Elmore James was, without question, the most influential slide guitarist of the postwar period. James was born on January 27, 1918, to Leola Brooks. He was later given the surname of his stepfather, Joe Willie James. He got his start with music learning to play bottleneck on a homemade instrument made out of a broom […]

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At Black Then, we frequently see interesting photos that give us a glimpse into the past. They tend to show us a piece of black history that is often not covered in textbooks, in history classes, or shown in the media. In a photo that we found on Black History Album , we see this […]

Julius “Nipsey” Russell was a comedian best known for his appearances on game shows throughout the 1960s and 1990s. He appeared on shows including Hollywood Squares, Password, Match Game, and Pyramid, and also known for humorous poems he would recite during broadcasting of the shows. For those people who remember “The Wiz,” he had a […]

Arthur Mitchell was the co-founder and Artistic Director Emeritus of Dance Theater of Harlem, the first African-American ballet company in the nation. Under the direction of Mitchell, the Dance Theater of Harlem rose to be one of the most premier ballet companies of its time. Mitchell was raised in Harlem. At the age of 12, […]

Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin was born in 1842 into one of Boston’s most prominent black families. At the young age of 15, she became the wife of George Lewis Ruffin, who was the first African-American graduate of Harvard Law School. Ruffin worked with white and black leaders, including Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and […]

“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” —Muhammad Ali The Greatest’ became a cultural icon for thrice winning the heavyweight world title, converting to Islam and  speaking out against Vietnam. In this video, a young Ali answers the question, “What […]

Oliver Lewis became the first jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, America’s longest continuous sporting event, on May 17, 1875. His time of 2 minutes, 37.75 seconds also set an American record over the mile and a half distance (the Kentucky Derby became a 1.25 mile race in 1896). Here are some other incredible facts […]

Actress Tamara Janice Dobson was born on May 14, 1947 in Baltimore, Maryland. She was best known for her role as Cleopatra Jones (1973), Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975) and Chained Heat (1983). Dobson received a degree in fashion illustration from the Maryland Institute of Art. She later became a fashion model […]

Pioneer civil rights activist Juanita Jackson Mitchell was involved with helping the black community at a very young age. She became the first African-American woman to practice law in the state of Maryland, and was also the first national youth director of the NAACP. Jackson and her family frequently moved across the South as her […]

In December 1971, Rev. Jesse Jackson resigned from Operation Breadbasket after clashing with Rev. Ralph Abernathy and founded Operation PUSH, otherwise known as People United to Save Humanity. Operation PUSH was organized in Chicago in 1971 and has been one of the most important social justice organizations in the United States. A prime focus during […]

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At Black Then, we frequently see interesting photos that give us a glimpse into the past. They tend to show us a piece of black history that is often not covered in textbooks, in history classes, or shown in the media. In a photo that we found on Black History Album , we see this […]

James Craig Anderson was a 48-year-old black man who was a few days shy of his 49th birthday. On June 26, 2011, a group of white men and women in Jackson, Mississippi, decided to kill for being African-American. Before the murder, the white group constantly got together to drive to Jackson to harass the African-American community. They would throw bottles […]

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