DCS: matthew henson

Born to sharecroppers in 1866, Matthew Henson fled persecution by the Ku Klux Klan and headed to Georgetown with his family. While attending an event honoring President Abraham Lincoln, young Matthew was inspired by a speech delivered by Frederick Douglass. Douglass called upon blacks to vigorously pursue educational opportunities and battle racial prejudice. Matthew began …

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DCS: wilma rudolph

Wilma Rudolph was born prematurely with a birth weight of 4-and-a-half pounds. She suffered from several early childhood illnesses, including pneumonia and scarlet fever. At the age of five, she contracted infantile paralysis, caused by the polio virus. Although she recovered from polio, Wilma lost strength in her left leg and foot. Physically disabled for much of …

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DCS: adelaide hall

20 year-old Adelaide Hall performed with numerous all-African-American cast productions in the early 20th Century, including shows by Eubie Blake and W.C. Handy. In 1927, Adelaide was appearing in Dance Mania with Duke Ellington. At a stop at the Standard Theater in Philadelphia, Ellington introduced a new composition, an instrumental he called “Creole Love Call.” Adelaide …

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DCS: patricia “boots” mallory

While working as an usherette at the Lyric Theater in Mobile, Alabama, Patricia “Boots” Mallory was offered a spot in the travelling show by Florenz Ziegfeld. She accepted and soon traveled with the troupe to New York where she was featured in the 1931 Ziegfeld Follies. Moving to Hollywood, “Boots” joined Fox Films and made …

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IF: botanical

In his fifty-plus year career as a pioneer in agricultural science, Luther Burbank invented and developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants, including fruits, fruits, flowers, grains, grasses and vegetables. Among his creations are the Shasta daisy, the freestone peach, the fire poppy, the July Elberta peach, the Santa Rosa plum, the Flaming …

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IF: hero

After her parents’ divorce, nine-year-old Alice Childress moved to Harlem to live with her grandmother. Despite her own lack of formal education, Alice’s grandmother encouraged young Alice to pursue her natural love for reading and writing. However, Alice had to drop out of school after her grandmother’s death. While working several low-paying jobs, Alice became …

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