Home Depot Black History Month Giveaway!

Bellas, I just discovered a new makeup muse.

The beautiful black woman with the stunning gaze that you see before you is Nina Mae McKinney. She was among the first African-American film stars.

Nina Mae appeared in over 30 films — more than Lena Horne or Dorothy Dandridge. She was called “The Black Garbo,” “The Brown Clara Bow.” But by the 1960′s her legacy and talent were all but forgotten. Her passing in 1967 went unmarked by any mainstream entertainment publication.

Here I was, thinking I knew my cinematic history, and especially my black actresses of yore, and I wouldn’t have known about this stunning figure in African American history were it not for Concrete Loop’s Black History Spotlight. Click here to learn more about this forgotten legend of black cinema, via a very dedicated MySpace fan page, and via the African American registry.

Nina Mae McKinney is exactly why I love Black History Month — every year I learn about somebody or something new during this annual celebration of our oft-overlooked foundation-layers. Someone whose life story and struggle helped to shape the society we live in today, to give us the opportunities we so readily take for granted now.

That’s my reason. What’s yours?

Give me a good enough reason, and you could win a $50 gift card from Home Depot!

From Jan. 15 through Feb. 28, The Home Depot is offering a commemorative “Dream” gift card celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you purchase the collector’s edition “Dream” gift card, The Home Depot will donate five percent of all sales to the Center for Civil and Human Rights, up to $1 million dollars. The donation will assist in the building of a permanent exhibition home for his personal writings and papers.

And one lucky reader can win a $50 value “Dream” card right here. Not your typical beauty blog giveaway, but not too shabby! I know I could use $50 to spend at Home Depot right about now. You feel me?

All you need to do is share a fact about Black History Month with me — something verifiable online, thanks. I’ll pick one of the best and close these comments on Wednesday by midnight. I’ll announce a winner by the end of the week.

I can’t wait to learn from your entries, bellas and fellas! Not a bad way to kick off Monday, right?

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Comments

  1. Henry Ossian Flipper (1856 – 1940) was the first African-American to graduate from West Point academy in 1877 and became the first black commander when he was assigned to the 10th Cavalry, a Buffalo Soldier regiment.

    Interesting link – this is the origin of the name “Flipper” for Wesley Snipes’s character in Jungle Fever.

    Margaret

  2. In 1955 A young black boy, Emmett Till, is brutally murdered for allegedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. Two white men charged with the crime are acquitted by an all-white jury. They later boast about committing the murder. The public outrage generated by the case helps spur the civil rights movement.

  3. The portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the dime was created by Dr. Selma Burke, remarkable sculptor, dedicated teacher and winner of the 1943 competition sponsored by the Fine Arts Commission for the district of Columbia. In 1944, President Roosevelt posed for the artist and her completed bronze plaque was unveiled by President Harry S. Truman in 1945. It can be seen at the Recorder of Deeds Building in Washington, D.C. Since the coin bears the initials of the engraver, John Sinnock, Selma Burke has never received proper credit for the portrait used on the dime.

  4. The Origin of Black History Month (taken from http://www.biography.com)

    In 1915, Dr. Carter G. Woodson and Rev. Jesse E. Moorland co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). Their goal was to research and bring awareness to the largely ignored,crucial role black people played in American and world history. The following year, Woodson published and distributed his findings in The Journal of Negro History. He founded the publication with the hope that it would dispel popular mistruths. He also hoped to educate black people about their cultural background and instill them with a sense of pride in their race.

    The son of former slaves and the second black person to receive a degree from Harvard University, Carter Woodson understood the value of education. He also felt the importance of preserving one’s heritage and, upon his urgings, the fraternity Omega Psi Phi created Negro History and Literature Week in 1920. In 1926, Woodson changed the name to Negro History Week. He selected the month of February for the celebration as a way to honor of the birth of two men whose actions drastically altered the future of black Americans. Abraham Lincoln, the U.S. President who issued the Emancipation Proclamation was born on February 12th and Frederick Douglass, one of the nation’s leading abolitionists was born on February 14th.

    Woodson and the ANSLH provided learning materials to teachers, black history clubs and the community at large. They also published photographs that depicted important figures in black culture, plays that dramatized black history, and reading materials.

    Dr. Carter G. Woodson died in 1950, but his legacy continued on as the celebration of Negro History Week was adopted by cities and organizations across the country. This observance proved especially important during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, a time when the inhumane and unequal treatment of black people in America was being challenged and overturned.

    The Black Power Movement of the 1970s emphasized racial pride and the significance of collective cultural values. This prompted the ASNLH, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, to change Negro History Week to Black History Week. In 1976, they extended the week to a month-long observance.

    Black History Month is now recognized and widely celebrated by the entire nation on both a scholarly and commercial level. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History continues to promote, preserve and research black history and culture year-round.

  5. Suzan-Lori Parks was the first African American woman in 2002 to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play – Topdog/Underdog which starred Jeffrey Wright and Don Cheadle (Wright and Mos Def on Broadway).

    The play is about two Arican-American brothers named Lincoln and Booth as a joke by their father. She also worked on the screenplays for Their Eyes are Watching God and The Great Debaters.

    Along with being an inspiring African American woman, Suzan Lori-Parks is both a writing inspiration as well as ‘natural hair’ inspiration for me.

  6. There is not enough that I can say about Malcolm X. He is an inspiration for me, I love listening to him talk, I love watching his speeches, and I love reading all that he has written. He has done so much for me and my people, without him, I really wonder where we would be today. He is my favorite Black historical figure, and here is just a small excerpt from wikipedia.com, it doesn’t do him nearly enough justice imo, but here it is:

    Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little; May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965), also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was an African American Muslim minister, public speaker, and human rights activist.

    To his admirers, he was a courageous advocate for the rights of African Americans, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans.

    His detractors accused him of preaching racism and violence.He has been described as one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history.

  7. Hi Bella!

    Whenever we feel that we go through hardships as black businessmen/women because of racism, I am reminded of this story…

    Free Frank McWorter (1777-1854) was an American slave who bought his own freedom and founded the town of New Philadelphia in Illinois. A local history group recruited archaeologists who have begun a dig that has turned up thousands of artifacts, trained students, and published reports, articles, and books. This story is reflected in 11 volumes of documentation that was donated to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in February 2008, along with a bronze bust of Frank McWorter by his great-great-granddaughter Shirley McWorter Moss.

    Frank McWorter was born 1777 into slavery in South Carolina. According to family tradition George McWhorter, the owner of his mother Juda, wanted him dead even if he was his father but Juda managed to convince him to let the child live. Free Frank later dropped the “h” from his surname.

    In 1795 McWhorter moved to Kentucky and took Frank to build and later manage his holdings. Frank tended the farm but his master also leased him to his neighbours. In the process Frank learned business skills and earned more money than his master required him to hand over. Eventually he used his savings to create a saltpetre production operation.

    In 1817 Frank had earned enough money to buy his wife from his master with $800. Two years later he bought his own freedom with the same amount of money. In 1829 he traded his saltpetre plant in exchange of the freedom of his eldest son. At that stage his family also included three freeborn children.

    In 1830 the whole family left for Illinois. In 1836 McWorter, who had purchased 80 acres (320,000 m2) from the federal government for $100, filed a plat to create the village of New Philadelphia. The town site, which was divided into 144 lots, was registered with government authorities. McWorter established residence in New Philadelphia himself and sold other lots to new residents. He was the first black man in America to incorporate a municipality. McWorter became mayor of New Philadelphia.

    Free Frank WcWorter lived most of the rest of his life in western Illinois, with an interval in South Carolina to buy freedom for more members of his family. McWorter died on September 7. 1854; by that time he had bought the freedom of 8 more of his relatives, so 14 members of his family were freedmen and freedwomen. His heirs used his inheritance to free 7 more. McWorter’s gravesite is located in Barry, Illinois, and it is on the National Register of Historic Places.

    I encourage everyone to get the book ” The History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship Volume 1, To 1865
    By Juliet E. K. Walker, it’s worth the money!!!!

    :

  8. Big thanks to Bella and all of the sistalove commenters. I am more inspired and informed as I chill in my pjs … chilling hard…. Peace and Love to you all. Ananda

  9. Hi Bella, I have one of my personal heroes for you. His name is Ira Aldridge. He is one of the first African American Shakespearean actors to gain accolades and fame worldwide. He was born in NYC in 1807. He started his training on the stage at the first African American theater company in the country called The African Grove Theater in New York. He eventually went to Europe and toured playing Othello, Aaron The Moor, King Lear. The theater at Howard University is named after him. He died in 1867 with numerous awards and acclaim. I wrote a whole post about him on my blog last July 24th on his birthday.

  10. Wow I never heard of Nina Mae McKinney until reading this post.

    I wonder why she was ignored for so long (at least in terms of coverage of Black history)

  11. I know I’ve written you personally nominated Shirley Chisholm for your Afrobella of the Month, but I’ll post a bit about her here too. (The info is from her Wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirley_Chisholm)

    Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman in congress, in 1968. She was a champion for blacks, women, and people living in the inner city. In 1972 she made a bid to become the Democratic presidential nominee. She campaigned in 12 states and won 28 delegates in the primaries.

    If youtube her you may be able to here her speak, and she was amazing. Black female candidate for president, with a lisp, in 1972! Just amazing.

    Just wanted to give Shirley the nod. I don’t need to be entered in the contest. Thanks Bella!

  12. typos galore! If *you* youtube her name, and *hear* her speak. oy.

  13. As a teacher, each year I struggle with Black History Month at the school where I work. Why? Because many teachers of other ethnicities don’t see the importance of it and allow students to do reports on rappers, athletes, actors, and other figures that have had little effect on black history as a whole. It is so disheartening when I have students asking to use my computer lab to do a report on Frank Lucas (who was nothing more than a thug) or Rick James (who even though made great music, was an abuser of both women and drugs). In a more perfect world, black history would be taught as part of regular history; however textbooks either don’t go into any detail or don’t discuss it at all.

    There are so many layers to our history that children have no concept of and I feel that allowing them to research only the things they find “cool” is doing them a huge disservice. Besides, who is to say that they won’t take an interest in the more important things if they are made knowledgeable of them? This lack of knowledge that they have . . .has no place in a world that upholds the values of respect, openness, and sharing. We have to teach them about things they are ignorant of . . . we have to let them know how far we have come as a people. All that being said, what I love about Black History Month is being able to educate my students on subjects they are unaware of. I love to make them think outside of themselves and examine the feelings and adversities others had to overcome in order to get them to where they are today. I love for them to imagine what life would be like without our contributions throughout history . . . because in thinking on this they begin to understand the great value of our achievements. I also love for them to examine the impacts we are presently making on the world around us, and the impacts they would like to make one day because it is important for them to know that history is created everyday by people just like themselves.

    I see that everybody is telling of their favorite figures in Black History. One of mine is Frederick Douglass. I won’t give his bio but I will leave two of his quotes (that happen to be my favorite)

    A little learning, indeed, may be a dangerous thing, but the want of learning is a calamity to any people.
    -Frederick Douglass

    Without a struggle, there can be no progress.
    -Frederick Douglass

  14. By the way. . . my little known black history fact is about Claudette Colvin, a 15-year-old Booker T. Washington High School student in Montgomery, AL at the time, refused to give up her bus seat to a White woman nine months before Parks took her stand. For her defiance she was arrested and convicted. A federal court suit involving Colvin eventually led to a Supreme Court order that outlawed segregated buses.

  15. The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) was an American political party created in the state of Mississippi in 1964, during the civil rights movement. It was organized by black and white Mississippians, with assistance from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), to challenge the legitimacy of the white-only regular Democratic Party. (from wikipedia)

    I first learned about the MFDP when I was reading Ready for Revolution by Stokely Carmichael/Kwame Toure (born in Trinidad too) and was amazed at the organization and mobilization that our people were/still are capable of when we set our minds to do something. It was also my first introduction to Fannie Lou Hamer.

    THough the Party didnt win the right to participate in the convention proceedings ( they declined a compromise of two seats to sit and watch)..it was a fantastic show of disclipine and organization.

    More from Wiki:
    For generations, blacks had endured widespread denial of their voting rights in Mississippi, and participation in the state Democratic Party was limited to whites only. Starting in 1961, SNCC and COFO had waged courageous campaigns against great opposition to register black voters with little success.

    In June 1963, blacks attempted to cast votes in the Mississippi primary election but were prevented from doing so. Unable to vote in the official election, blacks organized an alternative “Freedom Ballot” to take place at the same time as the November voting. Seen as a protest action to dramatize denial of their voting rights, close to 80,000 blacks cast freedom ballots for an integrated slate of candidates.

    More from http://www.stanford.edu/group/King//about_king/encyclopedia/hamer_fannie.htm

    In 1964, Hamer helped organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) as an alternative to the state’s white-controlled Democratic Party. When the MFDP challenged the all-white Mississippi delegation at the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, Hamer gave an impassioned account of the violence she and other civil rights activists had suffered when they tried to exercise their right to vote. She closed her testimony by stating, “If the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America.”

    The formation of the this party..the challenge of the status quo and the success that came after ( Voting RIghts Act) make this an even to be proud of and known about.

  16. event

  17. A “Black” Man, A Moor, John Hanson

    Was the First President of the United States! 1781-1782 A.D.???
    George Washington was really the 8th President of the United States!

    George Washington was not the first President of the United States. In fact, the first President of the United States was one John Hanson. Don’t go checking the encyclopedia for this guy’s name – he is one of those great men that are lost to history. If you’re extremely lucky, you may actually find a brief mention of his name.

    The new country was actually formed on March 1, 1781 with the adoption of The Articles of Confederation.
    This document was actually proposed on June 11, 1776, but not agreed upon by Congress until November 15, 1777. Maryland refused to sign this document until Virginia and New York ceded their western lands (Maryland was afraid that these states would gain too much power in the new government from such large amounts of land).

    Once the signing took place in 1781, a President was needed to run the country. John Hanson was chosen unanimously by Congress (which included George Washington). In fact, all the other potential candidates refused to run against him, as he was a major player in the revolution and an extremely influential member of Congress.

    As the first President, Hanson had quite the shoes to fill. No one had ever been President and the role was poorly defined. His actions in office would set precedent for all future Presidents.

    He took office just as the Revolutionary War ended. Almost immediately, the troops demanded to be paid. As would be expected after any long war, there were no funds to meet the salaries. As a result, the soldiers threatened to overthrow the new government and put Washington on the throne as a monarch.

    All the members of Congress ran for their lives, leaving Hanson as the only guy left running the government. He somehow managed to calm the troops down and hold the country together. If he had failed, the government would have fallen almost immediately and everyone would have been bowing to King Washington. In fact, Hanson sent 800 pounds of sterl ing silver by his brother Samuel Hanson to George Washington to provide the troops with shoes.

    Hanson, as President, ordered all foreign troops off American soil, as well as the removal of all foreign flags. This was quite the feat, considering the fact that so many European countries had a stake in the United States since the days following Columbus.

    I was so shock to find this out. :)) Learn something everyday.

  18. ChachaHustle says:

    Nancy Green (1834 – 1923) a former slave, was employed in 1893 to promote the Aunt Jemima brand by demonstrating the pancake mix at expositions and fairs. She was a popular attraction because of her friendly personality, great story-telling, and warmth. Green signed a lifetime contract with the pancake company and her image was used for packaging and billboards. In 1923 she was struck by a car in downtown Chicago.

  19. Bella,

    I forgot to mention..I have heard of Nina Mae McKenney as I have seen her in the movie “Hallelujah” and “Pinky” (which is somewhat like the movie “Imitation of Life”. My grandparents used to tell me about her.

    There are wonderful series of books about Black Hollywood written by Black Film Historian Donald Bogle. You must purchase them and read them. Mr. Bogle is the ULTIMATE black film historian! Get “Brown Sugar”, and “The Encyclopedia of Black Film”…great reads!

  20. she’s gorgeous!
    i like black history month because i love black people… large crowds of black people make me happy. unless, of course, they are rioting.

  21. Seven years ago my husband and I spent the Valentine’s Day weekend in Philadelphia. Our primary purpose for the trip was to view a special exhibit of Dox Thrash, an early 20th century Black artist. He invented the “carborundum mezzotint” method of artistic expression — essentially using chemical abrasion on metal for printmaking. In addition to his brilliant portrayals of black life in his era, he was also a Buffalo soldier who fought in France during WWI.

    For more information, visit http://library.griftec.org/dox_thrash.htm and http://www.philamuseum.org/micro_sites/exhibitions/thrash/flash.html.

  22. Shanessence says:

    For my posting I could do no other than give a shout out to Langston Hughes. Yes, he’s praised in most literature courses and during Black History Month, but I don’t believe most people know the scope of his impact on America and on Black America in particular.

    As a poet from the 1920s-1960s, Hughes brought black speech, or dialect into the halls of academe. His poetry collections The Weary Blues and Fine Clothes for a Jew literally syncopated Euro-american forms of poetry. By that I mean that he inflected average poetic meter with jazz and blues notes and sensibilities.

    As a celebrator of black life, he translated the works of Jacques Romain into English. He was also the first poet in the country to read his poetry to a jazz background, a forerunner of the popular spoken word movement today.

    His poetry could speak to the ‘common folk’ but also boasted layers of complexity and depth, as in “Dream Deferred.” His poetry helped to dispel myths and stereotypes about blacks, and through words he painted realistic portraits of black life, images that did not exist at the time.

    Hughes was also a playwright, short story writer, and performer. The lasting impact of his work is not to be forgotten. His poetic genius is largely unmatched, as evidenced by the following blues poem:

    The Weary Blues
    by Langston Hughes

    Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
    Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
    I heard a Negro play.
    Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
    By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
    He did a lazy sway . . .
    He did a lazy sway . . .
    To the tune o’ those Weary Blues.
    With his ebony hands on each ivory key
    He made that poor piano moan with melody.
    O Blues!
    Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
    He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
    Sweet Blues!
    Coming from a black man’s soul.
    O Blues!
    In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
    I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan–
    “Ain’t got nobody in all this world,
    Ain’t got nobody but ma self.
    I’s gwine to quit ma frownin’
    And put ma troubles on the shelf.”

    Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.
    He played a few chords then he sang some more–
    “I got the Weary Blues
    And I can’t be satisfied.
    Got the Weary Blues
    And can’t be satisfied–
    I ain’t happy no mo’
    And I wish that I had died.”
    And far into the night he crooned that tune.
    The stars went out and so did the moon.
    The singer stopped playing and went to bed
    While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
    He slept like a rock or a man that’s dead.

  23. CB Reloaded says:

    I was watching a Black History Month documentary the other night and was intrigued by this little known fact:

    During the Civil Rights Movement, proponents of segregation tried to associate civil rights activities with the Communist movement, which, at that time, invoked more fear in Americans than today’s radical Muslim terrorists. The basis for this linkage to Communism was a film taken on Labor Day weekend in 1957 at the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee. The Highlander Folk School was a fully integrated, adult education center focused on the promotion of social and economic justice. Many civil rights activists (including Rosa Parks) trained there. On that Labor Day weekend, Rosa Parks, Ralph Abernathy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other black and white activists were filmed attending a seminar where Myles Horton, the school’s founder and a rumored Communist, was also present. This footage attempted to characterize the school as a Communist front, and was used to scare Americans into not supporting the Civil Rights Movement.

    The actual footage of the seminar and of other integrated social events from that weekend is available online at the Civil Rights Digital Library (crdl.usg.edu). Enjoy!

  24. Golfer, Tiger Woods (1975 – ) is the youngest person and the first African-American to win the Masters Tournament in 1997 and by a record-breaking lead of 12 strokes. He was also the highest paid athlete in 2005, earning an estimated $87 million dollars.

    twinjackienurse at gmail.com
    Thanks for hosting this giveaway!!

  25. Thomas J. Martin patented a fire extinguisher in 1872.

    durshoe at gmail.com
    Thanks! Adam

  26. Pearlsrevealed says:

    About the “first black President”, I found a link to an article that examines this claim and find it a distortion of facts…

    http://gtomessiah.com/gtomessiah_site/hanson.html

  27. She’s beautiful! Thanks for putting me up on her Bella! I’m gonna put this on my Facebook I think. Will give you credit though… ;-)

  28. Speaking of Nina Mae McKinney, she starred in Oscar Micheaux’s 1925 film Body and Soul (also starring Paul Robeson). Oscar Micheaux was the first African to write, produce and direct both a feature length silent film (The Homesteader, 1919), and a film with sound (The Exile, 1931).

  29. The 15th Ammendment, giving Blacks the right to vote was ratified on February 3 in the year1870.

  30. New Jersey was barely north of the Mason/Dixon line, but due to the work of the Quakers and the growing empathy of evangelical Christians, West Jersey, and Burlington County in particular, was a welcome home to a black population as early as 1810. By the census of 1860, five percent of the Burlington County population were free blacks. Two towns, Lawnside and Timbuctoo, were populated almost entirely by non-slave blacks, and were an integral part of the Underground Railroad movement.

    http://www1.phillyburbs.com/undergroundrailroad/NJtrials.shtml

  31. Aida A-Rashid says:

    Yeah…she totally was a black actress who though seen on the screen, remains unseen in our memories. I had never seen or heard of her in my life. It’s incredible that she had done more movies than Horne or Dandridge and yet go that unhealded ! Well,Nina Mae McKinney, God willing,we won’t forget you again !

  32. Thank you for this little bit of knowlegde of Black History. Looking at all of her pictures and photos of Nina Mae McKinney. I have a question? Did the white artist who so call created Betty Boop. Take a little bits of Nina Mae McKinney to create Betty Boop? In 1929 her eyelashes and black dress appear to be a little bit of the same as the cartoon image Betty Boop. Or is it just me. White people have always stolen/taken from Black people. They build Hollywood with movies just on muscials tap dancing which came from Black People. The hair almost appears the same.

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