Civil Rights

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

Muhammed Ali was born Cassius Clay in Louisville, Kentucky. From 1956-60, Clay fought as an amateur (winning 100 of 108 matches) before becoming the light-heavyweight gold medalist in the 1960 Olympics. Financed by a group of Louisville businessmen, he turned professional and by 1963 had won his first 19 fights. In 1964 he won the world heavyweight championship with a stunning defeat of Sonny Liston. Immediately afterwards, Clay announced that he was a Black Muslim and had changed his name to Muhammad Ali.

In 1967, after defending the championship nine times within two years, Ali was stripped of his title for refusing induction into the U.S. Army based on religious grounds. His action earned him both respect and anger from different quarters, but he did not box for three and one-half years until, in 1971, he lost to Joe Frazier.

A few months later, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed his right to object to military service on religious grounds and Ali regained the title in 1974 by knocking out George Foreman in Zaire, Africa. Ali defended his title 10 times before losing to Leon Spinks in 1978. When he defeated Spinks later that same year, he became the first boxer ever to regain the championship twice.  Continue reading

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

South Africa’s First Black President, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (7/18/1918 – 12/5/2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first black South African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representative election.

His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation. Politically an African nationalist and democratic socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1991 to 1997. Internationally, Mandela was Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999.  Continue reading

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

NAACP Youth Council

naacp  youthnaacp  youthnaacp youthThe NAACP’s official organ, The Crisis Magazine, carried information on young people and encouraged formation of youth units for a number of years before any action was taken to form a division in the Association devoted to youth activities. In 1935, during the St. Louis Convention, a fiery address was made by one of the youth delegates, Miss Juanita Jackson, to create a department for youth.

Subsequently, on September 15, 1935, Miss Jackson joined the Association’s staff and became the first Youth Secretary. The NAACP National Board of Directors passed a resolution formally creating the Youth and College Division in March of 1936. Under the guidance of Ms. Jackson, a National Youth Program was created for youth members of the NAACP. This program provided national activities for youth that were supported by monthly meetings discussing local needs of the community. The major national youth activities were demonstrations against lynching and seminars and group discussions on the inequalities in public education.  Continue reading

Watts Riots

Watts Burns

Watts Burns

The Watts Riots (or Watts Rebellion) took place in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles from August 11 to 17, 1965. The six-day riot resulted in 34 deaths, 1,032 injuries, 3,438 arrests, and over $40 million in property damage. It was the most severe riot in the city’s history until the Los Angeles riots of 1992.

In the Great Migration of the 1920s, major populations of African-Americans moved to Northern cities like Detroit, Chicago, and New York City to escape racial segregation, Jim Crow Laws, violence, and racial bigotry in the Southern States. This wave of migration largely bypassed Los Angeles. In the 1940s, in the Second Great Migration, black Americans migrated to the West Coast in large numbers, in response to defense industry recruitment at the start of World War II. The black population in Los Angeles leaped from approximately 63,700 in 1940 to about 350,000 in 1965, making the once small black community visible to the general public.

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