congresswoman from New York, 1969–1983.
- U.S. Senator: Hiram Revels became Senator from Mississippi from Feb. 25, 1870, to March 4, 1871, during Reconstruction. Edward Brooke became the first African-American Senator since Reconstruction, 1966–1979. Carol Mosely Braun became the first black woman Senator serving from 1992–1998 for the state of Illinois. (There have only been a total of five black senators in U.S. history: the remaining two are Blanche K. Bruce [1875–1881] and Barack Obama (2005–2008).
- U.S. cabinet member: Robert C. Weaver, 1966–1968, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under Lyndon Johnson; the first black female cabinet minister wasPatricia Harris, 1977, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under Jimmy Carter.
- U.S. Secretary of State: Gen. Colin Powell, 2001–2004. The first black female Secretary of State was Condoleezza Rice, 2005–2009.
- Major Party Nominee for President: Sen. Barack Obama, 2008. The Democratic Party selected him as its presidential nominee.
- U.S. President: Sen. Barack Obama. Obama defeated Sen. John McCain in the general election on November 4, 2008, and was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States on January 20, 2009.
African-American Firsts: Science and Medicine
- First patent holder: Thomas L. Jennings, 1821, for a dry-cleaning process. Sarah E. Goode, 1885, became the first African-American woman to receive a patent, for a bed that folded up into a cabinet.
- M.D. degree: James McCune Smith, 1837, University of Glasgow; Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first black woman to receive an M.D. degree. She graduated from the New England Female Medical College in 1864.
- Inventor of the blood bank: Dr. Charles Drew, 1940.
- Heart surgery pioneer: Daniel Hale Williams, 1893.
- First astronaut: Robert H. Lawrence, Jr., 1967, was the first black astronaut, but he died in a plane crash during a training flight and never made it into space. Guion Bluford, 1983, became the first black astronaut to travel in space; Mae Jemison, 1992, became the first black female astronaut. Frederick D. Gregory, 1998, was the first African-American shuttle commander.
African-American Firsts: Scholarship
- College graduate (B.A.): Alexander Lucius Twilight, 1823, Middlebury College; first black woman to receive a B.A. degree: Mary Jane Patterson, 1862, Oberlin College.
- Ph.D.: Edward A. Bouchet, 1876, received a Ph.D. from Yale University. In 1921, three individuals became the first U.S. black women to earn Ph.D.s: Georgiana Simpson, University of Chicago; Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, University of Pennsylvania; and Eva Beatrice Dykes, Radcliffe College.
- Rhodes Scholar: Alain L. Locke, 1907.
- College president: Daniel A. Payne, 1856, Wilberforce University, Ohio.
- Ivy League president: Ruth Simmons, 2001, Brown UniversityAfrican-American Firsts: Literature
- Novelist: Harriet Wilson, Our Nig (1859).
- Poet: Lucy Terry, 1746, “Bar’s Fight.” It is her only surviving poem.
- Poet (published): Phillis Wheatley, 1773, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. Considered the founder of African-American literature.
- Pulitzer Prize winner: Gwendolyn Brooks, 1950, won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry.
- Pulitzer Prize winner in Drama: Charles Gordone, 1970, for his play No Place To Be Somebody.
- Nobel Prize for Literature winner: Toni Morrison, 1993.
- Poet Laureate: Robert Hayden, 1976–1978; first black woman Poet Laureate: Rita Dove, 1993–1995.
African-American Firsts: Music and Dance
- Member of the New York City Opera: Todd Duncan, 1945.
- Member of the Metropolitan Opera Company: Marian Anderson, 1955.
- Male Grammy Award winner: Count Basie, 1958.
- Female Grammy Award winner: Ella Fitzgerald, 1958.
- Principal dancer in a major dance company: Arthur Mitchell, 1959, New York City Ballet.
African-American Firsts: Film
- First Oscar: Hattie McDaniel, 1940, supporting actress, Gone with the Wind.
- Oscar, Best Actor/Actress: Sidney Poitier, 1963, Lilies of the Field; Halle Berry, 2001, Monster’s Ball.
- Oscar, Best Actress Nominee: Dorothy Dandridge, 1954, Carmen Jones.
- Film director: Oscar Micheaux, 1919, wrote, directed, and produced The Homesteader, a feature film.
- Hollywood director: Gordon Parks directed and wrote The Learning Tree for Warner Brothers in 1969.
Other African-American Firsts
- Licensed Pilot: Bessie Coleman, 1921.
- Millionaire: Madame C. J. Walker.
- Billionaire: Robert Johnson, 2001, owner of Black Entertainment Television; Oprah Winfrey, 2003.
- Portrayal on a postage stamp: Booker T. Washington, 1940 (and also 1956).
- Miss America: Vanessa Williams, 1984, representing New York. When controversial photos surfaced and Williams resigned, Suzette Charles, the runner-up and also an African American, assumed the title. She represented New Jersey. Three additional African Americans have been Miss Americas: Debbye Turner (1990), Marjorie Vincent (1991), and Kimberly Aiken (1994).
- Explorer, North Pole: Matthew A. Henson, 1909, accompanied Robert E. Peary on the first successful U.S. expedition to the North Pole.
- Explorer, South Pole: George Gibbs, 1939–1941 accompanied Richard Byrd.
- Flight around the world: Barrington Irving, 2007, from Miami Gardens, Florida, flew a Columbia 400 plane named Inspirationaround the world in 96 days, 150 hours (March 23-June 27).
Courtesy of factmonster.com
CAPITA (City At Peace In The Arts)
Inspired by a distinctive movement for racial justice in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin.
Since 1990, CAPITA Productions (City At Peace In The Arts) has been presenting a Black History Program yearly for thousands in the Greater Milwaukee Area.
This year we are adding a very special and overdue segment which will celebrate those brave marchers and demonstrators, from all backgrounds, who risked their lives for the cause of civil rights, especially in Milwaukee. It will be a dramatic reenactment of the Underground Railroad, prominent in the Waukesha area; the escaped slave Joshua Grover, and Fr. Jim Groppi’s “March on Milwaukee”.
For 200 consecutive nights hundreds marched for open housing through rain, snow and fear of physical attacks. These heroes have not been properly honored until now. Their stories should be known by our youth as well as everyone in Milwaukee and across the nation.
We will celebrate those who lived this experience, sharing the stories of those who participated in the demonstrations, served on the NAACP Youth Council, Commandos, and all organizations that led or joined in some way, the historic Milwaukee’s Civil Rights Movement.
Tickets are $10 (balcony) $15 (floor)per person
• Friday, February 24, 2012 @ 7:30pm
• Saturday, February 25, 2012 @ 7:30pm
• Friday, March 2, 2012 @ 7:30pm
• Saturday, March 3, 2012 @ 7:30pm
PUBLIC SHOW TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE
Buy Now Online http://www.capitaproductions.org/tickets.html
Tickets are $4 per child.
For more info on the student shows,
Call Liz Coleman- 414-807-7322
• Tuesday, February, 21, 2012 @ 10:00am & 12:00pm
• Wednesday, February, 22, 2012 @ 10:00am & 12:00pm
• Monday, February, 27, 2012 @ 10:00am & 12:00pm
• Wednesday, February. 29, 2012 @ 10:00am & 12:00pm
All shows will once again take place at:
North Division High School Campus
1011 West Center Street
Milwaukee, WI 53206
While self-serving local, state and national politicians and activists run around rallying people of color to claim anything they can get from the government they distract us from the heart of the problem in our communities and that is the effect that these programs have had on the collective psyche of our communities. These politicians and activists have advocated for a more prominent position at the government trough which has replaced fatherhood and personal responsibility with dependence on the government. Here is a great segment that focuses on the real antidote to the fragmentation of our communities:
Tonight, Tavis Smiley Reports examines one of the most disturbing aspects of the education crisis facing America today—the increased dropout rate among Black teenage males.
Too Important to Fail
Across America, less than 50% of young Black males will graduate from high school!!
Q: Who changed your life?
A: A teacher. A preacher. A mentor. Someone who encouraged me. Someone who cared.
In a series of candid and emotional encounters, Tavis goes behind the statistics to get to the heart of the matter: the struggle so many African American teenage males face when trying to stay in school and succeed.
Young people speak frankly about their lives: growing up in challenging communities and, too often, single-parent homes, relegated to underserved schools and coping with peer group pressure that often doesn’t support the need for education.
A State of Dire Crisis
By Angela Glover Blackwell
In countless communities, boys and men of color are on the front lines of the nation’s crisis.
As a group, boys and men of color are experiencing the highest rates of unemployment, educational underachievement, incarceration, violence and trauma. Their health is in peril and in many of the neighborhoods where they live, it is easier to buy a gun than a tomato.
What does it mean for America’s future when mothers are bracing for the unspeakable possibility that they may never see their sons graduate high school or college? How do we support daughters, sisters and nieces watching helplessly as their fathers, brothers and uncles struggle with debilitating anger, depression and hopelessness?
With resolve, the nation can apply best practices and improve their futures and that of their families, communities and the entire nation. However, doing so requires first that government systems and our communities place a priority on these children and young adults and pursue an equity agenda that allows all, including boys and men of color, to thrive and reach their full potential.
Last month in California, PolicyLink joined other equity advocates, government leaders and foundation officials at a Select Committee Hearing on the Status of Boys and Men of Color to publicly urge legislators to seek out and invest in comprehensive strategies that will expand access to quality academic and career opportunities for young men and women of color.
Consider these facts:
- African American and Latino children are three and a half times more likely to grow up in poverty than white children with far less access to quality teachers, schools with high levels of academic achievement, after-school programs and safe spaces to learn and play.
- As of July 2011, the youth unemployment rates for African American and Latino men ages 16 to 24 are at 31% and 20%, respectively. This is compared to 16% for white males and 15% for Asian males in the same age group.
- For young Latino men, ages 15 to 24, the homicide death rate is five times greater than young white men. For young African American males, it’s more than 16 times greater.
These statistics underscore a national crisis that threatens to envelop the lives and futures of an entire generation and will hurt the nation in the long run. The complexities of these problems require integrated and comprehensive programs and policies that will prioritize and address the many economic, social and educational barriers that are hindering the communities and households of boys and men of color throughout the country.
Make no mistake – a truly comprehensive focus on boys and young men of color cannot be at the exclusion of girls and young women, whose own unique challenges are also signaling nationwide alarm. Improving the prospects of girls’ and young women’s fathers, husbands, brothers and sons will make for stronger families and communities.
The same is true for all of America.
Our nation’s continued prosperity depends considerably on how soon we can shift the tide and build a future in which everyone can thrive and flourish.
We can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to the problems facing low-income people and communities of color, particularly the black and brown youth who will soon constitute the majority. In fact, we have an urgent moral and economic imperative to address them.
In a shifting and competitive global economy, the dearth of quality, meaningful opportunities, combined with persistent obstacles and deficient academic and social supports, risks dismantling the very families and communities that are raising our future skilled workforce.
To slash America’s opportunity deficit, we must start by standing up for new and existing solutions to education, workforce training and job creation that would help shatter cycles of generational poverty by preparing young workers of color for better-paying, long-term jobs of the future.
At the California Select Committee hearing, East Palo Alto Police Chief Ronald Davis was pitch-perfect in his call for policymakers to “invest in early education because that is the key.”
Thankfully there are already programs underway that, with enough public support and investment, could truly make a difference in turning this crisis around.
Federally-funded initiatives such as Promise Neighborhoods offer educational, health and social supports for children in poor areas, while programs like PELL Grants help underprivileged students from a variety of backgrounds attain a quality higher education.
Through the Pathways Out of Poverty program, young male workers of color will now have access to many more job training and employment options. The Strong Cities Strong Communities initiative launched back in July aims to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in previously disinvested neighborhoods. And the establishment of a National Infrastructure Bank would invest in the transportation systems necessary to connect people to these valuable opportunities.
The success of programs like these and others like them will hinge largely on whether America’s leaders can embrace an inclusive, prosperous future driven by equity – just and fair inclusion for all.
Angela Glover Blackwell, Chief Executive Officer of PolicyLink, founded the organization in 1999 and continues to drive its mission of advancing economic and social equity. Under her leadership, PolicyLink has become a leading voice in the movement to use public policy to improve access and opportunity for all low-income people and communities of color, particularly in the areas of health, housing, transportation, education and infrastructure.