Latino Facts: Anthony Muñoz was a pitcher at USC, and helped his team earn a national championship in 1978.
When offensive tackle Anthony Muñoz was selected as the 3rd overall pick in the 1980 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, many pundits felt that Head Coach Sam Wyche had made a bad
selection because the 6-6, 278 pounder had only played in one full game during his injury riddled senior year at the University of Southern California. However, Wyche and Muñoz would have the last laugh. Not only was Muñoz named Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1981, 1987, 1988 and the NFL Players Association Lineman of the Year in 1981, 1985, 1988 and 1989, but he was selected to the Pro Bowl 11 consecutive times.
Muñoz' hard work on the field helped the Cincinnati
Bengals to three AFC Central Division titles and two Super
Bowl berths in 1982 and 1989. His blocking abilities were
unparalleled as he not only possessed the power to flatten
an opponent, but also the ability finesse. During the 1987
season Muñoz allowed only 1½ sacks; a unheard
accomplishment. Believed by many to be the greatest
offensive lineman that ever played the game, Muñoz was
voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of
eligibility and is scheduled to be inducted in the summer of
by Roberto Muñoz
Ms. Hunter was born in Memphis, Tennessee. At age 12 she ran away from home to Chicago to start her singing career. She sang in flop joints and saloons until she gained some recognition. Hunter wrote much of her own material. "Down-hearted Blues" a big hit for Bessie Smith, was penned by Hunter.
Hunter made her way to New York and started her recording career on the Black Swan label. Her best recordings were made for Paramount. She traveled to Europe in the 20's to sing jazz, show tunes, blues and pop songs of the day. In the 30's she traveled to the mid-east and Russia. At home she was always welcomed at the Cotton Club in Harlem.
During World War II she entertained troops in China, Burma, India, Korea and Europe with the USO. After the war was over she continued to work in the US and in Canada. In 1956 she retired to care for her mother and didn't reappear until 1977. Surprised that she still had a following after her long retirement, she performed in cabarets until she died in 1984.
by Lindsey Page
Minnie Tallulah Grant's Daughter
Alice Malsenior Walker was born February 9, 1944, the youngest of eight children. Her parents were sharecroppers in Eatonville, Georgia. An outstanding student, Alice earned a scholarship to Spellman College in Atlanta, Georgia, and later another scholarship to Sarah Lawrence College in New York.
After her junior year at Sarah Lawrence College, Alice got a chance to go to Africa and Europe. It opened her eyes to another world. After returning to school Alice became pregnant. Afraid to face her parents, she was able to get a safe abortion with the help of friends. During this period, she was very depressed and wrote to console herself.
Walker graduated in 1965 and returned to Georgia to work with the Civil Rights movement. By 1973 she was an accomplished writer and became the editor at "Ms. Magazine." The Color Purple, her greatest project to date, won her the Pulitzer Prize.
Awarded Presidential Medal Of Freedom
Andrew Young was born to a middle class family in New Orleans, Louisiana--the Jim Crow South. He studied theology and became a minister of the United Church of Christ, pastoring in small churches before moving to New York City in 1957.
In 1961 he went to Atlanta, Georgia to work for Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He was on the front line for desegregation throughout the United States.
Young has since gone on to become one of the most renowned Black politicans of our time. He was the first Black since Reconstruction to represent a southern district in Congress. He was the first Black American delegate in the United Nations, and has served as the Ambassador to the United Nations. He was twice elected the mayor of Atlanta. He was also a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian award.
True or False
Born in 1956 on a farm in Okmulgee County, OK, to Albert and Erma Hill, Anita Hill is the youngest of 13 children. She attended Oklahoma State University, graduating in 1977, and continued to Yale Law School, where she received a J.D. degree in 1980.
Joining Washington, DC, firm of Wald, Harkrader & Ross in 1981, she met Judge Clarence Thomas and was asked to take an assistantship with him upon his appointment to Assistant
Secretary of Education for Civil Rights. She worked on projects including papers on the education of minority students and began organization of a seminar on high-risk students, which was abandoned upon Judge Thomas' transfer to the Chaimanship of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC.)
Anita Hill, by then an University of Oklahoma law professor, came forward during Judge Thomas' 1991 Senate confirmation hearings for his appointment as associate justice of the Supreme Court to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had sexually harassed her during her tenure as his assistant.
During her early employment with Judge Thomas she later reported that he asked her to go out socially with him. When she refused, he continued to press her and began taking every opportunity to have graphic sexual conversations with her. When Judge Thomas transferred to the EEOC, she agonized over whether to accompany him as his assistant, ultimately agreeing to do so because of her enjoyment of the work and lack of an alternative source of employment.
After a brief respite, the sexual comments and pressure to date Judge Thomas continued, and in January 1983, she began looking for another job. Feeling handicapped due to fear that Judge Thomas might make it difficult for her and that she might be dismissed, Hill was also trying to find other employment in the midst of a hiring freeze in the Federal government.
In the spring of 1983, Hill had an opportunity to teach at Oral Roberts University, participating in a seminar and teaching an afternoon session in a seminar. The dean of the university asked Hill if would be interested in teaching at Oral Roberts University and Hill readily agreed due to the pressure she felt at the EEOC.
Hill testified that Judge Thomas' reaction to the news of her leaving was to tell her that she now had no excuse not to go out with him, and he pressured her into a dinner date, which she reluctantly agreed to on her last day at the EEOC. She testified that during the dinner Judge Thomas told her that if she ever told anyone of his behavior that it would ruin his career. She also testified that she had had only minimal, primarily phone contact with Judge Thomas from 1983 until the date of the hearings.
Judge Thomas denied Hill's allegations during the hearings, and a media frenzy erupted. Thomas termed the hearings "a high-tech lynching for uppity Blacks." With no hard evidence either way, it became a matter of one person's word against the other's, and the Senate voted 52-48 to confirm Clarence Thomas as associate justice of the Supreme Court. Anita Hill, meanwhile, returned to lecturing, teaching and research, and currently works at Brandeis University in Massachusetts as a professor of law, social policy and women's studies.
by Nancy McPoland
Making his debut as the first black late-night talk show host in history in the 80's, Arsenio Hall provided a showcase for hardcore rap and hip-hop artists, and was also noted for controversial guests like Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Hall was born February 12, 1956, and began his show business career at the age of seven with a magic act he performing a magic act at wedding receptions. He later became interested in music and Theater Arts while in school.
In 1979 he moved to Chicago where he was discovered by Nancy Wilson performing in a comedy club, and she helped him relocate to Los Angeles. Hall was the opening act for Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Tom Jones, Wayne Newton, Tina Turner, and Anita Baker in the early 80's. In 1983, Arsenio moved into late night TV on such shows as "Thicke of the Night" and "Solid Gold." In 1987, Arsenio was asked to replace Joan Rivers on the Fox Network series "The Late Show."
Due to the popularity of his 13 week performance as interim guest host, Paramount Pictures signed him to an exclusive, multi-film agreement with Paramount Pictures, which led to the development and writing of "Coming to America," starring Hall's friend Eddie Murphy. Paramount Domestic Television then offered him his own syndicated late-night show.
"The Arsenio Hall Show" made its debut in January, 1989 to more than 200 markets nationwide. Attracting a younger, more hip audience than rival Johnny Carson, Hall was noted for booking younger music and TV stars than other shows. His audience became known for its rowdiness, with Hall's signature "Woof! Woof!" chant taking its place in American popular culture. Hall wanted his show to feel like a house party with just a few good friends.
Born Bella Savitsky in New York City May 24, 1920 a month before women in the US won the right to vote, Bella Abzug, known affectionately as "Battling Bella," was a strong figure from early childhood. She particularly enjoyed playing (and beating) the boys at their own games, especially marbles.
Bella joined a left-wing labor Zionist youth group known as , Hashomer Hatzair [the young guard] in grammar school and planned to go to Israel to live on a kibbutz. World War II intervened, however, as well as the death of Bella's father. Bella said "Kaddish" for her father, attending synagogue every morning for a year and "davened" (prayed) despite the congregation's disapproval of a girl taking such a role.
Attending Hunter College, Bella made a spectacular showing, winning a scholarship to Columbia Law School after her first choice, Harvard, turned down her application due to the all-male nature of the Law School at the time. Harvard did not admit women to the Law School until 1952.
Bella had a sterling record at Columbia, winning editorship of the Law Review. She met Martin Abzug, a writer, while vacationing in Miami, and the pair married in 1944, with Martin promising to type Bella's briefs (she never learned to type) and that she would continue to work even after the couple had children, which had been a major stumbling block to Bella's thoughts of marriage.
Bella joined a law firm upon graduation that specialized in labor cases and union locals, and became known as one of the few independent lawyers willing to defend "Communists" during the McCarthy witch hunts. She also defended a black Mississippi man known as Willie McGee, taking the case all the way to the US Supreme Court and winning two stays of execution for McGee, before losing a change of venue appeal.
Despite international press and support, McGee went to the electric chair in 1950, and Bella, pregnant during the final appeals process, suffered a miscarriage.
Bella and a number of her Hunter College friends founded the organization Women Strike for Peace in 1961, which lobbied throughout the 60s for a nuclear test ban treaty, as well as protesting the war in Vietnam.
Bella ran for Congress at the age of 50 in 1970, and was the first woman elected on a women's rights platform. Known for her brash manner, and her spectacular hats, Bella was to be later known as the "third most influential member of the House." Appointed chair of the Subcommittee on Government Information and Individual Rights, she co-authored three major pieces of legislation: the Freedom of Information Act, the Government in the Sunshine Act, and the Right to Privacy Act.
Bella was the first member of Congress to call for President Nixon's impeachment, and helped organize the National Women's Political Caucus. Her focus on women's rights helped enact laws against discrimination in financial matters, for child care, family planning and abortion rights.
Bella was re-elected for three terms, serving from 1971-77, and was appointed her chair of the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year in 1976, by President Jimmy Carter and later co-chair of the National Advisory Commission for Women.
She ran unsucessfully for the US Senate in 1976, losing narrowly to Daniel Patrick Moynihan. She became an international women's rights leader and spokesperson throughout the 80s and helped found founded the Women's Environment and Development Organization in 1990.
Abzug died in New York City on March 31, 1998, of complications after heart surgery. Gloria Steinem, a fellow feminist, said of Abzug, "In a just country, she would have been President."
by Nancy McPoland
Buried Alive in Suburbia
"The feminine mystique has succeeded in burying millions of American women alive."
Born Betty Naomi Goldstein in Peoria, Illinois in 1921, Freidan graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts 1947, earning fellowships to work on a doctorate in psychology. Instead she abandoned her career plans due to what she later called "the feminine mystique," married met Carl Friedan, an actor, by whom she would have three children, and spent nearly 20 years as a housewife, or so she would claim later.
In actuality Freidan continued to work outside the home as a journalist and free-lance magazine writer, writing for the Federated Press, a left-wing news bureau who provided news stories, particularly about union activity, to national newspapers.
In the 60's, after surveying female college graduates, she came across some common threads of experience among woman in in 1963 published THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE, which caught the public imagination and became an international best-seller. The book was an examination of the frustrated lives of American woman who were trapped in a role that allowed them expression only as a wife and/or mother.
Credited as the inspiration for thousands of woman and the single most important influence on the modern feminist movement, Friedan's research and conclusions in THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE have been called into question in recent years. A large part of Friedan's book is based on now-discredited research by Margaret Mead (in COMING OF AGE IN AMERICAN SAMOA) and Alfred Kinsey in (SEXUAL BEHAVIOR IN THE HUMAN MALE and SEXUAL BEHAVIOR IN THE HUMAN FEMALE.) However, no one can deny that Friedan played a major role as the voice of the Baby Boomer woman's movement, despite any questions made of her research and sources.
One of the founders of the National Organization for Woman (NOW) in 1966, Friedan served as the organization's first president from 1966-1970 and worked to force enactment of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination on the basis of race or sex. "Equal Pay for Equal Work" was the rallying cry, since in the 1970s women were earning on average sixty cents for every dollar a man in a similar job earned. Friedan and her husband divorced in 1969, and she retained custody of her youngest child, the two older children were adults by that time.
Resigning from NOW in 1970, Friedan continued to work for political reform, particularly in her support of the Equal Rights Amendment, and made her living as a teacher, speaker, writer and activist in woman's causes.
In 1975 Betty Friedan was named Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association and received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Smith College.
Friedan in the 80's began to feel that some members of the feminist movement had taken an extremist position, and she published THE SECOND STAGE, calling for a more moderate approach. Her 1993 THE FOUNTAIN OF AGE dealt with older people and their search for fulfillment. In 1997 Friedan published BEYOND GENDER: THE NEW POLITICS OF WORK AND FAMILY calling for men and women to work together in political activism.
Four Star General
The highest-ranking African-American officer in U.S. history and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989-93, Colin Powell was born to Jamaican immigrants in New York City on April 5, 1937. Raised in the South Bronx and attending New York City public schools, Powell earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from CCNY, where he joined the ROTC program, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1958.
Powell served in West Germany before going to South Vietnam as a military adviser in 1962, with a second tour of duty in 1968 as a battalion executive officer in the American Division. He was awarded two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, a Soldier’s Medal, and the Legion of Merit for his Vietnam service.
After receiving an MBA from George Washington University in 1971, Powell was awarded a White House fellowship, and held various high-level political positions while advancing in his military career. Powell served as President Ronald Reagan's national security adviser from 1987 to 1989. In 1989, under the Bush administration, he was made a four-star general and was appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, becoming the youngest person and first African American to hold the post.
First Woman Vice Presidential Nominee
Born in 1935 in Newburgh, New York, to Dominick Ferraro, an Italian immigrant, and Antonetta Ferraro, Geraldine Ferraro graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in 1956. Attending Fordham Law School, she graduated in 1960, and married businessman John A. Zaccaro.
During the 1960s, Ferraro raised her children, practicing law occasionally at her husband's real estate office. In 1974, with the help of cousin Nicholas Ferraro, then district attorney of Queens she got a job as an assistant district attorney, heading a victims' bureau dealing with sex crimes, child abuse and crimes against the elderly.
Ferraro sought the Democratic nomination for her congressional district in 1978 and won the primary, then went on to defeat her Republican opponent and won reelection in 1980 and 1982. In the House, Ferraro served on committees
such as Post Office and Civil Service, Public Works and Transportation, and Budget. In January 1984, she became chair of the Democratic PlatformCommittee.
At the Democratic National Convention in July 1984, she became the first woman vice-presidential nominee of a major party when presidential nominee Walter Mondale selected Ferraro as his running mate. Mondale's decision was intended to make use of the so-called "gender gap" in voting patterns, and Democrats also hoped that Catholic Italian-American Ferraro would appeal to blue-collar voters who had been leaving the party for the Republicans .
A media furor over whether Ferraro would reveal her family finances, over and beyond the income tax statements required by law, requiring her husband's to publicly discuss his business dealings before the press, did not help the Democratic ticket.
Republicans Ronald Reagan and George Bush won the 1984 election with 58.8 percent of the popular vote, sweeping the electoral college. Ferraro returned to the practice of law in New York after the election.
Amazon link: ISBN=068485404X
Framing A Life: A Family Memoir by Geraldine Ferraro and Catherine Whitney
"A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle."
Considered the most famous figure in modern American feminism, Gloria Steinem was born in Toledo Ohio in 1934, granddaughter of famous feminist Pauline Steinem.
Attending school only sporadically until the age of ten due to the family's travels, she was the caretaker for her mother, who suffered a nervous breakdown when she and her husband divorced. Steinem was to later say that she felt her mother was a "non-person" and it wasn't until Gloria was a student at Smith College that she understood her mother's frustration at having had to give up her career upon marriage. Steinem was appalled at the lack of attention that had been paid to her mother's illness due to her gender.
Gloria Steinem graduated from Smith College in 1956, spent two years on a fellowship in India and upon returning home began working as a free-lance journalist. Her article for Esquire Magazine, "A Bunny's Tale," on her three weeks undercover adventures as a Playboy Bunny gathered her national attention for its searing portrayal of the working conditions and poor salaries in the Playboy Clubs but little respect from her peers.
Co-founder of New York Magazine in 1968, Steinem became active in many political causes, particularly women's issues. Covering abortion hearings in 1968, Steinem took criticism from male colleagues for her coverage that differed from the standard male party line, and became focused on feminist issues. Her attractiveness and youth helped belie the image of feminists as bra-burning battleaxes.
Co-founder of Ms. Magazine in 1971 with Dorothy Pitman Hughes, an African American feminist who helped shape Steinem's feminist philosophy, Steinem remains as a contributing editor to the present day. Her focus has been to bridge the gap between the white-oriented feminism of Betty Friedan and other pioneers and women of all races, whom she felt had been neglected by the earlier feminists. Steinem also, along with Bella Abzug and other Smith College friends helped found the National Women's Political Caucus in 1971.
Steinem was named 1972 Woman of the Year by McCall's Magazine. Her first book, , Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions was published in 1983, and was followed by a biography of Marilyn Monroe, Revolution From Within: A Book of Self-Esteem in 1992, and Moving Beyond Words/Age, Rage, Sex, Power, Money, Muscles : Breaking the Boundaries of Gender in 1995.
Steinem and other women investors formed a group in 1999 to re-purchase Ms. Magazine from a corporate owner who had acquired in 1989, feeling that the magazine had lost its commitment to women's issues. Never married, Steinem continues a busy writing and speaking career to the present day, despite a 1994 bout with trigeminal neuralgia which forced her to cancel a national speaking tour, and from which she has since completely recovered.
She is still actively speaking out concerning feminist issues, including a 1997 article condemning Hollywood's "cleaning up" of the image of pornographer Larry Flynt of Hustler Magazine in the movie, The People vs. Larry Flynt. She has also been active in the protest movement surrounding the Death Row conviction of Mumia Abu-Jamal. As a leading spokesperson for modern American feminism, she continues to be a role model and inspiration for women everywhere.
Huey P. Newton
Black Panther Party
Newton was born in Oak Grove, Louisiana in 1942 and grew up in Oakland, California. He graduated high school, but before he could go on to college he had to teach himself how to read. At Merritt College, Newton met Bobby Seale and together they formed the Black Panthers. They organized the group in response to police brutality and racism. During the 1960's, the Panthers claimed up to 2,000 members in different cities.
The Black Panther Party at it's best was a group of young people trying to make life better for Black people. Of the many stories about the BPP little is said about the good they were trying to achieve. They thought of themselves as brave young warriors out to make a better way of life for their own. As with revolutions, there is always the opposition that oppose the changes being attempted.
In 1967 Newton was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the death of a police officer. The conviction was overturned about 2 years later and he was released from prison. In 1974 he was again accused of murder and he fled to Cuba. He stayed in Cuba for 3 years and when he returned to the US he was tried twice--both trials resulted in hung juries.
The Black Panther Party disbanded in 1982. In 1989 Newton was sentenced to a 6-month jail term for stealing funds intended for a Panther-founded school in Oakland. In August of the same year, he was found shot dead on a street in Oakland. It is believed that he was killed by a drug dealer.
What killed this man? Who killed this man? Was his death by design? These are questions that will be debated for years to come.
After having taught at James A. Garfield High School in East Los Angeles for 5 years, math teacher Jaime Escalante
decided in 1981 it was time to teach his students the difficult subject of Calculus. Escalante felt that he had found a group
of students who had the ability to tackle this subject and
use it to their advantage. Although the faculty at Garfield
was at first reluctant to allow him to go forward with his
efforts, in the end they conceded.
Just teaching Calculus was not enough to justify students
and teacher dedicating more time than normal on one subject. What convinced both students and faculty to go along with Escalante was the chance for the students to take the Advance Placement Calculus Exam which if passed would not only prove Latino students had the skills to tackle a difficult subject, but also provide them with valuable college credit.
After months of preparation the test was finally taken and
all 18 students received passing grades (AP Exam grades
range from 1 to 5 with 5 being best and 3 considered passing), and several students scoring 4's and 5's. The grades came as a welcome surprise to the Garfield community and also caught the attention of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) which administers the tests. To the ETS the grades looked like widespread cheating had taken place, especially since the test had never been taken by such a large number of Latinos in one area, and since only 2% of the students attempting the test actually pass.
The ETS dispatched investigators to find out how the
students had cheated and who provided them with the answers. Outraged, the Garfield community responded with cries of elitism and racism as the investigator conducted their search. The Mexican American Lega Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) approached Escalante and guaranteed to cover all legal costs should he elect to take the ETS to court. Escalante, though upset that his students were labeled cheaters, declined legal recourse. Instead he felt the students should retake the exam and prove to the ETS and the entire world that they were right all along.
The ETS agreed to another test, and sent special proctors to watch over the students while they took the test. When the results came back, several students scored even higher than before. The ETS was forced to apologize and the original scores were reinstated.
Since then the number of students taking Advance
Placement exams at Garfield has increased each year,
and Escalante has received numerous accolades for his
teaching ability along with generous corporate sponsorship
to continue his work.
by Roberto Muñoz
Crazy Horse Monument
In 1939 Sioux Chief Henry Standing Bear wrote to Korczak Ziolkowski (pronounced jool-cuff-ski), a sculptor who had worked on Mt. Rushmore, and asked if he could begin work on a sculpture of the Sioux warrior Crazy Horse.
"My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes, too," the chief wrote. Seven years later Ziolkowski began the project with the intention of carving the Black Hills of South Dakota into the world's largest sculpture.
Donations and tourist fees fund the project, which will include a university and medical training center for Native Americans at the base of the mountain. Ziolkowski declined all federal funds while working on the project. After his death in 1982, Ziolkowski's children took over the project. Crazy Horse's head is scheduled for completion in 1998, but the complete sculpture will probably not be finished in our lifetime.
It is interesting to note that before his death, Crazy Horse is believed to have told his people, "I will return to you, in stone."
Lynn Hart Changes History
Lynn Hart changed history when he helped make Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a holiday and establish the first and only Native American holiday in South Dakota.
Born Richard Lee Sheard to a Black father and a Yankton Sioux mother, he was given up for adoption and renamed. With his new family he grew up in a loving home and had lot of friends.
Like a lot of boys, Hart loved playing cowboys and Indians, however he grew tired of always being the Indian, he wanted to be a cowboy too. He was teased and told that there were no Black cowboys. A cowboy was something that he was determined to become. Meanwhile he worked as a Bullfighter, he had tried bull riding and was not a very successful. Hart's first ride landed him in the hospital for 2 weeks.
He had never seen nor met a Black cowboy until he met Jesse Gillory. Gillory worked for "The Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo," the only Black touring rodeo in the United States.
A new world opened up for Hart, he was offered a job with the Bill Pickett Rodeo and started touring. He met l Black cowboys from all over the US. The young man from South Dakota he was living his dreams. There was one thing that bothered him and that was when he told people he was from South Dakota, some replied asking him about the racism that existed there. Hart felt his home state was getting a bad rap and he wanted the people he met to visit and apprecitate South Dakota as he did.
Hart had always put a lot of time into civic causes. In 1990, South Dakota was one of four states that had not voted Martin Luther King's birthday as a national holiday. When he learned of a hearing scheduled to debate the issue, he felt he had to testify. There were a few obstacles. He had no money and the worst snow storm in years had hit South Dakota. Hart called a friend in Los Angeles, Reginal T. Dorsey and got a loan. The ride in the snow storm was perilous, but he made it in time.
Hart testified that if he had known more about Black history when he was growing up, he wouldn't have had such a big chip on his shoulder. He also said that he loved South Dakota and wanted people to come and see it for themselves. However, if people felt that South Dakota was a racist state they would stay away. Hart's emotional plea at the hearing changed attitudes.
At first the motion was voted down, but the following day it passed. For his testimony, Hart received the "Making of King Holiday," award presented by Stevie Wonder on behalf of the MLK Federal Holiday Commission. One person can make a difference when he or she stands up for what they believe.
Hart is currently speaking around the country. He is a natural teacher and spokesperson. He lives in Watertown, South Dakota.
Mae C. Jemison
First Black Woman in Space
Mae Jemison was born in Decatur, Alabama and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Aggressive in her studies, she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University, while also fulfilling the requirements for a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies. She went on to receive a Doctor of Medicine degree from Cornell University in 1981.
After medical school Dr. Jemison served as a medical officer in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone and Liberia, West Africa. After the Peace Corps she joined CIGNA Health Plans of California. It was during this time that she applied to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for admission to the astronaut program. On her first try she was not accepted.
Dr. Jemison's second application was accepted, and she became 1 of 15 persons selected in a field of 2,000. She was the fifth Black to be accepted and became the first Black woman in space.
What's Going On?
Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. was born in Washington, D.C. on April 2, 1939. Marvin's mother was often the bread winner for the family. Marvin, Sr. was a preacher until the mid-fifties. It seemed he just lost faith and stopped preaching.
Marvin left home at 19 and went to Chicago with a new group called the Moonglows - which lasted about a year. His talent, however, was recognized immediately and in 1960 Marvin found himself at Motown records in Detroit. In 1963 he had his first hit record, "Stubborn Kinda Fella". At 22 years old, he felt he had made it.
Marvin's unique and thoughtful style questioned an entire decade, as he did in the 1970's with the song, "What Going On?" His interpretation of the National Anthem is still one of the soul classics. "Let's Get It On," was another big hit with it's sexual overtones.
The 80's brought another of his greatest hits, "Sexual Healing". Gaye was one of the most exciting performers to come out of Motown. He was an exceptional talent and will be remembered for generations to come.
"A Season For Justice"
From fire-bombings of his office, to targeted by the KKK, to attacked at gunpoint, Morris Dees by all rights should have been a martyr to the Civil Rights cause long ago.
The fact that he isn't, that he continues to be a voice of reason against hatred, gives us all strength. Born to Anne Seligman and Morris Dees, a farmer, in Mount Meigs, Alabama in 1936, Morris Dees spent his childhood focused on farming. He was named the Star Farmer of Alabama in 1955 by the Alabama Future Farmers of America.
Attending the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa as an undergraduate, he made money with a successful cake-delivery service before founding with partner Millard Fuller what became Fuller & Dees Marketing Group. The company became a highly successful nationwide mail order and book-publishing business, which Dees and Fuller sold to Times-Mirror in 1969.
Dees graduated from the University of Alabama Law School in 1960 and returned to Montgomery where he opened a law office, quickly becoming popular and notorious as a man who would take on the cases unfavored by the white community. He credits the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham for opening his eyes to the racial inequities in the South, and became active in Civil Rights marches himself soon afterward.
One of his high-profile cases was the suing of the Montgomery YMCA for racially discriminating against two young black children who were denied entrance to the YMCA summer camp program.
In 1971, Dees, law partner Joseph J. Levin Jr. and civil rights activist Julian Bond founded the Southern Poverty Law Center as a non-profit organization dedicated to seeking justice for civil rights of minorities.
Dees was targeted by the KKK in the 1980's on the same hit list that the radio talk show host Alan Berg, later found brutally murdered, appeared. The offices of the Southern Poverty Law Center were firebombed, and Dees and another person were forced once to take cover after an armed gunman broke into the offices. Dees continues to be targeted by racist and hate groups, who have labeled him everything from a child molester to a hate-monger who stirs up anti-white sentiment.
In 1981, Dees and others at the SPLC created Klanwatch, an organization now monitoring the activities of more than 500 racist and hate groups. In 1994, the organization created the Militia Task Force after uncovering links between racist and anti-government "Patriot" groups. The Task Force monitors 400 militia and anti-governmental groups.
Dees is best known for his 1986 landmark case which tried KKK member "Tiger" Knowles for violation of civil liberties in the murder of Michael Donald. The jury in the case ultimately found for Donald's mother, Beulah Mae Donald, awarding her $7 million and effectively bankrupting the KKK.
In 1990, Dees won a $12.5 million verdict for the family of an Ethiopian murdered by Skinheads in Oregon. In 1998, he obtained a $37.8 million verdict,the largest civil award ever won for damages, against the Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan for the burning of the Macedonia Baptist Church in South Carolina.
Dees published his autobiography in 1991, A Season For Justice. He was the subject of 1991 TV movie "Line of Fire," in which he was played by actor Corbin Bernson. Dees was played by Wayne Rogers in the 1996 feature film "Ghosts of Mississippi" about Medgar Evers, slain Civil Rights activist.
Dees continues as chief trial counsel and chair of the executive committee for the Southern Poverty Law Center, as well as heading up the Center's education project called "Teaching Tolerance." He is a highly-sought-after speaker and has written Gathering Storm: America's Militia Threat, and Hate on Trial: The Case Against America's Most Dangerous Neo-Nazi.
Talk Show Trail Blazer
Oprah was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi on February 29, 1954. Her parents were unwed. Her early years were spent with her grandmother and her mother. Later she would live with her father and stepmother. The strict rules of her father helped her to get her young life on track.
Early on, Oprah wanted to be somebody. At 19 she became one of the youngest anchorwomen ever in Nashville. She also won a number of beauty pageants.
Oprah discovered that she enjoyed the talk show format. In Chicago she hosted "The Talk Of The Town" and developed her style for the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Oprah is very candid about her life and shares it with her audience. She has shared her "battle of the bulge" and her love life. Her honesty has paid off; her show is one of the most popular and influential TV shows in the nation. With her own production company, Oprah has produced a number of other projects.
Nobel Winning Physics
Born in Far Rockway, in the New York City area in 1918, Feynman attended MIT and Princeton University, and went to Los Alamos in 1942 to work on the first atomic bombs upon graduation.
Beginning work there as a "number-cruncher," calculating critical mass of the bombs and how much uranium and plutonium would be needed. Impressing his superiors with his work, he was promoted to head of the Los Alamos theoretical division. He was responsible for a breakthrough in the method of safely disposing of radioactive waste that was probably responsible for the saving of many lives.
After Los Alamos, Feynman went to Cornell and then Caltech to teach. During this time he was responsible for breakthroughs in the field of Quantumelectrodynamics, the mechanism by which electrons interact with each other through the electromagnetic force. This work was to earn him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965.
Feynman was widely known for his insatiable curiosity and puckish sense of humor. One of his books, "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman" spent 14 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in 1985. Among the many anecdotes concerning his pranks, the best known may be his taunting of Los Alamos security officials by picking the locks of the classified filing cabinets and leaving notes to Security that their system was ineffectual against him. It's also been reported that he trained columns of ants to march to his bidding.
Feynman had a keen interest in magic and was a friend of The Amazing Randi, who was flabbergasted on several occasions to find that Feynman could figure out one of Randi's tricks in just a few minutes of concentrated thought.
Feynman was a member of the Rogers Commission following the Challenger disaster and was responsible for a key point of the investigation. By dunking a piece of the rocket booster's O-ring material in a glass of ice water, he was able to prove that the material lost its resiliency at low temperatures.
The experience of being on the shuttle commission interested him in the theory of management, and Feynman was quoted as saying that if he had his academic career to start over, he'd study management of large organizations such as NASA, rather than physics.
Feynman died February 15, 1988, after an eight-year battle with abdominal cancer. His last words were reported to have been "I'd hate to die twice. It's so boring."
Born in Encino, California May 26,1951, Sally Kirsten Ride graduated from Stanford with four degrees, including Bachelor's Degrees in English and Physics, a Master's in Physics and a Doctorate in Physics. As a post-graduate at Stanford in 1977, Ms. Ride read about the NASA call for new astronauts and became one of the 8,000 that applied, and was accepted in the group of 35, six of whom were women.
Among her duties at NASA after her rigorous training were serving as Communications Officer for the space Shuttle Columbia's second and third missions, relaying messages from ground control to the shuttle crew. Sally Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983, serving on the shuttle Challenger in the seventh shuttle mission. She completed another eight-day mission on the Challenger in 1984, and became an expert on the use of the Remote Manipulation Arm that deploys satellites and other objects into space. She was preparing for a third mission in 1986 when the Challenger exploded.
Ride was appointed to the Presidential Commission investigating the explosion, and later moved to Washington DC to become assistant to the NASA administrator for long-range planning. She created the NASA Office of Exploration, and was responsible for a report on the future of the space program unofficially known as the "Ride Report," although its formal title was "Leadership and America's Future in Space."
Retiring from NASA in 1987, Ride became a Science Fellow at Stanford University at the Center for International Security and Arms Control. In 1989 she became director of the California Space Institute and a Professor of Physics at the University of California, San Diego.
by Nancy McPoland
Welcome To Wal-Marts
Sam Walton, an American success story, was born in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, March 29, 1918, and raised in Missouri. Graduating from the University of Missouri with a degree in economics, he entered JC Penney's management-training program in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1945 he opened a Ben Frankin five and dime franchise store in Newport, Arkansas.
Along with his brother James, he built a network of Ben Franklin stores, eventually opening 15. The first Wal-Mart opened in 1962, and the empire of 1735 stores would ultimately span the nation coast to coast. The stores were usually located in small towns and rural areas, and their low prices maintained by high volume proved to be disasterous for local competition from hardware and dime stores.
Walton went on to found a chain of discount wholesale outlets known as Sam's Warehouse in 1983, and further refined the Wal-Mart concept to include Hypermarts and Supercenters, enormous stores that were even larger than the huge Wal-Marts.
Walton considered himself throughout his life a student of his craft, and attended an IBM school in 1966 to learn how to computerize his operations. Wal-Mart became a pioneer in just-in-time inventory control and built a computer database second only to the Pentagon's in capacity.
Though he was to become one of the world's richest men, with a net worth estimated at $23 billion, Walton worked hard to maintain a folksy image. He favored hands-on management, and was a pioneer of the profit-sharing concept. One of the stories often told about him was his promise to "dance in a grass skirt on Wall Street" if employees exceeded profits goals. They achieved his goal, and Walton was seen hula-ing in New York in 1983. Sales in 1992 were $50 billion, and the Wal-Mart/Sam's empire boasted 380,000 employees.
Walton received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George Bush, just a month before Walton was to succumb to leukemia on April 5, 1992. In his speech, Bush called the midwesterner, "an American original, embodying the entrepreneurial spirit and epitomizing the American dream."
The Race Isn't Given to the Swift
Benjamin Sherman Crothers was born May 23, 1910. He was the youngest of five children. As a teenager, he worked as a shoeshine boy and entertained his customers as he shined their shoes. He would get a rhythm going with his rag and sing. He had a natural gift and everyone liked him.
Some of his early work was in the red light district of Terre Haute, Indiana. He worked in the roadhouses singing and playing drums. He met a lot of gangsters--his biggest tipper was Al Capone. Young Scatman was able to help his family with the money he made. He quit school in the 10th grade. At 18 years old he left home.
For 50 years Scatman entertained. He was known as an ultimate showman. He traveled all around the U.S. and Europe. He was one of the first Negro entertainers to work white-only venues.
Miss Nutbush City Limits
Anna Mae Bullock was born in 1939 in Nutbush, Tennessee. When she was sixteen she moved to St. Louis. She was in high school when she joined Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm.
Ike and Tina Turner were always popular in the US, and even more popular in Europe. Although Ike was a difficult person, she stayed with him until 1976. In a desperate situation, and with only 36 cents in her pocket, she fled from Ike Turner and eventually became a star in her own right.
The old saying that, 'you can't keep a good woman down," holds true for Tina. With guts and hard work she recreated herself and the rest is history. Without Ike she reached for the stars and claimed hers. There is only ONE Tina Turner and she is, "The Grand Dame Of Rock."
60ish years old, Tina Turner is in a unique category--the queen of rock and rollers. Tina is currently on tour and rumor is that it may be her last one. At her age there is one thing that she don't need, and that is a "Rocking Chair."
In 1991, Tina Turner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with her former husband Ike Turner.
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