Icon Profiles

James P. Ball, a Black pacesetter in photography

Many years before Gordon Parks, and even James Van Der Zee set their cameras and focused their lens on Black life, James Presley Ball had already captured treasured moments in his daguerreotype photography.
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Josephine Ruffin, Women’s Club Pioneer

Few books chronicling African American history are without at least a mention of Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin.
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Clement Morgan, a Harvard first, attorney and activist

There is a classic photograph of 12 men, seemingly all Black, posing in front of what appears to be either Niagara Falls or a replicated background.
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Frederick C. Tillis, master musician, teacher and college administrator

Last week at the University of Massachusetts Fine Arts Center a centenary tribute for Dr. Yusef Lateef (1920-2013) was a multidimensional event, including musical performances, reflections, videos, and other artistic presentations in keeping with Lateef’s enormously creative life.
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Patrick Henry Reason, noted engraver and lithographer

Patrick Henry Reason was one of America’s earliest engravers and lithographers who was also a devout abolitionist and a leader of a fraternal order.
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Lois Mailou Jones: Visionary artist with a global perspective

When acclaim is dispensed for African American artists, Lois Mailou Jones, for the more perceptive chroniclers, is usually included, and more than just a footnot
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Lt. Colonel Charity Adams Earley, a distinguished WAC commander

When the man in the Oval Office impugned the war dead, calling them “suckers” and “losers,” it’s easy to recall the countless number of brave men and women who sacrificed their lives in the fight against an enemy.
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Judge William Hastie, the first Black federal judge

Last week we featured Judge Constance Baker Motley and with the focus now on Judge William Henry Hastie Jr. we feel there is both gender and judicial balance.
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Judge Constance Baker Motley, dismantled Jim Crow laws

Constance Baker Motley nation’s first Black female federal judge
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Artie Wilson, the last top-level baseball player to hit .400

Two weeks ago on the Jeff Santos radio show, it was my pleasure to share airtime with Gaylon White, author of three baseball books, including Singles and Smiles—How Artie Wilson Broke Baseball’s Color Barrier.
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Adella Hunt Logan, educator and suffragette

Organizations and institutions around the nation are in preparation for the centennial celebration of the Women’s Suffragette movement.
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Henry “Black Death” Johnson, World War I hero

There is no evidence that Kathryn Johnson, whom we featured last week, had any contact with Henry Johnson during their stay in France on the battlefront in and around the Argonne Forest.
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Kathryn Magnolia Johnson, teacher, author, and activist

Of the two women, Addie Waites Hunton and Kathryn Johnson, who provided the world with an insightful portrait of Black soldiers and others during World War I, Hunton’s legacy was remarkably extended by her activist son
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Edward C. Williams, the first professionally trained Black Librarian in U.S.

As ever, there is an attempt to balance gender and profession in our profiles, and I think Edward Christopher Williams comes pretty close to matching the prestige and esteem of last week’s feature on Ola Mae Spinks.
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Ola Mae Spinks, dedicated teacher and librarian

Writers, researchers, and book lovers in general living in and around Detroit probably at some point encountered Ola Mae Spinks.
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