Schomburg Research Center in NY Designated a National Historic Landmark

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article by Ameena Walker via ny.curbed.com

Late last year, St. Bartholomew’s Church on Park Avenue was named a National Historic Landmark, and in the months since, the Department of the Interior hasn’t been resting on its laurels. Yesterday, the agency announced 24 new National Historic Landmarks, including a few in the five boroughs. The biggest: New York City’s mecca for information on the African diaspora and culture, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. (h/t DNAInfo)

The center, located at 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, was named after Afro-Latino immigrant Arthur (Arturo) Alfonso Schomburg, and operates as part of the New York Public Library system. Here’s what the DOI had to say about it:

[It] represents the idea of the African Diaspora, a revolutionizing model for studying the history and culture of people of African descent that used a global, transnational perspective. The idea and the person who promoted it, Arthur (Arturo) Alfonso Schomburg (1874-1938), an Afro-Latino immigrant and self-taught bibliophile, reflect the multicultural experience of America and the ideals that all Americans should have intellectual freedom and social equality.

It’s currently in the process of receiving a $22 million renovation helmed by Marble Fairbanks Architects, Westerman Construction Company, and the City Department of Design and Construction. The entire project is expected to wrap up in 2017 and will present changes that include a larger gift shop, updated Langston Hughes Auditorium, expanded Rare Book Collection vault, and many more changes.

To read full article, go to: http://ny.curbed.com/2017/1/12/14247950/schomburg-research-center-national-landmark-nyc?platform=hootsuite

Lady Liberty Depicted as a Woman of Color on U.S. Currency for 1st Time

article via nbcwashington.com

For the first time in American history, Lady Liberty will be portrayed as a woman of color on United States currency, NBC News reported. In celebration of the U.S. Mint and Treasury’s 225th anniversary, the new $100 coin was unveiled on Thursday featuring Lady Liberty as a black woman.

Since the passage of the Coinage Act in 1792, all coins are required to feature an “impression emblematic of liberty,” in either words or images. Until the new coin designed by Justin Kunz was unveiled, Lady Liberty had always been depicted as a white woman.

The coins will cost $100 each and will be available to the public on April 6.

Source: For the First Time, Lady Liberty Depicted as a Woman of Color on US Currency | NBC4 Washington

National Museum of African History and Culture All-Star Tribute to Air on ABC Tonight

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National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. (photo via notey.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

The National Museum of African American History and Culture takes center stage on ABC Television tonight. The network will air “Taking the Stage: African American Music and Stories that Changed America” on ABC stations nationwide at 9 pm EST/8 pm CST.

Filmed live at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of the Grand Opening celebration of the Museum, the program features an all-star tribute of music, dance, and spoken word on the African American experience. Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, and Tom Hanks are among the many artists who participated in the program, which includes a special salute to the Tuskegee Airmen.

The special will feature new film footage of iconic items from the museum’s collections – items ranging from a plane used to train the famed Tuskegee airmen for World War II combat duty to a bible owned by Nat Turner. The film is accompanied by music, dance and dramatic readings by a wide range of stage and screen actors.

#TakingtheStage

Astronaut Jeanette Epps to be NASA’s 1st African-American Crew Member on International Space Station

NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps (photo via mashable.com)

article by Miriam Kramer via mashable.com

NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps is set to become the first African-American crewmember on the International Space Station when she flies to space next year, the space agency announced Wednesday.

Epps’ months-long trip should begin in 2018, and it will mark the first time she has traveled to orbit, following in the footsteps of the women who inspired her to become an astronaut.  “It was about 1980, I was nine years old. My brother came home and he looked at my grades and my twin sisters’ grades and he said, ‘You know, you guys can probably become aerospace engineers or even astronauts,'” Epps said in a NASA video interview.

“And this was at the time that Sally Ride [the first American woman to fly in space] and a group of women were selected to become astronauts — the first time in history. So, he made that comment and I said, ‘Wow, that would be so cool.'”   While other African-American astronauts have flown to the Space Station for brief stays during the outpost’s construction, Epps will be the first African-American crewmember to live and work on the station for an extended period of time.

Robert Curbeam, Stephanie Wilson, Joan Higginbotham, Al Drew, Leland Melvin and Robert Satcher, along with their space shuttle crewmates, helped to complete the space station during its first 11 years,” space historian Robert Pearlman, who runs the website collectSPACE.com, told Mashable.

Melvin actually encouraged Epps to apply to become an astronaut when the space agency put out a call for their 2009 class, Epps said. And that encouragement paid off. Epps was selected as one of 14 astronaut candidates in NASA’s 2009 class. NASA received 3,500 astronaut applications that year. Her astronaut selection wasn’t the first time she worked with the space agency, however. Epps was a NASA fellow while at the University of Maryland for graduate school in aerospace engineering and then worked in a lab at Ford Motor Company for more than two years, according to the space agency.

From there, Epps’ path to becoming an astronaut takes a decidedly atypical turn. Most astronauts come to the Astronaut Corps either through training in science or as a military officer, but after Ford, Epps spent more than seven years at the Central Intelligence Agency as a technical intelligence officer.”I did a lot of scientific stuff, but I also did a lot of operational stuff,” Epps said. “We worked in non-proliferation issues, which was great. It’s reverse engineering at its best.” Epps also volunteered to go to Iraq with the CIA for four months to help search for weapons of mass destruction.

To read full article, go to: NASA’s first African-American Space Station crewmember is your new role model

Kamala Harris Sworn in as California’s 1st Black U.S. Senator and 1st Indian American Senator – LA Times

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D) California [photo via latimes.com]

article by Sarah D. Wire via latimes.com

Before friends and family in a packed chamber, Kamala Harris was sworn in as California’s newest U.S. senator Tuesday morning. She became  the first black woman the Golden State has sent to the Senate and the first Indian American to ever serve in the body.

Harris, 52, a Democrat from Los Angeles, was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden shortly after 9 a.m. PT as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and her new Senate colleagues looked on. Harris’ husband, Los Angeles attorney Doug Emhoff, her stepchildren, brother-in-law Tony West, sister Maya Harris, extended family as well as several state officials from across the country who traveled to celebrate with the now former state attorney general watched from the gallery.

“Whatever advice she wants, all she has to do is ask,” Feinstein said. “I have said to her that I would like to have a close relationship.”

Feinstein and Harris met repeatedly in the weeks since the election, with Feinstein sharing advice on how to set up the largest Senate office in the country, including how to deal with the up to 100,000 emails, letters and phone calls that can come into a California senator’s office in a given week.

Harris, one of seven new senators, replaces Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, who retired after 24 years in the Senate.

To read full article, go to: Kamala Harris sworn in as first Indian American senator and California’s first black senator – LA Times

Dr. G. Gabrielle Starr Named 10th President of Pomona College in CA, 1st Female and African-American

Pomona College President G. Gabrielle Starr (photo via Guggenheim Foundation)

New Pomona College President G. Gabrielle Starr (photo via Guggenheim Foundation)

article via jbhe.com

G. Gabrielle Starr was appointed the tenth president of Pomona College in Claremont, California. When she takes office on July 1, Dr. Starr will be the first woman and the first African American president of the highly ranked liberal arts college.

Pomona College enrolls about 1,650 students. African Americans make up 7 percent of the student body according to the latest Department of Education data. However, data supplied to JBHE shows that Black students make up more than 15 percent of the entering class at Pomona College this year.

Dr. Starr has been serving as dean of the College of Arts and Science at New York University. She joined the faculty at New York University in 2000.

Gabrielle Starr enrolled at Emory University at the age of 15. She earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree at Emory before going on to earn a Ph.D. at Harvard University. Her most recent book is Feeling Beauty: The Neuroscience of Aesthetic Experience (MIT Press, 2013).

African-American College Students Garner a Record Seven Rhodes Scholarships for 2017

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(L to R) Cameron D. Clarke, Aryn A. Frazier, Christian E. Nattiel, Olivia A. Klevorn, Aaron C. Robertson, Ahmed M. Ahmed, and Caylin L. Moore (photos via jbhe.com)

article via jbhe.com (additional reporting by Peggy Terry)

Recently, the Rhodes Trust announced the 32 American winners of Rhodes Scholarships for graduate study at Oxford University in England. Being named a Rhodes Scholar is considered among the highest honors that can be won by a U.S. college student.

The scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, an industrialist who made a vast fortune in colonial Africa. According to the will of Rhodes, applicants must have “high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor.”

This year, about 2,500 students applied to be Rhodes Scholars. More than 880 students were endorsed by 311 college or university for consideration for a Rhodes Scholarship. Some 230 applicants were named finalists. Then, two Rhodes Scholars were selected from each of 16 districts across the United States. The Rhodes Trust pays all tuition and fees for scholarship winners to study at Oxford. A stipend for living and travel expenses is also provided.

In 1907 Alain LeRoy Locke, later a major philosopher and literary figure of the Harlem Renaissance, was selected as a Rhodes Scholar to study at Oxford University. It would be more than 50 years later, in 1962, until another African American would be named a Rhodes Scholar. Other African Americans who have won Rhodes Scholarships include Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law School, Kurt Schmoke, former mayor of Baltimore, and Franklin D. Raines, former director of the Office of Management and Budget and former CEO of Fannie Mae. In 1978 Karen Stevenson of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the first African-American woman selected as a Rhodes Scholar.

The Rhodes Trust does not publicize the race or ethnicity of scholarship winners. But it appears that this year seven of the 32 Rhodes winners are African Americans. This is the most African American Rhodes Scholars in history.

Following are brief biographies of the African American winners:

Cameron D. Clarke is a senior at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He is the fourth Howard student to win a Rhodes Scholarship. Clarke is majoring in community health education and biology. He is the news editor of the student newspaper at Howard and serves as an intern for the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology at the U.S. House of Representatives. Clarke plans to study for a master’s degree in primary health care at Oxford.

Aryn A. Frazier is a senior at the University of Virginia, where she is double majoring in politics and African American and African studies. Frazier is president of the Black Student Alliance at the university. Frazier, a resident of Laurel, Maryland, plans to study for a master’s degree in comparative politics at Oxford.

Christian E. Nattiel from Madeira Beach, Florida, is a senior at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. At West Point, Nattiel is double-majoring in mathematical sciences and philosophy and is a member of the academy’s handball team. At Oxford, Nattiel will study for master’s degrees in comparative social policy and public policy.

Olivia A. Klevorn is a senior at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. A native of Chicago, Klevorn is majoring in anthropology. At Yale, Klevorn is the director of the Heritage Theatre Ensemble and president of a student-run poetry association. She will study for a Ph.D. in socio-legal studies at Oxford.

Aaron C. Robertson of Redford, Michigan, is a senior at Princeton University in New Jersey. He is majoring in Italian and focuses his research on Afro-Italian literature. At Princeton, he is the co-editor-in-chief of the Nassau Literary Review. Robertson plans to pursue a master’s degree in modern languages at Oxford.

Ahmed M. Ahmed is a biology major at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He is a resident of Rochester, Minnesota. His research is focused on the development of new synthetic strategies for producing polymers. He is the son of immigrants from Somalia. Ahmed will study for a master’s degree in organic and medical chemistry at Oxford.

Caylin L. Moore is a member of the football team at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. A resident of Carson, California, Moore is majoring in economics at TCU. He was raised in poverty and was homeless. His father was convicted to a life sentence for murder. Moore is the founder of an organization of student athletes who encourage children from disadvantaged groups to attend college. He will study public policy as a Rhodes Scholar.

To read full article, go to: https://www.jbhe.com/2016/12/a-record-year-for-african-american-rhodes-scholars/