Richard Wright

Richard Wright

(b. Sept. 4, 1908, near Natchez, Miss., U.S.–d. Nov. 28, 1960, Paris, France), novelist and short-story writer, who was among the first black American writers to protest white treatment of blacks, notably in his novel Native Son (1940) and his autobiography, Black Boy (1945). He inaugurated the tradition of protest explored by other black writers after World War II.

Wright’s grandparents had been slaves. His father left home when he was five, and the boy, who grew up in poverty, was often shifted from one relative to another. He worked at a number of jobs before joining the northward migration, first to Memphis, Tenn., and then to Chicago.  Continue reading

Morgan State University

Founded in Maryland, 1872, Morgan State University (commonly referred to as MSU, Morgan State, or Morgan) is a historically black college (HBCU) in Baltimore, Maryland, United States.

Morgan is Maryland’s designated public urban university and the largest HBCU in the state of Maryland. In 1890, the institution name formerly known as Centenary Biblical Institute was changed to honor the Reverend Lyttleton Morgan, the first chairman of its Board of Trustees, who donated land to the college.[2]. The University is a member-school of Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Though it is a public institution, Morgan is not a part of the University System of Maryland; the school opted out of becoming a part of the system and possesses its own governing Board of Regents.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority emerged on Howard University in 1913. Twenty-two college women committed to sisterhood, maintained high scholastic standards, and were compelled to become advocates in a society that was undergoing change. The founders were Osceola Macarthy Adams, Marguerite Young Alexander, Winona Cargile Alexander, Ethel Cuff Black, Bertha Pitts Campbell, Zephyr Chisom Carter, Edna Brown Coleman, Jessie McGuire Dent, Frederica Chase Dodd, Myra Davis Hemmings, Olive C. Jones, Jimmie Bugg Middleton, Pauline Oberdorfer Minor, Vashti Turley Murphy, Naomi Sewell Richardson, Mamie Reddy Rose, Eliza P. Shippen, Florence Letcher Toms, Ethel Carr Watson, Wertie Blackwell Weaver, Madree Penn White, and Edith Motte Young. Continue reading

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority


The First Black Sorority
was formed on the campus of Howard University. The brainchild of Ethel Hedgeman, Hedgeman approached eight other women in the Liberal Arts School and soon Alpha Kappa Alpha was established as a Greek-letter organization in 1908. Founding members included Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, Beulah E. & Lillie Burke, Margaret Flagg Holmes, Marjorie Hill, Lucy Diggs Slowe, Marie Woolfolk Taylor, Anna Easter Brown, and Lavinia Norman.

Initially seen as a source for enhancing the social and academic life of its members, it soon expanded its horizons to include enhancing the lives of those in the community. It was the second Greek-letter group established on campus, the first being Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

In 1912, the undergraduate group embarked upon a plan to take the sorority in a different direction and decided to change the name as well as the symbols associated with it. One graduate member, Nellie Quander, opposed the change. She rallied the graduates together all of whom remained firm in their commitment to Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA). Continue reading

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity

Omega Psi Phi Founders

Omega Psi Phi (ΩΨΦ) is an international fraternity with over 700 undergraduate and graduate chapters. The fraternity was founded on November 17, 1911 by three Howard University juniors, Edgar Amos Love, Oscar James Cooper and Frank Coleman, and their faculty adviser, Dr. Ernest Everett Just. Omega Psi Phi is the first predominantly African-American fraternity to be founded at a historically black university.

Since its founding, the Fraternity’s stated purpose has been to attract and build a strong and effective force of men dedicated to its Cardinal Principles of manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift. Throughout the world, many notable members are recognized as leaders in the arts, academics, athletics, entertainment, business, civil rights, education, government, and science fields. Continue reading

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

b.1862 – d.1931. Anti-lynching crusader, journalist, and advocate for racial justice and women’s suffrage. For Wells-Barnett, overcoming racism and halting the violent murder of black men was a central mission among her wide-ranging struggles for justice and human dignity. Born in Mississippi, she was educated at Rust University, actually a high school and industrial school. From 1884 to 1891, she taught in a rural school near Memphis and attended summer classes at Fisk University in Nashville.

A pattern of resistance to racial subordination was set early in Wells’ life. In 1887, she purchased a railroad ticket in Memphis and took a seat in the section reserved for whites. When she refused to move, she was physically thrown off the train. She successfully sued the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad for damages. Upon appeal, however, the Supreme Court of Tennessee reversed the lower court’s ruling.  Continue reading

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Alpha Phi Alpha (ΑΦΑ) is the first Black, Inter-Collegiate Greek-Lettered fraternity. It was founded on December 4, 1906 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Its founders are known as the “Seven Jewels”. Alpha Phi Alpha developed a model that was used by the many Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs) that soon followed in its footsteps. It employs an icon from Ancient Egypt, the Great Sphinx of Giza as its symbol, and its aims are “manly deeds, scholarship, and love for all mankind,” and its motto is First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All. Its archives are preserved at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.

Chapters were chartered at Howard University and Virginia Union University in 1907. The fraternity has over 185,000 members and has been open to men of all races since 1940. Currently, there are more than 730 active chapters in the Americas, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and Asia. Continue reading

Florence ‘Flo Jo’ Joyner-Kersey

At the 1988 Olympic trials, while outfitted in a one-legged purple track suit and sporting four inch fingernails, she set a world record in the 100 meters, running it at 10.49 seconds, knocking more than a quarter of a second off her best-ever time despite not even being one of the country’s best in the event a year earlier.

Flo Jo at the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988

Flo Jo at the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988

Florence Delorez Griffith grew up in a housing project in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles as the seventh of eleven children. From an early age, Griffith enjoyed competition and sought attention. She held handstand competitions, rode around on a unicycle, designed unique clothes for her Barbie doll, wore strange hairdos and owned a trained pet rat. And she was fast. Florence’s father often told a story about taking the kids to the nearby Mojave Desert when she was five and challenging them to chase jackrabbits. Florence caught one. “Jackrabbit” became her nickname.

By age 7, she was competing in track. In high school, she set records in sprints and the long jump. Following graduation, she competed at Cal State Northridge under the legendary sprint coach Bob Kersee and helped them win the national championship in 1978.  Continue reading

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