African Americans Heroes
Shawn Okelley Taylor
Who is a Hero?
African American heroes have a great impact in our society and are often not recognized for their great achievements. What kind of life did they lead? What was some of the problems they faced? And what did they do to make them well known. So, What does define a Hero and Heroism in today’s society?
Black History month has often spoken upon famous African-Americans such as Martin Luther King Jr., Booker T. Washington, Harriet Tubman and George Washington Carver. Those legendary figures are certainly worth celebrating, yet there have been many other African-American men and women ...view middle of the document...
D. at an American university. The fact Bouchet earned that degree from Yale, in Physics no less, makes his achievement even more remarkable. Unfortunately, Boucher’s academic credentials weren’t enough to break the wall of segregation and this brilliant man spent the remainder of his life teaching in obscurity, separated from his professional and intellectual peers because of his race.
Many football fans probably think the first head coach in the NFL was Art Shell but guess again the first African American coach predated shell by about 70 years. Fritz Pollard who served as a player with the Akron pros in 1921 holds that honor. Pollard was known for his abilities on the field, as a runner and also known for breaking the color barrier. While at Brown University, he became the first African-American to play in the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately in 1926 Pollard was kicked out of the NFL along with other blacks because of segregation. Pollard’s legacy might have been forgotten forever, had he not been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
In 1919, at the age of 35 born in southern Illinois, Oscar Michaeux was the first producer of the film industry, the first full-length movie featuring only black characters. He is founder of the Micheaux film and book company. He produced more than 30 films and also wrote and published several best-selling books. Oscar Micheaux became a leading figure in the Harlem community. Micheaux died in 1951, but his legacy is still celebrated, with several annual Oscar Micheaux film festivals around the country.
Before Oprah Winfrey earned recognition as the world’s first black billionaire, there was Madam C.J. Walker, who is regarded as not just the first black millionaire, but the first female millionaire who achieved that status. She began to suffer from hair loss. After experimenting with several homemade concoctions, Walker claimed a dream inspired her to create Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower, a product designed to repair and condition black women’s hair. She began to sell and demonstrate her product throughout the U.S., and in the next dozen years, turned her initial investment of $1.25 into a fortune. Later, she took on many other businesses, including real estate investment, and she became heavily involved in African-American causes before her death in 1919.
In 1951 James “Cool Papa” Bell who was offered a chance to play in the big leagues in 1951 but turned it down because of his age of 48. He was widely regarded as one of the fastest players in baseball history, Although Negro League statistics were notoriously unreliable, BaseballLibrary.com credits Bell with once stealing 175 bases in a 200-game season; he also reportedly had several seasons with a batting average over .400. Bell was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. African American heroes forgotten or have they just been replaced by heroes of today. In today’s society we recognize our heroes of yesterday by celebrating...