Celebrating Black Heroes: Vivien Thomas

Celebrating Black Heroes: Vivien Thomas

(1910-1985) We’re celebrating black heroes who made history, and I want to introduce you to Vivien Thomas, the grandson of a slave who became a heart surgery pioneer. In 1930, Thomas became a laboratory assistant for Dr. Alfred Blalock at Vanderbilt University. However, because of institutional racism, he was classified and paid as a janitor. Nevertheless, Thomas rapidly mastered complex surgical …

Celebrating Black Heroes: Bessie Coleman

Celebrating Black Heroes: Bessie Coleman

(1892-1926) We’re celebrating black heroes who made history, and I want to introduce you to Bessie Coleman, who was raised in Waxahachie, TX. She excelled in school and had a proclivity in mathematics. Therefore, Coleman avoided working in the cotton fields. She excelled in school and had a proclivity in mathematics. At 23, she moved to Chicago and made her living …

Celebrating Black Heroes: Charlotta Bass

Celebrating Black Heroes: Charlotta Bass

(1874-1969) We’re celebrating black heroes who made history, and I want to introduce you to a remarkable woman who has largely been forgotten. Her name is Charlotta Bass, and in 1952, she became the first black woman to run for vice president in the United States.  Bass received endorsements from prominent civil rights leaders like Paul Robeson and W.E.B. DuBois. Bass …

Celebrating Black Heroes: Henry Ossawa Tanner

Celebrating Black Heroes: Henry Ossawa Tanner

(1859-1937) We’re celebrating black heroes who made history, and I want to introduce you to Henry Ossawa Tanner, an African American painter born in Pennsylvania. His father was a minister and tried to discourage Henry’s interest in art, but to no avail. However, it did influence him, as most of his paintings carried biblical themes. At twenty-one, Tanner enrolled in the …

Celebrating Black Heroes: Mary Seacole

Celebrating Black Heroes: Mary Seacole

(1805-1881) We’re celebrating black heroes who made history, and I want to introduce you to Mary Seacole. Her mother was Jamaican, and her father was a Scottish Lieutenant in the British Army. Being multiracial legally classified her as a “mulatto,” and meant that she could not vote, hold public office, or enter the workforce.  Mary acquired nursing skills from her mother …