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Fisk University

The End of the Civil War

In 1865, barely six months after the end of the Civil War and just two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, three men — John Ogden, the Reverend Erastus Milo Cravath, and the Reverend Edward P. Smith — established the Fisk School in Nashville.

The school was named in honor of General Clinton B. Fisk of the Tennessee Freedmen’s Bureau, who provided the new institution with facilities in former Union Army barracks near the present site of Nashville’s Union Station. In these facilities Fisk convened its first classes on January 9, 1866. The first students ranged in age from seven to seventy, but shared common experiences of slavery and poverty — and an extraordinary thirst for learning. Continue reading

‘Black’ Harry Hosier

hhosierHarry Hosier (c. 1750–May 1806), better known during his life as “Black Harry”, was a black Methodist preacher during the Second Great Awakening in the early United States. Dr. Benjamin Rush said that, “making allowances for his illiteracy, he was the greatest orator in America”.

His style was widely influential but he was never formally ordained by the Methodist Episcopal Church or the Rev. Richard Allen’s separate African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia.

Ernest J. Jamieson

During his tenure at the Cities Service Oil Co. in the late ’60s, Ernest J. Jamieson patented four inventions on the improvement of current gasoline compositions. One invention improved hydrocarbon fuel compositions for use in internal combustion engines by adding a detergent that prevents icing and corrosion.

Another invention improved a hydrocarbon fuel composition by adding a X hydrocarbylacid phosphate salt that reduced icing in the carburetor and improved water tolerance, thus reducing rust and hydrocarbon content in the exhaust.

Macon Bolling Allen

Macon Bolling Allen

Macon Bolling Allen is believed to be the first black man in the United States who was licensed to practice law. Born Allen Macon Bolling in 1816 in Indiana, he grew up a free man. Bolling learned to read and write on his on his own and eventually landed his first a job as a schoolteacher where he further refined his skills.

In the early 1840s Bolling moved from Indiana to Portland, Maine. There he changed his name to Macon Bolling Allen and became friends with local anti-slavery leader General Samuel Fessenden, who had recently began a law practice. Fessenden took on Allen as an apprentice/law clerk. By 1844 Allen had acquired enough proficiency that Fessenden introduced him to the Portland District court and stated that he thought Allen should be able to practice as a lawyer. He was refused on the grounds that he was not a citizen, though according to Maine law anyone “of good moral character” could be admitted to the bar. He then decided to apply for admission by examination. After passing the exam and earning his recommendation he was declared a citizen of Maine and given his license to practice law on July 3, 1844.

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Claude Harvard

Claude Harvard

Claude Harvard developed an automated piston pin inspection machine, which could clean the surface of automobile pistons to 1/10,000 of an inch and checked the surfaces with a magnetic pick-up. The device also checked whether or the not the piston had the proper hardness and the overlength and diameter of the grooves.

Claude Harvard was born on March 11, 1911 in Dublin, Georgia. He attended Telfair School, which was then located on Pritchett Street. His teacher and school principal Susie White Dasher was more than proud of Claude. Mrs. Dasher related that he was a mathematical wizard and was always at the top of his class.

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J. Ernest Wilkins Jr.

J. Ernest Wilkins Jr

Jesse Ernest Wilkins, Jr. (November 27, 1923 – May 1, 2011) was an African American nuclear scientist and mathematician, who gained first fame on entering the University of Chicago at age 13, becoming its youngest ever student. His intelligence led to him being referred to as a “negro genius” in the media.

As part of a widely varied and notable career, Wilkins contributed to the Manhattan Project during the Second World War. He also gained fame working in and conducting nuclear physics research in both academia and industry. He wrote numerous scientific papers, served in various important posts, earned several significant awards and helped recruit minority students into the sciences.

During his studies and various careers he was not untouched by the prevalent racism that existed for much of his life.

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