Black firsts

Barbara Hillary, the first Black woman to stand on both the North and South Poles, passed away last month. The famed explorer, speaker, and climate change activist was born June 12, 1931 in New York.   Dear friends, Barbara Hillary has died. She was 88 and had suffered significant health decline in recent months. She […]

Former Gary Mayor Richard Hatcher, who became one of the first black mayors of a big U.S. city when he was elected in 1967, has died. He was 86. Hatcher died Friday night at a Chicago hospital, said his daughter, Indiana state Rep. Ragen Hatcher, a Gary Democrat. She did not provide a cause of […]

Larry Doby may be best known for being the second Black player in major league baseball, and the first to integrate the American League, but he achieved far more. The Camden, S.C. native was born December 13th 1923. Doby, a multi-sport high school athlete in Paterson, N.J., began his pro baseball career with the Negro […]

Tragedy inspired Dr. Margaret Lawrence to pursue a career in medicine and despite facing sexism and extreme racism, she never stopped chasing her dreams. Dr. Lawrence passed last week. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM Lawrence was born in August 19, 1914 in New York City to a schoolteacher mother and Episcopal minister father. She […]

Pearl L. Stewart, a journalist and educator, made history on December 1, 1992 after becoming the editor of “The Oakland Tribune.” The hiring made Stewart the first Black woman to head a major metropolitan daily news publication. Stewart was born in 1951 and was raised between Camden, Ala. and Rochester, N.Y. She entered Howard University […]

The late Gordon Parks was a self-taught artist who went on to break several barriers while also capturing some of the most stirring images of Black America. The Kansas native was born November 30, 1912. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM Parks was born in the town of Fort Scott where his family lived modestly. […]

Even before Tiger Woods made his dominant run in golf, Black golfers have made their mark on the game, including pioneers like Charlie Sifford, the first African-American to play on the PGA tour. In Atlanta, the golf team at the Drew Charter School made history by becoming the first all-Black squad to win a Georgia […]

George Washington Henderson was born into slavery in Clarke County, Va. on November 11, 1850, and he went on to become a respected scholar and minister. He was the first Black person inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s top honors society. Not much is known about Henderson’s early life, but as a teenager, he […]

Hulan Jack made history on November 4, 1953 after he was elected as the borough president of Manhattan, the first for a Black man. However, Jack’s historic feat has been nearly wiped from public memory due to scandal, nearly erasing his years of good work in public service. Jack was born on December 29, 1906 […]

Hal Jackson was a broadcaster who broke a number of barriers and worked hard to bring balance in a field dominated by whites. The pioneering disc jockey was born November 3, 1915. Harold Baron Jackson was born in Charleston, S.C. and was raised in Washington, D.C. after losing both parents as a boy. His career […]

Vonetta Flowers had her Summer Olympics hopes dashed twice after being unable to qualify for two U.S. track and field teams in 1996 and 2000 respectively. However, she went on to become the first Black athlete to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. Flowers was born October 29, 1973, and raised in Birmingham, […]

Eugene Ballard is considered to be the first African-American military pilot, although he never flew for the United States. Known as the “Black Swallow of Death,” the Columbus, Ga. native was born October 9, 1895. Born to a father who was a former slave, Ballard lived a troubled childhood and ran away from home several […]