Eliza Ann Gardner

African_Methodist_Episcopal_Zion_LogoEliza Ann Gardner is regarded as the “mother” of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) Missionary Society and was one of New England’s most tenacious defenders of women’s equality in religious matters.

She was born in New York City on May 28, 1831, the daughter of James and Eliza Gardner. When she was young, the family moved to the predominantly black West End section of Boston, where her father enjoyed a profitable career as a contractor for sailing vessels. His work made it possible for Gardner to enjoy a comfortable childhood, but she quickly learned that many others of her race were less fortunate, and was taught that she had an obligation to help them. Her family was active in the local African Methodist Episcopal Church, and their home served as a station for the Underground Railroad, which smuggled runaway slaves from the South to freedom.

Gardner’s interest in slavery intensified because of her education at the only public school for black children in the city, which was taught by abolitionist teachers. As a result, she became acquainted with many nationally famous abolitionist leaders. An excellent student, Gardner earned a number of scholarships. However, as few black women at the time were able to pursue higher education or professional careers, she learned the art of dressmaking to support herself once she finished school.  Continue reading

Integration began in Washingtion

School kidsDesegregation of the Baltimore City Public School System happened in 1956 after the United States Supreme Court ruled, in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, that segregation in schools went against constitutional law. Desegregation of American schools was a pivotal part of the civil rights movement, as no progress in the civil rights movement would have been made if America’s schools remained segregated.

Following the Supreme Court ruling cities all across America began to desegregate. Baltimore, the largest city in the state of Maryland, desegregated all its public schools following the Supreme Court’s decision, and the events that followed the desegregation in Baltimore, were both interesting and important to the civil rights movement across America. Recent scholarship has begun to revisit the importance of the desegregation of Baltimore’s public schools and identify it as an important precursor to the Greensboro sit-ins.  Continue reading

Desegregation of Central High School

Little Rock Central HS

Little Rock Central HS

Three years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education that separate educational facilities are inherently unequal, nine African American students—Minnijean Brown, Terrance Roberts, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Patillo, Gloria Ray, Jefferson Thomas, and Carlotta Walls—attempted to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The students, known as the Little Rock Nine, were recruited by Daisy Bates, president of the Arkansas branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). As president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, Martin Luther King wrote President Dwight D. Eisenhower requesting a swift resolution allowing the students to attend school.  Continue reading

Paul Cuffee

Captain Paul Cuffee

Captain Paul Cuffee

A man of great energy and resolve, Paul Cuffee was born on the tiny island of Cuttyhunk, eleven miles offshore of New Bedford, MA. He was the seventh of ten children of Kofi Slocum, a freed African slave, and Ruth Moses, a Wampanoag Indian. His father took the name Slocum out of respect for the man who had freed him, John Slocum, a Quaker whose family owned Cuttyhunk.

His mother was descended from a long line of Wampanoags who had been friendly to the early white settlers. They were a hardworking, devout couple. Quakers themselves, they raised their children to be contributing citizens. They were free and ambitious, and they prospered.  Continue reading

William Hinton

William Hinton

William Hinton

1883-1959. William Augustus Hinton was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 15, 1883. After two years at the University of Kansas (1900-1902), he earned a Bachelor of Science from Harvard University in 1905. Lacking the funds for medical school, William Hinton taught at Walden University, Nashville, Tennessee, and in Langston, Oklahoma for four years. During the summer months he continued his studies in bacteriology and physiology at the University of Chicago. William Hinton entered Harvard Medical School in 1909 and earned a M.D. from Harvard Medical College (with honors) in 1912, completing his degree in only three years. (Aside: “The [Harvard] Medical School offered him a scholarship for Negro students, but Hinton refused the offer.

In competition with the entire student body he won the Wigglesworth Scholarship and the Hayden Scholarship.” Source: DNB p.315.) After graduation from Harvard Medical School in 1912, Hinton worked for the Wasserman Laboratory, which at that time was part of the Harvard Medical School. In the mornings he was a volunteer assistant tin the Department of Pathology of the Massachusetts General Hospital. At the Wasserman Laboratory, Hinton began teaching serological techniques.  Continue reading

Upcoming Black History Posts

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  • Peter Williams, Jr.
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