Andrew Jackson Young, Jr.

Andrew Jackson Young, Jr

Andrew Jackson Young, Jr

A senior aide to Martin Luther King, Jr., in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) during the 1960s, Andrew Young had a meditative temperament that shaped his views as a proponent of nonviolent resistance. By the time he was sworn in to Congress in 1973, Young was committed to bringing King’s vision of civil rights to the nation and the world.1  His experiences in the grass-roots politics of the civil rights movement, combined with his diplomatic perspective and attitude, allowed Young to take principled but pragmatic stands for his constituents.

Andrew Jackson Young, Jr., was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Andrew and Daisy Fuller Young. His father was a dentist and his mother was a schoolteacher.   (more…)

Carol Moseley-Braun

Carol Moseley-Braun

Carol Moseley-Braun

Carol Moseley-Braun

The first African-American woman Senator, Carol Moseley-Braun was also only the second black Senator since the Reconstruction Era. “I cannot escape the fact that I come to the Senate as a symbol of hope and change,” Moseley-Braun said shortly after being sworn in to office in 1993. “Nor would I want to, because my presence in and of itself will change the U.S. Senate.” During her single term in office, Senator Moseley-Braun advocated for civil rights issues and for legislation on crime, education, and families.

Carol Moseley was born in Chicago, Illinois, on August 16, 1947. Her parents, Joseph Moseley, a policeman, and her mother, Edna (Davie) Moseley, a medical technician, divorced in 1963. The oldest of the four Moseley children in a middle-class family, Carol graduated from Parker High School in Chicago and earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Illinois in 1969.   (more…)

John R Lynch

John R Lynch

John Roy Lynch

Representative, 1873-1877, Republican from Mississippi
Representative, 1882-1883, Republican from Mississippi

The only African-American Representative from Mississippi for a century, following a quick rise in politics at a young age, John Roy Lynch fought to maintain Republican hegemony in his state in the face of violent Democratic opposition. A veteran of the Civil War and, later, the Spanish-American War, Lynch emphasized his rights as an American citizen on the House Floor.

“It is certainly known by southern as well as northern men that the colored people of this country are thoroughly American,” he declared. “Born and raised upon American soil and under the influence of American institutions; not American citizens by adoption, but by birth.”   (more…)

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 “schismâ€� 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.  (more…)

Father Patrick Francis Healy

Father Patrick Francis Healy

Father Patrick Francis Healy

Patrick Francis Healy (February 27, 1830 – January 10, 1910) was the 29th President of Georgetown University known for expanding the school following the American Civil War. He was accepted as and identified as Irish-American. Healy Hall, a National Historic Landmark, was constructed during Healy’s tenure and is named after him.

In the 1960s the history of Healy’s mixed-race ancestry became more widely known, and he was recognized as the first American of African ancestry to earn a PhD; the first to become a Jesuit priest; and the first to be president of a predominantly white college.

Oscar J Dunn

Oscar James Dunn, Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana 1868-1871

Oscar James Dunn, Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana 1868-1871

Oscar James Dunn (1826 – November 22, 1871) was one of three African Americans who served as a Republican Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana during the era of Reconstruction. In 1868, Dunn became the first elected black lieutenant governor of a U.S. state. He ran on the ticket headed by Henry Clay Warmoth, formerly of Illinois. After Dunn died in office, then-state Senator P. B. S. Pinchback, another black Republican, became lieutenant governor and thereafter governor for a 34-day interim period.

On December 22, 1866, Dunn testified before a select committee appointed to investigate the New Orleans Riot of July 30, 1866. He told the committee that he was “born in New Orleans in 1826 and was about forty-one years old”. His parents were James and Maria Dunn. His father, James Dunn of Petersburg, Virginia, had been emancipated in 1819 by James H. Caldwell in New Orleans. James Dunn became a free man of color and later emancipated his wife, Maria, and their two children, Oscar and Jane, in 1832. James Dunn worked as a carpenter for James H. Caldwell (founder of the St. Charles Theatre and New Orleans Gas Light Company); Maria Dunn ran a boarding house for actors and actresses that came to perform at the Caldwell theatres.  (more…)