Hello PA 144! Did you know that February starts Black History Month?
Black History Month is an annual observance to remember important people and events in the history of the African diaspora, which refers to the communities throughout the world that have resulted by descent from the movement in historic times of peoples from Africa.
As part of this observance, we'll introduce a new figure each day this month. This is a collaboration between the Parents' Association of P.S. 144Q's Inclusion & Diversity Committee and the Russell Sage JHS190Q PTA.
Benjamin Banneker was a free-born African-American from the 1700s who was a self-taught mathematician, astronomer, almanac author, and farmer. Learn more about him here.
Carol Mosely Braun is an attorney, activist, and politician. She was the first African-American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992, where she fought for Civil and Women's Rights. Learn more about her at:,-Carol-(M001025)/
Carter G. Woodson authored "The Mis-Education of the Negro" in 1933, one of the most important books of the 20th century. He also launched the celebration of "Negro History Week" in 1926, eventually expanded and renamed Black History Month! Learn more about him at:
Henrietta Lacks was an African-American woman whose cancer cell culture was used to create one of the most important cell lines in cancer research in 1951. Her cells (nicknamed "HeLa" cells), taken without knowledge or permission, continue to be used to develop vaccines and research disease and sensitivity to products. Learn more about her at:
Elijah McCoy was an inventor and engineer who revolutionized train engines in the late 1800s. His patented lubricating cup allowed trains to run for long periods of time without pausing for maintenance. Learn more about him at:
Maggie Lena Walker was the first female bank president of any race to charter a bank in the United States. She founded the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in 1903. Learn more about her at:
Percy Julian was one of the first African-Americans to receive a doctorate in chemistry. He pioneered the creation of chemicals from substances previously only found in plants, such as the calabar bean which he used to create a treatment for glaucoma. Learn more about him at:
bell hooks is a writer, educator, and social activist whose writings were focused on issues of social class, race, and gender in education, art, history, mass media and other areas. Learn more about her at:
Nat Turner was an enslaved Christian preacher who's 1831 rebellion is considered one of the first significant striders towards the Civil War. Learn more about him at:
Zora Neale Hurston was a American folklorist, author, and one of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance who celebrated the African American culture of the rural South. Her best known work, "Their Eyes Were Watching God", broke literary norms of the time by focusing on the experience of a Black woman. Learn more about her at:
Martin Delany was an abolitionist, journalist, physician and writer. He founded The Mystery, the first African-American newspaper published west of the Allegheny Mountains. Learn more about him at:
Mary Church Terrell was an educator and activist for both Civil Rights and Women's Rights. She co-founded the National Association of Colored Women as a way to get African-American women involved in winning the right to vote. Learn more about her at:
Matthew Henson was the first African-American Arctic explorer and recognized as the first person to reach the North Pole in 1909. He was also the first African American accepted into The Explorers Club. Learn more about him at:
Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American woman elected to the United States Congress and first African-American candidate for a major party's nomination for President of the United States in 1972! Learn more about her at:
Daniel Hale Williams was one of the first physicians to successfully perform open-heart surgery. He also opened Provident Hospital which became one of the first interracial staff hospitals with a nurse training program. Learn more about him at:
Nina Simone was a classically trained musician, singer and songwriter well known as a leading voice of the Civil Rights Movement, with several songs that became civil rights anthems. Her original song, “Mississippi G*dd*m,” was banned from the radio throughout the South for its direct and honest statements on racism. Learn more about her at:
Medgar Evers was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)'s first field secretary in the South, where he traveled through his home state encouraging poor African Americans to register to vote and recruiting them into the civil rights movement. Learn more about him at:
Chimamanda Ngozi Adachi is an award-winning poet, novelist and author of African and feminist literature. Her work has been translated into 30 languages and fun fact: Beyoncé sampled her well-known TED talk, “We Should All Be Feminists.” Learn more about her at:
Paul Robeson was an American bass baritone concert artist and stage and film actor who became famous both for his cultural accomplishments and for his political activism. He was the first Black actor to play Shakespeare's Othello on Broadway. Learn more about him at:
Joan Higginbotham is an electrical engineer and former NASA astronaut. She was the third African-American woman to go into space. Learn more about her at:
Rube Foster, known as "The Father of Black Baseball", was an American baseball player, manager and pioneer exeutive in the Negro National League (NNL), the first successful professional league for African American baseball players. Learn more about him at:
Sissieretta Jones was a trailblazing Black opera soprano singer. She became the first Black woman to headline a concernt on the main stage at Carnegie Hall and also performed abroad and for four U.S. Presidents. Learn more about her at:
Ivan Van Sertima was a literary critic, linguist, and anthropologist who worked to transform the way people viewed and taught African history. He was an Associate Professor of African Studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey. His book "The Lost Sciences of Africa" discusses early African advances in metallurgy, astronomy, mathematics, architecture, engineering, agriculture, engineering, agriculture, navigation, medicine and writing. Learn more about him at:
Wilma Rudolph was a Track & Field athlete, educator and coach. Despite being paralyzed as achild by polio, she refused to let her disability stop her from becoming the first American woman to win three gold medals in Track & Field in the 1960 summer Olympics. Learn more about her at:
Fannie Lou Hamer was a voting rights activist, civil rights leader and philanthropist who worked for desegregation, economic justice and voting rights. She became know for singing spirituals as part of her activism. Learn more about her at:
Billie Holiday is considered one of the best and most influential jazz vocalists of all time and was known for her unique vocal delivery and improvisational skills. She has received four posthumous Grammy awards for Best Historical Album and inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Learn more about her at:
Charles R. Drew was a surgeon and educator who became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Columbia University an the first African American examiner of the American Board of Surgery. He discovered methons on the processing and storage of blood plasma. Learn more about him at:
Bessie Blount Griffin was an Inventor, Physical Therapist, and Forensic Scientist specializing in handwriting analysis. She invented a feeding device and taught amputee veterans how to write with their teeth and feet. Learn more about her at: