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Peabody Education Fund

Peabody Education Fund

Peabody Education Fund

Founded of necessity due to damage caused largely by the American Civil War, the Peabody Education Fund was established by George Peabody in 1867 for the purpose of promoting “intellectual, moral, and industrial education in the most destitute portion of the Southern States.” The gift of foundation consisted of securities to the value of $2,100,000, of which $1,100,000 were in Mississippi State bonds, afterward repudiated. In 1869 an additional $1,000,000 was given by Mr. Peabody, with $384,000 of Florida funds, also repudiated later. The main purpose of the fund was to aid elementary education by strengthening existing schools. Because it was restricted from founding new schools, it did not benefit freedmen in the South, as there were no established schools for blacks.

“The fund introduced a new type of benefaction in that it was left without restriction in the hands of the trustees to administer. Power to close the trust after thirty years was provided on condition that two-thirds of the fund be distributed to educational institutions in the Southern states.” Continue reading

Jane Cooke Wright

Jane Cooke Wright

Jane Cooke Wright

Jane Cooke Wright was born in New York City in 1919. Her father, Corinne Cooke Wright is well known for his cancer research, and being a civil rights leader and cancer researcher.

Jane graduated from Smith College in 1942. She graduated from New York Medical School in 1945. She interned and did her residency at Bellevue Hospital and Harlem Hospital respectfully from 1945 to 1947.

Wright worked with her father at the Harlem Cancer Research Foundation from 1947 to 1952. She researched cancer chemotherapy here. Jane was named director of Harlem Hospital Cancer Research Foundation in 1952. She became an instructor and director of cancer research at the New York Medical School. Wright was named associate dean of the school and became the first black physician to do so. Currently she is a professor emeritus at the school.

Juliette Derricotte

Juliette Derricotte

Juliette Derricotte

1897-1931. Juliette Dercotte was an African-American educator and political activist whose death after receiving racist treatment after a fatal car accident sparked outrage in the African-American community.

Raised in Athens, GA., Ms. Derricotte was educated in the public schools and at Talladega College. She was the first woman trustee of the College (appointed 1918). Ms. Derricotte was a renowned speaker, traveling across the U.S. in support of black colleges and education.

She was a delegate at the convention of the World’s Student Christian Federation in 1924 and 1928, where she represented all American college students. She served the YWCA as the National Student Secretary, resigning in 1929 to become Dean Of Women at Fisk University.

She was born the fifth of nine children of Isaac Derricotte and Laura Derricotte, a cobbler and a seamstress. As a child, she was hopeful of attending the local Institute and was crushed when her mother told her she would be unable to due to her color. This event helped shape her perception of the world and her desire to change people’s racial prejudices.  Continue reading

Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield

Born in 1942, Curtis Mayfield was ahead of his time. Performer, producer, songwriter and businessman he was more in sync with the civil rights movement than any of the other musicians of his era. “My songs were not only personal to me, they were personal to a movement..” he said in 1989. He taught himself to play guitar and later performed gospel with his friend Jerry Butler in the Northern Jubilee Singers.

In 1957 they formed the Roosters, a doo wop group. The name would change again, to the Impressions, before they scored a hit with “For Your Precious Love”. Jerry Butler, the vocalist for the song, left the group to go solo…taking Curtis along as guitarist, though he still remained with the Impressions. In 1960 Mayfield made his first hit as a songwriter and soon other singers in Chicago were turning to him to write for them.  Continue reading

Leroy "Satchel" Paige

Leroy 'Satchel' Paige

Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige

Regarded as the nearest thing to a legend that ever came out of the Negro Leagues, this tall, lanky right-hander parlayed a pea-sized fastball, nimble wit, and a colorful personality into a household name that is recognized by people who know little about baseball itself and even less about the players who performed in the Jim Crow era of organized baseball. His name has become synonymous with the barnstorming exhibitions played between traveling black teams and their white counterparts.

A mixture of fact and embellishment, Satchel’s stories are legion and form a rich array of often-repeated folklore. On many occasions he would pull in the outfielders to sit behind the mound while he proceeded to strike out the side with the tying run on base. Once he intentionally walked Howard Easterling and Buck Leonard to load the bases so he could pitch to Josh Gibson, the most dangerous hitter in black baseball, and then struck him out. He was advertised as guaranteed to strike out the first nine batters he faced in exhibition games, and he almost invariably fulfilled his billing.

Satchel frequently warmed up by throwing twenty straight pitches across a chewing gum wrapper that was being used for home plate. His “small” fastball was described by some hitters as looking like a half dollar. Others said that he wound up with a pumpkin and threw a pea. But Biz Mackey had the best story about how small his fastball looked. He said that once Satchel threw the ball so hard that the ball disappeared before it reached the catcher’s mitt. The stories are endless. But the facts are also impressive.  Continue reading

Lillian Evans Evanti

Lillian Evans Evanti

Lillian Evans Evanti

Lillian Evans Evanti (1890-1967) was the first African American to sing opera with an organized company in Europe.

In 1941 she founded the National Negro Opera.

She was born in Washington, D.C., and graduated from Armstrong Manual Training School.

She graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor’s Degree in music and studied in France and Italy. Evanti, a soprano, sang at the Belasco Theater in 1926 with Marian Anderson.

She debuted in 1927 in Delibes’s Lakmé at Nice, France. As an opera singer and concert artist, she toured throughout Europe and South America.

  • In 1943, she performed with the Watergate Theater barge on the Potomac River. In 1944, she appeared at The Town Hall (New York City). She received acclaim as Violetta in Verdi’s La traviata as produced by the National Negro Opera Company in 1945.
  • In 1963, she walked with her friend Alma Thomas in the March on Washington.

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