Impacting our community by transforming young lives into high-character leaders through the platform of the arts.

Black History Empowerment Series

Black history month must cease to be a holiday and become history that’s incorporated into America’s educational system for all students and adults to learn and know.  This month, UNITY encourages children, youth, and young adults of all backgrounds to zero their attention in reading, learning, and exploring the history that most Americans don’t know and haven’t been exposed to in our educational institutions. Young people, this history will inspire you to pursue a life of excellence and live out the IMPACT, so many excellent black people never got a chance to do.  You are our leaders in the coming years, PREPARE YOURSELF NOW!

New census population projections confirm the importance of racial minorities as the nation’s future growth’s primary demographic engine.  The recent statistics from the Census Department projects that the country will become “minority white” in 2045. During that year, whites will comprise 49.7 percent of the population in contrast to 24.6 percent for Hispanics, 13.1 percent for blacks, 7.9 percent for Asians, and 3.8 percent for multiracial people.

It’s time that this country learns to embrace the history, heritage, and culture of every background represented in American.  Please enjoy our series and stay tuned for more mind-sharping and eye-opening information.

Why Do We Say
“African American-Black-Colored-Negro?”

What Were Africans
Doing In 1492?

VOX: When white supremacists overthrew a government

Black Wall Street
Full Documentary

The Story

The Tulsa race riot was a large-scale, racially motivated pogrom on May 31 and June 1, 1921, in which a group of whites attacked the black community of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Greenwood District, the wealthiest black community in the United States (now commonly referred to as “the Black Wall Street”), was burned to the ground. Over the course of 16 hours, more than 800 people were admitted to local white hospitals with injuries, the two black hospitals were burned down, and police arrested and detained more than 6,000 black Greenwood residents at three local facilities. An estimated 10,000 blacks were left homeless, and 35 city blocks composed of 1,256 residences were destroyed by fire, resulting in over $26 million in damages. The official count of the dead by the Oklahoma Bureau of Vital Statistics was 36, but other estimates of black fatalities vary from 55 to about 300. The events of the massacre were long omitted from local and state histories: “The Tulsa race riot of 1921 was rarely mentioned in history books, classrooms or even in private. Blacks and whites alike grew into middle age unaware of what had taken place.”[1] With the number of survivors declining, in 1996, the state legislature commissioned a report to establish the historical record of the events, and acknowledge the victims and damages to the black community. Released in 2001, the report included the commission’s recommendations for some compensatory actions, most of which were not implemented by the state and city governments. The state passed legislation to establish some scholarships for descendants of survivors, economic development of Greenwood, and a memorial park to the victims in Tulsa. The latter was dedicated in 2010.

Robert Smalls (April 5, 1839 – February 23, 1915)

was an American politician, publisher, businessman, and naval pilot. Born into slavery in Beaufort, South Carolina, he freed himself, his crew, and their families during the American Civil War by commandeering a Confederate transport ship, CSS Planter, in Charleston harbor, on May 13, 1862, and sailing it from Confederate-controlled waters of the harbor to the U.S. blockade that surrounded it. He then piloted the ship to the Union-controlled enclave in Beaufort-Port Royal-Hilton Head area, where it became a Union warship. His example and persuasion helped convince President Abraham Lincoln to accept African-American soldiers into the Union Army.

Granville Tailer Woods (April 23, 1856 – January 30, 1910)

was an inventor who held more than 60 patents in the U.S.[1] He was the first African American mechanical and electrical engineer after the Civil War.[2] Self-taught, he concentrated most of his work on trains and streetcars. One of his notable inventions was a device he called the Synchronous Multiplex Railway Telegraph, a variation of induction telegraph which relied on ambient static electricity from existing telegraph lines to send messages between train stations and moving trains.[3] His work assured a safer and better public transportation system for the cities of the United States.

Elijah J. McCoy (May 2, 1844  – October 10, 1929)

was a Canadian-born inventor and engineer of African American descent who was notable for his 57 US patents, most having to do with the lubrication of steam engines. Born free in Canada, he came to the United States as a young child when his family returned in 1847, becoming a U.S. resident and citizen.

Patricia Bath

is the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology and the first African American female doctor to receive a medical patent. She invented the Laserphaco Probe for cataract treatment in 1986.

Sarah Boone (1832–1904)

was an American inventor who on April 26, 1892, obtained United States patent number 473,563 for her improvements to the ironing board. Boone’s ironing board was designed to improve the quality of ironing sleeves and the bodies of women’s garments. The board was very narrow, curved, and made of wood. The shape and structure allowed it to fit a sleeve and it was reversible, so one could iron both sides of the sleeve. Along with Miriam Benjamin, Ellen Eglin, and Sarah Goode, Boone was one of four African American women inventors of her time who developed new technology for the home.