They don’t get more Boss Bitch than Lucy Parsons, the radical anarcho-communist labor organizer who the Chicago PD said was “more dangerous than a thousand rioters.”
Last year during Black History Month I tried to do a post every day about an innovative black American whose name was likely not currently common knowledge, starting with Carter G. Woodson, the historian who started Black History Month, and ending with Octavia Butler, a science fiction writer. And, I tried to not focus on the “predictable” focus areas of black excellence, such as athletics and music. I wanted to hi-light how time and time again black Americans fought adversity, excelled, and changed our world, such as with Percy Julian, who was instrumental in creating birth control, or Bayard Rustin, the civil rights and gay rights activist who brought the non-violent teachings of Ghandi to MLK Jr. Continue reading
I was surprised when I read an April 21 article from Fox Chicago, Racist who dragged black man behind truck will be executed this week. (It looks to be a reprint used in several publications.) I expected a bland short piece giving a brief biased synopsis of the 1998 murder of James Byrd Jr. and minimal details of the impending execution of one of his murderers. Instead, the piece starts with a story of how that murder has shaped people’s view of the town by telling how a tech company questioned opening a center there specifically because of the murder that took place 21 years ago.
In honor of this day, here are images of women, all ages, around the world, throughout time, holding space and standing their ground.
As Black History Month nears its close, I have come across another innovative, radical, groundbreaking, extremely intelligent individual who few likely know by name. Ralph Bunche was an academic, political scientist, activist, and diplomat. While alive, he was celebrated for his peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East, Africa and the Mediterranean, for helping form the United Nations, and for his work in the Civil Rights Movement. And, not only was he the first African American to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, he was the first person of color to receive the award.
Percy Julian was a research chemist who figured out how to synthesize medicinal compounds from plant sources, making them more affordable for mass-production. His work laid the foundation for the production of cortisone and birth control pills.
At the age of 26, Michael Tubbs made history when he was elected as mayor of Stockton, CA in 2016. He is not only the first black mayor of Stockton, but the youngest elected in the city’s history.
In light of her recent passing, today’s Black History Month post is on Toronto soul singer, Jackie Shane. A performer who defied gender stereotypes and had a captivating stage presence, Shane is recognized by soul-music enthusiasts as one of the greatest singers of the genre, yet Shane has remained largely unknown outside Toronto.
Gordon Parks was a photographer, musician, artist, writer, and film director. Not only was he prominent in photo-documentary of the black experience from the 1940s to 1970s, he was a cultural pioneer. He was the first African-American photographer to work for the FSA, Life magazine, and Vogue, and to direct a major Hollywood motion picture. While his photography is what he should be best known for, most know him as the creator of the “blaxploitation” genre of films.
George Carruthers is an astrophysicist and award-winning inventor. He created the spectrograph, the ultraviolet camera used by NASA in the 1972 Apollo 16 flight. It is because of Carruthers that we learned that hydrogen is the predominant element in the universe.