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The African Inheritance

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The First West African to serve as the Secretary-General of the UN

(1938 – 2018)
KOFI ATTA ANNAN

Kofi Atta Annan, a diplomat from the West African country of Ghana, was the first to emerge from the ranks of United Nations (UN) staff to serve as the Secretary-General of the UN. He served as the seventh UN Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006. The UN and Annan were jointly awarded the The Nobel Peace Prize 2001 “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world”. While he was the Secretary-General, he prioritized the establishment of a comprehensive reforms programme aimed at revitalizing the UN. UN had traditionally been working in the areas of development and he worked for further strengthening this work. A passionate advocate of human rights, and a strong believer in the universal values of equality, tolerance and human dignity, Annan wanted to bring the UN closer to the people by reaching out to new partners, and thereby restore public confidence in the organization. He had a major part to play in the establishment of two new intergovernmental bodies: the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council in 2005. He also played a pivotal role in the creation of the Global Funds to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He strongly opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq and Iran’s nuclear programme. After his retirement from the UN in 2006, he returned to Ghana where he was involved with a number of African as well as global organizations.

Born a slave in Virginia, became a Baptist convert in 1837

(1812-1901)
JOHN JASPER

Born a slave in Virginia, became a Baptist convert in 1837. He eventually answered the call to preach, and became an extremely popular minister. One of Jasper’s most well-known sermon was entitle “De Sun Do Move,” and he delivered it over 250 times to large audiences. Although his speaking style was uneducated and reflected his rural roots, his message was powerful and earned him a royal following. Today’s African American community continues to look to its religious leaders for guidance and inspiration, with many stepping forward in the tradition of john Jasper, to minister and serve.

Was the first and only African American correspondent for a major daily newspaper during the Civil War

(1834-1892)
THOMAS MORRIS CHESTER


Was the first and only African American correspondent for a major daily newspaper during the Civil War. Working for the Philadelphia Press, he covered the activities of African American troops around Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia. Prior to the war, Chester was editor of the publication Star of Liberia. In recent years, he practiced law In England. His Successes helped open the field of mass communications – including radio and TV- broadcasting, computer networking –in media and public speaking – to future generations of African Americans, who now participate in these careers in record numbers.

“The old flag never touched the ground, boys”

(Dates Unknown)
WILLIAM H. CARNEY
Was a brave Civil War soldier who carried the colors for the 54th Massachusetts Colored infantry and led the charge to the parapet during the Battle of Fort Wagner, South Carolina, on June 18, 1863. The standard bearer had been killed, so Carney took over.
Wounded twice during the charge, he never faltered in leading his troop. “The old flag never touched the ground, boys declared Carmey. Cited for bravery during this battle, he was the first African American to join in the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Contributed to the fields of cellular physiology and fertilization

(1883-1941)
ERNEST EVERETT JUST

Contributed to the fields of cellular physiology and fertilization. He was one of just 12 zoologist worldwide who addressed 11th International Congress of Zoologist in 1930. In his presentation, he proposed that by studying physio-chemical substances and the external environment, one could begin to understand evolution and life itself. His approach represented a revolution and innovation in current thinking biology.

Devoted her entire life to fighting for African and women’s right through out the world

(1863-1954)
MARY CHURCH TERRELL

Devoted her entire life to fighting for African and women’s right through out the world. She was born the year of the Emancipation Proclamation, and she died during the landmark Brown versus Topeka Board of Education decision. Her many talents included writer, lecturer, organizer and demonstrator. Never giving up on the fight for equality, she helped secure voting rights for women. During 1953, at 89, she headed a committee that forced desegregation in restaurants through Washington. D.C.

She invented hair softener and a straightening comb

(1869-1919)

MADAME C.J. WALKER
Was a “rags –to – riches “ success story- she was orphaned at seven, married at fourteen, and then widowed at twenty. Forced to make a living on her own, she started working as washerwoman in a laundry. But her innovations in hairstyling and beauty care formulas propelled her into a career in African Americans beauty and fashion. She invented hair softener and a straightening comb that dekinked hair; then she set up beauty parlors all across the nation. Almost overnight, she became a millionaire – all through her own efforts.

One of his best known patented inventions was a smoke protector/safety hood

(1875-1963)
GARRET A. MORGAN
Was a progressive business man and scientific inventor in Cleveland, Ohio during the early 1990s. One of his best known patented inventions was a smoke protector/safety hood which is known to have saved the lives of trapped workers in a waterworks tunnel. Another Morgan ineventi0on was an automatic traffic signal that was patented in 1923 and later sold to General Electric. Today, African American successors of Morgan carry on his legacy, taking leadership role in all fields of science and research , including medicine ¸botany biology, ecology physics and astronomy.

Organized the National Association of Professional Baseball clubs in 1920

(1879-1930)
ANDREW “RUBE” FOSTER
Organized the National Association of Professional Baseball clubs in 1920. Foster a former pitcher himself, devoted his life to organizing the efforts of other African American baseball players and his league was successful until 1931 when it disbanded after his death. Although the league was gone, Fosters’ legacy lived on, as the talents of African American athletes- both men and women into professional sports of all kinds, where today, they lead and excel.

She refused to give up her seat in a ‘white only” railroad car

(1862-1931)
IDA B. WELLS BARNETT
Began teaching at age 14. She lost a teaching job years later by refusing to give up her seat in a ‘white only” railroad car. Turning to journalism, she became co-owner and editor of Memphis weekly, free speech in 1991. Her press later and office were demolished a year when she printed names of people who lynched three Memphis African Americans. Fleeing to New York City, she became involved in anti-lynching. This bold and brave woman used her communication skills to help African American defend themselves against “amusement “hangings.

Has often been called the “poet of the African American People”

(1902-1967)
LANGSTON HUGHES
Has often been called the “poet of the African American People. “He has used almost every form of writing to express his thought on paper including poems, songs novel, plays, biographies, histories and essays. The theme of his work has been the joys, pleasures and sorrows of the ordinary African American man. In his most famous work “The Negro Speaks of Rivers, “Hughes uses the metaphor of a river to connect to the movement and troubles of his people.

Johnson works including “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “Dixie Madonna. “

(1896-1934)
MARVIN GRAY JOHNSON
Escaped an impoverished North Carolina childhood to move north and eventually study art the New York Academy of Design. He became an accomplished and celebrated artist, best known for his work in abstract symbolism. Although he work in abstract symbolism. Although he lived to be only 38 years of age, Johnson left behind many respected works including “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “Dixie Madonna. “ He served as a role model and inspiration for future generations of African American artists who dared to pursue their craft, exploring new and challenging forms of expression in a variety of media.

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