Tag Archives: leader

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Leader

Leader – the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There really is nothing I can tell you about him that you don’t already know. He was a wonderful leader, activist, trailblazer, freedom fighter, and so much more.

Have you read his “Letter from the Birmingham Jail?” Talk about brilliant. It will move you to tears. It is one of the most well-written, articulate things I’ve ever read. Which, from a man who graduated at 15, and went on to receive his doctorate, what else would we expect?

It is said that between 1957-1968, he traveled over six million miles, spoke over 2500 times, was present wherever there was injustice and protest, and wrote five books and numerous articles in the meantime.

In all that greatness, how can a man be arrested over 20 times and assaulted at least four times in his life and still manage all these things? He can be one of the greatest advocates for peace and equality. He directed the peaceful March on Washington with 250,000 people where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream Speech.”

At the age of 35, Dr. King became the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When he found out he said he would turn over the prize money to the civil rights movement.

Dr. King was a leader, for peace and equality, and for the people. We still hope to see the reality of his dream continue to develop more and more in our society. Dream big.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others? – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


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Lewis Howard Latimer – Illuminate



Illuminate – light up

Lewis Howard Latimer. That’s a name we don’t hear very often, and we really should. After all, we use devices every day that he contributed to patents for, the light bulb and the telephone.

Lewis Latimer was born to parents who fled slavery in Massachusetts on September 4, 1848. He learned mechanical engineering drawing from his work at a patent firm and throughout his career worked with Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. He also designed his own inventions.

While working with Bell, he helped draft the patent for his design of the telephone. Because of his knowledge of incandescent lighting, patents, and electrical engineering he became a partner to Edison. He both promoted and defended his light bulb design.

Mr. Latimer also played the flute and wrote poetry and plays. He worked as a patent consultant and in his free time he taught mechanical drawing and English to immigrants in NY.

One can’t help but wonder where we would be if Mr. Latimer hadn’t partnered in producing patents for those inventions… I’m sure some people would’ve been in the dark longer than they were, with less people to talk to about it.

We create our future, by well improving present opportunities: however few and small they be. – Lewis Howard Latimer

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Daniel Hale Williams – Pioneer

Pioneer – one who is first or among the earliest in any field of inquiry, enterprise, or progress

Daniel Hale Williams was born in 1856, and was one of the first physicians to perform open heart surgery in the United States. He also founded Provident Hospital in 1893, making it the first medical facility with an interracial staff.

After working as a shoemaker’s apprentice and barber, like his father, he decided he wanted to pursue his education. Eventually, he worked as an apprentice to Dr. Henry Palmer and completed his training at Chicago Medical College.

Williams set up his own practice in the South Side of Chicago and became the first African American physician to work for the city’s street railway system. Due to discrimination, blacks were still not being admitted to hospitals and black doctors were unable to have a staff position. Provident Hospital was founded by Dr. Williams in an effort against racial discrimination, and was praised by Frederick Douglass.

In 1893, Williams made history when, without the benefits we have of modern medicine and surgical procedures, he successfully operated on James Cornish, a man with a severe stab wound to his chest. In 1894, Williams was appointed chief surgeon of the Freedmen’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. It provided care for formerly enslaved African Americans. And in 1895, he co-founded the National Medical Association, a professional organization for black medical practitioners, since the American Medical Association didn’t allow African-American membership.

Dr. Williams, we thank you for everything you have done. We have reached newer heights in medicine in large part to your necessary contribution. Thank you for being a pioneer in your field, and paving the way for so many others.

A people who don’t make provision for their sick and suffering are not worthy of civilization. – Daniel Hale Williams




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Ella Fitzgerald – Jazzy

Jazzy – of, resembling, or in the style of jazz; bright, colorful, and showy.

Ella Fitzgerald, an American jazz and song vocalist, is known as the “First Lady of Song.” Ella endured a troubled childhood, and after her mother died ended up moving in with an aunt. After skipping school, and leaving her reform school, Ella was on her own in 1934 still believing she could become an entertainer. She entered an amateur contest at Harlem’s Apollo Theater and ended up winning first place.

From that moment, Ella’s career started taking off. She eventually began playing regularly at one of the hottest clubs in Harlem and recorded “Love and Kisses” with Chick Webb in 1935. By 1938, Ella put out her two hits “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” which she co-wrote and “I Found My Yellow Basket.”

“Lady Ella” became known for her ability to mimic instrumental sounds and she made popular “scatting” (vocal improv), which became her signature. Fitzgerald picked up her first two Grammys in 1958, the year of the very first Grammys. This made her the first African-American woman to win the award. She won for best individual jazz performance and best female vocal performance.

Ella Fitzgerald never let go of her dream to be an entertainer. Today, we celebrate her for influencing so many musicians, both past and present. I’m reminding by her to be jazzy!

It isn’t where you came from, its where you’re going that counts. – Ella Fitzgerald

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Ray Charles – Progressive

imageProgressive – used for describing music that tries new or unusual ideas

Ray Charles Robinson was born September 23, 1930 in Albany, Georgia. He is considered a pioneer of soul music, integrating R&B, gospel, and country to create hits. He is easily considered one of the greatest artists of all time.

Ray Charles went blind by the age of 7, after witnessing his brother drowning to death, he gradually began losing his sight. His mother sent him to the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. Eventually, he learned to read, write, and arrange music in braille. He also learned to play the piano, organ, saxophone, clarinet, and trumpet.

In 1961, Charles was set to perform at Bell Auditorium in Augusta, Georgia but cancelled the show after learning from students at Paine College (a historically black college) that the auditorium would be segregated. He was sued for breach of contract by the promoter, but later performed at a desegregated Bell Auditorium concert.

In 1979, Ray Charles was one of the first musicians born in the state to be inducted into the Georgia State Music Hall of Fame. His version of “Georgia on My Mind” has been made the official state song for Georgia.

“My version of ‘Georgia’ became the state song of Georgia. That was a big thing for me, man. It really touched me. Here is a state that used to lynch people like me suddenly declaring my version of a song as its state song. That is touching.” – Ray Charles
“I never wanted to be famous. I only wanted to be great.” – Ray Charles

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Garrett A. Morgan – Innovative

Innovative – featuring new methods; advanced and original.

Garrett A. Morgan paved the way for African American inventors. Some of his patents included a hair-straightening product, a breathing device, and an improved traffic signal. In fact, his respiratory device provided the blueprint for gas masks used in World War I.

downloadIn 1916, the city of Cleveland was drilling a tunnel under Lake Eerie, workers hit a natural gas pocket resulting in a huge explosion. The explosion trapped workers underground in the fumes. When Morgan found out, he and his brother put on breathing devices. They were able to save two lives and recover four bodies before their rescue mission was called off. Unfortunately, after this, people refused to buy Mr. Morgan’s products when they realized he was black due to the publicity of the rescue.

Garrett Morgan still decided to focus on fixing problems. He started focusing on everything from hats to seat belts to car parts. After witnessing a carriage accident, he created a new traffic signal, one with a warning light notifying drivers they would need to stop.

Mr. Morgan has saved many lives with his inventions. Many of his inventions were the start of several inventions we now have today. If you want to know what it truly means to be innovative, look up a list of his inventions and you’ll have an idea.

If you can be the best, then why not try to be the best? – Garrett A. Morgan

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Ruby Bridges – Fearless


Ruby Bridges was a childhood favorite of mine. She is known for being the first black child to desegregate the all-white school, William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Bridges was born September 8, 1954 in Mississippi. At the age of six she became the first African American child to integrate a white southern elementary school. Ruby Bridges had to be escorted to class by her mother and U.S. Marshals because of violent mobs. Even at such a young age, she paved the way for civil rights action.

With parents keeping their children home and no teacher willing to teach her, Ruby began to wonder if she would ever be able to attend class. Thankfully, one teacher, Barbara Henry agreed to teach her. The two sat side by side at desks for a full year working on Ruby’s lessons. As students returned, Ruby was not allowed to go to the cafeteria or recess with the other students. Her entire day was spent in the classroom.

So how does a child endure so much? How does a child endure threats to be poisoned or people showing up with little black dolls in coffins? A child endures through prayer and encouragement from her family. Because of her fearlessness we have books like The Story of Ruby Bridges, and the biographical film adaptation of her story as well.

Thank you Ruby Bridges for teaching us that at any age you can inspire change.

“Racism is a grown-up disease and we must stop using our children to spread it.”- Ruby Bridges

Enjoy these clips:


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