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African-American Firsts Remembered: Lest We Forget
An Exhibition of select African-Americans who reached the pinnacle of achievement and social recognition as a "first."
Curated by Mary D. Teasley and Deloris Walker-Moses
Second Floor Gallery
January 15 through March 4, 2000

Bessie Coleman and Thomas Mundy Peterson

Bessie Coleman
Born in Atlanta, Texas in 1893, was the first Black woman to fly an airplane and the first African-American in the world to earn an international pilot's license. She was a stunt pilot who was able to overcome racial barriers and achieved her lifelong dream to become a professional aviatrix.

Thomas Mundy Peterson
Of Perth Amboy, New Jersey was presented on a medal on Decoration Day, May 30, 1884 in commemoration of his having been America's First Colored Citizen to cast a vote under the Fifteenth Amendment. He was also the first African-American person to be appointed to rewrite Perth Amboy's Charter.


Ida B. Wells Barnett
First writer to document the lynching of African-Americans. Also organized the first Black women's political organization.
Madame C. J. Walker
Manufactured a line of hair preparations that became immensely popular with African-American consumers and became the first African-American woman millionaire.


Althea Gibson
First African American to compete at Wimbledon in 1951 and the first to win, taking the Women's Singles title in 1957.
Mae Jemison
First African-American woman astronaut. Flew as a Science Specialist on the September 1992 Space Shuttle mission.

 

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