Posts tagged as:

African American

February 1 Birthday: Langston Hughes

by Anne on February 1, 2010

langtonstrainrideLangston Hughes, poet

Feb. 1, 1902-May 22, 1967

Langston’s Train Ride by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Leonard Jenkins (Orchard, 2004)

When Hughes was eighteen, he took a train from Ohio to Mexico. During his journey he wrote one of his most famous poems, The Negro Speaks of Rivers. This is the story of that ride and creation of that poem. hosts several of Hughes’ poems.

January 26 Birthday: Bessie Coleman

by Anne on January 26, 2010


Bessie Coleman, aviator

Jan. 26, 1892-Apr. 30, 1926

Talkin’ About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by E. B. Lewis (Orchard, 2002)

The first African-American woman airplane pilot’s story is told in approximately two-dozen fictionalized poems a.k.a. eulogies about her life.

PBS features a bio and photo of Coleman on their Fly Girls page.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights advocate

Jan. 15, 1929-Apr. 4, 1968

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier (Jump at the Sun, 2001)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words live on. His most famous speech, “I Have a Dream,” stirs hearts today. The youngest man to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. King, Jr., a gifted African-American political leader, minister and peacemaker is honored by a U.S. Federal holiday on his birthday.

Check out The Seattle Times for a photo gallery, timeline, quotes, and a biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a great American hero.

January 7 Birthday: Zora N. Hurston

by Anne on January 7, 2010


Zora N. Hurston, author

Jan. 7, 1891-Jan. 28, 1060

Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World by Cynthia Chin-Lee, illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy (Charlesbridge, 2005)

Z is for Zora in this tribute to famous women. An African-American writer during the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston was also a folklorist and anthropologist.

A page about Zora Neale Hurston is available at the VG: Voices from the Gaps Women Artists and Writers of Color, An International Website. It offers information about Hurston’s life and times, writings, and criticism.

January 1 Birthday: W. W. Law

by Anne on January 1, 2010

W.W. Law, civil rights leader

Jan. 1, 1923-July 29, 2002

DeliveringJusticeDelivering Justice: W. W. Law and the Fight for Civil Rights by Jim Haskins, illustrated by Benny Andrews (Candlewick, 2005)

Westley Wallace Law made a difference. Born in Georgia, amidst poverty and segregation, this African American, who grew up to be a mail carrier, joined the NAACP as a young man, helped blacks register to vote and was instrumental in leading the Great Savannah Boycott.

This Far by Faith, a PBS program, describes W. W. Law’s life of dedication and service.