#HappyBirthday to African American educator and activist Fannie Barrier Williams, born #OnThisDay in 1855. Born in Brockport, New York to free parents Williams and her siblings attended public school. In 1870, Williams became the first African American to graduate from the State Normal School in Brockport. At the end of the Civil War, Williams took a teaching job in the south to help educate newly freed slaves. She then moved to Chicago which hosted the World’s Fair in 1893 and Williams along with other black female leaders protested their exclusion from the fair’s planning. Williams was appointed to gather exhibits for the women’s hall and was able to give two speeches during the fair. She argued that African American women were eager and ready for education and to learn new skills to a mostly white audience. Williams speeches were so well received she became a popular author and orator. She helped form the National League of Colored Women in 1896 along with other black women clubs to help women as they moved north. #womenshistory #BlackHistoryMonth
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” was first written as a poem. Created by James Weldon Johnson, it was performed for the first time by 500 school children in celebration of President Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900 in Jacksonville, FL. The poem was set to music by Johnson’s brother, John Rosamond Johnson, and soon adopted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as its official song. Today it is known as the “Black National Anthem.”
February 11, 1958 – Ruth Carol Taylor is the FIRST African-American woman hired as a flight attendant. Hired by Mohawk Airlines, her career lasts only six months, due to another discriminatory barrier – the airline’s ban on married flight attendant.