Last in a series for the month of February
February is Black History month, an annual celebration of the achievements of African Americans. The 2022 theme is Black Health and Wellness, to explore the legacy of Black scholars in Western medicine and the traditional healing arts. Black History Month began in 1915, by the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Visit https://asalh.org
The organization is holding a virtual festival all month long, with workshops and seminars, author events, the announcement of the ASALH Book Prize, and more.
Most major networks will run special programming for Black History Month.
Learn more about these prominent African Americans and places of significance at the links provided.
Many of these came from https://www.stagesoffreedom.org.
(PS: If you’ve noticed that there are more men that women, it’s because I’m saving some of the women’s listings for March, Women’s History Month.)
“Disappearing Ink: A Bibliography of Writings by and about Rhode Island African Americans with occasional annotation. Compiled by Robb Dimmick
John Henry Merrick
John Henry Merrick wrked his way up from shining shoes to owning five barbershops, a haircare line and several rental properties. He was a leading co-founder of North Caroilna Mutual Life Insurance Company, one of the first Black-owned insurance companies in the country. The company filled a huge gap as insurance was unattainable for most African Americans.
First to build a billion-dollar business. In 1990, he was one of the richest Black men in the country. In 1993 he was listed among the 400 richest Americans by Forbes.
He was an extraordinary athlete in football, baseball and basketball, receiving a football scholarship for college.
After a field summer program at Harvard, he was invited to attend, before he even applied, a first for the school.
Learn more at https://reginaldflewis.com/
Arthur G. Gaston
Arthur G. Gaston establisehd a funeral home and burial insurance company, then a savings and loan, a business college and a motel.
He became not only a business leader, but a political leader in the civil rights movement.
Frederick D. Patterson
During the turn of the century (no, the last one), many auto makers emerged as it became clear the horseless carriages were going to take over.
Frederick Patterson founded the first and only Black automobile manufacturer. Although it only operated from 1915 to 1918, it is important because it is the only African American owned and operated automobile company.
He inherited his father’s carriage making buisness and saw that the days of horse-drawn carriages wer numbered.
Learn more at https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/stories/only-african-american-automobile-company or read The C. R. Patterson and Sons Company, Black Pioneers in the Vehicle Building Industry, 1865-1939 by Christopher Nelson
Eddie Holman is a Rythm and Blues singer who had numerous hits on the Billboard R&B chart and the Billboard Hot 100.
He left the music performance industryto work for Xerox in 1978; in 1982 he studied theology, and became an ordained a minister in 1984. In 2007, he was celebrated as a legend for his 50th anniversary in the performing arts.
Three who died for civil rights
In 1964 three youing civil rights workers were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan: Michael Schwermer, 24; James Chaney, 21; Andrew Goodman, 20. In 2005, 41 years after the murders, Edgar Ray Killen was tried and convicted and sentenced to 60 years in prison. He died in a Mississippi prison in 2018.
• The National Museum of African American History and Culture: https://nmaahc.si.edu
• History Channel online: https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-month
• Fabulous 1960s vintage footage of a Mississippi Gospel Meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLFikYxCR5Q
• BlackPast, dedicated to providing glogal audiences with reliable and accurate information on the history of African Americans and of people of African Ancestry around the world. Visit https://www.blackpast.org/
• The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute: https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu
Click here to download the entire 2/24/22 issue: 02-24-22 Sawmill
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