Black History for video

Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994) gained national recognition in the Olympic Games in Rome, Italy. She won three Gold Medals and was called the “World’s Fastest Woman.” The Associated Press named her “Female Athlete of the Year” for 1960.
The catalyst for the sit-in movement took place at the Woolworth’s lunch counter by a group of North Carolina A&T University students in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Rafer Johnson (1934- ) carried the American flag at the Olympics – a first for an African-American. That year, he also won the gold medal in the decathlon. In 1956, he had won the silver.


The singing sensation of the Supremes with Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard made their first appearance as a group out of Detroit, Michigan.

An integrated group of Freedom Riders got as far as Anniston, Alabama where they were beaten, and the Greyhound bus was burned on May 4, 1961.

Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) was appointed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on September 1, 1961 by President John F. Kennedy.

Jackie Robinson (1919-1972) was inducted into the Cooperstown, NY Baseball Hall of Fame on July 3, 1962.

Ernie Davis (1939-1962), the Syracuse running back, was the first African-American to receive football’s Heisman Trophy in 1962. Sadly, Davis was diagnosed with leukemia and died the same year.

Samuel L. Gravely (1922- ) was appointed captain of the Navy Destroyer Escort, U.S.S. Falgout, thus becoming the first African-American to command a United States warship. He later received the rank of Rear Admiral, a first for an African-American navyman.


Sidney Poitier (1927- ) became the first African-American to win an Academy Award as Best Actor for his role in Lillies of the Field.

Medgar Evers (1925-1963), civil rights leader and NAACP field secretary, was assassinated on June 12, 1963 in front of his home in Jackson Mississippi.

On April 16, 1963, Dr. King was jailed and, while there, produced his thoughts about justice and civil rights in his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail.
The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama became the site of a viscous attack on Sunday, September 15, 1963. Four little girls were killed when a bomb exploded inside the church where the children were seated.
November 22, 1963 – This sad day, our President, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in a moving motorcade in Dallas, Texas.

Time magazine honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as the Man of the Year, along with a feature story, January 3, 1964.

Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977) rise to the occasion. Because African-Americans were refused by the Democratic Party to have representative delegates, Hamer and the others formed the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. This one act led to the inclusion of representation by African-Americans in the next convention in 1968.

Three civil rights workers, James Chaney (black male), Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner (both white males) were killed while traveling through Philadelphia, Mississippi, August 4, 1964.

The 24th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified on January 23, 1964. It outlawed poll taxes that kept African-Americans from being able to vote, mostly in the southern states.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway on December 10, 1964.

Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) was appointed to the position of Solicitor General of the United States by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) (1925-1965) was assassinated as he spoke on February 21, 1965 in the Audubon Ballroom in New York City.

Patricia R. Harris (1924-1985) became the first African-American woman to be appointed an ambassador.

Mrs. Viola Gregg Liuzzo, a white civil rights worker from Detroit, Michigan, was gunned down while driving some black marchers back to Selma, Alabama on March 25, 1965.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act into law on August 6, 1965.

One of the bloodiest and most destructive race riots ever in America happened in Watts, Los Angeles, California and lasted for five days, August 11-15, 1965.

Robert C. Weaver, Ph.D. (1907-) became the first African-American to serve in the President of the United States’ Cabinet. He was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Lyndon B. Johnson, starting January 3, 1966.

The Black Panther Party was organized in Oakland, California by Bobby Seale (1936- ) of Dallas, Texas and Huey P. Newton (1942-1989) of Monroe, Louisiana

Andrew Felton Brimmer (1926- ) became the first African-American appointed to serve on the prestigious Federal Reserve Board by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966.

Constance Baker Motley (1921- ), the former borough president of Manhattan, made history by becoming the first African-American federal judge
Julian Bond (1940- ) won an elected seat in the State of Georgia House of Representatives.

Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) was appointed to the United States Supreme Court by President Lyndon B. Johnson, becoming the first African-American appointed to the high court as an Associate Justice.

Major Robert H. Lawrence, Jr. (1935-1967) became the first African-American astronaut on June 30, 1967.

Taking on a new name as a group came up in 1968. Negro was out. Afro-American and Black were the preferred names when addressing Blacks as a subject according to a poll in the New York Times, July 6, 1968.
The Civil Rights Bill of 1968 was signed into law.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968.

Harvard University established its first Afro-American Studies program which set the stage for similar programs at other universities across the country in

James Earl Jones (1931- ) won a Tony Award for his role as Jack Johnson in The Great White Hope on New York’s Broadway.

Dr. Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. (1926- ) became the first African-American selected to preside over a large mainstream American university. On Jan 2, 1970,
Flip Wilson (1933-1998) came to television with his prime-time variety show called The Flip Wilson Show in 1970.
The Congressional Black Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives was formally organized in 1971.
The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of busing as a tool that could speed up the integration of public schools, mainly in the South.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson (1941- ) organized a new organization with an agenda bent on economic and political action called People United to Save Humanity (PUSH).
The talented Leroy R. “Satchel” Paige (1906-1982) became the first African-American pitcher elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

A survey in 1972 revealed that forty-two percent of all prison inmates were African-Americans.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study was revealed in 1972.


The Vietnam War was ended on March 29, 1973.

General Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr. (1920-1978) was promoted to Lieutenant General of the United States Armed Forces in 1973. By 1975, he became a four star general, the highest-ranking African American serviceman.


Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (1899-1974) died on May 24, 1974.
Henry “Hank” Aaron (1934- ) hit his 715th home run, breaking the long-standing record set by the late Babe Ruth on April 8, 1974.

Beverly Johnson (1952- ) became the first African-American to grace the cover of Vogue magazine.


Arthur Ashe (1943-1993), became the first African-American to win the men’s singles at Wimbledon, defeating Jimmy Connors.

The Jeffersons was a favorite among television watchers. They stayed on for eleven seasons, starting in 1975.

Alex Haley (1921-1992) published his novel, Roots

The United States Naval Academy at Annapolis admitted women for the first time in June of 1976. Janie L. Mines became the first African-American women cadet to enter. She graduated in 1980.

Andrew Young (1932- ) of Georgia became America’s Ambassador to the United Nations.


Morehouse School of Medicine opened its doors in Atlanta on 1978.

Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (1932- ) became the first African-American to earn the rank of General in the United States Marines.
Hazel W. Johnson (1927- ), in September of 1979, became the first African-American woman to be promoted to the rank of General in the United States Army.

Willie Lewis Brown Jr. (1934- ) of California became the first African-American Speaker of the House in a state government
Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. (1944- ) was the first doctor to place an automatic defibrillator in the human heart to help the blood flow properly in the heart.
Robert L. Johnson (1946- ) began his operation of Cable Television’s Black Entertainment Television (BET) out of Washington, D.C.

Andrew Young (1932- ) became mayor of Atlanta, Georgia.

Lena Horne (1917- ) opened on Broadway with her one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music and won a Special Tony Award for her performance in 1981.

Bryant Gumbel (1948- ) made history by becoming the first African-American to anchor a national news program at NBC Television.
Henry “Hank” Aaron (1934-) the home run king of the National League was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.

President Ronald Reagan extended the Voting Rights Act of 1965 when he signed the bill into law on June 30, 1982.


Jesse Jackson was able to get the release of U.S. Navy Pilot Robert Goodman from the Lebanese government. Goodman had been held captive after his plane was shot down in that country.


MOVE, They were bombed out by the state police which killed eleven members and destroyed two city blocks in Philadelphia, PA.

The famed Apollo Theater in New York City reopened after a ten million dollar renovation on May 5, 1985.

Astronaut Ronald E. McNair (1950-1986), a NASA scientist, along with six other crew members, were killed when the space shuttle, Challenger, exploded on its lift off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on January 28, 1986,

Mike Tyson (1966- ) was in the news. “Iron” Mike had a fierce attack on his opponents.


Earvin “Magic” Johnson (1959- ) won the National Basketball Association’s Most Valuable Player Award in 1987.

Florence “Flo Jo” Griffith Joyner (1959-1998) won three gold and one silver medal at the 1988 Olympics.
Jesse Jackson (1941- ) made a bid for the Presidency of the United States.

William “Bill” Cosby donated twenty million dollars to Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.

Doug Williams (1956- ), quarterback for the Washington Redskins football team, was named the Most Valuable Player in Super Bowl XXII on Jan. 31, 1988 in San Diego, California.

Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania became the first university in the United States to offer a Doctoral Degree in African-American Studies.

General Colin L. Powell (1937- ), at age fifty-two, became the youngest person and first African-American military person to be named Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest office in the nation’s military.


Nelson Mandela, after serving twenty-seven years in prison, was freed and came to New York City to speak at the United Nations.

Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993), Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, stepped down after serving twenty-four years as a justice.
in the NBA, Michael Jordan (1963- ) retired from the Chicago Bulls, at age thirty, on October 6, 1993.

black South Africans, for the first time, were allowed to cast their votes in an open election. 1994

1995 saw the jobless rate down to 5.4% of total U.S. population in March of this year.

One of the top grossing movies of 1996 was the popular Independence Day with Will Smith.
On January 20, 1997, William Jefferson Clinton was inaugurated as the forty-second President of the United States.

Tiger Woods (1976- ) won the Masters Tournament.
Singer Lauryn Hill won five Grammy Awards a record for a female artist – on February 24, 1999.
Venus and Serena Williams, tennis sisters, played in the finals. On September 10, 1999

Other Facts:

Otis Boykin (1920 -1982) invented electronic control devices for guided missiles, IBM computers, and the control unit for a pacemaker.
George Carruthers (1939 – ) invented the far ultraviolet electrographic camera, used in the 1972 Apollo 16 mission.

Frederick Jones (1892 – 1961) held over 60 patents with most of them pertaining to refrigeration. His portable air conditioner was used in World War II to preserve medicine and blood serum.
Dr. Charles Drew (1904 – 1950) discovered techniques to store blood and developed blood banks.
Thomas J. Martin patented a fire extinguisher in 1872.

Fact #13
Jan Ernst Matzeliger (1852 – 1889) invented the Shoe Lasting machine, which connected the upper part of the shoe to the sole, a painstaking process that was usually done by hand.

Fact #14
Lewis Howard Latimer invented the carbon filament for light bulbs in 1881.
Fact #15
Joseph Winters invented a fire escape ladder in 1878.
Alexander Miles of Duluth, Minnesota patented an electric elevator in 1887 with automatic doors that would close off the shaft way, thus making elevators safer.
John Love invented the pencil sharpener in 1897.
C.B. Brooks invented the street sweeper in 1896. It was a truck equipped with brooms.
Henry Blair (1807 – 1860), the second African-American to receive a patent, invented a corn seed planter in 1834 and a cotton planter in 1836. Blair could not read or write and signed his patent with an X.
2005—In January Condoleezza Rice becomes the Secretary of State. She is the first African American woman to hold the post.

2008—On November 4, Barack Obama, the only sitting African American U.S. Senator, is elected President of the United States. Obama wins the election in a landslide and becomes the first African American elected to this office.


“As time passes, we may drift apart, but our hope is that there will be an unchanging bond among our friends and family.”
(Updated quote)