Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February - Black History Month

The celebration of black history began in 1926 when Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard Ph.D., initiated ‘Negro History Week’. February was chosen because it included the birthdays of Fredrick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, the week-long observance was extended to the entire month of February in order to have enough time for the celebratory programs and activities.

The history of African Americans is an integral part of the history of America. These courageous and talented people broke barriers and achieved great success, often despite great odds.

Each week on Monday during the month of February, WWN will highlight African American men and women who have made and continue to make a lasting contribution to our American history.

(We will begin each week with a highlight of African American inventors; and each Friday, highlight African Americans of Winston County).

Week of Feb 17-21

February 17 Garrett Morgan

Garrett Morgan was an inventor who invented a type of respiratory protective hood (similar to the modern gas-mask). Morgan patented a safety hood and smoke protector after seeing firefighters struggling from smoke encountered in the line of duty. He also invented a type of traffic signal. Morgan’s device was widely used, and the patent rights for its design were eventually sold to General Electric for $40,000. In 1963, shortly before his death, Morgan was awarded a citation for the traffic signal by the US government. He also made black hair oil dye and a curved-tooth iron comb to straighten hair. Morgan died on August 27, 1963, at the age of 86, and is buried in Cleveland, Ohio.

February 18 Representative Mary Coleman

Mississippi Representative Mary Coleman was born July 25, 1946, in Noxapater, Mississippi. She is a graduate of Louisville Colored High School and received a BA degree from Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Ms. Representative Coleman has been a Mississippi State House of Representative for District 65 since 1994. Her current house committee memberships are: appropriations, banking and financial services, county affairs public health and human services and vice-chair of public property. Representative Coleman is a member of Cade Chapel Baptist Church in Jackson, MS and a life member of the NAACP.

February 19 Reuben V. Anderson

Reuben V. Anderson became the first black judge to be appointed to the Mississippi Supreme Court on January 11, 1985. Anderson was selected by governor Bill Allain to replace Justice Francis S. Bowling who retired January 1st. Anderson, a native of Jackson, MS was born September 16, 1942.  He received his bachelor’s degree from Tougaloo College in 1964 and his law degree from the University of Mississippi in 1967. He served as a municipal judge from 1975 t0 1977, and circuit judge, Seventh Circuit Court, State of Mississippi, from 1982 t0 1985. He served on the Mississippi Supreme Court from 1985 to 1990 and later served as president of the Mississippi Bar Association from 1997 to 1998.

February 20 William Grant Still

William Grant Still was born in Woodville, Mississippi, the son of two teachers. William started violin lessons at the age of 14. Still also taught himself how to play the clarinet, saxophone, oboe, double bass, cello and viola. His maternal grandmother introduced him to African American spirituals by singing them to him. Still was a classical composer who wrote more than 150 compositions. He was the first African American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, the first to have a symphony of his own, and the first to have an opera performed on national television. He is often referred to as the ‘dean’ of African American composers. Still died of heart failure in Los Angeles, California in 1978.

February 21 Lawrence ‘L.G..’ Estes, aka part-time

Lawrence Estes was born December 9, 1946 in Louisville, Ms. He is a 1966 graduate of Louisville Colored High School and attended Alcorn State University. Lawrence was drafted in 1970, round eight, pick 10 by the New Orleans Saints. He played three and one half years with the Saints, almost two years with Philadelphia Eagles and retired from the Kansas City Chiefs. Lawrence is a retired assistant Chief of Police for Louisville and a reserve police officer.

M. C. Miller was born December 3, 1949, in Louisville, Ms. He is a 1967 graduate of Camile High School and attended Alcorn State University. Coach miller is the first black head football coach at Louisville high school, the first black coach to win a 4a state championship and the first black coach to go undefeated in 3a and 4a conferences. His team won the 2013 3A state championship.