2021 Black History Basic Training, Week 1

Ase. We have come to a close of the first week of Black History Month 2021. This year, the Say it Loud! Employee Affinity Group is hosting a Black History Basic Training (inspired by GirlTrek campaigns from the past year), where we highlight individuals, organizations and events that made significant contributions to the African American experience. This week, we celebrated civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, Department of the Treasury employee Solomon Johnson, voter registration drives of Freedom Summer, anti-lynching advocate Ida B. Wells, and author James Baldwin.

“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance” ~ African Proverb

Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamerwas born on Oct 6, 1917 in Mississippi. She became involved in the Civil Rights Movement when she first attempted to register to vote in 1962, which resulted in her being fired from her job on a plantation. In 1964 she co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party to end statewide disenfranchisement of Black voters. In her nationally televised testimony before the Democratic National Convention, Hamer shared her personal stories of mistreatment and terror at the hands of racists throughout MS. The testimony was interrupted by President Lyndon Johnson, in an effort to suppress the truth and stabilize the Democratic Party.

Links in the Fannie Lou Hamer card:

Solomon Johnson

Solomon Johnson was one of the first African Americans to work for the Department of the Treasury. He first started at the Treasury in 1864, with a personal recommendation from President Abraham Lincoln (whom Johnson attended to as a bodyguard and as his barber). His personnel filetells a unique and fascinating story of the distinguished career of an early Black federal employee. In correspondence it is recorded that Johnson voted in every election, was regularly promoted, and after 17 years of service wrote to the Secretary of the Treasury making his case for recognition of his achievements. Solomon Johnson first took his oath for employment as a Laborer at the Treasury on Feb 2, 1864. At the time of his death in 1885, Johnson was a Clerk of Class Two.

Links in the Solomon Johnson card:

Freedom Summer

Links in the Freedom Summer card:

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida B. Wells-Barnettwas born into slavery on July 16, 1862 and freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. She held a career as an educator and later a journalist chronicling the African American experience in the early 1900s. Her work on documenting the lynching practices in The Red Record, and horrors of the South attained a global audience despite being labeled a race agitator in the United States.

Links in the Ida B. Wells-Barnett card:

James Baldwin

James Baldwinwas born on August 2, 1924 in Harlem, New York. Disheartened over racism in America, Baldwin moved to Paris at the age of 24 where he began his professional writing career. Over the course of his long career, Baldwin wrote short stories, plays, essays, and novels that discussed the themes of race, class, religion, masculinity, and sexuality; among them: Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953) and Giovanni’s Room(1956). In 1957, Baldwin returned to the US in order to participate in the emerging civil rights movement. He used his platform to critique and bring attention to racial inequalities in America. Baldwin debated leading white intellectuals and made television appearances to further discuss this issue. Baldwin was also interviewed by Black psychologist Kenneth Clark in 1963, for the Negro and the American Promise program.

Links in the James Baldwin card:

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