This Black History month we salute African American who made American history.

W.E.B Du Bois-youtube

Pan-African Congress Meeting took place on this day in 1919.  Pan-African Congress, organized by W.E.B. Du Bois.  There were fifty-seven delegates, sixteen from the United States and fourteen from Africa from sixteen countries and colonies.  Blaise Diagne of Senegal was elected president and Du Bois was named secretary.

On this day in black history, the one and only William "Smokey" Robinson born in 1940.  Back in the day he formed the Miracles in 1955 while still in high school.  The groups hit was "Shop Around" in 1960.

On this day in black history, the mighty Tuskegee Airmen was initiated in 1941. The Army Air Corps' all African American 100th Pursuit Squadron, later designated a fighter squadron, was activated at Tuskegee Institute. The squadron served honorably in England and in other regions of the European continent during World War II.

Tuskegee Airman Combat Statistics Included:

  • 409 German aircraft shot down or damaged on the ground
  • 950 ground transportation units (trucks, railroad, cars, etc) destroyed
  • German Navy destroyer sunk by aircraft machine gun fire alone
  • Aircraft flown: P-39, P-40, P-47, P-51
  • 15,553 combat sorties flown
  • 1,578 total missions flown
  • 200 bomber escort missions flown, with an unmatched record of never having lost a bomber under their protection to enemy aircraft attacks.
  • 66 Tuskegee pilots killed in combat
  • 32 Tuskegee pilots shot down who became prisoners of war
  • Combat awards included over 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses and Legions of Merit, along with The Red Star of YugoslaviaIt was because of their outstanding accomplishments that in July 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 which officially integrated the U.S. Air Force. However, the U.S. Army didn't became integrated until 1951, with other services soon following.

On this day, Director, John Singleton was nominated for an Academy Award for best director and best screenplay for his legendary movie Boyz N the Hood in 1992.

Dorothy Maynor-youtube

On this day the legendary soprano, concert singer and founder of the Harlem School of the Arts Dorothy Maynor died in 1996.  In 1964, she founded the Harlem School of the Arts which was designed to give music education at a reduced rate to the children of Harlem.  By she retired 1979, her school went from 20 students to 1,000.  In 1975, she became the first African-American on the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Opera.

Vonetta Flowers-youtube

Finally, it was on this day in 2002, that Vonetta Flowers became the first black gold medalist in the history of the Winter Olympic Games. She and partner Jill Bakken won the inaugural women's two-person bobsled event.  Vonetta was a star sprinter and long jumper at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  She originally wanted to make the U.S. Summer Olympic Team, but after several attempts, Vonetta set her eyes on bobsledding.  It turned out to be her calling as she and found immediate success as a brakewoman for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Vonetta Flowers and Jill Bakken-youtube

Shortly after the Salt Lake City Games, Flowers gave birth to twins and took some time off from the sport.  However, she returned to competition in 2003 with new driver Jean Prahm and the two of them won the 2004 FIBT World Championships in Königssee and came in sixth place at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.  Vonetta retired from competition after the 2006 Winter Olympics.