Black Firsts

TJMS

Jackie Robinson’s historic barrier-breaking feat celebrated its 70th anniversary last week, but a pair of forgotten Black baseball players might have some right to Number 42’s historic claim. William Edward White and Moses Fleetwood Walker are credited as players who integrated the MLB many years before Robinson. Very little is known about White but what […]

TJMS

Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour made history as the first Black woman aviator for the U.S. Marines, and also became the first Black woman combat pilot across the U.S. Armed Forces. Today, Armour is a motivational speaker and author and one of the faces of a new campaign aimed at recognizing the contributions of women. Armour was […]

TJMS

While Elvis Presley became the face of Rock ‘N’ Roll, the true genius behind the art form was Chuck Berry. Berry passed in his home last Saturday at the age of 90, leaving behind a legendary influence that stretched far beyond rock music. Berry was born October 18, 1926 in St. Louis, Mo. The future […]

TJMS

Paul Williams was a pioneering architect who achieved several historical firsts en route to his way to becoming home designer to the stars. Along with designing homes for Southern California’s elite, Williams also designed the St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Los Angeles’ Saks Fifth Avenue, among other top designs. Williams was born February 1, 1894, […]

TJMS

  Hallie Quinn Brown was an educator, author, and prominent moment of the women’s suffrage in the early 20th Century. Ms. Brown was also a notable orator and author, publishing a book focusing on the achievements of Black women of her era. Brown was born on this day in 1849 in Pittsburgh, Pa. Her parents, […]

TJMS

In its 130-year history, the prestigious Harvard Law Review has never elected a Black woman to serve as president – until now. ImeIme Umana, a Pennsylvania native and daughter of Nigerian immigrants was elected to the post on Jan. 29 of this year. Umana, 24, was raised in the town of State College. Her late […]

TJMS

Kim Royster had dreams of becoming a professional singer after leaving her small North Carolina town and heading to New York. While her artistic aims fell through, Royster has earned several achievements as a member of the New York Police Department and is the highest-ranked Black female officer on the force. This week, Assistant Chief […]

TJMS

The overwhelming success of the film Hidden Figures, starring Taraji P. Henson, highlighted three African-American women who were instrumental in propelling the U.S. space program. The state of Arkansas has a hidden figure of its own in Raye Montague, who is the first person to design a U.S. Navy ship using a computer. Montague was […]

TJMS

Oscar Holmes broke three color barriers in his lifetime, although he never set out to become a pioneer. Holmes was not only the first Black air traffic controller, he was also the U.S. Navy’s first Black commissioned officer and the military branch’s first Black pilot. Holmes was born January 31, 1916 in Dunbar. W. Va. […]

TJMS

On this day in 1978, NASA graduated its first group of Space Shuttle astronauts which signaled a new day for the space program. Among the group of 35, three Black men went on to leave their mark on history as explorers of space. Maj. Frederick D. Gregory of Washington, Col. Guion Bluford of Pennsylvania, and […]

TJMS

June Bacon-Bercey is a pioneer in the field of meteorology, becoming the first Black woman to earn a degree in the science in the ’50’s. She is also an internationally recognized expert in aviation and weather, and is the first woman and African-American woman to win the American Meteorological Society’s “seal of approval” honor for […]

TJMS

Janie L. Miles made her mark on military history by becoming the first Black woman to graduate from the United States Naval Academy. Miles went on to a stellar career in business after ending her time with the U.S. Navy. Born in 1958 in Aiken, S.C., the 1976 Aiken High School graduate and honor student […]