Frank Robinson

Frank Robinson

Frank Robinson

Frank Robinson played for the Orioles from 1966-1971 and in his first season with the Orioles, Robinson won the triple crown and the American League MVP award, becoming the only player to win the award in both leagues. He was also a memeber of the 1966 and 1970 World Series championship teams.

Robinson returned to Baltimore as the team’s manager from 1988-1991, and was named the American League Manager of the Year in 1989. His No. 20 jersey was retired by the Orioles in 1972 and he was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.

He finished his career a .294 lifetime hitter with 586 home runs and 1,812 RBIs. (Baltimore Sun / July 15, 1968)

Leontyne Price

Leontyne Price

Leontyne Price

Soprano Leontyne Price was born Mary Violet Leontine Price in Laurel, Mississippi, on February 10, 1927, the daughter of James and Katherine Price. Leontine was a very musical child and became a local success at an early age, singing at local weddings and funerals. After receiving local training, she sang in her first recital on December 17, 1943.

After studying at Wilberforve College (now Central State University) in Ohio, Leontine enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York. She began studying with Florence Page Kimball and, shortly after changing the spelling of her name to “Leontyne”, she was accepted into the Juilliard Opera Workshop. Much of Leontyne’s musical education was supported by a wealthy family from Laurel, Alexander and Elizabeth Chisolm.

At Juilliard, she appeared in 1952 as Nella in Gianni Schicchi and and, later that year, as Mistress Ford in Falstaff. Also in 1952, she was invited by composer Virgil Thompson to appear as Saint Cecilia in a revival of his Four Saints in Three Acts in New York and Paris.  Continue reading

Victoria E. Mattews

Victoria E. Matthews

Victoria E. Matthews

In 1861, Victoria Matthews was born. She was an African-American educator, writer, and racial advocate.  Born a slave in Fort Valley near Macon County, Georgia she was the youngest of nine children. Victoria’s father, and that of her sister Anna as well, was also the family’s Master; the light-skinned sisters were raised in his house when their mother ran away and freed when the Civil War began.

Their mother eventually came back to Georgia, regained custody and moved them to New York City in 1873. Victoria attended public school in New York for a while but had to leave to work as a domestic.

She married in 1879, settling in Brooklyn where she soon began writing for the Brooklyn Eagle and the Waverly Magazine under the pen name Victoria Earle. In 1893 her story Aunt Lindy: A Story Founded on Real Life was published. Matthews took a deep interest in Black women’s issues.  Continue reading

Homer A. Plessy

Homer Plessy

Homer Plessy

Plaintiff for a landmark Supreme Court case, Homer A. Plessy was born on March 17, 1863 in New Orleans. He was a light-skinned Creole of Color during the post-reconstruction years.

With the aid of the Comité des Citoyens, a black organization in New Orleans, Homer Plessy became the plaintiff in the famous Plessy v. Ferguson case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in May 1896. The decision established the “separate but equal” policy that made racial segregation constitutional for the next six decades.

In order to challenge the 1890 Louisiana statute requiring separate accommodations for whites and blacks, Homer Plessy and the Comité des Citoyens used Plessy’s light skin to their advantage. On June 7, 1892 Plessy bought a first class ticket on the East Louisiana Railway. Continue reading

Mary Church Terrell

Mary Church Terrell

Mary Church Terrell

Mary Church was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on 23rd September, 1863. Both her parents, Robert Church and Louisa Ayers, were both former slaves. Robert was the son of his white master, Charles Church.

During the Memphis race riots in 1866 Mary’s father was shot in the head and left for dead. He survived the attack and eventually became a successful businessman. He speculated in the property market and was considered to be the wealthiest black man in the South.

Mary was an outstanding student and after graduating from Oberlin College, Ohio, in 1884, she taught at a black secondary school in Washington and at Wilberforce College in Ohio. Through her father, Mary met Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington. She was especially close to Douglass and worked with him on several civil rights campaigns.  Continue reading

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