Category: Black History names
This year, for Black History month, we salute not the political activists or barrier breakers, but some distinguished African-American painters, sculptors and photographers–accentuating, of course, those with the most interesting names.
These Black history names range in time from portrait painter Joshua Johnson, born in 1763 and viewed as the first person of color to make his living as an artist in America, to contemporary women artists like Lorna Simpson, Ellen Gallagher and Kara Walker who confront issues of race head-on in their work.
The following is, of course, just a small representation of the countless distinguished artists of color.
Augusta Savageâ€” (b.1892), a sculptor who was part of the Harlem Renaissance.Â Students in her Harlem studio included Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight. She chose the unusual spelling of Agnus as her daughterâ€™s name.
Carrie Mae Weemsâ€”(b. 1953)Â , an award-winning mixed-media artist whose work incorporates photography, fabric, digital images and video, much it exploring black family life, racism and gender issues.
Chakaia Bookerâ€”(b.1953), an assemblage artist who has worked with a variety of materials, including black rubber tires, said to address African-American identity.
Clementine HunterÂ (b.1886)–pronounced clem-en-TEEN, Â just like Mrs. Winston Churchill– Â was originally named Clemence. Â A self-taughtÂ Louisiana Creole folk artist who began painting in her fifties, her work depicts plantation life in the early 20th century.
Black history is filled with the extraordinary names of extraordinary achievers.Â This being the first day of Black History Month, we thought we’d look back through African-American history, on the lookout for the (interesting) names of people who have made breakthroughs by being the first toÂ achieve something, whether it beÂ in the arenaÂ of goverment, Civil Rights, scholarship, the professions,Â sports or the arts.Â It’s quite surprising to see how recently some of them occurred.
Here are someÂ outstanding black historyÂ names:
- Alexia Canadaâ€” first female African-American neurosurgeon (1984)
- Althea Gibsonâ€”first black to win a major tennis title (1956) and first black woman to play on the Ladies PGA golf tour (1964)
- Aretha Franklinâ€”first black woman inducted into the Rock â€˜nâ€™ Roll Hall of Fame (1986)
- Aulana Petersâ€”first black woman appointed to the Securities and Exchange Commission (1984)
- Bessie Colemanâ€”first black woman aviator (1921)
- Biddy Masonâ€”first known black female property owner in L.A. (1866)
- Camilla Williamsâ€”first black woman to sing with the New York City Opera (1945)
- Charlotta Bassâ€”considered the first black woman newspaper publisher (1912), and the first African-American to run for vice-president (1952)
- Condoleezza Rice â€“first female head of the National Security Council (2001), first black woman Secretary of State (2005)
- Constance Baker Motleyâ€”first black woman federal judge (1966)
- Cora M. Brownâ€”first black woman in the US to be elected to a state senate (1952)
- Della Reeseâ€”first black woman to host a TV variety show (1969)
- Euzham Palcyâ€”first black woman director of a feature film for a major studio (1989)
- Dorothea Towlesâ€”first professional black woman model (1949)
- Dorothy Dandridgeâ€”first black woman nominated for an Oscar in a leading role (1955)
- Ella Fitzgeraldâ€”first black woman to win a Grammy (1959)
- Gwendolyn Stewart Kingâ€”first black woman commissioner of Social Security (1989)
- Hazel Johnsonâ€”first black woman army general (1979)
- Hazel Scottâ€”first black entertainer to host her own TV show (1950)
- Ida Rollinsâ€”the first black woman dentist (1890)
- Jewel Plummer Cobb — the first black woman president of a California State University (1981)
- Joycelyn (born Minnie) Elders –the first black female Surgeon General of the U.S. (1993)
- Katherine Dunhamâ€”first black choreographer to work at the Metropolitan Opera House (1963)
- Lorraine Hansberryâ€”first African-American to win the NY Drama Critics Award (1959)
- Lucy Ann Stantonâ€”the first black woman college graduate (1850)
- Maggie Lena Walkerâ€”first black woman bank president (1903)
- Mamie Smithâ€”first black woman to make a recording (1920)
- Marvel Jackson Cookeâ€”first full-time black reporter on a mainstream paper (1950)
- Maude Rutherfordâ€”dancer who first introduced the Charleston on Broadway (1922)
- Maya Angelou (born Marguerite) â€“ first black woman to have a nonfiction bestseller (1970); first black inaugural poet (1993)
- Michelle Obama–first African-American first lady (2009)
- Minnie M. Geddings Coxâ€”first black US postmistress (1891)
- Minyon Mooreâ€”first black woman political director of the National Democratic Committee (1995)
- Octavia Butlerâ€”the first published female black science fiction writer (1976)
- Oprah Winfrey==first black woman to host a nationally syndicated weekday talk show (1986)