One of the many things that I miss about working at a school is presenting daily African-American facts during Black History Month. Not only could the students learn about all the greatness that stems from their heritage and where we came from, but I also took it personal. I saw it as my own history lesson. One thing that I did stress was that February should not be the only month to learn about our history. Instead, look at February as a time to celebrate our successes, contributions, and accomplishments and be proud of our people. So, what I plan to share is only a couple of African-American Firsts. Enjoy:)
- Macon Bolling Allen was the first African-American to pass the bar and practice law in the United States in 1845. He was also the first black American Justice of the Peace and the first African-American licensed to practice law in the U.S.
- Arthur Ashe was the first African-American to win the U.S. Open (1968); to come in first in the Wimbeldon men’s singles (1975); and be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame (1985). In 1963, tennis champion Arthur Ashe was the first African-American to be named to the U.S. Davis Cup team.
- Actress Diahann Carroll won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a TV Series in 1968 for her role on the sitcom Julia. Carroll was the first African-American actress to star in her own television series where she did not play a domestic worker.
- Politician and educator Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American woman elected to Congress. She was also the first major-party African-American candidate for President of the United States.
- Human rights activist Clara “Mother” Hale founded the first and, at the time, the only black social services agency in America in 1975. Over the course of her life, Mother Hale received more than 370 awards for her work in the fight against AIDS and inner city drug use.
- Robert Johnson, the owner of Black Entertainment Television (BET), became the first black billionaire in America in 2001.
Stay tuned for the next “I Am Malcolm X” segment… .