Univ. of Alabama’s first Black student receives honorary doctorate

  Sixty years after she was expelled from the University of Alabama due to on-campus riots protesting her admission, 89-year-old Autherine Lucy Foster of Shiloh, Alabama, has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the university.  Foster was first accepted to the University of Alabama in 1952, though she was not allowed to enroll at the university for another four years. Her initial acceptance had been rescinded because of her ethnicity, but a federal court order reversed the decision allowing her to enroll in 1956. Foster attended the school for three days before being expelled due to violent riots following her admission. When her expulsion was annulled in 1988, she re-enrolled at the university and earned a master’s degree in education in 1991. Read the full article >>

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Annie Turnbo Malone (1869-1957)

    Annie Turnbo Malone was one of the nation’s first black female millionaires. She built her fortune on hair care products that she developed when she was 20 years old and trademarked under the name “Poro.” Malone was an active philanthropist and contributed thousands of dollars to black educational programs and orphanages across the country. However, Malone’s legacy is often overshadowed by that of her protégé, Sarah Breedlove, better known as Madame C.J. Walker. Learn more about Annie Turnbo Malone >>

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Today we honor George Lewis Ruffin (1961- ) who became the first African-American graduate of Harvard Law School in 1869. He was admitted to the Suffolk County Bar Association later that year. To honor his legacy and support minority groups studying in the Massachusetts justice system, the George Lewis Ruffin Society was founded in 1984 at Northeastern University. Read more about George Lewis Ruffin >>

Birmingham’s first black sheriff, court officials rethink US policing

Birmingham, Alabama pinned on a map AL.COM (AP) — In a state where conservative politicians typically preach about getting tough on crime, the new sheriff of Jefferson County Alabama, veteran law enforcement officer Mark Pettway, ran and won on an alternative message. He favors decriminalizing marijuana, opposes arming school employees, supports additional jailhouse education programs to reduce recidivism and plans for deputies to go out and talk to people more often, rather than just patrolling. Pettway became the first black person elected sheriff in Birmingham on the same day voters elected the community’s first black district attorney. Sheriff Pettway sees himself as part of a new wave of officers and court officials tasked with enforcing laws and rebuilding community trust fractured by police shootings, mass incarceration, and uneven enforcement that critics call racist. Read the full article here >>

West Point appoints first Black superintendent since the academy was founded in 1802

Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, a 1983 U.S. Military Academy graduate who has held high-ranking Army posts in Europe and Asia, has become the first black officer to command West Point in its 216-year history, academy officials announced. The native of Alexandria, Virginia, has served as the deputy chief of staff for the U.S. Army in Europe and the deputy commanding general for support for the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea. Most recently Williams was commander of NATO’s Allied Land Command, based in Turkey. Read the full story here.