February is Black History Month. Following is just a smidge of the things out there.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Dr. Carter G. Woodson established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now called the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History) in 1915, and a year later founded the widely respected Journal of Negro History. In 1926, he launched Negro History Week.
Woodson chose the second week of February for Negro History Week because it marks the birthdays of two men who greatly influenced the black American population, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
On February 23, 1868, W. E. B. DuBois, important civil rights leader and co-founder of the NAACP, was born.
On February 3, 1870, the 15th Amendment was passed, granting blacks the right to vote.
On February 25, 1870, the first black U.S. senator, Hiram R. Revels (1822-1901), took his oath of office.
On February 12, 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded by a group of concerned black and white citizens in New York City.
On February 1, 1960, in what would become a civil-rights movement milestone, a group of black Greensboro, N.C., college students began a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter.
On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X, the militant leader who promoted Black Nationalism, was shot to death by three Black Muslims.
A few bits and pieces about a handful of Black Americans who have made a difference in our world (and BTW, there are so many more out there! Look them up!):
Sidney Poitier - When he won the Academy Award for lead actor in 1963's 'Lilies of the Field,' the Bahamas-born thespian was the first black man to receive such an honor. Poitier, whose seminal film work includes dramas and comedies, started in theater during the 1940s and made his film debut in 1950's 'No Way Out.' Knighted by the British Parliament, Sir Sidney Poitier has many honors to his credit and including best-selling author for his 2001 memoir 'Measureof a Man. 'His role in 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' blazed a trail in Hollywood by exploring taboo relationships between black men and white women.
Bill Cosby - The Philadelphia-born comedian is mostly known today for his groundbreaking 1980s black family sitcom, 'The Cosby Show.' But Cosby had already opened doors in the 1960s as the first lack lead in the network TV drama 'I Spy.'
Hannibal - Often called the greatest military strategist in history, Hannibal is best known for defeating the Romans in 218 B.C. in a surprise attack after crossing the snow-covered Alps by elephants while leading an army of 46,000.
Colin Powell - The Harlem-born, four-star general fought in the Viet Nam War and rose through the ranks to become National Security Advisor under Pres. Ronald Reagan. He was named Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he led allied forces in the successful mission Operation Desert Storm. Once courted as a presidential candidate, Powell was appointed Secretary of State in 2001. He resigned in 2005 to run the America's Promise - Alliance for Youth foundation.
Muhammad-Ali - Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., Ali became boxing's man, myth and legend. With his athleticism, unnatural speed and fancy footwork, on his best night, it's hard to doubt he was the greatest of heavyweights. But it was that skill coupled with his supreme gift of poetic gab and self-promotion ("I am the greatest!") that helped Ali float, sting, and punch his way to the top. He's also got "world's most loved athlete" on lock.
Art Shell and Frederick Douglass "Fritz" Pollard - When the NFL was organized in 1920, Fritz Pollard was one of only two black players that inaugural season. In 1921, Pollard became the first black head coach in the league when he became co-coach of the Akron Pros, while also playing running back for the team. Art Shell, who coached the Raiders from '89-'94, and in '06, is considered the first black head coach in the league's modern era, following a 64-year span of blatant shutouts after Fritz Pollard.
Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron - Jackie Robinson etched his name in history and became the first African-American ever to play Major League Baseball -- changing the game and the country. Decades later, Hank Aaron etched his own name in the books, weathering an assortment of racist hate mail to set baseball's home-run record in 1974, eclipsing Babe Ruth's hallowed mark of 714. Aaron's final record of 755 held for 33 years until surpassed by Barry Bonds in 2007.
Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe - These two are the Jackie Robinsons of tennis. Gibson was the first African-American to play in and win a Grand Slam event. She went on to win 11 major titles. Ashe remains the only African-American player to win the men's singles at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, or Australian Open.
William Wells Brown and Phyllis Wheatley - Former slave-turned-abolitionist, William Wells Brown was known as the first African-American to publish a novel. His 1853 tome, 'Clotel' (or 'The President's Daughter') was based on the rumor that Thomas Jefferson fathered a daughter with his slave Sally Hemings. Phyllis Wheatley, born in The Gambia, Africa, was considered the first published African-American poet. Her claim to fame was the 1773 publication of 'Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, which some feel heralded the beginning era of African-American literature.