Black History Month 2020

Frederick Douglass
Black History Hero | Frederick Douglass
02/29/2020
Frederick Douglass was born into Maryland slavery in 1817 to a slave mother and a slave master father. Young Douglass toiled on a rural plantation and later in Baltimore’s shipyards as a caulker. Douglass, however, learned to read and soon sought out abolitionist literature that alleviated what he termed the graveyard of his mind.
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Robert F. Smith
Black History Hero | Robert F. Smith
02/28/2020
Robert F. Smith is best known as the founder, chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a multi-billion-dollar private equity and wealth management company that employs over thirty thousand people around the world and focuses on the growth of firms that develop enterprise software. Forbes ranked him as the 268th richest person in the United States in 2015 and the second richest black person behind Oprah Winfrey. Smith was born in Denver, Colorado, on December 1, 1962, to educators Dr. William Robert Smith and Dr. Sylvia Myrna Smith. When Smith was a toddler, his mother took him to the March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Smith attended Carson Elementary School and Gove Jr. High School in Denver before graduating from Denver’s East High School. In high school, he applied for a summer internship at Bell Labs but was told the position was for college students. After much persistence, however, he got the position and that summer he developed a reliability test for semiconductors. Smith earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University in New York. Afterward, he worked as an engineer for Air Products and Chemicals, The Goodyear Tire, and Kraft General Foods. Smith holds two patents in the United States: one for a coffee brewer filtration device and coffee brewing element in 1993 and 1995, respectively. Smith enrolled in the Columbia University School of Business and earned an M.B.A in 1994 with concentrations in finance and marketing. Smith joined Goldman Sachs in mergers and acquisitions in New York City in 1994 and then moved to the San Francisco/ Silicon Valley area of California in 1997 to start Goldman Sachs’s mergers and acquisitions office there. As co-head of enterprise systems and storage with Goldman Sachs, he executed or advised on over $50 billion in M&A activity with companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, eBay, and Yahoo. Smith left Goldman Sachs in 2000 to found his own company, Vista Equity Partners. The company has had over one hundred and forty completed transactions since its founding. Vista Equity Partners have managed funds for hundreds of limited partners, some of which include prominent public, private, and corporate pension plans, endowments, family offices, and people with high net worth. Buyout Magazine in 2012 awarded the company the Gold Medal as the top performing Vintage Buyout Fund in the United States. Smith is also a philanthropist. He founded Project Realize which is a national effort to help inner-city companies implement specific operational improvements. He is a member of the Leadership Circle for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.; an active supporter of, COMP (Children’s Opportunities for Music Participation) in Chicago, Illinois, and Austin, Texas; and a trustee of the Boys and Girls Clubs in San Francisco, California.
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Carrie Meek
Black History Hero | Carrie Meek
02/27/2020
Former Congresswoman Carrie Meek was born on April 29, 1926, in Tallahassee, Florida. The granddaughter of a slave and the daughter of former sharecroppers, she spent her childhood in segregated Tallahassee. Meek graduated from Florida A&M University in 1946.
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Langston Hughes
Black History Hero | Langston Hughes
02/26/2020
Langston Hughes (1902-1967) was the first black writer in America to earn his living from writing. Born in Joplin, Missouri, he had a migratory childhood following his parents' separation, spending time in the American Mid-West and Mexico.
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Dorothy Vaughan
Black History Hero | Dorothy Vaughan
02/25/2020
In an era when NASA is led by an African American man (Administrator Charles Bolden) and a woman (Deputy Administrator Dava Newman), and when recent NASA Center Directors come from a variety of backgrounds, it's easy to overlook the people who paved the way for the agency's current robust and diverse workforce and leadership. Those who speak of NASA's pioneers rarely mention the name Dorothy Vaughan, but as the head of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ (NACA’s) segregated West Area Computing Unit from 1949 until 1958, Vaughan was both a respected mathematician and NASA's first African-American manager.
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Jack Johnson
Black History Hero | Jack Johnson
02/24/2020
Boxer Jack Johnson was born in Galveston, Texas, in 1878. In 1908 he became the first African American to win the world heavyweight crown when he knocked out the reigning champ, Tommy Burns. The fast-living Johnson held on to the title until 1915 and continued to box until he was 50. He died in an automobile accident in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1946.
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NAACP Graphic
Black History Heroes | NAACP
02/23/2020
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, better known as the NAACP, was established in February 1909 in response to a violent race riot in Illinois the year prior. Today, the civil rights organization boasts a membership of more than 300,000 continuing its quest to speak for the disenfranchised.
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Charles F. Bolden
Black History Hero | Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden, Jr. (USMC-Ret.)
02/22/2020
Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., (USMC-Ret.) was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 12th Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He began his duties as head of the agency on July 17, 2009. As Administrator, Bolden leads a nationwide NASA team to advance the missions and goals of the U.S. space program.
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Katherine Johnson
Black History Hero | Katherine Johnson
02/21/2020
Being handpicked to be one of three black students to integrate West Virginia’s graduate schools is something that many people would consider one of their life’s most notable moments, but it’s just one of several breakthroughs that have marked Katherine Johnson’s long and remarkable life.
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Sidney Poitier
Black History Heroes | Sidney Poitier
02/20/2020
Sidney Poitier broke racial barriers and stereotyping in the film industry to become the leading African American male actor of the 20th Century.  In a career that spanned 57 years, Poitier was a featured performer or starred in 48 films and directed six.
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Dr. Gladys West teaching a man about GPS
Black History Hero | Dr. Gladys West
02/19/2020
GPS or the Global Positioning System is something that we use every day. From finding your local supermarket, checking your directions if you get lost or mapping out your daily commute to avoid traffic, GPS is with us everywhere we go. It has literally changed the way we work, play and live.
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Coach Gaither and team on field
Black History Hero | Coach Jake Gaither
02/18/2020
Alonzo S. Gaither, who built a powerful athletic machine at Florida A&M University, the state’s only public historically black university, is known as the winningest coach of his era. His pioneering coaching tactics propelled FAMU’s athletic program beyond the parameters of the HBCU universe into the broader American culture, with the team’s stellar performance being covered on sports pages of daily mainstream and black niche newspapers across the country. Coach Gaither is historically regarded as a great motivator who used the football field as his “laboratory” to develop players’ character and refine their talents in order to help them reach their fullest life potential.
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President Barack Obama
Black History Hero | Barack Obama
02/17/2020
On November 4, 2008, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois was elected president of the United States over Senator John McCain of Arizona. Obama became the 44th president, and the first African American to be elected to that office. He was subsequently elected to a second term over former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
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Justice Joseph Hatchett with daughters
Black History Hero | State Supreme Court Justice Joseph W. Hatchett
02/16/2020
Joseph W. Hatchett, an award-winning Florida attorney, made history as the state’s first Black Supreme Court justice. Hatchett was also the first Black justice appointed to the federal court of appeals in the south as well. To this day, Hatchett still works to promote diversity in the legal profession.
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Swim team at Robinson Trueblood swimming pool in Tallahassee
Black History Heroes | The Swim Team at Robinson Trueblood Swimming Pool
02/15/2020
The first swim team included (standing, L-R) Roy Beard, Eddie Graham, Edward Holifield, Bishop Holifield, Charles Rambo, Manuel Rivas, Ulysees Pittman; and James Barnes. Kneeling are Ricky Eubanks, Eugene Cromer, Ellis Carr, Hansel Tookes, M. Raines, and Raymond Williams. Robinson Trueblood Swimming Pool on Dade Street was built by the city in response to wade-ins by blacks at all white pools. It was the only pool where blacks could swim and train as lifeguards.
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Cicely Tyson
Black History Hero | Cicely Tyson
02/14/2020
Critically acclaimed actor Cicely Tyson was born in Harlem New York City, New York on December 19, 1933. She is the daughter of William and Theodosia Tyson. Her father was a carpenter and her mother was a domestic. Her parents were immigrants from Saint Kitts and Nevis in the West Indies.
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Tallahassee students sit-in at Woolworth counter
Black History Heroes | Tallahassee Student Sit-in
02/13/2020
Prior to the Tallahassee student sit-ins of 1960, the Tallahassee Bus Boycott took place in 1956, patterned after the Montgomery Bus Boycott that started with the refusal of Rosa Parks to surrender her bus seat to a white person. Tallahassee was sometimes called the “little Mississippi” where segregation was prominent.
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Patricia Stephens
Black History Hero | Patricia Stephens Due
02/11/2020
On Jan. 23, 1963, Patricia Stephens Due was arrested in the segregated lobby of the Florida Theater in Tallahassee for entering the whites-only section. Although the city dropped the case, Stephens Due filed a suit against the city for their support of racial apartheid.
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Virgil Darnell Hawkins
Black History Heroes | Virgil Darnell Hawkins
02/10/2020
Virgil Darnell Hawkins graduated from Edward Waters College in Jacksonville in 1930. He served as a teacher and principal in Lake County before eventually becoming the public relations director for Bethune-Cookman College
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John Milledge
Black History Heroes | John Milledge
02/09/2020
John Milledge was one of the first black officers to serve in Dade County. Hired in 1944 by the City of Miami to patrol the “ Central Negro District,” he later became the first black officer in the history of Dade County to be killed in the line of duty.
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Zora Neale Hurston
Black History Heroes | Zora Neale Hurston
02/08/2020
Zora Neale Hurston, novelist and folklorist, is born in Notasulga, Alabama. Although at the time of her death in 1960, Hurston had published more books than any other black woman in America, she was unable to capture a mainstream audience in her lifetime, and she died poor and alone in a welfare hotel.
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Black History Heroes | The 54th Regiment Massachusetts Infantry
02/07/2020
The 54th Regiment Massachusetts Infantry was a volunteer Union regiment organized in the American Civil War. Its members became known for their bravery and fierce fighting against Confederate forces. It was the second all-black Union regiment to fight in the war, after the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
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Eartha White and her mother Clara White
Black History Heroes | Eartha M.M. & Clara White
02/06/2020
Eartha M. M. White was a humanitarian, businesswoman and philanthropist from Jacksonville. She created educational opportunities and provided relief to African-Americans in northeastern Florida. White helped found several organizations and institutions, including the Clara White Mission, Mercy Hospital and the Boy's Improvement Club. She was designated as a Great Floridian by the Florida Department of State in the year 2000.
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Kobe Bryant
Black History Heroes | Kobe Bryant
02/05/2020
Professional basketball superstar Kobe Bryant played for the Los Angeles (California) Lakers since 1996 when he came to the team as an eighteen-year-old, the youngest player in National Basketball Association (NBA) history, until his retirement in 2016. Bryant was a long-time philanthropist, using his well-known name to raise funds for a number of causes.
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Mr. Walter MacNeal Jackson, Citrus Grower
Black History Heroes | Mr. Walter MacNeal Jackson
02/04/2020
Mr. Walter MacNeal Jackson was a dedicated, compassionate and generous man who was loved and respected by all who knew him. He was a successful citrus grove owner, entrepreneur, and served Indian River County and his community in various capacities.
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James Weldon Johnson Author of The African American National Anthem
Black History Heroes | James Weldon Johnson
02/03/2020
Lift Every Voice and Sing – often called “The Black National Anthem” – was written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954) in 1899. It was first performed in public in the Johnsons’ hometown of Jacksonville, Florida as part of a celebration of Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900 by a choir of 500 schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School, where James Weldon Johnson was principal.
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Maya Angelou Quote Graphic
Black History Heros | Maya Angelou
02/02/2020
Maya Angelou was a poet, writer, performer, and teacher. In 2000, Angelou was honored with the Presidential Medal of the Arts; she received the Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medal in 2008. Click to read more about this extraordinary woman and her many contributions to our nation.
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Dr. Carter G Woodson
Black History Hero | Dr. Carter G. Woodson
02/01/2020
Born in 1875 in New Canton, Virginia, Carter G. Woodson was the second African American to receive a doctorate from Harvard, after W.E.B. Du Bois. Known as the "Father of Black History," Woodson dedicated his career to the field of African-American history and lobbied extensively to establish Black History Month as a nationwide institution.
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