Civil rights activist Rosa Parks is quoted as saying that she’d “like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free and wanted other people to be also free.” Today we remember the legacy of Ms. Parks who was born on this day, February 4, 1913.
"The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or a sect, a party or a class, —it is the cause of human kind, the very birthright of humanity.”
- Anna Julia Cooper, quote can be found on pages 26 and 27 of the new United States passport
Anna Julia Cooper born today in 1858 (d.1964) was an author, educator, and one of the most prominent African American scholars in United States history. Cooper earned her B.A. and M.A. from Oberlin College, and at 65 years of age, she became the fourth black woman in American history to earn a Ph.D. degree.
Cooper’s first book, A Voice from the South: By A Woman from the South, published in 1892 is considered as one of the first articulations of Black feminism. In her book Anna discusses self-determination through education and social uplift for African American women. She believed that their educational, moral, and spiritual progress would improve the general standing of the entire African American community. She saw it to be the duty of educated and successful black women to encourage and support their underprivileged peers in achieving their goals.
"We cannot afford the luxury of self pity. Our top priority now is to get on with the building process. My personal peace has come through helping boys and girls reach beyond the ordinary and strive for the extraordinary. We must teach our children to weather the hurricanes of life, pick up the pieces, and rebuild. We must impress upon our children that even when troubles rise to seven-point- one on life’s Richter scale, they must be anchored so deeply that, though they sway, they will not topple"
-Mamie Till Mobley mother of Emmett Louis Till
This quote is taken from her speech given at the dedication of the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama on November 5, 1989.
Remembering Emmett Till
Today we remember Emmett Till, a 14-year-old child who was brutally murdered in Mississippi for purportedly “flirting with a white female”. Had Emmett Till lived he would have been 72 years old today. This high profile case was investigated by Medgar Evers whose life was also brutally shortened due to the fear and proliferation of racism in the Jim Crow south. On July 18, Willie Louis, a witness in the case of Emmett Till, passed away at the age of 76. Even with testimonies from witnesses, the murderers were acquitted of this heinous crime. Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, held an open casket funeral for her son so that the world could see the brutality faced by black Americans.
Emmett Till’s story was a spark for the Civil Rights Movement and it shook “the foundations of Mississippi, both black and white—with the white community because it had become nationally publicized, with us blacks, because it said not even a child was safe from racism and bigotry and death.”
- Myrlie Evers, widow of Medgar Evers
Today marks the 59th anniversary of the passing of Mary Church Terrell (July 24, 1954)—women’s suffrage activist, public speaker, writer, and Civil Rights leader. Terrell was born on September 23, 1863 in Memphis, Tennessee, (the same year the Emancipation Proclamation was signed) to parents who were former slaves.
Terrell was one of the first American women of African descent to graduate from college where she received a Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College in Ohio—America’s first college to admit women and among the first to admit students of all races. She earned her master’s degree from Oberlin in 1888 and began her career as an educator. She studied in Europe and spoke the following languages fluently: French, German, and Italian. After her marriage to Washington lawyer Robert Terrell, she became active in the suffrage movement, speaking out for women’s right to vote, particularly on behalf of African-American women.
Mary Church Terrell was the first president of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) in 1896. She was particularly concerned with using the organization to continue fighting for suffrage among black women. Terrell found that black women’s groups were routinely excluded from national women’s organizations during the late 19th century. Because of this, she and other black female leaders formed the NACW to support black women’s groups throughout the country.
Also in 1896, she founded the National Association of College Women, which later became the National Association of University Women (NAUW). The success of the League’s educational initiatives led to Terrell being appointed the first black woman in the U.S. appointed to the District of Columbia Board of Education.
“I cannot help wondering sometimes what I might have become and might have done if I had lived in a country which had not circumscribed and handicapped me on account of my race, that had allowed me to reach any height I was able to attain.”
- Mary Church Terrell
MANDELA: A CELEBRATION
July 15 to 20, 2013The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture will mark Nelson Mandela’s birthday and Nelson Mandela International Day (July 18) with six days of commemoration.Mandela: A Celebration is a special exhibition celebrating Mandela’s life-long dedication to human rights and social justice in South Africa and worldwide.On display from the Schomburg Center’s extensive collections will be photographs, posters, buttons, videos, and unique documents highlighting Mandela’s journey from political activist to president of South Africa.
Join the Schomburg Center and the global community in paying homage to a man who inspired many worldwide to make the world a better place. Visit http://www.mandeladay.com/for more information.
The Niagara Movement was a Civil Rights group, led by W. E. B. DuBois and William Monroe Trotter, and it aimed to counteract Washington’s influence over the black community with his policies of accommodation and conciliation. The Niagara Movement was named for its first meeting place at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side, because the hotel DuBois initially booked to host the meeting in the United States refused to serve People of Color. The Niagara Movement’s principles asserted among many things suffrage, equality in education and civil rights.
Birthday of actor, singer, and Civil Rights advocate Lena Horne (1917).
Join Tanya Hernandez (Fordham University), author of Racial Subordination in Latin America: The Role of the State, Customary Law, and the New Civil Rights Response, in conversation with Paulette Caldwell (York University). Hernandez and Caldwell will take a comprehensive look at racial inequality in Latin America.
Between the Lines: Tanya Hernandez and Paulette Caldwell
Thursday, January 24 6:30-8 pm
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture