Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Poet, Politician, and Diplomat Score Black History Firsts

Can you identify these three famous black history people?

The woman on the left was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for her book, “Annie Allen” in 1950.

In the middle, this public figure was the first African American elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 1963.  He was elected the first African American Mayor of Los Angeles in 1973.

On the right, he was the first African American to win the Nobel Peace Prize (1950). He was the first black official in the U.S. State Department in 1946.

The answers:

  • Gwendolyn Brooks left photo (1917 - 2000)
  • Thomas Bradley middle photo (1917 - 1998)
  • Dr. Ralph J. Bunche right photo (1904 - 1971)

photos from Empower Encyclopedia

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Posted by Hugh Smith on 10/26 at 08:24 PM
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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Dizzy Gillespie Bebop Brings Black History Glory

Saturday, October 21, would have been the 89th birthday of the late father of modern jazz, Dizzy Gillespie.

As a member of Cab Calloway’s band, Gillespie also jammed with the notable Thelonius Monk and Charlie Parker in 1941 to create what’s now known as the improvisational bebop sound.

During a colorful career, Dizzy shared the stage with Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, and a host of other jazz giants.

When Gillespie’s trumpet accidentally got bent in the upward position, he continued to play it claiming the instrument sounded better.

The 1953 horn accident became Dizzy’s instrumental look of success.

Dizzy Gillespie bebop brings black history glory and world acclaim to the American story of jazz.

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Posted by Hugh Smith on 10/19 at 01:23 AM
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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Nigeria Grabs October Black History Month Spotlight in the UK

an edited version of an article by Chris Ochayi from the Nigerian news site

Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage will again take center stage in the United Kingdom during the month-long Black History Month Festival this October.

The UK event, under the auspices of Back To My Roots, will showcase the best of African culture, arts, and business.

Supported by the British Council and UNESCO, Back To My Roots is expected to attract over 5 million people.

Black History Month is celebrated every October by the British government saluting black contributions to European development.

Events will take place in four cities: London, Bristol, Birmingham and Glasgow in Scotland.

Learn more about Black History Month in the UK by visiting

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Posted by Hugh Smith on 10/12 at 08:18 PM
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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Baseball Ambassador Buck O'Neil (1911-2006)

John “Buck” O’Neil, who recently passed away at 94, was the first black major league baseball coach.

The Chicago Cubs hired the former Negro League first baseman and manager in 1962.

In recent years, O’Neil promoted the game, did many interviews, and appeared on radio and television programs, including Ken Burns’ PBS documentary, “Baseball."

Buck proudly reviews his career in his autobiography, “I was Right on Time."

Here are some Buck O’Neil highlights...

  • 1942 & 1943: Negro League All Star
  • 1945: Lead the Negro league with a .353 batting average
  • Between 1938 - 1955, he managed the Miami Giants, the Shreveport Acme Giants, the Memphis Red Sox, and the Kansas City Monarchs
  • Played baseball in both Cuba and Mexico

O’Neil was one of many Negro League players on the 2006 special election ballot to possibly enter the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

Although he didn’t make it, here’s a very good candidate profile of Buck O’Neil by Raymond Doswell from the ballot.

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Posted by Hugh Smith on 10/07 at 11:58 AM
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