Mae C. Jemison, from Chicago, IL, was the first African American woman astronaut. On September 12, 1992 she boarded the space shuttle Endeavor.

Source: Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events, 2003, p.621-622, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 SM61B

Marian Anderson was born in Philadelphia on February 27, 1897, and she died in Portland, OR on April 8, 1993. Considered one of the finest contraltos of her time, Anderson was the first African American to perform for the President at the White House (1939) and the first African American to perform as a member of the New York Metropolitan Opera (1955).



Source: Marian Anderson Biography. Biography.com. Retrieved from biography.com
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2001, v.1 p. 615, Stanley Sadie, 780.3 N42G2

The first automatic traffic light was invented in 1923 by Garrett A. Morgan, an African American inventor in Cleveland, OH.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.283, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

The African Insurance Company, located at 159 Lombard Street in Philadelphia, was the first African American-owned insurance company in the United States. Its president was Joseph Randolph; treasurer, Carey Porter; and secretary, William Coleman.



Source: The African Insurance Company (1810-1813). www.blackpast.org. Retrieved from blackpast.org
Black Firsts, 2003, p.85, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 Sm61b

Crystal Bird Fauset (1893-1965), of Philadelphia, was elected to the Pennsylvania state legislature in 1938. As a state representative, Fauset introduced nine bills and three amendments on issues concerning public health, housing, public relief, and working women. She also sponsored an amendment to the Pennsylvania Female Labor Law of 1913 to better protect women in the workplace.



Source: Crystal Bird Fauset Historical Marker. explorepahistory.com. Retrieved from explorepahistory.com
Black Firsts, 2003, p.262, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 Sm61b

Kwanzaa is an African American holiday based on an African harvest festival; it was developed by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966. Kwanzaa means "first fruits" in Swahili. It lasts for seven days, beginning on December 26th.

Source: Chase's Calendar of Events, 2006, p. 631, 394 C387ce

Joseph Hayne Rainey, a Republican from Georgetown, S.C., was sworn into Congress on Dec. 12, 1870, when the House declared the seat of Benjamin F. Whittemore vacant. Rainey served ten years until March 3, 1879.

Source: Famous First Facts About American Politics, 2001, p.59, Steven Anzovin, 973 An99f

The first African American woman elected to the House of Representatives was Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm. She was a New York City Democrat and was elected on November 5, 1968 from the 12th District in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. She was sworn in on January 3, 1969 and was reelected six times.

Source: Famous First Facts About American Politics, 2001, p.61, Steven Anzovin, 973 An99f

Eleanora Fagan Gough was born on April 7, 1915 at Philadelphia General Hospital. She would grow up to be Billie Holiday.



Source: Billie Holiday. billieholiday.com. Retrieved from billieholiday.com
Billie Holiday, 1995, p.18, Stuart Nicholson, 784.53 H724N

It was the first troop of free African Americans raised in the North during the Civil War. Many died at Fort Wagner, including their white commander, Robert Gould Shaw. Their saga is shown in the film "Glory."

Source: Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events, 2003, p.431, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 SM61b

Frederick Douglass (1817-1895) was nominated for the United States Presidency at the Republican Convention in 1888. He received one vote.

Source: Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events, 2003, p.313-314, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 SM61B