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A beautiful image of a one room colored school in Fruit Cove, Florida...SLAVES, EX-SLAVES, and CHILDREN OF SLAVES IN THE AMERICAN SOUTH, sometime between mid to late 1870s-1880s

Lady Sarah Forbes Bonetta Davies, photographed by Camille Silvy, 1862 Sarah Forbes Bonetta Davies was a child born into a royal West African dynasty. She was orphaned in 1848, when her parents were killed in a slave-hunting war. She was around five years old. In 1850, Sarah was taken to England and presented to Queen Victoria as a “gift” from the King of Dahomey. She became the queen’s goddaughter and a celebrity known for her extraordinary intelligence.  She spent her...

The only known photograph of an African American Union soldier with his family. c1863-65

Even before blacks were officially recognized as federal soldiers, many slaves like Nick Biddle escaped and joined Union lines. In 1861, he wore a uniform, traveled with his employee’s company to Baltimore to help protect Washington, D.C., after the surrender of Fort Sumter. Once there, he was set upon by a pro-Confederate mob, attacked with slurs and a brick that hit him in the head so severely it exposed his skull. Some consider him the first man wounded in the Civil War.

Ethelyn Mildred Taylor Chisum (1895-1983) African American teacher and administrator. She was born in Dallas on June 9, 1895. After graduating from Prairie View State Normal and Industrial College in 1913, she taught in the public schools in Texas (1916–23). She served as president of the Dallas Teachers Council, an affiliate of the National Education Association, from 1948-1958 and as an advisor to the council from 1959-1965. She was the NEA membership chairwoman for North Texas from 1955-1960.

Jim Beckwourth was an African American who played a major role in the early exploration and settlement of the American West. Although there were people of many races and nationalities on the frontier, Beckwourth was the only African American who recorded his life story, and his adventures took him from the everglades of Florida to the Pacific Ocean and from southern Canada to northern Mexico.

Barack Obama at Harvard Law School in 1990.

The highly educated Soror Founder Ethel Carr Watson was from Parkersburg, West Virginia. During the significant March for Women's Suffrage, Ms. Watson confided that her family told her not to march, but was forced to defy the order because she was selected to hold the banner since she was the tallest. She pursued her teaching career over a period of thirty years. She then retired and began a second career as a dramatic performer.

March 21, 1986: Debi Thomas becomes the first African American woman to win the World Figure Skating Championship.

Bessie Blount was an African American woman who led a life that was dedicated to helping those in need. She was a physical therapist and an inventor of apparatus that was designed to help the amputees that suffered permanent injuries in World War II. Bessie Blount has been called a "savior of the handicapped" for her invention that allowed World War II disabled veterans to feed themselves, and for her unique method of teaching them to write again.

Nora Douglas Holt (1885-1974) - American musician and singer who composed over 200 pieces. In 1918 she was the first African American woman to earn her master’s degree from Chicago Musical College. During the roaring 1920s, Nora Holt was a wealthy socialite and party girl, Holt was a major player during the Harlem Renaissance. The photo is by an unidentified photographer c1930.

Three African American women on their way to take their licensing examination by the Texas State Board of Cosmetology ca. 1940.  Photo: Franklin Papers, Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library.

Three African American women at the state fair, ph. Frances Benjamin Johnston, ca. 1903

Melba Roy, NASA Mathmetician, at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland in 1964. Ms. Roy led a group of NASA mathematicians known as “computers” who tracked the Echo satellites. When satellites are launched into orbit, it's necessary to keep track of the gravitational pull of other bodies. Even with a modern computer, these calculations are extremely difficult. Roy and her comrades made these calculations - which require a high degree of accuracy - with limited machines. Photo: NASA/Corbis.

"BB" Bessie Stringfield was an African American woman who in the 1930s and 40s rode her Harley cross country solo across the USA a total of eight times. Raised in Boston, started riding at 16, married 6 times and did hill climbing and trick riding in carnival stunt shows.

Madam C. J. Walker - American entrepreneur and philanthropist, regarded as the first female self made millionaire in America.

Alice Coachman, 88, specialized in the high jump. An American, she became the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal in the 1948 London games. "Winning that gold medal meant everything to me. I didn’t get to celebrate much after, because it was so crowded and everyone wanted to see me. But the one thing I did ask my coach for was a beer. I’d been with her for three years, so she knew that I didn’t drink or smoke. 'You, a beer?' she asked, laughing. I think I only drank about half...

WWII -- original caption: "Willa Beatrice Brown, a 31-year-old Negro American, serves her country by training pilots for the U.S. Army Air Forces. She is the first Negro woman to receive a commission as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Civil Air Patrol."

tintype c. 1870 of an Unidentified African American Woman

AFRICAN DIGNITY in AMERICA'S FREE STATES -- 1870 to 1890 (18) by Okinawa Soba, via Flickr