Bayard Rustin was active in the struggle for human rights and economic Justice for over 50 years Born in 1912, he was reared in West Chester, Pennsylvania where he excelled as a student, athlete and musician. He attended Wilberforce University, Cheyney State College, the City College of New York, and the London School of Economics, earning tuition at odd jobs and singing professionally with Josh White’s Carolinians and Leadbelly.
A Quaker, Mr. Rustin placed his religious conviction above his musical interests, and in 1941 began a long association with the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). Serving as its Race Relations Secretary, he toured the country conducting Race Relations Institutes designed to facilitate communication and understanding between racial groups.
Poet and author Paul Lawrence Dunbar was so talented and versatile that he succeeded in two worlds. He was so adept at writing verse in Black dialect that he became known as the “poet of his people,” while also cultivating a white audience that appreciated the brilliance and value of his work.
Majors and Minors (1895), Dunbar’s second collection of verse, financed by several white friends, was a remarkable work containing some of his best poems in both Black dialect and standard English.Â Melodic and rhythmical, his lines in this and other works often sing and swing along gloriously.Â Continue reading →
Marjorie Stewart Joyner had a strong message that she carried throughout her life. Be proud of who you are and treat yourself as if you care. This strong belief in pride led her to being an avid supporter of young men and women throughout her life. It also led her to an invention to help the women who came to see her feel better about themselves.
Born in 1896 in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Marjorie did not stay long in the state. She moved early in her life to Chicago where in her teens she studied cosmetology. She quickly became associated with the famous beauty expert Madam C.J. Walker who had been made famous by Josephine Baker’s adoption of her products.Â Continue reading →
Author of ‘Roots’. Journalist, writer. Alexander Murray Palmer Haley was born in Ithaca, New York, on August 11, 1921. He grew up in Henning, Tennessee, and graduated from high school at age 15. Haley studied at State Teachers College in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, for two years, and joined the Coast Guard in 1939.
He started out as a mess attendant, Third Class, and in 1952 became the first to hold the title of Coast Guard Journalist. Haley’s friends quickly discovered his writing talent and began requesting his help when writing their own love letters. Haley also used his talents to recount the old tales of sea captains, which turned into his first published story.Â Continue reading →
(b. May 10, 1837, Macon, Ga., U.S.–d. Dec. 21, 1921, Washington, D.C.), freeborn black who was a Union officer in the American Civil War and a leader in Louisiana politics during Reconstruction (1865-77).
Pinchback was one of 10 children born to a white Mississippi planter and a former slave–whom the father had freed before the boy’s birth. When the father died in 1848, the family fled to Ohio, fearing that white relatives might attempt to re-enslave them.
Pinchback found work as a cabin boy on a canal boat and worked his way up to steward on the steamboats plying the Mississippi, Missouri, and Red rivers. After war broke out between the states in 1861, he ran the Confederate blockade on the Mississippi to reach Federal-held New Orleans; there he raised a company of black volunteers for the North, called the Corps d’Afrique. When he encountered racial discrimination in the service, however, he resigned his captain’s commission.Â Continue reading →