Last night I was overjoyed to see Google’s doodle of Edmonia Lewis, the first woman of African American and Native American heritage to achieve international recognition as a sculptor. I wrote about her eleven years ago, so I was ecstatic that more people would learn about her. I hope that this also means that more is discovered about her and her groundbreaking body of work.
Now you know I wasn’t going to go the whole February without doing ANYTHING related to Black History Month 🙂 Here are some interesting facts I found at biography.com and other places on the net.
- Tice Davids, a runaway slave from Kentucky, was the inspiration for the first usage of the term “Underground Railroad.” Davids’ owner assumed the slave had drowned when he attempted his swim across the Ohio River. He told the local paper that if Davids had escaped, he must have traveled on “an underground railroad.” Davids, however, did live, giving the Underground Railroad its now-famous name.
- Buffalo Soldiers is the name given to the all-black regiments of the U.S. Army started in 1866. The name was respectfully given to the African–American cavalries during the 1800s by the Native American Kiowa tribe. More than 20 Buffalo Soldiers received the highest Medal of Honor for their service—the highest number of any U.S. military unit. The oldest living Buffalo Soldier, Mark Matthews, died at the age of 111 in 2005. These soldiers received second class treatment and were often given the worst military assignments, but had the lowest desertion rate compared to their white counterparts.
- Cathay Williams was the one and only female Buffalo Soldier, posing as a man named William Cathay to enlist in the 38th infantry in 1866. She served for two years before a doctor discovered that she was a woman, leading to her discharge.Read More »
She saw hope in every child. She never looked down on children because of their neighborhood or their parents.
Pamela Franks on her mother, Harriett Ball
Harriett Ball was born in the Houston area in 1946. She was a major inspiration behind the KIPP charter school system. The system is named for her song, “Knowledge is Power” . She was a master teacher, writer, artist, advocate and innovator who taught for over 25 years in the Houston and Austin school districts. Her teaching style incorporates audio, visual, tactile and kinesthetic teaching modes and because of this could serve regular education and special education students because it helped each student learn in his or her best learning mode. She has been recognized as one of the top teachers in the United States, in newspapers, books and television and appears in the movie, Waiting for Superman. She fought for ‘under taught’ students and for education majors to be better equipped with methods that could reach every child. All of this, and she raised four children as a single mother. She died February 2, 2011.