Black History: Storied Lives

January 1 - February 28, 2006

In honor of Black History Month, the Evans Library proudly presents the display "Black History: Storied Lives", a look at individuals from African-American communities across the United States who have made remarkable contributions in the areas of education, civil rights, science, business, religion, entertainment, and so much more. The library display and this site highlight only a few of these "storied lives". Some names and stories are familiar and others not so familiar; some stories are worthy of a smile and others worthy of a tear. Regardless of its contribution, each and every storied life will inspire.

Matthew Henson ~ George Washington Carver ~ Bessie Smith ~ Whitney Moore Young ~ Benjamin O. Davis ~ Ernest E. Just ~ Dr. Allison Davis ~ Nat King Cole ~ Madame C.J. Walker ~ Sonny Terry ~ W. C. Handy ~ Bessie Coleman ~ Sister Rosetta Tharpe ~ Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable ~ A. Philip Randolph ~ Percy Lavon Julian ~ Charles R. Drew ~ Jim Beckworth ~ Mahalia Jackson ~ Wilma Rudolph ~ Robert C. Maynard ~ Barbara Jordan ~ Rita Dove ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.~ Ruby Bridges ~ Zora Neale Hurston ~ Mary Jane McLeod Bethune ~ James Baldwin ~ Harry T. Moore ~ Harriet Moore ~ Dick Gregory ~ Rosa Parks ~ Harriet Tubman ~ Capt. Della H. Raney ~ Julius Montgomery ~ Gwendolyn Brooks ~ Mary Church Terrell ~ Dr. Dorothy I Height ~ Dorie Miller ~ Willie Howard Mays, Jr ~ Jesse Owens ~ Coretta Scott King

"Every February, Americans celebrate Black History Month. This tribute dates back to 1926 and is credited to a Harvard scholar named Carter G. Woodson. The son of former slaves, Woodson dedicated his life to ensuring that black history was accurately documented and disseminated.

In an effort to bring national attention to the contributions of black Americans, Woodson organized the first annual Negro History Week in 1926. He chose the second week of February in honor of the birthdays of pivotal black supporters Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

From Jackie Robinson to Tiger Woods, Harriet Tubman to Barack Obama, Black History Month pays tribute to inspirational African Americans from the past, as well as those who will continue to make history well into the future."

source: http://www.biography.com/blackhistory/

"We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice."
- Carter Godwin Woodson on founding Negro History Week, 1926

Carter Godwin Woodson, 1875 - 1950

Woodson authored numerous scholarly books on the positive contributions of Blacks to the development of America. He also published many magazine articles analyzing the contributions and role of Black Americans. He reached out to schools and the general public through the establishment of several key organizations and founded Negro History Week (precursor to Black History Month).

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, 1858 - 1931

Dr. Williams was an African American physician who made history by performing the first successful open heart surgery operation.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929 - 1968

Pastor, Civil Rights Leader, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), author

Bessie Coleman, 1892 - 1926

"Coleman was American's first female African-American pilot. She made headlines in 1921 when she became the first African-American woman to earn an international pilot's license."

Matthew Henson, 1866 - 1955

Arctic explorer, co-discoverer of the North Pole

"Henson accompanied Robert E. Peary on eight journeys to the Arctic over eighteen years (1891-1909). After several failed attempts to reach the North Pole, on April 7, 1909, Henson, Peary and their four Inuit comrades attained their goal."

Langston Hughes, 1902 - 1967

"Hughes, who claimed Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Carl Sandburg, and Walt Whitman as his primary influences, is particularly known for his insightful, colorful portrayals of black life in America from the twenties through the sixties. He wrote novels, short stories and plays, as well as poetry, and is also known for his engagement with the world of jazz and the influence it had on his writing, as in 'Montage of a Dream Deferred.'"

Wilma Rudolph, 1940 - 1994

Three-time Olympic gold medalist in track

"Wilma Rudolph was the first American woman runner to win three gold medals in the Olympic games. Her performance was all the more remarkable in light of the fact that she had double pneumonia and scarlet fever as a young child and could not walk without braces until age 11."

Mary Church Terrell, 1863 - 1954

"Born to wealth, Terrell majored in classics at Oberlin College, where she received her bachelor's degree in 1884, one of the first African-American women awarded a college degree. A charter member and first president of the National Association of Colored Women, Terrell became nationally known both for her support of women's suffrage and her opposition to racial segregation. She was also one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In 1953, at the age of ninety, she led a successful drive to end the segregation of public facilities in Washington, D.C."

Robert C. Maynard, 1937 - 1993

"Maynard was an authentic pioneer in the newspaper industry who will be remembered for his reportorial, oratorical and creative entrepreneurial skills. Maynard's efforts to bring ethnic and cultural diversity into American newspapering is legendary and occurred in large measure, through the Institute for Journalism Education, which he cofounded in 1977."

Rosa Parks, 1913 - 2005

"On Dec. 1, 1955, Mrs. Rosa Parks, seamstress for the Montgomery Fair department store, boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus. She took a seat in the fifth row - the first row of the "Colored Section...She was arrested on a Thursday; bail was posted by Clifford Durr, the white lawyer whose wife had employed Parks as a seamstress. That evening, after talking it over with her mother and husband, Rosa Parks agreed to challenge the constitutionality of Montgomery's segregation laws."

Frederick Douglass 1818 - 1895

His mother was a slave; his father a white man. At a young age Frederick Douglass learned to read and write as a slave to a ship carpenter in Baltimore. At this young age he heard and understood the meaning of the word 'abolition'. He was later sold to a farmer known for his brutality to slaves. Douglass vowed he would escape and be free by the end of 1836. It wasn't until 1838, however, that his dream would come true. In the years that followed, he became very involved in the growing abolitionists movement. He continued his thirst for reading and educating himself. During the Civil War he recruited northern blacks for the Union Army and met to discuss war concerns with President Abraham Lincoln. In later years he promoted rights for African Americans and women.

Frederick Douglass recorded his memoirs in: "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave Written by Himself"

"...learning to accept insult, to compromise on principle, to mislead your fellow man, or to betray your people, is to lose your soul."
-James Henry Woodson, a slave (Carter G. Woodson's father). Carter credits his father with influencing the course of his life.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.' "
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?"
-Langston Hughes

"This country cannot be the country we want it to be if its story is told by only one group of citizens. Our goal is to give all Americans front-door access to the truth."
- Robert C. Maynard, co-founder of the Institute for Journalism Education

"We are...asking every Negro to stay off the buses Monday in protest of the arrest and trial... You can afford to stay out of school for one day. If you work, take a cab, or walk. But please, children and grown-ups, don't ride the bus at all on Monday. Please stay off the buses Monday."
- Message on 35,000 handbills mimeographed by the Women's Political Council for distribution to all black schools following the arrest of Rosa Parks

Following her arrest, Rosa Parks is fingerprinted.

"Montgomery's segregation laws were complex: blacks were required to pay their fare to the driver, then get off and reboard through the back door. Sometimes the bus would drive off before the paid-up customers made it to the back entrance. If the white section was full and another white customer entered, blacks were required to give up their seats and move farther to the back; a black person was not even allowed to sit across the aisle from whites. These humiliations were compounded by the fact that two-thirds of the bus riders in Montgomery were black."

- Rita Dove, former U.S. poet laureate, winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
Quote source: http://www.time.com/time/time100/heroes/profile/parks01.html

Library Resources on Display:

The Trumpet of Conscience Martin Luther King JC599.U5 K5
Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics Bell Hooks E185.86 .H742 1990
We All Got History: The Memory Books of Amos Webber Nick Salvatore E185.97 .W44 S25 1996
The Potomac Chronicle: Public Policy & Civil Rights from Kennedy to Reagan Harold C. Fleming E185.61 .F55 1997
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site & Preservation District: General Management Plan, Development Concept Plan & Environmental Assessment United States. National Park Service I 29.2:M 36
Non-Violence and Aggression: A Study of Gandhi's Moral Equivalent of War H. J. N. Horsburgh HM278 .H6
Before His Time: The Untold Story of Harry T. Moore, America's First Civil Rights Martyr Ben Green E185.97 .M79 G74 1999
Leading Minds: An Anatomy of Leadership Howard Gardner HM141 .G35 1996
Black Miami in the Twentieth Century Marvin Dunn F319 .M6 D86 1997
Thomas & Beulah: Poems Rita Dove PS3554 .O884 T47 1986
Fighters for a New World: John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert F. Kennedy Thilo Koch E841 .K613
Report of the Department of Justice Task Force to Review the FBI Martin Luther King, Jr., Security and Assassination Investigations United States Task Force to Review the FBI Martin Luther King, Jr., Security and Assassination Investigations J 1.2:K 58
The Negro in Twentieth Century America: A Reader on the Struggle for Civil Rights Edited by John Hope Franklin and Isidore Starr E185.61 .N43 1967
The Final Assassination Report: Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations, U.S. House of Representatives United States. Congress. House. Select Committee on Assassinations E842.9 .U54 1979
Who's Who Among African Americans Ready Reference E185.97 .W44 S25 1996

Internet Sites related to "Black History: Storied Lives"

The King Center http://thekingcenter.org/
The African-American Registry http://www.aaregistry.com/
Milestones in Black History http://www.usa-people-search.com/content-milestones-in-black-history.aspx
African American Achievers http://africanamericans.com/Achievers.htm
Black Studies - CCNY http://www1.ccny.cuny.edu/prospective/socialsci/blackstudies/

Stamp on Black History

Postage stamps of historical Black Americans

We Shall Overcome: Historical Places of the Civil Rights Movement http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/civilrights/ma2.htm
"With an Even Hand" Brown v. Board at Fifty http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/brown/brown-aftermath.html
They Changed the World: 1955 - 1956: The Story of the Montgomery Boycott http://www.montgomeryboycott.com/
Thomson-Gale: Black History - Biographies http://www.gale.com/free_resources/bhm/bio/

Zora Neale Hurston


Joel Agustus Rogers

Writer, Lecturer, Anthropologist, Publisher

Dr. Mae Jemison

Chemical Engineer, Scientist, Physician, Teacher, Astronaut

Dick Gregory

Activist, Author, Actor, Comedian

Shirley Chisholm

U.S. Representative (re-elected six times)

Doris 'Dorie' Miller

Awarded the Navy Cross for actions at Pearl Harbor

Whether long ago or more recently, these "storied lives" have made a remarkably positive impact on society. Each of these individuals has earned a place of honor not only in black history but in all civilized history. Their stories and those of their successors will continue to be written for future generations.

A supplemental brochure listing the library's resources is available to patrons.

This site is presented by the Florida Institute of Technology Evans Library Instructional Programs Team.


© Florida Institute of Technology - All rights reserved