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COA Celebrates Black History Month

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Feb 1

Did you Know? Black History Facts!

Charles Alfred Anderson Sr.

1907 – 1996

Charles Alfred Anderson Sr.Nicknamed “Chief” by his aviation students, Charles Alfred Anderson Sr. served as the Chief Civilian Flight Instructor for the Tuskegee Institute ’s groundbreaking program to train black pilots. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt established a military aviation program at Tuskegee in 1941. Anderson was tasked with training the famous World War II Tuskegee Airmen. Between 1940 and 1946, he was responsible for supervising the primary flight instruction of approximately 1,000 African American pilots and flight personnel. Anderson first made history in 1932 when he and another aviator became the first African Americans to complete a round-trip, transcontinental flight between Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Los Angeles, California.

Learn more at Black History Now: Charles Alfred Anderson Sr..

Aaron Douglas

1899 – 1979

Aaron DouglasAaron Douglas combined traditional African motifs with cubism and graphic design to create a unique and potent style of illustration during the Harlem Renaissance. He is widely considered to be the father of modern African American art.

Learn more at Black History Now: Aaron Douglas.

Percy L. Julian

1899 – 1975

Percy Lavon JulianPercy Lavon Julian, a grandson of slaves, became a world-renowned chemist and research scientist whose discoveries eased the pain and suffering of millions by making affordable treatments for glaucoma, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. With graduate degrees from Harvard University and the University of Vienna, he triumphed over institutional and social prejudice to achieve unprecedented success in his field.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1899, Julian was one of six children. Education was a passion instilled by their father (a railroad mail clerk) and mother (a schoolteacher). Two sons became physicians, three daughters earned master’s degrees, and Julian would become the most successful of the children.

Read more at Black History Now: Percy L. Julian.

Allen Kenneth Johnson

1971 –

Allen Kenneth JohnsonAllen Kenneth Johnson is a world-class track and field athlete who was a dominant force in the 110-meter high hurdles for well over a decade. Over the course of his career, he won four International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Championship titles and a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. Johnson also garnered three gold medals in the 60-meter hurdles at the World Indoor Championships. The respected sports authority, Track & Field News, ranked Johnson the top 110-meter hurdler in the world for a period of four years. To date, he is the only hurdler to finish more than 10 official 110-meter races in fewer than 13 seconds.

Learn more by visiting Black History Now: Allen Kenneth Johnson.

These black history facts were provided by Black History Now: Black History Biographies from the Black Heritage Commemorative Society.


Feb 1
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