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Article-a-Day #15: Smithsonian-The Unsolved Murder of Civil Rights Activist Harry Moore

It was late on Christmas night, 1951, but Harry and Harriette Moore had yet to open any gifts. Instead they had delayed the festivities in anticipation of the arrival of their younger daughter, Evangeline, who was taking a train home from Washington, D.C. to celebrate along with her sister and grandmother. The Moores had another cause for celebration: the day marked their 25th wedding anniversary, a testament to their unshakeable partnership. But that night in their quiet home on a citrus grove in rural Mims, Florida, the African American couple were fatal victims of a horrific terrorist attack at the hands of those who wanted to silence the Moores.

At 10:20 p.m., a blast ripped apart their bedroom, splintering the floorboards, ceiling and front porch. The explosion was so powerful that witness reported hearing it several miles away. Pamphlets pushing for voters’ rights floated out of the house and onto the street, remnants of a long fight for justice. Harry Moore had spent much of the last two decades earning the enmity of Florida’s white supremacists as he organized for equal pay, voter registration, and justice for murdered African Americans. And yet despite his immense sacrifice and the nation’s initial shock at his assassination, Moore’s name soon faded from the pantheon of Civil Rights martyrs.

SOURCE: https://www.smithsonianmag.com

Buy the Book Before His Time: The Untold Story of Harry T. Moore, America’s First Civil Rights Martyr from Amazon

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Article-a-Day #14: Black America Web-Eubie Blake, Ragtime Pianist and Composer

Eubie Blake was one of the popular pianists and composers of the early 20th Century, and helped usher in the ragtime sound of that era.

SOURCE: https://blackamericaweb.com

Listen to Eubie Blake on Amazon

This site contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Article-a-Day #13: Naked Capitalism- How Howard Thurman Met Gandhi and Brought Nonviolence to the Civil Rights Movement

Born in 1899, Howard Washington Thurman was raised by his formerly enslaved grandmother. He grew up to be an ordained Baptist minister and a leading religious figure of 20th-century America.

In 1936 Thurman led a four-member delegation to India, Burma (Myanmar), and Ceylon (Sri Lanka), known as the “pilgrimage of friendship.” It was during this visit that he would meet Mahatma Gandhi, who at the time was leading a nonviolent struggle of independence from British rule.

SOURCE: https://www.nakedcapitalism.com

Article-a-Day #12: Constitution Daily- John Rock-the first African American sworn in as Supreme Court lawyer

On February 1, 1865—the same day President Abraham Lincoln signed a joint congressional resolution sending the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery to the states for ratification—another historic moment took place in the Old Supreme Court Chamber located in the U.S. Capitol: John Rock became the first African American Supreme Court lawyer.

SOURCE: https://constitutioncenter.org

Article-a-Day #11: Black America Web- JoJo Smith-Choreographer

One of his other best known works was serving as the lead dance consultant for the disco classic film “Saturday Night Fever,” adding another feather to his cap. He also began JoJo’s Dance Factory alongside his ex-wife Sam Samuels, which is now known today as the Broadway Dance Center.

SOURCE: https://blackamericaweb.com

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Article-a-Day #10: Messy Nessy-Once Upon a Summer in Black Eden…

Idlewild still sprawls over 2,700 acres of Southeast Lake County, just a stone’s throw from Chicago. In 1912, a few ambitious white businessmen realised the potential of creating a luxurious retreat for African Americans — an often “untapped market”— amidst the forests and lakefront properties the area promised…

SOURCE: https://www.messynessychic.com

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Article-a-Day #9: How Stuff Works?-From Slave to Millionaire Philanthropist: The Biddy Mason Story

Biddy’s story takes us from the muggy cotton fields of Mississippi to the frontier boomtown of Los Angeles, where Biddy becomes one of the city’s most sought-after midwives and parlays her earnings into a small real-estate empire.

SOURCE: https://history.howstuffworks.com

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Article-a-Day #8: Good Black News-Ruth Brown, Queen of R&B and Activist

Brown’s popularity and R&B charts success did not translate into personal financial wealth. Due to a practice known as “whitewashing,” in which white singers covered black artists’ songs without permission, Brown’s records never sold nearly their full potential. Furthermore, Atlantic Records made Brown pay her recording and touring expenses out of pocket—costs that nearly equaled her cut of the sales.

SOURCE: https://goodblacknews.org

Listen to Ruth Brown’s Music on Amazon

This site contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

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Article-a-Day #7: Black America Web-Blues Legend W.C. Handy

As a composer, Handy crafted dozens of works and even released books such as W.C. Handy’s Collection of Negro Spirituals and Negro Authors and Composers of the United States.

SOURCE: https://blackamericaweb.com

Listen to W.C. Handy on Amazon!

Article-a-Day #6: Black America Web-The National Dental Association

In 1900, some 200 dental professionals gathered in Washington, D.C. to form the Washington Society of Colored Dentists. In 1907, it was renamed the Robert T. Freeman Dental Society in honor of the first Black dental college graduate. The American Dental Association prohibited Black dentists from joining its ranks, which instead of discouraging Dr. D.A. Ferguson, it motivated him.

SOURCE: https://blackamericaweb.com

Article-a-Day #5: Open Culture-Hear the First Recorded Blues Song by an African American Singer: Mamie Smith’s “Crazy Blues” (1920)

Mamie Smith had been a vaudeville performer, working since childhood as “an all around entertainer,” as the Library of Congress’s Michael Taft remarks on NPR. The Blues Encyclopedia points out that her theatrical background and flamboyant personality lent much to the “the archetypal ‘Queen of the Blues’ persona” inhabited by so many later singers.

SOURCE: http://www.openculture.com

Listen to Mamie Smith on Amazon!

Article-a-Day #4: Messy Nessy-Girl Friends, Inc: The African American Social Clubs of Yesteryear

It all started over a pot of stew in the summer of 1927. Eunice Shreeves rang a fews friends to come over to her New York home, break bread, and make a few more memories before heading their separate ways for college. The Harlem Renaissance was at its peak, and these ladies were headed to some of the first schools in the country to open their doors to black Americans (i.e. Howard and Cheyney University). The women’s social club that blossomed from their dinner party — henceforth known as Girl Friends, Inc. — was just one of many organisations from that era that carved out a space to uplift black communities. So put on your white gloves, and let’s step out with a few of them…

SOURCE: https://www.messynessychic.com

Article-a-Day #3: Mental Floss -John W. Jones: The Runaway Slave Who Buried Nearly 3000 Confederate Soldiers in Elmira, NY

On July 5, 1844, Jones crossed a toll bridge into Elmira, New York, with less than $2 in his pocket. Unlike most runaways bound for Canada, Jones decided to stay in Elmira. It’s here that Jones would become one of the country’s most successful Underground Railroad conductors, one of the richest black men in the state of New York, and the last earthly link for nearly 3000 dead Confederate soldiers.

SOURCE: https://www.mentalfloss.com

Article-a-Day #2: Smithsonian –Retracing Slavery’s Trail of Tears

America’s forgotten migration – the journeys of a million African-Americans from the tobacco South to the cotton South

SOURCE: Smithsonian.com

Article-a-Day #1: Smithsonian – In the Congressional Fight Over Slavery, Decorum Went Out the Door

At first it just seemed like a longwinded speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate—a five-hour, 112-handwritten-page address delivered over the course of two days in May 1856. But Charles Sumner, a senator for Massachusetts, had no way of knowing that “The Crime Against Kansas,” his fiery soliloquy that spoke out on the behalf of disenfranchised slaves, would become one of American history’s most inflammatory—and dangerous—speeches.

SOURCE: Smithsonian.com

University of Nebraska at Lincoln-Slavery and the quest for freedom in early Washington, D.C.

This site documents the challenge to slavery and the quest for freedom in early Washington, D.C., by collecting, digitizing, making accessible, and analyzing freedom suits filed between 1800 and 1862,
as well as tracing the multigenerational family networks they reveal.

SOURCE: http://earlywashingtondc.org

Slave Voyages: Explore the Dispersal of Enslaved Africans Across the Atlantic World

This digital memorial raises questions about the largest slave trades in history and offers access to the documentation available to answer them. European colonizers turned to Africa for enslaved laborers to build the cities and extract the resources of the Americas. They forced millions of mostly unnamed Africans across the Atlantic to the Americas, and from one part of the Americas to another. Analyze these slave trades and view interactive maps, timelines, and animations to see the dispersal in action.

SOURCE: https://slavevoyages.org/

National Archives-An Uncensored Digital History of the Black GI in World War II

Survey 32, and many dozens just like it, contain a goldmine of uncensored information about the experiences, opinions, behaviors, feelings, and backgrounds of individual American GIs who served in World War II. The Special Services’s Research Branch launched their first full-scale survey the very next day after Pearl Harbor, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and over the course of the conflict administered scores more at points across the globe, from Bermuda, Iceland, India-Burma, and Italy, to the Middle East, Panama, and the Persian Gulf, as well as across the Pacific and into the combat zones of the European Theater of Operations.

SOURCE: https://rediscovering-black-history.blogs.archives.gov/

Researching Your American Ancestors: A Quick Guide

How to Start

Talk to your relatives. Get as much information about grandparents, great-grandparents, and their children. You need this information for the next steps.

Vital Records: Birth, Marriage, and Death Certificates

Vital records refers to birth, marriage, and death certificates. Do not worry if you do not have all the information about your relatives. Just complete forms with as much information as possible. Most vital record offices can do a basic search of up to five years prior or after date you provide. You have to have an estimated date of birth, marriage, and/or death.

Localities have different laws regarding when vital records can be released due to privacy and identity theft concerns. Visit each state’s vital records page and follow the instructions carefully. To find a state’s vital records information go to your preferred search engine and enter “STATE’S NAME vital records.

Obtaining vital records is no harder than downloading a form and providing as much information about the life event and your relation to the deceased. There is also a service that allows you to order vital records online. This service is quicker but more expensive than requesting a copy of a record by traditional mail. Traditional mail takes anywhere from six to eight weeks to receive a response.

If a relative has recently died you may need additional proof of your relationship to the deceased and permission to obtain certain Vital Records. For instance, I wanted a copy of one of my great-grandmother’s birth certificate who died in the early 2000s. Since I was not an immediate relation (husband, son, or daughter), my great-aunt (her daughter) had to write a letter for me to send with the application stating I had permission to obtain the document.

Social Security Death Index

You can order a copy of a deceased relatives Social Security application directly from the Social Security Administration. You can download the form by searching for “Form SSA-711,” search without the quotes. The search result will return as “Make a FOIA Request – Social Security.” The fee is between $18.00 and $29.00 depending on which version of the Social Security application you would like. I recommend the photocopy of the original document so you can see the handwriting of your ancestor!

US Census

To obtain Census Records you have three options: purchase a subscription to an ancestry service, visit a national archives location, or your local library.

There are many subscription based sites that give you access to Census data. Many people are hesitant to subscribe to a service due to cost. But if you are serious about research you will not regret the investment. These services also allow you to set up a Family Tree that can be downloaded and used with proprietary software or with other services including DNA sites. Also sites can give you easy access to vital records and connect with distant relations.

The National Archives, if you are lucky to live near one of the locations, allows you to search Census records for free. It is a great start if you are not sure you want to commit to an ancestry subscription service. For National Archives locations visit http://www.archives.gov

Many library systems in the United States subscribe to a genealogy subscription service which you can access with your library card. Visit your local library for information.

DNA

The greatest advancement in genealogical research is DNA. If you are a woman you can test your maternal DNA, passed down from mother to daughter. If you are man you can test your paternal DNA, passed down from father to son. These tests are expensive, between $200 to $300, but worth the investment. Consider splitting the costs with family members that share the same parents or grandparents. Autosomal DNA is a cheaper choice, around $100. It provides you with information on your geographic origins. It is best to do both for a complete picture of your heritage.

Become a Volunteer Transcription Reviewer for the Smithsonian’s Freedmen’s Bureau Transcription Project

Volunteer transcribers create online versions of primary source documents by carefully typing what they read so that the originals become more accessible and searchable. Reviewers then edit these transcription “first drafts,” comparing them to the originals and tweaking them if necessary, before marking the work as complete.

SOURCE: https://si-siris.blogspot.com