NAACP Youth Council

naacp  youthnaacp  youthnaacp youthThe NAACP’s official organ, The Crisis Magazine, carried information on young people and encouraged formation of youth units for a number of years before any action was taken to form a division in the Association devoted to youth activities. In 1935, during the St. Louis Convention, a fiery address was made by one of the youth delegates, Miss Juanita Jackson, to create a department for youth.

Subsequently, on September 15, 1935, Miss Jackson joined the Association’s staff and became the first Youth Secretary. The NAACP National Board of Directors passed a resolution formally creating the Youth and College Division in March of 1936. Under the guidance of Ms. Jackson, a National Youth Program was created for youth members of the NAACP. This program provided national activities for youth that were supported by monthly meetings discussing local needs of the community. The major national youth activities were demonstrations against lynching and seminars and group discussions on the inequalities in public education.  Continue reading

Charles W. Buggs

waynestateA scientist and educator, Dr. Charles Buggs, of Brunswick, Georgia, conducted special research on why some bacteria (germs) do not react to certain medicines. In several articles, he presented his ideas on penicillin and skin grafting, and the value of chemicals in treating bone fractures.

In 1944, he contributed some of the results of his research to the world through 12 studies he helped to write. Three years later he wrote an important article on how to use germ-killing chemicals (antibiotics) to prevent and cure certain diseases. he also taught college biology, and made studies and suggestions on premedical education for African Americans. Dr. Buggs’ research and teaching contributed to a better understanding of health and of the human body.

James A Healy

Rev. James A. Healy, D.D.

Rev. James A. Healy, D.D.

Bishop Bacon’s successor, James Augustine Healy, was appointed February 12, 1875, and consecrated as Bishop of Portland at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (see Cathedral) on June 2, 1875.

James Augustine Healy became the first black bishop ordained in the United States. He was the son of an Irish immigrant, Michael Healy, who became a prosperous plantation-owner in Georgia, and a mulatto woman who was actually a slave.

James was educated in northern schools and later attended the newly established Holy Cross College. There he made his decision to enter the priesthood. He furthered his studies in Montreal and Paris where he was ordained in 1854 at the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

After ordination Father Healy was assigned to Bishop John Fitzpatrick’s Boston Diocese. He remained there serving first at the House of the Angel Guardian, then as Chancellor of the Diocese and finally as pastor of St. James Church. When his appointment came as the second Bishop of Portland, he was forty-five years old.  Continue reading

Andrew Bryan

Rev. Andrew Bryan

Rev. Andrew Bryan

Andrew Bryan, the founder of the First African Baptist Church, was born enslaved in 1737, on a plantation outside of Charleston, South Carolina. He served as coachman and body servant to Jonathan Bryan, who along with his brother Hugh and several other planters, was arrested for preaching to slaves. Jonathan Bryan’s plantation became the center of efforts by dissenting group of planters to evangelize their slaves.

In 1782, Andrew was converted by the preaching of George Liele, the first black Baptist in Georgia, who was licensed to preach to slaves along the Savannah River. Liele baptized Andrew and his wife Hannah. When Liele and hundreds of other blacks left with the British later that year, Andrew continued to preach to small groups outside of Savannah. With his master’s encouragement, he built a shack for his small flock, which included a few whites. Although he brought hundreds into his church, 350 others could not be baptized because of their masters’ opposition.  Continue reading

Blind Tom Bethune

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.  Continue reading

John W Cromwell

John W Cromwell

John W Cromwell

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.  Continue reading

E. Franklin Frazier

Poster from Office of War Information. Domestic Operations Branch. News Bureau, 1943

Poster from Office of War Information. Domestic Operations Branch. News Bureau, 1943

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

Alexander Miles

Alexander Miles

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.