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  • Washington D.C.

    The capital of the United States of America. Founded in 1790 after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly established independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, the first president of the United States.
  • Washington, Booker T.

    Educator, author and spokesperson, Washington was born into a slave family in rural Virginia. In 1881, he founded the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama. The school became a model for the industrial education of African Americans. Washington’s accommodationist approach made him popular with white philanthropists. Washington served as an adviser to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. His approach to African American progress, which focused on economic empowerment over social inclusion, was criticized by many civil rights activists of the time.
  • Washington, Denzel

    Actor, director and producer. Born in New York in 1954, Washington won Academy Awards for his roles in 1989's Glory and 2001's Training Day. In 2002, he made his directorial debut with Antwone Fisher, and his third directorial effort, 2016's Fences, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
  • Washington, Harold

    Mayor of Chicago, Illinois. Washington was a decorated Army veteran of the 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion in World War II and later served as a member of the Illinois State Legislature, the Illinois State Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1984, he became the first African American elected as mayor of the City of Chicago.
  • Watts

    South Central Los Angeles neighborhood notorious for its civil unrest and rioting in 1965. The economically disadvantaged community has witnessed high unemployment figures and gang violence for the past several decades.
  • WBEE Radio

    Chicago-area jazz station
  • West Indies

    Region of the North Atlantic Ocean in the Caribbean that includes the island countries of three major archipelagos: the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles and the Lucayan Archipelago.
  • West Virginia

    The thirty-fifth state to join the Union on June 20, 1863. The movement for statehood began after the state of Virginia voted to secede from the United States during the Civil War. The people of the mountainous western region of the state opposed the decision and organized to form their own state, West Virginia,in support of the Union. The West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry was the site of John Brown’s ill-fated 1859 raid on a federal armory.
  • Westside Preparatory School

    Renowned educator Marva Collins established the Westside Preparatory School in 1975. An alternative educational institution for African American children located on Chicago's Westside, the school stresses basics such as phonics, memorization, critical thinking and discipline. Materials ranging from the classics to modern thought are an integral part of the curriculum.
  • WGES Radio

    Prominent Chicago AM radio station of 1940s and 1950s. It was one of the first radio stations to prominently feature black DJ’s, including pioneer Al Benson and Herb Kent.
  • WGN Radio

    Radio station owned by the Chicago Tribune newspaper, its letters stand for “World’s Greatest Newspaper”, the slogan of the Chicago daily. Since its founding in 1924, WGN has become one of the most storied radio stations in the nation, broadcasting the beloved Cubs to millions of loyal listeners throughout the Midwest.
  • White, Barry

    Singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and composer. The three-time Grammy Award winning artist is best known for his distinctive bass-baritone voice and romantic lyrics. His hits included "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby," "Never, Never Gonna Give You Up," and "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe."
  • White, Charles

    Muralist and painter of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. He taught at the Chicago Community Arts Center in the 1930s before receiving a scholarship to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He went on to become a muralist for the Works Progress Administration, and in 1949, after moving to New York, co-founded the Committee for the Negro in Arts.
  • Whitney Museum of American Art

    Museum of modern American art located in New York City. The museum was founded in 1931 with a focus on 20th and 21st century American art. The permanent collection comprises more than twenty-one thousand paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, films, videos, and artifacts of new media from over three thousand artists. Particular emphasis is placed on exhibiting the work of living artists as well as maintaining an extensive permanent collection containing many important pieces from the first half of the last century.
  • Williams, Chancellor

    Born December 22, 1898 in Bennetsville, South Carolina, Dr. Chancellor Williams was a gifted scholar who traveled throughout Africa documenting ancient history. He offered an interpretation of African history that contested European American knowledge claims about the “Cradle of Civilization.” Throughout his career, Dr. Chancellor published numerous essays and books, including "The Raven," "The Rebirth of African Civilization" and "The Destruction of Black Civilization" - a comprehensive history of the African Diaspora. He died in 1992.
  • Williams, Daniel Hale

    Surgeon at Chicago's Provident Hospital who performed the first successful open heart surgery on a patient in 1893. Williams' patient, John Cornish, lived for another twenty years. Williams established Provident Hospital in 1891 as a means of training African American doctors and nurses. Williams later helped found the National Medical Association after being denied admittance to the American Medical Association. He passed away in 1931.
  • Wilson, Nancy

    Multi Grammy Award winning singer who recorded more than fifty albums, including "How Glad I Am," "The Two of Us," and "Love, Nancy."
  • Wisconsin

    Admitted to the union as the thirtieth state in 1848. Leading up to the Civil War, Wisconsin was an important stop on the Underground Railroad, with slaves passing through the state on their way to freedom in Canada.
  • WKRS-FM (KISS-FM)

    Broadcasting from New York City, WKRS-FM was one of the nation’s largest and most successful urban radio stations and the first to broadcast rap music. Radio executive Barry Mayo served as both vice president and general manager of the station in the late 1980s.
  • WLS-TV

    Chicago’s local ABC affiliate, the station is home to Bob Petty, Bill Campbell and Diann Burns.
  • Woodson, Carter G.

    Known as the father of black history, Woodson was an American historian, author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. In February 1926, he launched the celebration of Negro History Week, the precursor of Black History Month.
  • World War II

    Also known as the Second World War, a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The majority of the world's countries formed two opposing military alliances, the Allies and the Axis. The conflict involved more than 100 million people from over thirty countries. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included numerous massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
  • Wright, Richard

    One of America’s greatest black writers, Richard Wright was also among the first African American writers to achieve literary fame and fortune. Born and raised on a plantation, he was the son of an illiterate sharecropper. Though he spent only a few years of his life in Mississippi, those years played a key role in his two most important works, Native Son, a novel, and his autobiography, Black Boy. Wright's membership in the Communist Party created controversy for the author. He eventually moved to Paris to join the existentialist movement blossoming there. He passed away in 1960.
  • WVON

    An institution in Chicago’s African American community. Originally branded as WHFC, its programming featured soul and rhythm and blues music. WVON is best known for its cultural relevance and commitment to community advocacy and empowerment. The station served as a voice for Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s and a springboard for Barack Obama during the early days of his political career.