Black History Month
Let's celebrate the world changers, brave leaders, our black brothers and sisters. All who have gone before us and those forging ahead. All who continue to inspire us! Each week we will share resources, inspiration, a highlight of key figures from black history and those shaping our future.
February 19, 2022
Madame C.J. Walker
Madam C.J. Walker was an entrepreneur who pioneered the modern Black hair-care industry. She is the first female self-made millionaire in the USA. Alongside her business, Walker was a philanthropist and an advocate for anti-lynching legislation. Walker was born in Louisiana to parents who had been enslaved. They passed away when she was 7 years old. In her 20s, Walker suffered from a scalp ailment that caused hair loss. In 1905, Walker started selling Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower (a scalp conditioning and healing formula). She spent a year and a half traveling all over the US to sell her products. In 1908, she opened Lelia College, her first school to train “hair culturists.” Shortly after, she built a factory, a hair and manicure salon, another training school, and expanded her business to Central America and the Caribbean. The Madam C.J Walker Hair Culturists Union of America facilitated one of the nation’s first national businesswomen conventions. At the convention, Walker encouraged her agents to engage in activism, “We must not let our love of country…cause us to abate one whit in our protest against wrong and injustice.”
A special thank you to Walker’s great great granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles (@aleliabundles), who founded the Madam Walker Family Archives and continues Madam C.J. Walker’s legacy today!
Mae Jemison was the first African American woman to travel in space. Jemison grew up in Chicago, IL. After graduating high school at 16 years old, Jemison left Chicago to attend Stanford University. She graduated Stanford with two degrees: one in Chemical Engineering and one in African and African – American Studies. She went on to receive her Doctorate of Medicine at Cornell Medical School. Mae began practicing general medicine and soon after joined the Peace Corps where she served for two years. Jemison decided to apply to the Astronaut Program at NASA and was 1 of 15 people chosen from over 2000 applicants. She became the first African American woman to be admitted into the program and a year later, became the first African American woman astronaut. On September 12, 1992, Jemison and six other astronauts went to space in the space shuttle Endeavor.After 6 years of service at NASA, Jemison left and continued to make an impact over the years! Jemison has taught Environmental Studies at Dartmouth College, created an international space camp for young students (TEWS), accepted a Professor-at-Large position at Cornell University, founded a nonprofit, The Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, became the first real-life astronaut to appear in a Star Trek Episode, and authored a children’s book. She currently leads the 100 Year Starship project and serves on the Board of Directors for several organizations.
In 1909, Matthew Henson became the first explorer to reach the North Pole. At the age of 12, he became a cabin boy on a ship. For 6 years, he traveled the world and became a competent sailor and alongside gaining many other technical skills. Henson’s next adventure was exploring Nicaragua for 2 years with Navy Corps Civil Engineer Robert Peary. Later, Henson and Peary started an 18-year partnership exploring the Arctic. Henson built and maintained all of the sleds, was fluent in the Inuit language, learned the methods the Inuit used to survive the Arctic, and trained all recruits during attempted expeditions. After 7 failed attempts, Henson and Peary finally successfully reached the North Pole. On the day they reached the North Pole, Henson was the lead sled, and his footprints marked the top of the world first. Reaching the North Pole strained Peary and Henson’s friendship. Upon returning to the US, Peary was credited as the first man to reach the North Pole, while Henson was credited as a companion. Almost 30 years later, the Explorers Club of New York made Henson an honorary member, and in 1946, he was awarded the same medal Peary was given earlier by the US Navy. In 1954, President Eisenhower invited Henson to the White House to give him a special commendation for his work as an explorer. In 2000, the National Geographic Society presented Henson posthumously the Hubbard Medal (Robert Peary was the first recipient of this award in 1906).
BLACK OWNED BUSINESSES IN OUR E58 COMMUNITY
Secret Garden Pique-Nique LLC founded by Miriam Webb
Secret Garden Pique-Nique LLC's vision is to provide affordable luxury experiences to their community. They pride themselves on creating long lasting memories that can be cherished forever. From Birthday parties, wedding events, anniversaries, baby showers, prom send off, holidays any event you need or are considering…they can do it all!SUPPORT SECRET GARDEN PIQUE-NIQUE LLC
Allyship Part 1 with Christina Deanne
An edited video recording of our E58 Town Hall discussion on allyship with special guest Christina Deanne, an educator, lover of people, and committed to the work of racial healing and reconciliation.
Town Hall is our virtual space open to all that aims to foster a culture of discovery, education, and collaboration.
Christina Deanne has a true passion for people! Raised with a deep awareness of the racial brokenness in America as well as profound love for people, Christina is a fountain of both justice and compassion. While at Bethune-Cookman University, she was sparked by the remarkable life of its founder, educator, civil rights activist, and philanthropist Mary McLeod Bethune, and endeavors to carry on her powerful legacy in our day. Christina is a vibrant educator, creative visionary, stunning administrative mind, and passionate champion of youth whose heart, vision, and skill propel MVMNT Collaborative's creative and educational mandate onward toward revolutionary action.
Stay tuned for Part 2!