by The Hampton Herald Staff
To celebrate Black History Month, our Hampton Herald staff members did some research about influential and important African Americans. Please read below:
Bass Reeves is one of the most inspirational black people ever. He wa a sheriff in Oklahoma and only killed nine people on the job. He caught hundreds of crooks in his career. He helped make the wild lands safer.
Katherine Johnson was a calculator for NASA. She calculated paths for rockets for space missions. The work she did was important for human space flight. She also helped John Glenn be the first American to orbit earth, because of that she helped America win the space race. In 2015 President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal Of Freedom for her work. You may be wondering how she got here. She was selected from three black students to integrate West Virginia's graduate schools. And by 13, she was attending high school.
Henrietta Lacks was born August 1, 1920 and died at the age of 31 due to her illness, cancer. Her cells helped create the polio vaccine and the covid-19 vaccine. They also took her cells to space to see what would happen to cells in zero gravity.
Octavius V. Catto
Another influential African American would be Octavius V. Catto. He was born in 1839 and died in 1871 when he was only 32 because he was shot and killed. In 2017 a statue was unveiled of him. He fought for an end to slavery and for civil rights for all.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
Martin Luther King was born in Georgia in 1929, and at the time people were segregated and he was civil right worker. Martin was a good speaker. He won a big speech contest in high school.
Martin Luther King was smart as well. In 1948, he became the minister. He also gave speeches and led marches. He did not want to have violence. He sometimes went to jail or faced violence for his ideas.
In 1963 Martin gave his famous speech “I have a dream speech.” in Washington D.C. In 1964, Dr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Also, in 1963 the civil right act was passed when President Johnson signed the act of civil right.
In 1968, Martin Luther King was shot in Memphis Tn, and they would still remember him by Martin Luther King Day.
Bayard Rustin was born on March 17, 1912 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He went to college at the City College of New York and became active in the Young Communists League because of its opposition to racial justice. Bayard Rustin was one of the main organizers for the March on Washington and he was a very important advisor for Martin Luther King Jr. He also became a main founder of the SCLC or the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Sadly, he died on August 24, 1987 in Manhattan, New York but he still remains a very important Black leader.