The Story of Thomas Bethune also known as Thomas Wiggins
also known as “Blind Tom” (1849 – 1908) by Barbara Schmidt
Safely tucked away in a few scattered archives across the nation are pages of sheet music–compositions with titles such as “Battle of Manassas” and “Virginia Polka” that are dormant testimony to the life of the child named Tom who composed them–a child who lived a century past and whose musical abilities still remain a medical and scientific mystery. One common thread of explanation found in all attempts to explain Tom by those who witnessed his performances is that he embodied the spirit of a higher power.Â Continue reading
In 1921, John W. Cromwell, Jr., became the first African-American to earn the designation of CPA, some 25 years after the first CPA certificate was granted in the United States. Cromwell was a member of one of the leading African-American families in the country. His father was a teacher, political activist, attorney, and chief examiner for the U.S. Post Office. Cromwell’s older sister, Otelia, was the first African-American alumna of Smith College and went on to earn a Ph.D. in English at Yale. Cromwell was exceptional himself. He graduated from Dartmouth as the best student in science in the class of 1906. A year later he completed his master’s degree there.
The profession most open to African-Americans at the time was teaching. After finishing at Dartmouth, Cromwell returned home to Washington, D.C., and became a mathematics teacher at the Dunbar School, the most prestigious black high school in the country.
Fifteen years passed before John Cromwell became a CPA. He was not allowed to sit for the CPA exam in Washington, D.C., Virginia, or Maryland. In addition, all those places had experience requirements. The biggest barrier to African-Americans in becoming CPAs has always been the experience requirement: In order to become a CPA you have to work for a CPA, and for the first two-thirds of the last century, most firms would not hire African-Americans.Â Continue reading
Edward Franklin Frazier (September 24, 1894 – May 17, 1962), was an American sociologist. His 1932 Ph.D. dissertation The Negro Family in Chicago, later released as a book The Negro Family in the United States in 1939, analyzed the historical force that influenced the development of the African-American family from the time of slavery.
The book was awarded the 1940 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for the most significant work in the field of race relations. This book was among the first sociological works on blacks researched and written by a black person. He helped draft the UNESCO statement The Race Question in 1950.
E. Franklin Frazier was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 24, 1894. Frazier was one of five children of James H. Frazier, a bank messenger, and Mary Clark Frazier, a housewife. Edward Franklin Frazier attended Baltimore public schools. Upon his graduation from Colored High School, June 1912, Frazier was awarded the school’s annual scholarship to Howard University in Washington, DC, from where he graduated with honors in 1916. E. Franklin Frazier was an excellent scholar, pursuing Latin, Greek, German and mathematics. Continue reading
Alexander Miles, who contributed to the elevator industry, was an African-American inventor of the late 19th century who was able to transcend racial barriers in the United States.
Miles attached a flexible belt to the elevator cage, and when the belt came into contact with drums positioned along the elevator shaft just above and below the floors, it allowed the elevator shaft doors to operate at the appropriate times. The elevator doors themselves were automated through a series of levers and rollers.
Before working on elevator engineering, Miles experimented with the creation of hair products. The influence of his elevator patent is still seen in modern designs, since the automatic opening and closing of elevator and elevator shaft doors is a standard feature.
Miles, who was born in Duluth, Minnesota, designed an elevator that was able to open and close its own doors and the elevator shaft doors. When the elevator would arrive or depart from a given floor, the doors would move automatically. Previously, the opening and closing of the doors of both the shaft and the elevator had to be completed manually by either the elevator operator or by passengers, contributing greatly to the hazards of operating an elevator.
William Still (October 7, 1821 â€“ July 14, 1902) was an African-American abolitionist, conductor on the Underground Railroad, writer, historian and civil rights activist.
The date of William Still’s birth is given as October 7, 1821, by most sources, but he gave the date of November 1819 in the 1900 Census. He was born in Burlington County, New Jersey, to Sidney(later renamed Charity) and Levin Still. His parents had come to New Jersey from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. William was the youngest of eighteen siblings, who included Dr. James Still (1812-84) known as “the Doctor of the Pines,” Peter Still, Samuel Still, Mary Still, a teacher and missionary in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Mahala Still (Mrs. Gabriel Thompson) and Kitturah Still, who moved to Pennsylvania.
William’s father Levin was the first of the family to move to New Jersey. A free man, he had been manumitted in 1798 in Caroline County, Maryland. Levin eventually settled in Evesham near Medford. Later Charity and their four children at the time joined Levin when she escaped; Charity was recaptured and returned with her four children to slavery, but she escaped a second time and, with her two daughters, found her way to Burlington County, to join her husband; the two sons she left behind, Levin and Peter, were sold to slave-owners in Lexington, Kentucky, and then later, sent to Alabama in the Deep South. Following her return to New Jersey Charity and Levin went on to have fourteen more children, of whom William was the youngest. Continue reading