Black History Facts

GeorgeDowningGeorge T. Downing (1819-1903) – Mr. Downing was a successful businessman, persuasive Civil Rights Leader in the struggle for fair and equal justice for black troops during the Civil War.




percyjulianPercy Julian (1898-1975) – Mr. Julian was a noted chemical scientist forfinding a remedy for arthritis which led to fame and fortune.






William A. Hilton (1883-1959) – Mr. Hilton was a specialist in the study and developments of medicines to fight diseases.



George Washington Carver, was an American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor. The exact day and year of his birth are unknown; he is believed to have been born into slavery in Missouri in January 1864.



channing h tobias
Channing H. Tobias (1881 – 1961) was a civil rights activist and Spingarn Medalist. In 1946 he was appointed to the President’s Committee on Civil Rights.

He received his BA from Paine College in 1902 and went on to Drew Seminary. From 1911 to 1946 he was active in the YMCA and race-related issues involving it. In addition he was on the Board of Trustees of the NAACP and later became its chairman.

Tobias was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.


DanielHWilliams(January 18, 1856 – August 4, 1931) Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, Daniel Hale Williams pursued a pioneering career in medicine. An African-American doctor, in 1893, Williams opened Provident Hospital, the first medical facility to have an interracial staff. He was also the first physician to successfully complete open-heart surgery on a patient. Williams later became chief surgeon of the Freedmen’s Hospital.


bannekar-stampBenjamin Banneker (November 9, 1731 – October 9, 1806) was a free African American scientist, surveyor, almanac author and farmer. Born in Baltimore County, Maryland, to a free African American woman and a former slave, Banneker had little formal education and was largely self-taught. He is known for being part of a group led by Major Andrew Ellicott that surveyed the borders of the original District of Columbia, the federal capital district of the Untied States.

louis_t_wrightLouis Tompkins Wright (July 23, 1891 – October 8, 1952) was an American surgeon noted for his work in Harlem. The 1940 Spingarn Medalist played a major role in investigating the use of Aureomycin as a treatment on humans.





Charles H. Turner (1867 – 1923) obtained a Ph.D degree from Chicago in 1907 and noted for his knowledge of ants and bees.





Isaac_MyersIsaac Myers, a labor leader and mason, was born in Baltimore on January 13, 1835.  He was the son of free parents but grew up in a slave state.  Myers received his early education from a private day school of a local clergyman, Rev. John Fortie, since the state of Maryland provided no public education for African American children at the time.  At 16 years, he became an apprentice to James Jackson, a prominent black Baltimore ship caulker.  Four years later Myers was supervising the caulking of clipper ships operating out of Baltimore.


GeorgeE_Haynes_002George Edmund Haynes (1881 – 1960) – was a social worker, educator, and co-founder and first Executive Director of the National Urban League





madamcjwalkerSarah Breedlove (December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919), known as Madam C. J. Walker, was an American entrepreneur and philanthropist, regarded as the first female self-made millionaire in America. She made her fortune by developing and marketing a successful line of beauty and hair products for black women under the company she founded, Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company.



Theodore K. Lawless (December 6, 1892 – May 1, 1971) was an African-American dermatologist, medical researcher, and philanthropist. He is known for work related to leprosy and syphilis. He also was involved in various charitable causes including Jewish causes. Related to the latter he created the Lawless Department of Dermatology in Beilison Hospital, Tel-Aviv, Israel.[1] He received his degree from Northwestern University[2] and was a self-made millionaire.



Jan Ernst Matzeliger (1852-1889) born in Paramaribo (Suriname), resided in Lynn, Massachusetts.  Matzeliger obtained a patent for his invention in 1883 for his machine that could produce 150 to 700 pairs of shoes a day.  Yet, because of the color of his skin, he was not mentioned in the histor books until recently.



Joseph Lee (1849-1905) was born in 1849 and lived most of his life in Boston, Massachusetts. Lee was very prominent in the food services industry, having begun working as a boy at a bakery. He soon began preparing, cooking and serving food, eventually opening two successful restaurants in the Boston area. In the late 1890s he owned and managed the Woodland Park Hotel in Newton, Massachusetts for 17 years. In 1902, as a way of maintaining an involvement in the food services industry, Lee opened a catering business called the Lee Catering Company which served the wealthy population of Boylston Street in the Back Bay. At the same time he also operated the Squantum Inn, a summer resort in South Shores specializing in seafood. The catering business was a great success and during this time he became interest in eliminating a situation that had become annoying to him.


jwilkinsjrJesse Ernest Wilkins, Jr. (November 27, 1923 – May 1, 2011) was an African American nuclear scientist, engineer, mathematician, who gained first fame on entering the University of Chicago at age 13, becoming its youngest ever student.  His intelligence led to him being referred to as a “negro genius” in the media.

As part of a widely varied and notable career, Wilkins contributed to the Manhattan Project during the Second World War. He also gained fame working in and conducting nuclear physics research in both academia and industry.

lewistempleLewis Temple (1800 – 18 May 1854) The harpoon invented by Lewis Temple was one of the most significant inventions in the history of whaling and was used by virtually every whaleman. Temple, a former slave, had learned the trade of blacksmithing while in bondage. When he arrived in New Bedford in 1829 he found work almost immediately on Coffin’s Wharf. This is the same wharf where Frederick Douglass later found work as a caulker. After several years Temple established his own blacksmith shop at 3 Walnut Street. It was there in 1848 that he invented the Temple Toggle Iron.


Charles W. Buggs (1906 – 1991) A scientist and educator of Brunswick, Georgia.  He conducted special research on why some bacteria (germs) do not react to certain medicines.  In 1943, Dr. Charles W. Buggs was appointed to the Wayne University College (Detroit) of Medicine and became the first Negro full-time college faculty member in the state.

marchbanksCol. (Dr.) Vance H. Marchbanks Jr.,  (1905-1988)one of the first black flight surgeons in the Army and the first in the Air Force, made it possible for them and all other astronauts to complete their historic journeys.


rufusRufus Stokes was an inventor born in Alabama in 1924. He later moved to Illinois, where he worked as a machinist for an incinerator company.

In 1968, Rufus Stokes was granted a patent on an air-purification device to reduce the gas and ash emissions of furnace and powerplant smokestack emissions. The filtered output from the stacks became almost transparent. Stokes tested and demonstrated several models of stack filters, termed the “clean air machine”, in Chicago and elsewhere to show its versatility.


fannie louFannie Lou Hamer (born Fannie Lou Townsend; October 6, 1917 – March 14, 1977) was an American voting American Voting rights activist and civil rights leader. She was instrumental in organizing Mississippi Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee  (SNCC), and later became the Vice-Chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, attending the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in that capacity. Her plain-spoken manner and fervent belief in the Biblical righteousness of her cause gained her a reputation as an electrifying speaker and constant activist of civil rights.

fjgrimkeFrancis James Grimké (4 November 1852 – 11 October 1937) was a Presbyterian minister who was prominent in working for equal rights for African Americans. He was active in the Niagara Movement and helped found the National Association for the dvancement of Colored People (NAACP).


Rev. Franklin Murray, Sr., Pastor