James Forten (1766-1842) Forten became one of the most successful sail makers at a time when most African Americans were still slaves, was an astute real estate speculator, invested in stocks and other financial ventures, became a respected money lender and financial adviser who was admired for his fairness, and was an outspoken abolitionist and pioneering supporter women’s rights.
Though born into slavery Biddy Mason gained freedom for herself and her children in 1856. Only ten years later she had saved enough money to purchase property, making her the first African American women to own land in Los Angeles. A nurse and midwife by profession, she helped found the first elementary school for African American children in Los Angeles,
Fannie Lou Hamer was born today in 1917. She was an organizer of Mississippi Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and then went to the 1964 Democratic National Convention as the Vice-Chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, demanding to be seated. Her uncompromising, plain-spoken advocacy embarrassed Hubert Humphrey and enraged President Johnson. She was seated as a member of Mississippi's official delegation to the Democratic National Convention of 1968.
Oseola McCarty :: Cleaning lady. Philanthropist. Hero. (Ms. McCarty worked all her life and accumulated great savings; she donated to the University of Southern Mississippi $150,000 for a student scholarship program. “I want to help somebody’s child go to college,” she said. “I’m giving it away so that the children won’t have to work so hard, like I did.”
Children on porch from 1936 Mississippi. Sometimes I wonder if these people had it worse, or people today living in inner city slums. The children were probably born around 1930, so they well could still be alive today. You really wish you could hear their story, and know how things turned out for them.