February is Black History Month and here at Parlé Magazine although the focus is urban entertainment we want to take time out this month to highlight and focus on some of the people and events in Black History that oftentimes go unnoticed. Every day this month we'll highlight something new in hopes of reminding everyone that the journey continues.
Phillis Wheatley (1753 – December 5, 1784), a girl named after the ship that brought her from the continent where she was born (Senegal, Africa), bought by prominent "progressive" John Wheatley as a servant for his wife, was known by many in "her" time, maybe as an insightful woman, as well as the first native African person to have some of their writing published.
With this winter’s frigid temperatures and barrage of snow and ice storms we can all show a healthy appreciation for heat. Just a couple of weeks ago 49 out of 50 states had snow on the ground, including Hawaii. Florida, the only state to escape the white flakes still experienced cold temperatures, with the resulting frost damaging many crops. It’s at times like these that we must remember to be thankful to Alice Parker an African-American from Morristown, NJ who invented a gas heating furnace that provided central heating throughout a home or building.
Before the power and ferocity of Venus and Serena Williams, there was the elegance and grace of Althea Gibson. Born 25 August 1927, she showed a keen interest in tennis at a relatively early age. At the age of 14, Gibson began taking tennis lessons at Harlem’s Cosmopolitan Club. The rest, as they say, is history.
Charles Hamilton Houston was a renowned fighter for minority rights playing a role in nearly every case for Civil Rights between the years of 1930 and 1950. Houston was born in 1895 during a great deal of minority suppression. His father was a practicing lawyer and his mother a hairdresser. He contributes all his success to their desire for him to succeed and providing him with all the tools for success.
Talk about heart. This soldier has truly earned his stripes and so we salute Lt. Colonel Allen Allensworth.
Allensworth was born a slave in Kentucky back in 1842. However, his less than humble beginnings did not prevent him from greatness. We first get a glimpse of his heart when he educated himself illegally. Later his next brave move would be running off and joining the army. (Needless to say a slave would receive severe punishment for being illegally educated or trying to run off. The punishment for rebellion in some cases was even death.) Along the way Allen Allensworth earned a teaching certificate and became one of the Army’s first Black chaplains but by his retirement in 1906 he was the highest ranking African-American commissioned officer in our military.