In this critical moment in American history, confronting racial inequality has come to the forefront. Following the death of George Floyd, many have wondered what to read and where to begin to better understand the plight of Black Americans. Today, we start a series of suggested readings with a look at The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois.
Born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1941, Stokely Carmichael was a major figure in the Civil Rights Movement who introduced the term and concept of Black Power to the public. He served in major campaigns like "Freedom Summer" and led the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Augustus Lushington was born in Trinidad on August 1, 1869. He went to school in Trinidad where he became a teacher and principal before traveling to Venezuela and finally setting off for New York in 1889. Lushington studied agriculture at Cornell University and graduated in 1894. He continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania and became the first African-American to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in the country. Lushington went on to work in a variety of positions, including as an instructor and federal employee.
Born in 1851, Ella Sheppard was enslaved on the Hermitage Plantation in Hermitage, Tenn. After learning that her daughter was being trained to spy on her, Ella's mother went to the river to drown both of them to escape the bonds of slavery. On approaching the river, Ella's mother was stopped by an elderly enslaved woman who insisted that no harm come to the child. Ella was eventually bought by her father and sent to Nashville. They then eventually moved to Cincinnati, where she began her musical training. She worked with distinguished music teachers to learn piano and singing.