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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.

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/

How to support Black businesses, creatives, and charities year-round

Canada celebrates Black History Month in February of each year. The purpose of the month is to educate and focus on the past, present, and future of Black Canadians. It’s also a valuable opportunity to support Black-owned businesses.

Why does Canada need to celebrate Black History Month? To answer, start by looking back to the early 1600s.

A brief primer on Black history in Canada

Almost 420 years ago, French explorer, trader, and colonizer Pierre Du Gua de Monts hired Mathieu Da Costa to help him establish Port Royal, in Acadia (present-day Annapolis Royal), and Quebec City, Quebec. Da Costa, a free Black African man, was fluent in multiple languages and served as de Monts’ interpreter when he interacted with people who spoke the Mi’kmaq language.

Even though Da Costa played a valuable role in Canada’s history, there isn’t much verifiable information about him. He is, however, considered the first Black person to have visited Canada.

Fast forward to 1629, when a six-year-old Black child from either Madagascar or Guinea was sold to Sir David Kirke, who worked as a trader and privateer for King Charles I. The child’s name was wiped from history and replaced with Olivier Le Jeune. He is the first known enslaved person in Canada.

According to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, slavery depends on the passive approval of others. It was about 200 years after Da Costa first arrived in Canada as a free man and a child arrived as a white man’s property for the Canadian government to stop being passive and outlaw slavery. This was in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Because slavery was outlawed in Canada before in the United States, Canada later became a haven for enslaved people traveling north via the Underground Railroad.

And while Canada acknowledged their abuses and acted in the interest of basic human rights in the late 1700s and early 1800s, its atrocities cannot be overlooked. Mallory Richard for The Canadian Museum for Human Rights writes: “We must also recall that for more than two hundred years, slavery happened here, too.”

200 years later, Canada established Black History Month

Black History Month in Canada started piecemeal. Toronto was the first to celebrate it in 1979 because of a petition from the Ontario Black History Society. Ten years later, Nova Scotia followed suit, then the entirety of Ontario a few years after that. By 1993, the Honourable Jean Augustine was the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, and she filed a motion to have February recognized as Black History Month in Canada in December 1995. The final step was in February 2008, when the first Black man appointed to the Senate, Senator Donald Oliver, introduced “the Motion to Recognize Contributions of Black Canadians and February as Black History Month.” The motion was adopted on March 4, 2008, cementing Canada’s parliamentary position on the occasion.

Formally celebrating Black Canadians was a process that took three decades. It’s an accomplishment, but no country can rest on its laurels. It’s one thing to proclaim all humans equal. It’s an entirely different thing to act like it.
 

Black History Month and beyond

Taking the time to recognize Black history in February is necessary. However, people should also act on their appreciation for Black communities in Canada throughout the year.

Black History Month is an opportunity to celebrate Black Canadians, acknowledge historical wounds, and recognize that Black Canadians are an important part of our society. Beyond treating them as equals, Canadians can make the effort to support Black businesses, artists, and charities throughout the year — not just in February.

Supporting Black businesses, creatives, and charities makes Canada better

Spending money with Black businesses during Black History Month and throughout the year helps sustain these businesses, creatives, and charities and enables shoppers to know exactly where their money is going. According to Small Business BC (SBBC), Canadians should shop at small businesses to:

  • Support the character of the community
  • Keep money in the community
  • Encourage people to build a life in their community
  • Help the environment
  • Build the community and help it prosper

That said, it’s easy to fall into habits when shopping or donating time or money. It’s important to try to do better, because spending the time, effort, and money to find ways to support the Black community makes a big difference.

For example, by supporting Black Canadian business owners, consumers send a message to banks and other institutions that these businesses are successful and necessary to the local economy. In one survey, only 18% of Black Canadian entrepreneurs felt comfortable talking to their financial institution about funding options.

The majority of Black Canadian entrepreneurs, 76%, said that their race makes it harder to succeed. Customers may help pave the way for banks and other financial institutions to approve more Black-owned businesses for loans and another backing simply by doing business with them.

How to find Black businesses and organizations in Canada

For both fellow business owners and consumers, the first step in exercising support for Black-owned businesses, Black creatives, and charitable organizations that serve the Black community is to find them.

Use Google to search locally or nationally.

Put the power of a search engine to use and do some research. For example, searching Google for “bookstore Toronto Black-owned” pops up several results, including a page from Penguin Random House Canada that lists Black-owned bookstores in Canada.

To help searchers, Google has rolled out a badge for Black-owned businesses in its results, but that update is only available in the United States for now. Until it’s available in Canada, adding specific keywords to a query helps. In another search, this time for “children’s charity Canada Black-owned,” scrolling through the page reveals a result from Calgary Foundation called “Black-led/Black-serving organizations in our community.

Even a basic search for “how to find Black Canadian businesses” turns up Black Owned Canada, which serves as a niche search engine. By dedicating a few minutes to research, refining their search as necessary, searchers can find what they’re looking for. The information is out there: People just have to spend the time to look for it.

Look for badges on sites like Yelp.

Badges, or little icons that showcase a particular characteristic of a business, are becoming a widely used tool online. While Canadians are waiting for the badge on Google results, Yelp users in Canada can type “Black-owned” in addition to their other search terms, whether it’s for a restaurant, photographer, hair studio, or another business or organization. They can also do a general search and look for the icon in search results that says “Black-owned.” 

Check out AfroBiz.ca.

Short on time? AfroBiz.ca has done a lot of the work in finding Canadian, Black-owned companies. On its website, it shares that “AfroBiz.ca is self-funded and currently home to more than 4,500 Black-owned businesses, Black entrepreneurs, and Black organizations in Canada.” From lawyers to dentists to interior designers and more, this repository makes the search easy.

Hop on social media and search using hashtags.

Twitter and Instagram are the two primary social media platforms where hashtags are used, though hashtags are also available on LinkedIn. Sometimes, however, they can be crowded with results that don’t fit what users are looking for. A search on Instagram for #BlackOwnedBusiness will turn up a lot of good results, but narrowing them down to Canadian businesses or specific types of organizations can be difficult.

One of the easiest ways to find the right hashtags is to follow local accounts that use them well, such as Black Owned Toronto’s Instagram account. The beauty of Twitter and Instagram is that users can follow and learn from members of the Canadian Black community — including which hashtags are most helpful.

Follow Black thought leaders and community members on social media.

Supporting Canadian Black businesses, artists, associations, and charities shouldn’t be a one-time event. This means people need to make an effort to get plugged in to what the Black community is saying and doing, without inserting themselves into the conversation.

For many people who want to be an ally to the Black community, the first step may be one of the hardest: listening. Simply paying attention to the conversation — without interrupting — helps people become long-term supporters and learn how to be better allies. Observe and engage in empathetic listening. Once people better understand the situation, they can take genuine action that isn’t rooted in virtue signaling.

A quick search on Twitter, for example, for “Black Canadian” brings up organizations, people, and companies that have those keywords in their bios or in their tweets. Users can find an account that’s sharing information they find valuable and follow them. Look at their hashtags and who they interact with to widen the search. Even using the emoji for the Canadian flag can help people find more results.

Businesspeople and consumers alike can support Black businesses in Canada

The impact of COVID-19 on small businesses, including those owned by Black Canadians, can be seen across Canada. Therefore, it’s especially important now, during this difficult time, for Canadian consumers to come together to support small businesses.

This support can come in the form of partnerships. A school hosting a fundraiser can ask for a service or product for its auction and give the Black-owned business free advertising and promotion in the event’s marketing materials. Entrepreneurs can pair with a Black-owned business and have a contest to introduce their audience to the other business. Businesses and individuals can also donate time or expertise to a Black-owned charity. Partnerships can also take the form of grants, mentorships, and speaking opportunities with organizations and associations.

People can also take the time to write helpful reviews online, which helps businesses, organizations, and creatives with their online marketing. Both online and in person, participating in word-of-mouth marketing, recommending businesses to others, and calling on others to support these small businesses goes a long way in helping small businesses succeed. For example, a customer can recommend a restaurant by creating a positive post on social media, tagging the business, and using helpful hashtags so others can find the post, too. In a survey of Black Canadian entrepreneurs, when asked what was most important to them on a scale from one to 10, they said that advertising and promotion ranked at 8.7. Online reviews, referrals, and social media posts cost consumers nothing to complete and write, but can help small businesses in a big way.

Perhaps most imperative, however, is to spend money within the Black Canadian community. From a contractor who needs to hire a plumber to a florist who needs a new graphic for a display case, seek out opportunities to include Black businesses and service contractors. An entrepreneur who needs a new business bank account can choose to do business with a bank that supports the Black community. Realtors can use paintings from local Black artists when staging homes. Buy a novel by a Black Canadian author from a local Black-owned bookstore. The possibilities are endless.

Supporting Canada’s Black community is about including people

Actively supporting Black Canadian entrepreneurs, business owners, charities, creatives, artists, and others helps demonstrate how important Black-owned businesses are to Canada and to society.

It’s not about excluding other groups; it’s about being more inclusive to a group of people who, for 200 years, were treated as less than human even as they helped build this nation and became valued members of society. By supporting Black Canadians, people recognize their history in this country, help ensure the future is far more fair, and act as an example for others. As Lincoln Alexander said, “It is not your duty to be average. It is your duty to set a higher example for others to follow.”

Frank “Sugar Chile” Robinson: A Child Prodigy

Frank “Sugar Chile” Robinson is an American jazz pianist and singer. He became famous as a child prodigy in the mid–1940s, and this little genius gained top billing and performed at notable venues.  He was the first African American performer at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner in 1946

Early Life

Frank Isaac Robinson was born in Detroit on December 28, 1938, and was the youngest of 7 children. He was known as Sugar Chile Robinson, and his mother gave him the nickname “Sugar Chile.” His parents didn’t play any instruments, but they did have a piano that his aunt left at their house. According to legend, ‘Sugar Chile’ would climb onto the piano bench and teach himself to play what he heard on the radio. Little “Sugar Chile” would slap the piano with his elbows and fists. 

His Big Break

He was disqualified from a talent competition for being too young. However, he won another talent contest for kids under 18 when he was three. Imagine everyone’s jaw-dropping when a young child sat down at the piano and started to play and sing the blues.

Robinson stunned the crowd with his incredible piano, blues and jazz abilities when he won a talent competition at the age of three at Detroit’s very own Paradise Theatre; by 1945, he had been “discovered” by pianist and bandleader Frankie Carle.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) offered Frank’s father a seven-year contract, but he turned it down. But later signed the movie contract. He rose to fame after appearing in the 1946 American film “No Leave, No Love.” He made a cross-country tour and broke box office records.

His Career 

Sugar Chile started performing in large venues and broke attendance records in Detroit and California. He received special permission to join the American Federation of Musicians in 1949, enabling him to record his first two Capitol Records singles, “Numbers Boogie” and “Caldonia,” which peaked on the Billboard R&B chart and became the organization’s youngest-ever member at the time.

Frank played ‘Caldonia’ for President Harry S. Truman at the White House. He famously shouted, “How’m I Doin’, Mr. President?” which became his catchphrase. Truman gave him a big thumb’s up. 

He was the first black performer at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Touring

He headlined for a week at Chicago’s Regal Theatre, making more than $36,000, a record that remains the biggest one-week attraction of the theatre’s history.  

His last single was issued in August 1952, and shortly after that, a 10″ collection LP, boogie-woogie featuring many of his 1952 songs, was published. He performed at four engagements in 1953, then three more in 1954, one of which was at The Blue Note in Chicago in August 1954 with jazz saxophonist Gerry Mulligan. He performed just twice between 1955 and 1956 under his current name, Frank Robinson, and at the ripe old age of eighteen, he gave up the stage.

By 1950, he was touring with Count Basie and appeared on television and in the short film Sugar Chile Robinson, Billie Holiday, Count Basie and His Sextet. During the 1950 holiday season in Europe, Sugar Chile’s “Christmas Boogie” c/w “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” sold well enough to prompt a two-month tour of the UK in the summer of 1951. This included glowing reviews for his performance at the London Palladium, appearances on BBC TV, and a Melody Maker interview.

In 1952 he gave up music. He said, “I wanted to go to school… I wanted some school background in me, and I asked my Dad if I could stop, and I went to school because I honestly wanted my college diploma.”

Sugar Chile returned to school and finished high school at just 15 years old. He graduated from Olivet College with a history degree and the Detroit Institute of Technology with a psychology degree. He worked for his Uncle Frank’s chiropractor business after graduating. 

After Music 

Robinson worked for WGPR-TV in the 1960s and established a recording studio and tiny record labels in Detroit. He ran his own Lendo/Lando and Autocap labels in the 1960s while working for the family business. Rufus Wonder, Little Stevie’s cousin, and The Superlatives had minor hits on these labels. From 1962 to 1996, he also worked part-time selling television commercials for the nearby broadcaster WGPR-TV.

“No one told me I was making history.”

Honors

Thanks to the American Music Research Foundation, Robinson has come back as a musician in recent years. 

In 2002, he performed at a special concert honoring Detroit music. His 1950 “Go Boy Go!” recording was used in a Dockers television ad in 2006.

Sugar Chile Robinson was the featured artist in the final Dr. Boogie show of 2013. He joined President Obama at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 30, 2016, marking the 70th anniversary of his presence at the dinner in 1946. A standing ovation was given to him after the meal as a photo of him as a little child played on the TV screens. The same year, he was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.

Recent Years

Robinson temporarily reconnected with the music industry in the 1960s by co-owning the Detroit-based Lando and Lendo labels, which produced 45s by Rufus Wonder (Stevie Wonder’s cousin) and Carl Carlton. He obtained employment with the first African-American-owned television station, WGPR-TV selling TV advertising during this time. Frank established his recording studio and the AutoCap record label on the back of these modest triumphs, which also had a modest hit with “Don’t Walk Away” by The Superlatives.

He was in financial difficulty in 2017, and a house fire had destroyed his valuables. Robinson lived in a tiny flat with his niece with no beds and a piano, so they had been sleeping on blow-up beds. After receiving a call from friends, the Music Maker Relief Foundation group sent him a bed and registered him for a monthly food program. Robinson received a piano from Buddy Smith, who he inspired in the 1940s.

12 Facts about George Crum

Before discussing 12 facts about George Crum or George “Speck,” let us look at common legends about how some believe potato chips originated.

Who invented Potato Chips? 

First, some believe the original fries originated in Namur, Belgium. Namur is where the locals were fond of fried fish. But when the Meuse froze over one cold winter in 1680, people reportedly fried potatoes instead of the fish that they were used to.

Second, some believe that the invention of french fries took place just before the French Revolution on the Pont Neuf bridge in Paris in 1789. However, at least one reference to “fried potatoes” appears to date from 1775 in France.

Did George Speck invent Potato Chips?

According to legend, Crum became annoyed when a customer, Cornelius Vanderbilt, complained that his French-fried potatoes were too thick. Crum reacted by slicing the potatoes as thinly as possible, frying them in grease, and serving the crunchy brown chips back out to the guests.  

Cornelius Vanderbilt 

George Speck, also known as George Crum, was a chef known for inventing what we know as Potato Chips. He became famous for popularizing potato chips in Upstate New York and was later known as their creator. He was a mixture of black American and Mohawk Indian. However, the Moon’s Lake House, where he worked, was credited with the invention of the potato chip around the mid-1800s.

Was George Crum’s sister involved in the invention?

George Crum is commonly believed to have invented the potato chip, but his sister Kate Speck claimed to have come up with what would become known as the Saratoga chips. She accidentally sliced off a sliver of potato, and it fell into a hot frying pan. George Crum approved of the chip after tasting the sliced potato. Her claim is undermined by the existence of cookbooks describing earlier versions of the chips that were called fried potato shavings in the United States and Great Britain.

12 Interesting Facts about George Crum:

Moon’s Lake House (credit: Wikipedia)
  1. Born in 1822 to a Native American mother and a black jockey father in Saratoga Lake, New York, George Crum was first employed as a mountain guide and trapper in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.
  2. He was known as Crum. His father used that name when he was a horse jockey.
  3. In 1853, he took a position as the head chef of Cary Moon’s Lake House in Lake Saratoga, New York, where he cooked dinner for guests one evening.
  4. Having planned to make french fries, one of his guests complained that they were too thick. He was annoyed, so he cut the potatoes very thinly, and when he deep-fried them in oil, they were thin and crisp. After adding salt, they tasted good.
  5. Crum’s chips were initially known as potato crunchers and also Saratoga chips.
  6. George decided to build his restaurant near Saratoga Lake in 1860. He served potato chips as an appetizer at every table. The restaurant was a huge success and lasted 30 years before closing in 1890. 
  7. Although he did not patent his potato chips and never tried to market them outside of his business, potato chips were widely sold by others after he left. The industry grew to a six-billion-dollar sector. 
  8. Moon’s Lake House owner later tried to claim credit for the invention and began packing and distributing potato chips inboxes. 
  9. As soon as Crum opened his restaurant in 1860 in Malta, New York, he provided every table with a basket of potato chips. Visitors travelled 10 miles to try Crum’s potato chips.
  10. George Crum died in 1904 at the age of 92, leaving behind the legacy of inventing the world’s greatest snack food.
  11. Crum’s involvement first appeared in an advertisement in 1885, and Vanderbilt was introduced in an ad made 120 years after the potato chip was thought invented.
  12. In 1895, he started making potato chips in his kitchen, then delivered them to local stores. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, people began to sell potato chips in grocery stores. The first such person may have been William Tappendon of Cleveland, Ohio. 

Conclusion 

Making potato chips was a tedious task. That changed in the 1920s when the mechanical potato peeler was invented. Potato chips went from a local favorite to a national brand with this technology.

There’s no doubt that potato chips are one of the world’s most popular snack foods today. Many say potato chips are America’s favorite snack food. They might be right! Retail sales of potato chips in the United States total over $6 billion every year.

15 Fun Facts about Ruby Bridges

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Who is Ruby Bridges?

Ruby Bridges is a civil rights activist from the United States. During the New Orleans school desegregation crisis on November 14, 1960, she was the first African-American youngster to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana.

15 Fun Facts about Ruby Bridges

1. When Ruby Bridges was a little girl, she was active in the civil rights struggle. Bridges was one of six black students in New Orleans who passed the test determining whether or not they could attend the all-white school in early 1960.

2 Ruby Nell Bridges was born in Tylertown, Mississippi, on September 8, 1954. She was the oldest child in a family of five, and her family relocated to New Orleans when she was four years old so that her parents for a better job. 

3. She was born in 1954 when Brown v. Board of Education eliminated “separate but equal” education for African Americans, and the order was either ignored or blocked by southern states. The “Little Rock Nine,” a group of nine Black high school students from Arkansas, enrolled in a white high school in 1957. 

William Frantz Elementary School building

4. Three other small Black girls were in first grade in another New Orleans white school when Ruby started. One of them was Ruby, and she was selected to attend the William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. When Ruby was in kindergarten, a federal court declared that New Orleans schools needed to integrate or allow both Black and white pupils to attend.  

5. At Frantz School, Ruby was the only black student. Four federal marshals, who were assigned to protect her, drove her to and from school. 

6. Parents did not want their children to attend the same school as African-American students. They screamed and threatened Ruby; even white parents yelled threats against her from the audience. 

7. The marshals drove her to and from school for the following six months. Attempts were made to harm her family. Her father was laid off, and her grandparents were forced to sell their Georgia farm. The neighborhood corner store turned them down. 

8. Ruby didn’t miss a single day of school that year, but her parents divorced by the end of the year.

9. The story of her attending a white school is shown in Norman Rockwell’s artwork The Problem We All Live With, which was installed in the White House during President Obama’s term. 

Norman Rockwell The Problem We All Live With 

10. There is a message in the painting. If you look at the painting, you can’t see the Marshall’s face because the painting intentionally crops out their faces. Take note of the background. a broken and smeared tomato hurled against the wall, as well as racial obscenities such as “N-word” and “KKK.” Mr. Rockwell utilized a local girl, Lynda Gunn, and his cousin as the model for his painting, which Ruby Bridges inspired.

11. Since most white parents no longer allowed their children to attend school, Ruby spent most of the year as the sole student in her first-grade class. She and her teacher, Barbara Henry, became great friends as they worked together.

12. On her second day at Frantz school, every staff member refused to teach Ruby, except one – Mrs. Barbara Henry.

Ruby Bridges photo credit: Wikipedia

13. Parents gradually became less enraged and fearful, and their children were allowed to return to Frantz School. The children returned the following year, and the school was fully integrated. 

14. She founded the Ruby Bridges Foundation, a foundation that promotes understanding and harmony among youngsters, in 1999. 

15. She also wrote a book called Through My Eyes in 1999, which recounted her experiences.

Conclusion

Ruby Bridges was six years old when she entered a segregated school. She now teaches children how to overcome racial prejudices. She is now a civil rights speaker, author and advocate.

I think the lesson that I learned is that you can’t look at a person and judge them. That you have to allow yourself an opportunity to really get to know them, no matter what they look like.” – Ruby Bridges

Who Was George Washington Carver?

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About

George Carver was born in the year 1864 in Diamond, Missouri, US. He was an American agricultural scientist and inventor who promoted alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion. He is best known for being the most prominent black scientist of the early 20th century. Below is all you need to know about George Washington Carver Biography.

George Washington Carver

George Carver was a famous agricultural black scientist and inventor who helped develop many soybeans, sweet potatoes, and peanuts. He was born into slavery a year before it was outlawed, after which he left home at a young age to further his education and earn a master’s degree from Iowa State University. 

Goerge Washington Carver home
Photo by Matthew A. LynnMERA

Carver planned to teach and conduct research at Tuskegee University for years. Even though he spent years developing several products made from peanuts, none were commercially successful. He was also a leader in promoting environmentalism and received numerous awards for his work.

His Early Life

George Washington Carver was born into a life of slavery in Diamond, Newton County, Missouri, near Crystal Place, before abolishing slavery in Missouri, which occurred in January 1865, during the American Civil War. His date of birth was not known to him. 

Moses Carver, a German American immigrant and a farm owner bought George’s mother, Mary, from William P. McGinnis on October 9, 1855, when she was 13. George was a week old when he was kidnapped, along with his sister, by night raiders from Arkansas. 

Moses Carver hired someone to get them back, but they only succeeded in finding George, whom they bought by trading one of Moses’ finest horses. He was raised by Moses Carver and his wife Susan and taught how to read and write. He started going to the farm and was soon known as a plant doctor to several local farmers.

His Education

At age 11, George left the farm to attend an all-Black school in a nearby town in Neosho, where he was taken in by Andrew and Mariah Watkins, a childless African American couple. Two years later, he moved to Kansas, leaving his education in Neosho behind. 

Surviving from the domestic skills he learned while moving from one foster home to another, he put himself through school and later graduated from Minneapolis High School in Minneapolis. In 1894, Carver became the first African American to earn a Bachelor of Science degree.

Tuskegee Institute

Washington persuaded its trustees to establish an agriculture school, which Carver could only head if Tuskegee retained its all-Black faculty. Carver accepted the invitation and would spend his life at Tuskegee Institute.

Carver devised strategies to repair soils depleted by repeated cotton crops as a professor at Tuskegee Institute. He wanted poor farmers to cultivate alternative crops like peanuts and sweet potatoes to supplement their income and improve their quality of life.

George Washington Carver (front row, center) poses with fellow staff members at the Tuskegee Institute (now known as Tuskegee University) located in the U.S. state of Alabama. Photo credit: Wikepedia

His Relationship

George never got married. His courtship with Sarah L. Hunt, an elementary school teacher and the sister-in-law of Warren Logan, Treasurer of Tuskegee Institute, only lasted for three years. News had it that he was bisexual and constrained by mores of his historical period.

His Inventions and Fame

  • George Carver taught the farmers to enrich their croplands with swamp muck instead of fertilizers. His idea of crop rotation was of great value to several farmers.
  • His most significant success came from peanuts. He developed many industrial and commercial products from peanuts, including paper, cooking oils, punches, salad oil, soaps, cosmetics, wood stains, and massage oils that treated him with infantile paralysis.
  • A lot of facts and images were created from George Washington Carver for kids, which was a source of education for them.
  • In 1916, George was made a member of the Royal Society of Arts in England, one of the few Americans to receive this honor.
  • George discovered Permaculture used to generate carbon from the atmosphere, producing many crops. Premature is still used in President Biden’s reign.
  • He later established a legacy by creating a museum of his work and the George Washington Carver Foundation at Tuskegee in 1938 to continue research on Agriculture.
George Washington Carver at work in his laboratory

His Death

On January 5, 1943, George Carver died at the age of 79 from anemia resulting from a fall down a flight of stairs. He was 78 years old and was buried on the Tuskegee Institute grounds.

List of Products made from the Peanut
By Dr. George Washington Carver

The Oldest Black-Owned Business in the United States

The Oldest Black-Owned Business in the United States was founded in Columbus, Ohio. The Ward Transfer Line is the country’s oldest continuously operating African-American business. William S. Ward established the company in 1881 as a moving company, and it began with three employees and a single wagon to transport items.

John T. Ward and Catherine Moss Ward

John T.Ward. Photo Credit: Columbus Public Library Archives
Catherine Moss Ward was the wife of John T. Ward

John T. Ward was the father of William S. Ward.  He was born in Richmond, Virginia, on March 19, 1820. Ward emigrated from Virginia to Columbus in 1836, and later met Catherine Moss, an Underground Railroad operator in Central Ohio.  The couple met while growing up on a farm near the National Pike (now known as Main Street). They married in 1838 and had 12 kids.

Ward was a free man who purchased his own farmland and worked as the janitor at the old City Hall. His farm was in what is now known as Whitehall. Once an underground railroad station, that house still exists today but is no longer in the Ward family’s possession.  He eventually settled in the Reynoldsburg area.

The Business 

Ward Transfer Line was founded in 1881 by John T. Ward and his son, William in Columbus, Ohio.

In 1859, the Wards started working on

Photo Credit: Columbus Public LIbrary Archives

his “business plan” for a moving company.  He hauled goods and merchandise from warehouses and storage yards to commercial sites and markets under contract for wholesales.

Ward’s son, William, worked in the moving business after the war and later left to work for the Union Transfer and Storage Company.  He navigated the tanks and rose through the ranks to become a teamster, work supervisor, foreman, and rate clerk.

In 1899, they add “storage” and changed the name to E.E. Ward Transfer and Storage Company, after Edgar Earl Ward, John T. Ward’s grandson who was running the business at the time.

The company began using motor vehicles in the early 1900s, eventually phased out their last horse-powered moving team in 1921. By 1925, it had grown to include more commercial clients, such as the Steinway Piano Company, for whom it transported nearly 900,000 pianos.

The Underground Railroad

Ward became involved in the Underground Railroad as a young man in the 1840s, hiding fugitive slaves on his farm outside Columbus in Whitehall.

John T. Ward and his family assisted slaves fleeing to Canada through the Second Baptist Church in Columbus. He used his horses and wagon to assist slaves in escaping to freedom by establishing a network of hiding places and safe houses.

The Second Baptist congregation was afraid of losing their jobs if they became involved, so Ward and James Preston Poindexter left and founded the Slavery Resistant Church to assist runaways. They all returned to Second Baptist after the Civil War, where Poindexter served as pastor for forty years.

Maintaining the Legacy

The Oldest Black-Owned Business in the United States was run by Edgar Earl, who was born in 1881. Edgar Earl Ward, the youngest, took over the business in 1899 when he was 18 years old. There were a lot of changes under Edgar Ward’s leadership.

Edgar Earl Ward Photo credit: Columbus Public Library Archives

In the early 1950’s Eldon Ward, the great-grandson of John T. and Catherine Ward took over as manager. However, there was no succession plan when Eldon Ward decided to retire in 1996.  He moved to Phoenix, and he had no children of his own.

The current owner, Brain Brooks’ father, was the attorney for E.E. Ward for 20 years, and Eldon

 

 Ward was Brooks’ godfather. So, when it appeared that the business would be leaving the Ward family’s hands, Brooks’ mother begged her son to help keep the E.E. Ward legacy alive.

He was passionate about its long history and wanted to preserve it. In April 2001, he bought the company with a business partner, Otto Beatty, for an undisclosed sum.

E.E. Ward, now located at 2235 Southwest Blvd. in Grove City, has remained the oldest continuously operating black-owned business in the United States, according to the US Department of Commerce and mentioned in the 2003 Congressional Record.

The company has survived the Great Depression, two World Wars, the Great Recession, and the presidency of 25 different presidents. Today they are the Oldest Black-Owned Business in the United States.

Who are the Stolen Girls?

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Who are the Stolen Girls? Thousands of kids protested against segregation. Many were arrested and put in prison for days, weeks, and even months. This event aided with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. More than a dozen African-American children aged 12 to 15 were seized and held in a decaying stockade for two months without being charged in 1963. Who are the Stole Girls?

The Protest

In the summer of 1963, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) staged a protest march in Americus, Georgia, to protest segregation in collaboration with the NAACP. Then, in late July 1963, Black youngsters began to demonstrate regularly at the Martin Theater and the Trailways bus terminal against segregation. As white oppressors of the movement met the youthful activists with taunting and violence, the peaceful demonstrations became boisterous. The march began at Friendship Baptist Church and concluded at a segregated cinema. When they arrived at the movie theatre, a group of preteen and young African-American teenage girls known as the “Stolen Girls” attempted to purchase tickets and were arrested for doing so. Fifteen young girls aged 12 to 15 were imprisoned for defying segregation restrictions. By the Martin Theater and the Trailways bus terminal, the girls staged a protest. Instead of entering the back alley, the marchers attempted to purchase tickets at the movie theatre’s front entrance. Police arrived quickly, assaulted the girls, and arrested them without charging them.

The Arrest

Three young women, the youngest was ten years old, and the oldest of whom was sixteen, were captured and taken to the “Leesburg Stockade,” a dismal, dank Civil War-era prison about twenty miles west of Americus in rural Leesburg. In jail for the first few days, they didn’t receive any food. They survived on rations of overcooked hamburgers and egg sandwiches for the next few days. The girls also slept on filthy beds without access to a bathroom, sharing space with mosquitoes, gnats, and, at one point, a snake brought into the room by guards. After weeks of searching throughout the region, a photographer Danny Lyon located the girls’ and alerted community members. Police released the girls days after Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream speech” in Washington D.C.After they were released, many of the girl’s parents received a bill with a charge of two dollars for every day of their child’s imprisonment.

Conclusion

Days after Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C.; police freed the girls. Danny Lyon, a photographer, discovered the girls’ bodies after weeks of scouring throughout the region and alerted the community. Many of the girls’ parents got a bill of two dollars for each day their kid was imprisoned after they were freed. The Leesburg Stockade Girls “stolen girls” are an example of teenage freedom fighters who are brave.

Work Cited

Leesburg Stockade: In 1963, Thirty Black Preteen Girls …. https://www.watchtheyard.com/history/leesburg-stockade-1963/ ‘Stolen Girls’ in Leesburg Stockade – The Black Detour. https://theblackdetour.com/stolen-girls-in-leesburg-stockade/ Black Girlhood in 20th-Century America | Oxford Research …. https://oxfordre.com/americanhistory/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.001.0001/acrefore-9780199329175-e-852