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Randolph, A. Phillip

A. Philip Randolph: Founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Chair of the Committee that Organized the 1963 “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom”Continue Reading »

Rustin, Bayard (1912-1987)

Bayard Rustin: Trade Union and Civil Rights Organizer and ActivistContinue Reading »

Garrett, Mary Elizabeth (1854 – 1915)

Mary Garrett and the “Friday Evening” group next turned their attention on ways to provide opportunities for women at the Johns Hopkins University. The women of the “Friday Evening” formed the Women’s Medical School Fund Committee in response to a nation-wide appeal for philanthropic assistance initiated by University president D.C. Gilman. Proposing to raise $100,000 for the endowment of the medical school if the trustees would agree to admit women on the same terms as men, the committee embarked upon a major public relations effort to promote medical education for women. When they finished, the Johns Hopkins University—and medical education in the United States—would never be the same.Continue Reading »

Willard, Frances Elizabeth Caroline (1839-1898)

Frances Willard promoted the cause of women and reform as a pioneer educator and especially as the most prominent leader of the nineteenth century movement to end alcohol abuse.

One of the most influential women of the nineteenth century, Frances Willard’s name is inseparable from that of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), but her life embodied little of the conservatism that came to be associated with the WCTU after her death.Continue Reading »

Barrett, Janie Porter (1865 – 1948)

Janie Porter Barrett (1865 -1948): Founder of the Locust Street Social Settlement (1890) and the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls (1915)Continue Reading »

Twilight, Alexander (1795 – 1857)

For the next twelve years he learned reading, writing and math skills while performing various farming duties. He was able to save enough (probably with some assistance from the farmer for whom he labored) to enroll in Randolph’s Orange County Grammar School in 1815 at the age of 20. During the next six years (1815-1821) he completed not only the secondary school courses but also the first two years of a college level curriculum. Following his graduation from Randolph he was accepted at Middlebury College, entering as a junior in August of 1821. Two years later he received his bachelor’s degree. Middlebury College claims him to be the first African-American to earn a baccalaureate degree from an American college or university.Continue Reading »

Pinchback, Pinckney Benton Stewart: (1837-1921)

Before ascending to the office of governor, Pinchback had run for both a U.S Senate seat and a seat in the U.S. Congress simultaneously in 1872. He won both contests but was barred from taking his congressional post when his opponent contested the election and was awarded the position. Pinchback was denied his seat in the senate as well as a result of charges of election fraud.Continue Reading »

Howe, Julia Ward (1819 – 1910)

Julia Ward Howe was inspired to write “ The Battle Hymn of the Republic” after she and her husband visited Washington, D.C. and met Abraham Lincoln at the White House in November 1861. During the trip, her friend James Freeman Clarke suggested she write new words to the song “John Brown’s Body,” which she did on November 19.‪ The song was set to William Steffe’s already-existing music and Howe’s version was first published in the Atlantic Monthly in February 1862. It quickly became one of the most popular songs of the Union during the American Civil War.Continue Reading »

The Fight for Equal Rights: Black Soldiers in the Civil War

By the end of the Civil War, roughly 179,000 black men (10% of the Union Army) served as soldiers in the U.S. Army and another 19,000 served in the Navy. Nearly 40,000 black soldiers died over the course of the war—30,000 of infection or disease. Black soldiers served in artillery and infantry and performed all noncombat support functions that sustain an army, as well. Black carpenters, chaplains, cooks, guards, laborers, nurses, scouts, spies, steamboat pilots, surgeons, and teamsters also contributed to the war cause. There were nearly 80 black commissioned officers. Black women, who could not formally join the Army, nonetheless served as nurses, spies, and scouts, the most famous being Harriet Tubman, who scouted for the 2d South Carolina Volunteers.Continue Reading »

Colonial Expansion Heads South

In 1619, a Dutch ship brought some Africans to Jamestown. They had been kidnapped from their homes by African traders and sold to the ship’s captain. He sold them to the Virginia settlers. Those first blacks may have been treated like indentured servants. Later, however, colonists decided to keep them as slaves so they would not have to continue paying for workers. Indians did not make good slaves because they could run away. Blacks could not. They had no place to go. Slowly, laws were approved in Virginia that made it legal to keep black people as slaves. By 1750, there were more Africans in Virginia than any other group.Continue Reading »

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