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Forgotten Heroes and Heritage of Black History

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Carter G Woodson, the father of black history

Carter G Woodson, the father of black history

Carter G Woodson, the father of black history

Ann Petty, reporter/photographer

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James Armistead — Patriot Spy

If he had not given the information that he [Armistead] gave at the strategic time he did, they would not have had the intelligence to create the blockade that ended the war.”

— Rex Ellis,vice president of Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area

James Armistead was an African American spy who worked under General Marquis de Lafayette. Born into slavery around Dec. 10, 1748, Armistead had to ask his master for permission to enter the Revolutionary War. Posing as a runaway slave hired by the British to spy on the Americans, Armistead infiltrated British Gen. Charles Cornwallis’ headquarters. Being able to travel free between American and British lines, Armistead was easily allowed to trade information. Through his work, Lafayette and George Washington were able to stop the planned British assault on Yorktown.

Highlander Folk School

The Highlander Folk School (now known as the Highlander Research and Education Center) was a training center for labor and civil rights activist from the 1930s-1960s. The center was originally located in Monteagle, TN; here activist such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr, and James Bevel studied and trained. In the later 1950s, Southern white newspapers attacked Highlander. This led to the State of Tennessee revoking its charter in 1961.

Paul Robeson — Actor and Activist

Paul Robeson was a 20th century writer and international activist. Most known for his performances in The Emperor Jones, Show Boat, and Othello, he was one of the first black men to play for predominantly white theatres. He visited the Soviet Union during the 1930s, he performed for allied troops, and he took part in anti-Nazi movements and demonstrations. During his time in Russia, he grew fond of its culture. This lead him to get blacklisted as a communist during the McCarthy era.

Mae C. Jemison — Space Explorer

Mae C. Jemison was the first African American women to be admitted into NASA’s astronaut training program, to become an astronaut, and on September 12, 1992, she was the first African American woman to go into space. Jemison was born on October 17,1956, in Decatur, Alabama.

It would be nice—and I think it will be nice—to have more and more people of all kinds involved with space exploration.”

— Mae C Jemison

Mary Jackson — Human Computer

Mary Jackson was NASA’s first black female engineer. Mary Jackson was born on April 9, 1921. Jackson attended Hampton’s all black schools and graduated with honors from George P. Phenix Training School in 1937.  After that, she obtained a bachelor degree in mathematics and physical science from Hampton Institute. In 1951, she found employment with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in Langley, Virginia. After several months of unequal treatment, she considered resigning, but her supervisor changed her mind by inviting her to work for him. Jackson died on Feb. 11, 2005, but her legacy still lives on in the movie Hidden Figures.

Bessie Coleman — Aviating Angel

In 1922, Bessie Coleman became the first African American woman to stage an air flight in America and earn a pilot’s license. Because she was denied entry into US flying schools, she taught herself French and learned aviation in France. In seven months, she earned her license from the Caudron Brother’s School of Aviation. Coleman died on April 30, 1926, where she plummeted to her death from an accident during an aerial rehearsal. Coleman is still a pioneer for women in the aviation field.

 

 

 

Gray, Madison. “Black History Month: Unsung Heroes.” Time, Time Inc., 12 Jan. 2007, content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1963424_1963480_1963442,00.html.

“James Armistead.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 12 Sept. 2016, www.biography.com/people/james-armistead-537566.

“Mae C. Jemison.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 19 Jan. 2018, www.biography.com/people/mae-c-jemison-9542378.

“Paul Robeson.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 22 Feb. 2016, www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/paul-robeson-about-the-actor/66/?commit=Search Websites.

“Paul Robeson.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 6 Feb. 2018, www.biography.com/people/paul-robeson-9460451.

Timmons, Greg. “Mary Jackson.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 27 Feb. 2018, www.biography.com/people/mary-winston-jackson-120616.

Timmons, Greg. “Mary Jackson.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 27 Feb. 2018, www.biography.com/people/mary-winston-jackson-120616.

Watson, Elwood. Highlander Research and Education Center (1932- ) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed, www.blackpast.org/aah/highlander-research-and-education-center-1932.

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