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Claude McKay

Claude McKay

Claude McKay was born in Jamaica on 15th September, 1890. He began writing poetry as a schoolboy. He worked as a policeman in Spanish Town and when he was twenty-two had his first volume of poems, Songs of Jamaica (1912) published.In 1912 McKay moved to the United States where he attended Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and Kansas State University. He continued to write poetry and in 1918 his work was praised by both Frank Harris and Max Eastman. The following year, his poem, If We Must Die, was published in Eastman’s journal, The Liberator.

Frank Harris encouraged McKay to obtain writing experience in England. In 1919 McKay travelled to England where he met George Bernard Shaw who introduced him to influential left-wing figures in journalism. This included Sylvia Pankhurst, who recruited him to write for her trade union journal, Workers’ Dreadnought. While in London McKay read the works of Karl Marx and becomes a committed socialist.  Continue reading

First Pan-African Congress

Speakers at The Pan African Congress,. Brussels, Belgium,1921

In 1919, the first Pan-African Congress was organized by W. E. B. Du Bois. There were 57 delegates representing 15 countries, a smaller number than originally intended because British and American governments refused to issue passports ro their citizens who planned on attending.[1] Their main task was petitioning the Versailles Peace Conference which was held in Paris at that time. Among their demands were that:

  • The Allies should be in charge of the administration of former territories in Africa as a Condominium on behalf of the Africans who were living there.
  • Africa be granted home rule and Africans should take part in governing their countries as fast as their development permits until at some specified time in the future.

The problem was that colonist offered no end in sight. Hence, the resistance and war pursued.

Charles Edward Anderson

Charles Edward Anderson

Charles Edward Anderson was born on a farm in University City, near St. Louis, Missouri on August 13, 1919. He graduated as valedictorian from Sumner High School in 1937. He received a Bachelor of Science from Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Missouri in 1941. He was Certified in Meteorology (master’s degree) from the University of Chicago in 1943. Charles Anderson also earned a Master of Science inChemistry in 1948 from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, New York. In 1960, Mr. Anderson earned a Ph.D. in Meteorology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts.

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William Alexander Scott II

William Alexander Scott II

William Alexander Scott II came to Atlanta to receive an education and ended up, at the tender age of 26, founding a newspaper that would become the first successful African-American daily in the nation. The son of a minister, Scott did not allow the presence of another Black newspaper, The Atlanta Independent, to deter him from starting the Atlanta World on Aug. 5, 1928.

The publishers of the Atlanta World have felt the need of a Southern Negro Newspaper, published by Southern Negroes, to be read by Southern Negroes, Scott wrote in the first issue. By 1930, the newspaper was one of the most widely circulated Black papers in the South. Using the Atlanta World as fuel, Scott charged ahead, establishing the first chain of African-American newspapers in 1931. The Scott Newspaper Syndicate eventually would include 50 newspapers. On March 12, 1932, Scott achieved another goal when the Atlanta World went daily.  Continue reading

Lena Horne

Lena Horne

b. 1917 – Lena Home is known and loved not only for her musical and dramatic talents but also for her continual interest in and support of many humane causes. She started in show business with the chorus line at the Cotton Club in 1933. From there she toured with Noble Sissle’s orchestra, and she later joined Charlie Barnett’s band, with which she made her first records.

In the early 1940s Home went to Hollywood, where she became the first black woman to sign a term contract in film. Her films include Panama Hattie (1942), Cabin in the Sky (1943), and Stormy Weather (1943).  Continue reading

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