It’s 2008 & We’re Still Making Black History!

Happy Black History Month! 

Thanks to the efforts of Carter G. Woodson, what started as Black History Week became Black History Month in 1976.  

If you’ve read Freshman Focus or know someone who has, then you know that each chapter begins with a Black history fact.  Today’s blog contains a sample of key events that happened throughout history on February 1. Visit this site for a more detailed listing of February 1st Black History Moments.

February 1

1810 – The first insurance company managed by African Americans, the American Insurance Company of Philadelphia, is established.

1902 – Langston Hughes is born in Joplin, Missouri.  He will be known as one of the most prolific American poets of the 20th century and a leading voice of the Harlem Renaissance.   In addition to his poetry, Hughes will achieve success as an anthologist and juvenile author, write plays and librettos, found theater groups, and be a widely read columnist and humorist.  Among his honors will be the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal in 1960.


1938 – Sherman Hemsley is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He will become an actor well known for his roles in the TV shows All in the Family, The Jeffersons, and Amen.

1957 – P.H. Young becomes the first African American pilot, flying on a United States scheduled passenger airline.

1960 – Four African American college students from North Carolina A&T College in Greensboro, North Carolina sit at a “whites-only” Woolworth’s lunch counter and refuse to leave when denied service, beginning a sit-in protest.


1965 – Ruby Dee becomes the first African American thespian to play a major role at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut.

1978 – The first stamp of the United States Postal Service’s Black Heritage USA series honors Harriet Tubman, famed abolitionist and “conductor” on the Underground Railroad.

2008 – The Brown Bookshelf launches 28 Days Later, its first initiative celebrating authors and illustrators of African American children’s literature.


To say that we are jazzed about 28 Days Later is putting it mildly.  Individually and as a team, we’ve been working hard over the past month to prepare for today.  I’m sure our friends and family are tired of hearing the words:  Brown Bookshelf, interview, review, Paula, Varian, Don, Kelly, Carla, and WordPress.  LOL!  But this is fun for us as well as hard work.  In the past month, I’ve researched, read about, read books by Rita Williams-Garcia (2.4.08), M. Sindy Felin (2.9.08), Allison Whittenberg (2.14.08), Karen English (2.21.08), Coe Booth (2.22.08), and Valerie Wilson Wesley (2.27.08) all in preparation for February 1 – 29th.  We’ve joined the Myspace Revolution and got busy friending fellow authors, libraries, librarians, and those with a passion for children’s literature.  It’s game time not just for the Patriots and the Giants, but for the five of us at The Brown Bookshelf! 


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