African American History
Mary Mc Lead
One of the most recognized women in the African American history is Mary Mc Lead Bethune. Her contributions mainly fall under education and rights activism. She has remarkable achievements because, in a period where women were not allowed to hold positions of authority, Mary managed to become a president of a university, served as an advisor to four presidents in the United States of America and she was a C.E. O of a company. Mary Bethune’s education had prepared her to become a missionary, but the Presbyterian Church’s mission board discouraged her when they declared that ‘coloreds’ were unqualified to serve as African missionaries. The decision by the board resulted in Bethune following the teaching profession. Bethune started by working as an assistant to Emma Wilson who was her old teacher. She later worked in at the Haines Normal and Industrial Institute as an eighth-grade teacher. The school was teaching black children, and its location was in an underprivileged area, and it was the motivation behind her dream of starting her school. In 1904 Bethune started her Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute where each child that was enrolled was fifty cents every week for extensive training in business, religion as well as industrial skills (Cloutier, 82). Bethune did lecturing as a way of raising money to sustain her school and recruitment of learners and encouraged education as the means to achieving self-sufficiency. Most black women were impressed by Bethune’s move of encouraging education, and they became interested in learning and therefore Bethune started adult classes in her school. Bethune’s school was soon and overcrowded and she swiftly acted by seeking help from the rich whites like James Gamble who agreed to construct a brick schoolhouse. Later in 1904, Bethune managed to relocate her school to a four-story building she called ‘Faith Hall’ (Hanson, 54).
Irritated by the suffering of blacks in Daytona as they could not afford healthcare, Bethune constructed her Hospital through fundraising, and the hospital had a bed capacity of twenty patients. Bethune later struggled for her school to gain accreditation as a college but was frustrated by the all-white board who believed that the education offered was insufficient. Bethune was later in 1913 to get the accreditation after engaging her influential friends. In 1917 Bethune was greatly involved in championing the rights of women after she formed the Southeastern Federal of Colored Women as well as the Florida Federation of Colored Women. After a constitutional amendment gave women rights in 1920, Mary Mc Lead was in forefront mobilizing women to register as voters despite being threatened. Council 0f Negro Women is also her establishment, and it was founded in 1935.
Eugene Bullard is recognized as the fighter Pilot who was black and had a long experience in war after being involved in many wars. He participated in both world wars and received honors from the French Government for his remarkable role. Despite being born an American Bullard move to France where he joined the fight in World War 1 fighting for the French Government. He and other American expatriates joined the French Foreign Legion in October 1914 at the age of 19 years, and his boxing career made him get selected and survive through training despite his young age. His first service to the Army was in the Moroccan division that comprised of men from over fifty different nationalities. Despite the massive losses of over 300,000 men on the French side by November Bullard never stopped fighting. Eugene played an active role in the toughest battles between 1914 and 1916. On 5th March 1916 when he was fighting at a place codenamed by the Germans as Verdun Operation Execution place, he suffered serious wounds ending his career as a foot soldier. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre and Medaille Militaire. Because he could no longer fight on the ground, he was allowed to be a member of French Flying Corps that opened the door to his flying career. He was teased by an American friend who doubted that he could ever manage to fly a plane and to prove him wrong Bullard managed to train and graduate from a school of aviation in the city of tours. He subsequently became the pioneer black fighter pilot. He later learned to fly both Caudron G-3 and G-4. After waiting for some time being held back without substantial reasons to be recruited as a pilot he finally got an assignment at Lafayette Escadrille as French government needed pilots. His first mission as a pilot was in 1917 flying a Nieurport and was included in everything after that. Bullard claimed two kills, but only one was confirmed though no one disputed the fact that he shot down the plane. Eugene Bullard was discharged from the French Armed Forces in October 1919 (Lloyd, 45)
One of the most recognized women in the history of African Americans is Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama is credited with launching several educational initiatives that targeted the youth while some were tailored to empower girls. When Michelle Obama was the First Lady, she launched Lets Girl’s learn in March 2015 after she held a meeting in Malala Yousafafza. The main target of the campaign spearheaded by Michelle Obama was to tackle the obstacles that hindered from achieving a high-quality education. The programs ran in over 50 different countries and managed to increase the resources available for the improvement of the lives of adolescent girls across the globe. The initiative by Michelle Obama has attracted support from other governments like Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom with a collective six hundred million dollars (Nelson, 60)
Michelle Obama also was substantially involved in the joining force’s campaign. The joining forces campaign encouraged all American Citizens to support veterans, service members as well as their families. Michelle Obama together with Dr. Jill Biden in 2011 launched the initiative where Joining forces awards public high schools where most children are from military families Advanced Placement coursework especially in science and math.
Through education, wellness and employment, the initiatives work with private and public sectors to make sure that the students supported by the initiative have the basic tools to be successful in life (Collins & Linda, 376). Michelle is also involved in the Reach Higher initiative that focuses on motivating every American student to take his or her studies past high school. The target of the initiative is to ensure that America has the greatest number of college graduates globally by the year 2020. After its launching in 2014, the campaign has reached thousands of students and exposed them to colleges and available career options and promoted academic planning as well as helping them understand the eligibility for financial aid.
Cloutier, Mary. “Mary McLeod Bethune.” (2017).
Collins, Eileen, Margaret Wilmoth, and Linda Schwartz. “”Have you ever served in the military?” The campaign in partnership with the Joining Forces initiative.” Nursing Outlook61.5 (2013): 375-376.
Hanson, Joyce Ann. Mary McLeod Bethune and Black women’s political activism. Vol. 1. University of Missouri Press, 2003.
Lloyd, Craig. Eugene Bullard, Black Expatriate in Jazz-Age Paris. University of Georgia Press, 2006.
Nelson, Sophia. Black woman redefined: Dispelling myths and discovering fulfillment in the age of Michelle Obama. BenBella Books, Inc., 2012.