Bakke Decision

Bakke Decision Protesters

Bakke Decision Protesters

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 Detroit

WGPR-TV Detroit

WGPR-TV Detroit

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 A Barnett

Claude Barnette

Claude Barnette

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

First issue of Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper

The afro-american newspaper

The afro-american newspaper

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 B. Vashon

eorge B. Vashon

eorge B. Vashon

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

Autherine Lucy Foster

Autherine Lucy Foster

Autherine Lucy Foster

Autherine Juanita Lucy was the first black student to attend the University of Alabama, in 1956. She was born on October 5, 1929 in Shiloh, Alabama and graduated from Linden Academy in 1947. She went on to attend Selma University in Selma, and the all-black Miles College in Fairfield – where she graduated with a BA in English in 1952.

Later in 1952, at the encouragement of and along with a Miles classmate, Pollie Ann Myers, she decided to attend the University of Alabama as a graduate student but, knowing that admission would be difficult due to the University’s admission policies, she and Myers approached the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for help. Thurgood Marshall, Constance Baker Motley, and Arthur Shores were assigned to be their attorneys. While they started preparing her case, she worked as a secretary. Court action began in July 1953.  Continue reading

Father Patrick Francis Healy

Father Patrick Francis Healy

Father Patrick Francis Healy

Patrick Francis Healy (February 27, 1830 – January 10, 1910) was the 29th President of Georgetown University known for expanding the school following the American Civil War. He was accepted as and identified as Irish-American. Healy Hall, a National Historic Landmark, was constructed during Healy’s tenure and is named after him.

In the 1960s the history of Healy’s mixed-race ancestry became more widely known, and he was recognized as the first American of African ancestry to earn a PhD; the first to become a Jesuit priest; and the first to be president of a predominantly white college.

Henry Blair

Henry Blair Seed planter

Henry Blair Seed planter

10-14-1834 marks one of the first patents filed by a Black person in America.

Henry Blair of Montgomery County, MD, received his first patent on October 14, 1834, for his invention of the corn seed planter, which allowed farmers to plant their corn much faster and with much less labor. The machine also helped with weed control. He later received another patent in 1836 for the invention of the cotton planter. The cotton planter was very similar to the seed planter in the way that it was put together.

Blair was not an educated man; he could not read or write. At the time that he filed his patent applications he had to sign them with an “x” because he was unable to write his name. Blair is the only person in the United States Patent Office records to be identified as a “colored man.” No other inventor is identified by his or her race. Henry Blair died in 1860.

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