African-American History FAQs

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May 1, 2017

For the answers scroll down:
Who is Gertrude Morgan?
Who is Misty Copeland?
Who is Izola Curry?
What is the history behind Black History Month?
Who is Annie Lee Cooper?
Who is Elijah McCoy?
Who is Charles Drew?
Who is Garrett Morgan?
Who is Percy Julian?
Who invented overshoes for horses?
Who invented the shoe lasting machine?
Who invented the machine for cleaning seed cotton?
Who invented the Cheek Row Corn Planter?
Who invented the Rotary Dining Table?
Who was the first casualty of the American revolution?
What mathematician and physicist first calculated the speed of the moon?
Who invented the street sweeper in 1896?
Who was the first African American ordained as an Episcopal priest in the United States?
What was the first American Colony to abolish slavery?
Who were the first two African American cadets at West Point ?
What was the name of the first slave ship built in the English colonies?
Who was the first African-American women elected to the United States Senate?
Who was the first African-American to be honored on a U.S. stamp.
What is the Underground Railroad?
Who wrote “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”?
What was race-based legislation in the North?
What are the Jim Crow laws?
What is Brown v. Board of Education?
What are the Little Rock Nine?
Can you tell me about Jackie Robinson?
Who was Cassius Clay named after?
Who was the first black elected U.S. President?
Who is Thurgood Marshall?
Who is Frederick Douglass?
Who is William Edward Burghardt Du Bois?
What does the NAACP represent?
Who is Medgar Wiley Evers?
What is the KKK?
Who is George Washington Carver?
Can you tell me about slavery in the United States?
Who was the first local elected official?
Who was the first Editor, Harvard Law Review and who became the President of the Harvard Law review?
Who was the first combat pilot?
Who was the first to receive a college (B.A.)?
Who was the first Ivy League president?
Who was the first Rhodes Scholar?
What is Plessy v. Ferguson?
Who was the first patent holder?
Who was the first astronaut?
Who is Crispus Attucks?
What are freedom rides?
What is CORE?
What is the Emancipation Proclamation?
What year was the first black U.S. President elected?
Who was the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion?

Who is Gertrude Morgan?
Sister Gertrude Morgan was born on April 7, 1900 and died on July 8, 1980. She was a self-taught African American artist, musician, poet and preacher. Born in LaFayette, Alabama, she relocated to New Orleans in 1939, where she lived and worked until her death in 1980. Sister Morgan achieved critical acclaim during her lifetime for her folk art paintings. Her work has been included in many groundbreaking exhibitions of visionary and folk art from the 1970s onwards.

Who is Misty Copeland?
She is an American ballerina, a cultural phenomenon outside the dance world who has been promoted to the highest rank of the American Ballet Theatre, becoming the first African-American female principal dancer in the company’s 75-year history.

The American Ballet Theatre announced the news Tuesday in a slew of promotions at one of the country’s top ballet companies. Stella Abrera, a 19-year veteran of the company, was promoted from soloist to the rank of principal dancer.

Who is Izola Curry?
She is the mentally ill woman who in 1958 stabbed the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at a Harlem book signing — an episode that a decade later would become a rhetorical touchstone in the last oration of his life — died on March 7 in Queens. She was 98.

Ms. Curry died in a nursing home, the last stop in the series of institutions that had been her home for more than half a century.

What surprised many observers at the time of the crime was that Ms. Curry herself was black, the daughter of sharecroppers from the rural South. Questions persisted about what could have moved her to attack Dr. King, then a 29-year-old Alabama preacher who had assumed the national stage amid the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955-56.

The stabbing nearly cost Dr. King his life, requiring hours of delicate surgery to remove Ms. Curry’s blade, a seven-inch ivory-handled steel letter opener, which had lodged near his heart. If he had so much as sneezed, his doctors later told him, he would not have survived.

What is the history behind Black History Month?
Negro History Week (1926)
The precursor to Black History Month was created in 1926 in the United States, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week.” This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and of Frederick Douglass on February 14, both of which dates Black communities had celebrated together since the late 19th century.

From the event’s initial phase, primary emphasis was placed on encouraging the coordinated teaching of the history of American blacks in the nation’s public schools. The first Negro History Week was met with a lukewarm response, gaining the cooperation of the Departments of Education of the states of North Carolina, Delaware, and West Virginia as well as the city school administrations of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Despite this far from universal acceptance, the event was nevertheless regarded by Woodson as “one of the most fortunate steps ever taken by the Association,” and plans for a repeat of the event on an annual basis continued apace.

At the time of Negro History Week’s launch Woodson contended that the teaching of black history was essential to ensure the physical and intellectual survival of the race within broader society:

Woodson said, “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated. The American Indian left no continuous record. He did not appreciate the value of tradition; and where is he today? The Hebrew keenly appreciated the value of tradition, as is attested by the Bible itself. In spite of worldwide persecution, therefore, he is a great factor in our civilization.”

Black History Month (1976)
The expansion of Black History Week to Black History Month was first proposed by the leaders of the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969. The first celebration of the Black History Month took place at Kent State one year later, in February 1970.

In 1976 as part of the United States Bicentennial, the informal expansion of Negro History Week to Black History Month was officially recognized by the U.S. government. President Gerald Ford spoke in regards to this, urging Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

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Who is Annie Lee Cooper?
Annie Lee Cooper (June 2, 1910 – November 24, 2010) was an African-American civil rights activist in the 1965 Selma Voting Rights Movement who is best known for punching Selma Sheriff Jim Clark. Annie Lee Cooper was born in Selma, Alabama on June 2, 1910. By the seventh grade, Cooper dropped out of school, and moved to Kentucky to live with an older sister.

In 1962, Cooper returned to her hometown to participate in the civil rights movement. In January 1965, she stood in line for hours outside the Dallas County Courthouse to register to vote until Sheriff Jim Clark ordered her to vacate the premises. Clark pushed Cooper in the neck with a billy club until Cooper turned around and hit the sheriff in the jaw. Deputies then wrestled Cooper down as Clark continued to beat her repeatedly with his club. Cooper was charged with “criminal provocation” and was escorted to the county jail, and then held for 11 hours before being allowed to leave. Cooper later became a registered voter in her home state.

Who is Elijah McCoy?
Elijah McCoy Bio

Who is Charles Drew?
Charles Drew Bio

Who is Garrett Morgan?
Garrett Morgan Bio

Who is Percy Julian?
Percy Julian Bio

Who invented overshoes for horses? James Ricks, 1889, Patent Number 626,245.

Who invented the shoe lasting machine?Jan Ernst Matzeliger, 1883, Patent Number 274,207. The shoe lasting machine adjusts the shoe leather upper snugly over the mold, arranges the leather under the sole and pins it in place with nails while the sole is stitched to the leather upper.

Who invented the machine for cleaning seed cotton? Peter Walker, 1897, Patent Number: 577,153.

Who invented the Cheek Row Corn Planter?J. M. Mitchell, 1990, Patent Number: 641,462.

Who invented the rotary Dining Table? d. Johnson, 1888, Patent Number: 369,089.

Who was the first casualty of the American revolution?
In 1770, Crispus Attucks, whose father was African and mother was a Nantucket Indian,
became the first casualty of the American Revolution when he was shot and killed in
what became known as the Boston Massacre.

What mathematician and physicist first calculated the speed of the moon?
Walter S. McAfee is the African American mathematician and physicist who first calculated
the speed of the moon. On January 10, 1946 a radar pulse was transmitted towards the
moon. Two and a half seconds later, they received a faint signal, proving that
transmissions from earth could cross the vast distances of outer space.

Who invented the street sweeper in 1896? C.B. Brooks

Who was the first African American ordained as an Episcopal priest in the United States? Absalom Jones (1746 – February 13, 1818) was an African-American abolitionist and clergyman. After founding a black congregation in 1794, in 1804 he was the first African-American ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church of the United States.

What was the first American Colony to abolish slavery? Vermont

Who were the first two African American cadets at West Point? James Webster Smith and Henry O. Flipper

What was the name of the first slave ship built in the English colonies? The Desire

Who was the first African-American women elected to the United States Senate? Shirley Chisholm

Who was the first African-American to be honored on a U.S. stamp? Booker T. Washington (1856 – 1915) in 1940.

What is the Underground Railroad? The Underground Railroad, a vast network of people who helped fugitive slaves escape to the North and to Canada, was not run by any single organization or person. Rather, it consisted of many individuals — many whites but predominently black — who knew only of the local efforts to aid fugitives and not of the overall operation. Still, it effectively moved hundreds of slaves northward each year — according to one estimate, the South lost 100,000 slaves between 1810 and 1850.

An organized system to assist runaway slaves seems to have begun towards the end of the 18th century. In 1786 George Washington complained about how one of his runaway slaves was helped by a “society of Quakers, formed for such purposes.” The system grew, and around 1831 it was dubbed “The Underground Railroad,” after the then emerging steam railroads. The system even used terms used in railroading: the homes and businesses where fugitives would rest and eat were called “stations” and “depots” and were run by “stationmasters,” those who contributed money or goods were “stockholders,” and the “conductor” was responsible for moving fugitives from one station to the next.

For the slave, running away to the North was anything but easy. The first step was to escape from the slaveholder. For many slaves, this meant relying on his or her own resources. Sometimes a “conductor,” posing as a slave, would enter a plantation and then guide the runaways northward. The fugitives would move at night. They would generally travel between 10 and 20 miles to the next station, where they would rest and eat, hiding in barns and other out-of-the-way places. While they waited, a message would be sent to the next station to alert its stationmaster.

The fugitives would also travel by train and boat — conveyances that sometimes had to be paid for. Money was also needed to improve the appearance of the runaways — a black man, woman, or child in tattered clothes would invariably attract suspicious eyes. This money was donated by individuals and also raised by various groups, including vigilance committees.

Vigilance committees sprang up in the larger towns and cities of the North, most prominently in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. In addition to soliciting money, the organizations provided food, lodging and money, and helped the fugitives settle into a community by helping them find jobs and providing letters of recommendation.

The Underground Railroad had many notable participants, including John Fairfield in Ohio, the son of a slaveholding family, who made many daring rescues, Levi Coffin, a Quaker who assisted more than 3,000 slaves, and Harriet Tubman, who made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom.

Who wrote “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”? Maya Angelou’s (1928 – ) autobiographical, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” is the first non-fiction work by an African-American woman to make the best-seller list.

What was race-based legislation in the North? To the fugitive slave fleeing a life of bondage, the North was a land of freedom. Or so he or she thought. Upon arriving there, the fugitive found that, though they were no longer slaves, neither were they free. African Americans in the North lived in a strange state of semi-freedom. The North may had emancipated its slaves, but it was not ready to treat the blacks as citizens. . . or sometimes even as human beings.

Northern racism grew directly out of slavery and the ideas used to justify the institution. The concepts of “black” and “white” did not arrive with the first Europeans and Africans, but grew on American soil. During Andrew Jackson’s administration, racist ideas took on new meaning. Jackson brought in the “Age of the Common Man.” Under his administration, working class people gained rights they had not before possessed, particularly the right to vote. But the only people who benefited were white men. Blacks, Indians, and women were not included.

This was a time when European immigrants were pouring into the North. Many of these people had faced discrimination and hardship in their native countries. But in America they found their rights expanding rapidly. They had entered a country in which they were part of a privileged category called “white.”

Classism and ethnic prejudices did exist among white Americans and had a tremendous impact on people’s lives. But the bottom line was that for white people in America, no matter how poor or degraded they were, they knew there was a class of people below them. Poor whites were considered superior to blacks, and to Indians as well, simply by virtue of being white. Because of this, most identified with the rest of the white race and defended the institution of slavery. Working class whites did this even though slavery did not benefit them directly and was in many ways against their best interests.

Before 1800, free African American men had nominal rights of citizenship. In some places they could vote, serve on juries, and work in skilled trades. But as the need to justify slavery grew stronger, and racism started solidifying, free blacks gradually lost the rights that they did have. Through intimidation, changing laws and mob violence, whites claimed racial supremacy, and increasingly denied blacks their citizenship. And in 1857 the Dred Scott decision formally declared that blacks were not citizens of the United States.

In the northeastern states, blacks faced discrimination in many forms. Segregation was rampant, especially in Philadelphia, where African Americans were excluded from concert halls, public transportation, schools, churches, orphanages, and other places. Blacks were also forced out of the skilled professions in which they had been working. And soon after the turn of the century, African American men began to lose the right to vote — a right that many states had granted following the Revolutionary War. Simultaneously, voting rights were being expanded for whites. New Jersey took the black vote away in 1807; in 1818, Connecticut took it away from black men who had not voted previously; in 1821, New York took away property requirements for white men to vote, but kept them for blacks. This meant that only a tiny percentage of black men could vote in that state. In 1838, Pennsylvania took the vote away entirely. The only states in which black men never lost the right to vote were Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts.

The situation in what was then the northwest region of the country was even worse. In Ohio, the state constitution of 1802 deprived blacks of the right to vote, to hold public office, and to testify against whites in court. Over the next five years, more restrictions were placed on African Americans. They could not live in Ohio without a certificate proving their free status, they had to post a $500 bond “to pay for their support in case of want,” and they were prohibited from joining the state militia. In 1831 blacks were excluded from serving on juries and were not allowed admittance to state poorhouses, insane asylums, and other institutions. Fortunately, some of these laws were not stringently enforced, or it would have been virtually impossible for any African American to emigrate to Ohio.

In Illinois there were severe restrictions on free blacks entering the state, and Indiana barred them altogether. Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin were no friendlier. Because of this, the black populations of the northwestern states never exceeded 1 percent.

African Americans also faced violence at the hands of white northerners. Individual cases of assault and murder occured throughout the North, as did daily insults and harassment. Between 1820 and 1850, Northern blacks also became the frequent targets of mob violence. Whites looted, tore down, and burned black homes, churches, schools, and meeting halls. They stoned, beat, and sometimes murdered blacks. Philadelphia was the site of the worst and most frequent mob violence. City officials there generally refused to protect African Americans from white mobs and blamed blacks for inciting the violence with their “uppity” behavior.

African Americans and their white allies did not simply sit back and accept Northern racism; they responded to it in a whole range of ways. Black people founded their own churches, schools, and orphanages. They created mutual aid societies to provide financial assistance to those in need. They helped fugitive slaves adjust to life in the North. Blacks and whites working together took legal measures to try to prevent the erosion of black rights and to protest against new restrictions. African Americans held a series of national conventions to decide on a collective course of action. Combined with these actions was the constant effort to end slavery, to protect fugitive slaves, and to save free black people from being kidnapped and sold South. Some states even passed Personal Liberty Laws to counteract federal legislation such as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. These protected fugitives and guaranteed some rights to African American citizens of that state.

What are the Jim Crow laws? The Jim Crow laws (named after “Jump Jim Crow”, a song-and-dance caricature of African Americans) were state and local laws enacted in the Southern and border states of the United States and enforced between 1876 and 1965. They mandated “separate but equal” status for black Americans. In reality, this led to treatment and accommodations that were almost always inferior to those provided white Americans. The Jim Crow period or the Jim Crow era refers to the time during which this practice occurred. The most important laws required that public schools, public places and public transportation have separate buildings, toilets, and restaurants for whites and blacks. (These Jim Crow Laws were separate from the 1800-66 Black Codes, which had restricted the civil rights and civil liberties of African Americans.) State-sponsored school segregation was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education. Generally, the remaining Jim Crow laws were overruled by the Voting Rights Act. None were in effect at the end of the 1960s.

What is Brown v. Board of Education? Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court, which overturned earlier rulings going back to Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, by declaring that state laws which established separate public schools for black and white students denied black children equal educational opportunities. Handed down on May 17, 1954, the Warren Court’s unanimous (9-0) decision stated that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” As a result, de jure racial segregation was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This victory paved the way for integration and the civil rights movement.

What are the Little Rock Nine? The Little Rock Nine, as they later came to be called, were the first black teenagers to attend all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. These remarkable young African-American students challenged segregation in the deep South and won. Although Brown v. Board of Education outlawed segregation in schools, many racist school systems defied the law by intimidating and threatening black students—Central High School was a notorious example. But the Little Rock Nine were determined to attend the school and receive the same education offered to white students, no matter what. Things grew ugly and frightening right away. On the first day of school, the governor of Arkansas ordered the state’s National Guard to block the black students from entering the school. Imagine what it must have been like to be a student confronted by armed soldiers! President Eisenhower had to send in federal troops to protect the students. But that was only the beginning of their ordeal. Every morning on their way to school angry crowds of whites taunted and insulted the Little Rock Nine—they even received death threats. One of the students, fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Eckford, said “I tried to see a friendly face somewhere in the mob. . . . I looked into the face of an old woman, and it seemed a kind face, but when I looked at her again, she spat at me.” As scared as they were, the students wouldn’t give up, and several went on to graduate from Central High. Nine black teenagers challenged a racist system and defeated it.

Can you tell me about Jackie Robinson? Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) became the first African-American major league baseball player of the modern era in 1947. While not the first African American professional baseball player in United States history, his Major League debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers ended approximately eighty years of baseball segregation, also known as the baseball color line. In the United States at this time, many white people believed that blacks and whites should be segregated or kept apart in many phases of life, including sports and daily life. The Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Robinson in 1962 and he was a member of six World Series teams. He earned six consecutive All-Star Game nominations and won several awards during his career. In 1947, Robinson won The Sporting News Rookie of the Year Award and the first Rookie of the Year Award. Two years later, he was awarded the National League MVP Award. In addition to his accomplishments on the field, Jackie Robinson was also a forerunner of the Civil Rights Movement. He was a key figure in the establishment and growth of the Freedom Bank, an African-American owned and controlled entity, in the 1960s. He also wrote a syndicated newspaper column for a number of years, in which he was an outspoken supporter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

Who is Mary Jane McLeod Bethune? Mary Jane McLeod Bethune (July 10, 1875 – May 18, 1955) was born in Mayesville, South Carolina and died in Daytona Beach, Florida. A tireless educator born to former slaves, she is best known for founding a school in 1904 that later became part of Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach. She was president of the college from 1923 to 1942 and 1946 to 1947, one of the few women in the world who served as a college president at that time. Bethune worked for the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, and attempted to get him to support a proposed law against lynching. She was also a member of Roosevelt’s Black Cabinet, among other leadership positions in organizations for women and African Americans. Upon her death, columnist Louis E. Martin said, “She gave out faith and hope as if they were pills and she some sort of doctor.” Her house is preserved by the National Park Service as Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site, and a sculpture of her is located in Lincoln Park in Washington, DC.

Who was Cassius Clay named after? Muhammad Ali (1942 – ) the self–proclaimed “greatest [boxer] of all time” was originally named after his father, who was named after the 19th century abolitionist and politician Cassius Marcellus Clay.

Who was the first black elected U.S. President? Barack Obama

Who is Thurgood Marshall? Thurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993) was an American jurist and the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Prior to becoming a judge, he was a lawyer who was best remembered for his high success rate in arguing before the Supreme Court and for the victory in Brown v. Board of Education. Marshall was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on July 2, 1908. His original name was Thoroughgood but he shortened it to Thurgood in second grade. His father, William Marshall, instilled in him an appreciation for the Constitution of the United States and the rule of law. Additionally, as a child, he was punished for his school misbehavior by being forced to read the Constitution, which he later said piqued his interest in the document. Marshall was a descendant of slaves.

Who is Frederick Douglass? Frederick Douglass (February 1818 – February 20, 1895) was an American abolitionist, editor, orator, author, statesman and reformer. Called “The Sage of Anacostia” and “The Lion of Anacostia”, Douglass is one of the most prominent figures in African American history and a formidable public presence. He was a firm believer in the equality of all people, whether black, female, Native American, or recent immigrant. He was fond of saying, “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.”

Who is William Edward Burghardt Du Bois? William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963) was an American civil rights activist, leader, Pan-Africanist, sociologist, educator, historian, writer, editor, poet, and scholar. He became a naturalized citizen of Ghana in 1963 at the age of 95. On Feb. 23, 1868, W. E. B. Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Mass., where he grew up. During his youth he did some newspaper reporting. In 1884 he graduated as valedictorian from high school. He got his bachelor of arts from Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., in 1888, having spent summers teaching in African American schools in Nashville’s rural areas. In 1888 he entered Harvard University as a junior, took a bachelor of arts cum laude in 1890, and was one of six commencement speakers. From 1892 to 1894 he pursued graduate studies in history and economics at the University of Berlin on a Slater Fund fellowship. He served for 2 years as professor of Greek and Latin at Wilberforce University in Ohio. In 1891 Du Bois got his master of arts and in 1895 his doctorate in history from Harvard. His dissertation, The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America, 1638-1870, was published as No. 1 in the Harvard Historical Series. This important work has yet to be surpassed. In 1896 he married Nina Gomer, and they had two children. In 1896-1897 Du Bois became assistant instructor in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. There he conducted the pioneering sociological study of an urban community, published as The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study (1899). These first two works assured Du Bois’s place among America’s leading scholars.

What does the NAACP represent? The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.

Who is Medgar Wiley Evers? Medgar Wiley Evers (July 2, 1925 – June 12, 1963) was an African American civil rights activist from Mississippi. He was murdered on June 12, 1963 by Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the Ku Klux Klan.Medgar Evers was born on July 2, 1925 in Decatur, Mississippi. In 1943, Evers, then 17, dropped out of high school to enlist in the army with his older brother Charlie. Evers fought in the European Theatre of WWII and was honorably discharged in 1945 as a sergeant. In 1946, having returned to his hometown, Evers, along with his brother and four friends, registered to vote in a local election. On voting day, however, local white citizens used intimidation to prevent Evers and the others from casting their votes. He recounts this moment in his autobiography:…when we got to the courthouse, the clerk said he wanted to talk with us. When we got into his office, some 15 or 20 armed white men surged in behind us, men I had grown up with, had played with. We split up and went home. Around town, Negroes said we had been whipped, beaten up and run out of town. Well, in a way we were whipped, I guess, but I made up my mind then that it would not be like that again–at least not for me.

What is the KKK? Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is the name of several past and present organizations in the United States that have advocated white supremacy, anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, racism, homophobia, anti-Communism and nativism. These organizations have often used terrorism, violence, and acts of intimidation, such as cross burning and lynching, to oppress African Americans and other social or ethnic groups. The Klan’s first incarnation was in 1866. Founded by veterans of the Confederate Army, its main purpose was to resist Reconstruction. It focused as much on intimidating “carpetbaggers” and “scalawags” as on putting down the freed slaves. The KKK quickly adopted violent methods. A rapid reaction set in. The Klan’s leadership disowned violence as Southern elites saw the Klan as an excuse for federal troops to continue their activities in the South. The organization declined from 1868 to 1870 and was destroyed in the early 1870s by President Ulysses S. Grant’s vigorous action under the Civil Rights Act of 1871 (also known as the Ku Klux Klan Act). In 1915, a second distinct group was founded using the same name. It grew against social fears aroused by rapid changes in many major cities as they absorbed new immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, Southern blacks of the Great Migration and whites from rural areas. The second KKK typically preached racism, anti-Catholicism, anti-Communism, nativism, and anti-Semitism. Some local groups took part in lynchings and other violent activities. Violence occurred mostly in the South, which already had a tradition of lawlessness. Its popularity fell during the Great Depression, and membership fell further during World War II because of scandals resulting from prominent members’ crimes and its support of the Nazis.

Who is George Washington Carver? He was an American agricultural chemist, agronomist, and experimenter whose development of new products derived from peanuts (groundnuts), sweet potatoes, and soybeans helped revolutionize the agricultural economy of the South. For most of his career he taught and conducted research at the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Tuskegee, Ala.

Carver was the son of a slave woman owned by Moses Carver. During the Civil War, slave owners found it difficult to hold slaves in the border state of Missouri, and Moses Carver therefore sent his slaves, including the young child and his mother, to Arkansas. After the war, Moses Carver learned that all his former slaves had disappeared except for a child named George. Frail and sick, the motherless child was returned to his former master’s home and nursed back to health. The boy had a delicate sense of colour and form and learned to draw; later in life he devoted considerable time to painting flowers, plants, and landscapes. Though the Carvers told him he was no longer a slave, he remained on their plantation until he was about 10 or 12 years old, when he left to acquire an education. He spent some time wandering about, working with his hands and developing his keen interest in plants and animals.

By both books and experience, George acquired a fragmentary education while doing whatever work came to hand in order to subsist. He supported himself by varied occupations that included general household worker, hotel cook, laundryman, farm labourer, and homesteader. In his late 20s he managed to obtain a high school education in Minneapolis, Kan., while working as a farmhand. After a university in Kansas refused to admit him because he was black, Carver matriculated at Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa, where he studied piano and art, subsequently transferring to Iowa State Agricultural College (Ames, Iowa), where he received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science in 1894 and a master of science degree in 1896.

Carver left Iowa for Alabama in the fall of 1896 to direct the newly organized department of agriculture at the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, a school headed by the noted black American educator Booker T. Washington. At Tuskegee, Washington was trying to improve the lot of black Americans through education and the acquisition of useful skills rather than through political agitation; he stressed conciliation, compromise, and economic development as the paths for black advancement in American society. Despite many offers elsewhere, Carver would remain at Tuskegee for the rest of his life.

After becoming the institute’s director of agricultural research in 1896, Carver devoted his time to research projects aimed at helping Southern agriculture, demonstrating ways in which farmers could improve their economic situation. He conducted experiments in soil management and crop production and directed an experimental farm. At this time agriculture in the Deep South was in serious trouble because the unremitting single-crop cultivation of cotton had left the soil of many fields exhausted and worthless, and erosion had then taken its toll on areas that could no longer sustain any plant cover. As a remedy, Carver urged Southern farmers to plant peanuts and soybeans, which, since they belong to the legume family, could restore nitrogen to the soil while also providing the protein so badly needed in the diet of many Southerners. Carver found that Alabama’s soils were particularly well-suited to growing peanuts and sweet potatoes, but when the state’s farmers began cultivating these crops instead of cotton, they found little demand for them on the market. In response to this problem, Carver set about enlarging the commercial possibilities of the peanut and sweet potato through a long and ingenious program of laboratory research. He ultimately developed 300 derivative products from peanuts—among them cheese, milk, coffee, flour, ink, dyes, plastics, wood stains, soap, linoleum, medicinal oils, and cosmetics—and 118 from sweet potatoes, including flour, vinegar, molasses, rubber, ink, a synthetic rubber, and postage stamp glue.

Can you tell me about slavery in the United States? The history of slavery in the United States (1619-1865) began soon after the English colonists first settled in Virginia and lasted until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Before the widespread establishment of chattel slavery, much labor was organized under a system of bonded labor known as indentured servitude.

This typically lasted a period of four to seven years for white and black alike, and it was a means of using labor to pay the costs of transporting people to the colonies. By 1662 court rulings established the racial basis of the American incarnation of slavery to apply chiefly to Africans and people of African descent, and occasionally to Native Americans.[citation needed] In part because of the Southern colonies’ devotion of resources to tobacco culture, which was labor intensive, by the end of the 17th century they had a higher number and proportion of slaves than in the North.

From about the 1640s until 1865, people of African descent were legally enslaved within the boundaries of the present United States. They were held overwhelmingly by whites, but also by some Native Americans and free black people. The majority of slaveholding was in the southern United States. According to the 1860 U.S. census, nearly four million slaves were held in a total population of just over 12 million in the 15 states in which slavery was still legal. Of all 1,515,605 families in the 15 slave states, 393,967 held slaves (roughly one in four), amounting to 8% of all American families. Most households, however, had only a few slaves. The concentration of slaves were held by planters, defined by historians as those who held 20 or more slaves. The planters achieved wealth and social and political power. Ninety-five percent of black people lived in the South, comprising one-third of the population there, as opposed to 1% of the population of the North.

The wealth of the United States in the first half of the 19th century was greatly enhanced by the exploitation of labor of enslaved African Americans. But with the Union victory in the Civil War, the slave-labor system was abolished in the South. The large southern cotton plantations became much less profitable. Northern industry, which had expanded rapidly before and during the war, surged even further ahead of the South’s agricultural economy. Industrialists from northeastern states came to dominate many aspects of the nation’s life, including social and some aspects of political affairs. The planter class of the South lost power temporarily. The rapid economic development following the Civil War laid the groundwork for the modern U.S. industrial economy.

Approximately 12 million black Africans were shipped to the Americas from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Of these, an estimated 645,000 (5.4% of the total) were brought to what is now the United States. The slave population in the United States had grown to four million by the 1860 Census

Who was the first local elected official? John Mercer Langston, 1855, town clerk of Brownhelm Township, Ohio.

Who was the first Editor, Harvard Law Review and who became the President of the Harvard Law review? Editor, Harvard Law Review: Charles Hamilton Houston, 1919. Barack Obama became the first President of the Harvard Law Review.

Who was the first 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.

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

Who was the first Ivy League president? Ruth Simmons, 2001, Brown University

Who was the first Rhodes Scholar? Alain L. Locke, 1907

What is Plessy v. Ferguson? Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), was a landmark United States Supreme Court decision in the jurisprudence of the United States, upholding the constitutionality of racial segregation even in public accommodations (particularly railroads), under the doctrine of “separate but equal”. The decision was handed down by a vote of 7 to 1, with the majority opinion written by Justice Henry Billings Brown and the dissent written by Justice John Marshall Harlan, with Justice David Josiah Brewer not participating in this case. “Separate but equal” remained standard doctrine in U.S. law until its final repudiation in the later Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education (1954).

Who was the 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.

Who was the 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.

Who is Crispus Attucks? An american revolutionary patriot, born 1723 in Boston of mixed African and American Indian ancestry, Attucks was the slave of William Brown of Framingham, Mass. Attucks escaped around 1750 to work on whaling ships. On March 5, 1770, Boston patriot Samuel Adams convinced sailors and dockworkers to protest the presence of British troops. Attucks was a leader of the 50 men in the protest, shouting “Don’t be afraid,” as they advanced on the British. The soldiers fired on the protestors, killing Attucks and four others in what became known as the Boston Massacre. The bodies of the dead lay in state at Faneuil Hall for three days before receiving a public funeral attended by 10,000 people. Although the soldiers were acquitted of the shootings on the grounds that the seamen were inciting a riot, Attucks and the others became heroes. He died in 1770.

What are freedom rides? Freedom Rides were journeys by Civil Rights activists on interstate buses into the segregated southern United States to test the United States Supreme Court decision Boynton v. Virginia, (1960) 364 U.S. that ended segregation for passengers engaged in inter-state travel. Organized by CORE, the first Freedom Ride of the 1960s left Washington D.C. on May 4, 1961, and was scheduled to arrive in New Orleans on May 17.

What is CORE? The Congress of Racial Equality or CORE is a U.S. civil rights organization that played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement from its foundation in 1942 to the mid-1960s. Membership in CORE is stated to be open to “anyone who believes that ‘all people are created equal’ and is willing to work towards the ultimate goal of true equality throughout the world.”

What is the Emancipation Proclamation? The Emancipation Proclamation consists of two executive orders issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. The first one, issued September 22, 1862, declared the freedom of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. The second order, issued January 1, 1863, named the specific states where it applied.

What year was the first black U.S. President elected? 2008

Who was the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion? Jack Johnson (1878 – 1946)

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