African American History
The Most Significant Events in Black History
Kuumba "To do always as much as we can in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherit it."
The contributions of blacks in the field of science have been a missing chapter in the narrative of America’s scientific and technological advancement. From the beginning, African Americans were part of America’s scientific endeavors: Benjamin Banneker produced the blueprint for Washington DC; Norbert Rillieau, chemical engineer, revolutionized the sugar industry by building a refining system; Elijah McCoy whose name became synonymous with high-quality (The Real McCoy) patented more than fifty inventions used by the railroad companies; Grandville T. Woods, invented the trolley car system and helped invent the light bulb, telegraph and telephone systems; Lewis Latimer produced the drawing for the telephone and wrote the world’s first book on electric lighting; Jan Matzeliger, revolutionized the shoe industry with the invention of the shoe lasting machine, and Garrett Morgan invented the gas mask and traffic signal. The conditions under which blacks created and invented helps to better appreciate the contributions of African American to science and the advancement of America.
The Souls of Black Folk
At the dawn of the 20th century, 1903, WEB Dubois set forth to explain to the world the meaning and significance of being black in a white world. Dubois accomplished this in his masterpiece, “Souls of Black Folk.” Dubois was clear on the focus and purpose of his masterpiece writing: “Herein lie buried many things which if read with patience may show the strange meaning of being black here at the dawning of the Twentieth Century.” Souls is Du Bois’s biting dissent from racist and white nationalist ideologies, animating the public culture of post-Reconstruction America. Announcing that the “problem of the twentieth century is the problem of color-line”, Dubois explored the “strange meaning of being black” in a racially hierarchical where “white skin” was a top of the hierarchy and black the bottom and where because of this racially driven society blacks were routinely treated with indifference and contempt. Souls details a sweeping narrative of African American social and political life, highlighting the economic legacy of slavery, the fight for political and civil rights, and the contributions of African Americans to the spiritual and material formation of America as nation.
Harlem Renaissance Movement
In the 1920s, Harlem Renaissance Movement, expressed in the artistic flowering of artistic creation – literature, music, poetry, painting, and dance –made an indelibly mark on American popular culture. This is the decade in which African Americans came of age. The artists who contributed to this renaissance were informed, instructed and inspired by the vision and ethos of the New Negro. As such, the Harlem Renaissance represents something more than the actual works of art it produced. The Harlem Renaissance had both and internal and external message, signaling that African Americans were to be taken seriously by themselves as well as by others. The Harlem Renaissance was a period of unprecedented creative production by any group of people in the United States.
Kind of Blue
Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue is the best selling jazz record of all time. It is a universally acknowledged masterpiece, revered as much by rock and classical music fans as by jazz lovers. To the musicians who recorded it, Kind of Blue was just another session when it was released in August, 1959. But the disc was quickly recognized by the jazz community as a classic. Jazz musicians were startled by the truly different sound on an album that laid out a clear roadmap for further modal explorations.
Invisible Man is a novel written by Ralph Ellison, and the only one that he published during his lifetime. It won him the National Book Award in 1953. The novel addresses many of the social and intellectual issues facing African-Americans in the early twentieth century, including black nationalism, the relationship between black identity and Marxism, and the reformist racial policies of Booker T. Washington, as well as issues of individuality and personal identity.
Kwanzaa is a non-heroic, non religious African American holiday, celebrated December 26th thru January 1st. As a cultural holiday, Kwanzaa allows African Americans to celebrate themselves while using the values, symbols and activities of Kwanzaa to strengthen personal and family relationships, make commitments to improve the life of the family and community through moral excellence and personal accomplishments. The holiday Kwanzaa, which was created in 1966 is now celebrated by millions cross the United States and is recognized internationally as a cultural celebration and holiday for African Americans.