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  • Baker, Josephine

    Stage, screen and recording artist. Her performance at the Folies Bergere in Paris, France is considered to epitomize of the flamboyance of the Jazz Age. Baker was decorated for her undercover work for the French Resistance during World War II and later worked as a civil rights activist, refusing to perform for segregated audiences and integrating Las Vegas nightclubs. During the course of her life, she adopted twelve children from around the world whom she called her Rainbow Tribe.
  • Baldwin, James

    Born in 1924, Baldwin catapulted to fame with the publication of his first novel, Go Tell It On the Mountain, in 1953. Baldwin's other writings include The Amen Corner, Notes of a Native Son, Giovanni's Room and The Fire Next Time.
  • Bangladesh

    Formed in 1971 when East Pakistan seceded from the Republic of Pakistan. It shares land borders with India and Myanmar.
  • Baraka, Amiri

    Writer and activist. Born Everett LeRoi Jones in Newark, New Jersey in 1934, Baraka's early career began in New York City’s Greenwich Village, where he published a collection of poems and edited several literary journals. He achieved international acclaim for his two dramas, Dutchman, winner of the coveted Obie Award, and The Slave. Jones changed his name in 1967.
  • Barbados

    British colony from 1627 to 1966. The British brought in slaves to work sugar plantations, which continued until slavery was abolished in 1834. The economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century. In the 1990s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance.
  • Barnett, Claude

    Prominent African American journalist and entrepreneur Claude Barnett established the Associated Negro Press in 1919. Under Barnett's direction, it operated as the largest black press service in the United States for over forty years. Barnett also served as special assistant to three U.S. secretaries of agriculture and was a board member for Tuskegee Institute, the American National Red Cross, and Provident Hospital.
  • Belgium

    Situated on the North Sea between France and the Netherlands, Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830 and was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II. It has prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU.
  • Bell, Cool Papa

    Called the fastest man to ever play the game of baseball, Cool Papa Bell was one of the stars of the Negro Baseball League during the 1930s and 1940s. Bell batted an astonishing .341 during his twenty-five years in the Negro Leagues and once stole 175 bases in less than 200 games. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.
  • Bethune, Mary McLeod

    Born to former slaves in 1875, Bethune went on to found the Daytona Literary and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls in 1904 and served as president for nearly forty years. She was a leader in the black women's club movement and served as president of the National Association of Colored Women. She was also director of the National Youth Administration's Division of Negro Affairs from 1936 to 1944. Bethune founded the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. and was the vice president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
  • Better Boys Foundation

    Chicago-based non profit social service organization founded in 1961.
  • Billboard

    Music industry trade publication. Billboard's most famous feature is the Billboard charts, which track which singles received the most radio airplay for a given week.
  • Birmingham, Alabama

    Urban battleground for the southern Civil Rights Movement. Birmingham gained worldwide attention in May 1963 when images of civil rights protesters attacked by dogs and sprayed by fire hoses were featured in U.S. newspapers. In the fall of that same year, a bomb exploded in the 16th Street Baptist Church killing four African American girls.
  • Black Arts Movement

    Loose coalition of African American intellectuals who produced politically and artistically radical works aimed at raising awareness of black rights and promorting the struggle for racial equality. The aims of this 1960s and 1970s movement live on institutionally in African American Studies departments as well as African American oriented publishers, academic book series, art galleries, and theaters.
  • Black Belt

    Area of Chicago, Illinois that ran from 12th Street south to 39th Street with State Street as the major north-south thoroughfare. As the African American community grew, the neighborhood pushed outwards to the south and east. The southeastern section is now known as Bronzeville.
  • Black Enterprise

    First published in 1970 by Earl Graves, the monthly Black Enterprise magazine is a primary source of information on the African American business community as well as a forum for profiles of successful entrepreneurs.
  • Black Entertainment Television

    The nation’s first black owned cable channel. Started in 1980 by Robert L. Johnson, BET grew into a multimedia conglomerate before its sale to Viacom in 2000.
  • Black Panther Party

    Progressive political organization founded in Oakland, California in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. The party focused on ending police brutality, improving educational opportunities, ensuring equal protection under the law, and protecting fair housing in African American communities. Unrelenting pressure from the FBI and internal struggles eroded the organization's power by the end of the 1970s.
  • Blues

    Distinctly American musical genre that originated among African Americans in the rural South at the end of the 19th century. Due to its simplicity and flexibility, blues music has served as the foundation for nearly every new Western musical genre of the 20th century, including jazz, rock and popular music. The lyrics often refer to hardship and despair.
  • Bond, Horace Mann

    Noted black educator and scholar during the early and mid 20th century. Bond was president of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, the first president of Fort Valley State College, and the father of future NAACP president, Julian Bond.
  • Botswana

    Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its current name upon gaining independence in 1966. It is bordered by Zambia to the north, Zimbabwe to the east, South Africa to the south, and Namibia to the west.
  • Boycott

    A group’s refusal to engage in commercial dealings with an organization in protest of their policies. Boycotts were used extensively during the Civil Rights Movement by African Americans seeking to challenge Jim Crow and other segregation laws.
  • Boys and Girls Club of Chicago

    A 100 year old social service agency with service sites in many of Chicago’s most underserved neighborhoods. The agency offers services such as day care, tutoring and after school programming.
  • Bradley,Tom

    First African American Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, he served five terms. Bradley is best known for forging lasting coalitions across racial and ethnic lines.
  • Brazil

    Following three centuries under Portuguese rule, Brazil gained its independence in 1822. A coastal, South American nation, it is bordered by ten countries.
  • Brigadier General

    One star general officer in the U.S. Armed Forces. Brigadier generals rank above colonels and below major generals.
  • Bronzeville

    The cultural and economic center of the African American community in Chicago, Illinois during the era of segregation. Similar to New York City's Harlem, Bronzeville was known during the postwar years for the Stroll, an urban strip bustling with jazz cabarets and blues clubs that featured artists such as Muddy Waters and Jelly Roll Morton.
  • Brooks, Gwendolyn

    Poet and writer Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize. Her many publications include Selected Poems (1963), In the Mecca (1968), Family Pictures (1970), and Children Coming Home (1992). In 1968, Brooks succeeded Carl Sandburg as poet laureate of Illinois. She died December 3, 2000.
  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

    Landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision handed down on May 17, 1954 that abolished the practice of separate but equal facilities, which had been held up since the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision.
  • Brown, Ron

    Presidential cabinet appointee. While working for the New York Urban League, he was elected first to the post of district leader for the Democratic Party and then as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. President Bill Clinton appointed Brown secretary of commerce in 1993.
  • Buffalo Soldiers

    The United States Army's 92nd Infantry Division. The 92nd was the only African American infantry division to see combat in Europe in World War II. Nicknamed Buffalo Soldiers, the 92nd, which had fought in France during World War I, was once again activated in 1942 and served in the Italian Campaign.
  • Burrell Communications, LLC

    The nation's largest African American owned marketing firm, Burrell Communications services clients such as the McDonald's Corporation and Comcast Corporation.
  • Bush, George H.W.

    Forty-first president of the United States who served from 1989 to 1993. During his presidency, the Cold War ended and the Gulf War was waged.
  • Bush, George W.

    Forty-third president of the United States who served from 2001 to 2009. Bush launched the War on Terror, which included the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War, and signed into law broad tax cuts and a variety of medical initiatives.