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Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton push for women’s history museum in DC

Jae Alan

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Former first lady Laura Bush joined a push this week for the addition of a women’s history museum on the National Mall.

Speaking at the annual Women Making History Awards gala on Tuesday night, Bush said being honored at the event highlighted the need to “redouble our efforts to make sure there’s a women’s museum right here in our country,” The Washington Post reported.

“It’s really important to have a museum that focuses on women because half of the population is left out from American history,” Bush said. “We need to figure out how we can encourage women to run for office and to run for president.”

Bush was honored at the ceremony for advocacy work and contributions to inspiring women.

Hillary Clinton also paid tribute to Bush in a video featured at the event and reiterated a call for a museum in the nation’s capitol dedicated to women.

Read more @ The Hill

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10 notable D.C. projects designed by black architects

Jae Alan

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In the architecture field, African Americans are underrepresented with progress on diversifying the field remaining slow. While African Americans made up 13 percent of the total U.S. population in 2010only 2 percent of licensed architects in the U.S. are African American. Despite this, black architects have always had a huge impact on the nation’s capital.

Below, Curbed DC has compiled a list of buildings, parks, public art, and libraries in the District, each designed by notable black architects, such as Michael Marshall and John Anderson Lankford.

Note: The mapped points have been ordered geographically, from the most north to the most south.r

Read full story HERE

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How One Amateur Historian Brought Us the Stories of African-Americans Who Knew Abraham Lincoln

Jae Alan

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The memoir of Elizabeth Keckly, a formerly enslaved woman who became a dressmaker to First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, struck a nerve when it was published in 1868. Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House was an unprecedented look at the Lincolns’ lives in the White House, but reviewers widely condemned its author for divulging personal aspects of their story, particularly the fragile emotional state of Mary Lincoln after her husband’s murder.

For decades after its publication, the book was difficult to find, and Keckly lived in relative obscurity. In black Washington, however, many African-Americans personally knew and admired her, and remained a beloved figure.

When journalist and Democratic political operative David Rankin Barbee claimed in 1935 that Keckly had not written the book and, remarkably, had never existed, one determined Washingtonian, an African-American high school teacher named John E. Washington, felt compelled to speak up. The encounter with Barbee about Keckly and Behind the Scenes changed Washington’s life and led him to write a remarkable book of his own—They Knew Lincoln.

Part memoir, part history, part argument for the historical significance of common people, They Knew Lincoln was the first book to focus exclusively on Lincoln’s relationship to African-Americans.  They Knew Lincoln not only affirmed the existence of Keckly, but revealed that African-Americans, from the obscure folk preacher known as Uncle Ben to the much more prominent Keckly, had shaped Lincoln’s life, and it insisted that their stories were worth knowing.

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/how-one-amateur-historian-brought-us-stories-african-americans-who-knew-abraham-lincoln-180968215/#AeuleTy5Uo0VqGRU.99
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History & Culture

Little-Known Black History Facts: This Black Woman Helped Develop GPS Technology

Jae Alan

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Gladys West never knew that her work at a U.S. Navy base in Virginia back in the 1950s and ’60s would play a pivotal role in creating a popular form of technology that is now incorporated into cell phones, cars, and social media.

For 42 years, the 87-year-old mathematician worked with a team of engineers that developed the Geographical Positioning System, or GPS, before retiring in 1998. West’s sorority sister, Gwen James, recently discovered the contributions that West made in GPS technology and wanted to share the news with The Associated Press.

“Her story is amazing,” said James, a fellow member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, to The AP. “GPS has changed the lives of everyone forever. There is not a segment of this global society—military, auto industry, cell phone industry, social media, parents, NASA, etc.—that does not utilize the Global Positioning System.”

After graduating from Virginia State University on a full academic scholarship, West began working as a math teacher for two years in Sussex County before obtaining her master’s degree. She then became the second black woman to join the Dahlgren, Virginia, naval base in 1956, where she was one of‌ only four black employees. During her stint, she collected location data from orbiting machines and input the data into giant supercomputers, while using early computer software to analyze surface elevations. She worked long days and nights recording satellite locations and on complex calculations. Although the work was tedious, West told The AP that she “was ecstatic” about the opportunity “to work with some of the greatest scientists.”

Read full story @ Black Enterprise

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