Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mel Watt-Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency

Melvin Luther "Mel" Watt (born August 26, 1945) is an American politician who has been Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency since 2014. Previously he served as the United States Representative for North Carolina's 12th congressional district from 1993 to 2014. He is a member of the Democratic Party. An attorney from Charlotte, North Carolina, Watt also served one term as a state Senator and served as campaign manager for Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt.                                                                                                        On May 1, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Watt as the next head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which among other agencies, administers or has oversight for the FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. The U.S. Senate confirmed Watt on December 10, 2013.                                  Watt was born in Steele Creek, located in Mecklenburg County. He is the son of Evelyn and Graham Edward Watt. Watt is a graduate of York Road High School in Charlotte. He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1967 with a B.S. degree in Business Administration. In 1970, he received a J.D. from Yale Law School and was a published member of the Yale Law Journal. Watt practiced law from 1970 to 1992, specializing in minority business and economic development law. He has been a partner in several small businesses. Watt served one term in the North Carolina Senate. In 1992, Watt entered the Democratic primary for the newly created 12th District, a 64% black-majority district stretching from Gastonia to Durham. He won the primary with 47% of the vote. He then easily won the general election with 70% of the vote, becoming the 1st Democrat to represent a significant portion of Charlotte since 1953.         

Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs, II-1st black Secretary of State

Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs, II was a Presbyterian minister and a prominent African-American officeholder during Reconstruction. He served as 1st black Secretary of State and Superintendent of Public Instruction of Florida, and along with Josiah Thomas Walls, was among the most powerful black officeholders in the state during Reconstruction. Gibbs was born free in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father, the Reverend Jonathan Gibbs I, married Maria Jackson. Gibbs and his brother, Mifflin, attended the local Free School in Philadelphia. The young Gibbs apprenticed to a carpenter. Both brothers eventually converted to Presbyterianism. Gibbs impressed the Presbyterian assembly such that the Assembly provided financial backing for him to attend Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, New Hampshire.
While at the college, Gibbs was influenced by three professors who would affect his thinking as a missionary, educator and politician. He was a member of the abolitionist movement while a college student, and participated in several conventions, appearing by name in The Liberator.
He was the 3rd African-American to graduate from Dartmouth College, and, following on the heels of John Brown Russwurm, Gibbs became the 2nd black man in the nation to deliver a commencement address at a college. Along with William Still, Gibbs fought for equal accommodations and transportation in Philadelphia, decrying segregation of the city's rail cars. Gibbs' efforts in the movement to abolish slavery helped both free blacks and their enslaved brethren. As the Civil War drew to a close. Gibbs eventually settled in Charleston, South Carolina, where he established himself in the local church and opened a school for educating the freedmen. Gibbs moved to Florida in 1867 where he started a private school in Jacksonville. Gibbs was also commissioned as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Florida State Militia. Gibbs was also elected as a Tallahassee City Councilman in 1872. He was appointed Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1873.

Thomas Moore-Invented Machine Called the Refrigerator.

Thomas Moore was a civil engineer and farmer who developed one of the earliest refrigeration devices. It was constructed by placing a tin box inside an oval cedar tub and filling the gaps between box and tub with ice. The whole was then covered cloth lined with rabbit fur for further insulation.  Moore described in great detail his new invention in his work, An Essay on the Most Eligible Construction of Ice-Houses. Also, A Description of the Newly Invented Machine Called the Refrigerator. Thomas Moore. Baltimore: 1803. He developed it to transport butter from Georgetown to his home in Montgomery County, Maryland. As a farmer who lived near Sandy Spring, Md. he sent butter and other produce 20 miles south to Georgetown or Washington, D.C. markets at night.  By using his new box, the night travel was not necessary.  The butter stayed firm and sold for 4d to 5 1/2d per pound higher than other's butter, thus paying for the box after four trips.
In a letter dated June 21, 1802, Moore invited Thomas Jefferson to view this new refrigerator. Jefferson made a sketch of the device in the margin of the invitation. Two years later the notation "Paid Isaac Briggs for Thos. Moore 13.D. for a refrigerator" appears in his Memorandum Books.

Rep. Marcia L. Fudge-Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus

Marcia L. Fudge (1952-10-29) is the U.S. Rep. for Ohio's 11th congressional district, serving since 2008. She is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes an area from Cleveland to Akron. Rep. Fudge has been Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus since 2013.
Fudge, a 1971 graduate of Shaker Heights High School, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business from Ohio State University in 1975. In 1983, she earned a law degree from Cleveland–Marshall College of Law, part of Cleveland State University. Immediately after college, she worked as a law clerk and studied legal research. She also worked in the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office. Fudge was the Mayor of Warrensville Heights, a middle-class and mostly African-American suburb of Cleveland, from January 2000 until November 18, 2008. She was victorious in her first ever run for elective office, becoming the 1st woman and 1st African-American elected mayor of the town. She was chief of staff to 11th District Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones during Jones' first term in Congress. After Jones' unexpected death on August 20, 2008, Fudge was selected as Jones' replacement on the November ballot by a committee of local Democratic leaders. Fudge won the November 4 general election with 85% of the vote. Fudge is a past president of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, serving from 1996 to 2000, and is a co-chair of the sorority's National Social Action Commission. In 2003, she was a member of the Shaker Heights Alumni Association's Hall of Fame Class.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Blanche Kelso Bruce-1st African American to Preside over the U.S. Senate

Blanche Kelso Bruce was a U.S. politician who represented Mississippi as a Republican in the U.S. Senate from 1875 to 1881; of mixed race, he was the 1st elected black senator to serve a Full term. Hiram R. Revels, also of Mississippi, was the 1st African American to serve in the U.S. Senate, but did not serve a full term. Bruce was born into slavery in 1841 in Prince Edward County, Virginia near Farmville to Polly Bruce, an enslaved African-American woman who served as a domestic slave. His father was her master, Pettis Perkinson, a white Virginia plantation owner. Bruce was treated comparatively well by his father, who educated him together with a legitimate half-brother. His father legally freed Blanche and arranged for an apprenticeship so he could learn a trade. Bruce taught school and attended Oberlin College in Ohio for two years. He next worked as a steamboat porter on the Mississippi River. In 1864, he moved to Hannibal, Missouri, where he established a school for black children. Bruce moved to Mississippi, where he became a wealthy landowner in the Mississippi Delta. He was appointed to the positions of Tallahatchie County registrar of voters and tax assessor before winning an election for sheriff in Bolivar County. He later was elected to other county positions, including tax collector and supervisor of education, while he also edited a local newspaper. In February 1874, Bruce was elected by the state legislature to the Senate as a Republican, becoming the 2nd African American to serve in the upper house of Congress. On February 14, 1879, Bruce presided over the U.S. Senate, becoming the 1st African American (and the only former slave) to do so. In 1881, Bruce was appointed by President Garfield to be the Register of the Treasury, becoming the 1st African American to have his signature featured on U.S. paper currency.                                                                                                      

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Donna Edwards- 1st African-American Woman to Represent Maryland in the U. S. Congress

Donna F. Edwards is the U.S. Representative for Maryland's 4th congressional district, serving since a special election in 2008. She is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes most of Prince George's County, as well as part of Anne Arundel County.
A lawyer and longtime community activist, she defeated 15-year incumbent Albert Wynn in the 2008 Democratic primary, and, following his resignation, won a special election on June 17, 2008, to fill the remainder of this term. She was sworn in two days later on June 19, becoming the 1st African-American woman to represent Maryland in the United States Congress. Edwards ran for a full term in November 2008, defeating Republican candidate Peter James with 85% of the vote.
She sponsored an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would repeal the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Edwards earned her first degree from Wake Forest University, where she was 1 of only 6 black women in her class. After working for Lockheed Corporation at the Goddard Space Flight Center with the Spacelab program, she attended and earned a J.D. from the University of New Hampshire School of Law (formerly the Franklin Pierce Law Center). Edwards worked for Albert Wynn as a clerk in the 1980s, when he served in the Maryland House of Delegates. Edwards co-founded and served as the first executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, an advocacy and legal support group for battered women. She worked to pass the 1994 Violence Against Women Act.       

Dr. William Augustus Hinton-1st black Professor of Harvard University.

William Augustus Hinton was an American bacteriologist, pathologist and educator. He was the 1st black professor in the history of Harvard University. A pioneer in the field of public health, Hinton developed a test for syphilis which, because of its accuracy, was used by the United States Public Health Service. Hinton was born in Chicago to Augustus Hinton and Maria Clark, both former slaves. After high school, he studied at the University of Kansas before transferring to Harvard University, where he earned a B.S. degree in 1905. Following his graduation, he taught in Tennessee and Oklahoma. During the summers he continued his studies in bacteriology and physiology at the University of Chicago. In 1909, he enrolled in Harvard Medical School. With the aid of two prestigious scholarships he was able to graduate with honors in 1912. Hinton returned to Harvard Medical School in 1918 as an instructor in preventive medicine and hygiene. In 1921 he began teaching bacteriology and immunology--subjects he would teach at Harvard for over 30 years.
Hinton became internationally known as an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of syphilis. His serological test for syphilis, which proved to be more accurate than currently accepted tests, was endorsed by the U.S. Public Health Service in 1934. Hinton's test also was simple, quick, and unambiguous.

In 1936 Hinton published the first medical textbook by a black American: Syphilis and Its Treatment. In 1948, in recognition of his contributions as a serologist and public health bacteriologist, Hinton was elected a life member of the American Social Science Association.  The serology lab at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Laboratory Institute Building was named for him.   

Clarence Hinton-3 Sport Letterman, Named All-State in Football

Carol Moseley Braun-1st and only African-American woman elected to the United States Senate

Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun is an American politician and lawyer who represented Illinois in the United States Senate from 1993 to 1999. She was the 1st and only African-American woman elected to the United States Senate, the 1st African-American U.S. Senator for the Democratic Party, the 1st woman to defeat an incumbent U.S. Senator in an election, and the 1st and only female Senator from Illinois. From 1999 until 2001, she was the United States Ambassador to New Zealand. She was a candidate for the Democratic nomination during the 2004 U.S. presidential election. Following the public announcement by Richard M. Daley that he would not seek re-election, in November 2010, Braun began her campaign for Mayor of Chicago. Moseley was born in Chicago, Illinois. She attended Ruggles School for elementary school, and she attended Parker High School (now the site of Paul Robeson High School) in Chicago. She majored in political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago, graduating in 1969 and earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1972. Moseley Braun was a prosecutor in the United States Attorney's office in Chicago from 1973 to 1977. Braun was first elected to public office in 1978, as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives. There, she rose to the post of assistant majority leader. As a State Representative, she became recognized as a champion for liberal social causes. She currently runs a private law firm, Carol Moseley Braun LLC in Chicago. Moseley Braun has launched a line of organic food products called Ambassador Organics.

Hiram Rhodes Revels-1st African American United States Senator

Hiram Rhodes Revels was a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), and a Republican politician. He was the 1st African American to serve in the United States Senate, and in the U.S. Congress overall. He represented Mississippi in 1870 and 1871 during Reconstruction. During the American Civil War, he helped organize two regiments of the United States Colored Troops and served as a chaplain. In 1865, Revels left the AME Church and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was assigned briefly to churches in Leavenworth, Kansas, and New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1866, he was given a permanent pastor ship in Natchez, Mississippi, where he settled with his wife and five daughters, became an elder in the Mississippi District, continued his ministerial work, and founded schools for black children. During Reconstruction, Revels was elected alderman in Natchez in 1868. In 1869 he was elected to represent Adams County in the Mississippi State Senate. At the time, the state legislature elected U.S. senators from Mississippi. In 1870 Revels was elected by a vote of 81 to 15 in the Mississippi State Senate. When Revels arrived in Washington, DC, Southern Democrats opposed seating him in the Senate. Revels advocated compromise and moderation. He vigorously supported racial equality and worked to reassure senators about the capability of blacks. In his maiden speech to the Senate on March 16, 1870, he argued for the reinstatement of the black legislators of the Georgia General Assembly, who had been illegally ousted by white Democratic Party representatives. Revels resigned two months before his term expired to accept appointment as the 1st president of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Alcorn State University). In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Hiram Rhodes Revels as one of 100 Greatest African Americans.