All Articles Tagged "black history month"

Where Are the Black Pioneers On Wikipedia? A Black History Month Edit-A-Thon Will Fill The Gaps

January 30th, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Wikipedia_Logo_1.0Black history is filled with a myriad of extraordinary men and women of color besides the MLK and Malcolm X. But if you checked out Wikipedia, you wouldn’t know it. That’s why the Schomburg Center, New York Public Library’s hub for Black culture, is launching the Black Life Matters Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon, Fast Company reports.

Where is the Wikipedia article on Roi Ottley — FastCo wondered — a Harlem-born journalist known to be the first Black American war correspondent for a major news brand? And what about Maritcha Lyons? Born in the 1840s, she challenged the legal system for the right to attend high school. She eventually became the first African-American to ever graduate, FastCo said. Does she not deserve a Wikipedia page, too?

The paltry information about Black American leaders on Wikipedia is disheartening and Maira Liriano, associate chief librarian of the Schomburg Center for Research in Back Culture, is determined to change that:

“The omission of black people and black history makes it seem like it’s not important. Wikipedia is the go-to place for information, especially for young people who were born in the digital age. It’s what they seek out. So even if they do a Google search and there is information about somebody or something online, they look for Wikipedia. The existence of an entry on Wikipedia gives it weight. It’s kind of like ‘Oh, it’s on Wikipedia? Then it’s important,'” Liriano said.

Part of the problem, Liriano says, is that Wikipedia — a publicly-editable resource — lacks contributors who write about black culture and history. And that’s where the Black Lives Matter Edit-a-Thon comes in. As part of Black History Month, the Schomburg staff plans to train volunteers on how to work Wikipedia — and then set ‘em free to write about the rich, resonant Black history we all know and love.

“Black life matters, and one way you can demonstrate that is by having a really strong presence in Wikipedia and having a voice,” Liriano says. “It’s a two-fold endeavor: having the entries there to inform people as well as giving people the skills to edit so that as time goes on people of color have those skills to contribute to Wikipedia,” Liriano added.

You, too, can participate in the Black Life Matters Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon. It’s on February 7th at the Schomburg Center for Reseach in Black Culture, and best of all, it’s free! Click here for details.

Coloring Outside The Lines: Black Revolutionaries Of Cartooning & Animation

March 4th, 2014 - By Lauryn Stallings
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via @Marvel. (These are the roots of Magneto.)

via @Marvel. (These are the roots of Magneto.)

Every Saturday morning for decades parents have awakened to cheerful trills of laughter. Each week aficionados troll funny pages and comic book stores for the latest edition of favorite serials. But until 40 years ago, audiences looking for a truly representative Black cast were disappointed. Animators and cartoonists of African-American descent began the slow rise to fame at the beginning of the 21st century. By the new millennium 2D Black role models were no longer a rarity, such as these colorful artists and cartoons.

If you’re interested in learning more about Black cartoon characters, Funky Turns 40 is on view through June 14 in the Latimer/Edison Gallery of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. For information on future exhibition dates see the Museum of Uncut Funk website.

#BHM Vintage Evening Eye Candy: Richard Roundtree

February 28th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Richard Roundtree 6When you say the name, Richard Roundtree, first thing people think of is Shaft. John Shaft. But there’s more to Richard Roundtree than an uber-popular blaxploitation film. He’s a cancer survivor, a former model and a one-time football star, and did I mention that he’s a pop culture icon? For our last vintage evening eye candy post for Black History Month, we’re showing love to the action star, stage actor and breast cancer awareness activist, who has managed to stay relevant and popular after more than 40 years on the big and small screen.

Black Beauties To Know And Love: Actress Marpessa Dawn

February 27th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Marpessa 14

In our last Black Beauties To Know And Love, we wanted to show a little love to actress and singer Marpessa Dawn. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, that’s not a surprise, because Dawn’s career wasn’t the lengthiest. However, her beauty was well-known. With the Oscars airing on Sunday, we thought we’d showcase the talents of Philly-born Dawn, whose acting work helped her film, Black Orpheuswin Best Foreign Film at the 1959 Academy Awards. That same film was a major influence for artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and according to President Barack Obama, one of his late mother’s favorite movies . Get to know more about her life and legacy.

Our (Black) History Continues: 2014 Memorable Moments Thus Far

February 27th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Source: Tumblr

Source: Tumblr

Each February we take time out to look at the progress of Blacks in the United States — where we have been and where we are going. As this year’s Black History Month draws to a close, it’s an interesting exercise to take a look at the past month or two of 2014 to see what pages we’ve added to our history, for better or for worse. Here are some memorable moments to reflect on from Black History Month 2014.

Young Black Entrepreneurs & Innovators Share What Inspires Them To Succeed

February 26th, 2014 - By Michelle Alerte
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In honor of Black History Month, what could be better than looking at the present generation of movers and shakers and finding out not only what makes them tick? The following entrepreneurs, artists, business owners, and forward thinkers speak with us about what moves and inspires them.

We asked each person these three questions:

Which elder (whether in history or more recently) has influenced you most and why?

What has your profession taught you about being Black in America?

What message would you give to those coming behind you?

Black Women Entrepreneurs Who Changed The Game — And Made History

February 25th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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African-American women have always been industrious — and still are. According to the National Women’s Business Council, there are 911,728 African American women-owned businesses in the United States. This is an incredible increase of 66.7 percent since 2002 and a 191.4 percent jump since 1997.
African American women-owned business made $36.8 billion in 2007 (the latest stats available). And more than one in 10 (or 11.7 percent) of all women-owned businesses across the country are owned by African-American women. New York has the most black woman-owned firms with 98,877, followed by Georgia (88,920), and Florida (86,001).

Though African-American women are thriving as entrepreneurs, it isn’t easy starting a new business. Sometimes it is great to use those who have gone before us  as examples. For Black History Month, we take a look at some inspiring quotes for African-American women entrepreneurs past and present.

How Many Figures In Black History Does Your Child Know…Other Than Dr. King?

February 25th, 2014 - By Liz Lampkin
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The month has been designated as the time of year where the rich history of African Americans is acknowledged and celebrated. This is the time where people across the nation pay homage to the fallen leaders of the Civil Rights movement, recognize the many colored inventors of the world and recall and recite famous speeches written and quotes spoken by the prominent black figures of the past. This is also the time when schools plan assemblies and take a few moments during class to teach our children about certain famous figures in black history so our kids will learn of the past, respect it, and take heed for the future. While it is a wonderful and admirable thing for our children to acknowledge leaders of black history, I cant help but wonder how many of them know at least five or more figures in black history…excluding Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the other prominent individuals who are always name checked?

I ask this question because there are so many African-American men and women who have contributed to the struggle and advancement of black people that are often overlooked and should be recognized for the part they have played in creating our rich backstory. Now don’t get me wrong, Dr. King was indeed one of the most powerful contributors in the battle for equality, but sometimes I wonder, if the nation didn’t “recognize” him on the third Monday of every January, would his legacy end up like that of many others who were there fighting alongside him, or those who fought before him?

The story of blacks spans over hundreds of years, and through those years, there are so many people who fought and paved the way for our children to sit in the very schools where they learn, fought for them to be educated alongside a diverse set of peers, fought for them to vote, and to not just sit on the bus, but get to sit on at the front of it! Not only that, but thanks to the thinkers and creators in our history, we as adults, along with our children, have the privilege of enjoying the numerous inventions of our predecessors. And don’t get me started on all the black people who were the first to do major things–something that is often an intimidating and harrowing experience. But it is unfortunate that our children are often deprived of knowing and learning about the other gems of black history because they are often overshadowed by the “larger” contributors teachers, and sometimes we as parents, choose to focus on.

While black history month is coming to an end this week, I want to extend a challenge to parents, schools and teachers for not just Black History Month next year, but throughout this year as well. Parents, do some in-depth research of your own, sit down with your children and teach them about unknown figures in black history. Let’s challenge teachers and schools to prepare lessons centered around a little-known person from our past who helped open doors for blacks that were once locked. Not only that, but parents and teachers can plan trips to local libraries that have speakers and various activities specifically for Black History month. There are a number of different activities to engage in during this time of year to teach our youth about the richness of the times and people before us. So if you’ve never thought about it before, start planning to teach your students or child about the unsung heroes and heroines that made the world what it is today. And if you like, you can start today and continue throughout the year. The history of our people is so extensive that it should be taught every day and not minimized and briefly recognized during the shortest month of the year, and only at the beginning of it.

Does Black History Month Actually Do More for White People?

February 22nd, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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black history month


It’s February and that means if it hasn’t already happened, your son or daughter will have you driving around at 9:30 at night trying to find a Super Walmart so you can stock up on posterboard, glue and copies of Essence, Ebony and Jet magazine. That’s because It’s Black History Month and your child has probably chosen Malcolm X, Jesse Owens or Rosa Parks to educate their classmates about how the way was paved for little black children today.

Actress, comedian and writer, Kerry Coddett doesn’t quite agree. “This may come as a shocker to some, but Black History Month is actually for white people,” she reveals in her Huffpost blog, A Gift For White People Celebrating Black History Month. The blog discusses the fact that the annual month of observance meant to commemorate important people and events in African-American culture is more about educating white people and making them feel a little less guilty about their reputation as our historical suppressors. Coddett suggests the month merely allows them the opportunity to empathize with many of the plights and struggles many African-Americans still presently face. And they get to empathize for a whole whopping 28 days.

Coddett pokes fun by giving a “gift” to white people in the form of a comedy short called “Blackertone”. The video is a fake commercial for a lotion called Blackertone which once used by white people causes them to turn into black people and as a result experience the same stereotypes and discrimination. The last few seconds even feature a voiceover that asks, “Are you tired of sitting on the sidelines while the tan girls have all the fun?” before cutting over to a group of African-Americans gyrating, shucking and jiving.

It reminds us of a few years ago when acting legend Morgan Freeman expressed his thoughts that the observance was dated and unnecessary.  He commented in a 60 Minutes interview that Black History Month was more marginalizing than anything:

“You’re going to relegate my history to a month? I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history.”

Do you think Coddett makes a good point in who Black History Month is actually serving anymore or is it hard for you to take her seriously?  View the “Blackertone” commercial below:

The Top 10 Iconic Black Supermodels You Should Know

February 21st, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From StyleBlazer 

Black supermodels have long been fighting for their place at the fashion table and even though there are way more visible faces today (Sessilee Lopez, Chanel Iman, Melodie Monrose to name a few) than there were back in the 1970′s, fashion has still turned a blind eye to models of color and their impact on the fashion world.

We’re here to pay tribute. Although there are countless others, this group of 10 models have shaped the way fashion has viewed Black women and have opened the doors for the younger group of girls that are becoming more prevalent today.

Check out 10 iconic Black supermodels who have paved the way at