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

Anderew Brimmer

William E. Sauro/The New York Times Andrew F. Brimmer in 1974, shortly after he resigned from the Fed board.

William E. Sauro/The New York Times
Andrew F. Brimmer in 1974, shortly after he resigned from the Fed board.

Andrew F. Brimmer, a Louisiana sharecropper’s son, was the first black member of the Federal Reserve Board.  Dr. Brimmer, an economist, held a number of high-ranking posts in Washington and taught at Harvard, but the economic conditions of poor, powerless, uneducated blacks was an abiding concern. He spoke about what he called the “schism” between blacks who were educated and had marketable skills and those who did not. In later years he spoke frequently about how government policies no longer supported programs to help blacks enter the economic mainstream.

Dr. Brimmer was the assistant secretary of commerce for economic affairs when President Lyndon B. Johnson named him to the Fed board in 1966.

At the time, the Federal Reserve was bitterly divided over monetary policy. The chairman, William McChesney Martin Jr., threatened to resign if Mr. Johnson appointed a liberal who would vote in favor of lower interest rates.  Continue reading

Joseph Lee

Joseph Lee

Joseph Lee

Joseph Lee was an African American who invented machinery for processing food and became very prominent in the food industry.

Lee was born in Boston, MA, and as a boy worked at a bakery. He soon began preparing, cooking and serving food, eventually opening two successful restaurants in the Boston area. In the late 1890s, Lee owned and managed the Woodland Park Hotel in Newton, MA, for 17 years. In 1902, as a way of maintaining an involvement in the food services industry, Lee opened a catering business called the Lee Catering Company that served the wealthy population of Boylston Street in the Back Bay.  Continue reading

Charles Wesley

Charles H. Wesley

Charles H. Wesley

12-02 marks the birthday of Charles Harris Wesley in 1891. He was an African-American historian, educator, and minister who was an early proponent of African-American studies.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Charles Wesley attended public schools in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky and then went on to receive a B. A. at Fisk University in 1911, an M. A. in economics at Yale University in 1913, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1925. Wesley’s doctorate in history was the third awarded by Harvard to an African-American. Wesley served on the Howard University faculty from 1913 to 1942.  Continue reading

Hanging of Nat Turner

Nat Turner, the leader of a bloody slave revolt in Southampton County, Virginia, was hanged in Jerusalem, the county seat on November 11, 1831′hanging

Turner, a slave and educated minister, believed that he was chosen by God to lead his people out of slavery. On August 21, 1831, he initiated his slave uprising by slaughtering Joseph Travis, his slave owner, and Travis’ family. With seven followers, Turner set off across the countryside, hoping to rally hundreds of slaves to join his insurrection. Turner planned to capture the county armory at Jerusalem, Virginia, and then march 30 miles to Dismal Swamp, where his rebels would be able to elude their pursuers.  Continue reading

Xavier University

xavier uThere are 102 historically Black colleges and 253 Catholic colleges in the United States, yet only one is bothBlack and Catholic. That distinction belongs to Xavier University of Louisiana, which strives to combine the best attributes of both its faith and its culture.

Located in New Orleans, the small liberal arts college dates back to 1915, when St. Katharine Drexel and theSisters of the Blessed Sacrament founded the coeducational secondary school from which it evolved.  Continue reading

Fredrick Gregory

The first African-American to pilot a spacecraft.

The first African-American to pilot a spacecraft.

Colonel Frederick D. Gregory was the first African-American to pilot a spacecraft.

Born January 7, 1941, in Washington, D.C. to Francis A. Gregory and Nora Drew Gregory, he graduated from Anacostia High School, in Washington, in 1958 and  entered the United States Air Force Academy where he studied military engineering and received a bachelor of science degree from in 1964.

Since childhood, he had a passion for speed, racing a small aluminum boat in waters off Columbia Beach near Washington, D.C. He says, “I always wanted to fly.”

After graduating from the United States Air Force Academy in 1964, Gregory entered pilot training and attended undergraduate helicopter training at Stead Air Force Base, Nevada. He received his wings in 1965 and was assigned as an H-43 helicopter rescue pilot at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, from October 1965 until May 1966. In June 1966, he was assigned as an H-43 combat rescue pilot at Danang AB, Vietnam. When he returned to the United States in July 1967, he was assigned as a missile support helicopter pilot flying the UH-1F at Whiteman AFB, Missouri.   Continue reading