Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (May 25, 1878 â€“ November 25, 1949) was an American tap dancer and actor of stage and film. Audiences enjoyed his understated style, which eschewed the frenetic manner of the jitterbug in favor of cool and reserve; rarely did he use his upper body, relying instead on busy, inventive feet, and an expressive face.
A figure in both the black and white entertainment worlds of his era, he is best known today for his dancing with Shirley Temple in a series of films during the 1930s, and for starring in the 1943 musical Stormy Weather, loosely based on Robinson’s own life.
The Penny Savings Bank, founded by Reverend William Reuben Pettiford in Birmingham in 1890, was the first black-owned and black-operated financial institution in Alabama. Created as a necessity of de facto and later codified segregation, the bank backed and encouraged development of black businesses, especially in urban areas, as well as savings by African Americans, until its closing in 1915.
William Reuben Pettiford
William Reuben Pettiford was born to free parents in North Carolina in 1847. He moved to Alabama in 1869 to seek better educational and financial opportunities. After seven years of studying while holding down jobs, Pettiford completed his degree at the Lincoln Normal School (a predecessor of Alabama State University) in Marion, Perry County. In 1877, Pettiford became a teacher at Selma University and simultaneously entered the theological department of the school, taking courses from President Harrison Woodsmall.
Three years later, he voluntarily severed his connection with the school to become pastor of the First Baptist Church of Union Springs, where he also served as principal of the city school for African Americans. In 1883, he accepted the pastorate of the First Colored Baptist Church of Birmingham, later named the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, at the urging of state Baptist leaders and educator Booker T. Washington, who assured him that he could provide necessary leadership for Birmingham’s expanding black population.
In 1817, Samuel Ringgold Ward was born into slavery in Maryland. He was treated harshly and resented the entire system of chattel slavery. To escape this horrible system, Ward ran away, using the Underground Railroad to reach New York City. In New York, Ward became a school teacher and later a preacher.
His interest in journalism led him to the job of an editor of the Farmer and Northern Star. Wars became involved with the abolitionist movement that was very popular in New York. He, along with others founded the Liberty and Free-Soil parties, edited the Impartial Citizen in Boston and credited the Alienated American. Ward moved to Canada.Â Continue reading
Smith v. Allwright , 321 U.S. 649 (1944), was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court with regard to voting rights and, by extension, racial desegregation. It overturned the Texas state law that authorized the Democratic Party to set its internal rules, including the use of white primaries. The court ruled that the state had allowed discrimination to be practiced by delegating its authority to the Democratic Party. This affected all other states where the party used the rule.
The Democrats had excluded minority voter participation by this means, another device for legal disfranchisement of blacks across the South beginning in the late 19th century.
The Colored National Labor Union arrived shortly after the development of the National Labor Union, which happened to be the first major organization founded by Andrew Cameron in 1866. The National Labor Union was dedicated with helping unions such as construction and other skilled groups and even sometimes towards farmers.
At this point in time African Americans were struggling to be noticed and taken seriously in the work field and in society they felt that if they started their own national union it would help their position in society because they were not given any help from the National Labor Union. The only thing that the National Union offered to African Americans was to encourage them to organize and separate that could be affiliated with the National Labor Union, but this plan was clearly not designed to help with racial unity because it left black workers only fighting for an entry into the union.
The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, often referred to as the Freedmen’s Bureau, was established in the War Department by an act of March 3, 1865. The Bureau supervised all relief and educational activities relating to refugees and freedmen, including issuing rations, clothing and medicine.
The Bureau also assumed custody of confiscated lands or property in the former Confederate States, border states, District of Columbia, and Indian Territory. The bureau records were created or maintained by bureau headquarters, the assistant commissioners and the state superintendents of education and included personnel records and a variety of standard reports concerning bureau programs and conditions in the states.