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News in Youth Services

Monday, January 15, 2018

Black History Month

You know, January 15th is not just an ordinary day off school.  It is the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr, a civil rights activist who in the mid-1950s began making a significant impact on race relations. He promoted making changes to federal and state law through nonviolent activism during the Civil Rights Movement.  His leadership played a significant role in ending legal segregation of African-Americans across the nation but especially in the South.  Dr. King is best know for his infamous 1963, "I Have a Dream" speech as well as winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.  Sadly he was assassinated in April 1968.

George Washington Carver was a prominent African-American scientist and inventor.  He was born into slavery.  In 1865, the Civil War brought an end of slavery in Missouri and Moses Carver and his wife, Susan, decided to raise George and his brother James at their home and began educating the two boys.  George's thirst for knowledge remained the driving force for the rest of George's life.  Carver got accepted to Iowa State's College of Agriculture and received his master's degree from the university.  After graduation, George began a career in teaching and research at Tuskegee University.  His work in botany brought about over 100 products using one major crop - the peanut- which included dyes, plastics and gasoline.  He was so admired for his work that even President Theodore Roosevelt sought his advice on agricultural matters in the United States.

The first African-American woman to be admitted into the United States astronaut training program is Mae C. Jemison.  At the age of 3, Mae's family moved to Chicago, Illinois, to take advantage of the abundant educational opportunities there.  Growing up, she spent a large amount of time in her school library reading about all aspects of science, especially astronomy.  She attended Stanford University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering.  After that, she was admitted into Cornell University Medical College and obtained her M.D. in 1981. She spent two and a half years in the Peace Corps after graduation.  When she returned to the United States, she decided to follow her dream and applied for admission to NASA's astronaut training program.   In 1992, Jemison became the first African-American woman in space when she became a crew member on the Endeavour.

Learn more about Black History Month by clicking here or come into the library where we can help you discover some wonderful African-Americans who have changed history.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. books
George Washington Carver
Dr. Mae Jemison books

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