Black History Month: A Salute to Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks was born on June 7, 1917, in Topeka, Kansas. When Brooks was six weeks old, her family moved to Chicago as part of the Great Migration. Brooks was known as "Gwendie" to close friends and family during her childhood. Brooks attended three high schools: the prestigious, integrated Hyde Park High School; the …

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Black History Month: A Salute to Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald, known as the "First Lady of Song" and "Lady Ella," was an American jazz and song vocalist who interpreted much of the Great American Songbook. Born on April 25, 1917, in Newport News, Virginia, singer Ella Fitzgerald was the product of a common-law marriage between William Fitzgerald and Temperance "Tempie" Williams Fitzgerald. Ella …

Black History Month: A Salute to Dorothy Height

Born on March 24, 1912, in Richmond, Virginia, African-American activist Dorothy Height spent her life fighting for civil rights and women's rights. The daughter of a building contractor and a nurse, Height moved with her family to Rankin, Pennsylvania, in her youth. There, she attended racially integrated schools. In high school, Height showed great talent …

Black History Month: A Salute to Assata Shakur

Assata Shakur was born in Jamaica, Queens, New York City, on July 16, 1947, where she lived for three years with her parents and grandparents, Lula and Frank Hill. After her parents divorced in 1950, Shakur spent most of her childhood in Wilmington, North Carolinawith her grandmother, until her family relocated to Queens when she was a teenager. For …

Black History Month: A Salute to Shirley Chisholm

Born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 30, 1924, Shirley Chisholm is best known for becoming the first black congresswoman (1968), representing New York State in the U.S. House of Representatives for seven terms. She went on to run for the 1972 Democratic nomination for the presidency—becoming the first major-party African-American candidate to do so. …