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Patricia Roberts Harris

Patricia Roberts Harris

Patricia Roberts Harris (1924-85), former cabinet official and the only woman to have headed three federal departments, joined the faculty of The George Washington University Law School in the fall of 1983. Harris graduated from the GW National Law Center at the head of her class in 1960, receiving her JD with honors.

“She is truly one of the most distinguished graduates of the school and one of the most distinguished women in public life,” said National Law Center Dean Jerome A. Barron in announcing the appointment. “She brings great understanding of government, as well as experience in it, to the teaching of public law.  Continue reading

Ralph Bunche

Ralph Bunche

Bunche was the first black person to win the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded in 1950. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Bunche and his sister were orphaned in 1915 and reared by their grandmother in Los Angeles. A brilliant, industrious student, Bunche graduated from Jefferson High School in 1922 as class valedictorian but was barred from the honor society because of his race.

In 1927, Bunche graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles, where he had excelled both in and outside the classroom. He wrote for the school newspaper, won oratorical contests, was sports editor of the yearbook, played guard for three years on the basketball team, and became Phi Beta Kappa. He then entered Harvard University, where in 1934 he became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in government and international relationsContinue reading

Richard Allen

Richard Allen founded the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and the Free African Society. He was born a slave in Philadelphia and with his family was sold to Stockley Sturgis, the owner of a plantation near Dover, Delaware.

With the permission of his master, Allen joined the Methodist Society, learned to read and write and started to preach at Methodist meetings. After his conversion, Allen said that he worked harder to prove that religion did not make slave worse servants. At Allen’s request, a Methodist meeting was held in the Sturgis’ home.  Continue reading

Martha Euphemia Lofton Haynes

Martha Euphemia Lofton Haynes

In 1943, Euphemia Lofton Haynes earned her Ph.D. in Mathematics at The Catholic University in Washington, D.C., thus becoming the first African American Woman Ph. D. in Mathematics.

Born Martha Euphemia Lofton, Euphremia (she rarely used Martha) was a fourth generation Washingtonian, her father was Dr. William S. Lofton, a prominent Black D.C. dentist and financier of Black businesses in the area. Her mother, Lavinia Day Lofton, was active in the Catholic church as later was Euphemia. She graduated high school from Washington’s Miner Normal School in 1909. Four years later, she received a B.A. in Mathematics (minor in Psychology). In 1917, she married Harold Appo Haynes who later became a principal and deputy superintendent in charge of Washington’s “colored schools” (the schools for African Americans).  Continue reading

Sammie Davis Jr.

Sammie Davis Jr.

1925 to 1990. In the over hyped world of popular music music, there are legends, and then there are Legends with a capital L. There’s no doubting which category Sammy Davis Jr falls into. For a staggering 60 years, from his debut as a four year old child star in the late 1920’s to his untimely death in 1990 at the age of 64, he more than justified his title of ‘Mr Entertainment’ and when he wasn’t inspiring headlines on stage he was making news of it, as a founder member of the Rat Pack with fellow superstars Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

He owed his early start to his parents, vaudeville star Sammy Davis Sr and Puerto Rican ‘Baby Sanchez, who performed with the youngsters adopted uncle, Will Mastin, in his act ‘Holiday In Dixieland’. But Sammy Jr soon became the star of the show as the newly rechristened ‘Will Mastin’s Gang, Featuring Little Sammy’ acknowledged. When the authorities forbade him to appear, so legend has it his father shrugged his shoulders, gave his son a rubber cigar and billed him as a ‘dancing midget’.   Continue reading

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