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Black History Facts

Little Known Black Hisotry Facts

What African American artist was the master of collage? Answer--Romare Bearden

Romare Bearden was the African American Artist who became a master of collage. Collage is a surface covered with fragments of pictures from magazines, drawing, painting, and whatever else the artist is inspired to attach. Bearden was born in 1912 in Charlotte, North Carolina. He later moved to Pittsburgh, then Harlem, and eventually studied at the Arts Students League in New York. Bearden achievements were recognized in his lifetime; he received a National Medal of the Arts in 1987 from the National Endowment of the Arts.

Pioneering Poet--Rita Dove

Being poet Laureate is a great honor. It means a poet has reached the pinnacle of artistic expression in poetry and is considered the official American spokesperson of this art. Rita Dove, the first African American and the youngest person ever to be so honored, served as poet laureate from 1993-1995. Dove won the Pulitzer Prize for her collection of poems based on her grandparents' life, entitled Thomas and Beulah (1986). Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952. She received her BA, summa cum laude from Miami University of Ohio and went on to spend time at the Universitat Tubingen in Germany. In 1977, she earned her Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Iowa.

What electronic wizard saved lives?

Otis Boykin invented more that 25 electronic devices used in computers and guided missiles. His most noteworthy invention was an electrical mechanism created in 1955, as a regulating unit for the first heart pacemaker. Paul Boli first invented the actual pacemaker. Boykins device uses electrical impulses to maintain a steady heart beat. Born in 1920, Otis Boykin was raised in Dallas, Texas by his parents Walter Benjamin and Sarah Boykin. He graduated from Fisk University in 1941 and got his first official job with Majestic Radio and TV Corporation in Chicago. In 1949, while attending the Illinois Institute of Technology, he founded his own company, Boykin-Fruth. In his long career, Boykin also invented a type of resistor (an electric circuit element) commonly in use today in radios, computers, and television sets.

What black surgeon led the first successful operation to separate Siamese twins?--Answer Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr.

Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr. is a pioneer in brain surgical techniques. However he is best known for leading the first surgical team that successfully separated a pair of Siamese twins, who were born joined at the head. Born in 1951, Carson came from a poor family in Detroit. As a child, he had a difficult time in school. Undeterred, the budding young neurosurgeon studied hard in high school and won a scholarship to Yale University, where he received his bachelor's degree. He went on to study at the University of Michigan's Medical School and became the first black person accepted into the residency program at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. In 1984, Carson performed a very complex surgical feat when he separated seven months old Siamese twins, born joined at the back of the head. The surgery was successful. Awards received include; Johnson Publication Company Black Achievement Award, The Candle Award for Science and Technology from Morehouse College and an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from North Carolina A&T University.

The Black Cyclone

The world champion was Marshall "Major" Taylor, a young man who fought to achieve and keep his title as the fastest bicycle rider in the world. Setting record, he was popularly called "The Black Cyclone," and became the first African American to win a national title in any sport in 1898, despite disputes with the League of American Wheelman regarding race. Born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1878, Taylor started early to race bicycles. He practiced and exercised regularly, and he was careful to maintain his health. He won races as an amateur and as a professional, but organization like the League of American Wheelers excluded him from membership because he was African American. Finally, in 1866, Taylor won the World One-Mile Sprint Championship at a Montreal meet and set a world's record in a Chicago race. Taylor had to beat both other races and prejudiced organizations. Taylor took his motto from Booker T. Washington: "I shall allow no man to narrow my soul and drag me down." He concluded his autobiography by asserting, "I am a Negro in every since of the word."


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