LATEST ARTICLES

KENYAN ENGINEER DEVELOPS HIGH-TECH GLOVES THAT TRANSLATES SIGN LANGUAGE TO SPEECH

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Introduction

Kenyan engineer Roy Allela created intelligent gloves that instantaneously transform sign language into audio vocals, which could help over 466 million Deaf people around the globe. Each finger on the gloves has a flex sensor, and a mobile phone app voices the letters after they are Bluetooth-paired. They aim to break down the communication gap between sign language users and the wider public.

Five flexible sensors are sewed onto each finger of the gloves. They measure the amount of finger bending necessary to recognize the letter or sign, then transfer that information over Bluetooth to a smartphone running an Android app. Users can select their preferred gender, language, and even glove color, making it more unique to them.

Additionally, “Sign-IO” received recognition from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

My thoughts

As a former ASL interpreter, I find this invention unique and exciting. It is a considerable benefit for schools and people to know sign language, but I know people are wondering if this will one day replace the interpreter. I believe that the sign-language glove was developed more to address hearing people’s concerns rather than the demands of Deaf signers.

The intelligent gloves invention is also one that multiple people in various countries have created. A glove for data entry utilizing the 26 hand motions of the American Manual Alphabet, which American Sign Language users use, was designed in 1983 by Bell Labs engineer Gary Grimes. Then there was a $10,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize awarded to two University of Washington undergrads, Navid Azodi and Thomas Pryor. Then in 2019, Saudi inventor HadeelAyoub, founder of the London-based startup, BrightSign.

He dubbed his invention, which will make it easier for those who are deaf to communicate, “Sign – IO.”

Who is Roy Allela?

Kenyan engineer and inventor Roy Allela, 25, has discovered the ideal means of removing the communication gap between hearing and deaf persons. He created the Sign-IO gloves, which let deaf people “speak” to people who don’t understand sign language by converting hand gestures into audible speech.

What inspired the inventor?

Due to communication difficulties with his 6-year-old deaf niece and his family, Allela was motivated to develop the gloves. “My niece wears the gloves, pairs them to her phone or mine, then starts signing, and I understand what she’s saying. Like all sign language users, she’s very good at lip reading, so she doesn’t need me to sign back,” “In a conversation with The Guardian, he remarked.

The gloves were first introduced at a special needs school in rural Migori county, southwest Kenya, by the young inventor, who is also a data science instructor at Oxford University and works for Intel. To help as many deaf or hard-of-hearing youngsters as possible, he wants it to be accessible in every school for special needs kids.

Kenyan Engineer

ABOUT THE GLOVES

In order to track a finger’s movements, including how much it is bent, sensors are attached to each of the five fingers of the Sign-IO gloves. The Android software, which Allela also created, connects the gloves through Bluetooth, converting the movements into voice communication using a text-to-speech feature.

Even though the Sign-IO gloves are still in the prototype stage of development, he has already won prizes and awards for the invention, which have assisted him in making additional advancements. It won the “Hardware Trailblazer Award” in its entirety in 2018 at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) global finals in New York, and it placed second at the Royal Academy of Engineering Leaders in Innovation Fellowship in London.

Allela claims that the gloves are 93% successful in translating the signs into speech. The vocalization’s tone and gender can both be changed by users to make it sound more like them. Additionally, they can be embroidered with kid-friendly patterns like a princess or Spider-Man gloves.

Roy Allela’s goal

Allela hopes to assist the 34 million children someday globally who suffer from hearing loss by placing two of his pairs of gloves in each special needs school in Kenya.

Although this fantastic creation may one day aid the billions of individuals with hearing loss worldwide, it all began with a simple desire to improve a relative’s life.

One of the most essential features of the gloves, the speed at which the signals are translated, was one of the problems Allela worked out when testing the gloves at a school in rural Migori County, Kenya.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers has presented the gloves with the hardware pathfinder award. He is currently on the shortlist for the 2019 Africa Prize for Engineering.

The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for inventors from six nations has selected 16 young Africans, including Allela, for further consideration. He claims that being recognized is a beautiful affirmation of his efforts and a fantastic chance to promote African inventors.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) global finals in New York awarded it the “Hardware Trailblazer Award” in 2018. The Royal Academy of Engineering Leaders in Innovation Fellowship in London named it a second runner-up.

Sign-IO gloves will be one of many sensor-based products that, if they are made accessible to the general public, are anticipated to generate sales of about $30 billion by the end of 2024.

FUTURE

The IT whiz plans to upgrade the sign language translator program and integrate more precise speech forecasts with the winnings.

Learn more about the company at Sign-IO.com

Ketanji Brown Jackson: The First Black Justice on the Supreme Court

Ketanji Brown Jackson makes history as the first African-American woman and first federal public defender to sit on the supreme court. Jackson will replace Associate Justice Stephen Breyer after he retires at the end of the term. The vote was 53 to 47.

About Ketanji Brown Jackson

Judge Jackson was raised in Miami, Florida, after being born in Washington, DC. Both of her parents became leaders and administrators in the Miami-Dade Public School System after beginning their careers as teachers in public schools. 

In 1996, Judge Jackson graduated with a JD, cum laude, from Harvard Law School. She also worked as the Harvard Law Review’s supervising editor. She graduated from Harvard-Radcliffe College with an AB, magna cum laude, in government in 1992.

Ketanji Brown Jackson
Justice Stephen G. Breyer (Retired) administers the Judicial Oath to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in the West Conference Room, Supreme Court Building. Dr. Patrick Jackson holds the Bible. Credit: Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Supreme court

The supreme court is a country’s top court. This court can make legal judgements and overturn other courts’ decisions. As a result, it is frequently the most powerful court. The United States Supreme Court has the authority to make final judgements on laws impacting the entire country. The United States Supreme Court has nine members, known as “justices.” The president appoints these justices, and the US Senate must approve their selection. The justices retain their positions for the rest of their lives or until they choose to resign.

Here are 12 Interesting facts about Ketanji Brown Jackson:

  1. In 1970, Ketanji Brown Jackson was born in Washington, DC, but grew up in South Miami-Dade.

2. In West Africa, her name Ketanji Onyika means “Lovely One.” Before her birth, her aunt served in the Peace Corps in West Africa and sent Jackson’s mom a list of names to choose from.

3. She became interested in law because of her father. 

When she was in Kindergarten, she would sit at the table where there were stacks of law books. While she colored, her father studied law. 

4. Her parents attended segregated primary schools and Historical Black Colleges (HBCUs).

5. From 1992-1993, Jackson worked as a staff researcher and reporter for Time magazine, then she left to start at Harvard Law School.

6. Jackson’s high school guidance counsellor advised her not to aim her “sights too high” when she expressed interest in attending Harvard University. However, she earned a magna cum laude from Harvard University and a cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she served as an editor for the Harvard Law Review.

7. During a theatre class she took at Harvard, she was paired with actor Matt Damon.

8.  During a theatre course she took at Harvard, she was partnered with actor Matt Damon.

9. She married Patrick Jackson, a surgeon at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, in 1996, whom she met while studying at Harvard. They now have two children. 

10. President Barrack Obama nominated her in 2012 for a DC District Court judgeship. 

11. She is related by marriage to former Republican vice presidential candidate and House Speaker Paul Ryan. Jackson’s husband’s brother is married to Ryan’s wife’s sister.

12. Several women inspire her, including Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Shirley Chisholm, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

The confirmation of the first Black woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court has inspired young women, particularly women of color.

Betty Boop: 18 Interesting Facts

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About the cartoon

Betty Boop was inspired by a real-life Black jazz singer and entertainer from Harlem named Esther Jones.  In 1930, Fleischer Studios gave birth to Betty, a creepy dog created as the love interest for Bimbo, an animated dog with his Talkartoon series.

This was the first animated sex symbol in America. Betty Boop was, to some extent, influenced by the style and music that Black singers created. In 1932, for the jazzy “Any Rags,” she replaced the floppy ears for hoop earrings and went on to star in over 100 animated shorts.

The creation of Betty Boop

With assistance from animators like Grim Natwick, Max Fleischer created the animated cartoon character Betty Boop. She first appeared in the Fleischer Studios and Paramount Pictures-produced Talkartoon and Betty Boop movie series between 1930 and 1939. She appeared in 90 theatrical cartoons. Additionally, she’s on mass merchandise and comic strips.

Here are some fun facts about Betty Boop

Esther Jones.
  1. PBS has revealed that Esther Jones, an actual African American jazz singer and artist from Harlem, was the inspiration for the well-known cartoon character Betty Boop that Max Fleischer created in 1930. She went under the stage name “Baby Esther”.
  2. Sadly, she was whitewashed once her character became the first and most well-known looker in animation, and most people have no idea who the original inspiration was. 
  3. Initially, Betty Boop was shown as an African American woman in cartoons. She made an appearance in at least one animated clip from the well-known Popeye The Sailor Man series. However, not long after that, she changed into a white woman and stayed until her role as the character was eventually retired. According to estimates, the Betty Boop brand brought millions of dollars from retail sales and television networks.
  4. Esther “Baby Esther” Jones rose to fame in the late 1920s for singing in a baby voice and appearing at the storied Cotton Club in Harlem. Then, in 1928, white jazz singer Helen Kane imitated Jones’ singing and scatting manner after seeing Esther’s cabaret performance. While recording her successful song “I Wanna Be Loved By You,” Kane additionally substituted “boop-oop-a-doop” for the interpolated words “boo-boo-boo” and “doo-doo-doo.”
  1. As a young star, Esther Jones entertained crowds in nightclubs worldwide. Esther had a distinctive voice, her signature eyebrow-raising and fast eye-ball gyrations!
  2. African-American jazz musicians like Louie Armstrong and Cab Calloway benefited from Betty Boop’s exposure, which helped promote the developing American art form in the 1930s.
  3. However, the background of this cartoon is rife with prejudice, robbery, and a notorious court case that featured a brutal struggle for Betty Boop’s very existence.
  4. Jazz singer Helen Kane decided to include “Boop boop a doop” in one of her performances, and her career as a struggling jazz singer began to take a turn for the worse. It was popular. She neglected to explain, however, that Esther Jones, a black jazz vocalist who inspired her (clears throat… imitated), was the source of both her trademark and her entire sound. Helen would probably have gotten away with copying Esther’s voice and distinctive movements. Still, she grew enraged when she learned that Max Fleischer, the man behind Betty Boop, had made a fortune off of “her” approach, and she sued him along with Paramount.
  5. Some claim that Max Fleischer, like Helen, was also influenced by Esther Jones and modeled Betty Boop after Esther Jones’ appearance and personality.
  6. After multiple court proceedings, the court decided in Esther Jones’ favor, and Helen Kane lost her claim to fame as the model for Betty Boop.  Eventually, the truth came out, and jazz singer Esther “Baby” Jones was credited with being the inspiration for Betty Boop.
  7. Unfortunately, Esther Jones died suddenly and would never have the opportunity to acquire fame or money from the cartoon, Betty Boop.
  8. Betty Boop was originally a dog cartoon character with long, floppy ears and strong legs.
  9. The character faced criticism for being overly attractive in the 1930s.
  10. There are currently 250 companies manufacturing Betty Boop-licensed goods in the US and almost as many overseas.
  11. Over 100 cartoons have featured Betty Boop as the lead.
  12. The cartoons featured great musical performers, including Maurice Chevalier, Ethel Merman, Rudy Vallée, Louis Armstrong, and Cab Calloway.
  13.  Although other people have also performed the voice of Betty, Mae Questel was the first to do so, making her voice distinctive. Mae was also Olive Oyl, the Popeyes girl.
  14. Betty Boop was one of the first cartoons with a soundtrack.

The Scared Crows (1939) Cartoon

Conclusion

There is a lot about Ms. Boop that we didn’t know, and guys, it’s way crazier than you might imagine, even if we grew up with her iconic image plastered across a vast empire of licensed merchandise.

The 1619 Project and the 1776 Commission Curriculum

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The 1619 project and the 1776 Commission try to portray the founding and history of the United States in their way. They have different ways in which they want this generation and the future ones to learn about America and its founding fathers. The 1776 Commission advocates for the history that insists on the USA’s founding principles. The 1619 project, on the other hand, wants to include African Americans and the contribution of slavery in U.S. history. The 1776 Commission was launched by President Donald Trump, while the 1619 Project was commissioned by the New York Times. Both projects received different reactions from the U.S. and beyond.

The 1776 Commission

The 1776 Commission is a U.S. government commission established by Executive Order 13958. The commission’s goal is to “encourage a better understanding of the history of the USA” and “advocate the teaching of American history in a way that emphasizes the principles of the country’s founding.” Historians and educators have criticized the commission for its right-wing political bias and lack of academic expertise. The system claimed to safeguard the principles and history of the founding of the USA and restore the education system to teach the same. 

Many people opposed the 1776 commission for a variety of reasons. Some people felt it was a way to rewrite history and downplay the role of slavery in the United States. Others thought it was an attempt to whitewash history and make it seem like the founding fathers were perfect. There was also concern that the commission was being used to further a political agenda (Bryant et al., 2019).

Many people opposed the 1776 Commission because it was seen as an attempt to whitewash history. Donald Trump created the commission to promote “patriotic education,” but critics say it is a way to promote Trump’s version of history. Trump has been accused of racism and xenophobia, and many believe the commission is simply a way to promote his agenda. It was created to commemorate the day America adopted the Declaration of Independence and declared separation from Great Britain.

The commission released 41-pages compiled by an 18-person commission of mostly male conservative educators (no historians). The major writers of the paper are not mentioned, nor are there any citations or footnotes.

On January 18, 2021, two days before Trump’s term ends and Joe Biden is inaugurated, “The 1776 Report” will be released. After taking office as Donald Trump’s replacement on January 20, 2021, President Joe Biden issued an executive order terminating the 1776 Commission.

According to Hillsdale College’s assistant provost for K–12 education, Trump inspired the private, conservative Hillsdale College to develop a 1776 curriculum in 2021, which has since been downloaded more than 26,000 times.

Also. to fight the 1619 project and Critical Race Theory (CRT) curriculums, Black Leaders Launched the 1776 History Curriculum. 1776 Project intended to counteract a narrative of African American victimhood by portraying stories of African American success and debunking myths supported by the 1619 Project, which they believe is harmful to African Americans.

The 1619 Project

The 1619 Project
The 75th annual Peabody Awards, recognizing excellence in broadcast media, were presented May 21, 2016, at Cipriani Wall Street. Keegan-Michael Key was the host. (Photo/Sarah E. Freeman/Grady College, freemans@uga.edu in New York City, Georgia, on Saturday, May 21, 2016)

The 1619 Project reframes US history, focusing on slavery and its ongoing legacy. It appeared first in The New York Times Magazine in 2019, created by journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who won a 2020 Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

In response to the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved people in Virginia, the New York Times launched the 1619 Project in August 2019. The 1619 Project is an initiative that intends to restructure America’s history by including the contribution of African Americans and the consequences of slavery at the pivot of the national narrative. 

In addition to the 1619 Project curriculum, the New York Times also offers a variety of resources for educators, including a collection of primary sources, lesson plans, and a student newsletter. The 1619 curriculum acknowledges the history of African Americans and ensures that students learn about the contributions that they have made to the United States. The curriculum can help to promote understanding and respect for diversity in the United States. The curriculum for the 1619 Project includes lessons on subjects such as the history of slavery in America. The participation of Black Americans in the American Revolution and the relationship between slavery and the United States’ growth were also mentioned.

The 1619 initiative aims to redefine American history around the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the nation on that particular date. The project seeks to place the experience of Black Americans at the core of the nation’s story and to understand the United States as a nation founded on slavery and racism (Riley, 2020). The 1619 curriculum highlights the contributions of African Americans to the country and challenges the notion that the United States is a white country. The curriculum also promotes critical thinking about race and racism in America. Some historians have criticized the project for its approach to history. Still, it has also been praised for its ambition and the way it has sparked a public conversation about the meaning of American history.

The 1619 project curriculum is a separate entity, a series of reading guides and activities created by the Pulitzer Center and released with the Times Magazine issue, designed to support educators who want to teach the project. In September 2019, Chicago Public Schools CEO Dr. Janice Jackson announced that every Chicago Public Schools (CPS) high school would receive 200–400 copies’. Chicago became the first school district in the country to adopt the project. 

“The stories we tell about our nation’s history matter deeply, and the 1619 Project offers us a new set of stories.”

Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson.

According to the Associated Press, 5,000 K–12 college educators from all 50 states have reported using its resources.

But It has also sparked anger in five states whose party holds legislative majorities—ArkansasIowaMississippiMissouri, and South Dakota—which have introduced bills that would cut funding to K–12 schools and colleges that provide lessons from the 1619 Project.

On January 18, 2021, former president Donald Trump’s final action in office was to announce a change in the U.S. history curriculum; he brought up the idea of a 1776 Commission curriculum, which was in direct response to the 1619 Project attempting to counter the teachings of the 1619 project. This was the same day the United States celebrated the life and work of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. 

Work Cited

Bryant, P. D. P., Arnn, L. P., Swain, C. M., Spalding, M., Davis, J. C., Farris, M. P., … & Strauss, J. (2021). The 1776 Report.

Riley, N. S. (2020). ‘The 1619 Project ‘Enters American Classrooms. Education Next20(4).

Digital Urban Educator- October 2019 – cgcs.org. https://www.cgcs.org/Page/939

20 Interesting Facts about The song, Sweet Low Sweet Chariot

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20 Interesting Facts about The song, Sweet Low Sweet Chariot. We do not know who created the famous African-American spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” Still, it was part of the Fisk Jubilee singer’s repertoire in the 1870s and gained public attention. The Fisk University Jubilee Quartet performed the song for Victor Studios in December 1909, making it the first recorded song recording.

20 Interesting Facts about The song Sweet Low Sweet Chariot
The Fisk Jubilee Singers in the 1870s. (Library of Congress)
Left to right: Alfred G. King (first bass), James A. Myers (second tenor), Noah W. Ryder (second bass) and John W. Work II (first tenor)

Sweet Low Sweet Chariot”

Theory #1

  1. “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was composed at some point after 1865 by Wallis Willis, a Choctaw freedman in the ancient Indian territory of Choctaw County on the Red River of Hugo, Oklahoma.
  2. Willis might have been motivated by the sight of the Jordan River-like Red River by which he was toiling and the story of the prophet Elijah being carried to heaven in a chariot (2 Kings 2:11).
  3. Alexander Reid, the pastor at Old Spencer Academy, a Choctaw boarding school, heard Willis sing these two songs and transcribed the lyrics and melody.
  4. He sent the sheet music to the Jubilee Singers at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Jubilee singers popularized the songs while touring the United States and Europe.

History

5. In 1939, the Nazi Music Examination Board added the song to its list of “unwanted and harmful” musical works.

6. The song had a revival during the 1960s civil rights struggle and folk renaissance; It has been done by several artists. Perhaps the most famous performance from this period was that of Joan Baez at the legendary Woodstock Festival in 1969.

7. Oklahoma Senator Judy Eason McIntyre of Tulsa proposed a bill naming “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” as Oklahoma’s official gospel song in 2011.

8. The bill was co-sponsored by the Black Conference. Oklahoma State. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed the bill on May 5, 2011, during a ceremony at the Oklahoma Cowboy Hall of Fame, making the song the official Oklahoma State Gospel Song.

Theory #2

9. Orne W. Work claimed that a psychic “blast” originated from the tortured soul of Sarah Hannah Shepherd, mother of Ella Shepherd, the Fisk Jubilee singer. Sarah was born in Tennessee in 1851.

10. She gave birth to Ella on a plantation. Learning that her master had sold her to another plantation and was about to separate her from her gills for good, she made a determined trip to the Cumberland River to drown herself and her daughter.

11. She was stopped by an “old mama” who warned Sarah not to “shake her lord’s chariot low.” As she reached heaven, the wise woman pulled down an imaginary scroll and prophesied that a little child would one day stand before the king and queen.

12. Following the old woman’s advice, Sarah repented, sold herself, and was taken to Mississippi. Ella performed in front of the king. She eventually reunited with her mother and went to live with her in Nashville.

The Bible

13. Regardless of the song’s origins, the lyrics are believed to allude to the Biblical account of Prophet Elijah being transported to heaven in a chariot and the “Underground Railroad,” a freedom movement that assisted black people in fleeing from Southern enslavement to the North and Canada.

14. The format of the song was initially intended to be call-and-response singing, which relies on the history of African music and is still utilized often in African-American churches today.

15. Following each of the distinct lines sung by the leader, the crowd responds, “Coming for to bring me home.” The Fisk Jubilee Singers have performed the spiritual in this manner on previous group recordings. The most prevalent type of spiritual is this call-and-response performance technique.

16. There were many code meanings in the song. The southern Ohio hamlet of Ripley, one of the earliest and busiest “stations” or “depots” of the Underground Railroad, is supposed to be referenced in a coded manner in the lyrics of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

Underground Railroad

17. Some sources say the song references the Underground Railroad. This freedom movement helped blacks escape slavery in the South to the North and Canada.

18. “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was a favorite spiritual of Harriet Tubman (1820-1913), who escaped slavery in 1849, and was the most famous leader of the Underground Railroad, Moses the Freedom of Slavery.

19. Widely recognized During the 1850s, she made numerous rescue trips to Maryland, helping about 300 slaves escape to freedom.

20. Rugby fans in England have also taken to singing the song and have been doing it during matches for decades.

Conclusion

The song became one of the most well-known African American spirituals because the 1909 recording greatly increased its popularity. It has been arranged by composers throughout the past century for choirs, concert soloists, jazz bands, concert bands, dance bands, and symphony orchestras. Popular musicians, including Johnny Cash and Eric Clapton, have recorded it numerous times.

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Lyrics

Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see
Coming for to carry me home
A band of angels coming after me
Coming for to carry me home

Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home

If you get there before I do
Coming for to carry me home
Tell all my friends I’m coming, too
Coming for to carry me home

Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home

I’m sometimes up and sometimes down
Coming for to carry me home
But still my soul feels heavenly bound
Coming for to carry me home

Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
The brightest day that I can say
Coming for to carry me home
When Jesus washed my sins away
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home

If I get there before you do
Coming for to carry me home
I’ll cut a hole and pull you through
Coming for to carry me home

Black History Resource Guide

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This Black History Resource Guide has tools ranging from study guides to rich multimedia and interactive timelines that can aid in introducing Black history at home or in the classroom. Everyone can learn more about African American history with the help of these reference materials, including parents, teachers, students, and the community.

Federal Sites

African American Heritage

Information on people, places, stories, museum collections, travel, and lesson plans are linked together on this National Park Service website.

African American Odyssey

The National Digital Library has been the target of a five-year initiative by this library to add rare and distinctive materials from its substantial collection of African-American materials.

The Daniel A.P. Murray Pamphlet Collection

Manuscripts with full texts that describe African American history and culture from the early 19th century to the present. 

National Museum of African American History 

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the national museum dedicated only to recording African American life, history, and culture.

Sources for Images on African American History

Numerous pieces about the History of black people in America from the time of slavery through the civil rights era can be found in the Prints and Pictures Division’s extensive holdings of photographs, prints, posters, and drawings. The holdings about African American history are not all compiled in one place.

Libraries and Databases

African American Biographical Database 

The African American Biographical Database (AABD) compiles the biographies of thousands of African Americans, many of whom are not represented in any other reference works, in one convenient location. These biographical sketches were painstakingly put together using information from dictionaries and other sources.

African American Oral History Collection 

A series of interviews done in the 1970s to record the lives of African Americans in Louisville have been digitally preserved and made accessible online by the Oral History Center at the University of Louisville.

African American Women Writers of the 19th Century 

This is a guide to African American women writers from the 19th century has a digital library of their published works, profiles of each author, citations, and much more.

African American Civil Rights movement Researching Civil Rights in the Archives Department

A list of African American-related collections in Wisconsin focuses on the Milwaukee region.

Africans in America 

America’s experience with slavery is outlined in four sections. You can use the information from the Web site and television series in U.S. history classes by using the historical narratives, resource banks of pictures, documents, stories, biographies, and commentary corresponding to each era.

Allegany County African American History 

Western Maryland’s Historical Library provides a list of African American individuals, groups and organizations of Allegany and surrounding counties.

Black Archives of Mid-America 

This project is a collaboration between the Black Archives of Mid-America Inc. and the Kansas City Public Library. Funded by the Missouri State Library, it is the largest repository of African American history and artifacts in the Midwest, particularly in the four-state area of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture 

The Digital Schomburg component on this website for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library provides access to online exhibitions, books, pictures, Africana Heritage Newsletters, audio resources, and video resources.

Unknown No Longer 

The Virginia Historical Society used its archive of unpublished papers to compile this database of enslaved Virginians. The slaves’ names are listed in the database, along with other pertinent details about each individual. Additionally, users can access a discussion board, and the collection can be browsed.

American History Essays- After Slavery

This website is the result of an international study partnership combining post-emancipation South developments to comprehend the significance of this period in American labor history.

University Database and Research

African American Collection- University of Pittsburgh

The Africana Studies Department is supported by the University of Pittsburgh African American Collection in its study, research, interpretation, and dissemination of information about African American, African, and Caribbean issues and cultures.

African American History: Digital Library 

The information on this website can be found in libraries throughout the nation. The topics covered range from manuscripts and personal materials to music scores and speech transcripts.

Avery Research Center 

The College of Charleston, South Carolina, documents the “unique historical and cultural heritage of African Americans in Charleston and the South Carolina Low Country.”

Documenting the American South 

This collection at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, contains sources on Southern History, literature and culture from the colonial period through the first decades of the 20th century.

Hutchins Center for African & African American Research 

The Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University fosters research on the History and culture of people of the African diaspora all over the world and offers a platform for cooperation and an ongoing exchange of ideas.

The John Henrik Clarke Africana Library 

The library at Cornell University has a specific collection that focuses on the History and culture of persons of African descent.

John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture 

The Franklin Research Center gathers, safeguards, and encourages the use of published and unpublished primary sources for the investigation, comprehension, and development of scholarly work on the History and culture of Africa and those of the African Diaspora in the Americas.

Moorland-Spingarn Research Center 

The MSRC at Howard University is known as one of the biggest and most thorough archives for documenting the History and culture of people of African origin in Africa, the Americas, and other regions of the world.

The Ohio State University African American Studies Database

This site provides a database, guides on Black History resources.

The Negro Travelers Green Book 

The Negro Travelers Green Book, a resource for African American tourists looking for safe places to eat, stay, and explore during the segregation era, has been digitally preserved by the University of South Carolina Libraries. The 1956 edition was published that year. The website also features interactive maps along with the digitized book.

Research Quick Start Guides: African American Studies 

This Stanford University website helps start your research on Black History.

African-Americans – Biography, Autobiography, and History 

This website, hosted by the Avalon Project at Yale Law School, provides access to full-text books by notable black authors, including Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, and Martin Luther King Jr.

Mapping Projects

Explore Historical Landmarks in various cities and states across the United States to elevate our awareness of rich African American heritage and culture. 

Alabama Historical Commission Historic Preservation Map Initiative (with layers for Black History sites)

This map represents data from the various programs of the Historic Preservation Division of the Alabama Historical Commission.

Chicago Mapping Arts Project

Chicago maps the city’s social cultures from the 20th century’s Great Black Migration through the present day.

Columbus, Ohio Landmarks – Black History

This 82-page document explores the black history landmarks in Columbus, Ohio.

Enslaved African Americans at the University of Virginia

The University of Virginia utilized the labor of enslaved Black people from the earliest days of its construction in 1817 until the end of the American Civil War.

Mapping Newark & New Jersey Black History

This website is dedicated to sites of Black abolitionists and activists in Newark in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The virtual one includes sites in greater New Jersey.

Olive Cemetery Veterans TourMt Olive Cemetery is an African American cemetery established about 1817.

Preserving Significant Places of Black History: African American Landmarks and Historic Districts in New York City

African American Landmarks and Historic Districts in New York City.

The African American Heritage & Culture of North Carolina Digital Asset Map

This map can be used as a tool for people across North Carolina to elevate our awareness of rich African American heritage and culture. 

The Rosenwald Schools

 How Black Communities Across the American South Took Education into Their Own Hands

Tufts University: African American Trails Project

This project maps African American and African-descended public history sites across Greater Boston and Massachusetts.

The Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic: The Largest Black Parade in the U.S

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The Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic is the most famous African-American Parade in the United States of America. It annually occurs on the city’s south side on the second Saturday in August. Since 1929, Chicago, Illinois, has hosted the Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic also referred to as the Bud Billiken Day Parade. 

Since its inception, the procession has featured stars, leaders of civic organizations, businesspeople, and politicians. The Bud Billiken Parade is the second-largest Parade in the country and emphasizes youth, education, and African-American culture. The Parade is also known as the “back-to-school” celebration, ending summer break and the start of the school year for children in Chicago.

Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic
1945 Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic

Bud Billiken Parade: The Route

The parade route on Chicago’s south side passes through the Bronzeville and Washington Park districts along Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. A picnic and festival are held in the historic Washington public park following the march. The original route was on Michigan Avenue, beginning at 31st Street, then turned east into Washington Park. The complaints about north-south traffic flow caused the parade route to reroute to South Parkway (now named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive), which runs directly into the park.

Robert S. Abbott

The Founders of the Bud Billiken Parade

The Chicago Defender’s creator and publisher, Robert S. Abbott, developed the fictional Bud Billiken, who appeared in his newspaper’s youth guidance section. The Bud Billiken Club’s co-founder and longstanding parade organizer, David Kellum, proposed holding the Parade to celebrate African-American culture.

When the Parade was held in the winter

However, unlike today’s Parade, The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America by Ethan Michaeli, published in 2017, notes that the first and second editions were held in the winter.

But 93 years ago, the Bud Billiken Parade was held in Chicago’s brutal winter season during its first two years. South Parkway (now King Drive) with trees and brown grass carpeted the scenic boulevard as spectators watched the event from windows inside their homes as temperatures plummeted below zero.

What is a Bud Billiken? 

Abbott developed the fictional Bud Billiken in 1923 when he considered giving the Chicago Defender newspaper a juvenile department. Abbott saw a Billiken while eating at a Chinese restaurant. Willard Motley, who eventually established himself as a well-known novelist, contributed to a few of the original Billiken columns. About 10,000 names appeared between 1930 and 1934, and the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library of the Chicago Public Library collected and preserved them.

In his newspaper during the Great Depression, Abbott used the fictional Bud Billiken persona to represent pride, joy, and hope for the neighborhood’s black population. The figure rose to notoriety in the Chicago Defender newspaper and a comic strip. The Parade didn’t start until 1929, even though the figure was conceived in 1923. David Kellum started it as a celebration of the “unity in diversity for the youngsters of Chicago.” Since then, it has developed into the second-largest Parade in the country and a locally televised event.

Broadcast 

The Parade has been shown on television for more than 40 years, starting in 1978 on WGN-TV, which carried it until 2012. After WGN-TV cancelled the Parade in 2012, WCIU-TV began to cover it but ended in 2014. Since 1984, the Parade has been aired live on WLS-TV. On August 11, 2018, the 89th Annual Parade took place. The Parade debuted on BET and Centric’s networks in 2012. The 2020 parade was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, but WLS-TV broadcast a television special for the 91st Annual Bud Billiken Parade on August 8, 2020.

Celebrities and Dignitaries that have attended the Parade

President Harry S. Truman, Michael Jordan, Barack Obama, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Adelaide Hall, Billie Holiday, Oprah Winfrey, Aretha Franklin, Lena Horne, James Brown, Diana Ross, Ethel Waters, Cab Calloway, Paul Robeson, and Chaka Khan, were among the dignitaries and celebrities participating in the Parade.  In the 1956 Parade, Truman was accompanied by Mayor Richard J. Daley and John H. Sengstacke, Abbott’s nephew who took over the Chicago Defender in 1948.

Chance the Rapper, a native of Chicago, served as the 88th annual Parade’s grand marshal in 2017. The artist and native Chicagoan Chaka Khan served as the Parade’s grand marshal in 2014. The 83rd annual Parade’s grand marshal in 2012 was rapper T.I.

Conclusion

The parade continually upheld its legacy of fostering unity and empowerment within Chicago’s black community, becoming an essential aspect of the city’s black community and acting as a vehicle for resolving social concerns.

25 Facts about Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was a professional boxer and activist. He is most famous for being one of the most popular American boxers. Ali was not just a professional boxer but also a philanthropist, entertainer, and activist; and later received the nickname “The Greatest.”

25 Facts  

  1. Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. (Muhammad Ali ) was born on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky. He and his dad were named after a fervent abolitionist who graduated from Yale in 1832.
  2.  His father, Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr., painted billboards, and his mother, Odessa Grady Clay, worked as a domestic maid. Cassius Senior was a Methodist; his wife raised Cassius Jr. and his younger brother, Rudolph Clay, as Baptists. Abe Grady, his great-grandfather, was an Irishman who immigrated to America in the 1860s.
  3. When Cassius was 12, he owned a shiny $60 bicycle. He rode the bike to a fair in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.  
Cassius Clay and his trainer Joe E. Martin (1960)

When the show was over, the bike was gone. Cassius was in tears. He reported the stolen bike to a police officer, “If I find the kid who stole my bike,” he said, “I’ll whup him.”

The officer, Joe Martin, turned out to be a boxing coach. He told young Ali that if he wanted to fight whoever stole his bike, he better learn how to fight. He then started visiting the gym and picked up the basics of boxing. Cassius never did get his bike back. But six weeks later, he got in the ring with another twelve-year-old white boy and beat him.

4. Cassius Clay had dyslexia and attended Louisville’s Central High School. He struggled greatly for the remainder of his life with reading and writing.

5. A store clerk in Lousiville turned Ali down for a drink of water due to his skin tone.

6. By age 18, Clay had 100 victories against eight defeats, two national Amateur Athletic Union titles, two national Golden Glove awards, and more.

7. After High School, Ali competed in the Rome Olympics and won a gold medal in the 81kg weight division.

8. Muhammad Ali, still known as Clay then, competed for the United States and won gold in the light heavyweight event in the 1960 Olympics in Rome. 

9. Ali embraced Islam and converted to it in 1961. He was with Malcolm X when he announced that his surname had changed. Clay first went by Cassius X when he joined the Nation of Islam in 1964. Later on, he would change it to Muhammad Ali. He converted to traditional Islam in the 1970s.

Ali never officially changed his name, which is an amusing anecdote. When USA Today looked into Ali’s birth certificate in 2016, they discovered that no name changes were made to the record.

10. Ali refused to shake hands with Malcolm X. Ali last saw Malcolm X when he was still alive during their time in Ghana.

11. When Malcolm X was killed, Ali felt betrayed because they were at their most vulnerable.

12. Ali officially changed his name from Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. to Muhammad Ali on March 6, 1964. Elijah Muhammad chose the name Muhammad as his first name. His last name comes from a prophet’s cousin.

13. His first significant triumph over Sonny Liston in 1964 earned him his first world championship. Ali was crowned the WBA and WBC World Heavyweight Champion by a technical knockout victory.

14. Ali liked to trash-talk his opponents before a fight. 

15. Muhammad Ali fought with Sonny Liston before being qualified because he kept talking about it, which got him the nickname “Louisville Lip.” 

16. Muhammad Ali became well-known and wealthy due to their fight against Sonny Liston. Ali received $630,000 for the victory and $836,000 more than five decades later from the sale of the gloves.

17. He threw his gold medal into the Ohio River out of rage when a restaurant turned him away because of his race.

18. In his lifetime, Muhammad Ali was married four times. His first spouse was Sonji Roi (1964 to 1966). Belinda Boyd was his second wife (1967 to 1977). Veronica Porché Ali was his third wife (1977 to 1986). Yolanda Williams was his fourth wife, and the two stayed wed until his passing.

19. In 1967, the U.S. military tried to enlist Ali, but he declined because of his position as a Muslim priest. His justification is that he couldn’t fight in a war because of his religious convictions. Ali paid a heavy price for it. Ali was charged with a crime by the U.S. Justice Department for violating Selective Service’s regulations.

20. He was given a five-year prison term but kept out of jail while his case was appealed. His boxing license and championship were also revoked. After the Supreme Court ultimately reversed the conviction, Ali rose to the top of the boxing world. Regrettably, this cost him three years of his fighting career.

21. After the Patterson fight, Ali founded his own promotion business, Main Bout. Ali’s boxing promotions and the boxer’s pay-per-view closed the firm-managed circuit broadcasts. Its stockholders were primarily other Nation of Islam members.

22. Ali was a singer in addition to a boxer and a poet. In 1963, he released the album “I Am The Greatest” before defeating Sonny Liston by six months.

Ali vs. Frazier

24. Additionally, he appeared in the Broadway production of Buck White, which lasted for five nights. When his boxing license was revoked, Ali took this action.

23. On October 26, 1970, Ali entered the ring for the first time in 43 months, and he immediately knocked Jerry Quarry out in the third round. On March 8, 1971, Ali had the chance to defend his heavyweight title against Joe Frazier, the incumbent champion.

25. Ali retired from boxing on December 11, 1981, after losing to Trevor Berbick. He finished his career with 56 wins, five losses, and 37 knockouts. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984. Ali passed away on June 3, 2016.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, Muhammad Ali is among the most influential athletes of the 20th century. He is well-known for the saying, “I am the greatest!” In addition to being crowned “the greatest heavyweight champion,” Ali has been included in several magazines as one of the top ten athletes of all time (Sports Illustrated), one of the 100 most influential persons of all time (Time ), and more (Ring Magazine).

30 Facts about William H. Johnson (Artist)

“If it is to be, it is up to me” 

William H. Johnson

William H. Johnson is an American painter and printmaker best known for his landscape and portrait paintings and prints. Johnson’s technique progressed from realism to expressionism to the powerful folk style that he is best recognized for. The Smithsonian American Art Museum has a large collection of his paintings, watercolours, and prints.

Early Life

  1. He grew up in South Carolina, where he learned to draw at an all-black school.
  2. He honed his skills by copying comic strips from the newspaper.
  3. He moved to New York to live with his uncle when he was 17 years old.
  4. He attended an art school in New York City. New York City’s National Academy of Design.
  5. Johnson was mentored by Professor Charles W. Hawthorne at the academy and given a job to help pay for his education.

5. His art teacher thought he had a lot of potential and encouraged him to apply for an art scholarship to Paris, which he did but did not receive. When this happened, his teacher raised $1,500 to enable Mr. Johnson to travel to Paris.

6. He travelled to France at the age of 26 and stayed in Europe for the next 12 years. He learned a lot about painting while he was there, but when he returned to America, he decided to concentrate his work on black people.

His career

7. Johnson studied modernism in France. Johnson used a number of media while he was a working artist, including woodcuts, oil, water colors, pen and ink, and serigraphy. He frequently expressed his work with whatever resources were on hand.

8. Johnson aimed to gain racial acceptability and a professional reputation abroad, much like the African American artist Henry O. Tanner.

9. His painting was influenced by well-known modern movements in Paris including expressionism and post-impressionism.

10. His artwork was influenced by Chaim Soutine and French artist Paul Cezanne (1839–1906). (Lithuanian, 1894-1943)

11. The young artist returned to New York after spending nearly two years in France, where he ran upon George Luks once more. As a result of Luks’ nomination for the prestigious Harmon Award and his encouragement, Johnson’s work gained recognition in the city’s art scene. Luks was impressed with Johnson’s artistic development.

12. Johnson visited his childhood home in America. Johnson began to capture Florence, South Carolina’s daily life using friends and family as his subjects.

13. The Johnsons continued to create art and travel extensively. After a trip to Tunisia, the Johnsons moved to Norway in 1935. Once again Johnson’s style changed.

 

William Johnson at work, NARA

14. During the Harlem Renaissance, Johnson was one of the most prominent painters of African-American life.

15. He spent most of his time in Europe, where Post-Impressionism and Expressionism influenced him.

Later Years

16. He was diagnosed with syphilis in 1947, which had affected both his mental and physical abilities. The U.S. Embassy in Oslo sent him back to New York as a citizen who was no longer regarded as mentally capable.

17. After 1955, he stopped painting, and on April 13, 1970, he passed away from pancreatic hemorrhage.

Recognition

Sowing (1940), by William H. Johnson

18. His career nearly destroyed all of his artwork while he was unwell in 1956.
Instead, the Harmond Foundation received all of his efforts. This organization aids in the support of black artists.

19. Mr. Johnson donated 1,000 paintings, watercolours, and prints to the Smithsonian Institution.
20.. William H. Johnson has 9 works online.
21. There are 2,395 paintings online.
22. He liked bright bold colors, Colors of Africa.
23. his paintings focused on Blacks in the 1940s, friends and family

24. More than 1,000 Johnson paintings, watercolors, and prints were donated by the Harmon Foundation to the Smithsonian American Art Museum on April 19, 1967.

25. The Smithsonian American Art Museum arranged and distributed Homecoming: The Art and Life of William H. Johnson, a significant exhibition of his works, in 1991.

26. They coordinated and distributed William H. Johnson’s World on Paper in 2006. This show was expanded and sent to the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.

27. On the occasion of William Johnson’s 100th birthday, the William H. Johnson Foundation for the Arts was founded.

Street Musicians. William H. Johnson

28. Johnson was honored with a stamp from the U.S. Postal Service in 2012, acknowledging him as a prominent player in 20th-century American art and one of the top African-American artists in the country. The eleventh stamp in the “American Treasures” series features his colorful flower-filled table painting Flowers (1939–1940), which features vibrant blossoms.

29. The city of Florence, South Carolina just installed a statue in William’s honor on March 18, 2020. It is situated in Florence’s downtown on West Evans Street Breezeway.

30. Realistic expressionism gave way to a strong folk style for which Johnson is best known. The Smithsonian American Art Museum has a sizable collection of his paintings, watercolors, and prints, and it has planned and distributed significant exhibitions of his work.

Here is a list of William H. Johnson’s 102 artworks

Black Women on U.S Currency

One of the biggest honors in the country is to have one’s image on coinage. One of the earliest and only ways for the public to recognize Black greatness, contribution, and value is through the depiction of free Black individuals in a positive light on commemorative coinage.

The idea of a black woman appearing prominently on our country’s paper money was, until recently, a pipe dream that would soon become a reality, similar to the election of the first African-American president eight years ago.

Maya Angelou was the first Black woman on a U.S coin

The Quarter

The Quarter is the 25-cent coin used in the U.S. The nation’s first president, George Washington, is depicted on the Quarter’s (heads) side. Since 1932, he has been on the Quarter. The Quarter where he was right right-facing was created in 2022.

Washington and Congress previously rejected coin designs that included our presidents while evaluating the plans for the first American coinage. They were too much reminded of British coinage with their queen or monarch on them.

Black women on the Quarter

As of 2022, we have Black women on the Quarter! The tails (back) design undergoes frequent alteration. Five alternative designs are now available (2022) as a part of the American Women Quarters Program. The program recognizes the achievements made by American women in this nation. Along with Wilma Mankiller and Anna May Wong, Maya Angelou became the first African-American woman to appear on a 25-cent coin.

American author, performer, and professor, Maya Angelou was most well-known for her poems and several biographies, mainly I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970).

After Maya Angelou

The U.S. Mint unveiled five additional women on April 4 to appear on the Quarter in 2023 after author Maya Angelou became the first African-American woman to appear on the 25-cent piece. Bessie Coleman, the first black woman to acquire a pilot’s license, was one of the women. Jovita Idar, Edith Kanaka’ole, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Maria Tallchief are some of the others.

Black women on U.S currency

The first Black woman to obtain a pilot’s license was Bessie Coleman. She rose to fame due to her aerial tricks and flying stunts, and she was a pioneer in shattering glass ceilings and racial boundaries.

American paper currency 

As of 2022, the U.S. Treasury has confirmed that Harriet Tubman’s $20 bill is on track to launch to the public in 2030. Andrew Jackson is currently on the $20 bill. He enslaved people and mistreated the Native Americans. However, there is controversy over having Tubman replace Jackson. Some believe former President Donald Trump held up the process because he disapproved of Tubman replacing Jackson and felt she should be on another bill, such as the $2. There is also talk of Tubman’s face being on the reserve side (back) to please those opposed to removing Andrew Jackson. 

President Biden is trying to speed up the process, but According to the U.S. Treasury, Every dollar bill is set to change in design by 2034, but each has a different projected release year — $10 (2026); $5 (2028); $20 (2030); $50 (2032); and $100 (2034).  

Presidents with enslaved people on currency

Should we get George Washington’s face off the quarter and dollar bills; he enslaved people? What about Thomas Jefferson? He is on the nickel and the $10 money; he owned slaves?. Slaves also belonged to Madison and Monroe.

Tubman on the $20?

The grassroots effort to place a “noteworthy” woman on our $20 bill, known as the “Women on the $20 campaign,” started in 2015. They believed that women needed to be represented on our currency to tell our complete history and that the history depicted on our banknotes by solely old white men was insufficient. When the public was asked to vote on who should be on our $20 bill, almost 600,000 people had to make a difficult decision in just ten weeks. Every voting round ended in victory for Tubman.

Harriet Tubman prototype for the $20

However, a nine-year-old Cambridge girl called Sofia wrote a letter to President Barack Obama last year, which some say is where it all started. Rosa Parks, Abigail Adams, and Harriet Tubman were mentioned as three excellent choices when she questioned why there aren’t any women on American currency. Mother of, Sofia disclosed the letter:

“I am writing to know why there isn’t many women on the dollars/coins for the United States. I think there should be more women on a dollar/coin for the United States because if there were no women, there wouldn’t be men. Also, there are many women that could be on dollars/coins for the United States because of the important things they done.

Please write back.”

Sofia.

President Obama wrote in his response, which Time exclusively published alongside Sofia’s original note. 

"Thank you for writing to me with such a good idea last summer. The women you listed and drew make up an impressive group, and I must say you're pretty impressive too. I'll keep working to make sure you grow up in a country where women have the same opportunities as men." - President Barrack Obama 

Conclusion

Thankfully Maya Angelou and Bessie Coleman are and will be recognized on the Quarter. This time, let’s hope real progress is accomplished with Harriet Tubman’s $20 bill. Paper bills are substantially more challenging to design and produce than coins due to mandated anti-counterfeiting requirements. 

Sources

U.S. Treasury confirms Harriet Tubman $20 bill is coming — but here’s why …. https://news.yahoo.com/us-treasury-confirms-harriet-tubman-191704753.html

Obama Responds To Girl’s Letter About Women on Money. https://collegecandy.com/2015/04/01/obama-responds-to-girls-letter-asking-why-there-are-no-women-on-us-currency/