#BlackFridayEveryFriday: 52 Weeks of Black History

While doing the research for our 1st grades son’s Black History Month project a couple weeks ago, I learned that Robert F. Flemming, Jr. created the version of the guitar that we know today. When I put his name in the search engine, hardly anything pops up. And if you Google “Who invented the guitar” Mr. Flemming’s name doesn’t pop up at all. Names for who invented the electric guitar do but none of them are him. It’s amazing! It’s like he was completely erased. If he were not on that list for my son’s school project, I would have never known his name.

It got me to thinking about all the names we have never heard, all the inventions we have never known we should be credited, all the stories we were never told. I love hearing what Dr. King and Rosa Parks have done for us, but What about the thousands of others who have paved our path to where we are now?

I want to know more of those names and 28 days a year (29 on leap years) is just not enough. Black History Month, which began as Negro History Week in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson then transitioned to 1976, is amazing, but we should be educating our children and ourselves all year round about our culture. So, for the remainer of 2021 I am going to share a new name in our history because #BlackFridayEveryFriday. Read, enjoy and pass it own so these names never disappear!

Week 46: Friday, December 31, 2021

Spike Lee

Born: March 20, 1957 (age 63)

Atlanta, GA

Shelton Jackson "Spike" Lee is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, actor, and professor. His production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, has produced more than 35 films since 1983. He made his directorial debut with She's Gotta Have It.

Week 45: Friday, December 24, 2021

Della Reese

Born: July 6, 1931, Black Bottom, Detroit

Died: November 19, 2017, Los Angeles, CA

Delloreese Patricia Early, also known as Della Reese, was a jazz and gospel singer, actress, and minister. Della Reese was only 6 years old. She began her long career as a singer, scoring a hit with her 1959 single "Don't You Know?".

Week 44: Friday, December 17, 2021

Tom "Tiny" Lister Jr.

Born: June 24, 1958, Compton, CA

Died: December 10, 2020, Marina del Rey, CA

The 6 foot 5 Ince giant Tommy "Tiny" Lister Jr. was an actor and professional wrestler known best for his role as the neighborhood bully Deebo in 1995's classic film Friday. Lister was blind in his right eye due to a detached and deformed. Lister has an estimated net worth of $100 thousand.

Week 43: Friday, December 10, 2021

Ryan Coogler

Born: May 23, 1986 (age 34)

Oakland, CA

Ryan Kyle Coogler is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. His first feature film, Fruitvale Station, won the top audience and grand jury awards in the U.S. dramatic competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. He has since co-written and directed the seventh film in the Rocky series, Creed (2015), and the Marvel film Black Panther (2018). Coogler has a net worth of around $10 million.

Week 42: Friday, December 3, 2021

Niecy Nash

Born: February 23, 1970 (age 50)

Los Angeles, CA

Carol Denise Nash is an American comedian, actress, television host, model, and producer, best known for her performances on television. Nash hosted the Style Network show Clean House from 2003 to 2010, for which she won an Emmy Award in 2010. She played the role of Deputy Raineesha Williams in the Comedy Central comedy series Reno 911! (2003–2009). Nash played the role of civil rights activist Richie Jean Jackson in the historical drama film Selma directed by Ava DuVernay. In 2017, Nash was cast in a leading role in the TNT crime comedy-drama series, Claws, produced by Rashida Jones about a South Florida nail salon. Nash has an estimated net worth go $4 million.

Week 41: Friday, November 26, 2021

Harry Belafonte

Born: March 1, 1927 (age 93)

Harlem, New York, NY

Harry Belafonte is a Jamaican-American singer, activist, and actor. One of the most successful stars in black American history, Belafonte was dubbed the "King of Calypso" for popularizing the Trinidadian Caribbean musical style. Harry, being a close friend to Dr. Martin Luther King, was a supporter of the 50s and 60s Civil Rights Movement. Belafonte performs as the American Civil Liberties Union ambassador for issues around juvenile justice. Harry has a net worth of at least $28 million.

Week 40: Friday, November 19, 2021

Ava DuVernay

Born: August 24, 1972 (age 48)

Long Beach, CA

Ava Marie DuVernay is an American filmmaker. She won the directing award in the U.S. dramatic competition at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her second feature film Middle of Nowhere, becoming the first black woman to win the award. DuVernay amplifies the work of people of color and women of all kinds through her non-profit film collective ARRAY, named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies. Based on the infamous case of The Central Park Five, her next project is entitled WHEN THEY SEE US and will be released worldwide on Netflix in May 2019. Ava's net worth is somewhere near $60 million.

Week 39: Friday, November 12, 2021

Barbara Blake Hannah

Born: June 5, 1941, St. Louis, MO (age 79)

Kingston, Jamaica

is a Jamaican author and journalist known for her promotion of Rastafari culture and history. Makeda currently serves as executive director of the Jamaica Film Academy, which organises the Reggae Film Festival,[1] and gives her name to the Press Gazette′s Barbara Blake-Hannah prize.[2]

She became the first black television presenter in the United Kingdom in 1968 when she appeared as an interviewer and news presenter on Thames Television's Todayprogramme,[3][4] and was also the first Rastafarian senator in the Parliament of Jamaica, between 1984 and 1987.[5]

Week 38: Friday, November 5, 2021

Redd Foxx

Born: December 9, 1922, St. Louis, MO

Died: October 11, 1991, Los Angeles, CA

Known by his stage name of Redd Foxx, John Elroy Sanford was a famous stand-up comedian and actor best known for his sexually explicit acts in the 50s and 60s while performing at night clubs. Foxx performed on more than 50 records and would be deemed the "King of the Party Records" for his work. In 1972, Foxx was signed as junk dealer named Fred Sanford in a NBC sitcom. While on the set of The Royal Family in 1991, Redd suffered a massive heart attack and passed at the age of 68.

Week 37: Friday, October 29, 2021

Korey Wise

Born: July 26, 1972 (age 48), New York City, NY

Korey Wise is now an activist who is well known for advocating for criminal justice reform. Wise travels the country sharing his stories of being wrongfully convicted in the Central Park jogger case that occurred on April 19, 1989 for the attack of then 28-year-old Trisha Meili. Wise was convicted along side Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray Raymond Santana Jr. and Yusef Salaam. The were also convicted of the attacks on eight other people on that night. Wise spent 14 years incarcerated, maintaining his innocence from until he was exonerated in 2002. Wise's net worth is around $15 million.

Week 36: Friday, October 22, 2021

Angela Davis

Born: January 26, 1944 (age 76), Birmingham, AL

Angela Yvonne Davis is a political activist, author, philosopher and academic. As a teenager, Davis would attempt to organized interracial study groups, but they were quickly broken up by the local police. In the 60s, she joined several groups, including the Black Panthers. However, Davis spent most of her time working with an all black branch of the Communist Party known as the Che-Lumumba Club. She is now a professor emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The academic scholar has a net worth of around $800,000.

Week 35: Friday, October 15, 2021

Queen Latifah

Born: March 18, 1970 (age 50), Newark, NJ

Dana Elaine Owens, better known by her stage name Queen Latifah, is a rapper, singer, songwriter, actress, and producer. Queen Latifah signed with Tommy Boy Records in 1989 and released her first album All Hail the Queen on November 28, 1989, featuring the hit single "Ladies First." The Queen won a Grammy Award in 1994 for Best Solo Rap Performance for "U.N.I.T.Y." and is the Co-founder of Flavor Unit Entertainment. Of all of her roles she has taken on, her personal favorite is still as Cleopatra Sims from the iconic Set It Off film.Latifah's estimated net worth is $65 million.

Week 34: Friday, October 8, 2021

Wanda Sykes

Born: March 7, 1964 (age 56), Portsmouth, VA

Wanda Yvette Sykes is a comedian, actress, and writer. Sykes was first recognized for her work as a writer on The Chris Rock Show. She won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1999 for her efforts on the show. In 2003, Wanda wrote, produced, and starred in Fox's Wanda at Large. Entertainment Weekly named Sykes as one of the 25 funniest people in America in 2004. Wanda Sykes Net Worth: Wanda Sykes has an estimated net worth of around $6 million.

Week 33: Friday, October 1, 2021

Aaron Vincent McGruder

May 29, 1974 (age 46), Chicago, IL

Aaron McGruder is a writer, producer, screenwriter and cartoonist. McGruder is best known for bringing The Boondocks alive with his writing and drawing skills. The Boondocks was a Universal Press Syndicate comic turned animated TV series. McGruder was the creator, executive producer, and head writer of one of the most memorable black culture inspired animated series of recent history. Aaron's estimated net worth of more the $10 million.

Week 32: Friday, September 24, 2021

Alex Haley

Born: August 11, 1921,Ithaca, NY

Died: February 10, 1992, Seattle, WA

Alexander Murray Palmer Haley was a writer and the author of the 1976 book Roots: The Saga of an American Family in which ABC adapted into a miniseries. The Roots TV series aired the next year in 1977 and made Alex an instant celebrity. An estimated 130 million viewers watched the last episode of Roots influencing countless Americans to dive into their own family trees and history.

Week 32: Friday, September 17, 2021

DJ Pooh

Born June 29, 1969 (age 51) Los Angeles, CA

Mark Jordan, better known by his stage name of DJ Pooh is a record producer, rapper, screenwriter, actor and director. He has produced albums for many rappers like LL Cool J and Ice Cube along with many others. DJ Pooh began in film in 1991 by producing the driveby shooting sequence in Boyz n the Hood. He went on in 1995 to help co-write the film Friday with Ice Cube, in which he portrays the character "Red.” His current net worth is reported to be close to $13 million.

Week 31: Friday, September 10, 2021

Jackie Ormes

Born: August 1, 1911, Pittsburgh, PA

Died: December 26, 1985, Chicago, IL

Jackie Ormes is known as the first black woman cartoonist and creator of the Torchy Brown comic strip and the Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger panel. She was known for working between the 1930s and 50s for black newspapers like The Pittsburgh Courier and The Chicago Defender. Torchy gave off an image of a black woman who was dripping in confidence and bravery. Her bravery was see in her cartoon panels. After the death of Emmett Till, a 14 year old black boy who was lynched in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman, Jackie responded in a single-panel comic. It was of a black girl speaking with another saying, "I don't want to seem touchy on the subject... but that new little white tea kettle just whistled at me!"

Week 30: Friday, September 3, 2021

Chadwick Boseman

Born: November 29, 1977, Anderson, SC

Died: August 28, 2020, Los Angeles, CA

Chadwick Aaron Boseman was an American actor and producer and known for his roles as several historical figures like James Brown, Thurgood Marshall and Jackie Robinson. But it is his iconic role as the Black Panther in the Marvel Universe that made him a household name and a symbol of the black community for the 21st century. His role won him a Screen Actors Guild Award and a NAACP Image Award. Boseman was worth an estimated $12 million at the time of his death. He passed today after privately dealing with colon cancer for four years. Rest in power, King. #WakandaForever.

Week 29: Friday, August 27, 2021

Bernard Anthony Harris Jr.

Born: June 26, 1956 (age 64), Temple, TX

Bernard Anthony Harris Jr. is a surgeon, astronaut, entrepreneur, and scientist. After failing to qualify for the Astronaut Training Program in 1987, Harris did not give up and applied again in 1990. that didn’t stop him as his second attempt got him selected for the Astronaut Training Program. He is best known for being the first African American to walk in space as Payload Commander for the first joint Russian-American Space Program mission and has travelled over 7.2 million miles in space. Harris earned a Master of Medical Science from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston. His current net worth is about $3.6 million.

Week 28: Friday, August 20, 2021

Ruby Bridges

Born: September 8, 1954 (age 65), Tylertown, MS

Ruby Nell Bridges Hall, at the age of 6, was the first African American child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana on November 14, 1960. Bridges was one of many black students chosen to take a test determining if they were smart enough to attend a white school. The test was written to be difficult for them so they would struggle to pass. Though it was not easy, Bridges' parents were informed by the NAACP that Rudy was one of six black students to pass.On the morning of November 14, Rudy was escorted to class by her mother and three U.S. Marshalls because of violent mobs outside of the school. Bridges' action was a huge milestone and step in the right direction for the civil rights movement.

Week 27: Friday, August 13, 2021

Matthew Henson 

Born: August 8, 1866, Nanjemoy, MD

Died: March 9, 1955, Bronx, New York, NY

Matthew Alexander Henson is one of the first few African American explorers and perhaps the first man ever to reach the North Pole claimed on April 6, 1909. He was accompanying a white Us Navy Engineer explorer, Robert Peary. Henson partnered with Peary on seven separate voyages to the Arctic over 23 years. Henson is known for saying, “I think I'm the first man to sit on top of the world.”

Week 26: Friday, August 6, 2021

Anita Hill

Born: July 30, 1956 (age 64), Lone Tree, Oklahoma

Anita Faye Hill is a university professor of social policy and women's studies at Brandeis University and as well as a lawyer. Hill is most famously known for her 1991 testimony given to Congress concerning sexual harassment events she shared she'd experienced while aiding Clarence Thomas, a nominee for the Supreme Court. Thomas was Hill's supervisor at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission when the alleged events occurred. The scandal raised awareness around workplace harassment and motivated other women to enter politics. Because of the historic number of females elected to congress, 1992 became known as the “Year of the Woman."