Mary Jane McLeod Bethune (July 10, 1875 – May 18, 1955) was a determined woman. She helped make education available to thousands of black americans. When she was a child, many people though that education was a waste of time for black children but t Mary wanted to go to school and her parents supported her. She graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 1895 and afterward taugh school in Georgia. In 1904 she moved to Daytona, Florida to establish a school for girls. Mary had only $ 1,50 in her pocket when she arrived in Daytona, but that didn’t stop her. She sold sweet potato pies to raise money for her school. She asked for donations from churches, clubs and anyone who would help. Her school became Bethune-Cookman University. It is an example of what a determinded person can acomplish. Mary used that same determination to fight for other equal rights for her people. She founded the National Council of Negro Women in 1935. She was also an advisor to four presidents of the United States. Her legacy lives on.
Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (1900–1978) was a pioneering nationalist who fought against British colonialism. She was a pioneer African feminist and a human rights activist who was tireless in her campaigns for women’s rights and for economic, political, and social justice. She was an educator who gave a voice to the voiceless and education to the uneducated. Kuti was the mother of the activists Fela Anikulapo Kuti, a musician, Beko Ransome-Kuti, a doctor, and Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, a doctor and a former health minister of Nigeria.
7 things that you may not know about Rosa Parks
1. Parks had been thrown off the bus a decade earlier by the same bus driver – for refusing to pay in the front and go around to the back to board. She had avoided that driver’s bus for 12 years because she knew well the risks of angering drivers, all of whom were white and carried guns. Her own mother had been threatened with physical violence by a bus driver in front of Parks, who was a child at the time. Parks’ neighbor had been killed for his bus stand, and teenage protester Claudette Colvin, among others, had recently been badly manhandled by the police.
2. Parks was a lifelong believer in self-defense. Malcolm X was her personal hero. Her family kept a gun in the house, including during the boycott, because of the daily terror of white violence. As a child, when pushed by a white boy, she pushed back. His mother threatened to kill her, but Parks stood her ground. Another time, she held a brick up to a white bully, daring him to follow through on his threat to hit her. He went away. When the Klu Klux Klan went on rampages through her childhood town, Pine Level, Ala., her grandfather would sit on the porch all night with his rifle. Rosa stayed awake some nights, keeping vigil with him.
3. Many of Parks’ ancestors were Indians. She noted this to a friend who was surprised when in private Parks removed her hairpins and revealed thick braids of wavy hair that fell below her waist. Her husband, she said, liked her hair long and she kept it that way for many years after his death, although she never wore it down in public. Aware of the racial politics of hair and appearance, she tucked it away in a series of braids and buns — maintaining a clear division between her public presentation and private person.
4. Parks’ arrest had grave consequences for her family’s health and economic well-being. After her arrest, Parks was continually threatened, such that her mother talked for hours on the phone to keep the line busy from constant death threats. Parks and her husband lost their jobs after her stand and didn’t find full employment for nearly 10 years. Even as she made fundraising appearances across the country, Parks and her family were at times nearly destitute. She developed painful stomach ulcers and a heart condition and suffered from chronic insomnia. Raymond, unnerved by the relentless harassment and death threats, began drinking heavily and suffered two nervous breakdowns. The Black press, culminating in JET magazine’s July 1960 story on “the bus boycott’s forgotten woman,” exposed the depth of Parks’ financial need, leading civil rights groups to finally provide some assistance.
5. Parks worked alongside the Black Power movement, particularly around issues such as reparations, Black history, anti-police brutality, freedom for Black political prisoners, independent Black political power and economic justice. She attended the Black Political Convention in Gary and the Black Power conference in Philadelphia. She journeyed to Lowndes County, Alabama, to support the movement there, spoke at the Poor People’s Campaign, helped organize support committees on behalf of Black political prisoners such as the Wilmington 10 and Imari Obadele of the Republic of New Africa and paid a visit of support to the Black Panther school in Oakland
6. Parks was an internationalist. She was an early opponent of the Vietnam War in the early 1960s, a member of The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and a supporter of the Winter Soldier hearings in Detroit and the Jeannette Rankin Brigade protest in D.C. In the 1980s, she protested apartheid and U.S. complicity, joining a picket outside the South African embassy and opposed U.S. policy in Central America. Eight days after 9/11, she joined other activists in a letter calling on the United States to work with the international community and no retaliation or war.
7. Parks was a lifelong activist and a hero to many, including Nelson Mandela. After his release from prison, he told her, “You sustained me while I was in prison all those years.”
1) Maya Angelou’s actual name was Marguerite Ann Johnson and her brother, Bailey Jr, actually nicknamed her “Maya.”
2) After being sexually abused and raped by her mother’s boyfriend, Freeman, the shock made Maya mute and she and Bailey Jr. were sent to live with her grandmother.
3) The literary icon gives her high school teaher Bertha Flowers credit for helping her to speak again after five years of silence and for igniting her interest in literature. Angelou once stated that the period of silence actually allowed her to absorb her surroundings more intensely.
4) She had a cameo in the 1993 film , Poetic Justice. She met Tupac Shakur on set, made him cry , and didn’t even know who he was.
5) She mastered six other languages besides English, including French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, and the West African language Fanti.
6) She considered Oprah Winfrey her dear friend and the daughter she always wanted.
7) She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry.
8) During the time of decolonization, Angelou made the decision in 1961 to relocate to Cairo, Egypt, where she became an associate editor for a weekly English-language newspaper. The following year, Angelou moved to Accra, Ghana, where she lived for five years.
8) She befriendes Malcolm X and planned on helping him build his new Organization of Afro-American Unity before he was killed. Angelou met the black activist Malcolm X while living in Ghana. She moved back to the U.S. in 1965 to help him build his civil rights organization, but he was assassinated shortly after their return. Grieving, she took a step back from the movement, living in Hawaii and LA.
9) According to the New World Encyclopedia, DNA tests taken in 2008 indicated that Angelou was descended from the Mende people of Sierra Leone in West Africa.
10) She was friends with Nelson Mandela , and they first met while she was a journalist in Cairo in 1962. Shortly after his death in Dec. 2013, she recited a poem in memory of the former South African president in a video that has racked up more than 1 million views on the YouTube channel for the U.S. Department of State.
11) She once said that she wanted the following phrase carved on her tombstone: “I did my best, I hope you do the same ».
Steve Biko (18 December 1946 – 12 September 1977) was the founder of the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa. In 1968 he cofounded the all-black South African Students’ Organization. The organization’s message spread from campuses to the general community, and in 1972 Biko helped found the Black People’s Convention. He was arrested many times for his anti-apartheid work and in 1977, died from injuries while in police custody.