Who are the important people in black history month?

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    African-American Firsts: Government

    Local elected official: John Mercer Langston, 1855, town clerk of Brownhelm Township, Ohio.

    State elected official: Alexander Lucius Twilight, 1836, the Vermont legislature.

    Mayor of major city: Carl Stokes, Cleveland, Ohio, 1967–1971. The first black woman to serve as a mayor of a major U.S. city was Sharon Pratt Dixon Kelly, Washington, DC, 1991–1995.

    Governor (appointed): P.B.S. Pinchback served as governor of Louisiana from Dec. 9, 1872–Jan. 13, 1873, during impeachment proceedings against the elected governor.

    Governor (elected): L. Douglas Wilder, Virginia, 1990–1994. The only other elected black governor has been Deval Patrick, Massachusetts, 2007–

    U.S. Representative: Joseph Rainey became a Congressman from South Carolina in 1870 and was reelected four more times. The first black female U.S. Representative was Shirley Chisholm, Congresswoman from New York, 1969–1983.

    U.S. Senator: Hiram Revels became Senator from Mississippi from Feb. 25, 1870, to March 4, 1871, during Reconstruction. Edward Brooke became the first African-American Senator since Reconstruction, 1966–1979. Carol Mosely Braun became the first black woman Senator serving from 1992–1998 for the state of Illinois. (There have only been a total of five black senators in U.S. history: the remaining two are Blanche K. Bruce [1875–1881] and Barack Obama (2005— ).

    U.S. cabinet member: Robert C. Weaver, 1966–1968, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under Lyndon Johnson; the first black female cabinet minister was Patricia Harris, 1977, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under Jimmy Carter.

    U.S. Secretary of State: Gen. Colin Powell, 2001–2004. The first black female Secretary of State was Condoleezza Rice, 2005—.

    African-American Firsts: Law

    Editor, Harvard Law Review: Charles Hamilton Houston, 1919. Barack Obama became the first President of the Harvard Law Review.

    Federal Judge: William Henry Hastie, 1946; Constance Baker Motley became the first black woman federal judge, 1966.

    U.S. Supreme Court Justice: Thurgood Marshall, 1967–1991. Clarence Thomas became the second African American to serve on the Court in 1991.

    African-American Firsts: Diplomacy

    U.S. diplomat: Ebenezer D. Bassett, 1869, became minister-resident to Haiti; Patricia Harris became the first black female ambassador (1965; Luxembourg).

    U.S. Representative to the UN: Andrew Young (1977–1979).

    Nobel Peace Prize winner: Ralph J. Bunche received the prize in 1950 for mediating the Arab-Israeli truce. Martin Luther King, Jr., became the second African-American Peace Prize winner in 1964. (See King's Nobel acceptance speech.)

    African-American Firsts: Military

    Combat pilot: Georgia-born Eugene Jacques Bullard, 1917, denied entry into the U.S. Army Air Corps because of his race, served throughout World War I in the French Flying Corps. He received the Legion of Honor, France's highest honor, among many other decorations.

    First Congressional Medal of Honor winner: Sgt. William H. Carney for bravery during the Civil War. He received his Congressional Medal of Honor in 1900.

    General: Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., 1940–1948.

    Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: Colin Powell, 1989–1993.

    African-American Firsts: Science and Medicine

    First patent holder: Thomas L. Jennings, 1821, for a dry-cleaning process. Sarah E. Goode, 1885, became the first African-American woman to receive a patent, for a bed that folded up into a cabinet.

    M.D. degree: James McCune Smith, 1837, University of Glasgow; Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first black woman to receive an M.D. degree. She graduated from the New England Female Medical College in 1864.

    Inventor of the blood bank: Dr. Charles Drew, 1940.

    Successful open heart surgery: Daniel Hale Williams, 1893.

    First astronaut: Robert H. Lawrence, Jr., 1967, was the first black astronaut, but he died in a plane crash during a training flight and never made it into space. Guion Bluford, 1983, became the first black astronaut to travel in space; Mae Jemison, 1992, became the first black female astronaut. Frederick D. Gregory, 1998, was the first African-American shuttle commander.

    African-American Firsts: Scholarship

    College graduate (B.A.): Alexander Lucius Twilight, 1823, Middlebury College; first black woman to receive a B.A. degree: Mary Jane Patterson, 1862, Oberlin College.

    Ph.D.: Edward A. Bouchet, 1876, received a Ph.D. from Yale University. In 1921, three individuals became the first U.S. black women to earn Ph.D.s: Georgiana Simpson, University of Chicago; Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, University of Pennsylvania; and Eva Beatrice Dykes, Radcliffe College.

    Rhodes Scholar: Alain L. Locke, 1907.

    College president: Daniel A. Payne, 1856, Wilberforce University, Ohio.

    Ivy League president: Ruth Simmons, 2001, Brown University.

    See also Milestones in Black Education.

    African-American Firsts: Literature

    Novelist: Harriet Wilson, Our *** (1859).

    Poet: Lucy Terry, 1746, "Bar's Fight." It is her only surviving poem.

    Poet (published): Phillis Wheatley, 1773, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. Considered the founder of African-American literature.

    Pulitzer Prize winner: Gwendolyn Brooks, 1950, won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry.

    Nobel Prize for Literature winner: Toni Morrison, 1993.

    Poet Laureate: Robert Hayden, 1976–1978; first black woman Poet Laureate: Rita Dove, 1993–1995.

    African-American Firsts: Music and Dance

    Member of the New York City Opera: Todd Duncan, 1945.

    Member of the Metropolitan Opera Company: Marian Anderson, 1955.

    Principal dancer in a major dance company: Arthur Mitchell, 1959, New York City Ballet.

    African-American Firsts: Film

    First Oscar: Hattie McDaniel, 1940, supporting actress, Gone with the Wind.

    Oscar, Best Actor/Actress: Sidney Poitier, 1963, Lilies of the Field; Halle Berry, 2001, Monster's Ball.

    Oscar, Best Actress Nominee: Dorothy Dandridge, 1954, Carmen Jones.

    Film director: Oscar Micheaux, 1919, wrote, directed, and produced The Homesteader, a feature film.

    Hollywood director: Gordon Parks directed and wrote The Learning Tree for Warner Brothers in 1969.

    African-American Firsts: Television

    Network television show host: Nat King Cole, 1956, "The Nat King Cole Show"; Oprah Winfrey became the first black woman television host in 1986, "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

    Star of a network television show: Bill Cosby, 1965, "I Spy".

    African-American Firsts: Sports

    Major league baseball player: Jackie Robinson, 1947, Brooklyn Dodgers.

    Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame: Jackie Robinson, 1962; first black woman, Effa Manley, co-owner of the ***** Leagues team Newark Eagles, 2006.

    NFL quarterback: Willie Thrower, 1953.

    NFL football coach: Fritz Pollard, 1922–1937.

    Golf champion: Tiger Woods, 1997, won the Masters golf tournament.

    NHL hockey player: Willie O'Ree, 1958, Boston Bruins.

    Tennis champion: Althea Gibson became the first black person to play in and win Wimbledon and the United States national tennis championship. She won both tournaments twice, in 1957 and 1958. In all, Gibson won 56 tournaments, including five Grand Slam singles events. The first black male champion was Arthur Ashe who won the 1968 U.S. Open, the 1970 Australian Open, and the 1975 Wimbledon championship.

    Heavyweight boxing champion: Jack Johnson, 1908.

    Olympic medalist (Summer games): George Poage, 1904, won two bronze medals in the 200 m hurdles and 400 m hurdles.

    Olympic gold medalist (Summer games): John Baxter "Doc" Taylor, 1908, won a gold medal as part of the 4 x 400 m relay team.

    Olympic gold medalist (Summer games; individual): DeHart Hubbard, 1924, for the long jump; the first woman was Alice Coachman, who won the high jump in 1948.

    Olympic medalist (Winter games): Debi Thomas, 1988, won the bronze in figure skating.

    Olympic gold medalist (Winter games): Vonetta Flowers, 2002, bobsled.

    Olympic gold medalist (Winter games; individual): Shani Davis, 2006, 1,000 m speedskating.

    Other African-American Firsts

    Millionaire: Madame C. J. Walker.

    Billionaire: Robert Johnson, 2001, owner of Black Entertainment Television; Oprah Winfrey, 2003.

    Portrayal on a postage stamp: Booker T. Washington, 1940 (and also 1956).

    Miss America: Vanessa Williams, 1984, representing New York. When controversial photos surfaced and Williams resigned, Suzette Charles, the runner-up and also an African American, assumed the title. She represented New Jersey. Three additional African Americans have been Miss Americas: Debbye Turner (1990), Marjorie Vincent (1991), and Kimberly Aiken (1994).

    Explorer, North Pole: Matthew A. Henson, 1909, accompanied Robert E. Peary on the first successful U.S. expedition to the North Pole.

    Explorer, South Pole: George Gibbs, 1939–1941 accompanied Richard Byrd.

  • 4 years ago

    I went to school in a small town in Ontario, Canada and we learned all about important black figures in history, including those you listed above. Although, I will admit, not Lewis Latimer. The thing that I liked was that we didn't learn about them in black history month. We learned about them in their time periods along with everyone else, chronologically. For me that meant, they were important because they did great things, not because it was time to learn about black people because it was February and then back to all white people again. They were important figures in history because of their actions. That has sort of shaped how I view race relations and multiculturalism today. But still, black history month is obviously very important. We also learned about black history in primary school as well as high school. We did an entire thing about the slave trade, the underground railroad, and civil rights. We did a book report on The Color Purple too. We also did native American history, and in high school, world history. I'm sorry you guys didn't do the same. I really loved it and I have since read quite a bit about Frederick Douglass.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Powell, Rice, Thomas, Bill Cosby, MLK, memeber of the 54th Massachusetts in the Civil War, Tuskagee Airman, William H. Carney became the first black to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroic actions he'd performed while a member of Company C of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment during the assault on Fort Wagner.


  • 1 decade ago

    martin luther king jr, rosa parks,sojourner truth,freddrick douglas, jackie robinson ,jesse owens,harriet tubman,bejamin banneker

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