Major Robert H. Lawrence, Jr.

 

Major Robert H. Lawrence, Jr.

Major Robert H. Lawrence, Jr.

Major Lawrence was born on October 2, 1935, in Chicago, Illinois.  At the age of 16, he was a graduate in the top 10% of Englewood High School.  At the age of 20, he became a graduate of Bradley University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry.  In addition, while a student at Bradley University, he distinguished himself as Cadet Commander of the Bradley Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps and, upon graduation, received the commission of Second Lieutenant in the Air Force Reserve Program. 

At the age of 21 he had become an Air Force pilot after completing flight training at Malden Air Force Base. 

At the age of 22, he married the former Ms. Barbara Cress, the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Henry Cress of Chicago.  As he approached the age of 26, he had completed an Air Force assignment as an instructor pilot in the T-33 training aircraft for members of the German Air Force.  Continue reading

Byrd Prillerman

Booker T. Washington, Byrd Prillerman and Kelly Miller

Booker T. Washington, Byrd Prillerman and Kelly Miller

If the student of American history would know what freedom has meant to the Negro race, let him study the life of a man like Byrd Prillerman, B.S., A.M., Litt.D., President Emeritus West Virginia Collegiate Institute and Superintendent of work among the Negroes of West Virginia S. S. Association. Having been born a slave on October 19, 1859 his life covers the whole period of the freedom of his race in America.

His rise from poverty and obscurity to a place of leadership and large usefulness as a citizen, not only makes a fascinating story, but it is in a way, typical of the progress of the race since Emancipation. Mr. Prillerman is a native of the Old Dominion, having been born in Franklin County, Va., the youngest of a family of seventeen children. His father, Franklin Prillerman, was a man of intelligence, energy, and initiative. He was a blacksmith and even before the Civil War had been sent into the Kanawha Valley to work at his trade.  Continue reading

Louis E. Lomax

Louis E. Lomax

Louis E. Lomax

Born in Valdosta, Georgia. Educated at Paine College in Augusta, graduating in 1942, and later at American University (M.A., 1944), and Yale (Ph.D., 1947). Taught philosophy briefly at Georgia State College in Savannah.

Worked as a newspaper reporter, for Baltimore Afro-American and Chicago American, until 1958; later a freelance magazine journalist and author of books including The Reluctant African (1960), The Negro Revolt (1962), When the Word Is Given: A Report on Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and Black Muslim World(1963), Thailand: The War That Is, The War That Will Be (1967), and To Kill a Black Man (1968).

In 1959, with Mike Wallace, interviewed Malcolm X for documentary on Nation of Islam, The Hate That Hate Produced. From 1964 to 1968 hosted twice-weekly Los Angeles television show on KTTV; lectured widely on college campuses. Died in automobile accident near Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

Dr. Benjamin E. Mays

Dr. Benjamin E. Mays

Dr. Benjamin E. Mays

Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays was a giant in the Christian ministry and American education. He is remembered for his outstanding leadership and service as a teacher, preacher, mentor, scholar, author and activist in the civil rights movement.

Born August 1, 1894 near Epworth, South Carolina, he was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Bates College in Maine. He served as pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church from 1921-1923 in Atlanta, Georgia. Recruited by Morehouse President John Hope, Mays would join the faculty as a mathematics teacher and debate coach. He obtained a master’s degree in 1925 and in 1935 a Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago. In 1934, he was appointed dean of the School of Religion at Howard University and served until 1940.  Continue reading

Mother Matelda Beasley

Mother Matelda Beasley

Mother Matelda Beasley

When Mathilde (later spelled Mathilda) Taylor was born on November 14, 1832 in New Orleans, to Caroline, a slave owned by James C. Taylor, few would have believed that she would later successfully defy the very laws that kept her and her mother from their freedom. It was speculated that her father was Native American and Mathilda inherited her “extreme height and her commanding figure� from him.

Little is known of Mathilda’s early years in Louisiana and there is no record of how she achieved her freedom to move to Savannah as a young woman. But by 1859, records indicate that she had been operating a secret school for African-American children at a time in history when “punishment for teaching slaves or free person of color to read� was a “fine and whipping.� Facing great personal risks, she was committed to educating children who otherwise would have no opportunity for schooling and because there is little information about her school, she seems to have achieved her goal of keeping her efforts from the authorities.  Continue reading

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