Dr. Roger Arliner Young was a scientist of zoology, biology, and marine biology. She was the 1st African-American woman to receive a doctorate degree in zoology.

Edna Lewis (b.1916 – d.2006) was an African-American chef and author best known for her books on traditional Southern cuisine. She was one of eight children. Her cookbooks include The Edna Lewis Cookbook (1972). This was followed by The Taste of Country Cooking in 1976, considered a classic study of Southern cooking. She co-founded the Society for the Revival and Preservation of Southern Food, a precursor to the Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA). She died in Decatur, Georgia in 2006, aged 89.Edna Lewis (b.1916 – d.2006) was an African-American chef and author best known for her books on traditional Southern cuisine. Her cookbook, The Taste of Country Cooking in 1976, is considered a classic study of Southern cooking.

Before the Williams Sisters – Margaret and Matilda Peters, affectionately known as ‘Pete” and Repeat’ made history with their doubles record from the 1930s to the 1950s. Inducted into the USTA’s Mid-Atlantic Section Hall of Fame in 2003.

Sissieretta Jones became the first African American to perform at the Music Hall (renamed Carnegie Hall the following year) in New York City in 1892. She sang both classical opera, light opera and in musical comedies with her own troupe.

Jane M. Bolin was the 1st African American woman graduate of Yale Law School & the first Black female judge in the United States. She was appointed in July 1939 by NYC Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. Judge Bolin retired in 1979 after 40 years on the bench.

NYC’s graduation rate was above 70% for the first time in 2016. The white student graduation rate was 88% while the black and hispanic rate was 65%. Only about 50% of students with disabilities graduated.

Evelyn Boyd Granville, mathematician and computer programmer at IBM. In 1949 she became one of the first African American women to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale University.

List of African American Firsts on Wikipedia


Education Valued

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional.

Thanksgiving dinner was an unaffair in my family after grandmother died. My mother didn’t cook. She didn’t know how. She had a High School diploma instead of kitchen skills.  Grandmother was a wonderful cook. She was a cook and housekeeper her entire life. She promised herself her daughter would never be either so grandmother never taught mother how to do those things. Grandmother died when I was 10 and that was the last time I had Thanksgiving dinner completely home cooked.

Mother grew up to go to business not work. As grandma Tammie used to say, you wore overalls for work but you went to business in clothes just less than Sunday best. There was always discrimination and segregation but education was the key to how differently you were treated. Maybe you were meant to be one of the The Talented Tenth, or later, a Five-Percenter but the cosmic common denominator was (and is) education. But more than 60 years after Brown v. the Board of Education kids of color in NYC Public schools fail at a 65% rate. There is justice but where is the value is one doesn’t look for it or feel it’s needed.

My grandmother would often talk to herself when she sat in the kitchen and smoked pall malls. I’d ask her why and she’d smile, pat me on the sholder and say. “Baby, that’s the only way I can get an intelligent conversation around here”. I’ve learned the value education and intelligent conversation. Today, too many folks of color would rather be cooks.

Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution