Thank you to Lake Orion High School's Black Student Union and Cultural Outreach Club for partnering with us to feature special content celebrating various important historical figures during Black History Month on our Facebook page. We are excited to share all their posts on our website as well for easy access to great information!
Marvin Gaye Jr. was a black Motown singer, who was extremely popular during the 60’s and 70’s. Some of his songs include “What’s going on”, “Intercity blues”, “Mercy Mercy me” and “Ain’t no mountain high enough” which was a duet between Marvin and Tammi Terrell. Marvin was often called “Prince of Motown” and “Prince of Soul”. Marvin had 3 kids, Marvin Gaye III, Nona Gaye, and Frankie Gaye. Sadly, Marvin’s life ended April 1st, 1984, when his father and him got into a physical altercation and he was shot by his father. 3 Years after his death, Marvin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Towards the end of his career Marvin said he didn’t make music for pleasure but instead "I record so that I can feed people what they need, what they feel. Hopefully, I record so that I can help someone overcome a bad time."
This was made by Kennidee Barnes. I’m part of Cultural Outreach and Black Student Union. I chose Marvin Gaye because he influenced black people to be better and made black people aware of what was happening to their brothers and sisters. Another reason I chose Marvin Gaye was because one day, my dad helped me to make a soulful playlist full of black artist, that made music for the soul like Bill Withers, Nina Simone, The Temptations, Etc.
The woman of hidden figures - Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Gobels Johnson.
These woman were some of the first black women to work at NASA as mathematicians. Mary Jackson (right side) was an American mathematician and aerospace engineer and she was the first black female engineer to start working at NASA. She was raised in Hampton, VA and went to Hampton University where she was awarded her bachelors degree in physical science and mathematics. Dorothy Vaughan (left side) was an American mathematician and many would call her a "Human Computer". She worked at NASA for their National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. She was also NASA's first African-American manager, she went to Wilberforce University. And lastly Katherine Gobles Johnson (middle) was an American mathematician for NASA and helped fight the segregation that was happening in NASA and made spaceflights possible for the US. She went to West Virginia State College, now called West Virginia State University and had a bachelors degree in mathematics and French. Here are some websites you can go to to read more about them and their stories Welcome to Blackpast •. A book you could read about them is called Hidden Figures and it is by Margot Lee Shetterly.
Thank you to Ki'Aria Powell-Nilsen for this post.
Ella Baker was born in 1903 in Norfolk, Virginia. Her grandmother was a slave who showed bravery and pride while facing racism. This inspired young Ella to continue to fight for equal rights. She attended Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. She challenged school policies because she thought they were unfair. She graduated in 1927 as valedictorian and moved to New York City to begin joining social activist organizations. In 1930, she joined Young Negros Cooperation League, and several women’s organization. She developed Black economic power through collective planning. She helped with the NAACP, SCLC, SNCC, and worked with groups for Martin Luther King's new organization. She became one of the biggest advocates for human rights in the country saying, “This may only be a dream of mine, but I think it can be made real”. Ella Baker remains a hero to the community and is honored for her bravery, courage, and pride.
I chose to highlight Ella Baker because of her brave and powerful acts to fight for freedom.
--Ella White from Cultural Outreach.
Hello, my name is Ava Darbyshire. I'm a part of Cultural Outreach. And today, I am dedicating this post to the American athlete, Jesse Owens. Jesse Owens is an American track and field athlete and four-time gold medalist in the '36 Olympic Games. He has been recognized as one of the greatest and most famous athletes in track/field history. I decided to highlight Jesse Owens because he has made the most significant impact on Olympic culture of any other athlete. To learn more about Jesse Owens, you can watch the film "Jesse Owens," made in 2012, or visit his Olympic website under https://olympics.com/en/athletes/jesse-owens.
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in the early 1800s and went on to become one of the most famous leaders in the US abolition movement. He not only published several books about his experience as a slave on a Maryland plantation, but he also made several speeches to try to end slavery in the United States. Mr. Douglass was also a consultant to President Lincoln during the civil war and advocated for black people to be a part of the Union army. Throughout Mr. Douglass’s entire life, he fought for human rights, which included not only ending slavery, but also the women’s suffrage movement. You can read more about Frederick Douglass’s fascinating life at the link below! I chose to highlight Frederick Douglass because of how his work impacted the civil war and abolition movement. I am Lillia Weiss from Cultural Outreach.
Bessie Coleman was the first African American woman to become a pilot. She grew up in Atlanta, Texas with twelve siblings. She attended the Colored Agricultural and Normal University (now Langston University). She moved to France to go to flight school because at the time the USA did not allow black women to attend flight school. She obtained her license on June 15, 1921. You can learn more about Bessie Coleman at: https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/bessie-coleman
My Name is Mattea Muscat and I am a part of Cultural Outreach. I chose Bessie Coleman as the topic for my social media post because she is a strong black woman who is never talked about. It is important for us to learn of the accomplishments of all kinds of people.
Claudette Colvin was an African American woman who was born on September 5th, 1938. Few people know her, but 9 months before Rosa Parks became famous, Claudette Colvin, at just the age of 15, refused to give up her seat in a segregated bus to a white woman and was arrested and charged. She had been studying Black history in school and knew that it was her constitutional right to stay sitting in that seat. She faced 3 charges that day. 2 of them, disturbing the peace and breaking segregation law, were dropped, but the 1, of assaulting a police officer stayed with her for over 60 years, even though she did not assault any police officer. She finally expunged her record at the age of 82, to not be considered a juvenile delinquent. She then went on to be one of 4 plaintiffs in the Browder vs Gayle case, legally ending racial discrimination on public transportation in the state of Alabama. She went onto college and became a nurse's aid.
I’m Michelle Cruz- Sorroza from Cultural Outreach and I chose to share about Claudette Colvin because I felt that she needs/needed more representation and deserves to be heard and to have her story out there with better representation. I personally haven't really heard of her, which saddens me because she was truly a necessary part in our civil rights history and an inspiration to us all. I'm glad that I got to learn more about her story and share it with all of you guys.
Happy Black History Month!
To learn more about her:
My name is Elise Joshua and I am a part of Cultural Outreach and Courageous Conversations Club.
Misty Copeland is a ballet dancer for one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the United States: American Ballet Theater (ABT). She began studying ballet at the age of thirteen and has never stopped dancing since then. In 2007, Misty became the ABT’s second ever African American female Soloist. In June of 2015, she became the first African American woman to ever be promoted to principal dancer in the company’s 75-year-history.
Resource for further research:
Misty Copeland’s autobiography-
Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina
Why I chose her:
I chose to write about Misty Copeland for my post because ever since I was little, she has been my inspiration as a Black dancer. I am biracial, with a White mother and a Black father, so I often felt different than those around me. Misty has been my role model and reminder that someone who looks like me can be a dancer and achieve her dreams.
My name is Kerstin Heitzenrater, I am a part of Lake Orion High School's Cultural Outreach Club.
Katherine Johnson was born August 26, 1918, in West Virginia. She was originally a schoolteacher but went back to school for a graduate mathematics program. She ended up dropping out of school to start a family, but as her children got older, she landed a job in a flight research division. She ended up doing trajectory analysis for many of NASA’s operations like the Apollo Lunar Module and Earth Resources Technology Satellite. She became well known for her calculations on John Glenn’s 1972 Friendship 7 mission. Astronauts on the mission were weary of the computer computations that were done because the computers were known to malfunction often. Johnson was called in to crunch the numbers and did the math by hand using a calculating machine. The mission ended up being a success and was an important even in the Space Race of the Cold War. She passed away at age 101 on February 24, 2020.
I chose Katherine Johnson because she was a trail blazer, often being one of, if not the only, woman in the room during her time. She didn’t let the beliefs of other’s hinder her work or hold her back. She was also a woman in STEM and worked for NASA on many important projects which I think is really interesting.
Derartu Tulu is an Olympic track runner, born on March 21, 1972, and is 5 feet 2 inches tall. Derartu grew up tending cattle on the family farm. She found her talent of running when she started taking part in athletic competitions in her teens. Ever since then, for 16 years, she ran competitively. Also, she was the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal, so she is now seen as an icon of the Olympic movement.
I, Brooke Zdrojewski, am a part of Cultural Outreach, and I chose to talk about Derartu Tulu because few people know who she is and I wanted to use this opportunity to get her name out there.
Hello! I am Aubrey Joshua. I am in Courageous Conversations Club and Cultural Outreach.
Oprah Winfrey is a philanthropist, talk show host, and connoisseur of books. Oprah grew up switching between homes because her parents were divorced. Eventually, she moved in with her grandmother, and spent her life growing up there. She grew up with a very televised childhood because she was entering pageants. Continuing on in her life, Oprah was offered several opportunities in journalism, and went to the University of Tennessee. Later in life, she created a talk show, called “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” It ran for 27 years and was the highest rated program in television history. On the “Oprah Winfrey Show” 65 books were discussed, and the show was known as a televised book club. Not only is she a talk show host, but also a humanitarian and an actress. She won several awards for her acting career in The Color Purple. Oprah has donated $6 million to grants in Charter Schools in the US. Currently, in South Africa, Oprah founded the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for girls. Furthermore, you can learn more about this amazing woman at OPRAH WINFREY FACTS - #100 Facts of Oprah | Celebrity Fun Facts.
Serena Williams is a female African American professional tennis player. Starting at age three, Serena has extensively trained to be the amazing tennis player that she is. Over her career she has become the first African American woman to win a Grand Slam singles title in the Open Era, the third African American woman to hold the number 1 ranking, the joint record holder for the longest run as the number 1 ranked female player, and many other achievements.
You can read more about Serena Williams at: https://www.biography.com/athlete/serena-williams
My name is Reagan Haas, and I am the Vice-President of Cultural Outreach. I chose Serena Williams because of her outstanding efforts and achievements in tennis as an African American woman. She works to accomplish her goals, while also proving to others out there that they can do the same. Serena Williams is very inspiring and deserves to be highlighted.
Rosa Parks was a female African American activist in the civil rights movement. She is best known for her role in the Montgomery bus boycott. Also, the U.S. Congress honored Parks as “The First Lady of Civil Rights.” You can learn more about Rosa Parks at : Rosa Parks facts for kids | National Geographic Kids (natgeokids.com)
My name is Paige Weid and I am part of Cultural Outreach. I chose Rosa Parks as my social media post topic because I think she is a very important African American women who helped shape today’s society.
God's Work Through Mime (GWT) is a Gospel Mime ministry that travels domestically to encourage people through the art of mime and Gospel music. They visit churches, conventions, community events, cultural celebrations, and even schools like Lake Orion High School to hearten the audience through their faith.
To learn more about this group and the ways they uplift others, visit their website: Home | godsworkthroughmime (gwtmime.com)
My name is Quen Williams, and I am a part of the Black Student Union at Lake Orion High School. I chose to select God's Work Through Mime for this post to celebrate what they continue to accomplish by inspiring and supporting various communities as young, successful Black Americans.
My name is Marissa Grandberry, I am a part of LOHS Black Student Union. Today I would like to shed light on Fred Hampton.
Fredrick Allen Hampton Sr. was an American activist and leader of the Black Panther Party until he was killed by law enforcement during a raid. He came to prominence in Chicago as deputy chairman of the national BPP, and chair of the Illinois chapter.
If you want to see and learn more about the rise and fall of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party under Fred Hampton, then I would recommend watching Judas and the Black Messiah on most streaming platforms.
Angela Davis has been a prominent activist amongst the black community and has been a staunch voice amongst those historically disenfranchised. With sharing the unique perspective of viewing the world as an ever-evolving process with a central base of class (Marxism), Davis has written many works regarding different issues touching upon intersectionality, prison abolition, Palestinian struggle and the underlying white supremacy found within past feminist movements that left women of color ostracized from said movement.
Born January 26, 1944. Angela Davis would become well aware of racial oppression from an early age as the place she had lived in was known as “Dynamite Hill” due to its constant attacks by the Ku Klux Klan. She would come to know several of the girls murdered in the Birmingham church bombing of 1963 and had also formed an array of interracial study groups that would soon be broken up by the police. She would go on to join the Black Panther Party and would instead find herself to be working more closely with the Che-Lumumba-Club which was a black branch of the American Communist Party. Later, Davis would be implicated in an event regarding an attempted escape and hostage situation regarding a man by the name of George Jackson. Such an implication would be derived from her support of Jackson and two other prisoners accused of murdering a guard after another guard had murdered several other African inmates. Davis would have to go into hiding for two months was on the run but eventually caught by the FBI. After the ensuing trial, Davis would be acquitted of all charges in June 1972.
With such a long and expansive life filled with seeming militant and revolutionary fervor, this synopsis fails in comparison to the truly large mark on our culture and history she has left and continues to leave on our current society. It is with this that one must always reflect on Davis’s revolutionary politics and not allow the many messages she pushes and has pushed to be watered down and diluted by the many prevailing, exploitative and unjust institutions that continue to stand over those who have been historically disenfranchised.
We thank James Patterson Jr, President of LOHS's Black Student Union for this Black History Month post.
I’m Kate Kehrer and a member of CCC and Cultural Outreach at Lake Orion High School. I chose to research Alice Coachman who was the first African American woman to earn an Olympic gold medal.
Alice Coachman was part of the American team at the 1948 Olympics in London. She earned a gold medal for a height of 5 feet, 6- and 1/8-inches high jump. She did this despite a back injury at the time. She would have qualified for the two Olympics before that, but World War II had canceled her opportunities. During her career, Alice also got a degree at Albany State. After retiring, Coachman became the first African American to get an endorsement deal as a spokesperson for Coca-Cola. She also created the Alice Coachman Track and Field Foundation to inspire younger athletes. She has been put in both the National Track and Field Hall of Fame and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. Alice Coachman sadly died July 14th, 2014, after 90 inspiring years.
I chose Alice because her Olympic medal not only inspired people across the U.S., but people across the world. Her medal was the first one given out to an African American woman, and it proved she was willing to fight for success despite stereotypes.
Reasources to learn more:
In her lifetime, Barbara Jordan accomplished many things as a politician, educator, and lawyer. It was in 1960 that she first started in politics as a campaigner for the Democrats during that year’s presidential election. In 1966, she was elected to the Texas Senate. She was the first African American member since 1883 to be elected, and the first woman ever to the Texas legislative body. She then moved to the U.S House of Representatives in 1972, where she advocated legislation to improve the lives of minorities, the poor, and the disenfranchised. Jordan became a national figure during Nixon’s Impeachment Trial, which was a result of the Watergate Scandal. Her participation in the hearings as a House Judiciary Committee member made her well known as she pronounced her belief in the constitution and used it as reasoning in the five articles of impeachment. In 1979, Jordan retired from Congress, but her legacy as one of the first African Americans to take a seat in Congress from the Deep South lives on.
Places for readers to learn more=
Barbara Jordan: American Hero – book by Mary Beth Rogers
Thank you to Alexandra Boes of Cultural Outreach.
I chose Barbara Jordan for the impact that she had on politics as one of the first African Americans to be elected to Congress from the deep south. Her election was a stepping stone for the Black community, and what she did in representation will never be forgotten.