Earl Lloyd

Earl Lloyd

Jackie Robinson, the man who broke Major League Baseball’s color line, ranks as a national icon. Filmmaker Ken Burns go so far as to compare Robinson to Thomas Jefferson.  Earl Lloyd, the first African-American to play in the National Basketball Association, ranks as a largely overlooked pioneer.

Lloyd started at power forward – with an emphasis on power – for the 1954-55 NBA champion Syracuse Nationals, who moved to Philadelphia in 1963 to become the 76ers. Lloyd now lives in a retirement community in Crossville, Tenn. He’s a major, if obscure, figure in NBA history.

He doesn’t mind his low profile. Lloyd has no interest in standing beside Robinson in the nation’s memory. Standing there would only make him nervous.  Continue reading

Robert H. Sengstacke

Robert H. Sengstacke

Sengstacke was born November 25, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia. He was singled out by his uncle, Robert S. Abbott, publisher of The Chicago Defender, and trained as his successor. Abbott financed his nephew’s education at Hampton Institute, where he graduated in 1934.

Abbott also subsidized his studies at the Mergenthaler Linotype School, The Chicago School of Printing, Northwestern University, and Ohio State University. In 1934 Sengstacke became Vice President and General Manager of The Robert S. Abbott Publishing Company, and served as its president, following Robert S. Abbott’s death in 1940.  Continue reading

Thelma ‘Butterfly’ McQueen

Thelma ‘Butterfly’ McQueen

1811-1995 - Stage and film actress best remembered for her part in film history with Gone With the Wind (1939). McQueen received her nickname of ?Butterfly? when she appeared in the Harlem Theater group’s production of Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Butterfly ballet sequence. Despite the notice she received from her role in Gone With the Wind, roles became harder to get and she was out of films by the 1950s.

She worked at various jobs, including waitress at a soul food restaurant, a receptionist, and dance instructor between occasional acting jobs in small parts on Broadway. She received a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1975 from New York’s City College at the age of 64 and had a radio show in Augusta, Georgia before she died in a fire that consumed her one-bedroom cottage.

Richard Wright

Richard Wright

(b. Sept. 4, 1908, near Natchez, Miss., U.S.–d. Nov. 28, 1960, Paris, France), novelist and short-story writer, who was among the first black American writers to protest white treatment of blacks, notably in his novel Native Son (1940) and his autobiography, Black Boy (1945). He inaugurated the tradition of protest explored by other black writers after World War II.

Wright’s grandparents had been slaves. His father left home when he was five, and the boy, who grew up in poverty, was often shifted from one relative to another. He worked at a number of jobs before joining the northward migration, first to Memphis, Tenn., and then to Chicago.  Continue reading

Morgan State University

Founded in Maryland, 1872, Morgan State University (commonly referred to as MSU, Morgan State, or Morgan) is a historically black college (HBCU) in Baltimore, Maryland, United States.

Morgan is Maryland’s designated public urban university and the largest HBCU in the state of Maryland. In 1890, the institution name formerly known as Centenary Biblical Institute was changed to honor the Reverend Lyttleton Morgan, the first chairman of its Board of Trustees, who donated land to the college.[2]. The University is a member-school of Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Though it is a public institution, Morgan is not a part of the University System of Maryland; the school opted out of becoming a part of the system and possesses its own governing Board of Regents.

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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