Our Heroes: HONOR- REMEMBER-APPRECIATE !!!
PROUD AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY FIRSTS
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 (2005–2008).
- 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, 2005–2009.
- Major Party Nominee for President: Sen. Barack Obama, 2008. The Democratic Party selected him as its presidential nominee.
- U.S. President: Sen. Barack Obama. Obama defeated Sen. John McCain in the general election on November 4, 2008, and was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States on January 20, 2009.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Heart surgery pioneer: 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.
- 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.
FEBRUARY'S HISTORIC SNAPSHOTS IN BLACK HISTORY:
February 181688: First Protest Against Slavery in Colonial America
February 171973: First U.S. Navy Ship Named for an African-American
February 161904: Birthday of James Baskett, Disney's First Live Actor
February 151848: Boston Public Schools Bar Sarah Roberts
February 141867: Morehouse College Established in Georgia
February 131970: New York Stock Exchange Admits First Black Member
February 121909: NAACP is Established in New York City
February 111990: Nelson Mandela Released from Prison
February 101992: 'Roots' Author Alex Haley Dies at Age 70
February 91971: Satchel Paige Named to Baseball Hall of Fame
February 81968: 3 Students Die in "Orangeburg Massacre"
February 71862: Freedman's Aid Society Established in Boston
February 61820: "Mayflower of Liberia" Sets Sail from N.Y.C.
February 51958: Clifton Wharton Sr. Named Minister to Romania
February 41913: Rosa Parks is Born in Alabama
February 31870: 15th Amendment Guarantees the Right to Vote
February 21897: Black Inventor Patents Ice Cream Scoop
February 11865: President Lincoln Signs 13th Amendment