Reflections in Black

Courtesy / University of Alabama

Born in Alabama in October 1929, Autherine Lucy Foster earned her bachelor's degree in English from Miles College in Fairfield in 1952 and, in 1956, became the first African American student to attend the University of Alabama. Lucy Foster was expelled weeks later after riots broke out when residents learned of her admission but eventually returned to graduate with a master's degree in 1992. She received an honorary doctorate from the school in May 2019. This is her story.

Courtesy / Adam Bielawski

Ermias Joseph Asghedom, known professionally as Nipsey Hussle, was a community activist, rapper and entrepreneur. On March 31, 2019, he was shot and killed outside his store, Marathon Clothing, in South Los Angeles. This week's Reflections in Black examines Nipsey Hussle's life.


Courtesy / Barnard College Archives

June Jordan was born July 9, 1936 to Jamaican immigrants. She dove into the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and took part in the Freedom Rides. She was also part of the production team for the 1963 documentary The Cool World. She later wrote her first book of poetry in 1969, and in 1970 she served as editor on a text of African American poetry from children. This is her story.  

James McCune Smith was born in 1813 in New York. His mother is believed to have bought her freedom, and he attended the African Free School in New York, and eventually earned his bachelor's, master's and medical degree from the University of Glasgow in Scotland in 1837. He returned to New York and opened a medical practice and pharmacy that served interracial clientele, and he was a vocal critic of the institution of slavery. This is his story.

So far this year, Reflections in Black has profiled the lives of those in the 19th and 20th centuries that have made life better for all of us. Raven Cook, founder of Foundations: Black History Educational Programming and the host of Reflections in Black, says she will profile the lives of more contemporary people in the weeks and months ahead. She also tells us about other aspects of Reflections in Black.