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16th Street Baptist Church bombing

The 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL

The 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed on Sunday, September 15, 1963 as an act of racially motivated terrorism. The explosion at the African-American church, which killed four girls, marked a turning point in the U.S. 1960s Civil Rights Movement and contributed to support for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Although city leaders had reached a settlement in May with demonstrators and started to integrate public places, not everyone agreed with ending segregation. Bombings and other acts of violence followed the settlement, and the church had become an inviting target.  Continue reading

National Council of Negro women

NCNW is the National Council of Negro Women, which was founded on December 5, 1935 by Mary McLeod Bethune. NCNW is a non partisan, non profit organization that is geared towards the advancement of African American women. Hence the name “council” NCNW is an organization of organizations.

The National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW) is a council of national African American women’s organizations and community-based sections. Founded in 1935, the NCNW mission is to lead, develop, and advocate for women of African descent as they support their families and communities.

NCNW fulfills this purpose through research, advocacy, and national and community-based services and programs on issues of health, education, and economic empowerment in the United States and Africa. With its 39 national affiliates and more than 240 sections, NCNW is a 501(c)3 organization with an outreach to nearly four million women.

U.S. Navy opened to Black Women

Navy Department Press Release, October 19, 1944:

Waves congratulate each other after being commissioned as the first African-American “WAVES” officers, Dec. 1944.

Negro Women to be Accepted in Women’s Reserve, U.S. Naval Reserve. The President today approved a plan submitted by the Navy Department providing for the acceptance of Negro women in the Women’s Reserve of the Navy.

The plan calls for the immediate commissioning of a limited number of especially qualified Negro women to serve as administrative officers. They will assist in the subsequent planning and supervision of the program for Negro women which will be administered as an integral part of the Women’s Reserve.

Enlistment of Negro women will be undertaken as soon as these plans have been completed and it is presently indicated that the first Negro recruits will enter training shortly after January 1. Officer candidates and enlisted women will be trained at existing schools for the training of WAVES. The number to be enlisted will be determined by the needs of the service.

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Alpha Phi Alpha 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

Matthew Alexander Henson

1866-1955
Matthew Alexander Henson accompanied Admiral Robert Peary to the North Pole in 1909, and according to Peary’s son Kali, Peary “could not have reached the Pole without Matthew Henson.” Henson’s most valu-
able contribution to the expedition was his befriending of the Eskimo people, who respected him and taught him their language, customs, and survival skills. Henson in turn taught Peary to hunt for food, build a sledge, and drive a dogsled.

Folk history has it that Henson was the first to reach the North Pole, but the discovery was attributed entirely to Peary: Congress gave his account the official stamp of legitimacy, and Peary received numerous awards and honors. Although Peary did not share his honor with Henson, he did proclaim that “Henson is [an example] of the fact that race or color or upbringing or environment count nothing against a determined heart if it is backed and aided by intelligence.”

Upcoming Black History Posts
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed
  • Thomas Andrew Dorsey
  • Thomas J. Martin
  • Michael Croslin
  • Otis Boykin
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  • Henry A Rucker
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