Did you know? Bessie Stringfield (1911-1993) known as “The Motorcycle Queen of Miami” broke down barriers for women and African American motorcyclists in the 1940s.
Stringfield completed eight solo cross-country tours and served as a U.S. Army motorcycle dispatch rider. To find our more about Bessie Stringfield click here
Did you know? Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.(1912-2002) is remembered for many things: Being the first Black Air Force General, leading the Tuskegee Airmen flight squadron and standing up to the military establishment in advancing the cause of Black soldiers. For more information on Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. click here
Did you know? Harry Lew (1884-1963) is best known for becoming the first African-American professional basketball player when he joined the New England League in 1902. Lew played basketball with the Pawtucketville Athletic Club. He spent more than 20 years in the game, as a player and general manager of multiple teams. For more information on Harry Lew click here
Did you know? On this day February 23rd, 1979, Frank E. Peterson Jr.(1932-2015) Was named the 1st black general in the Marine Corps. For information on Frank E. Peterson Jr click here
Did you know? Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor (1878 – 1932) “was an American cyclist who won the world one-mile track cycling championship in 1899 after setting numerous world records and overcoming racial discrimination. Taylor was the first African-American athlete to achieve the level of world champion and only the second black man to win a world championship-after Canadian boxer George Dixon”. For more information on Marshall Walter Taylor click here
Did you know? Wendell Scott was a pioneer in the sport of auto racing as the first Black full-time driver on the NASCAR circuit. Acting as a driver and his own mechanic he gained the admiration of fans and fellow drivers through his grit and determination to be successful in a sport deeply-entrenched in the Jim Crow south.
Wendell Oliver Scott (August 29, 1921 – December 23, 1990) was an American stock car racing driver. He was the first African-American driver in NASCAR, and the first African-American to win a race in the Grand National Series, NASCAR’s highest level. For more information on Wendell Scott click here
Did you know? The African Company was the first known black theatre troupe. In 1816, William Henry Brown (1815-1884), a retired West Indian steamship steward, acquired a house on Thomas Street in lower Manhattan, New York. He offered a variety of instrumental and vocal entertainments on Sunday afternoons in his tea garden, attracting a sizeable audience from the five boroughs of New York City.
In 1821, Brown moved to Mercer and Bleeker Street into a two-story house with a spacious tea garden. He converted the second floor into a 300-seat theatre and renamed the enterprise The African Grove Theatre. Opening the season with a performance of Richard III (21 September 1821), the company mounted productions ranging from Shakespeare, to pantomime, to farce. Brown followed with Tom and Jerry; or, Life in London; The Poor Soldier; Othello; Don Juan; and Obi, or, Three-Finger’d Jack.
Brown also wrote and staged the first African American play, The Drama of King Shotaway (1823), a historical drama based on the Black Carib war in St. Vincent in 1796 against both English and French settlers. The Company’s principal actors were James Hewlett (1778-1836), the first African American Shakespearean actor; and, a young teenager, Ira Aldridge (1807-1865). For more information on the African Company click here
Did you know? William DeHart Hubbard (1903-1976) Was the first African American to win a gold medal as an individual in the running long jump in the 1924 Summer Olympics. For more information on William DeHart Hubbard click here
Did you know? Micheaux was an African-American journalist, author and filmmaker whose movies were a challenge to racial segregation and an alternative outlet for black moviegoers. He is thought to have written, produced and directed more than 40 films from 1919 to 1948.
Oscar Micheaux was born in or near Metropolis, Illinois, on January 2, 1884. He moved to Chicago at age 17 and worked as a porter before moving to South Dakota to farm and write. Micheaux’s experiences served as the subject matter for his novel The Homesteader. In 1919, he produced a big screen version of the novel, which was the first full-length feature produced by an African American filmmaker. A sometimes controversial trailblazer, Micheaux continued to make films for the next three decades until his death on March 25, 1951, in Charlotte, North Carolina.