Did You Know? / Black History Facts

Did you know any of these newly added animal facts? 


Here are some surprising animal facts that you may not know.

Damara dik-dik


The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be.

Here are some facts about the 1500s:

Did you know these Odd laws?

  1. During the 6th Century, it was customary to congratulate people who sneezed because it was thought that they were expelling evil from their bodies. During the great plague of Europe, the Pope passed a law to say “God bless you” to one who sneezed.
  2. There still are some weird laws on the books. In Washington state, it is against the law to boast that one’s parents are rich. In Maryland, it’s illegal to play Randy Newman’s “Short People” on the radio.
  3. In Alabama it is illegal to play Dominoes on Sunday.
  4. In Minneapolis, double-parkers can be put on a chain gang.
  5. In 1313, King Edward II enacted that “You are forbidden from dying in parliament.”
  6. An old statute in Kentucky states that men who push their wives out of bed for inflicting their cold toes on them can be fined or jailed for a week.
  7. A 100-year-old law in Willowdale, Oregon makes it illegal to swear during sex.
  8. An odd law in Minnesota makes it illegal to hang male and female underwear on the same washing line.
  9. In Melbourne, Australia it is illegal for men to parade in strapless dresses – but they are allowed to cross-dress in anything with sleeves.
  10. In Texas, two categories of men are exempt from peeping tom charges: men over 50 and men with only one eye.
  11. An old law in Russia allows a police officer to “beat a peeping tom soundly.”
  12. A pregnant woman can urinate anywhere she wishes, including a policeman’s helmet, according to a London local by-law.
  13. In Vermont, women require their husbands permission to wear false teeth.
  14. In Virginia, horses of more than one year old are prohibited in a place of worship.
  15. In Tennessee, shooting any game other than whales from a moving automobile is against the law.
  16. In Normal, Oklahoma you could be sent to prison for “making an ugly face at a dog.”
  17. Black robes
    1. Judges’ robes were not always black. In fact, they used to be as colorful as predicted by the fashion of the day. However, to mourn the death of Queen Mary II in 1964, judges wore black robes… and never changed back to another color.
  18. Even so, clothes don’t maketh the man: for good reason lawyers still are the most distrusted members of society.


How to survive a heart attack when you’re along  

Heart Rate


  1. Suddenly you start experiencing severe pain in your chest that starts to drag out into your arm and up in to your jaw. You are only about five km from the hospital nearest your home.
  2. Unfortunately you don’t know if you’ll be able to make it that farYou have been trained in CPR, but the guy who taught the course did not tell you how to perform it on yourself.
  3. The person whose heart is beating improperly and who begins to feel faint, has only a few seconds left before losing consciousness.
  4. These victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest.
  5. A breath and a cough must be repeated about every two seconds without let-up until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again.
  6. Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating.
  7. The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain normal rhythm. 


Did You Know?

Frequent daydreamers are likely to be more intelligent and creative.  Studies of mental functions found that wandering minds are associated with creative thinking and more efficient brain activity.  Researchers think day-dreamers can grasp concepts so quickly and easily that they can’t help getting lost in other thoughts once they understand what’s happening in their current environment.


Raking your leaves destroys ecosystems.  Fallen leaves create a natural layer that butterflies, moths, salamanders, chipmunks, box turtles, toads, shrews, worms, and other species rely on for food and shelter.



Seven Hobbies Science says will make your brain work smarter and faster

We’ve all witnessed the natural deterioration of brain functions in older relatives. Unfortunately, they (we) lose short-term memories and gradually lose the executive functions, as the right frontal lobe loses gray matter and gets “mushy.” Even without the dreaded Alzheimer’s, our brains just age. Now; however, neuroscience tells us that we can delay this process. In some instances, we can reverse brain deterioration by engaging in some pretty specific activities, most of which we would consider hobbies. Here are 7 of them.

1. Read Anything

2. Learn to Play a Musical Instrument

3. Exercise on a Regular Basis

4. Learn a New Language

5. Engage in Cumulative Learning

6. Exercise Your Brain with Puzzles and Games

7. Meditate / Practice Yoga




2020 Articles

John Parker (abolitionist) - Wikipedia

John Parker (abolitionist) The restored John P. Parker house in
Ripley, Ohio.

John P. Parker (1827 – January 30, 1900) was an American abolitionist, inventor, iron moulder and industrialist. Parker, who was African American, helped hundreds of slaves to freedom in the Underground Railroad resistance movement based in Ripley, Ohio. He saved and rescued fugitive slaves for nearly fifteen years. He was one of the few black people to patent an invention before 1900. His house in Ripley has been designated a National Historic Landmark and restored. 

Early life and education

Parker was born in Norfolk, Virginia 1827. He was the son of a slave mother and white father. Born into slavery under the principle of partus sequitur ventrem, at the age of eight John was forced to walk to Richmond, where he was sold at the slave market to a physician from Mobile, Alabama.

While working at the doctor’s house as a domestic servant, John was taught to read and write by the doctor’s family, although the law forbade slaves’ being educated.[1] During his apprenticeship in a foundry, John attempted escape to New Orleans by riverboat and had conflicts with officials. He asked one of the doctor’s patients, a widow, to purchase him. After taking title to him, she allowed him to hire out to earn money, and he purchased his freedom from her for $1,800 in 1845.[2] He earned the money through his work in two of Mobile’s iron foundries and occasional odd jobs.

Freedom in the North

Marriage and family

Parker left the South, first settling in Jeffersonville, Indiana, then Cincinnati, Ohio, where there were larger free black communities and jobs in the bustling port. There in 1848 he married Miranda Boulden, free born in the city.[2] They moved to Ripley, a growing center of abolitionist activity, and had six children together:

The parents ensured that all their children were educated.  Two generations from slavery, all six went to college and entered the middle class.

Underground Railroad

Parker joined the resistance movement, known as the Underground Railroad, whose members aided slaves escaping across the river from Kentucky to get further North to freedom; some chose to go to Canada. He guided hundreds of slaves along their way, continuing despite a $1,000 bounty placed on his head by slaveholders. The federal Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 increased the penalties for such activism. Parker risked his own freedom every time he went to Kentucky to help slaves to escape. During the Civil War, he recruited a few hundred slaves for the Union Army.

The historian Stuart Seely Sprague has researched much information about Parker and his life.  Beginning as an iron moulder, Parker developed and patented a number of mechanical and
industrial inventions, including the John P. Parker tobacco press and harrow (or pulverizer),[ patented in 1884 and 1885. He had invented the pulverizer while still a young man in Mobile in the
1840s.[2][4] Parker was one of the few blacks to patent an invention before 1900. In 1865 with a partner, he bought a foundry company, which they called the Ripley Foundry and
Machine Company. Parker managed the company, which manufactured engines, Dorsey’s patent reaper and mower, and sugar mill. In 1876 he brought in a partner to manufacture threshers, and the company became Belchamber and Parker. Although they dissolved the partnership two years later, Parker continued to grow his business, adding a blacksmith shop and machine shop. In 1890, after a destructive fire at his first facility, Parker built the Phoenix Foundry. It was the largest between Cincinnati and Portsmouth, Ohio.

The John P. Parker Historical Society was formed in 1996 to preserve and interpret knowledge of John Parker and his family; it has worked to restore the house and operate it as a museum with
exhibits and educational programs. His autobiography, a slave narrative, was published in 1996 as HIS PROMISED LAND: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN P. PARKER, FORMER SLAVE AND CONDUCTOR ON THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. In the 1880s, Parker gave interviews to the journalist Frank Moody Gregg of the Chattanooga News, who had been researching the resistance movement. He never published his manuscript, and the historian Stuart Seely Sprague found Gregg’s manuscript and notes in Duke University archives. He edited the memoir for publication, to keep Parker’s language, and added a detailed biography in the preface.  The John P. Parker House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1997 by the U.S.
Department of the Interior.  John P. Parker School, in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a pre-kindergarten through 6th grade school named after him.


The historian Stuart Seely Sprague has researched much information about Parker and his life. Beginning as an iron moulder, Parker developed and patented a number of mechanical and
industrial inventions, including the John P. Parker tobacco press and harrow (or pulverizer), patented in 1884 and 1885. He had invented the pulverizer while still a young man in Mobile in the
1840s.[2][4] Parker was one of the few blacks to patent an invention before 1900.

In 1865 with a partner, he bought a foundry company, which they called the Ripley Foundry and Machine Company. Parker managed the company, which manufactured engines, Dorsey’s patent
reaper and mower, and sugar mill. In 1876 he brought in a partner to manufacture threshers, and the company became Belchamber and Parker. Although they dissolved the partnership two years later, Parker continued to grow his business, adding a blacksmith shop and machine shop. In 1890, after a destructive fire at his first facility, Parker built the Phoenix Foundry. It was the largest between Cincinnati and Portsmouth, Ohio.

Legacy and honors

In popular culture


2019 articles



Strange Fruit

On April 20, 1939, Billie Holiday recorded the first civil rights song…”Strange Fruit”


Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant south
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh
Here is fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop

Songwriters: Lewis Allan / Maurice Pearl / Dwayne P Wiggins
Strange Fruit lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Strange Fruit” is a song performed most famously by Billie Holiday, who first sang and recorded it in 1939. Written by teacher Abel Meeropol as a poem and published in 1937, it protested American racism, particularly the lynching of African Americans. Such lynchings had reached a peak in the South at the turn of the century, but continued there and in other regions of the United States. The great majority of victims were black. The song’s lyrics are an extended metaphor linking a tree’s fruit with lynching victims. set it to music and, with his wife and the singer Laura Duncan, performed it as a protest song in New York City venues in the late 1930s, including Madison Square Garden
The song continues to be covered by numerous artists, including Nina Simone, UB40, Jeff Buckley, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Robert Wyatt and Dee Dee Bridgewater and has inspired novels, other poems, and other creative works. In 1978, Holiday’s version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. It was also included in the list of Songs of the Century, by the Recording Industry of America and the National Endowment for the Arts. Record producer Ahmet Ertegun. It was also dubbed “a declaration of war… the beginning of the civil rights movement”.
Barney Josephson, the founder of Café Society in Greenwich Village, New York’s first integrated nightclub, heard the song and introduced it to Billie Holiday. Other reports say that Robert Gordon, who was directing Billie Holiday’s show at Cafe Society, heard the song at Madison Square Garden and introduced it to her. Holiday first performed the song at Café Society in 1939. She said that singing it made her fearful of retaliation but, because its imagery reminded her of her father, she continued to sing the piece, making it a regular part of her live performances. Because of the power of the song, Josephson drew up some rules: Holiday would close with it; the waiters would stop all service in advance; the room would be in darkness except for a spotlight on Holiday’s face; and there would be no encore. During the musical introduction to the song, Holiday stood with her eyes closed, as if she were evoking a prayer.
In October 1939, Samuel Grafton of the New York Post described “Strange Fruit”: “If the anger of the exploited ever mounts high enough in the South, it now has its Marseillaise.”

Read more at: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_Fruit

Strange Fruit Song



Image may contain: 1 person, text

Selma Hortense Burke (December 31, 1900 – August 29, 1995) was an American sculptor and a member of the Harlem Renaissance movement. Burke is best known for a bas relief portrait of President Franklin D. Roosevelt which inspired the profile found on the obverse of the dime. She described herself as “a people’s sculptor” and created many pieces of public art, often portraits of prominent African-American figures like Duke Ellington, Mary McLeod Bethune and Booker T. Washington. In 1979, she was awarded the Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award


Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, text


Did You Know That A Black Woman Was The Founder Of The Restaurant Chain Fatburger?

Lovie Yancey was the #African American founder of the Fatburger restaurant chain.
She originally owned a small restaurant in Tucson. In 1947 she founded Fatburger under its original name Mr. Fatburger.In 1952,Lovie shed both her business partners and the “Mr.” from the name of the hamburger stand, and Fatburger was officially born.

From the beginning, Lovie was a fixture at the original Fatburger, where customers, who include entertainers such as Redd Foxx & Ray Charles could custom-order their burgers.  Lovie always claimed “I don’t worry about McDonald’s ,Burger King or Wendy’s.  They may be more popular, but a good hamburger sells itself, and I don’t think anybody makes as good a hamburger as we do.”
She sold her Fatburger company to an investment group in 1990 but retained control of the original property on Western Avenue.She established a $1.7-million endownment at City of Hope National Medical Center in Durate in 1986 for research into sickle-cell anemia.  This was in fulfillment of a promise to her 22-year-old grandson, Duran Farrell, who had died of the disease three years earlier.
Lovie died of pheumonia. In addition to her daughter, Lovie was survived by three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.


Did You Know That A Slave Was Responsible For The Inoculation Procedure Used To Treat Small Pox?

Onesimus (fl. 1706 – 1717), slave and medical pioneer, was born in the late seventeenth century, probably in Africa, although the precise date and place of his birth are unknown. He first appears in the historical record in the diary of Cotton Mather, a prominent New England theologian and minister of Boston’s Old North Church. Reverend Mather notes in a diary entry for 13 December 1706 that members of his congregation purchased for him “a very likely Slave; a young Man who is a Negro of a promising aspect of temper” (Mather, vol. 1, 579). Mather named him Onesimus, after a biblical slave who escaped from his master, an early Christian named Philemon.

Little is known of Onesimus after he purchased his freedom, but in 1721 Cotton Mather used information he had learned five years earlier from his former slave to combat a devastating smallpox epidemic that was then sweeping Boston. In a 1716 letter to the Royal Society of London, Mather proposed “ye Method of Inoculation” as the best means of curing smallpox and noted that he had learned of this process from “my Negro-Man Onesimus, who is a pretty Intelligent Fellow” (Winslow, 33). Onesimus explained that he had
undergone an Operation, which had given him something of ye Small-Pox, and would forever preserve him from it, adding, That it was often used among [Africans] and whoever had ye Courage to use it, was forever free from ye Fear of the Contagion. He described ye Operation to me, and showed me in his Arm ye Scar.” (Winslow, 33)

Reports of similar practices in Turkey further persuaded Mather to mount a public inoculation campaign. Most white doctors rejected this process of deliberately infecting a person with smallpox–now called variolation–in part because of their misgivings about African medical knowledge. Public and medical opinion in Boston was strongly against both Mather and Dr. Zabdiel Boylston, the only doctor in town willing to perform inoculations; one opponent even threw a grenade into Mather’s home. A survey of the nearly six thousand people who contracted smallpox between 1721 and 1723 found, however, that Onesimus, Mather, and Boylston had been right. Only 2 percent of the six hundred Bostonians inoculated against smallpox died, while 14 percent of those who caught the disease but were not inoculated succumbed to the illness.

It is unclear when or how Onesimus died, but his legacy is unambiguous. His knowledge of variolation gives the lie to one justification for enslaving Africans, namely, white Europeans’ alleged superiority in medicine, science, and technology. This bias made the smallpox epidemic of 1721 more deadly than it need have been. Bostonians and other Americans nonetheless adopted the African practice of inoculation in future smallpox outbreaks, and variolation remained the most effective means of treating the disease until the development of vaccination by Edward Jenner in 1796.

Written By: Steven Niven

=======================2018 articles=========================

The Real Lone Ranger

Did you know that the real Lone Ranger was a black man named Bass Reeves?  And, yes, he did live among the Indians.  The Lone Ranger could not be cast in that era as a black man, so he was made into a white man with a black mask.  Now you know.  Click for more information…History Stories 


George Washington Carver’s 8 Cardinal Virtues

George Washington Carver’s 8 Cardinal Virtues. Worth attempting!

1. Be clean both inside and out.

2. Neither look up to the rich or down on the poor.

3. Lose, if need be, without squealing.

4. Win without bragging.

5. Always be considerate of women, children, and older people.

6. Be too brave to lie.

7. Be too generous to cheat.

 8. Take your share of the world and let others take theirs.


Stanford University Announces U.S.’s 1st Black Woman Professor of Neurosurgery…Dr. Odette Harris (March 12, 2018)


Odette Harris has made history by becoming America’s first Black woman professor of neurosurgery, The Stanford Daily reports.

Harris who obtained M.D. status in 1996, specializes in traumatic brain injury, has served as the director of brain injury in Standford University’s department of neurosurgery, as well as the department’s associate chief of staff of polytrauma and rehabilitation at the Palo Alto Veterans Administration Health Care System since 2009.

Harris is also a faculty research fellow at the Clayman Institute. She attributes her passion for the physical sciences and chemistry to studying then at an all-girls high school.

“All those cliches about girl schools and empowering girls and women, I think they’re true,” Harris said in an interview with Stanford Medicine.



For nearly two decades leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence Benjamin Franklin lived in London in a house at 36 Craven Street? In 1776, Franklin left his English home to come back to America. More than 200 years later, 15 bodies were found in the basement, buried in a secret, windowless room beneath the garden.

In 1998, conservationists were doing repairs on 36 Craven, looking to turn Franklin’s old haunt into a museum. “From a one metre wide, one metre deep pit, over 1200 pieces of bone were retrieved”—remnants of more than a dozen bodies, says Benjamin Franklin House. Six were children. Forensic investigations showed that the bones dated to Franklin’s day.  

Interested?  Click on the link for more information:  36 Craven Street.

The Negro Motorist Green Book

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Negro Motorist Green Book
The Negro Motorist Green Book.jpg

Cover of the 1940 edition

Author Victor Hugo Green
Country United States
Language English
Genre Guide book
Publisher Victor Hugo Green
Published 1936–66

The Negro Motorist Green Book (at times styled The Negro Motorist Green-Book or titled The Negro Travelers’ Green Book) was an annual guidebook for African-American roadtrippers, commonly referred to simply as the Green Book. It was originated and published by New York City mailman Victor Hugo Green from 1936 to 1966, during the era of Jim Crow laws, when open and often legally prescribed discrimination against non-whites was widespread. Although pervasive racial discrimination and poverty limited black car ownership, the emerging African-American middle classbought automobiles as soon as they could, but faced a variety of dangers and inconveniences along the road, from refusal of food and lodging to arbitrary arrest. In response, Green wrote his guide to services and places relatively friendly to African-Americans, eventually expanding its coverage from the New York area to much of North America, as well as founding a travel agency.

Many Black Americans took to driving, in part to avoid segregation on public transportation. As the writer George Schuylerput it in 1930, “all Negroes who can do so purchase an automobile as soon as possible in order to be free of discomfort, discrimination, segregation and insult.” Black Americans employed as athletes, entertainers, and salesmen also traveled frequently for work purposes.

African-American travelers faced hardships such as white-owned businesses refusing to serve them or repair their vehicles, being refused accommodation or food by white-owned hotels, and threats of physical violence and forcible expulsion from whites-only “sundown towns“. Green founded and published the Green Book to avoid such problems, compiling resources “to give the Negro traveler information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments and to make his trip more enjoyable.”

From a New York-focused first edition published in 1936, Green expanded the work to cover much of North America, including most of the United States and parts of Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. The Green Book became “the bible of black travel during Jim Crow”, enabling black travelers to find lodgings, businesses, and gas stations that would serve them along the road. It was little known outside the African-American community. Shortly after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed the types of racial discrimination that had made the Green Book necessary, publication ceased and it fell into obscurity. There has been a revived interest in it in the early 21st century in connection with studies of black travel during the Jim Crow era.

Four issues (1940, 1947, 1954, and 1963) have been republished in facsimile (as of December 2017), and have sold well.

Traveling while black: the African-American travel experience


Many hotels and restaurants excluded African Americans, such as this one in Lancaster, Ohio, in 1938.

Prior to the legislative accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement, black travelers in the United States faced major problems unknown to most whites. White supremacists had long sought to restrict black mobility, and were uniformly hostile to black strangers. As a result, simple auto journeys for black people were fraught with difficulty and potential danger. They were subjected to racial profiling by police departments (“driving while black” or “DWB”), sometimes seen as “uppity” or “too prosperous” just for the act of driving, which many whites regarded as a white prerogative. They risked harassment or worse on and off the highway.[5] A bitter commentary published in a 1947 issue of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People‘s magazine, The Crisis, highlighted the uphill struggle blacks faced in recreational travel:

Would a Negro like to pursue a little happiness at a theater, a beach, pool, hotel, restaurant, on a train, plane, or ship, a golf course, summer or winter resort? Would he like to stop overnight at a tourist camp while he motors about his native land ‘Seeing America First’? Well, just let him try!

Such restrictions dated back to colonial times, and were found throughout the United States. After the end of legal slavery in the North and later in the South after the Civil War, most freedmen continued to live at little more than a subsistence level, but a minority of African Americans gained a measure of prosperity. They could plan leisure travel for the first time. Well-to-do blacks arranged large group excursions for as many as 2000 people at a time, for instance traveling by rail from New Orleans to resorts along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. In the pre-Jim Crow era this necessarily meant mingling with whites in hotels, transportation and leisure facilities. They were aided in this by the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which had made it illegal to discriminate against African Americans in public accommodations and public transportation.

They encountered a white backlash, particularly in the South, where by 1877 white Democrats controlled every state government. The Act was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in 1883, resulting in states and cities passing numerous segregation laws. White governments in the South required even interstate railroads to enforce their segregation laws, despite national legislation requiring equal treatment of passengers. SCOTUS ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) that “separate but equal” accommodations were constitutional, but in practice, facilities for blacks were far from equal, generally being of lesser quality and underfunded. Blacks faced restrictions and exclusion throughout the United States: if not barred entirely from facilities, they could use them only at different times from whites or in (usually inferior) “colored sections”.

Park sign reading: "Lewis Mountain - Negro Area - Coffee Shop & Cottages - Campground Picnicground - Entrance"


“Separate but equal” in practice; a separate “Negro Area” was established at Lewis Mountain in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

In 1917, the black writer W. E. B. Du Bois observed that the impact of “ever-recurring race discrimination” had made it so difficult to travel to any number of destinations, from popular resorts to major cities, that it was now “a puzzling query as to what to do with vacations”. It was a problem that came to affect an increasing number of black people in the first decades of the 20th century. Tens of thousands of southern African Americans migrated from farms in the south to factories and domestic service in the north. No longer confined to living at a subsistence level, many gained enough disposable income and time to engage in leisure travel. The development of affordable mass-produced automobiles liberated black Americans from having to rely on the “Jim Crow cars” – smoky, battered and uncomfortable railroad carriages which were the separate but decidedly unequal alternatives to more salubrious whites-only carriages. As one black magazine writer commented in 1933, in an automobile “it’s mighty good to be the skipper for a change, and pilot our craft whither and where we will. We feel like Vikings. What if our craft is blunt of nose and limited of power and our sea is macademized; it’s good for the spirit to just give the old railroad Jim Crow the laugh.”

Middle-class blacks throughout the United States “were not at all sure how to behave or how whites would behave toward them”, as Bart Landry puts it. In Cincinnati, the African-American newspaper editor Wendell Dabney wrote of the situation in the 1920s that “hotels, restaurants, eating and drinking places, almost universally are closed to all people in whom the least tincture of colored blood can be detected.” Areas without significant black populations outside the South often refused to accommodate them: not one hotel or other accommodation was open to blacks in Salt Lake City, in the 1920s. Black travelers were stranded if they had to stop there overnight.[7] Only six percent of the more than 100 motels that lined U.S. Route 66 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, admitted black customers. Across the whole state of New Hampshire, only three motels in 1956 served African Americans.

George Schuyler reported in 1943, “Many colored families have motored all across the United States without being able to secure overnight accommodations at a single tourist camp or hotel.” He suggested that black Americans would find it easier to travel abroad than in their own country. In Chicago in 1945, St. Clair Drake and Horace A. Cayton reported that “the city’s hotel managers, by general agreement, do not sanction the use of hotel facilities by Negroes, particularly sleeping accommodations.” One incident reported by Drake and Cayton illustrated the discriminatory treatment meted out even to blacks within racially mixed groups:

Two colored schoolteachers and several white friends attended a luncheon at an exclusive coffee shop. The Negro women were allowed to sit down, but the waitress ignored them and served the white women. One of the colored women protested and was told that she could eat in the kitchen.

Coping with discrimination on the road


An African-American family with their new Oldsmobile. Washington, D.C., April 1955

While automobiles made it much easier for black Americans to be independently mobile, the difficulties they faced in traveling were such that, as Lester B. Granger of the National Urban League puts it, “so far as travel is concerned, Negroes are America’s last pioneers.” Black travelers often had to carry buckets or portable toilets in the trunks of their cars because they were usually barred from bathrooms and rest areas in service stations and roadside stops. Travel essentials such as gasoline were difficult to purchase because of discrimination at gas stations. To avoid such problems on long trips, African Americans often packed meals and carried containers of gasoline in their cars. Writing of the road trips that he made as a boy in the 1950s, Courtland Milloy of the Washington Post recalled that his mother spent the evening before the trip frying chicken and boiling eggs so that his family would have something to eat along the way the next day.

One black motorist observed in the early 1940s that while black travelers felt free in the mornings, by the early afternoon a “small cloud” had appeared. By the late afternoon, “it casts a shadow of apprehension on our hearts and sours us a little. ‘Where,’ it asks us, ‘will you stay tonight?'”. They often had to spend hours in the evening trying to find somewhere to stay, sometimes resorting to sleeping in haylofts or in their own cars if they could not find anywhere. One alternative, if it was available, was to arrange in advance to sleep at the homes of black friends in towns or cities along their route. However, this meant detours and an abandonment of the spontaneity that for many was a key attraction of motoring.

The civil rights leader John Lewis has recalled how his family prepared for a trip in 1951:

There would be no restaurant for us to stop at until we were well out of the South, so we took our restaurant right in the car with us…. Stopping for gas and to use the bathroom took careful planning. Uncle Otis had made this trip before, and he knew which places along the way offered “colored” bathrooms and which were better just to pass on by. Our map was marked and our route was planned that way, by the distances between service stations where it would be safe for us to stop.

Finding accommodation was one of the greatest challenges faced by black travelers. Not only did many hotels, motels, and boarding houses refuse to serve black customers, but thousands of towns across the United States declared themselves “sundown towns,” which all non-whites had to leave by sunset. Huge numbers of towns across the country were effectively off-limits to African Americans. By the end of the 1960s, there were at least 10,000 sundown towns across the U.S. – including large suburbs such as Glendale, California (population 60,000 at the time); Levittown, New York (80,000); and Warren, Michigan (180,000). Over half the incorporated communities in Illinois were sundown towns. The unofficial slogan of Anna, Illinois, which had violently expelled its African-American population in 1909, was “Ain’t No Niggers Allowed”. Even in towns which did not exclude overnight stays by blacks, accommodations were often very limited. African Americans migrating to California to find work in the early 1940s often found themselves camping by the roadside overnight for lack of any hotel accommodation along the way. They were acutely aware of the discriminatory treatment that they received. Courtland Milloy’s mother, who took him and his brother on road trips when they were children, recalled that “after riding all day, I’d say to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we could spend the night in one of those hotels?’ or, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could stop for a real meal and a cup of coffee?’ We’d see the little white children jumping into motel swimming pools, and you all would be in the back seat of a hot car, sweating and fighting.”

African-American travelers faced real physical risks because of the widely differing rules of segregation that existed from place to place, and the possibility of extrajudicial violence against them. Activities that were accepted in one place could provoke violence a few miles down the road. Transgressing formal or unwritten racial codes, even inadvertently, could put travelers in considerable danger. Even driving etiquette was affected by racism; in the Mississippi Delta region, local custom prohibited blacks from overtaking whites, to prevent their raising dust from the unpaved roads to cover white-owned cars. A pattern emerged of whites purposefully damaging black-owned cars to put their owners “in their place”. Stopping anywhere that was not known to be safe, even to allow children in a car to relieve themselves, presented a risk; Milloy noted that his parents would urge him and his brother to control their need to use a bathroom until they could find a safe place to stop, as “those backroads were simply too dangerous for parents to stop to let their little black children pee”.

Racist local laws, discriminatory social codes, segregated commercial facilities, racial profiling by police, and sundown towns made road journeys a minefield of constant uncertainty and risk. Road trip narratives by blacks reflected their unease and the dangers they faced, presenting a more complex outlook from those written by whites extolling the joys of the road. Milloy recalls the menacing environment that he encountered during his childhood, in which he learned of “so many black travelers … just not making it to their destinations.”

Even foreign black dignitaries were not immune to the discrimination that African-American travelers routinely encountered. In one high-profile incident, Komla Agbeli Gbedemah, the finance minister of newly independent Ghana, was refused service at a Howard Johnson’s restaurant at Dover, Delaware, while traveling to Washington, D.C., even after identifying himself by his state position to the restaurant staff. The snub caused an international incident, to which an embarrassed President Dwight D. Eisenhower responded by inviting Gbedemah to breakfast at the White House. Repeated and sometimes violent incidents of discrimination directed against black African diplomats, particularly on U.S. Route 40 between New York and Washington, D.C., led to the administration of President John F. Kennedysetting up a Special Protocol Service Section within the State Department to assist black diplomats traveling and living within the United States. The State Department considered issuing copies of The Negro Motorist Green Book to black diplomats, but eventually decided against steering them to black-friendly public accommodations as it wanted them “to have all of the privileges of whiteness.”

John A. Williams wrote in his 1965 book, This Is My Country Too, that he did not believe “white travelers have any idea of how much nerve and courage it requires for a Negro to drive coast to coast in America.” He achieved it with “nerve, courage, and a great deal of luck,” supplemented by “a rifle and shotgun, a road atlas, and Travelguide, a listing of places in America where Negroes can stay without being embarrassed, insulted, or worse.” He noted that black drivers needed to be particularly cautious in the South, where they were advised to wear a chauffeur’s cap or have one visible on the front seat and pretend they were delivering a car for a white person. Along the way, he had to endure a stream of “insults of clerks, bellboys, attendants, cops, and strangers in passing cars.” There was a constant need to keep his mind on the danger he faced; as he was well aware, “[black] people have a way of disappearing on the road.”

Navigating Jim Crow: the role of the Green Book


The Green Book listed places that provided accommodation for black travelers, as in the case of this motel in South Carolina, which offered “Cabins for Colored”.

Segregation meant that facilities for African-American motorists were limited, but entrepreneurs of both races realized the lucrative opportunities in marketing goods and services to black patrons. The challenge for travelers was to find such oases in the middle of a desert of discrimination. To address this problem, African-American writers produced a number of guides to provide travel advice. These included directories of hotels, camps, road houses, and restaurants which would serve African Americans. Jewish travelers, who had long experienced discrimination at many vacation spots, created guides for their own community, though they were at least able to visibly blend in more easily with the general population. African Americans followed suit with publications such as Hackley and Harrison’s Hotel and Apartment Guide for Colored Travelers, published in 1930 to cover “Board, Rooms, Garage Accommodations, etc. in 300 Cities in the United States and Canada”.

The Negro Motorist Green Book was one of the best known of the African-American travel guides. It was conceived in 1932 and first published in 1936 by Victor H. Green, a World War I veteran from New York City who worked as a mail carrier and later as a travel agent. He said his aim was “to give the Negro traveler information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments and to make his trip more enjoyable.” According to an editorial written by Novera C. Dashiell in the Spring 1956 edition of the Green Book, “the idea crystallized when not only [Green] but several friends and acquaintances complained of the difficulties encountered; oftentimes painful embarrassments suffered which ruined a vacation or business trip.”

Green asked his readers to provide information “on the Negro motoring conditions, scenic wonders in your travels, places visited of interest and short stories on one’s motoring experience.” He offered a reward of one dollar for each accepted account, which he increased to five dollars by 1941. He also obtained information from colleagues in the US Postal Service, who would “ask around on their routes” to find suitable public accommodations. The Postal Service was (and is) one of the largest employers of African Americans, and its employees were ideally situated to inform Green of which places were safe and hospitable to African-American travelers.

The Green Book’s motto, displayed on the front cover, urged black travelers to “Carry your Green Book with you – You may need it”. The 1949 edition included a quote from Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice”, inverting Twain’s original meaning; as Cotton Seiler puts it, “here it was the visited, rather than the visitors, who would find themselves enriched by the encounter.” Green commented in 1940 that the Green Book had given black Americans “something authentic to travel by and to make traveling better for the Negro.” Its principal goal was to provide accurate information on black-friendly accommodations to answer the constant question that faced black drivers: “Where will you spend the night?” As well as essential information on lodgings, service stations and garages, it provided details of leisure facilities open to African Americans, including beauty salons, restaurants, nightclubs and country clubs. The listings focused on four main categories – hotels, motels, tourist homes (private residences, usually owned by African Americans, which provided accommodation to travelers), and restaurants. They were arranged by state and subdivided by city, giving the name and address of each business. For an extra payment, businesses could have their listing displayed in bold type or have a star next to it to denote that they were “recommended”.

Many such establishments were run by and for African Americans and in some cases were named after prominent figures in African-American history. In North Carolina, such black-owned businesses included the Carver, Lincoln, and Booker T. Washington hotels, the Friendly City beauty parlor, the Black Beauty Tea Room, the New Progressive tailor shop, the Big Buster tavern, and the Blue Duck Inn. Each edition also included feature articles on travel and destinations, and included a listing of black resorts such as Idlewild, Michigan; Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts; and Belmar, New Jersey. The state of New Mexico was particularly recommended as a place where most motels would welcome “guests on the basis of ‘cash rather than color.'”



The College View Court-Hotel in Waco, Texas advertised itself in the 1950s as “Waco’s Finest for Negroes”.

The Green Book attracted sponsorship from a number of businesses, including the African-American newspapers Call and Postof Cleveland, Ohio, and the Louisville Leader of Louisville, KentuckyStandard Oil (later Esso) was also a sponsor, owing to the efforts of James “Billboard” Jackson, a pioneering African-American Esso sales representative. Esso’s “race group”, part of its marketing division, promoted the Green Book as enabling Esso’s black customers to “go further with less anxiety”. By contrast, Shell gas stations were known to refuse black customers. The 1949 edition included an Esso endorsement message that told readers: “As representatives of the Esso Standard Oil Co., we are pleased to recommend the Green Book for your travel convenience. Keep one on hand each year and when you are planning your trips, let Esso Touring Service supply you with maps and complete routings, and for real ‘Happy Motoring’ – use Esso Products and Esso Service wherever you find the Esso sign.” Photographs of some African-American entrepreneurs who owned Esso gas stations appeared in the pages of the Green Book.

Although Green usually refrained from editorializing in the Green Book, he let his readers’ letters speak for the influence of his guide. William Smith of Hackensack, New Jersey, described it as a “credit to the Negro Race” in a letter published in the 1938 edition. He commented:

It is a book badly needed among our Race since the advent of the motor age. Realizing the only way we knew where and how to reach our pleasure resorts was in a way of speaking, by word of mouth, until the publication of The Negro Motorist Green Book … We earnestly believe that [it] will mean as much if not more to us as the A.A.A. means to the white race.”


The “colored only” Hotel Clark in Memphis, Tennessee

Earl Hutchinson Sr., the father of journalist Earl Ofari Hutchinson, wrote of a 1955 move from Chicago to California that “you literally didn’t leave home without [the Green Book].” Ernest Green, one of the Little Rock Nine, used the Green Book to navigate the 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from Arkansas to Virginia in the 1950s and comments that “it was one of the survival tools of segregated life”.According to the civil rights leader Julian Bond, recalling his parents’ use of the Green Book, “it was a guidebook that told you not where the best places were to eat, but where there was any place.” Bond comments:

You think about the things that most travelers take for granted, or most people today take for granted. If I go to New York City and want a hair cut, it’s pretty easy for me to find a place where that can happen, but it wasn’t easy then. White barbers would not cut black peoples’ hair. White beauty parlors would not take black women as customers — hotels and so on, down the line. You needed the Green Book to tell you where you can go without having doors slammed in your face.

While the Green Book was intended to make life easier for those living under Jim Crow, its publisher looked forward to a time when such guidebooks would no longer be necessary. As Green wrote, “there will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go as we please, and without embarrassment.”

Los Angeles is now considering offering special protection to the sites that kept black travelers safe. Ken Bernstein, principal planner for the city’s Office of Historic Resources notes, “At the very least, these sites can be incorporated into our city’s online inventory system. They are part of the story of African Americans in Los Angeles, and the story of Los Angeles itself writ large.”

Publishing history

The Green Book was published locally in New York, but its popularity was such that from 1937 it was distributed nationally with input from Charles McDowell, a collaborator on Negro Affairs for the United States Travel Bureau, a government agency. With new editions published annually from 1936 to 1940, the Green Book’spublication was suspended during World War II and resumed in 1946. Its scope expanded greatly during its years of publication; from covering only the New York City metropolitan area in the first edition, it eventually covered facilities in most of the United States and parts of Canada (primarily Montreal), Mexico and Bermuda. Coverage was good in the eastern US and weak in Great Plains states such as North Dakota, where there were few black residents. It eventually sold around 15,000 copies per year, distributed by mail order, by black-owned businesses and Esso service stations, some of which – unusual for the oil industry at the time – were franchised to African Americans.

It originally sold for 25 cents, increasing to $1.25 by 1957. With the book’s growing success, Green retired from the post office and hired a small publishing staff that operated from 200 West 135th Street in Harlem. He also established a vacation reservation service in 1947 to take advantage of the post-war boom in automobile travel. From 10 pages in its first edition, by 1949 he had expanded the Green Book to more than 80 pages, including advertisements.

The 1951 Green Book recommended that black-owned businesses raise their standards, as travelers were “no longer content to pay top prices for inferior accommodations and services”. The quality of black-owned lodgings was coming under scrutiny, as many prosperous blacks found them to be second-rate compared to the white-owned lodgings from which they were excluded. In 1952, Green renamed the publication The Negro Travelers’ Green Book, in recognition of its coverage of international destinations requiring travel by plane and ship. Although segregation was still in force, by state laws in the South and often by practice elsewhere, the wide circulation of the Green Book had attracted growing interest from white businesses that wanted to tap into the potential sales of the black market. The 1955 edition noted:

A few years after its publication … white business has also recognized its [The Green Book’s] value and it is now in use by the Esso Standard Oil Co., The American Automobile Assn. and its affiliate automobile clubs throughout the country, other automobile clubs, air lines, travel bureaus, travelers aid, libraries and thousands of subscribers.

By the start of the 1960s, the Green Books market was beginning to erode; African-American civil rights activism was having effects, even before the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit racial segregation in public facilities. An increasing number of middle-class African Americans were beginning to question whether guides such as the Green Book were accommodating Jim Crow by steering black travelers to segregated businesses rather than encouraging them to push for equal access. Black-owned motels in remote locations off state highways lost customers to a new generation of integrated interstate motels located near freeway exits. The 1963 Green Book acknowledged that the activism of the civil rights movement had “widened the areas of public accommodations accessible to all,” but it defended the continued listing of black-friendly businesses because “a family planning for a vacation hopes for one that is free of tensions and problems.”

The 1966 edition was the last to be published after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made the guide effectively obsolete by outlawing racial discrimination in public accommodations. The last edition of the Green Book included significant changes that reflected the post-Civil Rights Act outlook. The title was changed to Traveler’s Green Book: International Edition – no longer just for the Negro, or the motorist – as its publishers sought to widen its appeal. Although the content continued to proclaim its mission of highlighting leisure options for black travelers, the cover featured an affluent white blonde water-skiing – a sign of how, as Michael Ra-Shon Hall puts it, “the Green Book ‘whitened’ its surface and internationalized its scope, while still remaining true to its founding mission to ensure the security of African-American travelers both in the US and abroad.”



Black Inventors

Click on the following link learn about Black inventors and their inventions..

Black Inventors


 (Hansberry’s family had gone to the Supreme Court (Hansberry V. Lee) in 1940 to end a restrictive covenant that prevented African Americans from buying or leasing land in a Chicago neighborhood. She used that experience to write Raisins in the Sun, and became the first black woman to write a Broadway play. Her best known work, the play A Raisin in the Sun, highlights the lives of Black Americans living under racial segregation in Chicago. Hansberry’s family had struggled against segregation, challenging a restrictive covenant and eventually provoking the Supreme Court case Hansberry v. Lee. The title of the play was taken from the poem “Harlem” by Langston Hughes: “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?”

Lorraine Hansberry died in 1965, only 34.)





Ralph Bunche

Black folks have always known how to “keep the peace,” but no one has done it like Ralph Bunche in the early 1900s. As a talented diplomat, he left his mark on the world by creating something much bigger than himself —The United Nations.

Born in Detroit, Bunche’s father was a skilled barber and his mother played music professionally. With his parents’ backing, Bunche championed a stellar academic career which catapulted him into prestigious positions within the state and national government.

After obtaining degrees from UCLA and Harvard, he pursued post-graduate opportunities at the London School of Economics before joining the U.S. State Department. He was notably the first African-American to receive a PhD in Political Science as well.

Without Bunche, there would likely be no United Nations. His direction and negotiation skills contributed to the global organization’s founding in 1945. The UN is responsible for maintaining international security, facilitating peacekeeping efforts, and delivering humanitarian aid to countries in need.

Bunche was such a powerful force that President Harry Truman tried to poach him to come work for the White House, but he declined because he did not agree with many of the segregationist policies being purported by the administration.

Instead, he coupled his government career with civil rights activism. He participated in the March on Washington and the Selma to Montgomery March in addition to offering support to the NAACP and Urban League.

As if helping found the UN was not impressive enough, Bunche became the first Black person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. After his superior was brutally murdered in Palestine, he was asked to step in and negotiate a truce during the Arab-Israeli conflict. After three arduous years of discussions, he did just that.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy bestowed Ralph Bunche the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which recognizes anyone who has had “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural, or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Ralph Bunche was a man of few words but took numerous actions that impacted not only the Black community, but the whole world. He honorably blazed an unbeaten path to set the stage for Blacks to enter government and demand a seat at the table.



Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. Northerners at the time found it hard to believe that such a great orator had once been a slave.

He was given the name Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey but decided to change it when he became a free man. Although he was set on keeping his first name “Frederick”, he asked his friend Nathan Johnson to help him choose a last name. Johnson had been reading Sir Walter Scott’s narrative poem, Lady of the Lake, and recommended the name of a main character: Douglass.


Meet Angel Rich, the entrepreneur whose app tackles financial literacy for youth

Did you know she’s being called the black Steve Jobs despite the challenges of being a woman in the tech biz?

Read more about the woman being called the next Steve Jobs.  Click here –> Angel Rich 


Did you know that Zelda Wynn Valdes: Black Fashion Designer Who Created the Playboy Bunny Outfit

Zelda Wynn Valdez is credited with creating iconic Playboy Bunny costume.

Zelda Wynn Valdes was an influential African American fashion designer perhaps best known for helping to create the iconic Playboy Bunny costume. She grew up in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania where she began her professional career working in her uncle’s White Plains, New York tailoring shop.  Around the same time, Valdes began working as a stock girl at a high-end boutique where she eventually worked her way up to selling and making alterations. She recalled this as being hard work but something that “taught her what she needed to know.”

Read More


William Edmondson: First black artist to give a “One Man Show” at the Museum of Modern Art.

William Edmondson was the first black artist to give a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1937. Edmonson had little formal education and grew up near Nashville, Tennessee, with his mother, who worked as a farm worker after the death of Edmondson’s father.

Edmondson believed his work was inspired by God. He began carving tombstones, which later expanded to include sports heroes, birdbaths, and figures from the Bible. During the 1930s, he began carving tombstones for Nashville’s black community out of pieces of limestone that had been thrown away. People who heard the clanking of Edmondson’s hammer would stop by to see his work and purchase limestone.

As a deeply religious man, he was known to create Biblical figures such as Mary and Martha. People beyond Nashville began to recognize his work, and due to that, he had some of his collection pieces displayed in 1927 at the Museum of Modern Art. After the exhibit, a prominent collector purchased some of his pieces; from that point on, Edmondson was known among national art circles.

The fame never seemed to concern Edmondson because he was doing the work of God. Edmondson connected with other artists of the Harlem Renaissance to discuss ideas. He later worked as an artist on Works Progress Administration projects in Nashville. Edmondson went on to give other solo shows. He died in 1951 at the age of 81.

Read the full story at the African American Registry.


Creator of convenience:  William Purvis, revolutionized business with the invention of the fountain pen 

On January 7, 1890, William Purvis of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received a patent for the fountain pen. The pen eliminated the need for an ink bottle by storing ink within a reservoir within the pen which is then fed to the pen’s tip. The creation of the fountain pen has made office work cleaner and less expensive for businesses all over the world.

“The object of my invention is to provide a simple, durable, and inexpensive construction of a fountain pen adapted to general use and which may be carried in the pocket.”–William Purvis
Also, Purvis successfully patented several other inventions including a bag machines, a bag fastener, a hand stamp, an electric railway device, an electric railway switch and a magnetic car balancing device.  It is believed that he invented, but not patented, items such as the edge cutter found on aluminum foil, cling wrap and wax paper boxes.


Richard Pryor and Carver Center

Click on this link to learn more about Peoria’s history.  Read all about it


Click on this link to learn more about Madame CJ Walker’s history.

Madame CJ Walker