Saturday, November 20, 2010

Education, Inventions and Freedom

On November 20 in Black History

In 1865 Howard Seminary (later Howard University) founded in Washington, D.C. By 1867, liberal arts and medical programs were added to the university. Famous alumni include Thurgood Marshall, Phylicia Rashaad and Toni Morrison. Famous faculty include Dr. Charles Drew and Carter G. Woodson. The University continues to attract the nation’s top students and produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D.s than any other university in the world.

In 1938 Morgan State University was founded on this date. The school actually began in 1867 as the Centenary Biblical Institute to train young men in ministry. In 1915, Andrew Carnegie gave the school a conditional grant of $50,000 for the central academic building. The university became public in 1939. Morgan is also a founding member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Morgan State experienced record student enrollment this year.

In 1923Garrett Morgan invented and patented the traffic signal. He was successful and had invented the first human-hair straightener. He marketed the product under the name the G. A. Morgan Hair Refining Cream. Morgan called it a Safety Hood and patented it as a Breathing Device, but the world came to know it as a Gas Mask. He also started a newspaper called the Cleveland Call.

In 1655Zumbi, Afro-Brazilian abolitionist, soldier and leader in the resistance against the Portugese oppression, was beheaded. Zumbi was the last of the leaders of Quilombo dos Palmares, in the present-day state of Alagoas, Brazil. He was known or his physical prowess and cunning in battle and was a respected military strategist by the time he was in his early twenties. November 20 is celebrated, chiefly in Rio de Janeiro, as a day of national pride. The day has special meaning for Afro-Brazilians, who honor him as a hero, freedom fighter, and a symbol of freedom.

Bust of Zumbi in Brasília. The plaque reads: "Zumbi dos Palmares, the black leader of all races."

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