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Adah Belle Samuels Thoms (January 12, 1870 – February 21, 1943) was an African American nurse who fought for African Americans to serve as army nurses during World War I. She was among the first nurses inducted into the American Nurses Association Hall of Fame when it was established in 1976

Merze Tate - (February 6, 1905 - June 27, 1996) was a professor, scholar and expert on United States diplomacy. She was the first African American graduate of Western Michigan Teachers College, first African American woman to attend the University of Oxford, first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in government and international relations from Harvard University (then Radcliffe College), as well as one of the first two female members to join the Department of History at Howard…

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[Photo] Portrait of Mildred Axton, date unknown

Portrait of Mildred Axton, date unknown. Axton was "one of the first three Women Airforce Service Pilots to be trained as a test pilot" and was the first woman to fly a B-29. She passed away in 2010, age 91.

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,

Ira "Chief Falling Cloud" Hayes - was a Pima Native American and an American Marine who was one of the six men immortalized in the iconic photograph of the flag raising on Iwo Jima during World War II.

A Woman's War by Captain Gail Harris - Navy's First African American Female Intelligence Officer http://awe.sm/o4ndt

Eugene Bullard was the first African American military pilot to fly in combat and the only African American pilot to fly during WWI. Ironically he never flew for the United States, but rather for the Aéronautique Militaire in France.

The Golden Thirteen were the thirteen African American enlisted men who became the first African American commissioned and warrant officers in the United States Navy. Throughout US history untill the end of WorldWar I, the Navy had enlisted African American for general service,they were barred from joining from 1919-1932. In June 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the executive order (8802) that prohibited racial discrimination by any government agency.

Nella Larsen, an acclaimed novelist of the Harlem Renaissance, became the first African American woman to win a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. Most famous for her two books, "Passing" and "Quicksand", she disappeared from the public eye after a plagiarism accusation and a high-profile divorce. She spent the last 30 years of her life in obscurity as a nurse in New York City. (The plagiarism was never proven. rw)

Though one of eight American military nurses who died while serving in Vietnam, First Lieutenant Sharon Ann Lane. was the only American nurse killed as a direct result of hostile fire. For her service in Vietnam, she was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star with “V” device, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the National Order of Vietnam Medal, and the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross (with Palm).

Rebecca Davis Lee Crumpler (February 8,1831 – March 9, 1895) was an American physician. She was the first African American woman to become a physician in the United States. (Rebecca Cole was the second and Susan McKinney Steward the third.) Her publication of A Book of Medical Discourses in 1883 was one of the first by an African American about medicine.

"Part 14: Who Was Susie King Taylor? Susie King Taylor ~ August 1848 – October, 1912 Notable Facts: * Teacher; first African American to teach openly in a school for former slaves in Georgia * Army nurse, serving during the American Civil War * Author of “Reminiscences of My Life in Camp with the 33d United States Colored Troops, Late 1st S.C. Volunteers”, she was the only African American woman to publish a memoir of her wartime experiences. "

Lucy Craft Laney (April 13, 1854 – October 24, 1933) was an early African American educator who was the first to establish a school for African American children in Augusta, Georgia. She was born in Macon, Georgia, to former slaves. Although it was illegal for blacks to read at the time of her birth, she was taught by a slave owner's sister, and by 1869 she was enrolled in Atlanta University. Enrollment in her first school in Macon was only 6; by 1928 it had grown to over 800 students.

The code talkers were elite Native American military units that used their own tribal languages to create and transmit fast, unbreakable coded messages, serving in both World Wars I and II. They’re credited with saving countless lives in theaters around the world.

Barbara Charline Jordan (1936- 1996) was an American politician and a leader of the Civil Rights movement. She was the first African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction and the first southern black female elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among numerous other honors. On her death she became the first African-American woman to be buried in the Texas State Cemetery.

Anthony Bowen, who purchased his own freedom from slavery in Maryland, founded the first YMCA chapter for African Americans in 1853. This was one of the first organizations for African Americans. Bowen was an abolitionist and advised President Lincoln to enlist African American troops to fight in the civil war. He was also the first African American to work in the US Patent Office.