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Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer was born October 6, 1917 in the Mississippi Delta. Inspired by the fighting spirit of her mother, Fannie Lou Hamer became widely known as the “Spirit” of the Civil Rights movement. In the early 1960’s a Black man or woman could lose their life trying to register to vote in some towns in Mississippi. But even at the risk of her life, Fannie Lou Hamer registered to vote.  Continue reading

School desegregation ends

Desegregation at Little Rock: Little Rock Central High School. February 14. 1969

On October 29, 1969, the Supreme Court ruled that school districts must end segregation “now and hereafter.�  With this unambiguous language, the Court, which now had Thurgood Marshall as a member, left no room for doubt or delay.Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education is an important (and, today, curiously underrated) Supreme Court decision from 1969. It mandated immediate action in the segregation of public school facilities.

The Court was responding to a legal challenge from diehard anti-integrationists, who had learned—from civil rights proponents, no doubt—that the legal system could be used to support social objectives. The anti-integrationists, however, received a major defeat when the Court ruled unanimously that Mississippi (and, by extension, the nation) was obliged to integrate public schools “at once.� Continue reading

Whitney Moore Young

Whitney Moore Young

A civil rights leader who urged African Americans to work within the system, Whitney Moore Young, as executive director of the National Urban League from 1961 to 1971, played a leading role in persuading America’s corporate elite to provide better opportunities for African Americans.

Young worked with President Lyndon Johnson on civil rights and anti-poverty programs during the 1960s, while calling for a “domestic Marshall Plan” (similar to U.S. aid to revive Europe after World War II).

He was one of the leaders of the 1963 March on Washington and in 1964 he organized the Community Action Assembly to fight poverty in African-American communities. He was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 1969.

Two years later at the age of 49, Young drowned in Lagos, Nigeria while participating in an annual African-American dialogue on relations between the two continents.

Henry O. Flipper

Henry O. Flipper

1856-1940 - Henry Flipper was the first black to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (1877) and was the first black to be assigned to a command position in a black unit following the Civil War. However, Flipper became the victim of a controversial court-martial proceedinghe was charged with “conduct unbecoming to an officer and a gentleman” and received a dishonorable discharge.

Despite repeated attempts to vindicate himself, at the time of his death he still had not cleared his record. Years later, however, the sentence was reversed. He was awarded an honorable discharge posthumously, and his remains were reburied with full honors at Arlington Cemetery.  Continue reading

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm attended Brooklyn College on a scholarship and then earned a master’s degree in education from Columbia University. After becoming an expert on early childhood education, she worked as a consultant to New York City’s Bureau of Child Welfare, from 1959 to 1964.

In 1968 Chisholm became the first black woman to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1972 Chisholm declared her candidacy for the office of president of the United States. She was the first black and the first woman to make this bidan effort described in her book The Good Fight. She later published an autobiography, Unbought and Unbossed.

Chisholm retired from Congress in 1983 and taught at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. She spoke out against the Vietnam War until it ended, and she has continued to speak out for the interests of the urban poor.

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Upcoming Black History Posts
  • Martin R. Delany
  • Dr. Percy Lavon Julian
  • Segregation in buses and terminals banned
  • Bethune-Cookman University
  • National Council of Negro women
  • William Tucker
  • Lena Horne
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