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

1860's photo of Fredick Douglas-youtube

On this day in black history in 1895, Frederick Douglass died on this day at the age of 78. Anacostia Heights, District of Columbia.  By the time of the Civil War, Douglass was one of the most famous black men in the country not only fighting for the rights of African Americans, but other issues like womens rights.  He was an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman.  After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing.  As a matter of fact, he stood as a living counter-example to slaveholders' arguments that slaves did not have the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens.

On February 20, 1895, Douglass attended a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, D.C. During that meeting, he was brought to the platform and given a standing ovation by the audience.  Shortly after he returned home, Frederick Douglass died of a massive heart attack or stroke in Washington, D.C.  His funeral was held at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church where thousands passed by his coffin paying tribute.  He was buried in the Douglass family plot of Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York where he had lived for 25 years, longer than anywhere else in his life.

On this day in 1900, J.F. Pickering received a patent for his invention of the airship or blimp as it's most commonly known.  The Pickering airship was the very first to be powered by an electric motor and have directional controls.
Sidney Poitier-youtube








On this day in history,  Sidney Poitier was born in 1927 in Miami, Florida.  In 1963, Poitier was the first African American to win an Academy Award in a starring role in Lilies of the Field.  In 1967 when he starred in -To Sir, with Love; In the Heat of the Night; and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, he become a box office king.

In 1999, the American Film Institute named Poitier among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, black or white.  Here's the story of the legendary Sidney Poitier.

Wallace Thurman-youtube
Wallace Thurman was an American novelist/playwright Best known for his 1929 novel, The Blacker the Berry: A Novel of Negro Life.  The book explores discrimination within the black community based on skin color, with lighter skin being more highly valued.

However, he made history on this day in 1929 when his play Harlemopened in New York, becoming the first African American playwright to do so.

Nancy Wilson-youtube
Jazz singer Nancy Wilson born was also born on this day in Chillicothe, Ohio, February 20, 1936.
John Hope-Youtube

On this day John Hope died of pneumonia in 1936 at the age of 67.  John Hope was an important African American educator and race leader of the early twentieth century. In 1906 he became the first black president of Morehouse College. Twenty-three years later, in 1929, Hope went on to become the first African American president of Atlanta University (later Clark Atlanta University). Under his leadership, Atlanta University became the first college in the nation to focus exclusively on graduate education for African American students.

As a civil rights leader, Hope was steadfast about public education, adequate housing, health care, job opportunities, and recreational facilities for blacks in Atlanta and across the nation. He also supported full civil rights in the South during an era when African Americans were expected to accommodate a system of inequality.
Charles Barkley-youtube
On this day in 1963 Sir Charles Wade Barkley was born in Leeds, AL.  Barkley was one of the NBA's most dominating power forwards.   Drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 5th pick of the 1984 NBA Draft.  Sir Charles was selected to be on the NBA All-Star First Team five times, the second team five times, and once on the third team.  He earned eleven NBA All-Star Game appearances and was named the All-Star MVP in 1991.

In 1993, he was voted the league's Most Valuable Player and during the NBA's 50th anniversary, named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.  He competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic games and won two gold medals as a member of the United States' Dream Team.  In 2006, Barkley was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.


On this day in 1968, state troopers used tear gas to stop demonstrations at Alcorn A&M College.  Alcorn is the oldest public historically black land-grant institution in the United States and the second oldest state supported institution of higher learning in Mississippi.  When it was founded in 1871, In the afternoon, they worked in the various shops for eight cents per hour. Room and board, including laundry, equated to five dollars a month.