The Black History Month Conference: 400 Years of Perseverance event scheduled for 2/21 has been re-scheduled for April 4, 12:30-1:45 in the Library Presentation Space. Gloria Browne-Marshall, a prominent civil rights attorney and activist, will give a speech at Manor College to coincide with Black History Month. This commemorative speech, titled “400 Years of Perseverance,” will recognize the 400th Anniversary of the 1619 arrival of Africans to the Virginia Colony, as well as highlight the following four centuries of African American resistance, perseverance, and contributions to America. This free event will take place from 12:30-1:45pm in Manor College’s Basileiad library presentation space and is open to the public. Browne-Marshall, who serves as a professor of Constitutional Law at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, is an international speaker and syndicated columnist. In addition to writing several books on justice and law — several of which are already required reading for students taking Criminal Justice courses at Manor College — Browne-Marshall has been a regular contributor to CNN, MSNBC, CBS, and CSPAN, offering commentary on Supreme Court decisions, police shootings and more. Watch: video clip of Browne-Marshall on CBS News.
Mamie Phipps Clark – Her Research Helped End School Segregation Mamie Phipps Clark (1917-1983) grew up attending highly segregated schools in Arkansas. Clark studied psychology and math at Howard University; her master’s thesis there was “The Development of Consciousness of Self in Negro Pre-School Children.” She went on to earn her Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Columbia University – the first African American woman to do so. Along with her husband, Clark then conducted the famous doll experiment – an extension of the work she did for her thesis. In this experiment, children ages 3-7 were given four dolls to play with – identical except for skin color. The children were then asked a series of questions, including “Show me the doll that looks ‘bad,’” and ‘Show me the doll that is the ‘nice’ doll.” The results of the experiment revealed that black children had a clear preference for the white dolls, and Clark concluded that this was the result of exposure to racial discrimination, prejudice and segregation. The findings of the doll test were used as evidence in Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark case that overturned segregation in public schools. Clark went on to establish the “Northside Center for Child Development,” which was one of the first agencies to offer psychological services for black youth. Robert Tanner Freeman – the First Black Dentist Robert Tanner Freeman (1846-1873) was the first professionally trained black dentist in the United States. The son of former slaves, Freeman was raised in Washington, DC. As a teenager, Freeman worked for Dr. Henry Bliss Nobel, a white dentist who took Freeman on as an apprentice and encouraged him to apply to dental schools. With Nobel’s help, and with the help of Dean Cooley Keep, Freeman was enrolled in the medical program at Harvard Dental School. After receiving his degree in 1869 – just four years after the end of the Civil War – Freeman was the first black dentist in America. Though Freeman died at a young age from disease, he left a legacy of mentoring black youth in DC who were interested in pursuing dentistry. Madam C.J. Walker, Powerhouse Entrepreneur The daughter of former slaves, Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919) had a difficult home life – she was an orphan at age 7 and married to escape her abusive brother-in-law. By age 20 she was already a widow as well as a mother, and Walker moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where her brothers were barbers. As a result, Walker was in tune with commercial hairdressing and its associated products. Hair loss and severe dandruff were common problems at the time, leading Walker to develop a product line specifically for African-American hair and a method of hair grooming that came to be known as “the Walker System.” In time, Walker established her own laboratories for the purpose of manufacturing cosmetics and was able to open a beauty school. Walker was the first woman to become a self-made millionaire in U.S. history. Her prowess did not stop at business: Walker became a known civil rights activist and a generous philanthropist as well, sponsoring scholarships for students at black colleges and more. Jane Bolin, Trailblazing Attorney and Judge Born in Poughkeepsie, New York, to an interracial couple, Jane Bolin (1908-2007) proved herself to be an excellent student, earning an acceptance to Wellesley College. Despite facing overt racism, Bolin graduated with honors and went on to attend Yale Law School. In 1931, Bolin received her law degree – as the first black woman to graduate from Yale law – and began work as an attorney. In 1939, the distinguished lawyer was sworn in as a judge, becoming the first black female judge in America. As a judge, she was able to facilitate two major anti-discrimination changes: ending the assignment of probation officers to cases based on race or religion, and a requirement that publicly-funded child-care agencies accept all children, regardless of ethnic background. Bolin worked until reaching the mandated retirement age. Frederick Douglass Patterson Shaped the Field of Veterinary Science Frederick Douglass Patterson (1901-1988) was one of the most influential veterinarians in U.S. history. Named after the famed abolitionist, Patterson received his veterinary degree from Iowa State before earning an additional doctorate from Cornell in 1932. He then went to become president of what is now Tuskegee University, where he was able to establish a veterinary college that accepted black students – despite being located in the heart of the segregated South. His commitment to the education of black veterinary students paved the way for many of the country’s most prominent veterinary talents of the last century – to date, the school has graduated about 75% of the nation’s black veterinarians. In 1944, Dr. Patterson established the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), which administers 10,000 scholarships to black scholars every year. In 1987, toward the end of his life, Dr. Patterson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contributions to the field of education.
An annual celebration of the hard work and achievements of black Americans, Black History Month is a time to show appreciation for those individuals who formed the foundation for the black community in this country. Manor College recognizes this significant month and honors those in our own community who provide examples for all of us. Cherie Crosby, Professor and Program Director of the Early Childhood Education Program is one individual who sets an example for not only her students, but for the entire Manor community. We spoke to her about what Black History Month means for her and these are her responses: Why do you think it’s important that we as Americans recognize Black History Month? As I have gotten older I have realized the importance of taking time to recognize Black History Month. Black History Month helps Americans recognize the great contributions of African Americans, even more importantly taking time to recognize those African Americans that most Americans were not aware of as in the case of women highlighted in the film Hidden Treasures and the Loving case that ended the ban against interracial marriages. Are there any African Americans, that throughout history have influenced you? If so, who and why? Maya Angelou, Tina Turner, Angela Davis, Josephine Baker, and Ava DuVernay. All five women are women of strength. Their lives are very difference, but the all have had to face adversity during their lives. Their contributions to the world remind me the power women have in their abilities to achieve great things despite the challenges they face. Although my mother and I never had a chance to talk about DuVernay’s contributions to the film industry, such as her recent films Selma and 13th, we did have many conversations about Angelou, Turner, Davis, and Baker before my mother’s death in 2007. Is there anyone in the African American community today who inspires you? Barack Obama. As the first person of color who held the presidential office for eight years, I was inspired by Obama’s message of hope. He carried a heavy burden of being the first and I personally never thought that this was possible during my lifetime. I am thankful that he served as a great role model for countless children of all colors in that anything is possible. For children of color, especially African American males, it provided them with a role model not only in a prominent position but also one who created initiatives such as the initiative on educational excellence for African Americans. What does Black History Month mean for you personally? For me, I am reminded that have responsibility to ensure that African Americans, as well as all people of color, are seen in a better light. Although the history of any group can and should be highlighted throughout the year, Black History Month allows for the country to take the time to share positive and inspiring histories of those who came before and currently working to make the world a better place. We also spoke to Gil Ridgely, an Adjunct Professor at Manor. He told us about how Black History Month continues to inspire him every year. Here were his responses: Why do you think it’s important that we as Americans recognize Black History Month? Blacks have contributed to the US economically, financially, socially, politically and technologically. Many times the contributions of Blacks have been downplayed. Black History Month is very important. Are there any African Americans, that throughout history have influenced you? If so, who and why? Barack Obama and many others have influenced me. Is there anyone in the African American community today who inspires you? John Lewis inspires me. What does Black History Month mean for you personally? It inspires and educates me of the many Black people of importance.