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...First African American Before US Supreme Court February 1, 1865 John Sweat Rock (1825-1866), a noted Boston lawyer, became in 1865 the first African-American to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and the first Black person to speak before the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Shirley Verrett, a special voice Date: Sun, 1931-05-31 Shirley Verrett was born on this date in 1931. She is an African American opera singer and one of the leading sopranos in the world.

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from NYTimes.com

John L. Wilson Jr., 91, Architect Of Harlem River Houses, Is Dead

John Lewis Wilson was the only black person appointed to a team of seven architects to design the Harlem River Houses in New York. Wilson came from a prominent Mississippi family. He was the first black student to attend Columbia University’s School of Architecture in 1923. Source: Blacks Firsts: Groundbreaking Events in African American History

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"I want history to remember me not just as the first black woman to be elected to Congress, not as the first black woman to have made a bid for the presidency of the United States, but as a black woman who lived in the 20th century and dared to be herself." -- Shirley Chisholm (11/30/1924-1/1/2005)

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Matthias de Souza, an indentured servant, was the only black person to serve in the colonial Maryland legislature. As such he is the first African American to sit in any legislative body in what would become the United States. In1641 he was elected to the Maryland General Assembly, serving until 1642

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On November 6,1880, George Poage was born. He was the 1st African American athlete to win a medal in the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis. He passed in 1962, aged 82.

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Ernest Nathan Morial (known as Dutch) (October 9, 1929–December 24, 1989) was a U.S. political figure and a leading civil rights advocate. He was the first black mayor of New Orleans, serving from 1978 to 1986. He was the father of Marc Morial, a subsequent New Orleans mayor.

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