The Watts Riots (or Watts Rebellion) took place in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles from August 11 to 17, 1965. The six-day riot resulted in 34 deaths, 1,032 injuries, 3,438 arrests, and over $40 million in property damage. It was the most severe riot in the city’s history until the Los Angeles riots of 1992.
In the Great Migration of the 1920s, major populations of African-Americans moved to Northern cities like Detroit, Chicago, and New York City to escape racial segregation, Jim Crow Laws, violence, and racial bigotry in the Southern States. This wave of migration largely bypassed Los Angeles. In the 1940s, in the Second Great Migration, black Americans migrated to the West Coast in large numbers, in response to defense industry recruitment at the start of World War II. The black population in Los Angeles leaped from approximately 63,700 in 1940 to about 350,000 in 1965, making the once small black community visible to the general public.
Miles Vandahurst Lynk was born near the small town of Brownsville, TN on June 3, 1871 in Haywood County. He was the first-born son of former slaves who made their living off of a small family farm. At the age of six, Miles Lynk’s father was killed in an accident and the young boy was forced to take on adult responsibilities in helping his mother on the farm.
In spite of the hard times, Lynk’s mother insisted that her son attend the rural black schools in the region at least five months a year. She spent much of her time tutoring him herself. She covered the gaps in his education with what books she could acquire and the young boy became a voracious reader. They made enough money from the farm to hire a private tutor and Miles’ was able to study advanced academic subjects and gained an able education. Continue reading
Bakke decision, formally Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, ruling in which, on June 28, 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court declared affirmative action constitutional but invalidated the use of racial quotas. The medical school at the University of California, Davis, as part of the university’s affirmative action program, had reserved 16 percent of its admission places for minority applicants.
Allan Bakke, a white California man who had twice unsuccessfully applied for admission to the medical school, filed suit against the university. Citing evidence that his grades and test scores surpassed those of many minority students who had been accepted for admission, Bakke charged that he had suffered unfair “reverse discrimination” on the basis of race, which he argued was contrary to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. Continue reading
WGPR-TV (Where God’s Presence Radiates) was the first television station in the United States owned and operated by African Americans. The station, located in Detroit, Michigan, was founded by William Venoid Banks. WGPR-TV marketed toward the urban audience in Detroit, Michigan, which in that market meant programming for the African American community.
WGPR-TV first aired on September 29, 1975 on channel 62 in Detroit, Michigan. Station founder William Venoid Banks was a Detroit attorney, minister and prominent member of the International Free and Accepted Modern Masons, an organization he founded in 1950. The Masons owned the majority of stock in WGPR-TV. The station initially broadcast religious shows, R&B music shows, off-network dramas, syndicated shows and older cartoons. Continue reading
Claude Albert Barnett, entrepreneur and founder of the Associated Negro Press (1919-1967), was born in Sanford, Florida to William Barnett and Celena Anderson. At nine months he was brought to Mattoon, Illinois to live with his maternal grandmother. Barnett grew up in Illinois, attending schools in Oak Park and Chicago. In 1904 he entered Tuskegee Institute. Two years later in 1906 he received a diploma and was granted the Institute’s highest award.
Following graduation Barnett returned to Chicago and became a postal worker. Through his new employment he read numerous magazines and newspapers. Fascinated by the advertisements, in 1913 Barnett began reproducing photographs of notable black luminaries, which he sold through advertising in African American newspapers. By 1917 Barnett had transformed this endeavor into a thriving mail-order enterprise.
After this initial success, Barnett and several partners started the Kashmir Chemical Company, a cosmetics business where he served as advertising manager. Shortly thereafter he resigned his post office position and traveled the country, promoting both his photographs and beauty products to mostly black customers. As he placed his ads in various black newspapers across the country he noticed a common trend, these newspapers were in dire need of substantive news to report. Continue reading
The Baltimore Afro-American, commonly known as The Afro, is a weekly newspaper published in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. It is the flagship newspaper of the Afro-American chain and the longest-running African-American family-owned newspaper in the United States
The newspaper was founded in 1892 by a former slave, John H. Murphy, Sr., who merged his church publication, The Sunday School Helper, with two other church publications, The Ledger and The Afro-American. The publication began to rise in prominence when, in 1922, Carl Murphy took control and served as its editor for 45 years. There have been as many as 13 editions of the newspaper in major cities across the country; today there are just two: one in Baltimore, and the other in Washington, D.C.
George Boyer Vashon, attorney, scholar, essayist and poet, made noteworthy contributions to the fight for emancipation and education of blacks. He was born on July 25, 1824, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the third child and only son of an abolitionist, John Bethune Vashon. At the age of 16, Vashon enrolled in Oberlin Collegiate Institute in Ohio. On August 28, 1844, Vashon earned his Bachelor of Arts degree with valedictory honors, becoming the college’s first black graduate. Five years later, Vashon was awarded a Master of Arts degree in recognition of his scholarly pursuits and accomplishments.
After returning to Pittsburgh, he studied law under Judge Walter Forward, a prominent figure in Pennsylvania politics. After two years of reading law, Vashon applied for admission to the Allegheny County bar. His application was denied on the grounds that colored people were not citizens. This inequitable act led to Vashon’s decision to emigrate to Haiti. Before leaving the United States, Vashon went to New York to take the bar examination, which he successfully completed on January 10, 1848, thus becoming the first black lawyer in New York. Continue reading