Michael Croslin

Michael Croslin held more than 40 patents for medical inventions and established his own company, Medtek Corporation. His inventions include a computerized, digital blood pressure measurement device; a refractometer (used to measure the index of refraction of a substance) that measures levels of urinary sugar and protein; and a pump that measures and dispenses intravenous medications.

Born in 1933 in the U.S. Virgin Islands in Frederiksted, St. Croix, Michael Croslin was abandoned as a baby. A family named Britto gave him a home as a child and named him Miguel (later Anglicized as “Michael”). By the time he was 12, he fled the islands for the mainland United States. He worked odd jobs, living in Georgia for a time, and he obtained a brief education at a Jesuit school. He eventually wound up in Wisconsin, where he was adopted by the Croslin family. He, in turn, adopted their name.

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Thomas J. Martin

Thomas J Martin, a Black inventor, was awarded a patent for the Fire Extinguisher on March 26, 1872. His invention is listed in the U. S. Patent Office in Washington, DC under patent number115,603.

The patent refers to pipe and valves and not the wall hanging type of extinguisher that is normally displayed.

Thomas Andrew Dorsey

Thomas Andrew Dorsey
“the father of black gospel music”

Thomas Andrew Dorsey born in Villa Rica, Georgia. He is known as “the father of black gospel music” and was at one time so closely associated with the field that songs written in the new style were sometimes known as “dorseys.” Earlier in his life he was a leading blues pianist known as Georgia Tom.

As formulated by Dorsey, gospel music combines Christian praise with the rhythms of jazz and the blues. His conception also deviates from what had been, to that time, standard hymnal practice by referring explicitly to the self, and the self’s relation to faith and God, rather than the individual subsumed into the group via belief.

Dorsey was the music director at Pilgrim Baptist Church in Chicago from 1932 until the late 1970s. His best known composition, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”, was performed by Mahalia Jackson and was a favorite of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and “Peace in the Valley”, which was a hit for Red Foley in 1951 and has been performed by dozens of other artists, including Queen of Gospel Albertina Walker, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.

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Charles Clinton Spaulding

Charles Clinton Spaulding

(b. Aug. 1, 1874, Columbus county, N.C., U.S.–d. Aug. 1, 1952, Durham, N.C.), American business leader who built the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company into the nation’s largest black-owned business by the time of his death, when it was worth about $40 million.

At the age of 20, Spaulding left his father’s farm and moved to Durham, N.C., where in 1898 he completed what was equivalent to a high school education and became the manager of a black-owned grocery store. In 1899 he was hired as a part-time agent by the recently established North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association; the following year he was promoted to full-time general manager, the company’s only full-time position. Spaulding was an early proponent of saturation advertising, inundating local businesses with promotional items bearing his company’s name.

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William Lloyd Garrison

William Lloyd Garrison

William Lloyd Garrison

In the very first issue of his anti-slavery newspaper, the Liberator, William Lloyd Garrison stated, “I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. . . . I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.” And Garrison was heard. For more than three decades, from the first issue of his weekly paper in 1831, until after the end of the Civil War in 1865 when the last issue was published, Garrison spoke out eloquently and passionately against slavery and for the rights of America’s black inhabitants.

The son of a merchant sailing master, William Lloyd Garrison was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1805. Due in large measure to the Embargo Act, which Congress had passed in 1807, the Garrison family fell on hard times while William was still young. In 1808 William’s father deserted the family, forcing them to scrounge for food from more prosperous families and forcing William to work, selling homemade molasses candy and delivering wood.

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Georgia Blanche Douglas

Georgia Blanche Douglas Camp Johnson

Georgia Blanche Douglas was born September 10, 1880 in Marietta, Georgia. Her father was a wealthy Englishman of whom she knew very little. She attended Atlanta University, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Cleveland College of Music, and Howard University. After returning from Ohio, she worked as an assistant principal in Atlanta. In the late 1890’s she studied music at Oberlin in Ohio. She was married in 1903 to Henry Lincoln Johnson, an Atlanta attorney and politician.In 1910 the couple moved to Washington, DC where they had two sons.

There, her home, which she called the Half-Way House, was the site of a weekly gathering known as the “S Street Salon” where many prominent writers of the Harlem Renaissance introduced new works. These writers included Mary P. Burrill, Countee Cullen, Jean Toomer, and Langston Hughes, as well as Angelina Weld Grimke. Continue reading

Southern Christian Leadership Conference

SCLC Founder Dr. M.L. King Jr.

SCLC Founder Dr. M.L. King Jr.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was formed in 1957 just after the Montgomery Bus Boycott had ended. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) main aim was to advance the cause of civil rights in America but in a non-violent manner. From its inception in 1957, its president was Martin Luther King – a post he held until his murder in 1968.As its title suggests, the input into the SCLC came primarily from the church.

The church played a major part in the lives of African-Americans in the South and church leaders played a significant role in each black community in all parts of the South. Martin Luther King was a Baptist minister at Dexter Avenue in Montgomery at the time when Rosa Parks made her famous stand against bus law in December 1955. He became head of the MIA (Montgomery Improvement Association) and played a key role in the boycott – even driving the boycotters to work to ensure that they did not need to use a bus. Continue reading

Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin addresses 1st Nat’l Conference of Colored Women

Josephine Ruffin

 

In 1894 Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin founded the Women’s New Era Club, a charitable organization of sixty prominent black women in Boston. Soon afterwards she began editing its monthly publication, the Women’s Era. Encouraged by the success of the New Era Club and heartened by the rapid growth of similar black women’s groups across the nation, Ruffin organized and convened the first National Conference of Colored Women at the Charles Street A. M. E. Church in Boston in 1895.

While the new organization emphasized its refusal to exclude non-black women, Ruffin nonetheless argued that African American women needed to take the leadership for their own welfare. Two years after the convention met, the National Association of Colored Women was formed with Mary Church Terrell as its first president and Ruffin as editor of the Women’s Era, now the official newspaper for the national organization.

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