All entries by this author

Coleman Hawkins

Jul 16th, 2011 | By
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1904-1969  Coleman Hawkins was perhaps the most influential saxophone player of all time and was responsible for the instrument’s importance in jazz. He was the first to establish its legitimacy in the genre, and was able to evolve with shifting currents in the music over a 40-year period while maintaining his artistic leadership and distinctive
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Benjamin O. Davis, Sr.

Jul 15th, 2011 | By
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1877-1970  Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. dedicated his entire life and career to the military, beginning at a time when African Americans were consigned to support service roles with no command authority over whites. He rose to the rank of full General, advised the Army on integration strategies, and in the process contributed to the dismantling
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Eubie Blake

Jul 14th, 2011 | By
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1883?-1983  Eubie Blake was a prolifically talented composer and performer in ragtime, jazz, vaudeville, and popular styles. Over a career spanning much of the 20th century, he contributed over 1,000 songs to the popular canon, including several all-time classics. His musical “Shuffle Along” opened the Broadway stage to African Americans. Saloons to Stage Blake was
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Jim Beckwourth

Jul 13th, 2011 | By
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1798-1866 James Pierson Beckwourth was the only African American pioneer to record his exploits in the early days of the western frontier. He was involved in major events from Canada to Mexico and Florida to California, where he discovered the Beckwourth Pass through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Like his better-known contemporaries Daniel Boone, Kit Carson,
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James Baldwin

Jul 12th, 2011 | By
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1924-1987  Dividing his time between America and Europe, James Arthur Baldwin wrote numerous novels, essays, and plays that vividly depict the struggle of Blacks in white America. As an active member of the civil rights movement, Baldwin continually maintained that it was only through nonviolent action that racial equality could be obtained. Growing up as
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Marian Anderson

Jul 11th, 2011 | By
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1897-1993  Marian Anderson joined a church choir when she was six years old, and never stopped singing. Among the most celebrated classical voices of the 20th century, she enjoyed a luminous international career in which she dazzled audiences throughout America and Europe, broke color barriers, and helped pave the way for the rise of African
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Booker T. Washington

Jul 10th, 2011 | By
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1856-1915  Booker Taliaferro Washington was one of the leading African American figures of his era. Born a slave and initially denied an education, he was ultimately responsible for founding one of the preeminent black educational institutions in the U.S., and was known for his philosophy of hard work, vocational training, and self-reliance as the path
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Wilma Rudolph

Jul 10th, 2011 | By
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1940-1994  Wilma Rudolph overcame polio to become a successful athlete and the first American woman to win three Olympic gold medals. Her groundbreaking success made her a national hero and paved the way for generations of women of color to compete in track and field. Stricken with Polio When Rudolph was born in Bethlehem, Tennessee,
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Allison Davis

Jul 9th, 2011 | By
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1902-1983  William Allison Davis devoted his life to uncovering and correcting unfair bias in the U.S. educational system, and ensuring equal opportunity for all. His landmark studies of caste and class in the south, and the effects of culturally biased tests on underprivileged children, led to dramatic improvements in the use of such tests and
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Percy L. Julian

Jul 7th, 2011 | By
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1899-1975 Percy Lavon Julian, a grandson of slaves, became a world-renowned chemist and research scientist whose discoveries eased the pain and suffering of millions by making affordable treatments for glaucoma, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. With graduate degrees from Harvard University and the University of Vienna, he triumphed over institutional and social prejudice to achieve unprecedented
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