BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

It Happened This Week: Black History Month

Posted by sherrysaunders on February 22, 2011

Did you know? Here are some interesting facts to remember during Black History Month.
February 22

1832 The Female Anti Slavery Society of Salem was established.  Mary A. Battys was the first president.

1956 – In Montgomery, Alabama, 80 participants in the three-month-old bus boycott voluntarily gave themselves up for arrest after an ultimatum from white city leaders. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks were among those arrested. Later in 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court mandated desegregation of the buses.

February 23

1868 – William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (W.E.B. Du Bois), educator and activist, is born in Great Barrington, Mass.

1965 – Constance Baker Motley elected Manhattan Borough president, the highest elective office held by an African American woman in a major American city.

1979 – Frank E. Peterson Jr. is named the general in the Marine Corps. He is the first African American to hold this post. He was also the first African-American Marine Corps aviator and the first African-American Marine Corps general. Peterson retired from the Marine Corps in 1988 after 38 years of service. “At the time of his retirement he was by date of aviator designation the senior ranking aviator in the U.S. Marine Corps and the United States Navy with respective titles of “Silver Hawk” and “Gray Eagle”. His date of designation as an aviator also precedes all other aviators in the U.S. Air Force and Army.

February 24

1864 – Rebecca Lee Crumpler becomes the first black woman to receive an M.D. degree. She graduated from the New England Female Medical College. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was born in 1833. She worked from 1852-1860 as a nurse in Massachusetts.

1999 Lauryn Hill, Hip-hop and R&B star won five Grammy awards, the most ever won by a woman.

February 25

1948 – Martin Luther King ordained as a Baptist minister.February 26

1971 – President Nixon met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and appointed a White House panel to study a list of recommendations made by the group.


February 26

1869 – Fifteenth Amendment guaranteeing African Americans the right to vote sent to the states for ratification. It was ratified February 3, 1970

1920 – In 1920, Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson (1875-1950) founded “Associated Publishers.”

February 27

1872 Charlotte E. Ray, the first Black woman lawyer, graduated from Howard University.

1902 – Opera singer Marion Anderson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1939, Anderson was scheduled to perform at the Daughters of the American Revolution  concert hall. After the DAR refused to allow her to perform, she performed an outdoor concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

1942 Charlayne Hunter-Gault was born on this date.  In 1961, she and Hamilton Holmes integrated Georgia University.  Upon her graduation in 1963 she became the University’s first Black graduate.  She went onto become a nationally recognized and respected journalist.

1988 Ice skater Debie Thomas because the first Black American to win a medal (Bronze) at the Winter Olympics.

February 28

1776 George Washington wrote a letter to poet and slave, Phyllis Wheatley, inviting her to visit his Cambridge, MA headquarters.  She had earlier sent him a poem she had written in his honor.

1943 The play Porgy and Bess, Staring Todd Duncan and Anne Brown, opened on Broadway

1999 Venus and Serena Williams both won tennis tournaments on this day making it the first time in the Women’s Tennis Association’s history that sisters had won championships on the same day.  Venus won in Oklahoma City and Serena won in Paris.


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